Drought Now Threatens Virtually All U.S. Forests

Drought Now Threatens Virtually All U.S. Forests"While the effects have been most pronounced in the West, our analysis shows virtually all US forests are now experiencing change and are vulnerable to future declines," says James Clark.

What California Can Learn From Australia’s 15-year Drought

What California Can Learn From Australia’s 15-year DroughtCalifornia has experienced, over the past few years, its most severe drought on record. In response to worsening conditions, Governor Jerry Brown announced the first ever statewide mandatory reduction in urban water use in April 2015. This calls on Californians

Six Burning Questions For Climate Science To Answer

Six Burning Questions For Climate Science To AnswerMuch has been written about the challenge of achieving the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement, which calls for global warming to be held well below 2℃ and ideally within 1.5℃ of pre-industrial temperatures.

Is Nuclear Power Our Energy Future Or A Dinosaur In A Death Spiral?

Construction of a new reactor at Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland, is nine years behind schedule and more than $US5 billion over budget. Photo courtesy of Teollisuuden Voima OyNuclear power is dead. Long live nuclear power. Nuclear power is the only way forward. Nuclear power is a red herring. Nuclear power is too dangerous. Nuclear power is the safest power source around. Nuclear is nothing. Nuclear is everything.

Why Coral Island Hotspots Exist In An Oceanic Desert

Productivity hotspots in an otherwise nutrient-poor ocean. High abundances of plankton-eating fish on an Indo-Pacific coral reef. Zafer Kizilkaya, CC BY-SAIt was Charles Darwin, almost 200 years ago, who first asked how it could be that coral reefs could flourish in relatively barren parts of the Pacific Ocean. This conundrum subsequently became known as Darwin’s Paradox.

Better Water Use Can Cut The Global Food Gap

An irrigation system on a pumpkin patch in a semi-arid area of New Mexico in southwestern US. Image: Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia CommonsScientists say that forecasts of a world food shortage need not prove as disastrous as previously thought if humans learn to use water more effectively.

Why We Need to Keep 80 Percent of Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Why We Need to Keep 80 Percent of Fossil Fuels in the GroundPhysics can impose a bracing clarity on the normally murky world of politics. It can make things simple. Not easy, but simple. We have to attack this problem from both ends, going after supply as well as demand.

Why Some Animals And Plants Will Thrive Under Climate Change

 Stick to grasslands, ground squirrel. Vince Smith, CC BYIt’s mid-February and along Britain’s south coast gilt-head bream are drifting from the open sea into the estuaries. Meanwhile, thousands of little egrets are preparing to fly to continental Europe for breeding season, though a few hundred

The Past Provides A Lesson Of How Ice Sheets Collapse

The Past Provides A Lesson Of How Ice Sheets CollapseAntarctica and Greenland may be two of the most remote places on Earth but what happens in both these vast landscapes can significantly impact on human activity further afield.

A Small Island In The Indian Ocean Offers Big Lessons On Clean Power

A Small Island In The Indian Ocean Offers Big Lessons On Clean PowerAs the sun sets on the small Indonesian island of Sumba, Danga Beru Haba begins weaving under the glow of a single incandescent lightbulb, the only one in her home. Although she is tired from working dawn to dusk in the fields surrounding her village of Kampung Kalihi, the sarong she is weaving to sell locally will provide extra...

What Is The Best Way To Protect Us From Climate Change?

What Is The Best Way To Protect Us From Climate Change? When we think about adapting humanity to the challenges of climate change, it’s tempting to reach for technological solutions. We talk about seeding our oceans and clouds with compounds designed to trigger rain or increasing carbon uptake. We talk about 

Utilities, Solar Energy and The Fight For Your Roof

Utilities, Solar Energy And The Fight For Your RoofBy many accounts, the spread of solar power is unstoppable. Costs continue to fall at a blistering pace, solutions to give consumers a solar-powered home without needing to connect to the grid for back-up power are emerging, and even the

And Now For Some Good News About Climate Change

 Dr. Letcher in a 15-year-old secondary forest in Costa Rica. Susan G. LetcherWhen you cut and burn a tropical forest, you’re left with a barren plain of cracked red mud, incapable of supporting life – the opposite of the teeming, hyperdiverse array of life that was destroyed. Once the trees are gone, the nutrients wash away and the soil degrades into a dense, brick-like layer so hardened that plant roots can’t get through it.

