Climate change news

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Climate change news

Fungus, fires, and falling prices. Danny Chivers writes about climate news.


Protesters at the British Museum, which receives sponsorship from oil firm BP. Credit: JOSEPH EDWARDS


Hot streets. Record June temperatures. At the beginning of summer 2021, the Pacific coast from Canada to California already had heatwaves and wildfires. In Australia the weather was wetter than usual and a report predicts fewer fires in the coming months.

But with the climate heating up, can we expect more fires everywhere every year? Well, things aren’t so simple. The warming climate increases the risks of fires with bigger chances of long, hot periods of weather that dry out vegetation and make grassland and forest into possible fuel.

As these hot, dry periods become more likely as the temperatures rise, local conditions mean the hot weather is not always so easy to predict. In Australia in 2021, the global weather cycle - La Niña - has brought wetter weather. That should stop the fires this year. The other thing is of course the human fire-starters. People start 96 per cent of wildfires, including efforts (often illegal) to clear forest land for agriculture or other projects.

But positive action such as land management by indigenous peoples and controlled burning in Australia can reduce the risk of fires.


With floods, fires, and droughts, climate change is bringing new kinds of fungal disease. For thousands of years, our high body temperature has protected us from most infections, as the spores could not survive inside us.

But things may be changing. The rise of the fungal infection Candida auris in the last few years makes researchers think that these fungi are slowly adapting to the warming environment.

Here comes the sun

There is positive news, electricity is the cheapest it’s been in human history – thanks to solar power. The International Renewable Energy Agency says the projects built last year will generate cheaper electricity than the world’s cheapest coal plants. The cost of solar panels fell by 7 per cent in 2020 and solar power became 16 per cent cheaper to produce. At the same time, the costs of offshore and onshore wind fell by 9 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. A change to clean energy is possible now – if we can overcome the big companies stopping it.


(This article is in easier English so it is possible that we changed the words, the text structure, and the quotes.)