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IPCC Report Shares Dire News, Some Adaptation Measures

Climate change risks dramatically increase the more Earth warms, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions lowers the risk of the most unwelcome consequences, according to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “We have assessed impacts as they are happening on the natural and human systems on all continents,” said IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. “In…

December 8, 2013: Discovering Record Setting Remains, Climbing Antarctic Peaks and More

This week, on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we uncover a trove of pre-human remains deep inside a South African cave, then we coach kids to fulfill their destiny as Antarctic adventurers, and finally, we peer deep into space to watch galaxies collide.

U.N. Climate Talks Pick Back Up in Bonn

The next round of U.N. climate change talks began in Bonn, Germany—the final round of midyear negotiations before the 19th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in November. The talks are, in part, focused on defining elements of a universal climate agreement by 2015, an agreement that would be enforced by 2020.…

Looming Sequester Has Implications for National Weather Forecasting, Energy

Unless Congress reaches a deal by Friday, a set of automatic spending cuts—known as the sequester—will take effect. According to the Obama Administration, this trigger, for $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts, is expected to have significant implications for climate and energy. Newly released estimates by the White House detail how the cuts are projected to impact programs in each state. Decreases in environmental…

Continuing Carbon Emissions Could Have Devastating Impacts on Poor Countries

Populations and livelihoods—mostly in developing countries—will suffer as average global temperatures continue to rise. This is according to a study, conducted by the humanitarian organization DARA, which found climate change could cost the world more than $1.2 trillion annually and contribute to the deaths of more than 100 million people if action against climate change isn’t taken.…

More than 100 Coal Plants Shutting—But How Much Difference Will It Make?

After public pressure, Chicago will shut two aging coal-fired power plants, and the owner of one of the power plants, Midwest Generation, may shut its other four coal plants in Illinois. Since the start of 2010, more than 100 coal plants have been slated for early retirement. A major reason for coal plants shutting has been public opposition to…

U.S. Rejects Tar Sands Pipeline from Canada—For Now

Under pressure from Congress to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, planned to connect Canada’s tar sands region with the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Obama administration has decided to reject the pipeline proposal. “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline” that did not…

Cutting Oil Use Should Be Focus of U.S. Energy Research, New Roadmap Says

A major study modeled after goal-setting reports from the Departments of Defense and State, the first Quadrennial Technology Review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), called for a shift in energy research and development priorities to reduce America’s dependence on oil. “Reliance on oil is the greatest immediate threat to U.S. economic and national security…

Libya’s Revolution Could Provide Stimulus through Cheaper Oil

After rebel forces swept into Libya’s capital, Tripoli, the country may be able to start to ramp oil production and exports again, which many analysts hope will bring down oil prices. Libya claims Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, and was producing about 1.6 million barrels a day when the production suddenly dropped to near zero in February. Many…

Scrambling to Head Off Power Outages Caused by Heat Waves, Rapid Growth, and Disaster

Texas has suffered through the worst drought and one of the worst heat waves on record, pushing electricity use to a record high in an attempt to cope. Texas is the state with the largest installed wind capacity, and recently installed wind farms came through to boost the state’s electricity generation just in time. However, even this jump was…

The World has Passed Peak Oil, says Top Economist

Despite high prices, crude oil production has stayed basically flat for roughly five years. It seems this is the all-time high-water mark, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist for the International Energy Agency. “We think that crude oil production for the world has already peaked in 2006,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “I think it would…

Voyager 1 News: Probe Now Crossing Where a Mighty Wind Ceases to Blow

Technically, everything within our solar system could be said to exist in the sun‘s atmosphere. In most cases we call the corona the sun’s upper atmosphere, because that’s the part we see as the faint, outermost halo stretching from the bright orb, usually visible from Earth only during a solar eclipse. (See eclipse pictures from…

Renewable Power Caught in Washington’s Energy Gridlock

By Rebecca Dolan Even though the U.S. Senate seems unable to commit to a plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, advocates for action on climate change have hope for a fallback plan to increase wind, solar, and other alternative energy. They began the drive soon after it became clear that a comprehensive…

Voyager 2 Speaking in Code

NASA may have to bust out an Enigma Machine to figure out what’s going on with the Voyager 2 probe, the second most distant human-made object in space. Yesterday mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena announced that the craft recently started sending back science data in a format no one on Earth…

Dispatches From the Consumer Electronics Show: 10 Green(ish) Products to Look for in 2010

Green Guide scoured the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for eco-friendly gadgets and devices. From batteries and solar chargers produced by (sometimes cheesy) small start-up companies to TVs and entire home-energy systems including manufacturing giants such as Panasonic and LG, these items stand out among thousands as having some real environmental benefit, or at least…