China’s young climate heroes fight apathy and the party line

Zhao Jiaxin and Howey Ou are trying to convince Beijing to take radical carbon-cutting action One is a student engineer who became obsessed after watching an incendiary film about air pollution. The other is a 16-year-old who went on Chinas first climate strike. Zhao Jiaxin and Howey Ou are part of a small but growing minority of young Chinese determined to press their country towards more radical carbon-cutting action. The pair are also Chinas sole winners of carbon neutral green tickets the leading carbon emitter. It generates 60% of its electricity from coal-fired power and coal consumption and carbon emissions have risen for two years in a row after a plateau between 2014 and 2016. Emissions are expected to rise …

The air conditioning trap: how cold air is heating the world

The warmer it gets, the more we use air conditioning. The more we use air conditioning, the warmer it gets. Is there any way out of this trap? On a sweltering Thursday evening in Manhattan last month, people across New York City were preparing for what meteorologists predicted would be the hottest weekend of the year. Over the past two decades, every record for peak electricity use in the city has occurred during a heatwave, as millions of people turn on their air conditioning units at the same time. And so, at the midtown headquarters of Con Edison, the company that supplies more than 10 million people in the New York area with electricity, employees were busy turning a conference …

Icy Waterfalls Are Roaring as a Heat Wave Sizzles Greenland

When Jason Gulley steps off the plane Thursday in Ilulissat, Greenland, he’ll be packing rubber waders along with his down parka and cold-weather sleeping bag. The region is experiencing a massive heat wave right now—the same one that hit Europe last week—with some areas expected to top 73 degrees Fahrenheit. This temporary mass of hot air is also turning the frozen surface of the ice sheet that covers the country into patches of slush (spring skiing, anyone?). The meltwater forms rivers and lakes, and then drains into subterranean channels that dive from the surface thousands of feet down to the base of the ice sheet, where it meets bedrock. As a glaciologist who studies the plumbing system of Greenland’s ice …

Italian forest rangers on the hunt of ‘escape genius’ bear

Animal climbed over three electric fences and four-metre high barrier to escape Italian forest rangers are on the hunt for a bear that has been described as an escape genius after managing to climb over three electric fences and a four-metre high barrier at a wildlife enclosure in the northern province of Trentino before disappearing into the woods. Code-named M49, the 149kg (23 stone) brown bear fled the Casteller centre within hours of being captured with a tube trap overnight on Sunday in Val Rendena. An order for its capture was issued by the president of Trentino, Maurizio Fugatti, more than a month ago after deeming the animal to be a risk to humans after it was seen close to …

Meet generation Greta: young climate activists around the world

Theyre too young to vote, but schoolchildren across the globe are taking matters into their own hands In May, for the second time this year, more than 1.5 million young people in more than 125 countries walked out of schools, colleges and universities in we have only 12 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. Still, most governments are not doing enough to stay within these limits as set out by the Climate Outreach, explains: Climate change is the most politically divisive issue in America, more so than gun control and abortion. But young people have the social freedom to say it like it is. a climate denier heading our government that is two steps backwards from …

Two whales flown from Shanghai aquarium to sanctuary in Iceland

Female 12-year-old beluga whales Little Grey and Little White arrive at Klettsvik Bay Two beluga whales from a Shanghai aquarium have arrived in Iceland to live out their days in a unique marine sanctuary that conservationists hope will become a model for rehoming 3,000 of the creatures currently in captivity. Little Grey and Little White, two 12-year-old female belugas, left behind their previous lives entertaining visitors at the Changfeng Ocean World and were flown across the globe in specially tailored containers. Little White and Little Grey perform during a show at Ocean World, Shanghai. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA The whales, which each weigh about 900kg and are four metres long, will continue their epic journey by truck and ferry to the …

Cold War Spy Photos Show How Fast Himalayan Glaciers Are Melting

During the height of the Cold War, a telescope-shaped American spy satellite code-named Hexagon circled the globe snapping high-resolution photographs of forests, mountains, and perhaps a few Russian military bases. From time to time, the satellite would eject metal canisters containing the film of the imagery. The canister would deploy its parachute, and high-flying spy planes would pick it up midair. Now a team of scientists has stitched together these once-classified analog images to form a three-dimensional digital model of the Himalayas as they existed more than 40 years ago. By comparing the model with images taken today, researchers found that the mountain’s glaciers are melting at double the rate since 2000 as during the period of 1976 to 2000, …

