In 1988 NASA scientist James Hansen warned lawmakers in the US Senate of the looming dangers presented by global warming, which humans were accelerating. In the same year the United Nations (UN) and the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to report to world leaders on the science of climate change. 

In 1990, the First IPCC Assessment Report (FAR) was published, underlining the importance of climate change as a challenge with global consequences and requiring international cooperation. It was followed by the 2nd (1995), 3rd (2001), 4th (2007) and 5th (2013-2014) with the 6th due in 2022.

On December 12, 2015 in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, the now-infamous Paris Agreement was written with an objective to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. It entered into force on November 4, 2016 by which time it had been ratified by 55 countries (accounting for 55% of global emissions). Within the following two years 197 countries — every nation on earth — signed on, including the U.S. 

Unfortunately in the summer of 2017 President Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. That  takes effect on November 4, 2020.

In 2019, global energy-related CO2 emissions flattened resulting mainly from a sharp decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in advanced economies, thanks mainly to the expanding role of renewable sources (primarily wind and solar PV), the switching of fuels from coal to natural gas, and nuclear power. 

2019 yielded other more narrowly-focused papers on climate change’s effects than in previous years. The IPCC released special reports covering impacts on the ocean and cryosphere, along with land in general. Both special reports have illuminating summaries: one for policymakers and one for scientists.  

In the U.S. the words “Green New Deal” entered the lexicon, prompting One Earth to study the potential impacts of such legislation on grid stability in 143 countries

NOAA and FEMA both put out report cards of sorts, one on the state of the Arctic and one on our national preparedness to deal with natural disasters

stunning timeline, following our extraordinary lack of progress since 1988, was written by Paul Bledsoe and published in the New York Times on December 29, 2018. This has unfortunately, not been updated.

Early in 2020, CarbonBrief published an article on which climate-change related papers were most featured in the media in 2019. The infographic below shows which ones made it into the Top 10.


Impacts of Green New Deal Energy Plans on Grid Stability, Costs, Jobs, Health, and Climate in 143 Countries

Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the greatest problems facing humanity. To address these problems, we develop Green New Deal energy roadmaps for 143 countries. The roadmaps call for a 100% transition of all-purpose business-as-usual (BAU) energy to wind-water-solar (WWS) energy, efficiency, and storage by 2050…

Arctic Report Card: Update for 2019

The Arctic marine ecosystem and the communities that depend upon it continue to experience unprecedented changes as a result of warming air temperatures, declining sea ice, and warming waters. Arctic Report Card 2019 draws particular attention to the Bering Sea region, where declining winter sea ice exemplifies the potential for…

2019 National Preparedness Report

The National Preparedness Report summarizes the progress made and challenges that remain in building and sustaining the capabilities needed to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats, hazards and incidents that pose the greatest risk to the Nation.

Trouble in the Air Millions of Americans Breathed Polluted Air in 2018

By Elizabeth Ridlington, Gideon Weissman & Morgan Folger 12/01/19
People across America regularly breathe polluted air that increases their risk of pre- mature death, and can also trigger asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts. In 2018, 108 million Americans lived in areas that experienced more than 100 days of degraded air quality. That is equal to more than…

World Energy Outlook 2019

The World Energy Outlook series is a leading source of strategic insight on the future of energy and energy-related emissions, providing detailed scenarios that map out the consequences of different energy policy and investment choices. This year's edition updates the outlooks for all fuels, technologies and regions, based on the…

Solar and wind energy enhances drought resilience and groundwater sustainability

Environmental and Climate Justice Program & NAACP 11/13/19
Increased use of solar and wind energy can aid groundwater sustainability, an important aim for both taking on droughts as well as boosting sustainable agriculture.

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth…

New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding

Driven by climate change, global mean sea level rose 11–16 cm in the twentieth century. Even with sharp, immediate cuts to carbon emissions, it could rise another 0.5 m this century. Under higher emissions scenarios, twenty-first century rise may approach or in the extremes exceed 2 m in the case of early-onset Antarctic…

Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding

Science Empowering Communities In the Face of Flooding2EXECUTIVE SUMMARYSurging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity. The report is reviewed by leading experts in…

Proposals for Reform Volume II: National Task Force on Rule of Law & Democracy

The second National Task Force report on the Rule of Law & Democracy outlines how to curb political interference in government science and fix a broken appointments process.

