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Carbon Zero

How Can We Transition to a Carbon Neutral World?

To minimize catastrophic damage to Earth’s life support systems, we must rapidly reduce the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Around the world, businesses, governments and private citizens are stepping up to the challenge.

Ensia Collections54 Stories
Amidst County Clare's rolling hills, the remaining stands of a Sitka Spruce plantation form a quilted landscape.

Can forest expansion balance climate change, economic growth and ecological health?

When it comes to managing woodlands to meet multiple needs, Irish activists underscore the importance of considering the forest as well as the trees.

Illustration of the infinity symbol with a map of Earth on it and part of it is broken to symbolize that nothing is limitless.

Opinion: Why understanding limits is the key to humanity’s future

We need to view limits not as restrictions to be fought against, but as boundaries that enable systems to work.

Restoration site near Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica. At this site, invasive grasses (Brachiaria grasses.) were removed and native species were reestablished. This is an example showing assisted natural regeneration. In the photo someone is holding up another photo of the landscape at a degraded state years before. Photo by Luciana Gallardo Lomeli, World Resources Institute

Resource-rich countries find it pays to pay landholders to protect their land

By compensating landholders for land restoration, government programs support services worth more than the cost

Side view of outdoor energy unit hanging on brick wall of house on a sunny day. Air to air heat pump for cooling or heating the home. Outdoor unit powered by renewable energy. Air conditioner and air heat pump.

Thinking about a heat pump? Here are a few things to consider.

One consumer’s quest for a climate-friendly heating system yields useful information for those poised to take advantage of Inflation Reduction Act credits.

The sun shines on the solar array at Jack’s Solar Garden in Longmont, Colo.

A solar solution to the West’s changing climate?

Growing crops beneath solar panels can shrink agriculture’s thirst for irrigation while providing food and electricity, too

solar panels in Spain

How could positive “tipping points” accelerate climate action?

As catastrophic climate change tipping points loom, could positive shifts toward green action also be speeding up?

The Student Center at the University of the District of Columbia

This campus takes “learning environment” literally

At the University of the District of Columbia, sustainable infrastructure is part of the educational experience

Double-track construction of the Kunming to Guangtong section of the Chengdu–Kunming railway at Anning in 2012.

Are China’s pledges to green its Belt and Road Initiative the real deal?

Some are skeptical of claims the country’s massive global infrastructure program can be sustainable

Members of the Chico Traditional Ecological Stewardship Program and others light fire to deergrass for a cultural burn. Mounds of grass burn with smoke rising from them. A line of trees is at the back of the photo.

Can traditional knowledge keep California from going up in flames?

This “indigenous revolution” aims to prevent catastrophic blazes, protect biodiversity, and enhance cultural and economic well-being at the same time

A statue of the blindfolded lady justice in front of the United States Supreme Court building as the sun rises in the distance symbolizing the dawning of a new era.

Across the globe, those harmed by climate change are turning to courts

Climate litigation is on the rise, as is the activism that goes along with it — which some experts say can be just as important.

Dusk shot of an industrial scene along the road from Port Arthur to Sabine Pass, Texas. Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection.

Can the EPA Get Environmental Justice Right?

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promised justice in the Texas town of Port Arthur. Some residents say the EPA failed then, but now they see a potential path forward.

illustration of trees in a rainforest

Opinion: This pillar of the rainforest needs support

Enforcement, policy and funding are critical if Indigenous people are to continue to sustainably manage mahogany

Opinion: We need Nature-POSITIVE Solutions to address the climate crisis

“Nature-Based Solutions” and “Natural Climate Solutions” leave too much room for greenwashing

Mangrove trees

5 ways climate change will affect animals and plants

Warming temperatures, stronger storms and rising seas present a cascade of challenges that researchers are racing to understand.

What can organic solar cells bring to the table?

OSCs expand the potential applications of solar technology, but there are still challenges to be overcome before large-scale deployment.

Dave Herring

Large food companies are looking to lock carbon in soil as a way to meet ambitious emissions goals

Regenerative agriculture practices can sequester carbon in soil, but for companies with complex supply chains, the logistics of moving to such practices can be complicated.

