We live in a world filled with synthetic chemicals, many with known or suspected health hazards. Can green chemistry, the design of chemical products without hazardous substances, provide a solution?
China became the world’s largest carbon polluter in 2006, surpassing the U.S. But it is also rapidly going green through cutting coal use, investing heavily in renewable energy and launching the world’s largest carbon trading system.
“Climate change has been making the fire season in the United States longer and on average more intense,” said John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor. And, wildfires are not only intensified by climate change, they also exacerbate it.
To feed our burgeoning global population, the world has to at least double crop yields by 2050, by improving seeds of high yielding crops and cultivating healthy fertile soils. A new on-the-spot soil testing kit will help meet this challenge.
Contagious diseases are on the rise as a result of climate change and other rapid environmental and social changes. A number of climate-sensitive diseases are expected to worsen with higher temperatures and more extreme weather.
About 50 percent of the CO2 produced by human activity remains in the atmosphere, warming the planet. But scientists don’t know where and how oceans and plants have absorbed the rest of the manmade CO2. To try to answer these questions, on July 2, 2014, NASA launched the $468 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), its first Earth remote sensing satellite dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide from space.
In 2005, Brazil was losing more forest each year than any other country. Today, Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 70 percent. Seventeen countries across four continents have also shown progress in reducing tropical deforestation. But there is still a long way to go.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural gas, has become a hot button issue across the U.S. But let’s try to look objectively at its benefits and risks.
In the light of recent varied efforts to focus public attention on the risks of climate change, we asked Earth Institute scientists what they want the public to understand about the issue and how they see their roles.