Green

Microsoft has announced an ambitious plan to not just reduce its carbon emissions, but to actively remove carbon from the atmosphere — going "carbon negative" by 2030.

And by 2050, the tech giant pledges it will "remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975."

Last year was the second hottest on record globally, according to the latest climate data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

It's the latest confirmation that the Earth is steadily getting hotter — the planet has already warmed about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (or almost 1 degree Celsius) compared with in the mid-20th century — and that robust greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming to continue unabated.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, says that it will now make climate change central to its investment considerations. And not just for environmental reasons — but because it believes that climate change is reshaping the world's financial system.

That was the message in BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink's annual letter to CEOs published on Tuesday.

In cities around the country, if you want to understand the history of a neighborhood, you might want to do the same thing you'd do to measure human health: Check its temperature.

That's what a group of researchers did, and they found that neighborhoods with higher temperatures were often the same ones subjected to discriminatory, race-based housing practices nearly a century ago.

For decades, coal has been at the center of Hopi life, literally. In the middle of each home is a coal-burning stove that keeps families warm through the winter.

"A lot of people relied on the coal to heat their homes and ceremonial chambers, the kivas," says Leigh Wayne Lomayestewa, who works in the tribe's cultural preservation office. "And now we're only relying on the cedar wood."

But he says cedar doesn't burn as long as coal.

"Usually at nighttime, you can put in about two or three times a night," Lomayestewa says.

A volcano south of the Philippine capital has sent a massive plume of ash and steam spewing miles into the sky and pushed red-hot lava out of its crater, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people and the closure of Manila's airport.

In a matter of hours on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level for Taal Volcano to Level 4 from Level 1 — with Level 5 being the highest. It warned that a larger "explosive eruption" could occur within hours or days.

Facing criticism for his handling of the ferocious wildfires that have swept across Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will call for a government inquiry into the response to the blazes.

Smoke from the ongoing firestorm in Australia is obscuring skies halfway around the world. Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show a haze from the deadly fires spreading over South America. The swirling plume is nearly the size of the continental United States.

All fires emit smoke — a combination of thousands of compounds, including climate-warming greenhouse gases. But the sheer scale of the emissions, and the severity of the fires causing them, are concerning climate scientists around the world.

Updated Sunday at 10:15 a.m. ET

Authorities say at least 11 people have died in severe storms that are spreading across much of the United States, bringing dangerous winds across the South and blinding snow and ice to parts of the Great Plains and Midwest.

At least seven tornadoes have been confirmed in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, according to the National Weather Service.

Before Britain started sending convicts to the continent in the 1700s, aboriginal Australians used fire to manage brushlands and forests across the continent.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

California's largest electric utility took the unprecedented step of shutting off power to millions of customers beginning last October. The decision was meant to prevent power equipment from sparking catastrophic wildfires.

Now a renewable energy microgrid on a tiny California Native American reservation is proving to be one solution to this ongoing problem.

The Blue Lake Rancheria is located just north of Eureka, Calif. On the 100-acre campus, just behind the casino and hotel, Jana Ganion opens a chain-link fence.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The firestorm in Australia has burned an area as large as West Virginia, and the smoke from those fires is making its way around the globe. NPR's Nathan Rott looks at what all of those emissions mean for the broader climate.

Updated at 1:40 E.T.

In one of his most sweeping environmental proposals so far, President Trump says he wants to streamline an "outrageously slow and burdensome federal approval process" that can delay major infrastructure projects for years.

Supporters from the fossil fuel, construction, ranching and other industries welcome the move, which they've long sought. Environmental groups warn it would sideline the climate impacts of highways, pipelines and other projects, and they promise a legal challenge.

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