What if several of the world’s biggest food crops failed at the same time?

Less than one-quarter of Earth’s total cropland produces nearly three-quarters of the staple crops that feed the world’s population – especially corn, wheat and rice, the most important cereal crops. These areas are our planet’s major breadbaskets. Historically, when a crop failed in one of these breadbaskets, only nearby areas had to contend with shortages and rising prices. Now, however, major crops are traded on global markets, which means that…

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Trump’s exit of Paris climate accord strengthens China and Europe

President Trump’s much-anticipated decision to exit the Paris Agreement on climate change strikes another blow against the current multilateral international order by his administration and reinforces its America First stance toward the world. Trump declared his administration’s intent to stop honoring and cease all implementation of the nonbinding parts of the Paris Agreement. This includes the goals and actions to reduce emissions outlined in the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)…

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Are we overreacting to US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate?

The Trump administration has announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Should we expect any substantive effect on global climate efforts or changes to other U.S. climate policies? Some suggest there will be additional emissions of up to three billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air a year. Others point to higher U.S. emissions due to potentially diluted auto fuel efficiency standards and…

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Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord cedes global leadership to China

President Trump has made clear through executive orders and appointments that he does not care much about climate change in particular or environmental protection in general. Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement shows that his views have not changed significantly from his 2012 tweet that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing…

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Why Trump’s decision to leave Paris accord hurts the US and the world

Editor’s note: President Donald Trump stunned the world on June 1 by announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, a landmark global agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the harm from climate change. We’ve assembled a panel of academics and scientists to analyze what this dramatic move means for the planet, U.S. businesses and the world’s poor. A race to the bottom…

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Cutting Superfund’s budget will slow toxic waste cleanups, threatening public health and property values

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Love Canal crisis, when toxic chemicals were found to be leaking from an underground dump into homes in Niagara Falls, New York. State and federal agencies relocated more than 200 families out of the affected area. A state investigation later found elevated rates of birth defects among families who had lived at Love Canal. This disaster called public attention to health…

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Saving Javan rhinos from extinction starts with counting them – and it’s not easy

The Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is found only at the very western tip of the Indonesian island of Java, in the rainforest habitats of Ujung Kulon National Park (UKNP). However, this wasn’t always so. Many species have small natural ranges, but Javan rhinos once inhabited much of Southeast Asia. Now landscape changes, habitat loss and hunting have reduced their numbers to a precarious few. The last known Javan rhino in…

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Why killing coyotes doesn’t make livestock safer

Few Americans probably know that their tax dollars paid to kill 76,859 coyotes in 2016. The responsible agency was Wildlife Services (WS), part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to “resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.” This broad mandate includes everything from reducing bird strikes at airports to curbing the spread of rabies. Controlling predators that attack livestock is one of the agency’s…

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Scientists at work: Forecasting the Atlantic hurricane season

June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. It’s a busy time for us at the Tropical Meteorology Project in Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, where we are issuing our 34th annual Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecast. In early April we predicted a slightly below-normal hurricane season for 2017, with a total of 11 named storms (average is…

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Getting ready for hurricane season: 6 essential reads

Editor’s note: The following is a roundup of archival stories. June 1 marks the start of Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November. While hurricanes can occur at any time of year, they are most frequent in August, September and October – not surprising, since they derive their energy from warm ocean waters. Be prepared The best way to stay safe against hurricanes and coastal storms is to invest in…

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With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding

The U.S. Department of Energy spends US$3-$4 billion per year on applied energy research. These programs seek to provide clean and reliable energy and improve our energy security by driving innovation and helping companies bring new clean energy sources to market. President Trump’s detailed budget request reportedly will ask Congress to cut funding for the Energy Department’s clean energy programs by almost 70 percent, from $2 billion this year to…

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Understanding tornadoes: 5 questions answered

Editor’s note: May and June are typically peak months for tornadoes in North America. We asked Penn State meteorology professors Paul Markowski and Yvette Richardson to explain why tornadoes form, how to stay safe if you’re near one and whether climate change is affecting tornado patterns. 1. Where are tornadoes most likely to occur? Most headline-making tornadoes are spawned by what are known as supercell thunderstorms. These are large, intense…

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Diehard Coders Just Rescued NASA’s Earth Science Data | WIRED

Hackers are building up robust systems to monitor changes to government websites. And they’re keeping track of data that’s already been removed. ON SATURDAY MORNING, the white stone buildings on UC Berkeley’s campus radiated with unfiltered sunshine. The sky was blue, the campanile was chiming. But instead of enjoying the beautiful day, 200 adults had willingly sardined themselves into a fluorescent-lit room in the bowels of Doe Library to rescue…

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Consequences of Global Warming of 1.5 °C and 2 °C for Regional Temperature and Precipitation Changes in the Contiguous United States

The differential warming of land and ocean leads to many continental regions in the Northern Hemisphere warming at rates higher than the global mean temperature. Adaptation and conservation efforts will, therefore, benefit from understanding regional consequences of limiting the global mean temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, a limit agreed upon at the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris in December 2015. Here, we analyze climate model…

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2016 hottest year ever recorded. Scientists say human activity to blame

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been…

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