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How Volkswagen turned from diesel pariah into elec...

Three years ago, Volkswagen AG was in the depths of scandal because it lied about the emissions of its diesel cars. As 2019 begins, it has emerged as the most disruptive player in the business of selling a different kind of fuel: the electrons that move electric cars. This is a direct result of its diesel cheating. Ordered by U.S. and California officials to build a $2 billion profit-seeking business in electric vehicle...

How we can combat climate change

Last year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounded the alarm: The world has until 2030 to implement “rapid and far-reaching” changes to our energy, infrastructure and industrial systems to avoid 2 degrees Celsius of warming, which could be catastrophic. But the scale of the challenge can appear so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start. The Post asked activists, politicians and...

2018: A Year of Fighting Plastic Waste

The plastic pollution crisis has been building for some time now, to the point where around eight million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year. In response, a movement to cut down on plastic waste has also been gaining momentum, but 2018 was the year it really picked up speed, with everyone from ordinary tourists to major companies to the Queen of England lending their hands to push it along. Part of the...

Feeling Blue About Climate Change? You’re Not Alon...

It’s been a tough year for those of us in the climate change community. Each week has seemed to bring either a fresh report reminding us of how precious little time we have left to try to turn this ship around or a disaster that has climate change’s fingerprints all over it. Friends, family, colleagues and reporters have all asked whether I’m optimistic or hopeful about our ability to limit the severity of...

Germany Closes Its Last Active Coal Mine, Ending 2...

Germany will witness the end of an era Friday. Around mid-afternoon, a team of dusty miners will bring up the last lumps of hard coal mined in the country from the Prosper-Haniel mine in Bottrop, in the heart of Germany’s industrial northwest. It’s a bittersweet farewell for an area already down on its luck. Prosper-Haniel was the last operating hard coal mine in a region defined by that industry for 200 years. The Ruhr...

How to sort out good-faith questions about climate...

Sure, there are trolls out there – but don’t rule out productive conversations with others because of them. The comment haunted me in its wrongness: “One volcanic eruption dwarfs human CO2.” I jumped in. “No, not even close, Don. Humans emit 100 times the CO2 that volcanoes do, every single year. Your willingness to spread false information doesn’t speak too highly of your judgment.” My finger hovered over the...

Germany’s green transition has hit a brick wall

More people are finally beginning to realize that supplying the world with sufficient, stable energy solely from sun and wind power will be impossible. Germany took on that challenge, to show the world how to build a society based entirely on “green, renewable” energy. It has now hit a brick wall. Despite huge investments in wind, solar and biofuel energy production capacity, Germany has not reduced CO2 emissions over the...

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here

What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth? Sune Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing. It was summer. He was out in the country, moving fast. But strangely, he wasn’t eating any bugs. For a moment,...

Is nuclear energy the key to saving the planet?

A new generation of environmentalists is learning to stop worrying and love atomic power. Emma Redfoot stands at a whiteboard in a small conference room, sketching neutrons, protons and nuclei, her voice rising enthusiastically as she explains nuclear fission: A neutron blasted into a uranium-235 atom shatters the atom, releasing energy and yet more neutrons that split other uranium atoms, causing a frenetically energetic...

Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at its fastest ra...

The ice that sits atop Greenland spans an area more than three times the size of Texas and almost two miles deep at its thickest. If this frigid white expanse ridged with crystal blue rivers of meltwater were to thaw completely, it would raise global sea levels by more than 20 feet. Which is why it’s alarming that scientists are reporting this week that this sheet of ice is thawing, and doing so at an accelerating rate not...

‘A kind of dark realism’: Why the climate change p...

Smoke and steam billow from Belchatow Power Station, Europe’s largest coal-fired power plant, operated by PGE Group, on Wednesday near Belchatow, Poland. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters) In the daunting math of climate action, individual choices and government policies aren’t adding up. Solar panels are being nailed to rooftops, colossal wind turbines bestride the plains and oceans, and a million electric vehicles are on U.S....

Why people become vegans: The history, sex and sci...

At the age of 14, a young Donald Watson watched as a terrified pig was slaughtered on his family farm. In the British boy’s eyes, the screaming pig was being murdered. Watson stopped eating meat and eventually gave up dairy as well. Later, as an adult in 1944, Watson realized that other people shared his interest in a plant-only diet. And thus veganism – a term he coined – was born. Flash-forward to today, and Watson’s...

Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Ins...

A decade ago, the U.S. mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation — and a huge spike in carbon emissions. The remains of an Indonesian rain forest that was cleared to make way for oil palms.CreditCreditAshley Gilbertson/VII, for The New York Times This article is a partnership between ProPublica, where Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior reporter, and The New York Times Magazine. The...

‘The Window of Opportunity for Action Is Alm...

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now at 405.5 parts per million (ppm), or 146 percent of pre-1750 levels. The concentration of methane is now at around 1,859 parts per billion (ppb), around 257 percent of pre-industrial levels, and the concentration of nitrous oxide reached about 329.9 ppb, or 122 percent of pre-industrial levels. “The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration...

Healthier Products, Healthier People

Six Classes The Six Classes is a program of the Green Science Policy Institute that focuses on reducing the use of entire classes of chemicals of concern, rather than phasing out problematic chemicals one at a time. This approach of tackling entire groups of chemicals is needed because more than 80,000 chemicals are used in the U.S. Many have not been well studied and their impacts on human and environmental health are not...