• Reuters Pictures of the year: Environment collection includes California’s worst ever wildfire season.
  • Plagues of locusts in Africa and deforestation in the Amazon also feature.
  • Floods in Japan and Central America were among 2020’s extreme weather events.
  • The photographs also show images of hope and resilience.

While COVID-19 has dominated headlines, 2020 has also been a big year for the environment.

From California’s worst-ever wildfire season, to melting ice sheets, the signs of climate change have been inescapable worldwide.

But there’s also been good news for the environment. By early next year, countries representing more than 65% of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70% of the world economy will have committed to carbon neutrality, according to the UN.

Photographers have captured some of the biggest moments of the year - here’s just a snapshot of Reuters’ 60 Pictures of the year: Environment.

1. Locust plague in Africa

Huge swarms of desert locusts raised fears about food security during East Africa’s growing season this year. Adult desert locusts can eat their own bodyweight in vegetation every day.

A woman from the Turkana tribe walks through a swarm of desert locusts at the village of Lorengippi near the town of Lodwar, Turkana county, Kenya, July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      SEARCH
A woman from the Turkana tribe walks through a swarm of desert locusts at the village of Lorengippi near the town of Lodwar, Turkana county, Kenya, July 2, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Baz Ratner’s image shows a woman from the Turkana tribe at the village of Lorengippi near the town of Lodwar, Turkana county, Kenya.

2. Toxic air in India

New Delhi, India has the poorest air quality of any capital city and in November suffered its most toxic day in a year. The concentration of poisonous PM2.5 particles in the air was recorded at 14 times the World Health Organization’s safe limit.

A residential area is shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India, November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2HZJ9OF9I6
A residential area is shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India, November 9, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

This photo, taken by Danish Siddiqui, shows a New Delhi residential area shrouded in smog.

3. Record temperatures in California

In August, California’s Death Valley National Park recorded one of the highest temperatures ever reliably recorded on Earth - 130F (54.4C).

Steve Krofchik of Las Vegas keeps cool with a bottle of ice on his head as the unofficial thermometer reads 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius), with a mechanical fault on the display causing the numbers to render incorrectly, at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center in Death Valley, California, U.S. August 17, 2020. REUTERS/David Becker     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC20GI9I0D6I
Steve Krofchik of Las Vegas keeps cool with a bottle of ice on his head as the unofficial thermometer reads 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius), with a mechanical fault on the display causing the numbers to render incorrectly, at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center in Death Valley, California, U.S. August 17, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/David Becker

David Becker’s image shows Steve Krofchik of Las Vegas keeping cool with a bottle of ice on his head.

4. Bushfires burn Australia

Record high temperatures and severe drought fuelled months of devastating bushfires across Australia at the start of the year.

Nancy Allen and Brian Allen stand outside their home as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, January 4, 2020. Reuters photographer Tracey Nearmy:
Nancy Allen and Brian Allen stand outside their home as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, January 4, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy/File photo SEARCH

In Tracey Nearmy’s image, Nancy and Brian Allen stand outside their house amidst smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire in New South Wales.

5. Earth Day up close

April 22, 2020 was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which marks the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

A boy walks over a drainage channel littered with heaps of polyethene bags on Earth Day, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Karachi, Pakistan April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2O9G90FUBB
A boy walks over a drainage channel littered with heaps of polyethene bags on Earth Day, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Karachi, Pakistan April 22, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

In Akhtar Soomro’s photograph, taken on Earth Day, a boy walks over a drainage channel littered with heaps of polythene bags in Karachi, Pakistan.

6. Activist in the Arctic

Environmental activist and campaigner Mya-Rose Craig, 18, holds a cardboard sign reading "youth strike for climate" as she sits on an ice floe in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, in this image by Natalie Thomas.

Environmental activist and campaigner Mya-Rose Craig, 18, holds a cardboard sign reading 'Youth Strike for Climate.'
Environmental activist and campaigner Mya-Rose Craig, 18, holds a cardboard sign reading 'Youth Strike for Climate.'
Image: REUTERS/Natalie Thomas

7. The PPE waste problem

COVID-19 has created a new threat to wildlife and the environment – growing volumes of waste personal protective equipment, including single-use PPE.

A seagull carries a protective face mask at the port of Dover, Britain, August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls - RC2NBI93ASB5
A seagull carries a protective face mask at the port of Dover, Britain, August 11, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

In Peter Nicholls’ image, a seagull carries a face mask at the port of Dover in Britain.

8. Devastating floods in Japan

In July, record-breaking heavy rain hit the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, killing at least 44 people as a result of flooding and landslides.

An aerial view shows damage caused by floods following torrential rain in Kumamura, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File photo      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      SEARCH
An aerial view shows damage caused by floods following torrential rain in Kumamura, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2020. Picture taken with a drone.
Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File photo

Kim Kyung-Hoon’s image captures some of the devastation in Kumamura, Kumamoto Prefecture.

9. Worst wildfires in California

California has suffered its biggest ever wildfire season in 2020, including five of the six largest fires ever recorded in the state.

Residents are silhouetted as they watch the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California, U.S. October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2QQJ9XI28V
Residents are silhouetted as they watch the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California, U.S. October 26, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

This photo by Ringo Chiu shows residents watching the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda, California.

10. Let the light shine through

A rainbow of hope. In Siaya county, Kenya, Thomas Mukoya photographs a double rainbow stretching above a woman holding an umbrella and selling snacks.

A double rainbow is seen above a woman holding an umbrella and selling snacks along the road in Siaya county, Kenya May 3, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya - RC27HG9OQF60
A double rainbow is seen above a woman holding an umbrella and selling snacks along the road in Siaya county, Kenya May 3, 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya