People, planet, and the path ahead

Decoupling the world economy from fossil fuels

In this edition: Carbon emissions stay flat for three years, yet global economy grows; a Cheerios-led effort to save bees; could a Moore's Law for carbon halt climate change?

What we're writing

Steam rises from the stacks of the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of Rocks, Wyo., in this 2014 photo.
Jim Urquhart/Reuters/File
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Caption

Hopeful combo: World economy grows, carbon emissions stay flat

It is too soon to say that greenhouse gas emissions have peaked, and even that achievement would fall well short of the cuts in emissions needed to stay below the target of no more than a 2-degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures above pre-industrial levels. Still, for three years running, global carbon dioxide emissions have been essentially flat, a survey finds. That hints at the potential for 'decoupling' economic growth from burning fossil fuels. // Peter Ford

Could a Moore's Law for carbon halt climate change?

By halving global carbon emissions each decade, humanity could attain nearly net-zero emissions by 2050, according to new research. This "carbon law" is feasible, some scientists say, and embracing it as an aspiration could kickstart progress, whether at any level of governments, companies, or individuals. // Eva Botkin-Kowacki

Cheerios effort: Can corporations help save pollinators?

Many bee species have been on the decline for decades, but a new promotion from Cheerios hopes to raise awareness of their plight, and encourage the planting of bee-friendly plants. // Weston Williams

What we're reading

Horn of Africa drought seen as security threat

El Nino-related drought in Somaliland has killed two-thirds or more of the livestock on which the semi-autonomous region's economy depends, says the region's environment minister. // Thomson Reuters Foundation

Climate outlook improves due to downshift in coal

Led by cutbacks in China and India, slowing construction of coal-fired power plants improves the hope of climate goals being met. // Associated Press

Turning piped water into electricity

A company installs turbines to convert excess water pressure into usable power. // Yale Climate Connections

Hotel chains to cut food waste by rethinking menus

Wasted food is also a waste in greenhouse emissions, from the energy to grow and transport it to the rotting that occurs in landfills. // Thomson Reuters Foundation

What's trending

Not ‘fake news’: climate research analyzed

"Researchers don’t hide findings that fail to support the prevailing view of human-caused, CO2-based climate change, according to the first large study to look for so-called publication bias in this branch of the scientific literature. Even so, they may spin results in subtle ways." // Sarah DeWeerdt, writing for Anthropocene

Energy of tomorrow looks strikingly artistic from above

"They're beautiful to look at from above; some of them are very futuristic. Knowing that they're for clean and renewable energy just makes you happier—there is hope!” // Photographer Jassen Todorov, quoted by National Geographic