Title: Transition Towards a Decarbonised Electricity Sector: A Framework of Analysis for Power System Transformation

The global energy sector is undergoing a rapid and radical transition in the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed, a shift is motivated by the urgency to ensure secure energy supply, achieve sustainable development and limit climate change. Around two thirds of global greenhouse gases (GHG) and 90% of…

A Decision Framework for Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are critical to ocean and human life because they provide food, living area, storm protection, tourism income, and more. However, human-induced stressors, such as overfishing, sediment, pollution, and habitat destruction have threatened ocean ecosystems globally for decades. In the face of climate change, these ecosystems now face an…

How Climate Change Will Impact Major Cities Across the U.S.

To understand how climate change will impact major cities across the United States, we gathered and analyzed available public data from Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN).

Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change

The current response to the global climate crisis represents an incomplete picture. This paper argues that putting in place a circular economy is a fundamental step towards achieving climate targets. Such a shift moves us beyond efforts to minimise emissions in our extractive linear system.

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere.

Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity: How National Governments Can Secure Economic Prosperity and Avert Climate Catastrophe by Transforming Cities

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions finds that leadership from national governments is essential for achieving equitable and sustainable economic development in cities. The report finds that investment in low-carbon measures in cities would be worth almost US $24 trillion by 2050 - proof that thriving cities…

A Climate Security Plan for America: A Presidential Plan for Combatting the Security Threat of Climate Change

In the next few years, the U.S. President will be forced to respond to increasing and unprecedented climate-driven security risks to the nation. These are risks that we can already anticipate, given available science, intelligence and predictive capabilities. In this context of unprecedented risk and unprecedented foresight, the President has…

Global Climate in 2015-2019: Climate change accelerates

The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change – such as sea level rise, ice loss and extreme weather – increased during 2015-2019, which is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have also increased…

United In Science

High-level synthesis report of latest climate science information convened by the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.

Report of the High-Level Commission on Carbon Pricing and Competitiveness

The potentially adverse impact of carbon pricing on the competitiveness of businesses and economies has been a matter of concern to industry and policymakers. It has also been a barrier to progress on carbon pricing. The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition launched the High-Level Commission on Carbon Pricing and Competitiveness at…

Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience

Adaptation is not an alternative to a redoubled effort to stop climate change, but an essential complement to it. Failing to lead and act on adaptation will result in a huge economic and human toll, causing widespread increases in poverty and severely undermining long-term global economic prospects. Done right, will…

Putting a Price on Carbon: Evaluating a Carbon Price and Complementary Policies for a 1.5° World

By Kevin Kennedy 09/01/19
To achieve the Paris Agreement goals and limit global temperature rise this century to 1.5°C, the global economy must be rapidly transformed. A carbon price is needed to incorporate climate change costs into economic decision-making to significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the electricity sector.

Impact of Climate Risk on the Energy System

Climate change poses risks to energy security, financial markets, and national security. Energy companies and local, state, and federal governments need to better prepare to face these challenges.

Healthcare’s climate footprint

In collaboration with Health Care Without Harm, Arup has estimated the healthcare sector’s global climate footprint, establishing for the first time the significance of healthcare’s contribution to the climate emergency.

Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030

The fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption of food and agriculture in history, driven by technology and new business models, is underway. By 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half the price of the animal- derived foods they replace, the dairy and cattle industries will…

Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?

Methane has been rising rapidly in the atmosphere over the past decade, contributing to global climate change. Unlike the late 20th century when the rise in atmospheric methane was accompanied by an enrichment in the heavier carbon stable isotope (13C) of methane, methane in recent years has become more depleted…

Climate Change and Land

The IPCC approved and accepted Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems at its 50th Session held on 2 – 7 August 2019.

Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Setting a Global Action Agenda

1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted each year, but action is not yet at a pace needed to achieve SDG Target 12.3 by 2030. The report identifies a three-pronged approach to halve food loss and waste by 2030.

No evidence for globally coherent warm and cold periods over the preindustrial Common Era

Earth’s climate history is often understood by breaking it down into constituent climatic epochs. Over the Common Era (the past 2,000 years) these epochs, such as the Little Ice Age.

