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Last week, flooding in the Midwest and Southeast caused severe damage. At least two people died in St. Louis, and at last count, 25 perished in Kentucky, in what the governor called the worst flooding event in his state’s history. The disasters were labeled 1-in-1,000-year rain events, but now, because of global warming, scientists say they will become more common. A hotter climate means there is more moisture in the atmosphere, which can then be released in heavier downpours.
As the catastrophic floods were occuring in St. Louis and Kentucky, Senate Democrats took aim at the climate crisis with new legislation that could now succeed because of an unexpected compromise. The Inflation Reduction Act—spending $370 billion over the next ten years—will need all 50 Democrats in the Senate, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who agreed to the legislation after secret negotiations.
The Congo Basin in central Africa contains the second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon and is considered an essential carbon sink in the fight against global warming. At the COP26 climate conference last fall, the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC, where most of the rainforest lies, endorsed an ambitious 10-year agreement (2021-31) to preserve it in exchange for $500 million in international investment, calling itself a "Solution Country" to the climate crisis.
Buildings require a lot of energy to keep us comfortable through lighting, air conditioning, and heating systems, so to tackle the climate crisis, structures need to be livable but demand less from the grid. To engineer more sustainable buildings, researchers at the University of Toronto took inspiration from the sea—in particular, shrimp-like creatures called krill that adjust pigment in their skin to darken when it’s bright out and lighten when the sun sets to protect themselves from UV light.