Category: Climate Change

New wave of smart cities has arrived – and they’re nothing like science fiction

An abandoned mine shaft beneath the town of Mansfield, England is an unlikely place to shape the future of cities. But here, researchers from the nearby University of Nottingham are planning to launch a “deep farm” that could produce ten...

/ July 19, 2019

Using language to make the world of fossil fuels strange and ugly

They weren’t getting it. I had a room full of bright first-year university students in front of me, but confusion reigned as I tried to describe how embedded fossil fuels are in every aspect of society. “OK, let’s try this....

/ July 18, 2019

Adapting cities to a hotter world: 3 essential reads

Heat waves can be deadly, especially when they combine high temperatures with elevated humidity levels that make the air feel even hotter. The impacts can be especially strong in cities, which often are several degrees warmer than nearby rural areas...

/ July 18, 2019

Heat stroke: A doctor offers tips to stay safe as temperatures soar

I easily remember laughing at Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I can still see the Coyote walking slowly through the sweltering desert, sun high in the sky, sweating,...

/ July 18, 2019

South Africa’s carbon tax matters — for the economy and tackling climate change

Carbon tax is likely to be an effective way of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to climate change and have negative consequences for human life. But the carbon tax that’s been introduced in South Africa could cost jobs, unless...

/ July 18, 2019

Betting on speculative geoengineering may risk an escalating ‘climate debt crisis’

The opening of the Oscar-winning film The Big Short, a comedy-drama on the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, begins with a famous quote: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure...

/ July 18, 2019

Forest elephants are our allies in the fight against climate change, finds research

Forest elephant extinction would exacerbate climate change. That’s according to a new study in Nature Geoscience which links feeding by elephants with an increase in the amount of carbon that forests are able to store. The bad news is that...

/ July 16, 2019

As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

New Orleans averted disaster this month when tropical storm Barry delivered less rain in the Crescent City than forecasters originally feared. But Barry’s slog through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri is just the latest event in a year that has...

/ July 16, 2019

The counter-intuitive solution to getting people to care about climate change

In a May episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Bill Nye the Science Guy took a blowtorch to a miniature globe. It was an effort to startle Americans out of their complacency over climate change. Whether on late-night...

/ July 15, 2019

Vast subsidies keeping the fossil fuel industry afloat should be put to better use

Capitalism has often been identified as the underlying cause of the climate crisis. A leading voice on the subject is Naomi Klein, one of the climate movements most influential thinkers, whose seminal book on climate change was subtitled Capitalism vs....

/ July 15, 2019

Which body organs are most at risk during a heat wave?

In June 2019, much of Europe was struck by early heatwave, with temperatures reaching nearly 46 Centigrade (115 Fahrenheit) in France, an all-time record. A heat wave is characterised by extremely high temperatures over the course of several days and nights. They have...

/ July 14, 2019

China can learn from Australian urban design, but it’s not all one-way traffic

By 2017, 58% of Chinese people were living in cities. This is much less than the 79% for Western Europe and 86% for Australia, but China is undergoing very rapid urbanisation, as the chart below shows. It is expected 70%...

/ July 14, 2019

Exaggerating how much CO2 can be absorbed by tree planting risks deterring crucial climate action

Planting almost a billion hectares of trees worldwide is the “biggest and cheapest tool” for tackling climate change, according to a new study. The researchers claimed that reforestation could remove 205 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere –...

/ July 12, 2019

Cuban compassion: Training doctors for a Pacific island nation running out of time

Kiribati. You may not know where it is. Pronouncing it is tricky (Ker-a-bas). It’s a small republic of 114,000 people spread out over 32 atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, near the international date line and right on...

/ July 11, 2019

Arctic ice loss is worrying, but the giant stirring in the South could be even worse

A record start to summer ice melt in Greenland this year has drawn attention to the northern ice sheet. We will have to wait to see if 2019 continues to break ice-melt records, but in the rapidly warming Arctic the...

/ July 11, 2019

How heat waves increase your craving for sodas: findings from Mexico

Unseasonably hot weather hit Europe this June, giving residents and visitors a taste of what could possibly become common in the near future. With ongoing climate change, temperatures are predicted to rise by 0.3-0.7°C by 2035, according to the IPCC....

/ July 11, 2019

London to be as hot as Barcelona by 2050? I research urban heat, and I’m sceptical

Barcelona just had a week of temperatures above 30℃. It’s a few degrees hotter than the long-term average, but no heatwave. In winter, Spain’s second largest city is typically a mild 15℃ or so. With its climate regulated by warm...

/ July 11, 2019

Plastic poses a major environmental threat: but is it being over-stated?

There is no doubt that plastic affects the environment badly. But a trend has developed in the reporting on the impact of plastics that’s not only selective but also borders on panic mongering rather than impartial analysis of existing studies....

/ July 11, 2019

The stark truth about UK government climate action: there is no one in charge

The UK’s climate change targets are world-leading. Yet there is no clear plan in place to achieve them. That is the stark message of a new progress report from the government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change. The Committee...

/ July 11, 2019

Climate change: having the right combination of tree ‘personalities’ could make forests more resilient

Thitima khudkam/ShutterstockEvery tree in a forest has a neighbour. In many forest neighbourhoods, the same species are often found living together, especially when the growing conditions are similar. Sometimes these neighbours are close and sometimes far apart, but collectively they...

/ July 10, 2019