Super Euros: Top 10 climate-change-fighting countries are all in Europe


Grist

There isn’t a country in the world that’s on track to reduce emissions to the extent needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit). But for a glimpse of something resembling climate leadership, peer across the pond.

The Climate Change Performance Index [PDF], produced by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe, ranks countries based on their greenhouse gas emissions, emissions-reduction efforts, energy efficiency, renewable energy portfolios, and policies aimed at slowing climate change. Here’s the top-10 list from this year. Every country is in Europe:

  1. Denmark
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Portugal
  4. Sweden
  5. Switzerland
  6. Malta
  7. France
  8. Hungary
  9. Ireland
  10. Iceland

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Just 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions


Grist

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms — household names such as Chevron, Exxon, and BP — to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former Vice President Al Gore as a “crucial step forward,” found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas, or coal. The findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.

“There are thousands of oil, gas, and coal producers in the world,” said climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado. “But the decisionmakers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to…

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No one had seen this funky-looking endangered ox in the wild for 15 years


Grist

The saola, a “long-horned ox” that looks, basically, like a deer that got vanilla ice cream all over its face, is really, really good at not being seen by humans. Or, at least, the type of humans who like to categorize and report sightings of rare, wild animals.

The saola first showed up on conservationists’ radar in 1992, when it was “the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years,” says the Guardian. But the last time anyone reported seeing one in the wild was in 1999. In 2010, according to the WWF, a group of Vietnamese people captured one, but it died quickly. Conservationists know enough about the saola to say it’s probably not doing so hot in the wild, but not enough to say exactly how many there are in the world — could be hundreds, could be dozens. But no matter…

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Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding?


Grist

While ice cover in the Arctic continues its downward spiral, something counterintuitive is happening in the Antarctic.

The thin crust of sea ice floating around Antarctica expanded this year to cover more of the Southern Ocean than ever before recorded: 7.518 million square miles. That broke the previous record of 7.505 million square miles, which was set just last year, according to NASA.

“We set a record high winter maximum,” Walt Meier, a NASA glaciologist, said in announcing the findings. “Even though it is a record high, it is only 3.6 percent above the 1981 to 2010 average maximum.”

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