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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.”

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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. Read More

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Coal’s Slowdown Is Slowing Down

Rising electricity demand puts reliability back on the table.

Pollution.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The United States has been able to drive its greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level since the early 1990s largely by reducing the amount of energy on the grid generated by coal to a vast extent. In 2005, by far the predominant source of U.S. electricity, making up some 2.2 million gigawatt-hours of the country’s 4.3 million GWh total energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2022, by contrast, coal generation was down to 900,000 GWh out of 4.5 million GWh generated. As a result, “U.S. emissions are 15.8% lower than 2005 levels, while power emissions are 40% lower than 2005 levels,” according to BloombergNEF and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

But the steady retirement of coal plants may be slowing down. Only 2.3 GW of coal generating capacity are set to be shut down so far in 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration. While in 2025, that number is expect to jump up to 10.9 GW, the combined 13.2 GW of retired capacity pales in comparison of the more than 22 GW retired in the past two years, according to EIA figures. Over the past decade, coal retirements have averaged about 10 GW a year, with actual retirements often outpacing forecasts.

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Trump Thinks EV Charging Will Cost $3 Trillion — Which Is Incorrect

Nor will charging infrastructure ”bankrupt” the U.S.

Electric car charging.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Shortly after being fined $350 million (more than $450 million, including interest) over fraudulent business practices and then booed at Sneaker Con, former President Donald Trump traveled to Waterford, Michigan, where he said some incorrect things about electric vehicles.

Even by Trump’s recent standards, Saturday’s Waterford rally was a bit kooky. During his nearly hour-and-a-half-long speech, the former president claimed that his opponents are calling him a whale (“I don’t know if they meant a whale from the standpoint of being a little heavy, or a whale because I got a lot of money”) and, improbably, claimed not to have known what the word “indictment” meant.

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This Chicken Named Potato Will Teach Your Kids About Climate Change

A chicken from the future, to be clear.

Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

If I told you there was a chicken named Potato who was going to teach our kids about climate change, would you think I was kidding? Either way, I’m here to inform you that Future Chicken, an “ECOtainment platform” co-created by Catherine Winder and Annabel Slaight, launched last year, including original content like a TV show that airs on CBC and YouTube, games, and a podcast, all aimed at warding off climate doom and instead highlighting climate solutions.

Winder and Slaight have, to put it mildly, impressive resumes, with Slaight having been an executive producer of The Big Comfy Couch and Winder a force behind multiple Angry Birds movies. The show’s premise is fun, and was actually thought up by kids. The main character is a chicken (named Potato) from the year 2050, a time when climate change has seemingly been solved. She travels back and forth between the future and the present, sometimes talking about the solutions of her time.

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