Dan Charles

After four years of near-silence about climate change in the White House, 2021 brought an abrupt shift. President Biden turned it into one of the defining issues of his presidency, proposing ambitious efforts to replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources and lead a global campaign to cut greenhouse gases.

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With the U.S. Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, the White House could not afford to lose even one Democratic senator to advance its major social spending and climate change legislation. Well, on Sunday, it lost one.

A pledge to halt and reverse deforestation around the world turned into one of the biggest, flashiest announcements at last month's UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. By the time UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the stage to make the case for forests — "these great, teeming ecosystems, trillion-pillared cathedrals of nature" — 110 countries had signed up. Since then, the total has grown to 141.

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Carbon emissions trading is poised to go global, and billions of dollars — maybe even trillions — could be at stake. That's thanks to last month's U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which approved a new international trading system where companies pay for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else, rather than doing it themselves.

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Audible rage today from activists and protesters who are disappointed that the final hours of this climate summit have not produced the binding commitments they want to see.

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A draft agreement being circulated at the United Nations climate summit that's underway in Scotland calls on countries to phase out coal power and to flesh out deeper cuts in carbon emissions by next year in order to reach a goal of limiting warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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If nations honor their latest pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century could be held to 1.8 degrees Celsius, a new analysis by International Energy Agency says.

That's short of a goal set by world leaders six years ago, but far less than the trajectory that the planet is on today, says the agency, part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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The long-awaited global climate summit known as COP26 got underway in Glasgow, Scotland, today. The United Nations climate chief, Patricia Espinosa, launched it with a dose of optimism.

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Sufia Khatun says big cyclones used to hit her community of Morrelganj, in southwest Bangladesh, once every quarter-century or so. Now, she says, "we experience a big cyclone [every] two to three years, a smaller cyclone almost every year." The community needs stronger defenses from the assault of wind and water, she says; otherwise the region could become uninhabitable.

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When I first reached Maria Laura Rojas and told her that I was looking for people in Colombia who'd been affected by climate change, she was hesitant to be interviewed. She figured I was looking for someone who'd lost everything in a flood or whose crops had failed due to drought.

"I wouldn't be able to tell a story like that," she said. "I live in the capital city, on the seventh floor in a building in Bogota. To be very honest."

Ed Cinco of Youngstown, Ohio, has a problem. He's the director of purchasing for Schwebel's Baking Company and he can't get enough soybean oil, a key ingredient in the company's bread and buns. Suppliers won't even talk to him.

"The only quotes I can get, for 2022, are from the person I currently buy from," Cinco says. "So I am basically at [that supplier's] mercy."

Updated November 1, 2021 at 11:15 AM ET

A climate extravaganza got underway in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday. President Biden showed up. So have other world leaders and a small city's worth of diplomats, business executives and activists. It's billed as a potential turning point in the struggle to avert the worst effects of climate change, and it has a curious name: COP26.

Is it worth the hype? What might it accomplish? Here's what you need to know.

Q. What's a COP?

In a new push to stop further depletion of California's shrinking aquifers, state regulators are turning to technology once used to count Soviet missile silos during the Cold War: satellites.

California's agricultural empire is facing a shakeup, as a state law comes into effect that will limit many farmers' access to water.

While the Gulf Coast and the Northeast struggle with flooding and power outages, it's easy to forget that wildfires are still raging in the West.

As the world's top climate scientists released a report full of warnings this week, they kept insisting that the world still has a chance to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

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Updated July 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM ET

The next time you pick up some California-grown carrots or melons in the grocery store, consider the curious, contested odyssey of the water that fed them. Chances are, farmers pumped that water from underground aquifers on a scale that's become unsustainable, especially as the planet heats up.

Facing an ongoing drought that is squeezing surface water supplies, farmers are extracting groundwater at higher rates to continue growing food as usual.

Millions of acres of Brazil's forest and grasslands have been cleared over the past 30 years to grow soybeans, making the country the world's biggest soybean producer. But the deforestation that facilitated Brazil's soybean boom is now undermining it, bringing hotter and drier weather that makes soybeans less productive, according to two recent studies.

Updated July 5, 2021 at 7:34 PM ET

Four more bodies have been recovered from the ruins of the collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Fl., bringing the total death toll to 28. A total of 117 individuals remain unaccounted for, according to authorities leading the search and rescue operation.

Updated July 7, 2021 at 2:19 AM ET

As it moves along Florida's west coast, Elsa has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center says that Elsa will likely make landfall along the Florida Gulf Coast by late Wednesday morning. From there, forecasters predict that the eye of the storm will come ashore north of Tampa Bay, then move slowly along the eastern seaboard for the next few days.

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