The Keeling Curve

The Keeling Curve since 1958
The Keeling Curve: A daily record of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

10 things a committed U.S. President and Congress could do about climate change » Yale Climate Connections

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

There’s a big “if” behind that remark: It will take an exceptionally climate-savvy and climate-concerned Executive Branch to have the political will to initiate some of these steps. And there’s more: It likely will take supportive bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. More still: It will also take widespread and strong public support and citizen engagement, and, even then, strong leadership skills on the part of federal leaders.

Whitehouse

It’s not clear when or if that time will come, nor what kind of climate catastrophe could precipitate such a coming-together. It brings to mind a phrase often attributed, but with some uncertainty, to Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

Continue reading at: 10 things a committed U.S. President and Congress could do about climate change » Yale Climate Connections

Heat waves and climate change: Is there a connection? » Yale Climate Connections

Extreme heat may not trigger the same visceral fear as a tornado, but according to NOAA’s natural hazard statistics, it causes nearly twice as many fatalities in the United States each year – more than any other weather hazard. As the climate continues to warm, that number could rise dramatically in the U.S. and around the world.

Hot sun

Since the late 1800s, human-caused climate change has warmed the Earth’s average temperature by around 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). That doesn’t sound like much, but a relatively small warming of the average temperature results in a large jump in extreme heat.

Continue reading at: Heat waves and climate change: Is there a connection? » Yale Climate Connections

Mark Jacobson Has A Plan To Convert The World To 100% Renewable Energy. Is It Realistic? | CleanTechnica

Mark Jacobson is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University. He is also one of our heroes here at CleanTechnica because instead of just writing papers and giving speeches about how important it is for the world to stop burning fossil fuels, he and his colleagues actually did the hard work of creating a road map that details precisely what each of the 50 US states need to do to transition to 100% renewable energy.

renewable energy LCOE Lazard 12

Continue reading at: Mark Jacobson Has A Plan To Convert The World To 100% Renewable Energy. Is It Realistic? | CleanTechnica

A 100% renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s in the works in Europe – ThinkProgress

Europe will be 90% renewable powered in two decades, experts say.
The myth that a very high level of renewables can’t be integrated into the electric grid is being demolished by the clean tech and battery storage revolution.
“By 2040, renewables make up 90% of the electricity mix in Europe, with wind and solar accounting for 80%,” predict the experts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in their annual energy outlook released this week.
“Cheap renewable energy and batteries fundamentally reshape the electricity system,” explains BNEF. Since 2010, wind power globally has dropped 49% in cost. Both solar and battery prices have plummeted 85%.

A LARGE WIND FARM IN MECKLENBURG-WESTERN POMERANIA, GERMANY, MAY 14, 2019. CREDIT: BERND WÜSTNECK/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Continue reading at: A 100% renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s in the works in Europe – ThinkProgress

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Survey sees biggest US honeybee winter die-off yet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Winter hit U.S. honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet, an annual survey of beekeepers showed.
The annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found 37.7% of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss.
The survey of nearly 4,700 beekeepers managing more than 300,000 colonies goes back 13 years and is conducted by bee experts at the University of Maryland, Auburn University and several other colleges.
Beekeepers had been seeing fewer winter colony losses in recent years until now, said Maryland’s Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the bee partnership and co-author of Wednesday’s survey.
“The fact that we suddenly had the worst winter we’ve had ... is troubling,” vanEngelsdorp said.

In this Oct. 12, 2018 file photo, a man holds a frame removed from a hive box covered with honey bees in Lansing, Mich. According to the results of an annual survey of beekeepers released on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, winter hit America’s honeybees hard with the highest loss rate yet. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)
Continue reading at: Survey sees biggest US honeybee winter die-off yet

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

‘Climate apartheid’: UN expert says human rights may not survive

The world is increasingly at risk of “climate apartheid”, where the rich pay to escape heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers, a report from a UN human rights expert has said.
Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law.

International climate treaties have been ineffective, the report said. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images
Alston is critical of the “patently inadequate” steps taken by the UN itself, countries, NGOs and businesses, saying they are “entirely disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat”. His report to the UN human rights council (HRC) concludes: “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”
Continue reading at: ‘Climate apartheid’: UN expert says human rights may not survive

Monday, June 24, 2019

Opinion | The Greens Are Germany’s Leading Political Party. Wait, What? - The New York Times

As the country took climate change to heart, it was only a matter of time before its politics did too.
HAMBURG, Germany — The emergence of the Green Party as a leading force in German politics is not unlike the flowering of the Serengeti after a rainstorm: What had been mere seeds one minute, hidden but full of potential, sprout overnight, so fast and so fully that it’s hard to remember how things looked before.
After winning a modest 8.9 percent of the votes in the general elections in 2017, the Greens jumped to 20.5 percent in the recent European elections, scoring their best result ever on the national level. Then, in a poll last week, the Greens received 26 percent, topping Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, which came in at 25 percent, and making the Greens the leading political party. Long considered a left-wing fringe group, the Greens are now in control of Germany’s progressive agenda — a fact that could reshape German politics for decades to come.
The party began as a motley crew of Marxists, ecologists and pacifists. Over time, it made its way step by step into the mainstream; Joschka Fischer, who served as foreign minister and vice chancellor, came from the Greens, and helped cement the party within the establishment.
Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, the leaders of the German Green Party.
Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, the leaders of the German Green Party.CreditCreditBernd Von Jutrczenka/Associated Press
But the Greens didn’t sell out; rather, their version of the political avant-garde helped form a new mainstream. German politics were once, and to some extent still are, dominated by old gray men and women. But it is the Greens, almost alone among the country’s political parties, who can speak with authenticity to and for the younger generations; among all but the oldest Germans, they come in first in the polls. The Greens have sprouted because they fit perfectly into a society in which unconventionality has become the norm.
Opinion | The Greens Are Germany’s Leading Political Party. Wait, What? - The New York Times

Europe Awaits Record-Smashing June Heat Wave | The Weather Channel

A heat wave this week could produce all-time record highs at multiple European cities. This heat wave – which will be unusually strong for so early in the summer – will gin up some of the hottest June temperatures ever recorded in western and northern Europe.

