Less pollution during COVID-19 is not a 'silver lining', says UN environment chief

The environmental benefits of the coronavirus pandemic are only temporary, warns the head of the UN Environment Programme.

NASA and European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Satellite imagery shows that significantly lower air pollution over much of the planet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As the U.S. was preparing an economic stimulus package for struggling Americans, some lawmakers tried in vain to include environmental provisions.
  • Whether now is an appropriate time to consider restructuring the economy and energy infrastructure is a controversial topic.

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France will close all its coal power stations by 2021

French president Emmanuel Macron recently announced plans to close all of the country's coal-fired power plants two years ahead of schedule.

French President Emmanuel Macron — Photo: Ludovic Martin/Getty

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Big Solar Energy Projects Are Quietly Happening Under Trump

A massive solar project has just been completed, and its specs are impressive.

Credit: Getty Images.

Environmentalists so far are infuriated by the actions of the Trump White House. With a little less than a year in office, the administration has opened up public and protected lands to energy exploration, removed the US from the Paris Agreement, and scrapped the Clean Power Plan. In the near future, there are plans to expand offshore drilling, sell off public lands in the West, and allow for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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America’s Next Moonshot: Cut Poverty 50% by 2030

In the summer of 1969, America did the extraordinary. Let’s do it again.

Optimism, as defined by economist Jeffrey Sachs, is more than just a translucent, faraway wish. It means having bold goals and acting on them—even if you have no plan or existing knowledge of how you'll get there. The US was once good at this: In May 1961, President Kennedy stood before Congress and announced that the US would land a man on the moon and bring him back safely before the decade was out. In the summer of 1969, that mission was achieved. If American politicians, scientists, engineers and the public could unite for the space race, then the same is unquestionably possible for the urgent humanistic causes of poverty, inequality, and curbing global warming, which will create millions of climate refugees this century. Optimism doesn't just require vision and determination—it needs a deadline, as JFK showed. By 2030, let's mobilize our optimism to cut poverty in half in America, and make a decisive move to renewable energy.

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Hey Bill Nye! What's the Best Way to Handle Overpopulation?

How will we deal with the impending overpopulation crisis – and how much of a crisis is it anyway?

The population is growing, says Bill Nye, but it’s important to note that the rate of growth is slowing down. Why? Because the more our societies educate girls, the fewer children they have once they’re women. The population will very likely rise to 9 or 10 billion people and the world does have enough resources to look after us all, provided we do three things to redistribute resources globally, not just in developed nations. We need to produce reliable renewable energy to get electricity to every individual on the planet. We need to use that clean energy to increase the quality of water sanitation systems in developing nations so we lose less time and lives combating diseases, time which children could better spend in school. We must continue to educate girls and women, as quickly as we can, which means providing access to the internet and other information resources, globally. It’s in our best interest; if women have more control over their lives and reproductive choices, the world’s resources become more ample for each individual. Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.

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