The Year in Climate News

2021 was one more 12 months that felt like 5. It started with a presidential transition, riots on the Capitol and a blackout in Texas. Before summer season had even begun, drought, warmth and fires had already torn throughout the West. The Biden administration confronted numerous challenges to its local weather agenda at residence. And then got here the United Nations worldwide local weather convention in Glasgow in the autumn.

Feel like a blur? Here’s a recap of the 12 months in our protection.


In February, Texas went darkish. Huge winter storms plunged massive elements of the central and southern United States into an power disaster.

Despite inaccurate claims from Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, we defined: No, the rationale for the blackouts was not frozen wind generators. The essential downside was frigid temperatures that stalled pure gasoline manufacturing, which is accountable for almost all of Texas’ energy provide.

Fast ahead to early June, when it wasn’t technically summer season but, however the American Southwest was already baking and drying up.

By Somini Sengupta

By Blacki Migliozzi and Hiroko Tabuchi

In the oceans, local weather change is resulting in huge shifts. The warming ambiance is inflicting an arm of the highly effective Gulf Stream to weaken, some scientists concern, which might have main local weather ramifications from the Eastern United States to the Sahel in Africa. And in the Antarctic, wilder winds are altering currents, the ocean is releasing carbon dioxide and ice is melting from beneath.

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff and Jeremy White

By Henry Fountain and Jeremy White


The results of local weather change are usually not equally felt. Nor is the blame equally shared. We reported on a few of America’s largest, and perhaps most shocking, methane emitters. And we took a have a look at the international locations with probably the most greenhouse gasoline emissions in historical past.

By Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer

We coated how catastrophe help typically favors white folks. And how Native Americans, compelled into probably the most undesirable areas of America by white settlers and the federal government, are actually on land that’s changing into uninhabitable.

By Christopher Flavelle and Kalen Goodluck

Though the science of local weather change is settled and we now have the know-how to deal with it, the largest query now’s: Who ought to pay the invoice? This 12 months, requires local weather help and reparations reached a boiling level on the COP 26 local weather convention in Glasgow.

By Shola Lawal

We investigated how the E.P.A. authorized poisonous chemical substances for fracking a decade in the past. And investigated an unexpected consequence of luxurious auto gross sales:

By Manuela Andreoni, Hiroko Tabuchi and Albert Sun


A giant report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August summed issues up.

By Brad Plumer and Henry Fountain

Knowledge about sustainable residing has existed for hundreds of years, and is usually ignored. Native folks, typically among the many simplest stewards of nature, have typically been disregarded, or worse.

By Somini Sengupta, Catrin Einhorn and Manuela Andreoni

We know that the way in which ahead requires a transition to renewable power, however the transition shouldn’t be all the time simple.

By Dionne Searcey

Transportation is likely one of the most crucial sectors to scrub up. Some cities are setting an instance for the right way to electrify public transit.

Electric automobiles will likely be key in lowering emissions, however when will they be right here?

Whenever that’s, they gained’t be right here with out cobalt. And with greater than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt manufacturing coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the nation is taking middle stage. The quest for Congo’s cobalt is caught in a global cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship.

By Dionne Searcey, Michael Forsythe and Eric Lipton

We additionally took a have a look at some drawbacks of America’s highways — how they’ve divided many Black communities, elevated automotive dependence and led to wildlife deaths — and a few options to these issues.

By Nadja Popovich, Josh Williams and Denise Lu

And right here’s how one Indiana metropolis has experimented with roundabouts to cut back emissions and save lives:

By Cara Buckley


Domestically, with a brand new administration, an enormous infrastructure invoice and the perennial debate over the right way to handle local weather change, it was a busy 12 months in politics.

While the Trump administration typically dismissed science, the Biden administration tried to restock the federal government with scientists, but it surely wasn’t straightforward:

By Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman and Christopher Flavelle

Biden tightened air pollution guidelines in a push to section out gasoline automobiles, however worsening fires in California confirmed the bounds of his energy. Hitting local weather targets would require loads. Pretty a lot all the things might want to change.

And change would require bipartisanship. As we reported this 12 months, many Republicans in Congress now not deny that Earth is heating due to fossil gas emissions. In truth, some discover the failure to grapple with local weather change to be a “political legal responsibility” for the occasion. But in addition they say abandoning oil, gasoline and coal will hurt the economic system.

At the identical time, Democrats can’t utterly agree amongst themselves.

By Coral Davenport

Ultimately, whilst paid household go away and different priorities have been taken out of Biden’s plan, the biggest piece of his spending invoice grew to become a $555 billion plan to combat local weather change.

Internationally, two huge conferences occurred this 12 months. One you could have heard of. Another, perhaps not:

By Catrin Einhorn

Leading as much as COP 26 in Glasgow, John Kerry, the primary presidential envoy for local weather, labored on his gross sales pitch to avoid wasting the planet. And on the Glasgow convention, the U.S. and China got here to an settlement, regardless of the challenges forward for China:

By Keith Bradsher and Lisa Friedman

After two weeks of lofty speeches and bitter negotiations amongst almost 200 nations, the query of whether or not the world will make vital progress to sluggish international warming nonetheless comes all the way down to the actions of a handful of highly effective nations. And these nations stay at odds over how finest to deal with local weather change.

By Somini Sengupta


Now that you simply’re caught up on the information, it’s by no means too late to clean up your local weather science data — whether or not you’re a child, or a child at coronary heart.

By Julia Rosen

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