Politicians Hand The Climate Baton Off To Green Industries

Politicians Hand The Climate Baton Off To Green IndustriesThe international community has been negotiating on climate change since 1989, but the Paris Agreement marks a real step forward. It aims to accelerate a move away from fossil fuels to mitigate global warming and to help vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change, and reflects a clear recognition of the urgency of the task.

How South Africa Can Spread Renewable Energy To Low Income Areas

How South Africa Can Spread Renewable Energy To Low Income AreasThere has been a rapid decline in the costs of solar and wind power, to such an extent that both technologies are now cheaper than nuclear or coal. This development will radically transform global electricity generation networks.

We Must Balance Our Food Farming Impacts

We Must Balance Our Food Farming ImpactsThe UK could reduce its emissions by converting farmland to absorb more carbon dioxide − but risks increasing climate change effects abroad.

How You Can Play A Part In Tackling Climate Change

How You Can Play A Part In Tackling Climate ChangeThere’s a curious paradox at the heart of climate change. Despite scientists asserting the need for urgent action and the widespread acceptance of the reality of climate change by people worldwide, it is a subject that we tend not to talk about with friends, family or colleagues.

China Gets Serious As It Clamps Down On Coal

China Gets Serious As It Clamps Down On CoalA slowing economy and falling energy demand, plus concerns over air pollution, spur Beijing to halt new coal mines and close hundreds of existing operations.

Markets Alone Can Not Solve The Climate Crisis

Markets Alone Cannot Solve The Climate CrisisHow did we get to where we are now? “Free range” capitalism could be the explanation for climate change, and needs taming, says one writer.

Why We Need To Get Serious About Negative Emissions Technology

Why We Need To Get Serious About Negative Emissions TechnologyThe Paris agreement was a diplomatic triumph. The nations of the world spoke with one voice of their desire to limit the damage of climate change. But there is a distinct disconnect between the ambition and the action required to achieve that goal.

What Are Climate Tipping Points And How They Could Suddenly Change Our Planet

What Are Climate Tipping Points And How They Could Suddenly Change Our PlanetAs recently as 6,000 years ago the Sahara was green and fertile. We’ve found evidence of large rivers crossing the region, lined by flourishing settlements. Then suddenly things changed. Trees died and the land dried up. Soil blew away or turned into sand and those rivers were no more. In just a few centuries, the Sahara was transformed from a region similar to modern South Africa into the desert we know today.

This Is What Will Happen To The Climate In The Next 100 Years

This Is What Will Happen To The Climate In The Next 100 YearsAt the Paris climate summit, delegates have struck an agreement that calls for the world to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃”.

How Do Scientists Know Climate Change Is Happening?

How Do Scientists Know Climate Change Is Happening?The Paris climate conference will set nations against each other, and kick off huge arguments over economic policies, green regulations and even personal lifestyle choices. But one thing isn’t up for debate: the evidence for climate change is unequivocal.

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Key To Tackling Climate Change

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Key To Tackling Climate ChangeClimate science has been instrumental in developing the ambitious carbon emission reduction targets negotiated at the recent climate talks in Paris. At the same time, the kinds of actions needed to avert the worst effects of climate change demand new ways of engaging that go far beyond science and formal diplomacy.

How Setting Our Sights On Soil Could Help Save The Climate

How Setting Our Sights On Soil Could Help Save The ClimateThe world’s soils could be a key ally in the fight to limit global warming to 2℃, thanks to their ability to store carbon and keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

How A Perfect Storm Is Heading For Fossil Fuel Assets

How A Perfect Storm Is Heading For Fossil Fuel Assets

Coal, oil and gas sectors warned that trillions of dollars of assets could be stranded if a global agreement on limiting climate change is reached at the UN summit in Paris.

Why The Global Warming Pause Was A Myth All Along

Why The Global Warming Pause Was A Myth All AlongThe idea that global warming has “stopped” is a contrarian talking point that dates back to at least 2006. This framing was first created on blogs, then picked up by segments of the media – and it ultimately found entry into the scientific literature itself.

Dragon Water Could Power The Planet

Dragon Water Could Power The PlanetThe quest is on to develop new technology that can tap the intense heat deep below the Earth’s surface and supply the whole world with electricity.

Solar Power Can Cut Consumer Bills And Still Be Good For Utilities

Solar Power Can Cut Consumer Bills And Still Be Good For UtilitiesThe cost of solar energy continues to fall, so it is no surprise that more people are adopting solar. This rapid growth of rooftop solar, however, has led many electric utilities to try to apply the brakes.

