Don’t Ask How to Pay for Climate Change. Ask Who

Last week, CNN announced plans to host a climate crisis town hall with the Democratic presidential candidates on September 4. MSNBC scheduled a multiday climate change forum with the presidential hopefuls later that month. In both venues, some version of the perpetual question will undoubtedly be raised: “How will you pay for the costs of dealing with climate change?” Despite its pervasiveness, this is a profoundly wrongheaded line of inquiry. Asking how to pay for the impact of climate change implies that these costs are a matter of choice. The reality is that global warming will impose massive costs, regardless of whether policymakers respond or not. Thus, the real question is not “How would you propose to pay?” but instead …

A WIRED Booklovers Guide to the Moon

This story is part of a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Humanity had yet to set foot on the moon in 1968, but Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke were already envision­ing commercial space liners and a lunar research base on the big screen. Like many sci-fi films, 2001: A Space Odyssey undershot the timeline a bit. It’s been nearly 48 years since human beings last left low-Earth orbit to visit the moon’s surface, but if you’ve sensed a resurgence in spacebound hopefulness, you’re not a lunatic. At the annual meeting of the National Space Council in March, Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return to the moon within the next five years, and …

5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos

If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that such a move could throw US weather forecasting into chaos. On Capitol Hill Thursday, NOAA’s acting chief, Neil Jacobs, said that interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of forecasts by 30 percent. That's equivalent, he said, to the quality of weather predictions four decades ago. “If you look back in time to see when our forecast scale was roughly 30 percent less than today, it was 1980,” Jacobs told the House Subcommittee …

China’s Scientists Are the New Kids on the Arctic Block

For nearly a century, the Arctic has been a scientific playground for American, Canadian, and European researchers studying everything from magnetic fields to krill populations, as well as documenting rising temperatures and a changing climate. But with China increasingly expressing an interest in all things Arctic, a geopolitical storm is brewing. Traditional boundaries between science, commerce, and the military are melting as fast as the region’s sea ice. On Monday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo scolded China for using civilian polar research to further its military and commercial goals, including opening up a new “Polar Silk Road” for trade and shipping. “China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions,” Pompeo said in Rovaniemi, Finland, where the eight members …