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This year's letter from Bill and Melinda Gates focused on nine things that surprised them. For the Microsoft-cofounder, one thing he was surprised to learn was the massive amount of new buildings the planet should expect in the coming decades due to urban population growth.

"The number of buildings in the world is going to double by 2060. It's like we're going to build a new New York City every month for the next 40 years," he said.

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Biomass storage at Drax power station in North Yorkshire. Chris Allen

For the first time, carbon dioxide is being captured at a biomass power plant in the UK.

Britain's Drax announced that its pilot bioenergy carbon capture and storage project is expected to capture a ton of CO2 a day from its North Yorkshire-based wood-burning plant. The company is also finding ways to store and use the captured carbon.

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One of the demonstrators at the Women's March in 2019 held a sign that read "Green New Deal" while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed the crowd in Manhattan, NYC on Jan. 19. Ira L. Black / Corbis News / Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced on Thursday their highly anticipated joint resolutions on a Green New Deal.

The sweeping 10-year plan aims to "mobilize every aspect of American society ... to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all," according to the resolution's FAQs section from Ocasio-Cortez's office posted by NPR.

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Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler testifies at a Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 16. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images

Former coal lobbyist and acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has named a climate denier to serve on the agency's Science Advisory Board, which is responsible for giving independent policy advice.

Among eight new members added to the board Thursday is University of Alabama in Huntsville atmospheric science professor John Christy, who has argued that the climate change predictions agreed upon by most scientists are too extreme, and that urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is not necessary, Reuters reported.

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will rise in 2019 as natural sinks like forests absorb less of it. A330Pilot / Getty Images

In 2019, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will make one of their highest leaps in the past 62 years of measurement, the UK's Met Office predicted Friday.

This is because the tropical Pacific ocean is expected to be warmer this year, which leads to hotter and drier conditions that make it more difficult for plants to grow and absorb the excess carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels, which is fueling climate change.

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Power plants like this one need to be retired at the end of their natural life to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Peter Cade / The Image Bank / Getty Images

It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found, as long as we act immediately to phase out fossil fuels.

The study used a climate model to determine what would happen if, beginning at the end of 2018, all existing fossil fuel infrastructure—from industrial equipment to cars to planes to ships to power plants—was replaced with renewable alternatives at the end of its design lifetime. The researchers found there would be a 64 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris agreement.

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