We Are Entering A New Era Of Migration And Not Just For People

We Are Entering A New Era Of Migration And Not Just For PeopleThe world is watching as refugees flood into a Europe unprepared for the new arrivals. Conflict and social unrest due in part to climate stress – including induced food shortages and social conflict – have prompted migrants to search for new homes and new opportunities. To ecologists, however, this comes as no surprise.

Why The Shrinking Of Antarctic Ice Shelves Has Been Accelerating

Why The Shrinking Of Antarctic Ice Shelves Is AcceleratingAsk people what they know about Antarctica and they usually mention cold, snow and ice. In fact, there’s so much ice on Antarctica that if it all melted into the ocean, average sea level around the entire world would rise about 200 feet, roughly the height of a 20-story building.

The Oceans Are Becoming Too Hot For Coral, And Sooner Than We Expected

The Oceans Are Becoming Too Hot For Coral, And Sooner Than We ExpectedThis week, scientists registered their concern that super-warm conditions are building to a point where corals are severely threatened across the tropical Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They did so after seeing corals lose colour across the three major ocean basins – a sign of a truly momentous global change.

Southern Ocean Starts To Soak Up Carbon Again

Southern Ocean Starts To Soak Up Carbon AgainScientists report that the great oceanic “lung” is again breathing in vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – but can’t say why or whether it will last.

Why Capitalism Must Evolve To Solve The Climate Crisis

It Is Capitalism That Must Evolve To Solve The Climate CrisisThere are two extremes in the debate over capitalism’s role in our present climate change problem. On the one hand, some people see climate change as the outcome of a consumerist market system run rampant. In the end, the result will be a call to replace capitalism with a new system that will correct our present ills with regulations to curb market excesses.

Solar Power Makes Giant Strides As Prices Fall

Solar Power Makes Giant Strides As Prices FallMassive solar power stations are being built in the world’s “sun belts” − with the US and India competing to have the largest in the world.

Even If There Had Been A Global Warming Hiatus It's Over Now?

Even If There Had Been A Global Warming Hiatus It's Over Now?There are many ongoing signs that the planet is heating up, even “on fire.” In the western region of North America, the prolonged drought has led to high temperatures and many wildfires, from Canada and the Northwest earlier this summer to California more recently.

How To Make Sense Of Alarming Sea Level Forecasts

How To Make Sense Of  Alarming Sea Level ForecastsYou may have read recent reports about huge changes in sea level, inspired by new research from James Hansen, NASA’s former Chief Climate Scientist, at Columbia University. Sea level rise represents one of the most worrying aspects of global warming, potentially displacing millions of people along coasts, low river valleys, deltas and islands.

How To Cure Ourselves Of Climate Guilt

How To Cure Ourselves Of Climate GuiltPeople cannot engage in something they cannot see or feel. We need concrete reasons to care and act. In this way, climate change presents a threefold intangible challenge:

Why Flooding Along The US Coastline Has Worsened

Why Flooding Along The US Coastline Has WorsenedFlooding is a well-known natural hazard along the US coastline. Nearly 40% of the US population resides in its coastal counties.

How A Warming World Could Spread Disease

How A Warming World Could Spread Disease

As the world warms, animals and plants will shift their ranges to keep pace with their favoured climate. While the changing distributions of species can tell us how climate change is affecting the natural world, it may also have a direct impact on us.

Just How Big A Risk Is Our Changing Climate?

Just How Big A Risk Is Our Changing Climate?An international scientific report commissioned by the UK government says the risks of climate change are comparable to those posed by nuclear conflict.

Here's Why We Are Not Heading Into A Mini Ice Age

Here's Why We Are Not Heading Into A Mini Ice AgeWouldn’t it be great if scientists could make their minds up? One minute they’re telling us our planet is warming up due to human activity and we run the risk of potentially devastating environmental change.

Why Declining Winter Sea Ice Near Greenland Spells Cooler Climate For Europe

Why Declining Winter Sea Ice Near Greenland Spells Cooler Climate For EuropeOne of the most dramatic features of recent climate change is the decline of summer Arctic sea ice. The impacts of this summer ice loss on northern society, on Arctic ecosystems, and the climate both locally and further afield, are already being felt.

