KRWG

Daniel Charles

A pledge to halt and reverse deforestation around the world turned into one of the biggest, flashiest announcements at last month's UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. By the time UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the stage to make the case for forests — "these great, teeming ecosystems, trillion-pillared cathedrals of nature" — 110 countries had signed up. Since then, the total has grown to 141.

Carbon emissions trading is poised to go global, and billions of dollars — maybe even trillions — could be at stake. That's thanks to last month's U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which approved a new international trading system where companies pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else, rather than doing it themselves.

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A draft agreement being circulated at the United Nations climate summit that's underway in Scotland calls on countries to phase out coal power and to flesh out deeper cuts in carbon emissions by next year in order to reach a goal of limiting warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If nations honor their latest pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century could be held to 1.8 degrees Celsius, a new analysis by International Energy Agency says.

That's short of a goal set by world leaders six years ago, but far less than the trajectory that the planet is on today, says the agency, part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Sufia Khatun says big cyclones used to hit her community of Morrelganj, in southwest Bangladesh, once every quarter-century or so. Now, she says, "we experience a big cyclone [every] two to three years, a smaller cyclone almost every year." The community needs stronger defenses from the assault of wind and water, she says; otherwise the region could become uninhabitable.

When I first reached Maria Laura Rojas and told her that I was looking for people in Colombia who'd been affected by climate change, she was hesitant to be interviewed. She figured I was looking for someone who'd lost everything in a flood or whose crops had failed due to drought.

"I wouldn't be able to tell a story like that," she said. "I live in the capital city, on the seventh floor in a building in Bogota. To be very honest."

Ed Cinco of Youngstown, Ohio, has a problem. He's the director of purchasing for Schwebel's Baking Company and he can't get enough soybean oil, a key ingredient in the company's bread and buns. Suppliers won't even talk to him.

"The only quotes I can get, for 2022, are from the person I currently buy from," Cinco says. "So I am basically at [that supplier's] mercy."

Updated November 1, 2021 at 11:15 AM ET

A climate extravaganza got underway in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday. President Biden showed up. So have other world leaders and a small city's worth of diplomats, business executives and activists. It's billed as a potential turning point in the struggle to avert the worst effects of climate change, and it has a curious name: COP26.

Is it worth the hype? What might it accomplish? Here's what you need to know.

Q. What's a COP?

California's agricultural empire is facing a shakeup, as a state law comes into effect that will limit many farmers' access to water.

Aaron Fukuda admits that the 15-acre sunken field behind his office doesn't look like much.

It's basically a big, wide hole in the ground behind the headquarters of the Tulare Irrigation District, in the southern part of California's fertile Central Valley. But "for a water resources nerd like myself, it's a sexy, sexy piece of infrastructure," says Fukuda, the district's general manager.

While the Gulf Coast and the Northeast struggle with flooding and power outages, it's easy to forget that wildfires are still raging in the West.

As the world's top climate scientists released a report full of warnings this week, they kept insisting that the world still has a chance to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

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Updated July 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM ET

The next time you pick up some California-grown carrots or melons in the grocery store, consider the curious, contested odyssey of the water that fed them. Chances are, farmers pumped that water from underground aquifers on a scale that's become unsustainable, especially as the planet heats up.

Facing an ongoing drought that is squeezing surface water supplies, farmers are extracting groundwater at higher rates to continue growing food as usual.

Updated July 5, 2021 at 7:34 PM ET

Four more bodies have been recovered from the ruins of the collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Fl., bringing the total death toll to 28. A total of 117 individuals remain unaccounted for, according to authorities leading the search and rescue operation.

Updated July 7, 2021 at 2:19 AM ET

As it moves along Florida's west coast, Elsa has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center says that Elsa will likely make landfall along the Florida Gulf Coast by late Wednesday morning. From there, forecasters predict that the eye of the storm will come ashore north of Tampa Bay, then move slowly along the eastern seaboard for the next few days.

A recent ransomware attack on the world's biggest meatpacker is raising questions about cybersecurity in the food industry and about whether the industry is so concentrated in a few hands it is more vulnerable to sudden shocks.

On the corner of East 123rd Street and Imperial Avenue, in Cleveland, Shirley Bell-Wheeler watches over a community garden with freshly planted raspberries, purple asparagus and a little apple tree.

"Trees are trees, but fruit trees are just better," she says with a hearty laugh. Bell-Wheeler is a full-time teacher aide, part-time gardener and the guardian of all green things in this neighborhood. She wishes there were more of them.

Workmen have invaded Flora Dillard's house on the east side of Cleveland. There's plastic over everything and no place to sit, but Dillard doesn't seem to mind. "A couple of days of inconvenience is nothing, compared to the results that you get," she says.

The fight against climate change may be taking a striking new turn under the Biden administration. The White House is calling climate action a form of environmental justice, part of a campaign to address economic and racial inequity.

Hardly a week goes by, it seems, without a big food company making promises to deliver products from green, sustainable farms. Turning those promises into reality, though, can be complicated.

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This month, world leaders gathered to discuss climate change and reducing carbon emissions around the world, which may prompt some people to ask, what can I do about such a giant problem? In this encore presentation, NPR's Life Kit and science correspondent Dan Charles has tips on how you can get started at home.

North Dakota has lots of coal. It also has strong and consistent winds. It might be the perfect spot to showcase the long-awaited "energy transition" from climate-warming fossil fuels to climate-saving renewables.

Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America's Midwestern prairie. A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared.

The most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of all the land devoted to growing crops across the upper Midwest, the scientists say. Some of their colleagues, however, remain skeptical about the methods that produced this result.

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