Category: People & Place

Pellet makers say they use only lumber mill waste, treetops and limbs, and crooked trees to produce wood pellets. Industry critics argue that companies are increasingly clear-cutting forests to meet growing demand. Losing standing forests means losing natural carbon sinks, biodiversity and protection from storms and floods. Photo credit: USDAgov on Visual Hunt / CC BY

UK’s net-zero emissions 2050 pledge undermined by biomass energy loophole

The United Kingdom and the European Union are setting goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that declaration is deeply flawed, analysts say, due to a long-standing United Nations carbon accounting loophole that turns a blind eye toward the conversion of coal burning power plants to burning wood pellets.

Global scientific eating plan forgets the world’s poor

A team of 37 world-leading scientists from 16 countries have just released the world’s first ever scientific eating plan. The diet sounds like a silver bullet, but we have found it to be slightly problematic. It doesn’t recognise the enormous differences across the world when it comes to food consumption and production systems.

On a sinking island, climate science takes a back seat to the Bible

Tiny, waterlogged Tangier Island, off the coast of Virginia in Chesapeake Bay, is full of people of faith. They believe in God. Climate science, not so much. In recent years, they’ve garnered some media attention for the paradox of largely rejecting sea-level rise while simultaneously suffering its wrath. Earl Swift, an author of six previous books and a former correspondent for The Virginian-Pilot, immersed himself for the better part of two years with the 481 inhabitants of Tangier. His new book, “Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island,” is part regional history, part crabber ride-along, part disaster narrative in slow motion.

How the marvel of electric light became a global blight to health

Light pollution is often characterised as a soft issue in environmentalism. This perception needs to change. Light at night constitutes a massive assault on the ecology of the planet, including us. It also has indirect impacts because, while 20 per cent of electricity is used for lighting worldwide, at least 30 per cent of that light is wasted.