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Sparks

Malaria Cases Are Spiking on a Warmer, Wetter World

The malaria-climate change connection, explained

Flooding in Pakistan.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The World Health Organization’s annual malaria report, released Thursday, for the first time includes a chapter “focused on the intersection between climate change and malaria” — and finds that climate change was a factor in a global increase in the disease. There were an estimated 249 million malaria cases in 2022, a five million increase over the previous year. Most of the new cases were concentrated in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda.

The reasons for the surge seem to be manifold. Across sub-saharan Africa, the Anopheles mosquito, which transmits the disease, is expanding its range as the region warms. Flooding can also leave behind stagnant pools of standing water, which leads to a boom in mosquito numbers, as followed Pakistan’s catastrophic floods in 2022. And as people are displaced by such disasters, those without malarial immunity may settle in areas prone to the disease. In many cases they also live in tents or refugee centers, without simple yet crucial protections such as mosquito nets.

As is so often the case with climate change, the problems are at once immense — increasing heat in Subsaharan Africa and South Asia — and practical — not enough nets. “It is crucial to recognize the multitude of threats that impede our response efforts,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa. “Climate variability poses a substantial risk, but we must also contend with challenges such as limited healthcare access, [and] ongoing conflicts and emergencies ... we need a concerted effort to tackle these diverse threats.”

Green
Jacob Lambert profile image

Jacob Lambert

Jacob is Heatmap's founding multimedia editor. Before joining Heatmap, he was The Week's digital art director and an associate editor at MAD magazine.

Donald Trump and Jaws.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Former President Trump wants to know: Would you rather be electrocuted or eaten by a shark?

On Sunday, during a rally in Las Vegas, the Republican nominee floated the question for what is at least the second time this campaign season (an odd choice, perhaps, given that Nevada is hardly shark territory, and therefore his supporters there are unlikely to have given the question much thought).

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Red
Sparks

Tornado Alley Is Moving East

New research finally sheds some light on what the heck is happening.

A tornado.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

If hurricanes, wildfires, heat, and floods are the Big Four of extreme weather in America, then tornadoes are perhaps the equivalent of the National Bowling League.

That’s not for lack of fatalities — tornadoes kill more people annually than hurricanes, per the 30-year average — nor for their lack of star power (see: The Wizard of Oz, Sharknado, Twister, and my most highly anticipated movie of the year, Twisters). But when it comes to the study of extreme weather, robust, detailed data on tornadic supercells has been described as “largely absent,” at least compared to the scholarship on their more popular meteorological counterparts.

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Blue
Sparks

A Swiss Army Knife for Clean Energy

These can really do it all — almost.

A dam.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Before and for the first year or so after the Inflation Reduction Act, clean energy in the United States was largely developed under the aegis of two tax credits: the Production Tax Credit, which primarily useful for wind power, and the Investment Tax Credit, which is primarily used for solar power. (The actual eligibility for each tax credit for each technology has changed various times over the years, but that’s the gist.)

Starting in 2025, however, and lasting (absent any change in the law) through at least 2032, that tax credit regime will be made “technology neutral.” Goodbye, existing credits with their limited applicability. Hello, new tax credits that apply to “any clean energy facility that achieves net-zero greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a release issued Wednesday by the Treasury Department.

“For too long, the U.S. solar and wind markets have been hampered by uncertainty due to the on-again-off-again nature of key tax credits,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on a call with reporters. “Periods of indecision and the credits being repeatedly allowed to elect to lapse made it too difficult for companies to plan and invest in clean energy projects.”

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