Modelling for Sustainable Development: New Decisions for a New Age

This book provides a detailed overview of models used in designing projects and policies that integrate sustainable development considerations and objectives.

Raising Ambition Through Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform: Greenhouse gas emissions results modelling from 26 countries

This working paper models 26 countries and finds national average emission reductions of 6 per cent from the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. For every tonne of CO2e removed through FFSR, governments save an average of USD 93.

The global tree restoration potential

The restoration of forested land at a global scale could help capture atmospheric carbon and mitigate climate change. Bastin et al. used direct measurements of forest cover to generate a model of forest restoration potential across the globe.

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target

Net anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) must approach zero by mid-century (2050) in order to stabilize the global mean temperature at the level targeted by international efforts.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health: An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

By Rachel M. Gregg, Kathryn N. Braddock, and Jessi M. Kershner 06/27/19
Climate change poses significant threats to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the delivery of healthcare services. Human morbidity and mortality rates are risingdue to extreme heat events and changing patterns of water-borneand vector-borne diseases, and healthcare infrastructure is at risk from extreme events.

Renewables Global Status Report

A comprehensive annual overview of the state of renewable energy.

IPCC Updates Methodology for Greenhouse Gas Inventories

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday an update to its methodology used by governments to estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and removals.

350 PPM Pathways for the United States

Evolved Energy Research 05/08/19
This report describes the changes in the U.S. energy system required to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to a level consistent with returning atmospheric concentrations to 350 parts per million (350 ppm) in 2100, achieving net negative CO2 emissions by mid-century, and limiting end-of-century global warming to 1°C above pre-industrial…

Species extinction rate is accelerating

According to a United Nations report, up to 1 million animal and plant species are on the verge of extinction. Nature’s current rate of decline is unparalleled, the report says, and the accelerating rate of extinctions “means grave impacts on people around the world are now likely.” Read the abbreviated…

The impact of climate change on fertility

We examine the potential for climate change to impact fertility via adaptations in human behavior. We start by discussing a wide range of economic channels through which climate change might impact fertility, including sectoral reallocation, the gender wage gap, longevity, and child mortality.

Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates

This paper updates estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, defined as fuel consumption times the gap between existing and efficient prices (i.e., prices warranted by supply costs, environmental costs, and revenue considerations), for 191 countries.

Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army

This study examines the implications of climate change for the United States Army. This includes national security challenges associated with or worsened by climate change, and organizational challenges arising from climate change related issues in the domestic environment.

Polluted Parks How America is Failing to Protect Our National Parks, People and Planet from Air Pollution

The effects of air pollution and climate change are not unique to national parks--they also wreak havoc on our communities To understand how pollution affects America’s more than 400 national parks and their more than 330 million visitors each year, this report assesses the damage from air pollution by evaluating…

Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction

By Curt D. Storlazzi, Borja G. Reguero, Aaron D. Cole and more 04/30/21
The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision…

Key Indicators of Arctic Climate Change: 1971-2017

Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system.

Global warming impairs stock–recruitment dynamics of corals

Changes in disturbance regimes due to climate change are increasingly challenging the capacity of ecosystems to absorb recurrent shocks and reassemble afterwards, escalating the risk of widespread ecological collapse of current ecosystems and the emergence of novel assemblages.

Fossil Fueled Foolery: An Illustrated Primer on the Top 10 Manipulation Tactics of the Fossil Fuel Industry

Environmental and Climate Justice Program & NAACP 04/01/19
The NAACP’s mission is to uphold and defend civil and human rights. Accordingly, we are duty-bound to confront corporations wielding power to manipulate systems and oppress communities to the detriment of the sustainability of the environment and the wellbeing of all life on earth. Even as we work with partners…

Planning for Natural Disaster Debris

Evolved Energy Research 04/01/19
The 2019 “Planning for Natural Disaster Debris” guidance is an update to the version that EPA published in March 2008. It is designed to help all communities (including cities, counties, territories, tribes, etc.) create disaster debris management plans, which EPA strongly encourages.

