When it comes to energy, we live in transformative times. From shale oil helping to upend global markets, to explosive growth in rooftop solar, the changes we’re seeing in the energy industry have not only been rapid, but often unexpected.
Not every part of the energy industry has fared well during these tumultuous years. In particular, coal has struggled, amid mounting concerns about its contributions to greenhouse gas pollution and increased regulatory initiatives by the Obama administration. It doesn’t help that electricity demand has flattened, and activists have worked to retire a large number of coal plants.Full Story
On April 3, 1980, Cronkite tossed to a news piece from CBS veteran Nelson Benton. Thirty-five years ago, for two and half minutes – an eternity even then by TV news standards and a near-impossibility today – a broadcast anchored by The Most Trusted Man in America tried to warn us about climate change.
Actually, "climate change" wasn’t mentioned in Benton's piece, but CO2, "global warming" and the "Greenhouse Effect" were. "Scientists," intoned Benton, "and a few politicians are beginning to worry."Full Story
Frozen Arctic and sub-Arctic soil that thaws from global warming will add substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, accelerating climate change the rest of the century, but it won't come in a sudden burst, researchers say in a new paper.
A review by government and academic experts concludes that harmful carbon dioxide and methane generated by microbes digesting thawed plant and animal material will instead enter the atmosphere gradually. But it's a carbon source that shouldn't be ignored, said Dave McGuire, a senior researcher at the U.S. Geological Survey and a professor of ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.Full Story
Major economies would boost their prosperity, employment levels and health prospects if they took actions that limited global warming to 2C, according to the first analysis of emissions pledges made before the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.
Europe has promised a 40% emissions cut by 2030, compared to 1990 levels – and the report says this will bring real benefits, including 70,000 full-time jobs, the prevention of around 6,000 pollution-related deaths, and a €33bn cut in fossil fuel imports.Full Story
President Obama is scheduled to announce new initiatives to help bolster the country’s solar workforce on Friday, including a goal to add 75,000 solar workers by 2020, and a new program aimed at providing solar training to veterans.
The goal to add to the nation’s solar workforce adds to the President’s last commitment to solar training, which promised 50,000 solar workers by 2020. According to a statement released by the White House, the solar industry is adding jobs “10 times faster” than the rest of the economy, and prices for solar installations are falling, having declined 12 percent in the past year alone.Full Story
“There will be roughly 1 billion more people living in cities by 2030,” said Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri at the C40 Latin American Mayors Forum in the Argentinian capital last week. “Which is equivalent to creating a Buenos Aires-sized city every three weeks for the next 15 years.” The big question, as Macri and other mayors agreed at the forum, is: how do cities accommodate this high population expansion in a sustainable way?
We often hear the looming figure that 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050 – yet that’s a milestone Latin America has already reached. It is the most urbanised region in the world. Do its cities champion ideas that are up to the task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate change resilience? Judge for yourself.Full Story
India's prime minister said Wednesday he would boost compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed by recent heavy rains, amid growing criticism of the government's rural policies.
Narendra Modi was elected less than a year ago with a huge majority, but there has been strong rural opposition to his government's controversial land acquisition bill.Full Story
Taiwan launched water rationing in some major cities on Wednesday as the island battled its worst drought in over a decade, following the lowest rainfall in nearly 70 years.
The state water company cut supplies to around 800,000 households and businesses in Taoyuan city as well as parts of Hsinchu county and New Taipei City in northern Taiwan for two days a week for an indefinite period.Full Story
A planet that is warming at extraordinary speed may require extraordinary new food crops. The latest great agricultural hope is beans that can thrive in temperatures that cripple most conventional beans. They're now growing in test plots of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, in Colombia.
Many of these "heat-beater" beans resulted from a unique marriage, 20 years ago, of tradition and technology. The matchmaker was a Colombian scientist named Alvaro Mejia-Jimenez. But for almost two decades, his innovation sat on the shelf, unused.Full Story
Ben Kravitz has studied geoengineering for the past seven years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon, despite ongoing controversy around the issue. That’s because even if geoengineering never happens in the real world, the concept alone is already playing an important role in the climate change story.
“[Theoretical geoengineering] has allowed us to ask questions about how the climate system works that we didn’t even know we wanted to ask,” says Kravitz, a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “It’s actually in some ways changed the way I think about problems in climate science.”Full Story