"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.
As four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant suffered catastrophic cooling failures and exploded in March 2011, the world watched in disbelief. For Japan, this was not just the
California 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
World trade regulations have been invoked by the US to challenge India’s ambitious programme to expand massively its renewable energy capacity and provide local jobs.
Much 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.
Nuclear 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.
It 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.
Scientists say that forecasts of a world food shortage need not prove as disastrous as previously thought if humans learn to use water more effectively.
Attempts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it safely are all potentially costly gambles with the current technology, scientists say.
Pension funds, insurance companies and other investors who manage trillions of dollars have an enormous opportunity to change the future by investing in clean energy.
Global sea level rose faster in the 20th century than in any of the 27 previous centuries, a new analysis shows.
Physics 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.
It’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
Antarctica 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.
One of the big problems with the world’s heavy carbon emissions is that they are driving up the levels of carbon dioxide in our oceans, which is making them more acidic.
We don’t have to know exactly how high the sea might rise to start doing something about it.Climate scientists have recently been outraged by job losses within CSIRO. Sixty climate jobs are likely to be lost.
As 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...
Science can now make energy by building immense wind turbine blades and filtering carbon from the air, but the challenge is commercial viability.
By 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
When 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.
The 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.
Despite robust global economic growth over the past two years, worldwide carbon emissions from fossil fuels grew very little in 2014, and might even fall this year.
It’s official: 2015 was the warmest year on record. But those global temperature records only date back to 1850 and become increasingly uncertain the further back you go
There 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.
The UK could reduce its emissions by converting farmland to absorb more carbon dioxide − but risks increasing climate change effects abroad.
There’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.
A slowing economy and falling energy demand, plus concerns over air pollution, spur Beijing to halt new coal mines and close hundreds of existing operations.
How did we get to where we are now? “Free range” capitalism could be the explanation for climate change, and needs taming, says one writer.
The 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.
Southern Africa has been experiencing high temperatures in recent months. In October, Zimbabwe experienced a heatwave with temperatures in Kariba reaching 45°C.
Despite what the doubters say, a low-carbon economy is not only possible, it makes economic sense.
As 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.
The UN climate talks in Paris have ended with an agreement between 195 countries to tackle global warming. The climate deal is at once both historic, important – and inadequate. From whether it is enough to avoid dangerous climate change to unexpected wins for vulnerable nations, here are five things to help understand what was just agreed at COP21.
At 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℃”.
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.
Climate 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.
Discussions at the Paris climate talks took place within incredibly narrow parameters. In fact, it would not be too great an exaggeration to say that the summit’s main purpose is to send the private sector a message about which way it should steer its future investments.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
New research warns that rising temperatures are reducing the mountain snow on which billions of people in lowland areas depend for their water supply.
Buddhist leaders are urging global leaders to cooperate with compassion and wisdom and reach an ambitious and effective climate agreement at the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.
The 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.
If political leaders around the world are serious about gender equality, they must also get serious about climate change.
The 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.
French wine lovers have always taken their soil very seriously. But now the country’s government has introduced fresh reasons for the rest of the world to pay attention to their terroir.
The 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.
Ask 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.
This 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.
If we can convince people that climate change is real and important, then surely they will act: this intuitive idea underlies many efforts to communicate climate change to the public.
Scientists 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.
There 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.
Ethiopia and Morocco praised for pledges on reducing greenhouse gases that are far more ambitious than those of China and Canada.
Wide-ranging survey shows that many of North America’s bird species could be left with nowhere to go as climate change drastically affects their habitats.
As humans become an urban species researchers find evidence that cities with more green space are best for human wellbeing.
Massive 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.
Democrats (myself included) enjoy ridiculing Republicans who deny the scientific consensus behind climate change. But we then deny the inconvenient truth behind our own preferred climate policies: they will have regressive impacts on the poor and middle class.
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.
You 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.
People 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:
Flooding is a well-known natural hazard along the US coastline. Nearly 40% of the US population resides in its coastal counties.
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.
An international scientific report commissioned by the UK government says the risks of climate change are comparable to those posed by nuclear conflict.
Wouldn’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.
One 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.
The 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.
The 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?
New 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.
Eminent 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.
National 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.
The Indian Ocean can be an angry and sometimes lethal neighbour, but those who live beside it are now learning how to prepare for its next onslaught.
Trillions of dollars need to be redirected into building low-carbon economies to avoid serious climate change, the UN warns.
What 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.
The 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.
Antarctica’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.
Economic 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.
In 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.
California 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 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.
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.
São 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.
Climate-friendly boost for global energy mix as scientists say solar power alone could now meet the needs of California five times over.
The biggest extinction ever known on Earth resulted from oceans turned acid by CO2, the main gas driving human-caused climate change today.
Inside a sprawling single-story office building in Bedford, Mass., in a secret room known as the Growth Hall, the future of solar power is cooking at more than 2,500 °F.
Fish accustomed to shallow northern waters will search in vain for cooler depths as climate change warms the seas where they thrive.
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.
If 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.
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.
California’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.
Scientists 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.
If 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.
Senior Chinese official warns that climate-related temperature rises could seriously affect the country’s harvests and major infrastructure projects.
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...
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.
You 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.
The 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.
Texas 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.