People, planet, and the path ahead

Only you can fight climate change

In this edition: Whoever is president, individual Americans can still do something about emissions; the big tasks facing global climate diplomats in Marrakech; the hottest five-year span on record.

What we're writing

Environmental activists hold a banner during a protest against President-elect Donald Trump at the Climate Conference, known as COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The election of a US president who has called global warming a "hoax" alarmed environmentalists and climate scientists and raised questions about whether America, once again, would pull out of an international climate deal.
Mosa'ab Elshamy/AP | Caption

Only you can prevent climate change

OK, that headline is an exaggeration. But it hints at the feeling many climate activists have as they ponder the seismic change wrought by the US election. American leadership on carbon emissions may vanish from the global stage, at least when it comes to the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. If climate action is going to happen, it's up to us, whether "us" means other nations of the world or ordinary people and local governments inside America. The good news: Individual behavior can help. (See our story, 'Denier' in White House? You can still take climate-change action.) And climate-policy negotiators meeting in Morocco, while daunted by the US election news, aren't giving up hope on global action (Our report from Marrakech: 'Trump effect' will test global momentum on climate change  ) // Zack ColmanHenry Gass 

2011-2015 was hottest five-year span on record, UN says

Record heat shows an "increasingly visible human footprint" on the climate, spurring stronger storms, droughts, and warming oceans that have affected people from all corners of the globe, according to the new report. // Weston Williams

At global climate talks, patience blends with urgency

Emission cuts that countries have pledged in Paris aren't expected to hit the goal of holding Earth's temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. This leaves a lot of work for a Morocco conference that started this week. // Zack Colman

Coal and oil revival? Six ways Trump could shift policy

Possible changes include slashing EPA regulations and opening more federal lands to fossil fuel extraction. The Clean Power Plan, seen as a key lever for bringing US emissions down under the Paris climate agreement, is also in doubt. // Zack Colman

With Trump, climate change just got smaller. And bigger.

When a president-elect shuns climate change, it's the opposite of making the issue go away. This wrap-up story on a big week also has updates on other topics Inhabit has covered in recent weeks. Washington State voters rejected a carbon tax, Florida voters denied a utility-backed vote "for the sun," which could have slowed the growth of solar power. And the Interior Department has issued a new rule on federal-lands leasing, which has environmental groups and the wind industry in opposing camps.   // Mark Trumbull

What we're reading

Why few even knew Dakota pipeline was being built

Critics see a lack of wholistic reveiw for pipelines by the Army Corps of Engineers. // Los Angeles Times

Scientists say warming could escalate rapidly

How fast will climate change occur? It's a matter of significant debate. This new research reaches a "warmer faster" forecast, in which humans have little chance to stop warming at 2 degrees Celsius. // The Independent

Meet Trump's Cabinet-in-waiting

Sarah Palin at Interior? Climate-change skeptic Myron Ebell at the EPA? Speculation about Trump's appointments is in full swing. // Politico

NASA images show Great Salt Lake shrinking

It's a water management challenge, since the consequences of letting a big lake go dry are more than just cosmetic.  // Vox

What's trending

As carbon emissions rise, plants soak some of it up

"What the new study shows is that from 2002 to 2014, plants appear to have gone into overdrive, and started pulling more carbon dioxide out of the air than they had before." // Chris Mooney in The Washington Post

Trump could try to pull out of Paris deal in a year

"If Trump withdraws from the Paris Agreement there would be a political cost. If he pulls out of the [whole UN climate] Convention the cost would be greater." // Legal scholar Daniel Bodansky, quoted by Reuters

Stratosphere shrinks as record temperatures continue

"It's like when you insulate your roof – your house warms but your attic will get a bit cooler." // Steven Sherwood, climate scientist, quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald