The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the global authority for determining species’ vulnerability in the face of threats such as habitat loss and climate change. How widely a species can be found – its geographic range – is a key indicator used by the IUCN to assign an appropriate conservation status.
The Amazon rainforest is the biggest in the world, larger than the next two biggest combined. It covers over 3 million square miles, roughly the size of the lower 48 states. For this reason, it functions as a critical sink for carbon in the atmosphere.
There are many environmental problems associated with ruminant livestock and these problems continue to grow as the demand for meat-rich diets increases around the world. One of the biggest problems is that cows emit methane through eructation (or belching) as they chew their cud. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, some 25 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. More than a quarter of all human-originated methane going into the atmosphere comes from raising livestock.
Islands around the world have a difficult time developing the infrastructure for electricity generation. Many are simply too small or too poor for conventional power plants. The most common electricity source on islands is diesel generators which are not environmentally friendly and result in some of the most expensive electricity in the world.
Installations of solar power continue to increase rapidly around the world and in no place more than China. By the end of 2016, total solar generating capacity in China reached 77.4 gigawatts, making it the largest producer of solar energy in the world. Globally, there is a total of 228 gigawatts of solar power installed, although that number keeps changing rapidly.
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.
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.
Wind turbines have been getting bigger and bigger over the years. The reason is that bigger blades produce more power and give much more bang for the buck. A big part of the plummeting price of wind power is the increasing amount of power produced by each turbine.
Sea levels are rising around the world because of melting ice as well as warming waters since water expands as its temperature goes up. Average sea levels around the world are predicted to rise by about three feet by the end of the century as a consequence of the warming climate.
Forests are a vital part of biodiversity and are one of the planet’s most important natural repositories for carbon dioxide. They are also continually under attack by multiple forces: more mouths to feed, more wood needed to burn and build with, more paper to manufacture, and more land needed to graze cattle.
Wilderness areas are strongholds for biodiversity. They buffer and regulate local climates, and they support many of the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities. While there is a great deal of attention being paid to the loss of species around the world, there is relatively little focus on the loss of entire ecosystems. Simply put, wilderness is on the decline, and it has been ever since human civilization began its inexorable expansion.