We have heard the term “clean coal” for years, mostly from politicians and in coal company advertising. The concept sounds good: burn coal but don’t produce carbon dioxide emissions. While there have been various small-scale tests of technologies to accomplish this, it has not actually been a viable option for the power industry.
Last year was not the hottest year on record in the United States; it was only the second hottest. 2012 was the hottest because of some searing heat waves that summer. However, 2016 marked 20 above-average temperature years in a row. The five hottest years recorded have all happened since 1998. Every state had a temperature ranking at least in the top seven and both Georgia and Alaska had their hottest years ever. While it was only the second hottest year on record in the U.S., last year was the hottest year for the entire world.
Unprecedented things have been happening with the weather up in the Arctic in recent times. In fact, during the past year, the climate in the Arctic has at times bordered on the absurd.
A year ago, nearly 200 countries signed an agreement, known as the Paris Accord, to fight climate change by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. They each promised to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible, and to do their best to keep global warming well below 2-degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
2016 was the hottest year on record and saw many extreme weather events. How much of what happened resulted from climate change has yet to be assessed. However, the analysis of 2015 – which was the hottest year on record up until last year – has been presented in a special publication by the American Meteorological Society.
Multiple studies are now reporting that wind and solar power are the cheapest way to make electricity in a growing number of places around the world. A thorough analysis of the levelized cost of energy – which considers every cost component from capital expenditures to operating and maintenance costs over a lifetime – shows that solar and wind power are winning the day.
Climate change is posing a major threat to polar bear survival. The polar bear, whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, depends on sea ice for nearly all of its life cycle functions. And rising temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
Because of its Arctic location, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States. The past year has been the warmest on record. The forces of erosion and increasingly powerful storms have resulted in the imminent risk of destruction for at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities. Many are predicted to become uninhabitable over the next few decades. Residents of these places are likely to join the growing flow of climate refugees around the globe.
As the oceans warm, many kinds of fish are on the move, seeking cooler and deeper water. Because of this, the fishing industry is struggling with antiquated regulations that are not moving as fast as the climate is changing.
We don’t experience climate; we experience weather. And a new study has found that what Americans believe about the changing climate often depends more on their personal experience than what is going on around the world.
A new study has revealed that the global population of the world’s fastest land animal – the cheetah – is down to only 7,100, a drop of 50% over the past 40 years. The dramatic decline in cheetah population could soon lead to the extinction of the species unless urgent conservation efforts are made.
The new administration has promised to revitalize the coal industry in the U.S. A major part of this plan is to eliminate various regulations that hamper that industry. But the truth is that coal has lost ground for far more important reasons than regulation.
Plants and animals have evolved over time to live in specific environmental niches. As the climate warms, parts of the ranges in which they live may no longer offer the conditions under which they can thrive. Species can respond to these changes in three ways: they can adapt to new conditions by undergoing niche shifts; they can relocate to better conditions, such as by moving to higher elevations or latitudes; or they can locally go extinct.
America’s National Parks are special places of incomparable beauty and fascination. When the National Park Service was first created 100 years ago, it was instructed to leave these places “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” We now live in a time when the changing climate is altering many aspects of the landscape including in many national parks. The parks are protected, but they are changing.
With the forthcoming administration change, it appears that the federal government is likely to start backing away from tackling climate change and may even be obstructive towards efforts to mitigate the growing problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s tallest land mammal may be in trouble. Giraffe populations have declined dramatically over the past 30 years, falling to approximately 97,000 from 163,000 in the 1980s.
Utah’s Great Salt Lake is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere and is the largest body of water in the United States after the five Great Lakes. When the pioneers first arrived in the area back in the middle of the 19th century, the lake spread across about 1,600 square miles. Now, the lake covers an area of only about 1,050 square miles, a reduction of about 35%.