Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

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Do you remember the good old days when we had "12 years to save the planet"?

Now it seems, there's a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges.

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030.

But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year.

The idea that 2020 is a firm deadline was eloquently addressed by one of the world's top climate scientists, speaking back in 2017.

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Media captionWhy is it so hot and is climate change to blame?

Read full article Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

Cyclone Idai: What's the role of climate change?

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Unless a rich benefactor steps in, the role of human-induced climate change in Cyclone Idai is unlikely to be clearly determined.

The scientists with the expertise simply don't have the resources to do the large amount of computer modelling required.

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Paris climate pullout: The worst is yet to come

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Image caption President Trump referred to temperature rises as he announced his intention to pull the US out of the Paris climate pact

President Trump's announcement a year ago that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement may have been the best and worst thing that could have happened to the deal, at the same time.

"The most important piece of good news, and it wasn't a foregone conclusion, is that other countries have stayed in and doubled down on their general determination not to walk away, not to let the US 'cancel' the agreement," said former US climate envoy Todd Stern, speaking at a meeting organised by the World Resources Institute in Washington this week.

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Trump team kicks the Clean Power Plan into the long grass

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Image caption The Trump White House is determined to revive the fortunes of US coal at all costs

In California and the western US, wildfires made more likely by climate change, continue to rage in the vineyards and forests.

In President Trump's Washington, a bonfire of climate regulations is also burning brightly.

Read full article Trump team kicks the Clean Power Plan into the long grass

Hurricanes: A perfect storm of chance and climate change?

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Image caption The swirling edges of Hurricane Maria seen from space as it slammed into Puerto Rico

The succession of intense and deadly tropical cyclones that have barrelled across the Atlantic in recent weeks have left many people wondering if a threshold of some sort has been crossed. Is this chain of hurricanes evidence of some significant new frontier in our changing climate?

The answer is mostly no, but with worrying undertones of yes.

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Hurricane Harvey: The link to climate change

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Image caption The intensity of rain in the Houston area is being linked to rising global temperatures

When it comes to the causes of Hurricane Harvey, climate change is not a smoking gun.

However, there are a few spent cartridge cases marked global warming in the immediate vicinity.

Read full article Hurricane Harvey: The link to climate change

The world's not laughing, Donald, it's crying

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Image caption President Trump went on the attack over what he sees as a bad deal for the US

President Trump's statement is a very clear repudiation of the Paris climate agreement and international efforts to fund climate mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries.

In many ways it is far worse than many observers had expected.

Read full article The world's not laughing, Donald, it's crying

Fragile future for US nuclear power

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Image caption The Three Mile Island nuclear installation is set to close 40 years after a partial meltdown

No one died, there were no direct health impacts, but the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear accident burned so deeply into the US psyche that it has helped limit the future use of the power source across America.

A major factor in turning the accident into a "disaster" was timing. Just 12 days before the 1979 accident that saw a partial core meltdown at one of the two reactors at the Pennsylvania plant, The China Syndrome was released in cinemas across the US.

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Don't tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks

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Assailed by "enemies" on all sides, the most "unfairly" treated politician in the history of ever has at least had the consolation of knowing that his emissaries to the latest UN climate talks just finished in Bonn have followed his dictum to the letter. Or have they?

The new White House, in case you missed it, takes a very different view on climate change to a majority of countries in the world.

Read full article Don't tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks

SOS Ivanka! Can 'first daughter' save Paris climate deal?

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Image caption UN climate negotiators hope Ivanka Trump will heed their pleas on the Paris climate accord

Among the diplomats meeting here in Bonn, there's a recognition that the person who's really key to the future progress of climate talks is not in Germany but in the White House some 6,500km (4,000 miles) away.

It's not you Mr Trump, it's your official first daughter!

Read full article SOS Ivanka! Can 'first daughter' save Paris climate deal?