Jan 25, 2020

Locusts swarm Kenya—and it could get worse

Locusts swarm from ground vegetation at Lerata village, near Archers Post in Samburu County, Nairobi, Kenya, on Jan. 22. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya is enduring its worst desert locust outbreak in 70 years, AP reports, as "hundreds of millions of the bugs swarm" into the country from Ethiopia and Somalia.

The impact: This infestation is destroying farmland and "threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger," but March rains and new vegetation could worsen conditions.

  • The United Nations says that the numbers of fast-breeding locusts "could grow 500 times before drier weather in June curbs their spread," per AP.
  • Aerial pesticide spraying will cost about $70 million to fight the swarm, the UN says.

The big picture: A warming climate has contributed to the “exceptional” breeding conditions, Nairobi-based climate scientist Abubakr Salih Babiker told AP.

Go deeper: Insect Disturbance and Climate Change (USDA)

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Iowa caucusgoers view climate change as key issue

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ahead of the Iowa caucus on Monday, polling showed "about four in 10 ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, while three in 10 identified climate change as the top," AP reports.

The state of play: That's one of the results from polling conducted for several days before the event for AP and Fox News by a University of Chicago research group.

Al Gore launches voter drive to make climate fight an election priority

Former Vice President Al Gore during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Al Gore launched Tuesday a national voter registration campaign with the Climate Reality Action Fund to recruit younger voters to help make the fight against climate change a key issue of the 2020 election and beyond.

The big picture: President Trump has rolled back several Obama-era policies and regulations, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement — although he announced last month a commitment to plant 1 trillion trees. Gore said in a statement, "We are at a political tipping point, thanks in large part to Greta Thunberg and millions of other young people speaking truth to power." He's confident young people will be a "driving force for climate action this November."

Go deeper: Al Gore: The unintended consequence of Trump's climate change denial

Climate change’s surprise twist

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The economics, politics and science of climate change are converging and catapulting this problem from a joke among critics to a prominent concern.

Driving the news: Shifts across Washington, D.C., among corporate leaders and within financial institutions are creating a foundation that could produce big movement on this problem for the first time since, well, forever.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020