World Leaders Call For Fossil Fuel Phase-Out, But It Needs To Happen Sooner

World Leaders Are Right To Call For Fossil Fuel Phase-out, But It Needs To Happen SoonerThe G7 nations, at the week’s summit in Germany, have called for “a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century”. Of course, this group of nations is among those most heavily in favor of strong climate action, but the opportunities for climate-friendly growth are everywhere.

Do Infrasound and Low-Frequency Noise on Wind Farms Cause Health Problems?

The Science On Wind Farms, Noise, Infrasound And HealthThe article in The Australian by Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonjhelm highlighted some very good points about wind turbine noise and its effect on people living near them. People are complaining of a range of health related problems and are attributing them to wind turbines. The question is: what is the cause of these health problems?

As US Procrastinates China’s Energy Revolution Leads The World

As US Procrastinates China’s Energy Revolution Leads The WorldNew report says a successful outcome at this year’s Paris climate talks will be far more likely if the world takes note of how China is reducing emissions. The pace of change in China’s energy policy means that the targets it has set for cutting  greenhouse gases (GHGs) are likely to be achieved sooner than expected, according to a new study.

Apollo Initiative Asks For The Moon In Switch To Renewables

Apollo Initiative Asks For The Moon In Switch To RenewablesEminent group urges governments to make the massive research investment that would enable the world to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2025. The vision is simple, the cost would be eye-watering, and the result could stop the growing threat from burning fossil fuels in its tracks.

Global Warming Hiatus Appears To Be A Myth

Global Warming Hiatus Appears To Be A MythNational and international studies have shown that the Earth is warming, and with this warming, other changes are occurring, such as an increasing incidence of heat waves, heavy downpours and rising sea levels.

Understanding The Models That Help Us Predict Climate Change

Understanding The Models That Help Us Predict Climate ChangeWhat will the weather be like next week, next season, or by the end of the century? In the absence of a second Earth to use in an experiment, global weather and climate model simulations are the only tools we have to answer these questions.

A Matter Of Degrees: Why 2C Warming Is Officially Unsafe

A Matter Of Degrees: Why 2C Warming Is Officially UnsafeThe goal of international climate negotiations is “to avoid dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases”. In 2010, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change formally recognised the “long term goal” of the convention was to hold the increase in global average warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels.

This Once Stable Antarctic Region Has Suddenly Started Melting

This Once Stable Antarctic Region Has Suddenly Started MeltingAntarctica’s glaciers have been making headlines during the past year, and not in a good way. Whether it’s a massive ice shelf facing imminent risk of collapse, glaciers in the West Antarctic past the point of no return, or new threats to East Antarctic ice, it’s all been rather gloomy.

Pakistan Turns The Desert Into A Sea Of Solar Panels

Pakistan Turns The Desert Into A Sea Of Solar PanelsEconomic links with China help Pakistan tap into enormous solar energy potential that can provide clean power to boost production and reduce poverty. One of the world’s largest solar plants has been opened in Pakistan with the aim of supplying clean, reliable energy and helping alleviate the country’s chronic power shortages.

You May Be Traveling Less And That's A Good Thing

You May Be Traveling Less And That's A Good ThingIn 1900, humans travelled a total of just 0.2 trillion km by vehicle, nearly all by train. By 1950, people travelled a total of 3.3 trillion km, and by 2010, the annual total was over 40 trillion km – or over 133,000 round trips to the sun. That’s an average of nearly 6,000 km per person each year. About half of all travel was by car, and 12% was by air.

How Climate Change Is Making California's Epic Drought Worse

How Climate Change Is Making California's Epic Drought WorseCalifornia is undergoing a record-setting drought that began in 2012, the worst in at least 1,200 years. It can be seen in many ways: most of the freshwater reservoirs are drying up, crops are wilting in the fields and groundwater is rapidly depleting.

Climate Change Is Hitting African Farmers The Hardest Of All

Climate Change Is Hitting African Farmers The Hardest Of AllClimate change is affecting all regions of the globe. But some places, such as Africa, are more vulnerable to climate change’s devastating effects than others. This is particularly true because of the continent’s very high dependency on agriculture.

What Is That Warm Blob In The Pacific Ocean?

What Is The Warm Blob In The Pacific Ocean?People living across the US have lived through some odd weather in the past year. It’s been unusually warm and dry in the western US, while the East had a very cold and snowy winter. Meanwhile, scientists have been seeing Pacific marine species in places they’re not normally found and a huge spike in hungry, stranded sea lion pups on California shores.

