NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Michael Bloomberg speaks on stage during The Robin Hood Foundation's 2018 benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood)

When President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, he didn’t just damage the global environment. He damaged the country's reputation. Since World War II, the United States has pledged to be a global leader, using its wealth, power and influence to make decisions that impact people around the planet. World leaders saw the U.S. as an example and its president as “leader of the free world.” That is no longer the case. Instead, some are hoping, the acts of individual Americans could signal to the rest of the world that Trump doesn’t speak for all Americans.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg said that if the government of the second-largest polluting country won’t participate in this near-global agreement, then it’s up to individuals to step up. He put his money where his mouth is, pledging to donate $4.5 million of his own money to the operations of the UN Climate Change Secretariat in 2018, and will do so again next year if the U.S. continues to stand with climate deniers.

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Researchers have created energy-harvesting yarn from tightly coiled carbon nanotubes, which can be activated by the electrolytes in a simple saline solution. With no need for a battery, these “twistron yarns” have numerous potential applications in wearable, medicinal and oceanic contexts.

How twistron yarn is made

An international research team led by scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and Hanyang University in South Korea constructed the yarn from carbon nanotubes—hollow cylinders 10,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. After twist-spinning sheets of carbon nanotubes—with a motion similar to a spinning wheel—to create strong, lightweight yarns, researchers introduced elasticity with additional twist until the yarns coiled akin to an over-twisted rubber band.

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Long before former Vice-President Al Gore’s 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth impressed upon the world the urgency of tackling our human impact on global warming—now sanitized and called “climate change”—climate scientists have been warning us about this ticking doomsday clock since at least the 1970s. It was no small act, then, to bring 197 countries together to sign the Paris Agreement, a significant stride to reduce carbon emissions and keep global temperature well below an increase of two degrees Celsius. Those two mere degrees are considered a tipping point after which reversal of climate change will be all but impossible. A significant factor in 2015 agreement’s success, after failed negotiations in 2009, was that the Paris Agreement allows countries to decide independently how to lower their emissions, rather than adopt a single unifying strategy. New York Magazine hailed the agreement as Obama’s “major accomplishment” during his time in office.

It comes as no surprise, then, to those who have followed President Donald Trump’s policy on the environment that he announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. After all, he appointed lawyer and Republican politician Scott Pruitt to the EPA, a man known to prioritize the oil and gas industries' interests ahead of the environment, scrubbed climate data from the EPA’s website, and plans to significantly cut its budget. He has also made clear his determination to undo many of Obama’s strides toward clean power to protect nearly-obsolete coal jobs, and, some argue, to continue to give his associates in the extractive industries tax breaks. World leaders were none too pleased, expressing their displeasure and reaffirming their commitment to the agreement. And the governors of California, New York, and Washington states quickly formed the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states intending to uphold the Paris Agreement with or without the White House.

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Nearly twenty percent of the area under the land surrounding Yellowstone National Park, about 700,000 square miles, rests on top of a lake of liquid carbon. This discovery was published in the most recent volume of Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

The geologists behind the research are Saswata Hier-Majumder of the University of London and Benoit Tauzin of Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. They used a global network of 583 seismic sensors to create a rendering of the upper mantle of Earth. The lake they detected is 217 miles below the surface of Earth, a distance far too deep to reach with current technology.

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[DIGEST: Siberian Times, Geology, Inside Climate News, Esquire, Yahoo]

Across the Arctic, dramatically rising temperatures are causing permafrost to become decidedly less than permanent.

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[DIGEST: NYT, Bloomberg, Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian, Fortune]

Despite the Trump administration’s plans to expand oil pipelines across the U.S. and expand drilling practices into the National Parks system, fossil fuels may be rendered obsolete sooner rather than later — leaving industries (and countries) that don’t prepare for innovation in trouble.

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[DIGEST: Scientific America, Science Daily, APL Materials, Journal of Applied Physics, NYTimes]

Most people are familiar with the two common solid phases of the element carbon: graphite (as in pencils) and diamond (as in gems). Both substances are composed entirely of carbon atoms, but their structures are different, giving them very different properties. Now a third solid form of carbon may be joining their ranks.

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