Climate Solutions

Climate news quiz: Australian wildfires and garbage

Test your knowledge about ways the climate is changing
Illustrations by Michael Parkin for The Washington Post

All right: Time to see if you’ve been paying attention to The Post’s climate-related coverage. If you have, this quiz should be an easy A.

(For The Washington Post)

1. When did Australia’s recent wave of catastrophic wildfires begin?

Answer: A. The fires started ravaging the Australian bush in October 2019 and continued through January 2020. In all, the fires affected up to a billion animals and killed more than 25 people, destroyed thousands of homes, blanketed the country in smoke, and scarred an area larger than Portugal.

(For The Washington Post)

2. Which company recently announced plans to become the first carbon-neutral airline by this summer?

Answer: B. By making its jets more efficient and investing substantially in carbon offsets (projects such as conservation of forests, which absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere), JetBlue may set a new bar for the airline industry.

(For The Washington Post)

3. Which part of a flight is the most fuel-intensive?

Answer: A. Takeoff is the most fuel-intensive part of a flight. That means longer flights are more fuel-efficient than shorter ones, and flying direct is a greener option than having stopovers. (Even with these hacks, though, trains are still a much more eco-friendly choice.)

(For The Washington Post)

4. Which city aims to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025?

Answer: B. Copenhagen’s ambitious target is a full 25 years before that of other major cities, including Washington.

(For The Washington Post)

5. Which of these uses the most land in industrial farming?

Answer: C. Cows need twice the land per gram that chickens and pigs require and 20 times more than what’s required to grow the equivalent amount of protein from beans. Making matters worse: Cow burps send methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

(For The Washington Post)

6. True or false: Severe bleaching, in part because of a warming ocean, has killed off around 30 percent of the Great Barrier Reef.

Answer: False. Unfortunately, that percentage is closer to 50. And scientists say that if global warming hits the critical 2°C mark, we could lose more than 99 percent of the Earths coral.

7. Which of the following is not likely to occur if global temperatures surpass the critical 2°C mark?

Answer: D. The blue crab population is likely to increase because of shorter winters, which will make their young less likely to starve. The rest of these scenarios are likely to happen if we surpass the critical 2°C mark, scientists say.

(For The Washington Post)

8. What has the MOSAiC expedition, the largest Arctic research expedition in history, discovered so far?

Answer: C. MOSAiC researchers have found the Arctic landscape to be far less stable than expected. “We are teetering on the edge of feasibility,” said atmospheric scientist Matthew Shupe. At the Arctic’s current rate of decline, year-round ice there could vanish within a couple of decades.

(For The Washington Post)

9. True or false: The amount of carbon dioxide the United States emits for transportation alone is greater than the cumulative emissions of all of Africa.

Answer: True. In the United States, transportation generates the equivalent of 1.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. We still rely, as a nation, almost entirely on fossil fuels.

(For The Washington Post)

10. How many tons of trash does America generate annually?

Answer: D. Americans generate 262.4 million tons of waste each year, from food containers to broken toys to plastic bags. That’s more than 10 percent of the 2 billion tons that the entire planet produces annually. Finding a use for garbage has been a decades-long struggle, but some innovators have made recent breakthroughs.

Climate novice: 0 to 3 questions correct

You’ve still got a lot to learn about climate change. But that’s okay: We’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

Climate curious: 4 to 7 questions correct

Hey, not bad! You know a thing or two about climate change. But there’s still more to learn, and we’ve got you covered. Got a question? Ask us here.

Climate expert: 8 to 10 questions correct

Well done! You’re super climate-literate. You probably already know that one of the most important things you as an individual can do to combat climate change is to spread the word? Go ahead: Brag a little, share this quiz with your friends, and find out who knows the most about climate change.

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