Monday, January 17News That Matters

Tag: Global Warming

We Mapped a Year of Extreme Weather

Technology, World
Temperatures in the United States last year set more heat and cold records than any other year since 1994, according to a New York Times analysis of weather station data.The Times analyzed temperature data from more than 7,800 weather stations across the United States. Records have been set somewhere in the country every year since at least 1970, but 2021 stands alone when compared with recent years.Heat waves made up most of these records. New highs were reached last year at 8.3 percent of all weather stations across the nation, more than in any year since at least 1948, when weather observations were first digitally recorded by the U.S. government.Why it matters: Extreme temperature events often demonstrate the most visible effects of climate change.Two kinds of air pollution are overlap...

Don’t Just Watch: Team Behind ‘Don’t Look Up’ Urges Climate Action

Technology, World
“Don’t Look Up” is a Hollywood rarity on several fronts. It’s a major film about climate change. It racked up a record number of hours viewed in a single week, according to Netflix. It also unleashed a flood of hot takes, along with — in what may be a first — sniping between reviewers who didn’t like the film and scientists who did.What remains to be seen is whether the film fulfills a primary aim of its director, Adam McKay, who wants it to be, in his words, “a kick in the pants” that prompts urgent action on climate change.“I’m under no illusions that one film will be the cure to the climate crisis,” Mr. McKay, whose previous films include “The Big Short” and “Vice,” wrote in an email to the Times. “But if it inspires conversation, critical thinking, and makes people less tolerant of ina...
2021 Was Earth’s Fifth-Hottest Year, Scientists Say

2021 Was Earth’s Fifth-Hottest Year, Scientists Say

Technology, World
Last year was Earth’s fifth hottest on record, European scientists announced on Monday. But the fact that the worldwide average temperature didn’t beat the record is hardly reason to stop worrying about global warming’s grip on the planet, they said.Not when both the United States and Europe had their warmest summers on the books. Not when higher temperatures around the Arctic caused it to rain for the first time at the Greenland ice sheet’s normally frigid summit.And certainly not when the seven hottest years ever recorded were, by a clear margin, the past seven.The events of 2021 “are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, take decisive and effective steps toward a sustainable society and work toward reducing net carbon emissions,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernic...

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Bounced Back Sharply in 2021

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — America’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy and industry rose 6.2 percent in 2021 as the economy began recovering from pandemic lows and the nation’s coal plants roared back to life, according to a preliminary estimate published Monday by the Rhodium Group.The rebound was not a total surprise: The nation’s emissions had plummeted more than 10 percent in 2020, the largest one-year drop on record, after the initial coronavirus outbreak triggered widespread lockdowns and energy use plunged to its lowest level in decades. As restrictions eased and economic activity picked back up, emissions were expected to bounce back.“If anything, last year’s rebound in emissions was lower than it could have been because the pandemic is still causing disruptions and the economy isn’t back to ...

The World Has Changed, So Has ‘52 Places’

Travel
This year, the second in a row, the Times Travel desk faced the challenge of creating one of our signature pieces of journalism, the annual “52 Places” list, in a world turned upside down.A year ago, with global travel at all but a standstill, we turned to readers to ask about the places that had sustained them in the darkest days of lockdown. That list included locations as varied as fantastical colored-rock formations in India and a humble brickwork church in South London. They were faraway destinations held dear in memory, or nearby spots that had offered solace, and they served as a reminder that the world was still out there, waiting.Now, with the pandemic hitting its third calendar year, global travel is more possible, but it remains difficult and fraught with uncertainty. The popula...
Finding a Story by Asking ‘Really Dumb Questions’

Finding a Story by Asking ‘Really Dumb Questions’

Technology, World
What stories are you drawn to?Stories about the forgotten, the overlooked, the underestimated.Where do you find your ideas?I start with questions — often really dumb questions — and then I ask a whole bunch of people for answers. From there, a story emerges.You have reported from around the world. Is there a reporting trip that you remember vividly?Every trip teaches you something about that place, but also about your own country and yourself. I’ve covered 10 wars, from Sri Lanka to Liberia to Syria. I’ve tried to always tell the stories of war not through warriors, but through civilians — people like me — because in those extreme conditions, you see both what brutality human beings are capable of and also what courage. I can’t help but wonder who I might have been under those circumstance...
Biden Consoles Residents in Fire-Ravaged Colorado

Biden Consoles Residents in Fire-Ravaged Colorado

Technology, World
Mr. Manchin did say this week that “there’s a lot of good things” in the climate investments in the legislation, although he added that talks with the White House on the entire package had hit a standstill. Mr. Manchin has said rising inflation is among the reasons for his reluctance to support the package.The president’s $1 trillion infrastructure package, which passed with bipartisan support, does include $47 billion to help communities prepare for extreme floods, storms, droughts and fires. But climatologists and the president himself have said the much larger package is needed to mitigate future natural disasters.“We are still in drought — it’s something our state is going to continue struggling with, so anytime we have these warm extremes with drought in our region, we are at greater ...

Here’s How Climate Change and Covid Are Transforming Skiing

Technology, World
STEVENS PASS, Wash. — Skiing is an endangered sport, caught between a warming planet and a global pandemic. But there’s a boom in one corner of the ski world that’s being driven, at least in part, by a combination of climate change and Covid.The unexpected upturn shows how skiers are adapting to the dual crises and how one winter sport is evolving as snow cover declines around the world.Ski touring, or uphill skiing, a hybrid style that combines elements of cross country and downhill, has been popular in Europe for decades. In the United States, though, it’s traditionally been a sport for mountaineers and extreme athletes, who use the special skis to trek uphill and into the backcountry in search of untouched powder.That changed when the pandemic shut down ski resorts in 2020. Sales of tou...

Virginia Democrats Aim to Block Trump’s E.P.A. Chief From State Agency

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — A rare confirmation battle is brewing around the nomination of Andrew Wheeler, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency under President Donald J. Trump, to take a similar role in an incoming Republican state administration in Virginia.Democratic leaders said they would try to block Mr. Wheeler from taking charge of conservation programs, environmental cleanups and climate change initiatives like the ones he opposed as E.P.A. administrator.Resistance to Mr. Wheeler began building just moments after his nomination to be natural resources secretary was announced on Wednesday by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who will be sworn in on Jan. 15.Republicans won control of the House of Delegates in November, but Democrats retain a 21-to-19 majority in the State Senate. T...
Mining of Lithium, Key to the Climate Fight, Faces New Scrutiny in Chile

Mining of Lithium, Key to the Climate Fight, Faces New Scrutiny in Chile

Technology
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, Chile — Plans to expand lithium mining in Chile, the world’s second largest producer, hit political roadblocks this week, raising new questions about supplies of a metal that is in high demand as the world transitions away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources.Lithium is used in batteries, including those that power electric vehicles, and demand is soaring globally. It is also at the heart of a profound debate among Chileans, who are at odds over the social and environmental risks of lithium extraction. The New York Times reported last week on the consequences of mining for lithium in the ecologically sensitive salt flats of northern Chile and on how a new constitution, being drafted by an elected body, could change the mining sector, water rights and ...