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Global electric power demand returns to pre-pandemic levels

By Steven Mufson Photo: Dhiraj Singh , Bloomberg

Carbon dioxide emissions from the global electric power sector rebounded in the first half of 2021 to above pre-pandemic levels, according to an analysis, signaling that the world has failed to engineer a “green recovery” and shift decisively away from fossil fuels.


The pandemic slashed the West Coast’s emissions. Wildfires already reversed it.

By James Temple Photo: Mario tama/getty images

Wildfires raging across the US West Coast have filled the air with enough carbon dioxide to wipe out more than half of the region’s pandemic-driven emissions reductions last year. And that was just in July.
The numbers illustrate a troubling feedback loop. Climate change creates hotter, drier conditions that fuel increasingly frequent and devastating fires—which, in turn, release greenhouse gases that will drive further warming.


The Revenge of the Cars

By Doug Gordon Photo: Mark Felix/afp/getty Images

It would be callous to suggest that in the dark, early, and deadly days of the Covid-19 pandemic there were bright spots or signs of hope. But thinking back to the spring of 2020, it’s easy to remember the ways in which elected officials across the nation and around the world—at least at the city level—used their powers to make life under lockdown a little easier for their citizenry.


In 2020, the United States produced the least CO2 emissions from energy in nearly 40 years

By Brett Marohl

In 2020, as the country responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, CO2 emissions from energy consumption in the United States fell to the lowest level since 1983. The 4.6 billion metric tons (Bmt) of CO2 emitted in 2020 was an 11% decrease from 2019, the largest annual decrease on record, according to our Monthly Energy Review. Our new U.S. CO2 emissions from energy consumption by source and sector chart illustrates CO2 emissions by energy source and sector.


Study: Wildfire smoke may add to COVID-19 risk

By Sam Metz Photo: Scott Sonner , AP

 Nevada-based scientists argue in a new study that wildfire smoke may increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus.


Trillions of dollars spent on Covid recovery in ways that harm environment

By Fiona Harvey Photo: Nelson Almeida , Getty

Trillions of dollars poured into rescuing economies around the world from the Covid-19 crisis have been spent in ways that worsen the climate crisis and harm nature because governments have failed to fulfil promises of a “green recovery” from the pandemic.


UN chief urges G20 finance chiefs to support global COVID vaccine plan, climate finance

Photo: Karina Zambrana

“To restore trust in multilateralism, we need to deliver on vaccines, economic recovery and climate finance”, he said in a video message to G20 finance ministers meeting in Venice, Italy.  “With your leadership and political will, we can do it.”


Sustainable development report shows devastating impact of COVID, ahead of ‘critical’ new phase

Photo: Patrick Brown

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, launched on Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York, shows the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the 2030 Agenda, as the landmark annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) officially got underway. Read our curtain-raiser story here.


COVID-19’s socio-economic fallout threatens global coffee industry, study finds

COVID-19’s socio-economic effects will likely cause another severe production crisis in the coffee industry, according to a Rutgers University-led study. The study, which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included researchers from the University of Arizona, University of Hawaii at Hilo, CIRAD, Santa Clara University, Purdue University West Lafayette and University of Exeter.


“Back to normal” puts us back on the path to climate catastrophe

By Rebecca Leber Photo: Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images

The Covid-19 pandemic upended daily life so drastically that there was a moment when it seemed to be making a dent in the climate crisis. Rush-hour traffic disappeared, global travel slowed to a crawl, and the resulting economic tailspin sent energy-related pollution plummeting almost 6 percent globally. This kind of decline in pollution is unprecedented in modern human history — it’s as though the emissions output of the entire European Union had suddenly disappeared. It led many to wonder if the Covid-19 crisis would at least give us a little extra time to avert climate emergency.