The far-reaching Paris Agreement on tackling climate change is close to taking effect − but how just how effective it may prove is far from clear.
Just as people pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, the land also absorbs some of those emissions.
As the country pushes ahead with renewable energy goals, the challenges facing the grid are substantial, but not insurmountable, according to energy experts.
Each kilo (about 2 pounds, 3 ounces) of homegrown veggies can cut greenhouse gas emissions by two kilograms, research shows.
Earlier this summer, I found myself in the middle of a lively debate because of my work on climate change and the ethics of having children.
Energy experts say global investment patterns show a spectacular shift, with renewables on the rise and support for fossil fuels in sharp decline.
New analysis shows the cost of energy from renewables is already lower on average than from fossil fuels, and will soon be even cheaper.
The Aliso Canyon leak in California earlier this year focused public attention on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.
Six years ago, Phoenix lay burning in the sun one day. It was 110 degrees Fahrenheit and I was the only person foolish enough to be out walking instead of moving by air-conditioned car. Arriving hot and parched at a bookstore, I opened the doors to be greeted by a blast of arctic air.
Power companies that take initiative now can position themselves for a bright future in tomorrow’s clean energy economy
Analysts say cuts in emissions will need to increase sixfold if the powerful G20 nations are to meet the climate challenge on reducing greenhouse gases.
What is so refreshing about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is that they recognise the inherent tension between economic development and the ecology of our planet.
Halting tree-felling and land clearance is not enough to save tropical rainforests without programmes of forest restoration in degraded areas, scientists say.
Since the 1950s, U.S. nuclear power has commanded immense taxpayer and customer subsidy based on promises of economic and environmental benefits. Many of these promises are unfulfilled, but new ones take their place. More subsidies follow.
Electrifying transportation is one of the most promising ways to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, but so-called range anxiety – concern about being stranded with an uncharged car battery – remains a barrier to electric vehicle adoption.
In June, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric announced plans for phasing out its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, located on the central California coast.
Currently planned gas production expansion in Appalachia would make meeting U.S. climate goals impossible
Warning that humans may already have emitted enough carbon dioxide to undermine the 1.5°C temperature rise threshold agreed by 195 nations last December.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) recently started the process of shutting down the Diablo Canyon generation facility, the last active nuclear power plant in California.
Scientists believe that simple land management techniques can increase the rate at which carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in soils.
Degraded tropical forests throughout the world could be effectively restored by using a simple and inexpensive technique to speed up natural regeneration.
The problem the world faces is that many of the resources that are truly threatened are the renewable ones, not, as so often assumed, the non-renewables.
Political hurdles and low prices have made carbon pricing a low-impact affair. But there’s still hope it can help limit climate change. Earth’s atmosphere has long served as a free dump for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated by humans.
Forests take up 25 to 30 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide—a strong greenhouse gas—and therefore are considered to play a crucial role in mitigating the speed and magnitude of climate change.
Global climate change, driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, is already affecting the planet, with more heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods, and accelerating sea-level rise.
Falling costs mean that power generated by offshore wind farms is becoming increasingly competitive with other fuels – and that’s good news for the climate.Offshore
The Paris climate agreement saw countries pledge to limit global warming to well below 2℃, and to aim to keep it within 1.5℃. The problem is that countries' current emissions targets are not enough to meet these goals.
Even though Iowa is typically associated with red state politics, everyone there seems to agree that wind power makes economic sense for one of the windiest states in the country.
This week’s decision by four Australian Catholic orders to divest fully from fossil fuels can be interpreted as a direct response to the encyclical on the environment, issued by Pope Francis almost exactly a year ago.
The solar panels of about 40,000 Massachusetts households and community groups cut electricity prices for all of the approximately three million electricity ratepayers in the state, even those without the panels, also called photovoltaics (PV) systems.
We seriously need to do something about CO2 emissions. Besides shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency, we need to start putting some of the CO2 away before it reaches the atmosphere.
The daily ebb and flow of the tides promise a renewable energy bonanza for countries such as Canada and the UK that have shallow seas and a steep tidal range.
Scientists have found a way to increase the energy cows take in from feed, while reducing the vast amounts of the greenhouse gas methane they pump out of the other end.
Among climate change activists, solutions usually center on a transition to renewable energy. There may be differences over whether this would be best accomplished by a carbon tax, bigger subsidies for wind and solar power, divestment from fossil fuel companies
Global demand for energy is increasing by the hour as developing countries move toward industrialization. Experts estimate that by the year 2050, worldwide demand for electricity may reach 30 terawatts (TW). For perspective, one terawatt is roughly equal to the power of 1.3 billion horses.
One of the places machine learning is turning out to be the most beneficial is in the environmental sciences, which have generated huge amounts of information from monitoring Earth’s various systems — underground aquifers, the warming climate or animal migration, for example.
From creating transparent wood for solar panels or windows to turning carbon dioxide and plant waste into plastic bottles, scientists are finding ingenious ways to sidestep fossil fuels.
It’s not just the planet that benefits from reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that intensify global warming.
Historic change heralded as investors are told they face losing their money if they continue to back the fossil fuel industry that is causing disastrous global warming.
As obesity levels soar, cutting the vast amount of food we waste could have a major impact on reducing the effects of climate change, as well as alleviating world hunger.
New research by the European Commission suggests that energy efficiency can become a “niche” market that will attract investors away from fossil fuels.
Few product launches in recent memory have captured as much attention as last week’s unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle (EV), Tesla’s first vehicle pitched at the mass market.
Every time you flush your toilet or drain the bath, you’re losing something surprisingly valuable: heat. It takes a lot of energy to warm up the water in the first place, and vast amounts of this energy simply disappear down and is lost in the environment.
Much of the U.S. was built around the automobile, with greater distances to be covered than in places like Europe, making Americans' daily lifestyles higher in energy than elsewhere.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory this week said that rooftop solar panels have the potential to generate nearly 40 percent of electricity in the U.S. But what about the cost of going solar?
Many hundreds of planned coal-fired power plants in Asia will probably be shelved as economies slow and climate change and air pollution worsen.
High in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico, a small cooperative is “farming carbon” — practicing agriculture in a way that fights climate change while simultaneously meeting human needs.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite what the doubters say, a low-carbon economy is not only possible, it makes economic sense.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.