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Studies Make Predictions about Climate Change Impacts

Limiting global average temperature increase to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit that increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius—as agreed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year—will do little to stop portions of the world from becoming uninhabitable. That’s according to a new study…

Informal settlements and climate change: An opportunity and challenge for cities of emerging economies

By Mayor Mpho Parks Tau of Johannesburg The unprecedented growth of cities in emerging economies, coupled with the legacy of apartheid in South Africa has, since the early 1990s, led to a rapid increase in informal settlements, or slums, in Johannesburg. As the economic heartland of South Africa, it is estimated that Johannesburg receives more…

Study: Half a Degree Matters

Last week more than 150 nations signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now, the first comprehensive analysis of the impacts of that half centigrade difference…

A Pacific salmon hub is under threat

The Skeena River snakes out of fir-lined fjords on the misty northern coast of British Columbia, and washes over a thousand-acre sandbar. Flora Bank is a biological bottleneck over which millions of finger-length young salmon enter the sea each spring. Scientist Allen Gottesfeld calls Flora Bank the “Grand Central Station” for the watershed. All streams…

Wolf – Caribou Detente? Clues Hidden on Lake Superior Islands

Qalipu, it’s called by Canada’s Mi’kmaq people. To others, it’s the elusive gray ghost of the far northern forest. Most know it simply as caribou. Woodland caribou are medium-sized members of the deer family. In Canadian provinces such as Ontario, these shadows in the forest are listed as threatened – quickly vanishing. Non-migratory woodland caribou…

Nations to Sign Paris Climate Agreement Friday

Four months after it was finalized by delegates to the Paris Climate Change Conference, the Paris Agreement will be signed by more than 100 nations on Friday. While the agreement is facially insufficient to meet its overall emissions objectives, the signing of the Paris agreement nevertheless is significant. It brings into effect the approach and…

Uncharted Arctic waters: A new opportunity for exploitation, or conservation?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When thick sheets of sea ice began melting in the Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway, a few years ago, a new expanse of sparkling blue sea opened up. As climate change continues to drive ice melt here on the previously untouched waters of the North Barents Sea, what many ocean conservationists…

Climate-Change-Related Precipitation Extremes Hard to Predict

Scientists have warned that severe drought and precipitation are among the risks of greenhouse-gas-induced climate change, but a study published in the journal Nature finds that extremely warm temperatures do not always translate into record wet and dry extremes. Highlighting the complexities in predicting the effects of planetary warming on precipitation, lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist…

Quick Take: Nature Protects People

By Kathy Baughman McLeod, Managing Director, Coastal Risk & Resilience, The Nature Conservancy This week, I’m in South Florida with partners from local government, the private sector and the international community to highlight the vital role that nature plays in protecting people in Miami-Dade County and coastal communities around the world. Miami-Dade is one of…

Record Low Arctic Sea Ice Extent Points to Irreversible Changes

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said on Monday that Arctic sea ice cover of 5.607 million square miles on March 24 represented the lowest winter maximum since records began in 1979. That’s 5,000 square miles less than last year’s record low. Contributing to the ice extent loss were record high…

Best Job Ever: Conquering the World’s Largest Glaciers

“For me, it’s definitely worthwhile to live shorter, but intense,” says Vincent Colliard, a young explorer joining renowned polar explorer Børge Ousland in an endeavor to cross the world’s 20 largest glaciers. The ambitious 10-year journey is part of an effort to document climate change, an important mission for sure but one that regularly places the explorers in the path of danger.

February’s Record Heat Astounds Scientists

Data released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the string of monthly global heat records extended through February, when the average worldwide temperature was 2.18 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. The tenth straight record breaking month, February was the most above-normal month since meteorologists began tracking temperatures in…

Not All Forestry Is Carbon Equal

By Justin Adams, Global Managing Director for Lands at The Nature Conservancy The UN’s International Day of Forests is on March 21. While some people might see this as merely a day for tree-huggers to crunch their granola a little louder, this day is important for celebrating one of the most valuable ecosystems — not…

Supreme Court Denies Request to Block EPA’s Mercury Rule

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. denied a request for a stay or injunction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) rule—a rule that 20 states have claimed is “unlawful and beyond EPA’s statutory authority.” The ruling means MATS, which requires coal-burning power plants to install technologies to…

After Winston: Assessing Coral Reefs for Cyclone Damage and Coral Bleaching

Over the next 10 days, through the generous support of Nai’a Cruises — a live-aboard ship that has been diving in Fiji since 1993 — WCS Fiji Director Sangeeta Mangubhai will be surveying coral reefs throughout the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Winston and collect data on coral bleaching. This is the first in a series of blogs on that survey.