A lot happened in 2015 when it came to climate: It was a record-setting year for average global temperatures. A chemist-turned-pope issued an encyclical in favor of the scientific evidence behind human-induced climate change. And almost 200 nations came to some kind of agreement—however flawed—on reducing the carbon emissions that lead to global warming.
So here are 12 stories from the past year worth taking the time to read again, because they showed the topic in a fresh light, provoked thought, contained new information, or were told in lively and original ways. Some of their authors sprinkled in dark humor to help get the message across. And then there was the one about jellyfish attacking nuclear power stations…
By Natalie Kopytko
Randomly adding heat to a system has unexpected effects. Warmer waters mean larger and more frequent blooms of algae and jellyfish—which can then get caught in and block the cooling water intake pipes of nuclear power plants, preventing them from getting the water they need to cool their reactor cores and associated equipment.
By Suzanne Waldman
What role should nuclear power play in combating climate change?
By Jerry Brown
Self-deprecating, witty, funny, and observant, the governor of California explained at the Bulletin’s 70th anniversary celebrations how his state outshone even countries like Germany—famous for its Energiewende, or “energy turnaround”—in cutting carbon dioxide emissions. And all while keeping the Golden State’s economy humming, thank you very much.
By Alisha Graves
Green sex. Do we need to say more?
By John Mecklin
Now that the hoopla of the Paris talks is over, where do we stand? Eight experts give their views.
By Ashish Fernandes
Plans to more than double India’s coal production are darkening India’s international reputation. The issue is about more than coal, it’s about the fate of the world’s largest democracy.
By Dawn Stover
Some people think that climate change is a far less disastrous threat than nuclear war because it is reversible. This is a gross misconception.
Interview with philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr
A theology professor from a different faith liked this interview with an Islamic religious authority so much, she considered making it assigned reading for students in her college class.
By Piers Forster
Just as slamming on the brakes can slow down a train headed for a ravine, geo-engineering can cool the climate. Maybe. But it won’t happen without a lot of bruising, and it’s not a quick fix.
By Amory Lovins
What could keep Iran from drifting back towards the nuclear path? Renewable energy, says the founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
By Michael Mann
The scientist behind the famous “hockey stick” graph that shows the link between increased temperature and rising levels of carbon dioxide gives a behind-the-scenes view of the resulting controversy—and what others can learn from his experiences. (This article is behind our journal paywall.)
Interview with Naomi Klein
Climate change is not just about things getting hotter, it’s about things getting meaner and more divided. Still, the best-selling author of This Changes Everything sees cause for hope—if the world responds with the urgency, determination, and focus that the problem deserves.
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