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New pine trees grow from the forest floor along the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western boundary of Glacier National Park on Sept. 16, 2019 near West Glacier, Montana. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Alex Kirby

New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.

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Nuclear Power Plant in Cattenom, Northeastern France. © Allard Schager / Moment / Getty Images

By Paul Brown

Nuclear power is in terminal decline worldwide and will never make a serious contribution to tackling climate change, a group of energy experts argues.

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Using more bamboo for building could slow climate change. kazuend / Unsplash

By Kieran Cooke

There could be a way of countering one key aspect of the climate emergency by making much greater use of a widely-available plant: bamboo building.

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A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

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An aerial view of the Kudala Sangama submerged in floodwaters about 460 kms of the South Indian city of Bangalore on Aug. 10. Floods have displaced hundreds of thousands across much of India with the southern state of Kerala worst hit, authorities said on Aug. 10. STR / AFP / Getty Images

The southern India state of Kerala, having lost almost a million homes in two disastrous floods in 2018 and 2019, is trying to adapt to climate change by building homes for the poor that are flood-resistant.

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Air conditioners, like these in a residential and restaurant area of Singapore city, could put a massive strain on electricity grids during more intense heatwaves. Taro Hama @ e-kamakura / Moment / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

Scientists in the U.S. have added a new dimension to the growing hazard of extreme heat. As global average temperatures rise, so do the frequency, duration and intensity of heatwaves.

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Researchers studied the pattern of carbon isotope readings preserved in the soils of China's Loess Plateau. qingyi / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Tim Radford

For the entire 2.5 million years of the Ice Age epoch called the Pleistocene, it was a low-carbon world. Atmospheric carbon dioxide hovered around 230 parts per million. Not only did Homo sapiens evolve on a low-carbon planet, so did Homo erectus and most other human species now known only from fossil evidence in Europe and Asia.

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By Paul Brown

A sustainable food policy which ends red meat meals has improved student diets and boosted a university catering service's profits.

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NASA scientists flew over the Kuskokwim river in southwest Alaska in 2017 to investigate how water levels in the Arctic landscape change as permafrost thaws. Peter Griffith, NASA

By Tim Radford

Scientists have identified yet another hazard linked to the thawing permafrost: laughing gas. A series of flights over the North Slope of Alaska has detected unexpected levels of emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide from the rapidly warming soils.

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On the way out: A curve-billed reedhaunter in Uruguay. Hector Bottai, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Tim Radford

There is only one Earth, but human growth is ensuring that it carries steadily more passengers. And that leaves less and less room for humanity's companions on board the planet.

The Nile lechwe is an antelope that lives in the swamps of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Its Linnaean name is Kobus megaceros and it stands a meter high (approximately 3.3 feet) at the shoulders so you couldn't miss it. Except that you could.

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leonard_c / E+ / Getty Images

By Tim Radford

For forests, it really does help to be young. British scientists who have identified the vital factor that shows what makes a forest a good carbon sink say young forests use carbon best and absorb it most efficiently.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences seems on the face of it to settle an old puzzle with an unsurprising answer. New and young forests make the most efficient and effective carbon sinks.

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