Climate Change & Environment
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After 6 Years of Working on Climate at Harvard, I Implore It to Show the Courage to Divest

By Benjamin Franta

One morning in the summer of 2014, I found myself in the city of Tacloban in the Philippines. The city and surrounding area had been devastated less than a year earlier by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Thousands had been killed; bodies were found for months afterwards.

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Wildfires Engulfing West Coast are Fuelled by Climate Change, Experts Warn

Scorching wildfires that are raging throughout the American south-west are being fueled by climate change and require new strategies from states to prevent ever-greater destruction of people’s lives and property, a group of experts have warned.

High temperatures, drought and wind have combined to create a number of fires that have caused at least two deaths in California. The first large wildfire of the summer has this week broken out in northern California, burning through more than 1,200 acres and threatening thousands of homes in an area around 50 miles north-east of Sacramento.

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Solar Plane Lands in Egypt in Penultimate Stop of World Tour

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Cairo on Wednesday for its penultimate stop as the solar-powered plane nears the end of its marathon tour around the world.

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Why a Half-Degree Temperature Rise is a Big Deal

The Paris Agreement, which delegates from 196 countries hammered out in December 2015, calls for holding the ongoing rise in global average temperature to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels,” while “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” How much difference could that half-degree of wiggle room (or 0.9 degree on the Fahrenheit scale) possibly make in the real world? Quite a bit, it appears.

The European Geosciences Union published a study in April 2016 that examined the impact of a 1.5 degree Celsius vs. a 2.0 C temperature increase by the end of the century, given what we know so far about how climate works. It found that the jump from 1.5 to 2 degrees—a third more of an increase—raises the impact by about that same fraction, very roughly, on most of the phenomena the study covered. Heat waves would last around a third longer, rain storms would be about a third more intense, the increase in sea level would be approximately that much higher and the percentage of tropical coral reefs at risk of severe degradation would be roughly that much greater.

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Thanks to CO2 Emissions, Sea Smell is Changing

What if the way things smell started to change? What if food inexplicably lost its aroma and your house no longer had its familiar homely scent? It would certainly be off-putting, but you’d probably manage. However, many animals depend on their sense of smell much more than we do, so they would probably be affected much more acutely by a change in this key sense.

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Economy Needs to be Integrated into Environment, Not Other Way Around

BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy is a standard industry reference document. It’s a useful indicator of trends, if occasionally the victim of politics.

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Revealed: First Mammal Species Wiped Out by Human-Induced Climate Change

Human-caused climate change appears to have driven the Great Barrier Reef’s only endemic mammal species into the history books, with the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that lives on a tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait, being completely wiped-out from its only known location.

It is also the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.

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Oregon Could Widen Carbon Trading across North America

Oregon regulators are studying how to design an economywide carbon cap-and-trade system that would be able to link with other similar programs in neighboring states and provinces.

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'Perfect Storm' of Humans and Climate Change Doomed Ice Age Giants

The saber-toothed cat, large ground sloth and other ice age giants of South America didn't go extinct solely because of climate change or prehistoric human activity, but because of a perfect storm of the two that hit the giant beasts at the same time, a new study finds.

For years, researchers have debated what felled many of the megafauna — animals that weigh more than 100 lbs. (45 kilograms) — shortly after the end of the last ice age. Some scientists blamed humans, who had newly colonized the Americas, while others pointed to the warming climate that followed the last ice age.

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Our New Alliance Unites 600m City Dwellers in Fight against Climate Change

When it comes to confronting climate change, the world’s cities are proving that there’s strength in unity. The historic climate agreement reached in Paris in December, which was approved by nearly all of the world’s nations, was made possible in part by the progress that cities have made by working together.

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