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A bean farmer checks her crop in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Neil Palmer / CIAT

Now Is the Time to Solve Climate Change for 2050

By Paula Caballero

The reality of daily life is that we try to fix the problems that are staring us in the face. In many ways, the desire for short-term results defines the rhythm of both public and private life. So the idea that decisions today will define where we end up in a couple of decades is difficult to grasp, and may even appear outlandish.

Yet the unprecedented, deadly tropical cyclones in the Caribbean today and around the world foreshadow a perilous tomorrow if we don't tackle climate change now. We are at an historic crossroads that requires us to factor in the future. Because in a very real sense, 2050 is now.

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Water stress levels are rising. Flickr / Asian Development Bank

7 Reasons We Face a Global Water Crisis

By Leah Schleifer

Droughts in Somalia. Water rationing in Rome. Flooding in Jakarta. It doesn't take a hydrologist to realize that there is a growing global water crisis. Each August, water experts, industry innovators and researchers gather in Stockholm for World Water Week to tackle the planet's most pressing water issues.

What are they up against this year? Here's a quick rundown on the growing global water crisis.

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Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA tree cover data displayed on Global Forest Watch. Green pixels represent tree cover with greater than 20 percent canopy density but do not count trees outside of these pixels. Note, coarse pixels as shown above may be more efficient for rapidly detecting large scales of deforestation, while individual mapping techniques as described below may be more effective for monitoring land restoration and degradation.

Scientists Use Google Earth and Crowdsourcing to Map Uncharted Forests

By Katie Fletcher, Tesfay Woldemariam and Fred Stolle

No single person could ever hope to count the world's trees. But a crowd of them just counted the world's drylands forests—and, in the process, charted forests never before mapped, cumulatively adding up to an area equivalent in size to the Amazon rainforest.

Current technology enables computers to automatically detect forest area through satellite data in order to adequately map most of the world's forests. But drylands, where trees are fewer and farther apart, stymied these modern methods. To measure the extent of forests in drylands, which make up more than 40 percent of land surface on Earth, researchers from UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Resources Institute and several universities and organizations had to come up with unconventional techniques. Foremost among these was turning to residents, who contributed their expertise through local map-a-thons.

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The Road Ahead for Electric Vehicles to Create a Sustainable, Equitable Future

By Eliot Metzger and Alyssa Fischer

Last weekend, Elon Musk shared the first images of a production Tesla Model 3—the much-anticipated new electric vehicle that had hundreds of thousands of people lining up last year to place preorders. It was the latest in a series of major recent announcements about the future of the automotive industry.

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6 Ways Utilities Are Meeting Corporate Demand for Renewable Energy

By Letha Tawney, Celina Bonugli and Daniel Melling

Utilities are breaking away from traditional electricity products to offer customers access to large-scale renewable energy. Until very recently, utilities did not differentiate the sort of power they offered customers. With very few exceptions, everyone shared in the cost and used electricity from the same fleet of power generating stations.

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Climate Science Explained in These 10 Charts

By Kelly Levin

Thousands of people are expected to attend the People's Climate Movement march in Washington, DC and sister cities around the world this coming weekend. They are marching because actions taken to date by governments and others are not commensurate with the scale of climate impacts—both those already borne and those projected in the years to come.

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Interactive Chart Explores World's Top 10 Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Countries

By Johannes Friedrich, Mengpin Ge and Andrew Pickens

A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. So far, more than 140 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. Several major economies, including Canada, Germany and Mexico, have also developed long-term plans to decarbonize their economies.

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10 States Leading the Pack in Clean Energy Jobs

By Joel Jaeger

The solar, wind and energy efficiency industries already employ millions of people in the U.S. and they're poised to grow.

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Graffiti on a wall by London's Regent's Canal is believed to by an ironic work of art by acclaimed street artist Banksy.

3 Reasons the Mail on Sunday’s Climate Claims Are Bogus

By Kelly Levin and Rhys Gerholdt

The climate denier engine is revving up again. Last weekend an article in the Mail on Sunday attempted to cast doubt on the strength of climate science. It's now been taken up by the U.S. House Science Committee, which has been prone to promoting more climate denial than sound science in recent months. The news article doesn't just misinform; it is not grounded in facts.

At issue is a ground-breaking 2015 article in the journal Science by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that showed the alleged "pause" in global warming during the first years of the 21st century never happened. The peer-reviewed article by NOAA's Thomas Karl and colleagues found the so-called "warming slowdown" was not substantiated by updated data. In fact, temperatures continued to rise after the year 2000 at about the same rate as they had since 1950.

The article in the Mail on Sunday was based on a blog post by retired NOAA researcher John Bates and claimed the Science article was rushed into publication to influence the December 2015 Paris agreement and that it was based on research that had not gone through a proper vetting process. The author of the Mail on Sunday news article, David Rose, has a history of publishing sensationalized articles that respected scientists have found to be false and misleading.

In the following, we summarize three main reasons that the Mail on Sunday article is inaccurate:

1. Multiple Lines of Evidence Confirm There Was No "Pause" in Global Warming

The Science article builds on a large body of research, including many other datasets that validate the main finding that there has been no "pause" in global warming through the latter part of the 20th and early 21st century. Zeke Hausfather and colleagues published an article in Science Advances which verifies the NOAA datasets, comparing them to independently collected records created from high quality instruments (buoys, satellite radiometers and Argo floats). Other researchers have come to the same conclusions.

While the Chairman of the House Science committee cited Bates' blog post as proof that NOAA played "fast and loose with data," Bates flatly refuted that in an interview with E&E, saying this "is not an issue of tampering with data."

2. The News Article Itself Manipulates Data Comparisons

The Mail on Sunday article includes a chart that appears to show a differential in data between NOAA and the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in the United Kingdom. However, as Hausfather points out, this effect is almost entirely due to using two different baselines to create the appearance of inconsistency. When this discrepancy is corrected, the difference in recent years—the core of Rose's argument—vanishes.

3. The Science Article Was Not Rushed and the Paris Agreement Was Not Dependent on Any One Study

The article in Science met the publication's rigorous review requirements and the authors made their data available to other researchers. Of course, the scientific community has a long-established process for disputing published findings. If there are really issues with a scientific study, they should be explored through the peer review process. In this case, multiple peer-reviewed studies independently validated the article's findings. The editor-in-chief of Science has made it clear that publication of the study was not rushed and he calls this accusation "baseless and without merit."

Moreover, the Paris agreement on climate change was not based on one study. It was built upon years of negotiations, drawing on a mountain of research from the scientific community. To say that achieving the Paris agreement was due to one scientific article being published months before the negotiations commenced is to discount decades of work by thousands of scientists and policymakers around the globe. By the time negotiators reached Paris, 188 countries had already submitted national climate plans. The idea that this study prompted countries to overcome lingering doubts about the science defies logic. Today the media outlet Climate Home reached out to 10 climate envoys and ministers involved in the Paris climate summit and found that "no one said this report made an iota of difference to its result."

The foundation of climate change science is built on a large body of work and our understanding of the basics of climate change goes back more than 150 years. Climate deniers will continue to spread misinformation, but we cannot run from the fact that the world is warming. Without a sustained response, the impacts will undoubtedly get far worse.

Kelly Levin is a senior associate with the World Resources Institute's major emerging economies objective. Rhys Gerholdt is the communications manager for the Global Climate Program at World Resources Institute.

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