Arshak Makichyan Fridays For Future Russia

Youth environmental activists in Russia face down obstacles to spread their climate message

Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the planet as a whole, but young activists there say they have an uphill climb when it comes to drawing attention to climate change.

Why aren’t solar water heaters more popular in the U.S., even in solar-friendly states like California?

Despite widespread global success and huge opportunity for reducing fossil fuel demand, solar water heating is virtually unheard of in the U.S. Evidence suggests our demand for simple fixes is to blame.

Of hemp’s many uses, one of the most promising could be in construction

“Hempcrete,” made from the woody core of hemp, is showing promise as an environmentally friendly building material.

illustration of oil worker and maze leading to low-carbon future

Opinion: Governments must support a just transition for oil workers and their communities

As demand for fossil fuel plummets, education, job creation and other support is critical to save millions of oil industry employees and their communities from collapse.

Can the forests of the world’s oceans contribute to alleviating the climate crisis?

Researchers are looking to kelp for help storing carbon dioxide far beneath the surface of the sea.

Could Akira Miyawaki’s 50-year-old innovation help promote biodiversity and reduce the risk of climate change?

An innovative approach to growing forests is getting fresh attention from a world seeking to protect species and suck carbon dioxide from the air

Cobalt is critical to the renewable energy transition. How can we minimize its social and environmental cost?

Demand for cobalt is expected to soar in coming years as electric vehicles take to roads everywhere.

Does this tiny island off the coast of Maine hold the answer to the future of electricity?

Integrating time-tested technology with emerging innovations, remote Isle au Haut could be a renewable energy model for the rest of the world.

More and more homeowners are renovating existing homes to make them “net zero” energy consumers. Here’s how.

Energy-conscious retrofits can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of housing without the need to start from scratch

Opinion: Flying less should be a high-priority climate action

Air travel is a significant — and unequally distributed — contributor to climate change, and universities and other institutions with outsized impact need to reduce.

Opinion: Yes, it’s still up to you to do something about climate change

Increasingly, we’re hearing that individual action is insignificant relative to needed political change, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

How the U.S. power grid is evolving to handle solar and wind

As renewable energy sources move mainstream, electricity generation and distribution systems are getting an extreme makeover

Nuclear power offers an abundant supply of low-carbon energy. But what to do with the deadly radioactive waste?

The race is on to develop new strategies for permanently storing some of the most dangerous materials on the planet.

Opinion: If you are flying, you should be buying carbon offsets

Air travel has a gigantic carbon footprint. And, contrary to popular belief, carbon offsets do make a difference.

With no upfront costs, this innovative financing tool makes energy efficiency affordable to all

By rolling upgrade costs into monthly bills, utilities are helping customers save energy and money at the same time

From German trains to South Korean buses, hydrogen fuel is back in the energy picture

As the price of renewable energy drops and storage technologies mature, hydrogen fuel is drawing fresh attention.

The electric vehicle boom is coming. What can we learn from early adopters?

From tiered electric rates to equitable taxes, experienced communities have a lot to teach when it comes to managing the anticipated influx of EVs.

Germany’s transition from coal to renewable energy offers lessons for the rest of the world

The country’s decades-long shift from industrial mining to clean energy has brought both challenge and opportunity

To avoid climate catastrophe, we’ll need to remove CO2 from the air. Here’s how.

With sufficient investment and strategic deployment, carbon dioxide removal and storage can play a key role in keeping global warming to a level we can live with.

How new technologies are shrinking wastewater’s hefty carbon footprint

Communities looking to reduce fossil fuel use find opportunity in energy-hogging treatment plants.


Does it really matter whether companies track their carbon footprints?

Voluntary greenhouse gas accounting has become common in the private sector, but is it helping?

Carbon farming with mixed crops of avocados, macadamias, bananas and coffee

This Mexican farm is growing trees, cows — and climate solutions

Under the right conditions, agriculture can make sequestered carbon one of its most valuable products.

Conceptual illustration of coal and solar powering homes plugged into power strips

OPINION: How some climate “wins” can lead to other uphill battles in the clean energy fight

Proponents should consider all possible reactions in order to create a smoother path forward for clean energy.

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