Environment

Hopes of a breakthrough in international climate change ambitions are being downplayed for a landmark meeting in New York. The United Nations climate action summit looks set to disappoint the thousands of campaigners who will take to the city’s streets just days earlier. The summit is arguably the most important moment for climate change since
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Pacific islanders are running out of time. If global emissions are not drastically reduced, thousands of low-lying atolls may become uninhabitable within decades. And the biggest threat doesn’t actually come from losing land to rising seas. Small island states in the Pacific are responsible for only 0.03 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and
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As it looks increasingly unlikely we’re going to meet our climate mitigation targets, scientists have been investigating more and more extreme solutions, such as geoengineering. Examples include spraying huge amounts of sunlight-reflecting particles into the atmosphere, or dumping trillions of tons of fake snow onto glaciers to stabilise them. These ideas are untested, incredibly risky,
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On its surface, the plan was simple: gene-hack mosquitoes so their offspring immediately die, mix them with disease-spreading bugs in the wild, and watch the population drop off. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out. The genetically-altered mosquitoes did mix with the wild population, and for a brief period the number of mosquitoes in Jacobino, Brazil
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The Northern Hemisphere just had its hottest summer on record since 1880, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday. NOAA found the average global surface temperature taken by thousands of thermometers, buoys and other sensors on land and sea tied with that of 2016 for the top spot, with a temperature anomaly
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A small group of super-powerful corporations has become a dominant force that essentially controls human industry and shapes the modern world we live in, scientists say. In a new study, an international team of researchers suggests that this elite cadre of dominant transnational corporations (TNCs, sometimes also called multinationals) may wield an outsized influence over
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Hidden along the north-east coast of the Spanish island of Mallorca, you’ll find the spectacular Coves d’Artà: a wondrous underground cave network filled with stalagmites and stalactites galore. These natural rock formations dominate stunning cavernous spaces given foreboding names like ‘Chamber of Purgatory’ and ‘Chamber of Hell’ – but the Artà Cave holds an ancient
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Examples of how human societies are changing the planet abound – from building roads and houses, clearing forests for agriculture and digging train tunnels, to shrinking the ozone layer, driving species extinct, changing the climate and acidifying the oceans. Human impacts are everywhere. Our societies have changed Earth so much that it’s impossible to reverse
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Fires in the Amazon rainforest have captured attention worldwide in recent days. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, pledged in his campaign to reduce environmental protection and increase agricultural development in the Amazon, and he appears to have followed through on that promise. The resurgence of forest clearing in the Amazon, which
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America under President Trump might not own Greenland (yet), but decisions made by his administration will help determine the ice-covered island’s long-term fate and ours. US emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as emissions from other countries, have tipped the balance to make Greenland a major contributor to global sea-level rise. It’s no secret that
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A vibrant pinkish-coloured seaweed that grows in temperate tropical waters could end up being a huge aid in reducing greenhouse gases, if scientists in Australia have their way. Researchers are currently looking into ways to sustainably mass-produce the crimson-hued algae – called Asparagopsis taxiformis – after a study five years ago demonstrated it almost completely
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Scientists in the US have flown directly through an exceedingly rare atmospheric phenomenon known as a ‘fire cloud’ – and they captured the unique, “otherworldly” moment on camera. Researchers with NASA and the NOAA were investigating smoke produced by the Williams Flats wildfire in Washington when they seized the opportunity to fly inside the rare
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