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2021 Climate Year in Review

2021 Climate Year in Review

Christopher Flavelle

Climate Fwd: 2021’s final edition! Despite the odd limbo status of the year (as our friends from the Styles desk pointed out), It was described), a lot happened this year on the topic of climate change and the environment. We’ve rounded up Check out the highlights of this coverage.

It may seem hard to believe that the year started with a presidential transition, riots at the Capitol and a blackout in Texas — but that was indeed this year. Before summer even began, drought, heat, and fires were already affecting the West. It’s been a year of challenges to a new administration’s climate agenda at home in the United States. The United Nations international conference on climate in Glasgow was held in fall. (Next year’s event is scheduled for November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.)

These are just some of the big news stories. We also investigated, explained, and debunked this year. Check out our roundupFor anything you may have missed. Do you think we’ve missed something? Let us know.

We appreciate your reading. We look forward to seeing you in 2022.

Chile. The Democratic Republic of Congo. Bolivia. The United States. These remote locations share one thing in common: they are home to the natural resources that will be the center of the competition for electric-car-resources.

For the latest article in The Times’s Race to the Future series, a yearlong project from colleagues all across the newsroom, Somini Sengupta traveled to the salt flats in Chile, the world’s second-largest producer of lithium. (Lithium is a crucial component in batteries.

Chile’s mining companies are eager to increase production as prices rise and demand increases. Politicians also see mining as a key to national prosperity. But some Chileans argue that the country’s very economic model, based on extraction of natural resources, has taken too high an environmental toll and failed to spread the benefits to all citizens, including its Indigenous people.

Amid this boom, a group of Chileans have been elected to the Constitutional Convention to write a new constitution during what they have declared a “climate and ecological emergency.”

The convention members will make many decisions, including: How should mining regulations be implemented? And what rights should local communities have regarding mining? Chile should keep a presidential system. Should nature be granted rights? What about future generations, too?

Read You can read the entire article hereThey are up against the competition

Quotable: “Someone buys an electric car and feels very good because they’re saving the planet,” said Cristina Dorador Ortiz, a microbiologist who is in the Constitutional Convention. “At the same time an entire ecosystem is damaged. It’s a big paradox.”

Even considering the terrible year that it was, the damage caused by tornadoes in the South and Midwest during this month was shocking. More than 90 peopleSeveral people were killed in Kentucky and four other states. Many more are homeless.

But this toll reflected human decisions as much as the force of tornadoes. As I Submitted recently, engineers know how to protect people and buildings against tornadoes: Safe rooms offer “near-absolute protection,” emergency officials say, while advances in structural design can keep buildings from flying apart in all but the most severe winds.

However, efforts to incorporate these advances into the building code have been repeatedly stopped or curtailed. Experts say that this is due to concerns about rising construction costs. Despite evidence that tornado resistant design can increase the cost of building houses by only a few thousand bucks, this worry persists.

In this way, failure to include scientific advances into the building codes may be cause for optimism: If the recent devastation was made more severe by human decisions, then future disasters can be less deadly.

Quotable: “It really does kind of boil down to money,” said Jason Thompson, vice president of engineering at the National Concrete Masonry Association and one of the proponents of tougher codes. “There’s just different groups out there that want to keep the cost of construction as low as possible.”

This week saw the deaths of two prominent scientists who contributed to our understanding of the planet and the animals that share it. Edward O. Wilson, 92 Thomas Lovejoy, 80.

Dr. Wilson is an expert in insects and studied the evolution, as well as how natural selection and other forces can produce something as complex, as an ant colony. He then championed this kind of research as a way of making sense of all behavior — including our own.

In 2016, Dr. Wilson published “Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” His 32nd book and personal exhortation on conserving biodiversity. The book suggests an unlikely prescription for the environment: Dr. Wilson suggests humanity set aside approximately 50 percent of the planet as a kind of permanent preserve, which is unaffected by man. (This interview focuses on his lifelong quest in his own words..)

Dr. Lovejoy’s field research in the Amazon was the centerpiece of a broad career dedicated to ecology. He invented “debt for nature” swaps, which let countries trade forgiveness of a portion of their foreign debt for their investments in conservation. He published an early projection of extinction rates, was a creator of the public television series “Nature” and popularized the term “biological diversity,” later shortened to biodiversity.

Continue reading to learn more about biodiversity news for 2021

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