Monday, January 17News That Matters

Tag: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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...
Is Norway the Future of Cars?

Is Norway the Future of Cars?

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8 percent of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.For years, Norway has been the world leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that made electric vehicles far more affordable and offered extras like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads.Still, electric car enthusiasts are stunned by the speed at which the internal combustion engine has become an endangered species in Norway.“It has surprised most people how quickly things have changed,” Christina Bu...
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...
Sara Menker and Gro Intelligence Are Tackling Global Hunger

Sara Menker and Gro Intelligence Are Tackling Global Hunger

Business
Even if you didn’t experience the famine personally you must have been deeply aware of it and affected by it.A thousand percent. First of all, you have to remember we come from massive families. My mom has 24 siblings. And you grow up very much aware of it. I grew up in a country where fuel was rationed, where food, sugar, toilet paper was rationed no matter who you are. It didn’t matter if you lived in Addis or outside of Addis. When toilet paper shortages happened during Covid and everybody was running to stock up, I was like, “I don’t know why you’re stocking up. I have like 80 rolls of toilet paper.”People were like, “Why do you have 80 rolls of toilet paper?” And I was like, “Is that not how one lives in life? In fear that things might run out?” But it is how we were raised, very much...

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 ...

Health Risks of Smoke and Ozone Rise in the West as Wildfires Worsen

Technology, World
The researchers also found a connection between the pollution and patterns of atmospheric “ridging,” the development of stagnant zones of high-pressure air. These zones, sometimes called heat domes, lead to increasing heat and drying that can cause wildfires to ignite and spread more readily, and can also cause dangerous heat waves. The frequency of these ridging patterns has increased significantly since 2000, according to the new research.The study analyzed data only through 2020. “But I think 2021 would show up pretty high on some of these metrics, too,” Mr. Kalashnikov said. There were several enormous wildfires in the West last summer that spread smoke across the West, and extreme heat and drought persisted throughout the region.Understand the Lastest News on Climate ChangeCard 1 of 3...