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The Science behind Superstorm Sandy’s Crippling Storm Surge

Sandy, a massive “superstorm,” unleashed high winds and large-scale flooding in New York and New Jersey—and the future holds more such damaging surges.

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Life in the Anthropocene

Washing down our taste for oil.
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How to Feed the World While Earth Cooks

Simple solutions for a starving planet.
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Can Cleaner Cooking and Solar Power Help Solve Energy Poverty in Africa?

South Africa still struggles to ensure that all citizens enjoy modern energy services, just one example of how the U.N.’s International Year of Sustainable Energy for All aims to bring modern energy resources to the billions who lack it.

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All Consuming

With population and per-capita consumption both on the rise, it’s hard to believe humanity’s impact on the Earth is sustainable. But what would happen if we ate less meat? Or gave women better education and more power? David Biello takes a critical look.

Aug 2010
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How Solyndra’s Failure May Help the Future of Solar Power

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How Did the BP Oil Spill Affect Gulf Coast Wildlife?

One year later, there are more questions than answers about the impact of the oil spill from BP’s Macondo well on wildlife and ecosystems.

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Where Did the Carter White House’s Solar Panels Go?

One of the 32 solar-thermal panels that captured energy on the roof of the White House more than 30 years ago landed this week at a science museum in China.

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What Was in the World Trade Center Plume?

Ten years later, what exactly residents and rescue workers were exposed to remains at least a partial mystery.
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Can a Sustainable City Rise in the Middle Eastern Desert?

Masdar aims to be the source for a environmentally friendly urban future, but some planners doubt it offers much for other cities to emulate.
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The Green Apple: How Can Cities Adapt to Climate Change?

New York City—and other major metropolises around the globe—face an epic challenge in coping with the impacts of global warming.

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Using CO2 to Make Fuel: A Long Shot for Green Energy

What if the ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide that are heating up the atmosphere could be used to produce an abundant supply of liquid fuels? The U.S. government and private labs are pursuing that Holy Grail of renewable energy—but for now the cost of large-scale production is prohibitive.

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Anatomy of a Nuclear Crisis: A Chronology of Fukushima

The world’s worst nuclear reactor mishap in 25 years was caused by a massive natural calamity but compounded by what appear to be surprising mistakes by Japanese engineers. The result has been a fast-moving disaster that has left officials careening from one emergency to the next.
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Finding Fissile Fuel

A new wave of nuclear power plant construction has boosted the price of uranium reactor fuel.

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Coping with Change

From the sands of the Sahel to financial trading floors, individuals, businesses, nonprofits and governments are sizing up climate change—and adjusting their activities accordingly.

Mar 2011
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Atomic Weight: Balancing the Risks and Rewards of a Power Source

Nuclear power, like most forms of electricity generation, carries inherent risks. Is it worth the minor chance of a major catastrophe?
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Reactivating Nuclear Reactors for the Fight against Climate Change

Even environmentalists are reevaluating nuclear power as a possible solution to global warming, but can it really help?
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Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Trash Heap Deadly for 250,000 Years or a Renewable Energy Source?

Nuclear waste is either a millennia’s worth of lethal garbage or the fuel of future nuclear reactors, or both.

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The False Promise of Biofuels

The breakthroughs needed to replace oil with plant-based fuels are proving difficult to achieve.
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How to Use Solar Energy at Night

Molten salts can store the sun’s heat during the day and provide power at night.

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How to Tear down a Nuclear Power Plant

What happens to nuclear reactors like those at Fukushima after they melt down or reach the end of their useful lives?

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Deep Geothermal: The Untapped Energy Source

Until now, geothermal technology has only been used on a small scale to produce power. But with major new projects now underway, deep geothermal systems may soon begin making a significant contribution to the world’s energy needs.
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How Science Stopped BP’s Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Remote imaging of the failed blowout preventer, stress testing various containment devices as well as other high-tech tasks helped contain the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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The Price of Coal in China: Can China Fuel Growth without Warming the World?

China relies on coal for most of its energy while striving to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.