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These are the nine best climate stories for the year

These are the nine best climate stories for the year

The nine best climate stories of the year

Did the oil industry make climate change a crime by lying about it? What would happen if a hurricane struck the Houston ship channel. What is a “bird wreck” and what does it have to do with global warming? What threat does the climate crisis present to national security How does fusion fit into this century’s decarbonization landscape? How does it feel to have wildfires blazing in your backyard?

These are just some of the questions. BulletinThis year, staffers and contributors attempted to answer these questions in stories that were instructive and enraging as well as moving. They might be a call for action or offer a path forward. Sometimes, they even offer a glimpse of hope. They are all worth revisiting regardless of their content or tone.

Gathering storm: The industrial infrastructure catastrophe looming over America’s Gulf coast

By Tristan Baurick

One million gallons worth of crude oil were dumped into the streets of Chalmette in Louisiana after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina moved a Murphy refinery storage tank over 30 feet. (EPA)

This Bulletin/MIT analysis found that nearly 4,900 toxic chemical handling sites are located in flood-prone areas in Texas and Louisiana. A major hurricane at the wrong time would cause an environmental disaster. The government’s current plan to protect Gulf Coast infrastructure—the $29 billion Ike Dike—will not stand up to major storms, experts say, and industry isn’t taking enough steps to guard against accidents either.

Big Oil’s lies about climate change—a climate scientist’s take

By Adam Sobel

The fossil fuel industry lies about carbon dioxide and its impact on climate change. But is “crime” the right adjective to use to describe the activities of Big Oil? Adam Sobel, climate scientist, argues that the moral case for doing so is strong.

Big Oil Adverts to Be Abandoned

By Dan Drollette

In the world of advertising, a new campaign takes place—against advertising. “Clean Creatives” seeks to get individuals in the ad industry to stop abetting misinformation campaigns, and even stop taking business from the fossil fuel companies entirely.

From Greenville to Greece, it’s code red

Dawn Stover

With fires raging across the West, the United Nations has issued a “code red” for the climate. There are still many things that can be done in order to save ecosystems and human communities from a terrible future.

firefighter with wild fire in Australia
Clay Stephens, a firefighter from Idaho, assists with a wildfire (what Aussies call a “bushfire”) near the Tambo Complex Fire in the Australian state of Victoria. Image courtesy BLM-Idaho.

The heat can make you die

By Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick was a climate scientist and an hydrologist. Perhaps he should have known better than to perform physical labor in extreme heat. But heat is the deadliest of natural disasters for a reason—it can sneak up on you.

First, global warming. Then came hurricanes. Then, more migratory birds die?

By John Morales

Severe weather, exacerbated by climate changes, is causing havoc on bird species during their epic annual migrations across the Gulf of Mexico and up the East Coast. Storms can either kill them or cause them to drift off course. This was the case when dead White-tailed Tropicbirds (native to Bermuda) were discovered in New Hampshire following Hurricane Irene. Researchers term such mass deaths “bird wrecks.”

See Also

“Harrowing” intelligence report still downplays threat of climate change to national security

By Jessica McKenzie

Carrying whatever possessions they can, women arrive in a steady trickle at a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) established next to a base of the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) near Jowhar. Heavy rains in Somalia, coupled with recent clashes between clans, has resulted in over four thousand IDPs seeking shelter at the base.
Floods and conflict in Somalia have caused thousands to be forced from their homes near Jowhar. (Photo by UN Photo/Tobin J.)

An 18-member US intelligence agency has released a first-of their kind report that explains how the global climate crisis could worsen geopolitical tensions. But will the government heed this warning? (A similar report from over a decade ago was kept classified because the United States didn’t want representatives from countries identified as especially vulnerable to climate change to start calling and asking for resources to help with mitigation and adaptation earlier than they would otherwise.)

Fusion’s role in fighting climate change

By Robert J. Goldston & Jacob A. Schwartz

While it may be unlikely that fusion will contribute in a major way to President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing US electrical energy production by 2035, between 2035 and 2100, the worldwide demand for energy is expected to climb fourfold. This will require that low-carbon energy sources, such as fusion, be used on a greater scale to meet the demand without causing further global warming.

Climate change: Why Bill Gates is wrong and John Kerry are wrong

John Carey

Despite what Bill Gates has to say—let alone climate czar John Kerry, who should have known better—we don’t have to rely on a miracle coming out of nowhere to deal with climate change. We already have all the technologies we need, here and now—and these tools will only get a lot better and cheaper, if recent history is any guide.

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