Water

Expert Voices

Emerging markets could realize greatest benefits of green buildings

a skyscraper in Istanbul, Turkey
The Renaissance Tower, winner of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum Certificate, in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While countries like the U.S. and EU member states have to backpedal their heavy carbon emissions, emerging markets could still leapfrog the most carbon-intensive approaches to urbanization.

Why it matters: 60% of the world’s cities have yet to be built. Since buildings and building construction account for 36% of final global energy consumption and nearly 40% of total CO2 emissions, opting for green buildings in these new and more dense urban spaces would help meet global climate goals while sustaining economic growth.

Earth is losing its free-flowing rivers

The Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia
The Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng, Cambodia. Photo: Jason South/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Earth's rivers are increasingly dammed, disrupted by development and fragmented — all of which are threatening food and clean water sources that hundreds of millions of people depend on, a new study finds.

What's new: A first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday in Nature provides a global census of the world's rivers, and seeks to answer the question of how many are still free-flowing.