Latest from Michael Birnbaum

Desalination can make saltwater drinkable — but it won’t solve the U.S. water crisis

The water in the ocean is a tempting resource. Removing salt comes with environmental and economic costs, though.
  • Sep 28, 2021

French government confirms cabinet ministers’ phones bore traces of Pegasus spyware, news outlet reports

The confirmation that Pegasus was directed against the ministers underscores the degree to which spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group has been used to penetrate the top reaches of a powerful democracy.
  • Sep 23, 2021

U.S., Europe plan joint push to cut methane — and convince other nations to follow suit

The Global Methane Pledge aims to cut emissions of the potent greenhouse gas by at least 30 percent by the end of the decade.
  • Sep 14, 2021

Harvard, America’s richest university, will divest from fossil fuels

The university, with a $41 billion endowment, said its investment holdings in the fossil fuel industry will be phased out.
  • Sep 10, 2021

The world’s biggest plant to capture CO2 from the air just opened in Iceland

The Orca, an installation built by Climeworks, will capture 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year — and serve as a blueprint for similar technology.
  • Sep 8, 2021

Afghan army’s total collapse forces soul-searching at NATO meeting

The collapse of the Afghan military after 20 years and billions of dollars of investments forced a sobering round of assessments at an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
  • Aug 20, 2021

France orders spyware investigation following Pegasus Project reports

The government voiced anger over new revelations by The Washington Post and other news organizations that world leaders had been found on a list that included people targeted by NSO Group’s powerful spyware.
  • Jul 22, 2021

On the list: Ten prime ministers, three presidents and a king

Among 50,000 phone numbers, the Pegasus Project found those of hundreds of public officials.
  • Jul 20, 2021

In Orban’s Hungary, spyware was used to monitor journalists and others who might challenge the government

The deployment of the tool, confirmed with forensics, shows a willingness to use tactics previously deemed out-of-bounds.
  • Jul 19, 2021

Hungary’s law against gay ‘propaganda’ draws fire from E.U.

E.U. leaders warn that they will sue Hungary if it goes forward with the measure.
  • Jun 23, 2021