Warmer, stormier and more extreme

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science, Latest Headlines

The past ten years were terrible for humanity’s effort to slow global warming, a disaster of its own making. Bloomberg Opinion’s Faye Flam has a concise summary of the scientific research on climate change completed over the previous decade. As for the coming decade? It will be warmer, stormier and more extreme. —Josh Petri 

“Our children and grandchildren are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of what we do, or fail to do, today. That is why I am making every effort to ensure that Germany does its part—environmentally, economically and socially—to deal with climate change.”

—German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her New Year’s address.

Top stories

Merkel has good reason to be concerned. Germany had its third-warmest year on record last year, including the hottest June since regular measurements began in 1881.

Goldman Sachs and other big banks have made news in recent weeks by announcing tougher stances on fossil fuel financing. But behind the headlines, their “green” plans still include lots of oil and gas.

China solar manufacturers are ramping up capacity as they prepare to cut costs. One such company announced plans to invest $947 million to build two new plants in the next four years.

A group of Amazon employees who pushed the company to combat climate change say the retailer has threatened to fire some of them if they continue to speak out.

Australia’s catastrophic wildfires have taken a huge toll: Some 18 people dead, more than 1,000 houses destroyed and huge amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere. Thousands of tourists, meanwhile, were stranded on beaches, forced to await military rescue. The growing crisis has cut short any political honeymoon for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose right wing government has cast doubt on climate science while encouraging more profits for his country’s powerful coal industry. The flames have fanned anger that Morrison’s pro-fossil fuel policies are hurting a nation that’s bearing the brunt of a global calamity. For his part, Morrison denies the unprecedented fires are linked to global warming. He was heckled by residents of a partially destroyed town, where a father and son died.