What to Do About CO2? Try Stuffing It Into the Gulf of Mexico

What if Texas oilmen (oilfolks?) could save the planet from climate change? Hardy-har-har. Given that the Lone Star State ranks sixth in heat-trapping carbon emissions worldwide, just behind Germany and ahead of South Korea, the idea sounds pretty far-fetched. But some recent developments have made the prospect a bit more conceivable. Texas is all about oil and gas. Its petroleum refineries and other energy industries lead the nation in carbon emissions with 653 million metric tons, more than California (number two) and Pennsylvania (number three) combined. Texas’ oil industry continues to find new places to drill offshore, where methane and carbon dioxide that escape during the drilling process also boost greenhouse gases that are wreaking havoc on Earth’s climate. At …

No plastic please, Mum: my quest to make waste-free packed lunches

The average lunchbox contains lots of needless wrapping. So how easy is to create eco-friendly alternatives and will children eat them? A couple of months ago my sons dislike of school dinners reached the tipping point, and outweighed his parents refusal to find an extra 10 minutes each morning. We did the unthinkable and switched to packed lunches. A shelf in the kitchen quickly filled with colourful packages, each containing smaller packages. The drink cartons came with plastic straws, in tiny film sleeves stuck to the composite carton with a dab of glue. We bought them in trios, swathed in more plastic.And all the while the calls to cut plastic waste were growing and growing. Our treat shelf began to …

Worlds biggest investor accused of dragging feet on climate crisis

BlackRock, which controls $6.5tn in assets, urged to use its influence on planets biggest polluters When a letter from BlackRocks founder and chief executive, Larry Fink, landed in inboxes in January saying that the worlds biggest investor would no longer invest in companies that are not compliant with the history of embarrassing big companies. But while the message was fake, the concern behind it was not: environmental campaigners see BlackRock as a key obstacle to progress on meeting climate crisis goals. Now they are stepping up the pressure on the worlds biggest asset owner which faces its shareholders at its annual meeting on Thursday to use its influence on some of the worlds biggest polluters, as it has done previously …

‘The future of life on Earth lies in the balance’ a picture essay

Almost 600 conservation experts have signed a letter by the wildlife charity WWF, published to coincide with UN report into loss of biodiversity Almost 600 conservation experts have signed the Call4Nature open letter written by wildlife charity WWF, which is being published to coincide with the IPBES report (see letter below). Overfishing We are overfishing our oceans at an alarming rate and choking them with plastic and other pollutants. If we want to see healthy seas that will continue to provide us with food, we need to stop this over-exploitation, protect our incredible marine environments and make sustainable fishing the norm, as we see here. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and vice-president of Fauna and Flora International Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) regulations …

Jared Harris: My wife can’t believe how I keep getting bumped off!

From Mad Men to The Crown, the actor is used to big exits. As new disaster drama Chernobyl launches, he talks about cover-ups, climate change shame and his hellraising dad Richard Jared Harris says that if only he had played Lane Pryce as he was meant to, he would have probably lasted the duration of The Crown was inevitably done for by a coronary thrombosis. In his latest TV drama, The Terror, about the Royal Navys treacherous 19th-century trip into the unknown, are three of the great contemporary TV dramas. And Chernobyl looks like its going to be another. A tense, beautifully written five-parter about Greta Thunberg has addressed EU politicians in Brussels. Its awful that its being left to …

A Blazing Hot Coal Seam Shows How Microbes Can Spring to Life

Just past the intersection of Centre and Locust in Centralia, Pennsylvania, the microbiologist Tammy Tobin turned the wheel of her aging Prius sharply to the right. As the windshield wipers whipped furiously back and forth to fend off the driving sleet—a reminder that winter had yet to bid farewell—Tobin announced, “We’re here.” We were at the base of a grassy slope nestled behind the SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery. It looked like any of the other countless knolls tucked in the anthracite hills of eastern Pennsylvania. But almost 50 meters beneath our feet lurked a hidden menace. Centralia was burning. Or rather, the coal seam under what used to be the town of Centralia was burning. The coal has burned …