Listen

Global Climate Change

Greta Thunberg, the activist who has quickly become a leading voice on climate change, is Time's Person of the Year for 2019. At 16, she is the youngest person to earn the title in the magazine's 92-year history.

Thunberg burst onto the world stage in the past year, organizing school strikes and protest marches to call attention to a climate crisis that she says older generations are not taking seriously enough.

A judge has handed Exxon Mobil a victory in only the second climate change lawsuit to reach trial in the United States. The decision was a blow for the New York Attorney General's Office, which brought the case.

Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York State Supreme Court said that the attorney general failed to prove that the oil giant broke the law.

In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is closing for the 2020 season.

The decision, announced Friday, came as little surprise, but it's the first time the fishery has closed due to concerns over low stock.

"We're on the knife's edge of this over-fished status," North Pacific Fishery Management Council member Nicole Kimball said during talks in Anchorage.

It's not over-fishing to blame for the die-off, but rather, climate change.

The United Nations climate change conference began with a bracing warning: We are running late, and that is going to make this harder.

"Millions throughout the world, especially young people, are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more to address the climate emergency we face," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

"Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand? That fiddled while the planet burned?" he said.

Greenhouse gas emissions have risen steadily for the past decade despite the current and future threat posed by climate change, according to a new United Nations report.

The annual report compares how clean the world's economies are to how clean they need to be to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change — a disparity known as the "emissions gap."

For generations, farmers in the Harchi Valley in Pakistan's highlands enjoyed a close relationship with the glacier that snakes between two mountain peaks. It watered their fields, orchards and grazing lands.

Following local tradition, it has a name — Ultar — and a gender — male, because it is black owing to the debris that covers it (female glaciers are white, residents say).

When it comes to global health, the world has made remarkable strides over the past two decades. There has been unprecedented progress vaccinating kids, treating diseases and lifting millions out of poverty. The childhood death rate has been slashed in half since 2000. Adults are living an average 5 1/2 years longer.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"Venice is on its knees," Mayor Luigi Brugnaro says as the lagoon city suffers through some of the worst flooding in its history. The highest tide in 50 years has brought seawater that is threatening monuments and works of art in the historic city.

With more than 85 percent of the city flooded, Brugnaro says the city is in a state of emergency and that he has asked Italy's government for help.

The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. The withdrawal will be complete this time next year, after a one-year waiting period has elapsed.

"We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday.

The Trump administration has spent three years trying to help the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and pushing for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. Still, the long list of coal company bankruptcies has continued, and dozens more plants have announced their retirement since President Trump took office.

Audubon Great Lakes

A new report shows climate change could eradicate two thirds of the bird species now prevalent in Ohio by the end of the century. 

In London and Amsterdam, in Sydney and New York, and in other major cities dotting the map in between, demonstrators crammed main arteries and were arrested by the hundreds Monday as they railed against government inaction on climate change.

Each summer for the last two decades, Jim Parker has readied his small whale watch boat, and made a business out of ferrying tourists out into the cool blue waters of the Gulf of Maine.

For years, it was steady work. The basin brimmed with species that whales commonly feed on, making it a natural foraging ground for the aquatic giants. Whales would cluster at certain spots in the gulf, providing a reliable display for enchanted visitors to the coastal community of Milbridge, Maine.

In recent weeks, children marched, nations made promises and teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg scolded world leaders for "failing us." But while one of the groups most vulnerable to climate change, the Pacific Islands, may have received fewer headlines, it was among those making the strongest calls for action.

As the world's climate changes, ocean warming is accelerating and sea levels are rising more quickly, warns a new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report is a synthesis of the most up-to-date climate science on oceans and ice, and it lays out a stark reality: Ocean surface temperatures have been warming steadily since 1970, and for the past 25 years or so, they've been warming twice as fast.

Just two days after the Trump administration revoked California's right to set its own emissions standards for automobiles, the state has fired back.

California, 22 other states and several major cities filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the division of the Department of Transportation that issued the rule revoking California's authority.

Andy Chow

Hundreds of students skipped class to rally at the Statehouse Friday for action against climate change as part of the worldwide Climate Strike protest.

