Environment

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A massive effort to ‘hand-map’ undocumented roads has revealed the staggering extent of illegal or informal thoroughfares cut through forests of Indonesia, Malaysia, and New Guinea. Using satellite imagery, researchers from Australia and Indonesia measured 1.37 million kilometers (851,000 miles) of thoroughfare – between three and seven times longer than the roads officially recorded in
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Climate change caused by CO2 emissions already in the atmosphere will shrink global GDP in 2050 by about US$38 trillion, or almost a fifth, no matter how aggressively humanity cuts carbon pollution, researchers said Wednesday. But slashing greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible remains crucial to avoid even more devastating economic impacts after mid-century,
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Droughts can have dramatic effects in Australia – decimating agriculture, threatening water resources and devastating the environment. Much of Australia is drought-prone, and the risk is expected to increase as global warming continues. That’s why it’s important for Australia to be prepared for droughts, particularly those lasting multiple years. To have some idea of just
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Australia’s carbon credit scheme was undermined by damning new research Wednesday, which found a world-leading reforestation project had been an underperforming “catastrophe”. Vast swathes of land across Australia’s desert Outback have been earmarked for native forest regeneration, which is meant to offset emissions as new trees suck up carbon. But researchers have found that across
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The United Nations Environment Assembly this week considered a resolution on solar radiation modification, which refers to controversial technologies intended to mask the heating effect of greenhouse gases by reflecting some sunlight back to space. Proponents argue the technologies will limit the effects of climate change. In reality, this type of “geoengineering” risks further destabilising
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A chemical used in agriculture around the world is tightly regulated in the United States, but a preliminary study suggests it could be widespread in the country’s food supply anyway. Scientists at the controversial US nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found the chemical chlormequat in four out of five urine samples collected from people living
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In a mocking fluke of physics, Greenland – one of the main sources of meltwater flooding Earth’s shores – is actually rising faster than the rising oceans. The elevating bedrock is gradually birthing new land in Greenland’s sea including small islands and skerries, like Uunartoq Qeqertaq. Translating as ‘warming island’, this new 13 kilometer (8
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Heat trapped by fossil fuel emissions is making Earth’s atmosphere ‘huff and puff’ with increasing fury. Some winds are now blowing so intensely that researchers propose adding an even more extreme category to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. “As a cautious scientist, you never want to cry wolf,” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory climate scientist Michael
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Urban agriculture is expected to be an important feature of 21st century sustainability and can have many benefits for communities and cities, including providing fresh produce in neighborhoods with few other options. Among those benefits, growing food in backyards, community gardens or urban farms can shrink the distance fruits and vegetables have to travel between
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Climate scientists don’t like surprises. It means our deep understanding of how the climate works isn’t quite as complete as we need. But unfortunately, as climate change worsens, surprises and unprecedented events keep happening. In March 2022, Antarctica experienced an extraordinary heatwave. Large swathes of East Antarctica experienced temperatures up to 40°C (72°F) above normal,
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The year of 2023 was the hottest on record, with the increase in Earth’s surface temperature nearly crossing the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, EU climate monitors said Tuesday. Climate change intensified heatwaves, droughts and wildfires across the planet, and pushed the global thermometer 1.48 C above the preindustrial benchmark, the Copernicus Climate Change