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View of the damage caused by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, on Oct. 13. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP / Getty Images

As Scientists Sound Climate Change Alarm, States Lead on Solutions

By Abigail Dillen

This column originally appeared in USA Today.

The world's leading panel of climate experts sounded the alarm this week that we are running out of time to get rising temperatures under control. Its latest report calls for "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented" steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from worsening wildfires and extreme drought to rising sea levels and more powerful storms. It also reminds us what is at stake if we fail to act: our health, our food and water security, our environment and our economy.

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Christopher Paquette / CC BY 2.0

Organic Farming With Gene Editing: An Oxymoron or a Tool for Sustainable Agriculture?

By Rebecca Mackelprang

A University of California, Berkeley professor stands at the front of the room, delivering her invited talk about the potential of genetic engineering. Her audience, full of organic farming advocates, listens uneasily. She notices a man get up from his seat and move toward the front of the room. Confused, the speaker pauses mid-sentence as she watches him bend over, reach for the power cord, and unplug the projector. The room darkens and silence falls. So much for listening to the ideas of others.

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Energy
The Hazelwood Power Station, which closed last year, in Victoria, Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Australia to 'Absolutely' Exploit and Use Coal Despite IPCC Warning

Australia's coal-loving lawmakers dismissed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) warning to phase out the polluting fossil fuel by 2050.

In a recent interview with SkyNews, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said Australia will "absolutely" continue to use and exploit its coal reserves regardless of what the IPCC report says.

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Residents stand in a long queue to fill water containers on May 27 in Shimla, India. Deepak Sansta / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

World Peace Requires Access to Safe Water

International Peace Day is Sept. 21. Mekela Panditharatne, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, submitted the following op-ed to EcoWatch in commemoration.

In drought-ravaged East Africa, the cracks in the plains echo the fault lines splitting tribes.

Across the globe, the devastation of deadly brawls is being exacerbated by tensions over access to water. Water crises, often worsened by governance failures, can portend warning signs for instability and conflict. This year, the World Resources Institute cautioned that water stress is growing globally, "with 33 countries projected to face extremely high stress in 2040." The effects of such water stress span the gamut from civil unrest to open warfare.

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Flooded suburb of the city of Itacoatiara (Central Amazon region) in 2009. Jochen Schöngart, National Institute for Amazon Research

World's Largest River Floods Five Times More Often Than It Used to

Extreme floods have become more frequent in the Amazon Basin in just the last two to three decades, according to a new study.

After analyzing 113 years of Amazon River levels in Port of Manaus, Brazil, researchers found that severe floods happened roughly every 20 years in the first part of the 20th century. Now, extreme flooding of the world's largest river occurs every four years on average—or about five times more frequently than it used to.

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Climate extremes such as drought are a 'key driver' of global malnutrition. Pixabay

Climate Change a 'Key Driver' Behind Rising Global Hunger

The number of hungry people in the world has reverted to levels last seen a decade ago, the United Nations warned Tuesday in its annual report on food security and nutrition.

Nearly 821 million global citizens—or one out of every nine people—were undernourished in 2017, the third consecutive rise since 2015. Hunger affected 804 million people in 2016 and 784 million people in 2015.

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Divestment rally at Harvard University on April 17, 2015. 350.org, CC BY-NC-SA

Fossil Fuel Divestment Debates on Campus Spotlight Societal Role of Colleges and Universities

By Jennie C. Stephens

As a new academic year begins after a summer of deadly heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods, many college students and faculty are debating whether and how to get involved in climate politics.

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Australian Prime Minister Ousted Over Climate Policy

Conservative lawmaker Scott Morrison has forced out Malcolm Turnbull as Australian prime minister, the third time the country's leader has sunk over climate policy in the past decade, and the seventh since 1997, according to Australia's ABC News.

An internal Liberal party row started when Turnbull proposed modest emissions targets for the country's energy sector. He dropped the plans Monday after pressure from the party's right-wing faction, but that led to a narrowly defeated leadership challenge from Peter Dutton on Tuesday, then a final ousting from Morrison on Friday.

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Science
Scattered rainfall over dry season fields before harvest in the Sahel near Bahn Yatenga Burkina Faso Africa. The region is regularly affected by droughts. Getty Images

Solar Geoengineering Could ‘Fail to Prevent Damage to Crop Yields’

By Daisy Dunne

Releasing aerosols into the atmosphere in order to limit the rise in global temperature would not stave off damage to crop yields, a new study suggests.

Scientists have suggested that intentionally releasing aerosols into the atmosphere—a type of "solar geoengineering"—could help to limit global warming by reflecting away incoming sunlight in a similar way to a volcanic eruption.

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