A Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019, (GDA photo by Lam Yik Fei via AP Images).

Last week, Samsung announced that the rollout of its new Galaxy Note smartphone would be delayed, warning of a “serious imbalance” in the chip industry. It’s just the latest impact of a global shortage in the supply of semiconductor chips, caused by a unique combination of the coronavirus, climate change and Donald Trump. Semiconductors are the brains of all things electronic. Like the brain, they perform different functions—memory, processing—and range in sophistication from standard, repetitive routines to high-performance chips that can support machine learning, artificial intelligence and high-end graphics. All things electronic these days are pretty much all things chips. […]

Workers cover a glacier with oversized plastic sheets meant to keep it from melting during the summer months, on the peak of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, May 10, 2011 (AP photo by Matthias Schrader).

Humanity’s collective failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is driving the world inexorably toward geoengineering, or the intentional, large-scale human manipulation of Earth’s climate system. Facing runaway global warming, individual nations will surely develop and deploy new technologies to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and the planet’s exposure to solar radiation. Playing with the environment and the atmosphere, however, is playing with fire. Without adequate rules, geoengineering will create massive, unintended consequences, deepen geopolitical rivalries and hasten the world’s division into climate winners and losers. To avoid these fates, the world must create a robust multilateral regime to govern the research, […]

A firefighter manages a controlled burn near Tomerong, Australia, in an effort to contain a larger fire nearby, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

There was a time when it was widely asserted that the onset of climate catastrophe would shove society out of its complacency and into aggressive support for action to address climate change. Once the consequences of burning so many fossil fuels were felt not just by those least responsible for the bulk of emissions, in the Global South, but in wealthier countries too, the argument went, the problem would shift from being an abstract warning from scientists to a clear and present danger. The season of bushfires that raged in Australia from December 2019 to February 2020—known locally as the […]