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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

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Himalayas

Could climate change bring more landslides to High Mountain Asia?

Researchers used satellite estimates and modeled precipitation data to show warming temperatures will cause more intense rainfall in some areas of the High Mountain Asia region, and this could lead to increased landslide activity in the border region of China and Nepal.

Pine branches

Fungal diversity and the future of forests

Stanford researchers predict that climate change will reduce the diversity of symbiotic fungi that help trees grow.

Hawksbill sea turtle

Q&A: Making the case for mobile marine protected areas

Ocean sanctuaries whose boundaries can shift can reduce conflicts between humans and marine life and help protect species under climate change.

Firefighter monitors prescribed burn

Setting fires to avoid fires

Despite having proven effective at reducing wildfire risks, prescribed burns have been stymied by perceived and real risks, regulations and resource shortages. A new analysis highlights ways of overcoming those barriers, offering solutions for wildfire-ravaged landscapes.

Man in flood

Pathways to changing the minds of climate deniers

By reviewing the psychology behind climate change rejection, a Stanford researcher suggests four approaches that can sway climate deniers and help overcome obstacles to implementing solutions.

Emissions

Global carbon emissions growth slows, but hits record high

Coal use is down dramatically in the United States and the European Union, and renewable energy is gaining traction. But rising natural gas and oil use in 2019 increased the world’s carbon dioxide emissions modestly for a third straight year.

Farmers in rice paddy

Rice yields plummet and arsenic rises in future climate-soil scenarios

Research combining future climate conditions and arsenic-induced soil stresses predicts rice yields could decline about 40 percent by 2100, a loss that would impact about 2 billion people dependent on the global crop.

 2018 Woolsey fire

Californians unwilling to subsidize wildfire prevention

Despite statewide devastation from wildfires, a new poll conducted by the Bill Lane Center for the American West shows Californians are still reluctant to subsidize wildfire prevention or support relocating communities at risk.

Smoke stack

Study casts doubt on carbon capture

Current approaches to carbon capture can increase air pollution and are not efficient at reducing carbon in the atmosphere, according to research from Mark Z. Jacobson.

Three smokestacks

Are we underestimating the benefits of investing in renewable energy?

Scientists have estimated the emissions intensity of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from a major electricity distributor and highlighted key consequences – essential information for policymakers shaping decisions to reduce electricity system emissions.

Cartoon of people on phones

How does uncertainty in scientific predictions affect credibility?

The ways climate scientists explain their predictions about the impact of global warming can either promote or limit their persuasiveness. 

Greenery with globe graphic

A roadmap to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030

An international group of experts, including Stanford Earth system scientist Rob Jackson, has published a roadmap of the most viable solutions for slashing greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030. 

Smoke

How much does air pollution cost the U.S.?

Damages from air pollution have fallen dramatically in the U.S. in recent years, shows new research. But how different sectors of the economy have contributed to that decline is highly uneven.

Nightime skyline

Transnational corporations increasingly align business models to support stable planet

Some of the world’s largest transnational corporations are changing their business models to acknowledge their impact on climate and biodiversity. A new analysis indicates a significant shift in corporate values. 

Green belt near buildings

A practical guide to planning and achieving green growth

Economic development plans often overlook a crucial detail – ecosystems that provide essential services to people. Stanford experts discuss a new sustainable development approach that balances the needs of people and nature.

Clouds

Catalyst opens way to sustainable fuels from carbon dioxide

A new way to convert carbon dioxide into the building block for sustainable liquid fuels was very efficient in tests and did not have the reaction that destroys the conventional device.

Cars in traffic

Stanford Law’s Deborah Sivas on proposed rollback of key climate change regulations

Environmental Law expert Professor Deborah Sivas explains how planned deregulations by the Trump Administration will impact climate change.

Drone at a methane leak test site

New ways to find natural gas leaks quickly

Finding natural gas leaks more quickly and at lower cost could reduce methane emissions. Ten promising technologies mounted on drones, trucks and airplanes were tested last year. The results are in.

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