Building and Measuring Community Resilience

Actions for Communities and the Gulf Research Program (2019) 06/12/19
The frequency and severity of disasters over the last few decades have presented unprecedented challenges for communities across the United States. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina exposed the complexity and breadth of a deadly combination of existing community stressors, aging infrastructure, and a powerful natural hazard. In many ways, the devastation…

Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services

The global ocean has warmed substantially over the past century, with far-reaching implications for marine eco- systems1. Concurrent with long-term persistent warming, discrete periods of extreme regional ocean warming (marine heatwaves, MHWs) have increased in frequency2.

Coal’s Poisonous Legacy: Groundwater Contaminated by Coal Ash Across the U.S.

By Prof. Kevin Reed and Ph.D. Alyssa Stansfield 03/04/19
An examination of industry data available for the first time concludes that 91 percent of U.S. coal-fired power plants with monitoring data are contaminating groundwater with unsafe levels of toxic pollutants. The study by the Environmental Integrity Project, with assistance from Earthjustice, used data that became available to the public…

Climate change impacts on fisheries

Food security, climate change, and their complex and uncertain interactions are a major challenge for societies and ecologies (1). Global assessments of predicted changes in crop yield under climate change, combined with international trade dynamics, suggest that disparities between nations in production and food availability will escalate (2). But climate…

Big Oil’s Real Agenda on Climate Change

This research finds that the five largest publicly-traded oil and gas majors (ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total) have invested over $1Bn of shareholder funds in the three years following the Paris Agreement on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying. These efforts are overwhelmingly in conflict with the goals…

Earth system impacts of the European arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492

Human impacts prior to the Industrial Revolution are not well constrained. We investigate whether the decline in global atmospheric CO2 concentration by 7–10 ppm in the late 1500s and early 1600s which globally lowered surface air temperatures by 0.15∘C, were generated by natural forcing or were a result of the large-scale…

Benefits of the Paris Agreement to ocean life, economies, and people

The Paris Agreement aims to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on ecological and social systems. Using an ensemble of climate-marine ecosystem and economic models, we explore the effects of implementing the Agreement on fish, fishers, and seafood consumers worldwide.

Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017

From early 2003 to mid-2013, the total mass of ice in Greenland declined at a progressively increasing rate. In mid-2013, an abrupt reversal occurred, and very little net ice loss occurred in the next 12–18 months. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and global positioning system (GPS) observations reveal that…

Accelerating changes in ice mass within Greenland, and the ice sheet’s sensitivity to atmospheric forcing

The recent deglaciation of Greenland is a response to both oceanic and atmospheric forcings. From 2000 to 2010, ice loss was concentrated in the southeast and northwest margins of the ice sheet, in large part due to the increasing discharge of marine-terminating outlet glaciers, emphasizing the importance of oceanic forcing.…

Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems

Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both. Providing a growing global population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge.

Food production shocks across land and sea

Sudden losses to food production (that is, shocks) and their consequences across land and sea pose cumulative threats to global sustainability. We conducted an integrated assessment of global production data from crop, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries sectors over 53 years to understand how shocks occurring in one food sector can create…

The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report

Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, undernutrition, and other dietary risks, is the leading cause of poor health globally. In the near future, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these health challenges. Climate change can be considered a pandemic because of its sweeping effects on the…

Large influence of soil moisture on long-term terrestrial carbon uptake

Actions for Communities and the Gulf Research Program (2019) 01/23/19
Although the terrestrial biosphere absorbs about 25 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the rate of land carbon uptake remains highly uncertain, leading to uncertainties in climate projections1,2. Understanding the factors that limit or drive land carbon storage is therefore important for improving climate predictions.

How fast are the oceans warming?

40-50% faster than the UN had predicted. Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth's climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this…

Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2018: up 3.4%

After three years of decline, US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose sharply last year. Based on preliminary power generation, natural gas, and oil consumption data, we estimate emissions increased by 3.4% in 2018. This marks the second largest annual gain in more than two decades — surpassed only by 2010…

Community Resilience Indicator Analysis: County-Level Analysis of Commonly Used Indicators from Peer-Reviewed Research Update

In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Integration Center (NIC) Technical Assistance (TA) Branch tasked Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) with analyzing current community resilience research to provide a data-driven basis to prioritize locations for TA investment and to inform community resilience–related TA content.