Climate Change & Environment
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Everyone Praises Green Copenhagen. But What If Your City Has 20M people?

“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.

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India Hikes Compensation for Rain-Hit Farmers

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.

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Taiwan Launches Water Rationing to Fight Drought

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.

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Meet the Cool Beans Designed to Beat Climate Change

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.

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Why We Should Talk about Geoengineering Even if We Never Do it

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.”

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Costa Rica Uses 100% Renewable Energy for Past 75 Days. How are they Doing it?

The entire country of Costa Rica is currently running on completely renewable energy and has been for 75 days now. Relying mainly on hydropower, Costa Rica has not used any fossil fuels to generate electricity since the beginning of 2015.

The heavy rainfall over the past year has kept hydroplants busy enough to power nearly the whole country, with geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar energy making up the deficit, according to a press release from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute.

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Could Oslo's Decision to Divest from Coal Inspire Bigger Cities to Do the Same?

When Oslo sells the coal investments in its pension portfolio next month, it will set a historic precedent: the first capital city in the world to divest itself of that most polluting of fossil fuels. And the city is just the highest profile in a series of major urban areas that have made bold moves in recent weeks, ridding themselves of fossil fuel investments and becoming more carbon friendly.

Leichardt, Australia voted to completely divest from fossil fuels within three years, while Byron Bay announced the decision to commit to zero emissions. Smaller U.S. cities have already gotten on board in various ways, while last week in London, the GLA passed a motion asking the mayor to approve pulling City Hall’s pension fund out of all fossil fuel holdings. The list of cities that have divested appears set to grow ever longer.

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One Surprising Downside of Marijuana Legalization: Major Energy Use

Across the country, there’s a growing trend toward the legalization of marijuana. Four states — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska — have voted to allow people to possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use and also to let producers apply for licenses to produce and sell it. D.C. also just voted to allow personal possession. All of this is on top of the 23 states that allow it for medical reasons.

In some states, where businesses are also now legally cultivating and producing marijuana, a mainstream industry is emerging. Marijuana sales totaled $700 million in Colorado last year, for instance. But there’s a surprising catch. It turns out that indoor marijuana growth in particular — a cultivation method often favored in the industry for many reasons — uses a surprising amount of energy.

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Rising Sea Levels Threaten Sundarbans Forests

Source: DW/M.Krishnan

The 140,000-hectare Sundarbans is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world, and a sanctuary for rare Ganges and Irabati dolphins, as well as the estuarine crocodile and Indian python. The UNESCO world heritage site is also home to over 500 Bengal tigers.

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Study: Lisbon, Luxembourg Rank Europe's Worst for Pollution Fight

Lisbon and Luxembourg rank last in a test of how hard European cities are fighting air pollution, while Zurich and Copenhagen come top, an environmental group said Tuesday.

Dublin, Glasgow, Madrid and Rome also fared badly in the test of 23 mainly western European cities carried out by Friends of the Earth Germany.

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