Which urban areas will experience the most climate warming?

Scientists have long known that cities tend to be warmer than their surroundings—by 10° Fahrenheit (5.5° Celsius) on average in the US. The urban heat island effect, as it’s known, is produced by the abundance of heat-trapping asphalt and concrete, smog, and heat coming off buildings and vehicles. Those urban areas are home to more than […]

What natural disasters cost the global economy in 2020

Covid-19 is clearly the crisis that defined 2020, but millions of people were forced to grapple with natural disasters alongside the pandemic. A Biblical deluge of record-breaking Atlantic hurricanes, devastating wildfires, floods, and even locust storms added up to one of the world’s most damaging and expensive years of natural disasters in the last half-century. […]

2020 was the year clean energy started to beat Big Oil

For the last century, the biggest, most powerful companies in the global energy market have been oil and gas producers. Slowly, though, the global race to avert climate change has been upsetting that hierarchy. And in 2020, aided by the devastating blow dealt to oil demand by the pandemic, a cohort of clean energy companies […]

How to shop without destroying the climate

A couple of years ago, Tim De Chant wanted a deep freezer, so he could more easily manage grocery shopping and meal prep for a growing family. As a science journalist and lecturer at MIT, he was conscious of how much energy freezers suck when they’re running around the clock, and wanted to minimize its […]

Companies with serious climate goals are beating the market

The Paris agreement, the first plan to fight climate change with buy-in from nearly every nation on Earth, was finalized five years ago on Saturday. Broadly, the agreement aims to keep global warming “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels (we’re at about 1.1°C today) by 2100, with a moonshot goal of 1.5°C. So far, global […]

How school lunch menus can help fight climate change

Outside of Michelin-starred restaurants, few menus are as hotly debated as public school lunches. In the US, school lunches have to adhere to nutrition standards mandated by Congress. These were updated in 2010 for the first time since the 1940s, and again in 2015—each time under intense pressure from agriculture industry groups that pushed for […]

Jeff Bezos is now the biggest climate activism donor—and that’s a problem

On Nov. 16, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the first round of grantees from his “Earth Fund,” which has committed to ultimately channel $10 billion to climate change-related causes and groups. In this first crop, 16 organizations will receive a total of $791 million, making Bezos the world’s biggest backer of climate activism. In one […]

A brutal new climate feedback loop is brewing in the Arctic

The Northeast Passage is a sea route that squeezes between Russia and the North Pole, down past Alaska, and on to China. For most of the year, it’s socked in with treacherous ice, forcing traders who wish to move goods from northern Europe to Asia to pass through the Suez Canal and around India, adding […]

How Biden can fix America’s climate credibility

Joe Biden in the White House will represent a 180-degree pivot on climate change from his predecessor. But with control of the Senate down to a January runoff between both pairs of candidates in Georgia, it’s still too early to know how much world-saving will be on the table. A full sweep for Democrats would […]