Environment + Energy – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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Smallholder agriculture in southern Ethiopia. Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Leah Samberg

World hunger is increasing thanks to wars and climate change

According to the UN, world hunger is rising for the first time in 15 years. The answer is not only growing more food, but also buffering small-scale farmers against climate change and armed conflicts.
Wildfire creates an orange glow in a view from a hilltop Oct. 13, 2017, in Geyserville, California. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Wildfire smoke and health: 5 questions answered

Wildfires in California have triggered a public health emergency. One threat is smoke inhalation: Some air readings have registered pollution levels comparable to bad air days in Beijing or Mumbai.
Grid operators set the prices for energy markets and are structured to take the lowest prices – a disadvantage for coal and nuclear power.

The pull of energy markets – and legal challenges – will blunt plans to roll back EPA carbon rules

Two moves by the Trump administration signal a dramatic shift in energy policy to favor coal and nuclear, but markets forces and legal challenges mean changes could take years.
TVA Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee, site of a 1.1 billion gallon spill of coal ash slurry in 2008, photographed on March 28, 2012. Appalachian Voices

Trump’s policies will harm coal-dependent communities instead of helping them

Rural development experts say the best way to help coal communities by is investing in people, infrastructure and a clean environment. Instead, President Trump's budget cuts programs in these areas.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed shrinking Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and allowing more public access and road maintenance. Bob Wich/BLM

Shrinking and altering national monuments: Experts assess Interior Secretary Zinke’s proposals

Environmental law and natural resource experts respond to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's proposals to shrink four national monuments and allow logging, fishing and other activities in six more.
Coastal wetlands are an effective first line of defense and act by slowing down storm surges and reducing flooding. Kelly Fike/USFWS

As communities rebuild after hurricanes, study shows wetlands can significantly reduce property damage

New research by scholars, conservationists and the insurance industry shows that coastal wetlands provide hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of protection from flooding, boosting the case for protecting them.
The imposition of steep duties on imported solar panel components could jeopardize thousands of jobs in the industry. Reuters/Mike Blake

How Trump could undermine the US solar boom

A trade spat could jack up the cost of going solar, killing jobs and obstructing efforts to do something about climate change.
A male boreal toad waits for opportunities to mate near a Colorado mountain lake. Brittany Mosher

Saving amphibians from a deadly fungus means acting without knowing all the answers

Frogs and toads are declining around the world, with many species on the brink of extinction. Acting in time means trying strategies without complete information about how likely they are to work.
Crews work to restore power and traffic lights knocked out by Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 8, 2016, in Flagler Beach, Florida. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Rebuilding after disasters: 5 essential reads

As Texas and Florida rebuild after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, they should plan for future climate change and design infrastructure that can respond to and recover from extreme events.
Satellite image on Sept. 7, 2017 shows three hurricanes: Irma in the center just north of the island of Hispaniola, Katia on the left in the Gulf of Mexico and Jose in the Atlantic Ocean on the right. NOAA via AP

Do hurricanes feel the effects of climate change?

What scientists know – and don't know – about the linkage between climate change and hurricanes.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused widespread power outages. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Should the US put power lines underground?

Would putting power lines underground avoid hurricanes knocking out electricity service for millions of people? The answer is not as straightforward as it seems.
Colleen Burge counts oysters on an oyster aquaculture lease in California. Collin Closek

A deadly herpes virus is threatening oysters around the world

Oysters grow in seawater and filter their food from it, so how do you shield them from waterborne diseases? Scientists are working to develop strains that are resistant to a fast-spreading herpes virus.