CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT

Charcoal: a green fuel?

Charcoal: a green fuel?

Blistered faggots of wood bagged on trucks and bike racks, smouldering domes of earth, wood and corrugated iron, branches arranged like pyres of elephant tusks: this is the charcoal economy which dominates rural Africa. 80% of sub-Saharan Africans rely on fuelwoods for their cooking, and […]

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Is climate change making tropical cyclones worse?

Is climate change making tropical cyclones worse?

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US NOAA) concludes the following: “It is premature to conclude that human activities… have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are […]

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‘Mermaid’s tears’: the terrifying scale of microplastic pollution

‘Mermaid’s tears’: the terrifying scale of microplastic pollution

Beach-combers have long-known about the tiny beads of plastic of plastic, the brittle multicoloured fragments, like polystyrene crumbs, that litter the high-tide line amongst the bladderwrack. They call them ‘mermaid’s tears’. Scientists call them microplastics, now universally dispersed across the oceans, and even found in […]

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The heart of Europe: the effects of climate change in the Alps

The heart of Europe: the effects of climate change in the Alps

For Europeans, the Alps are an uncomfortable reminder of the full toll of climate change, expected to close over half of all ski resorts, practically remove Alpine glacier from existence, and increase flooding, drought, and rockfalls significantly by the end of this century. In this […]

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Fracking: why it’s fracking fluid that’s the grey area

Fracking: why it’s fracking fluid that’s the grey area

Fracking is a highly contentious term for a highly contentious practice. Environmentalists gained the upper-hand with the verb ‘frack’: harsh, cacophonous, and the euphemism for campaign posters the world over. The industry prefers the term ‘hydraulic fracturing’, with its clean, efficient, and neutral tone. Which […]

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Oil sands, cancer, and government greenwashing

Oil sands, cancer, and government greenwashing

Oil sands are unquestionably bad for the environment. They are one of the most politicized fossil fuels on the planet ever since oil prices rose post-2003 making the deposits profitable to extract. Environmentalists loathe them, blackening their name: Naomi Klein describes them as a “parched, […]

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Particulate matter: deadly but invisible

Particulate matter: deadly but invisible

Air pollution is often thought of as a gas hanging above our cities, but the most dangerous parts of it are particular matter (PM): ash, dust, chemical salts, thought to cause 7 million premature deaths a year. 92% of the world’s population, according to the […]

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Why you should care about thawing permafrost

Why you should care about thawing permafrost

24% of all exposed land in the Northern Hemisphere is permafrost. It contains an estimated 1400-1700 billion tonnes of carbon, twice the amount in the atmosphere. And it’s thawing at an unprecedented rate, releasing vast quantities of this carbon into the atmosphere, in one of […]

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Ocean acidification: the forgotten cost of climate change

Ocean acidification: the forgotten cost of climate change

Ocean acidification is the forgotten consequence of climate change. The oceans have reduced the rate at which temperatures rise on land by absorbing carbon dioxide and thermal energy, but this comes at a terrible cost: the cost of ocean acidification. It is a cost which […]

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