• ENERGY SECURITYHow Do We Dismantle Offshore Oil Structures Without Making the Public Pay?

    By Martin Lockman and Martin Dietrich Brauch

    More than 12,000 offshore oil and gas installations straddle the globe, and industry analysts anticipate annual offshore oil and gas investments to reach $173 billion by 2024. A number of oil companies are expected to significantly expand their offshore drilling activities in the coming years. At the same time, many jurisdictions face a growing need to dismantle offshore infrastructure, whether because it is aging, the resources are depleted, or mandated net-zero strategies require some installations to be decommissioned earlier than expected.

  • COASTAL CHALLENGES‘A Silent Killer’: How Saltwater Intrusion is Overtaking Coastal Farmland in the U.S.

    By Peggy Chen

    As hurricanes get stronger, storm surges are bringing saltwater to farmland—and leaving salt there once waters evaporate. And as sea level increases due to climate change, the difference between ocean water levels and soil elevation is decreasing, making post-storm water runoff more difficult. With enough flooding, the soil on farms could become so salinized that crops can no longer be grown on that land. The salt eventually makes contact with freshwater aquifers, thus salinizing them.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSLarge Lithium Deposits Discovered in a Caldera on the Nevada-Oregon Border

    Geologists estimate that about 20 to 40 million tons of lithium metal – among the world’s largest deposits – are available in the McDermitt Caldera on the Nevada-Oregon border. “If you believe their back-of-the-envelope estimation, this is a very, very significant deposit of lithium,” says one expert. “It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.”

  • DISASTERS2023: Record Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

    2023 still has three-and-a-half months to go, but it has already broken the record for $1-billion climate-driven disasters, that is, disasters which have caused damage of at least $1 billion. So far this year, the United States has experienced 23 such disasters. The previous record – 22 $1-billion climate disasters – was in 2020. The 1980–2022 annual average is 8.1 $1-billion events; the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2018–2022) is 18.0 $1-billion events.

  • WILDFIRESThe U.S. Is Spending Billions to Reduce Forest Fire Risks – We Mapped the Hot Spots Where Treatment Offers the Biggest Payoff for People and Climate

    By Jamie Peeler

    In a new study, my colleagues and I mapped out where forest treatments can do the most to simultaneously protect communities – by preventing wildfires from turning into disasters – and also protect the forests and the climate we rely on, by keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and stored in healthy soils and trees.

  • POWER GRIDHow ERCOT Is Narrowly Getting Through an Extreme Summer — and How Experts Say It Could Do Better

    By Emily Foxhall

    Record-high power demand and faltering electricity sources have tested the grid in the past month, forcing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to dig deep into its toolbox to keep power flowing.

  • WILDFIRESNorth America’s Summer of Wildfire Smoke: 2023 Was Only the Beginning

    By Charles O. Stanier and Gregory Carmichael

    Canada’s seemingly endless wildfires in 2023 introduced millions of people across North America to the health hazards of wildfire smoke. While Western states have contended with smoky fire seasons for years, the air quality alerts across the U.S. Midwest and Northeast this summer reached levels never seen there before. The pressing question on many people’s minds: “Is this the new normal?” From our perspective as air quality scientists, we think the answer is likely “yes.”

  • DISASTERSA Tropical Storm in California? Warmer Waters and El Niño Made It Possible.

    By Naveena Sadasivam

    Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in Mexico and crossed into California last weekend, knocking out power and drenching wide swaths of southern California. Los Angeles received 2.48 inches of rain on Sunday, breaking a single-day record from 1906 of 0.03 inches. Storm Hilary adds to the lengthy list of climate-fueled disasters this summer.

  • HEAT RESILIENCEScientists Are Helping Cities Adapt to Extreme Heat

    By Theresa Duque

    Extreme heat is dangerous and is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths, and in a warming world, extreme heat is becoming the norm, not the exception. Scientists are working to mitigate the effects of extreme heat by developing strategies to build heat resilience which would allow communities to adapt to and thrive in a warming climate.

  • WILDFIRESWildfires Are Much Worse Than a Sign of Climate Change

    By Alvin Powell

    Summer headlines have screamed of climate extremes: Record temperatures, an ocean heat wave, and rampant wildfires. The fires present a dual problem: Not only are they a symptom of climate change — becoming bigger, hotter, and more common in regions where they can affect large population centers — but they also make the crisis worse. By burning vast layers of partially decomposed vegetable matter called peat, fires like those in Canada release even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

  • CLIMATE & PROPERTY INSURANCEClimate Change and U.S. Property Insurance: A Stormy Mix

    By Alice C. Hill

    Accelerating risks and damage from climate change are spurring private insurers in the United States to limit coverage in a growing number of areas, thus imposing mounting stress on local communities and straining the country’s overall economic health.

  • WATER SECURITYFeds Ease Up on Colorado River Restrictions — for Now

    By Jake Bittle

    The water shortage crisis on the Colorado River is improving, but it’s far from over. The water levels in the river’s two main reservoirs have begun to stabilize, lessening the need for states in the Southwest to cut their water usage. This year’s wet winter helped save the river from collapse, but a reckoning is on the horizon.

  • GEOENGINEERINGGeoengineering Sounds Like a Quick Climate Fix, but Without More Research and Guardrails, It’s a Costly Gamble − with Potentially Harmful Results

    By David Kitchen

    The underlying problem has been known for decades: Fossil-fuel vehicles and power plants, deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices have been putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the Earth’s systems can naturally remove, and that’s heating up the planet. Geoengineering, theoretically, aims to restore that balance, either by removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reflecting solar energy away from Earth. But changing Earth’s complex and interconnected climate system may have unintended consequences.

  • ENERGY SECURITYNREL Analysis Reveals Benefits of Hydropower for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

    Closed-loop pumped storage hydropower systems rank as having the lowest potential to add to the problem of global warming for energy storage when accounting for the full impacts of materials and construction, according to new analysis. These systems rely on water flowing between two reservoirs to generate and store power.

  • FOOD SECURITYMore U.S. Crops to Require Irrigation

    With climate change, irrigating more crops in the United States will be critical to sustaining future yields, as drought conditions are likely to increase due to warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns. Yet less than 20% of the nation’s croplands are equipped for irrigation.