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Global Climate Change

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.

Remember Boaty McBoatface? In the years since the naming snafu over a research vessel grabbed international headlines, Boaty has been off gathering crucial deep-sea data on the effects of climate change.

Now, the findings from Boaty's first mission are out — and they shed light on how Antarctic winds that are strengthening due to climate change are impacting sea levels.

But before we dive into what Boaty found, let's remember how it got here.

After several quiet years, the United States was threatening to break a major record for tornado activity this week as a volatile mix of warm, moist air from the Southeast and persistent cold from the Rockies clashed and stalled over the Midwest.

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When the Camp Fire raced into the Northern California town of Paradise on Nov. 8, destroying nearly 19,000 structures and claiming 85 lives, Chris Beaudis narrowly escaped. He drove out of the Sierra foothills in his Ford Bronco with only his pit bull. He lost everything and has no insurance.

Up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to scientists and researchers who produced a sweeping U.N. report on how humanity's burgeoning growth is putting the world's biodiversity at perilous risk.

More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or not, two-thirds of Republicans and 9 in 10 Democrats agree that the subject needs to be taught in school.

A separate poll of teachers found that they are even more supportive, in theory — 86% agree that climate change should be taught.

Hurricane Maria was the rainiest storm known to have hit Puerto Rico, and climate change is partly to blame, according to a new study.

The worst rain fell in the mountainous central part of Puerto Rico, from the northwest to the southeast. That part of the island is rainy under normal conditions. In an average year, it gets more than 150 inches of rain.

When Maria hit in 2017, it dropped nearly a quarter of that annual rainfall in just one day.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. If you want to hear some alarming facts about climate change, Bill McKibben has them. He writes in his new book that as the Earth warms, we're now seeing lethal heatwaves in some parts of the world and that the largest physical structures on our planet - the ice caps, coral reefs and rainforests - are disappearing before our eyes.

President Trump stood in front of an audience of operating engineers in Crosby, Texas, on Wednesday and promised to make it easier for them to lay pipe.

"Nobody in the world can do what you folks do," Trump said to applause from the assembled crowd. "And we're going to make it easier for you."

Climate change is often thought of as a partisan issue in the United States, but New York Times journalist Nathaniel Rich says that wasn't always the case.

Rich says that from 1979 until 1989, climate change was viewed as a bipartisan problem — then the the oil industry "descended and bared its fangs" and everything changed.

Environmental Law and Policy Center

A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather such as heat waves and drought.  

A youth movement that started with a teenager in Sweden spread across the world on Friday, evidenced by the students from London to New Delhi who skipped school to take part in demonstrations calling for action on climate change.

Associated Press

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Columbus on Friday for the oil-and-gas industry.

In a letter to President Trump, 58 former military and national security officials expressed deep concern about reported plans to create "a committee to dispute and undermine military and intelligence judgments on the threat posed by climate change."

Twenty five years ago, William Happer had an encounter with the White House that ended badly.

Wallace Broecker, a climate scientist who brought the term "global warming" into the public and scientific lexicon, died on Monday. He was 87.

Broecker, a professor in the department of earth and environmental science at Columbia, was among the early scientists who raised alarms about the drastic changes in the planet's climate that humans could bring about over a relatively short period of time.

Almond bloom comes nearly all at once in California — a flush of delicate pale blooms that unfold around Valentine's Day.

And beekeeper Bret Adee is hustling to get his hives ready, working through them on a Central Valley ranch before placing them in orchards.

He deftly tap-taps open a hive. "We're gonna open this up, and you're going to see a whole lot of bees here," Adee says.

Under the lid, the exposed sleepy occupants hum away. He uses a handheld smoker to keep them calm and huddled around their queen.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

Whether it's a deadly cold snap or a hole under an Antarctic glacier or a terrifying new report, there seem to be constant reminders now of the dangers that climate change poses to humanity.

In a cow pasture near Shawnee in central Oklahoma, Kirk Wilson parks his work truck, grabs a harness, and prepares for a 30-foot climb.

A Swedish teenager had a stark message for global elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg spoke about climate change during a Thursday luncheon at the forum to an audience which included Bono, Jane Goodall and Will.i.am.

In 2018, Americans watched as California towns were incinerated by fires, hurricanes devastated coastal communities and a government report sounded the alarm about the impacts of a changing climate.

All those factors contributed to significant changes in perceptions of global warming in the U.S., according to the authors of a new public opinion survey.

The proportion of Americans who said global warming is "personally important" to them jumped from 63 percent to 72 percent from March to December of last year.

columbus.gov

A tree planting program proposed during the administration of former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman is being reevaluated after failing to meet its goal. 

Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are on the rise again after several years of decline, and a booming economy is the cause.

That's according to a report out today from the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm that tracks CO2 emissions in the U.S.

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