Environment

I entered the packed cafeteria with tray in hand, searching for the right food to eat.

Around me, hundreds of people of all ages spoke excitedly in dozens of different languages, commenting on each other's ideas, asking questions, and thinking of the next steps in their research programs.

Lunchtime at the United Nations?

In a region better known for its ice and snow, it's a fire that now has scientists struggling to learn more. Since at least the end of last month, a stretch of land in western Greenland has been alight with a "sizable wildfire," NASA says.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Aug 8, 2017

With guest host John Donvan.

Air conditioning does more than keep our temperatures low and utility bills high:

Editor's note, Aug. 10: An earlier version of this story said the draft climate report had been leaked by The New York Times, which has since updated its coverage to reflect that a version of the report was made available by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January.


A draft government report on climate says the U.S. is already experiencing the consequences of global warming. The findings sharply contrast with statements by President Trump and some members of his Cabinet, who have sought to downplay the changing climate.

To see this month's total solar eclipse, the first one to be visible from the contiguous United States in nearly 40 years, all Donald Liebenberg will have to do is open his front door and step outside.

"It's a really special treat to be able to have one in my driveway," says Liebenberg, who has trekked to Turkey, Zambia, China and Pukapuka, a remote island in the Pacific, to see past eclipses.

A task force is recommending changes that could loosen protections for the greater sage grouse, a Western bird species renowned for its elaborate mating dance.

The report comes out of a review by the Trump administration of a massive Obama-era conservation plan for the bird which is imperiled by loss of habitat.

The administration says the revisions are aimed at giving states more flexibility. But critics argue that the changes favor mining and petroleum companies and could hurt the bird's long-term prospects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $275 million to upgrade defenses against an invading force. The enemy? A fish. Specifically, Asian carp that are threatening to break through to the Great Lakes.

German scientist Matthias Schmidt wants to extract rare earth metals from abandoned mines using bacteria. He has an unlikely partner — Nedal Said, a Syrian refugee scientist who escaped Aleppo.

Copyright 2017 Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. To see more, visit Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All his life, 56-year-old Jeanpier Marolahy has been growing rice in eastern Madagascar, on the steep hills that slope down from the central highlands toward the Indian Ocean.

The thin, weather-beaten Marolahy knows that rice production is all about water and timing. The grain needs a lot of water at first, but if torrential rains fall at harvest time, they can destroy the crop.

A decade ago, utility executives and policymakers dreamed of a clean energy future powered by a new generation of cheap, safe nuclear reactors. Projects to expand existing nuclear plants in South Carolina and Georgia were supposed to be the start of the "nuclear renaissance."

Barbershops and beauty salons are everywhere and overflowing with customers in Goma, a city on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Women get their hair extended, dyed, or elaborately braided. Men have the edges of their beards and moustaches shaped or faded in innumerable ways.

The shops become busier toward the end of the week as people get ready for clubbing, church, and other social outings. "Everybody is always trying to outdo everybody else," says journalist and filmmaker Shayla Harris. "It's like a nuclear arms race of aesthetics."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Think of plant pollination and you probably think of bees, summer flowers and bright sunshine.

But nocturnal insects such as beetles and flies also play a key role in the process. A new study sheds light on a previously unknown problem for these lesser-known pollinators, namely artificial lighting.

It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.2 hit central Oklahoma on Wednesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the sixth earthquake to affect the area in just over 24 hours.

Four hours later, a less intense earthquake of a preliminary magnitude 3.5 struck the area in the early hours of Thursday.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

As a climate change activist, former Vice President Al Gore is used to speaking in front of both hostile and friendly audiences. But there is one individual he has all but given up on.

"I have no illusions about the possibility of changing Donald Trump's mind," Gore says. "I think he has made it abundantly clear that he's throwing his lot in with the climate deniers."

Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition.

The lush, green canopy that is Bialowieza Forest spans 350,000 acres between Poland and Belarus. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a variety of endangered species like the European bison, which is slightly larger and leaner than its American cousin.

It also has some of the last old-growth forest in Europe, untouched by human hands, and there is a great deal of international interest in preserving the forest's delicate ecology.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it would waive environmental and other laws to ensure the "expeditious construction" of barriers and roads near the U.S.-Mexico border in the San Diego region. Environmentalists have warned that extending the border wall could damage ecosystems and threaten wildlife habitats.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that it will use its authority to bypass environmental laws and other regulations to "ensure the expeditious construction of barriers and roads" near the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego.

It's the end of only the first week of the official Atlantic sturgeon fishing season on the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. But the two fishermen who supply Cornel Ceapa's Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar company have already landed close to half of the season's catch.

Seven decades into the age of nuclear power, the United States has yet to solve the problem of waste. While the US argues and dawdles, however, Finland says it has found an answer — it plans to build one of the world’s first long-term nuclear waste storage facilities in a labyrinth of underground tunnels.

Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as "getting the school boards to recognize ... the garbage that's in our textbooks."

Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens' Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards.

New research from Duke University finds that typical amounts of household dust spurred the growth of mouse fat cells in a lab dish.

While this news may have you running for the vacuum, Chris Kassotis, a postdoctoral fellow at Duke’s Nicholas School for the Environment who conducted the research, cautions against overreacting.

The sea winds of Greece are legendary.

The strong, dry north Etesian winds, also known as the meltemia, blow on the Aegean Sea from May to September.

Then there are the fierce main winds, which blew mighty waves towards Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. "Then were the knees of Odysseus loosened and his heart melted, and deeply moved he spoke to his own mighty spirit: 'Ah me, wretched that I am! What is to befall me at the last?'"

Odysseus may have seen the winds as a curse. But on the island of Tilos, they're a blessing.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell this week said his company is making a striking shift in its thinking: It now expects oil prices to remain low forever. The global oil glut of recent years shows no sign of diminishing. Energy demand has leveled off. And if electric vehicles take off, oil prices could come under even more downward pressure.

A close-up of ice melting in brilliant sunshine is the first thing you see in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. It's gorgeous — snow crystals glistening, moisture dripping from them into a pool of water so pure and clear it makes you thirsty.

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