Amazon is "done being in the middle of the herd" when it comes to climate-focused company policies, CEO Jeff Bezos said Thursday.

The company is pledging to power its global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy by 2030 and to be carbon-neutral by 2040. To help get there, it plans to buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Michigan-based company Rivian, in which Amazon previously invested.

Annie Haigler steps out of her home in Louisville, Ky., pulling a handkerchief out of her pocket to dab sweat off her forehead. She enjoys sitting on her porch, especially to watch the sunrise. She has always been a morning person.

But as the day progresses, the heat can be unbearable for her. On summer days like this, when highs reach into the 90s, the lack of trees in her neighborhood is hard for Haigler to ignore.

"That's what I'm accustomed to trees doing: They bring comfort. You don't notice it, you don't think about it. But they bring comfort to you," she says.

When Shakira Franklin drives from West Baltimore to her job near the city's Inner Harbor, she can feel the summer heat ease up like a fist loosening its grip.

"I can actually feel me riding out of the heat. When I get to a certain place when I'm on my way, I'll turn off my air and I'll roll my windows down," says Franklin. "It just seems like the sun is beaming down on this neighborhood."

A major Australian government report is warning that the time to take action to protect the Great Barrier Reef's long-term future is now.

The Australian federal government says the overall outlook of the reef to "very poor," a downgrade from the "poor" grade assigned to the reef in 2014, the last time Australia released this type of report.

The Trump administration is proposing to slash restrictions on the oil and gas industry for methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that is a powerful driver of climate change.

Environmental groups are alarmed. "This would be a huge step backward," said Ben Ratner, a senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund. "It would cause greatly increased pollution and a big missed opportunity to take cost effective immediate action to reduce the rate of warming right now."

Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.

The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane.

Viktoriia Radchuk, an evolutionary ecologist at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, wanted to know how animals were responding to climate change.

So she scoured the results of more than 10,000 animal studies — on species from frogs to snakes, from insects to birds to mammals — looking for information on how changing environments were affecting animal behavior. Based on the available data, she decided to focus on birds in the Northern Hemisphere.

Robert Henry is driving along the top of a Mississippi River levee, giving me a tour of land where he'd love to be planting soybeans right now. We're just east of New Madrid, Mo.

"Smells kind of raunchy, doesn't it?" he says.

From the window of Henry's truck, I see what looks like a swamp, with trees standing in water. Then we make a turn, and suddenly, as far as I can see, there's water. It covers a wide flood plain between the main river channel and the levee. This is where Henry normally grows his crops.

People across southern Louisiana are spending the weekend worried about flooding. The water is coming from every direction: the Mississippi River is swollen with rain that fell weeks ago farther north, and a storm called Barry is pushing ocean water onshore while it drops more rain from above.

It's a situation driven by climate change, and one that Louisiana has never dealt with, at least in recorded history. And it's raising questions about whether New Orleans and other communities are prepared for such an onslaught.

When Michael Howard arrives for a checkup with his lung specialist, he's worried about how his body will cope with the heat and humidity of a Boston summer.

"I lived in Florida for 14 years and I moved back because the humidity was just too much," Howard tells pulmonologist Mary Rice, as he settles into an exam room chair at a Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare clinic.

President Trump used the pomp and circumstance of the East Room, complete with an entrance to "Hail to the Chief" and a bevy of supportive Cabinet members, to tout "America's Environmental Leadership" on Monday. There was no new policy announcement. In fact, the event felt mostly like a campaign rally. But it may amount to recognition that the environment and climate change are a growing concern for U.S. voters and an issue on which Democrats hold an edge.

It's a sweltering morning in Beltsville, Md., and I'm face-to-face with bee doom. Mark Dykes, a "Bee Squad coordinator" at the University of Maryland, shakes a Mason jar filled with buzzing honeybees that are coated with powdered sugar. The sugar loosens the grip of tiny Varroa mites, a parasite that plagues bees; as he sifts the powder into a bowl, they poke out like hairy pebbles in snow.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump has thrown his latest lifeline to the ailing coal industry, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama's key policies to address climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its Affordable Clean Energy rule on Wednesday. It's supported by the coal industry, but it is not clear that it will be enough to stop more coal-fired power plants from closing.

Pages