Climate Change & Environment
Latest stories
Tens of Millions of California Trees Threatened by Drought

As many as 58 million large trees in California are threatened by record drought afflicting the state since 2011, says a study published Monday.

Even if the weather phenomenon called El Nino produces more precipitation, California's forests could suffer irreversible change, the report said.

W140 Full Story
Germany Gives Green Light to Bicycle Highways

It's every cyclist's dream: no red lights, no trucks, just a clear, smooth lane to zoom down with the wind in your face. Welcome to Germany's first bicycle Autobahn.

Fans hail the smooth new velo routes as the answer to urban traffic jams and air pollution, and a way to safely get nine-to-fivers outdoors.

W140 Full Story
Swedish Courts Temporarily Ban Wolf Hunting

Swedish courts on Monday ordered a temporary ban on wolf hunting in parts of the country, favoring animal rights activists in one of Sweden's most hotly disputed environmental issues.

The administrative court decisions in the western city of Karlstad, and in Falun, in central Sweden, were a victory for environmental groups including the Swedish World Wildlife Federation, which has been fighting a decision to authorize the culling of 46 wolves. 

W140 Full Story
Russia 'Warming 2.5 Times Quicker' than Global Average

Russia is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, the environment ministry said Friday, sounding an alarm on the rise in floods and wildfires nationwide.

A government report on environmental protection  said temperatures in Russia had warmed by 0.42 degrees Celsius per decade since 1976, or 2.5 times higher than the global warming trend of 0.17 degrees.

W140 Full Story
Toxic Smog Brings Nightmare 'White Christmas' to Beijing

Beijing residents woke up to a white Christmas Friday morning but with the sky obscured by thick toxic smog rather than snow after more than 100 million people across China had been warned to stay indoors.

The capital and surrounding parts of northern China are regularly blanketed in deadly pollution associated with heavy industry and an increase in coal consumption during the winter months.

W140 Full Story
Three-Quarters of the UK's Butterfly Species have Declined in the Last 40 Years

More than three-quarters of the UK's native and migrant butterfly species have declined in the last 40 years - and climate change could be the culprit.

The alarming figures were released in a study jointly written by the Butterfly Conservation charity and the Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in Oxfordshire.

W140 Full Story
To Achieve Paris Climate Goals, U.S. Will Need New Laws

The climate agreement reached in Paris last weekend has been hailed as a landmark in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it could well turn out to be one.

But the accord’s lofty goals won’t be achieved without large corporations making big changes. And while many companies have welcomed the deal and voluntarily pledged to cut emissions, the sweeping reforms required to avert a sharp rise in global temperatures will almost certainly require substantial new government regulations.

W140 Full Story
Paris Pact on Climate Change: What’s Fear Got to Do With it?

“Fear is not a good adviser,” says German leader Angela Merkel. She offered that advice recently about a fear in Europe of Muslim migrants. But she might as well have been talking about global warming. Take the climate-change accord reached Dec. 12 by every nation on Earth. It certainly was driven by heightened concerns about potential threats from a rise in global temperatures. But after 23 years of trying to achieve a pact for universal action, negotiators finally found a way to an agreement beyond fearmongering.

The 31-page document, hammered out over 13 days near Paris, relied not on a kind of coercion or shunning based on paranoia. Rather the talks began with an invitation for each representative to volunteer a plan for reducing greenhouse gas in their own country. The need was made clear: to hold warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). More than 180 countries responded to an expectation that progress was possible. Some set targets for 10 years, others 15 years.

W140 Full Story
Ecological Economics

COWBOY or spaceman? A dilemma for a children’s party, perhaps. But also a question for economists, argued Kenneth Boulding, a British economist, in an essay published in 1966. We have run our economies, he warned, like cowboys on the open prairie: taking and using the world’s resources, confident that more lies over the horizon. But the Earth is less a prairie than a spaceship—a closed system, alone in space, carrying finite supplies. We need, said Boulding, an economics that takes seriously the idea of environmental limits. In the half century since his essay, a new movement has responded to his challenge. "Ecological economists", as they call themselves, do not want to fiddle at the margins of economics, but to revolutionize its aims and assumptions. What do they say—and will their ideas achieve lift-off?

To its practitioners, ecological economics is neither ecology nor economics, but a fusion of both. Their starting point is to recognize that the human economy is part of the natural world. Our environment, they note, is both a source of resources and a sink for wastes. But it is ignored in conventional textbooks, where neat diagrams trace the flows between firms, households and the government as though nature did not exist. That is a mistake, say ecological economists. The "natural capital" of the Earth provides important services, from water supply to pollination: in a landmark paper from 1997, researchers valued the annual supply of such "ecosystem services" at $33 trillion, or 1.8 times global GDP at the time.

W140 Full Story
Requests to See Disappearing Mendenhall Glacier Up-close are Soaring

The U.S. Forest Service has awarded permits for thousands of guided tours at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor center, but had requests for three times as many trips as were available.

Visitors to the increasingly popular Mendenhall Glacier can watch climate change in action as icebergs calve from the face of the glacier and dot Mendenhall Lake.

W140 Full Story