Rebecca Hersher

Rebecca Hersher (she/her) is a reporter on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research. Since coming to NPR in 2011, she has covered the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, embedded with the Afghan army after the American combat mission ended, and reported on floods and hurricanes in the U.S. She's also reported on research about puppies. Before her work on the Science Desk, she was a producer for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered in Los Angeles.

Hersher was part of the NPR team that won a Peabody award for coverage of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and produced a story from Liberia that won an Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound. She was a finalist for the 2017 Daniel Schorr prize; a 2017 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting fellow, reporting on sanitation in Haiti; and a 2015 NPR Above the Fray fellow, investigating the causes of the suicide epidemic in Greenland.

Prior to working at NPR, Hersher reported on biomedical research and pharmaceutical news for Nature Medicine.

The first thing Larry McCanney fell in love with was the tree in the front yard. It cast shade on the porch of a house that, if he were honest, needed some work. But McCanney is handy, the price was right and the location was perfect, just a couple of miles from his childhood home in Burlington, N.J.

Here's a sentence that's basically unintelligible to most people: Humans must mitigate global warming by pursuing an unprecedented transition to a carbon neutral economy.

A recent study found that some of the most common terms in climate science are confusing to the general public. The study tested words that are frequently used in international climate reports, and it concluded that the most confusing terms were "mitigation," "carbon neutral" and "unprecedented transition."

Global warming is driving dangerous and disruptive flooding in underground rail systems around the world. Flooded tunnels and stations have disrupted service and stranded passengers in Boston, London, San Francisco, Taipei, Bangkok, Washington, D.C., and a host of other cities in recent years.

But the problem has taken on added urgency this summer, with multiple, high-profile subway floods driven by summer rainstorms.

Ida was a fierce Category 4 hurricane when it came ashore Sunday in Louisiana. With sustained winds of about 150 mph, the storm ripped roofs off buildings and snapped power poles. It pushed a wall of water powerful enough to sweep homes off foundations and tear boats and barges from their moorings.

Climate change helped Ida rapidly gain strength right before it made landfall. In about 24 hours, it jumped from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm as it moved over abnormally hot water in the Gulf of Mexico.

The rain fell fast and hard in Middle Tennessee over the weekend, harder than it has ever fallen before. Up to 17 inches of rain inundated parts of the state in less than 24 hours on Saturday. Streets turned into rivers. Water barreled through homes. At least 21 people died, and more are still missing.

Global climate change is accelerating and human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are the overwhelming cause, according to a landmark report released Monday by the United Nations. There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming this century, but only if countries around the world stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible, the authors warn.

The message to world leaders is more dire, and more unequivocal, than ever before.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly would save tens of millions of lives worldwide, a new study finds. It's the latest indication that climate change is deadly to humans, and that the benefits of transitioning to a cleaner economy could be profound.

More than 200 of the world's leading climate scientists will begin meeting today to finalize a landmark report summarizing how Earth's climate has already changed, and what humans can expect for the rest of the century.

Coastal neighborhoods around the U.S. are seeing a steady increase in high tide flooding, as sea level rise accelerates and sends seawater into homes, sewers and streets. The problem is expected to get worse in the coming years, federal scientists warn.

Big bodies are good for cold places.

That's the gist of a foundational rule in ecology that has been around since the mid-1800s: Animals that live in colder places tend to have larger bodies, especially birds and mammals that need to regulate their body temperatures. For example, some of the largest whale and bear species have evolved in the coldest reaches of the planet.

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