Sao Paulo, Brazil's Water Crisis Shows The Failure Of Public-private Partnerships

Sao Paulo, Brazil's Water Crisis Shows The Failure Of Public-private PartnershipsSão Paulo’s ongoing water crisis has left many of the city’s 20m or more residents without tap water for days on end. Brazil’s largest metropolis is into its third month of water rationing, and some citizens have even taken to drilling through their basements to reach groundwater.

The Smart Money Is Embracing Renewable Energy

The Smart Money Is Embracing Renewable EnergyClimate-friendly boost for global energy mix as scientists say solar power alone could now meet the needs of California five times over.

Can Saltwater Quench Our Growing Thirst?

Can Saltwater Quench Our Growing Thirst?An increasingly water-stressed world takes a new look at desalination. It seems simple enough: Take the salt out of water so it’s drinkable. But it’s far more complex than it appears at first glance. It’s also increasingly crucial in a world where freshwater resources are progressively strained by population growth, development, droughts, climate change and more.

Finally, Scientists Zero In On The Solution To The Climate Crisis

Finally, Scientists Zero In On The Only Solution To The Climate CrisisIf you want to know what we have to do to avoid catastrophic climate change, 17 of the world’s leading climate scientists have worked out a simple but challenging solution: the world, they say, must turn by mid-century into a zero-carbon society.

Can We Still Avoid The Major Climate Tipping Points?

Can We Still Avoid The Major Climate Tipping Points?The researchers say their act-now, save-future-costs model not only demonstrates the dangers of underestimating the cost of future climate change, but is the first one to emerge from a purely market-based approach. The considerations do not have to be based on moral judgements about sustainability and the wellbeing of future generations.

How One California Farmer Is Dealing with The Worst Drought In 1,200 Years

How One California Farmer Is Dealing with The Worst Drought In 1,200 YearsCalifornia’s byzantine water system and crushing drought are leading farmers to extraordinary measures as they try to keep themselves from running dry. On a warm March afternoon, farmer Cannon Michael walks alongside wheat fields adjacent to his house in Los Banos, in California’s Central Valley. Most of these fields won’t be watered again this year.

Heat-Tolerant Beans Could Help Keep Millions Fed

Heat-Tolerant Beans Could Help Keep Millions FedScientists believe they may have found how to safeguard a staple tropical crop, on which hundreds of millions of people depend, from the depredations of climate change. They have discovered − through conventional breeding rather than genetic modification − 30 new “lines” (varieties) of beans that will thrive in the higher temperatures expected later this century.

30 Years of Above Average Temperatures: The Climate Has Changed

30 Years of Above Average Temperatures Means The Climate Has ChangedIf you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface.

Local Renewable Energy Companies Can Help You Save Money

energy meter New technologies are about to disrupt the traditional energy market in a big way. What if you could sit at home and use your smartphone to buy energy directly from the wind farm down the road or the solar panels on the local school roof? After all, you can already control your heating from your phone and set your washing machine going from your tablet...

Can The Florida Coastal Economy Adapt To The Rising Seas?

Can The Florida Coastal Economy Adapt To The Rising Seas?Florida is a coastal state. Nearly 80% of its 20 million residents live near the coast on land just a few feet above sea level, and over a hundred million tourists visit the beaches and stay in beach-front hotels every year.

An Iceberg The Size of a Country Breaks Away, What Happens Next?

iceberg patagoniaYou never forget the first time you see an iceberg. But, in truth, the first iceberg you see is likely to be small. Most icebergs that make it far enough north from Antarctica to where they are danger to shipping are sometimes many years old and at the end of their lives. They are small fragments of what once left the continent.

Water Power for People and Cars: An Outside-the-Box Breakthrough

Water Power for People and CarsThe urge to solve humankind’s energy-generating problems is felt by innovators around the planet. Before the Internet and its open sourcing of knowledge, lone inventors tried to single-handedly save us from our dependence on dirty fuels. And long before hippies saw the dawning of an Age of Aquarius, a few individuals discovered that water is a key to independence.

States That Produce Renewable Energy Have Cheap Electricity

States That Produce Renewable Energy Have Cheap ElectricityTexas is known for cheap and plentiful energy resources, but they’re usually of the dirty, fossil fuel–based variety. That reputation is changing. Texans can now buy renewable energy packages that are as cheap as or cheaper than the coal- or natural gas–based alternatives.

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