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A plunge in demand for oil accounted for more than half of the drop in global CO2 emissions. (Life of Pix / Pexels)

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2020 by the largest annual percentage since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the drop-off appears to be short-lived, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.

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Periodical cicadas are identifiable by their red eyes. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Reports that millions of 17-year cicadas will emerge from underground in the Chicago area this spring aren’t true. They’re coming in 2024. 

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In this Monday, Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Humans are making Earth a broken and increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. So the world must make dramatic changes to society, economics and daily life, a new United Nations report says.

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Dirty snow has more than an image problem. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Dirty snow absorbs more of the sun’s energy and melts faster. Here’s why that’s a problem. 

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(WTTW News)

Less than 9% of the trash produced every year by Chicago residents is kept out of landfills — a rate that has not budged for four years. 

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In this undated photo provided by Atlanta Allergy & Asthma, Dr. Stanley Fineman looks through a microscope at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Center in Atlanta to examine pollen. (Robin B. Panethere / Atlanta Allergy & Asthma via AP)

Across the United States and Canada, pollen season is starting 20 days earlier and pollen loads are 21% higher since 1990 and a huge chunk of that is because of global warming, a new study found in Monday’s journal the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

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Headwaters of Bubbly Creek and the Racine Avenue Pump Station. (Courtesy of USGS)

Congress authorized a plan from the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the Chicago River’s South Fork, a 1.25-mile stretch more familiarly known as Bubbly Creek. Now actual dollars need to follow. 

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Charmayne Anderson holds a large Bighead carp caught in a lake in Morris, Illinois, in 2017. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

When it comes to keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, Illinois is the last line of defense, but the state’s not alone in the battle. Michigan will transfer up to $8 million to Illinois via an intergovernmental agreement as part of an effort to keep Asian carp at bay.

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Kierra Wooden (center holding sign) started Southside Cleanup following last summer’s looting, and her mission keeps expanding. (Southside Cleanup / Instagram)

Kierra Wooden founded Southside Cleanup in the aftermath of 2020’s protests, and now the young activist finds herself at the head of a movement that’s about so much more than picking up trash.

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(CDC / Pixabay / WTTW News illustration by Rebecca Palmore)

From the pandemic to protests to the power of nature, 2020 has been a year for the history books. We take a look back at the year that was — warts and all.

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Interspersing native plants with solar panels can benefit pollinators. (Andreas Senftleben / Pixabay)

Incorporating pollinator habitat into large-scale solar installations makes sense for wildlife, but what about the bottom line? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago aim to answer that question.

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Monarch butterflies migrate en masse, but they aren’t social creatures, scientists say. (Mageephoto / Pixabay)

Traveling more than 2,000 miles every year, the migration journey of monarch butterflies links the United States and Mexico in a way no trade agreement or cultural exchange ever could.

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A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

Three firms involved in the botched smokestack demolition in Little Village will pay $370,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, his office announced Thursday.

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General Iron’s metal-shredding operation in Lincoln Park. (WTTW News)

General Iron’s parent company has applied for its final permit to operate its metal-shredding operation on the Southeast Side, but federal officials have asked the city to hold off on making a decision.

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President-elect Joe Biden (CNN via WTTW News)

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make combating climate change a central pillar of his administration. And he campaigned on rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

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A section of the MWRD's Deep Tunnel. (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago / Facebook)

An upcoming virtual tour will offer insights into the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s inner workings and will revisit the reversal of the Chicago River.