Climate change

The big picture

Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show
Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show

It may have been only the sixth-warmest year, but extreme events dominated much of the planet in 2021.

Updated Jan 15, 2022 - Energy & Environment
U.S. had its second-highest total of billion dollar climate disasters in 2021

A total of 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters killed at least 688 people last year.

Jan 10, 2022 - Energy & Environment
Climate changes linked to Colorado's fire disaster

The urban firestorm could not have happened without a unique combination of climate factors.

Updated Dec 31, 2021 - Science
Exclusive: Youth climate activists get boost from Dutch tech billionaire

Many young people have been volunteering their time and money to protest climate change.

Dec 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment
How the Biden climate agenda could be rescued after Manchin stunner

Expect a far more ad-hoc approach, one that has less of a chance of meeting the administration's goals.

Dec 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment
The climate policy effects of Manchin's "no" on Build Back Better

The bill would have been the biggest climate legislation ever enacted by the U.S.

Dec 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

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Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The social cost of carbon is about to get an update

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The social cost of carbon, a crucial metric that helps shape government regulations on everything from methane emissions regulations to fuel economy standards, is set to be updated by the end of February.

Why it matters: It's expected to be adjusted upwards — which will have ripple effects throughout the federal government and economy at large, making high-polluting activities more expensive and regulations that crack down on emissions economically justifiable.

12 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

Your old T-shirt may be in a Chilean desert

Piles of thrown-out clothes from Europe, Asia and the U.S. ended up in a Chilean desert. Photo: Martín Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images

Chile’s Atacama Desert has become a clothing graveyard, with around 35,000 tons of unsold second-hand clothing getting dumped there every year. A handful of organizations are working to reduce and reuse the polluting fabrics.

What's happening: It starts when used clothing from the U.S, Europe and Asia arrives at Iquique, a tax-free port near the desert, for resale in Chile and other Latin American countries.

Jan 27, 2022 - World

Global spending on energy transition nears $1 trillion

Expand chart
Data: BloombergNEF; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The world invested $920 billion in clean energy deployment and innovation in 2021, a record high. However, in order to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, this figure must at least triple in the next few years, warns a report out Thursday from BloombergNEF.

Why it matters: This report provides a crucial snapshot of where public and private sector money is helping to shift economies away from their reliance on fossil fuels and meet climate goals.

Updated Jan 26, 2022 - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (

For the most up-to-date information on this storm, follow this link.

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

The cost of last year's "relentless" climate and weather disasters

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Data: Aon; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

The consulting firm Aon is out Tuesday with its summary of natural disasters report from 2021, which has a heavy emphasis on economic losses from climate and extreme weather events.

Why it matters: As the world warms, certain extreme events are becoming more severe and frequent, although climate trends may not be easy to discern in the aggregate statistics.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 25, 2022 - Energy & Environment

IMF: Climate emergency poses "grave risks" to global economy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The International Monetary Fund's new update to its world economic outlook says "the ongoing climate emergency continues to pose grave risks to the global economy" and warns that current policies are inadequate.

The big picture: "Much larger coordinated global policies — including carbon price floors —will be needed to meet the new goals laid out at the Glasgow climate conference and stave off catastrophic global climate change," it states.

The huge benefits, and risks, of going for net zero emissions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Transitioning the global economy to net-zero emissions by midcentury would have high upfront costs, but huge benefits in the form of reduced climate damage and industrial innovations, two new reports out today show.

Why it matters: The reports each detail the enormous upsides to limiting global warming's severity, along with the growing perils from inaction.

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