Issue

Climate Change

Earth's average temperature has risen approximately one degree Fahrenheit in the last fifty years. By the end of this century, it will be several degrees higher, according to the latest climate research.

But global warming is doing more than simply making things a little warmer. It's changing rainfall, causing heat waves, and making sea level rise, all of which create human suffering.

Climate Change brings together reporting from Pulitzer Center grantees on the abilities of communities in diverse regions to bounce back and adapt to impacts of climate change: One highlight includes in-depth reporting on global warming in France, southern Africa, Bangladesh, and India, produced by Daniel Grossman in partnership with WBUR.

Our journalists investigate climate change in the Arctic—the effects on indigenous communities, the destruction of the fragile natural environment, and the conflict between humans and polar bears. One interactive, award-winning multimedia project, "Sea Change," looks at ocean acidification, its impact on fishing, people's livelihoods, and food security. The documentary "Easy Like Water" features a solar-powered school boat in Bangladesh, where flooding may create 20 million "climate refugees" by mid-century.

Other topics covered here range from the future of the residents of Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the Pacific, to the biological diversity of the rainforest in Peru, and the psychological effects of climate change on the inhabitants of Australia and Fiji.

 

Climate Change

Science vs. The Desert

Lying in the second lowest depression in the world, at 154 metres below sea level, the Turpan desert botanical garden is China's largest and is at the centre of the race to research and study the effects of desertification and how it can be stopped. By growing and cultivating sand-fixing plants, the researchers of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences are attempting to find ways in which productivity can be restored to arid land and investigate the success of plants to stop moving deserts in their tracks.

The Desertification Train

Winding its way through China's northern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang the 'desertification train' travels 4000 kilometers from Beijing in the east of the country to the western borders with countries such as Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Passengers can witness first hand the severity of desertification in China, just by looking out of their carriage window.

Diminishing Water Resources Threaten Peace

A dispute over a one-acre island in Lake Victoria that has fueled talk of war between Kenya and Uganda is but one instance of increasing conflict over shrinking water resources throughout Africa.

Such conflicts pit ethnic groups, races and nations against one another and are likely to get worse, fueled by a toxic mix of climate change, environmental ruin, mounting droughts and famine.

China: Final Thoughts from the Desertification Train

Winding my way along China's network of rail lines through the northern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang, I have travelled over 4000 kilometers over the past 6 weeks, witnessing first hand the severity of desertification in China, just from my carriage window. The route I have followed, although made up of a number of trains, has been dubbed China's 'desertification train', as it snakes through some of the hardest hit land, suffering as a result of this increasingly severe phenomenon.

China: Science vs The Desert

The cool spring winds are blowing in the northern-central regions of Xinjiang province in mid-May. Winding their way through the leafy roads of this legendary oasis town, they provide a cooling respite from the slowly increasing temperatures which climb to nearly 50 degrees centigrade in the summer months, earning the region the name of the 'Land of Fire'. Like many towns in this region, Turpan is surrounded on all sides by dry and hostile expanses of arid land, however nestling in this oasis, is one of China's leading centres into research aimed at fighting the expanding sands.

China: The Sea of Death

The 'Sea of Death' is the not so affectionate name that has been given by the Chinese people to the Taklamakan desert, a desert of such epic proportions and intimidating size, that its name in the local Uygur language translates as 'You can go in, but you will never come out'. As my car passes through the gate indicating my entrance to this treacherous land, I can only hope that my chances of exiting have been improved by the relatively new 500km of trans-desert highway that stretches endlessly before me from one side of the desert to the other.