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Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. There is cause for hope but also a dire warning—this is the decade we must act if we are going to avoid the worst effects from global warming.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.
The Arctic is warming four times faster than the global average, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine could freeze any cooperation in the polar region. Last week, seven of the eight nations that make up the Arctic Council—the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—announced they were suspending all their work indefinitely because Russia, also a member, had violated the Council's core principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Scientists in an endless vista of ice, sea, and meltwater as seen from the USCG Icebreaker HEALY in the Arctic Ocean, July 22, 2005. | Credit: Jeremy Potter NOAA/OAR/OER.
The room erupted in cheers and applause last week at the United Nations Environment Assembly, when nearly 200 countries agreed to start drafting a first-ever treaty to curb the growth of plastic pollution. The agreement is not just about litter, like water bottles that get tossed and end up on beaches. Rather, the framework of the treaty would cover the full lifecycle of plastics, from design and production to disposal.
Saudi Arabia is predominantly desert, so it would be the last place you might expect to grow a crop. But researchers did—by pulling water out of thin air. Scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) used solar panels and a special hydrogel to sprout and grow water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica).
An illustration of solar panels pulling water vapor from the air to grow crops | Credit: Renyuan Li/KAUST