195 countries agreed to the most significant international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions in history at a UN climate summit in Paris this week. The voluntary emissions cuts entailed in the accord will not prevent a 2°C increase in global temperatures, but represent a major step toward mitigating some effects of climate change. (Agreement text)
A new study in PLOS Pathogens warns of the dire consequences that loom for the worldwide banana economy due to the likely spread of the TR4 strain of Panama disease from plantations in Southeast Asia.
Environmental scientists from Columbia University and the University of Buffalo question the global extent of the Medieval Warm Period in a new study in Science Advances. Dating boulders left behind by retreating glaciers in Greenland, the researchers conclude that the glaciers reached their Little Ice Age maxima during the MWP. The lead author said, "If the Vikings traveled to Greenland when it was cool, it’s a stretch to say deteriorating climate drove them out."
The Indian Ocean's annual northeast monsoon brought devastating floods to southern India. The state of Tamil Nadu experienced its highest rainfall total in over a century for the month of November. Meteorologists have linked the emerging El Niño in the South Pacific to the strength of the autumn monsoon in South Asia. (Quartz photo gallery)
AHA reports on transformations in field specializations among US history faculty over the last 4 decades. While the largest absolute differences reflect the cultural turn, environmental history faculty experienced the highest rate of growth: "The field with the largest proportional expansion was environmental history—from 0.2 percent of the listed faculty in 1975 to 2.7 percent today. That may still seem like a small number, but the share of departments employing an environmental historian grew from 4.3 percent in 1975 to 43 percent in 2015."
Articles written by students and faculty in environmental history at Georgetown University.