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Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, methane entering our atmosphere has accounted for more than 30 per cent of global warming. As Mark Rowe reports in this month’s Dossier (Page 33), reducing methane emissions, while not halting this process, could in the short term significantly slow it down, buying us desperately needed time to transition fully away from a carbon economy. And it would be relatively straightforward to have a major impact on methane output. The oil and gas industry could stop the absurdly wasteful practice of flaring – the burning of gas leaks. Farmers could stop flooding rice paddies and improve feed types for livestock. We could all eat less beef. And we could use the methane produced by our waste for energy production. All doable and all would have a swift impact on our still-warming climate. While 155 countries have signed up to the Global Methane Pledge to reduce emissions by 30 per cent, few have done enough to hit that target by 2030.

Another problem we seem to want to ignore is the plight of the refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan. Since last summer, international aid agencies have been warning that they’re running out of funds to cope with this desperate situation. Last year, we featured Peter Caton’s powerful photographs about how this troubled region was coping with extensive flooding. This month, he has sent us another moving dispatch (Page 20) from the frontline of a humanitarian crisis. You can help by making a donation on the Relief International website. Graeme Gourlay, Editor



Andrew Brooks starts his new regular column on Page 15, challenging common assumptions on how we view the world.

Andrew is a reader in uneven development and deputy head of the geography department at King’s College London. His books include Clothing

Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and

Second-hand Clothes, and Bullsh*t Comparisons:

A Field Guide to Thinking Critically.


Katherine Parker is a historian who specialises in the history of cartography, the history of the book and the history of European exploration of the Pacific. She’s also the cartographic collections manager at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), where she promotes and protects more than a million maps. On Page 27, she charts the early cartographic history of Mount Everest and the surrounding Himalaya.

VARANASI India’s city of light is a place where millions of pilgrims wash away a lifetime of sins. But behind the piety and religion is a sleazy underbelly of people smuggling, the sex trade and corruption. Stuart Butler travels to the city to meet some of the victims and talk to the family that’s risking it all to try to help.

The next issue of Geographical is out on

Friday 17 May



July 2020 Volume 92 Issue 07

Publisher/Editor Graeme Gourlay Associate Editor Katie Burton

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Geographical © is the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and was founded by

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Cover image: Abeselom Zerit/ Shutterstock

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