The Download: the year’s most-read climate stories, and Amazon’s chatbot


2023 has been a big year for climate news. Wildfires, floods and heatwaves displaced and killed thousands of people across the world as extreme weather events worsened, and scientists have concluded the past 12 months were the hottest since records began.

But it’s not exclusively bad news. Our climate experts James Temple and Casey Crownhart have been covering the most promising technologies that could make a difference. Take a look back over some of MIT Technology Review’s most-read climate stories of the year—and make sure you keep up-to-date with all the latest news by subscribing to The Spark, our weekly climate and energy tech newsletter. 

+ This geothermal startup showed its wells can be used like a giant underground battery. If Fervo Energy’s field results work at commercial scale, it could become cheaper and easier to green the grid. Read the full story.

+ Helion Energy, a startup backed by Sam Altman, says its first fusion plant is five years away. Experts aren’t so sure.

+ Check out our handy explainer of how heat pumps work—and how they could save you money in the process.

+ Spraying iron particles above the ocean could help to fight climate change. But scientists say far more research still needs to be done. Read the full story.

+ Yes, we have enough materials to power the world with renewable energy. We won’t run out of key ingredients for climate action, but mining comes with social and environmental ramifications. Read the full story.

+ Nonprofits and academic groups are working to help climate-vulnerable regions take part in the high-stakes global debate over solar geoengineering.



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