At a Glance:

  • The upper-level pattern will allow heat to build across Europe in the week ahead.
  • A heat wave is expected in western and northern Europe.
  • All-time June high-temperature records will likely be smashed in some countries.

A vicious heat wave this week could produce all-time record highs at multiple European cities. This heat wave – which will be unusually strong for so early in the summer – will gin up some of the hottest June temperatures ever recorded in western and northern Europe.
The European and GFS (American) forecast models are in strong agreement on the development of a blocking ridge of high pressure from near Greenland into western Europe. The setup is related to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) that has prevailed since late April and that could intensify this week.

Often a blocking high over Greenland leads to cooler, cloudier conditions in western Europe, but in this case an upper-level trough is positioned over the eastern Atlantic, west of France. The Greenland high will arc around and to the north of the trough and into western Europe. This topsy-turvy pattern, known as a rex block, can last for a number of days.
Continue reading at: Europe Awaits Record-Smashing June Heat Wave | The Weather Channel

Couple Spends 20 Years Planting an Entire Forest and Animals Have Returned

Nearly 30 years ago, Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado returned from East Africa, where he was on location documenting the horrors of the Rwanda genocide. Following this traumatizing project, Salgado was to take over his family’s sprawling cattle ranch in Minas Gerais—a region he remembered as a lush and lively rainforest. Unfortunately, the area had undergone a drastic transformation; only about 0.5% was covered in trees, and all of the wildlife had disappeared. “The land,” he tells The Guardian, “was as sick as I was.”

Then, his wife Lélia had an idea: they should replant the forest. In order to support this seemingly impossible cause, the couple set up the Instituto Terra, an “environmental organization dedicated to the sustainable development of the Valley of the River Doce,” in 1998. Over the next several years, the Salgados and the Instituto Terra team slowly but surely rebuilt the 1,754-acre forest, transforming it from a barren plot of land to a tropical paradise.

Now a Private Natural Heritage Reserve, hundreds of species of flora and fauna call the former cattle ranch home. In addition to 293 species of trees, the land now teems with 172 species of birds, 33 species of mammals, and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles—many of which are endangered. As expected, this rejuvenation has also had a huge impact on the ecosystem and climate. On top of reintroducing plants and animals to the area, the project has rejuvenated several once dried-up springs in the drought-prone area, and has even positively affected local temperatures.
Continue Reading: Instituto Terra: A Replanted Forest That's Home to 500 Endangered Species

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A nasty swine virus in China means big trouble for US farmers

A relentlessly rainy spring and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China aren’t the only forces haunting the Midwest’s corn and soybean farmers. A deadly, highly contagious disease called African swine fever—thankfully, harmless to humans—is sweeping through China’s hog farms, literally killing demand for feed. 

A nearly-empty barn at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in northern China's Hebei province, where swine fever is taking its toll.Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo
African swine fever has already wiped out at least 20 percent of the nation’s hog herd this year, according to the Dutch agricultural lender Rabobank. That amounts to about 90 million pigs—more than the entire US hog population, the globe’s second-largest behind China. That’s bad news for American farmers, because China imports large quantities of our soybeans. China houses nearly 60 percent of the entire globe’s pig herd—and fattening nearly half a billion pigs for slaughter every year requires it to import two-thirds of all globally traded soybeans.
Continue reading at: A nasty swine virus in China means big trouble for US farmers

General Electric to scrap California power plant 20 years early

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Friday it plans to demolish a large power plant it owns in California this year after only one-third of its useful life because the plant is no longer economically viable in a state where wind and solar supply a growing share of inexpensive electricity.
The 750-megawatt natural-gas-fired plant, known as the Inland Empire Energy Center, uses two of GE’s H-Class turbines, developed only in the last decade, before the company’s successor gas turbine, the flagship HA model, which uses different technology.
The closure illustrates stiff competition in the deregulated energy market as cheap wind and solar supply more electricity, squeezing out fossil fuels. Some utilities say they have no plans to build more fossil plants.

It also highlights the stumbles of Boston-based GE with its first H-Class turbine. The complex, steam-cooled H design takes hours to start, suffered technical problems and sold poorly, experts said.
Continue reading at: General Electric to scrap California power plant 20 years early

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Awards Historic 1,100 MW Offshore Wind Solicitation to Ørsted’s Ocean Wind Project

As New Jersey Advances 100 Percent Clean Energy Goals, Project Will Generate $1.17 Billion in Economic Benefits, Create 15,000 Jobs
 The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) today unanimously granted the state’s first award for offshore wind to Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1,100 MW project, giving the company the opportunity to build 1,100 MW of offshore wind in federal waters. The 1,100 MW of offshore wind is expected to power roughly 500,000 New Jersey homes and generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits, in addition to creating an estimated 15,000 jobs over the project life.
Today’s decision sets the record for the single largest award for offshore wind in the country to date and marks further progress toward meeting the state’s goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030, and Governor Phil Murphy’s vision of 100 percent clean energy for the state by 2050.
New Jersey to Build Offshore Wind
“Today’s historic announcement will revolutionize the offshore wind industry here in New Jersey and along the entire East Coast,” said Governor Murphy. “Building our offshore wind industry will create thousands of jobs, invite new investments into our state, and put us on a path to reaching our goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030. This award is a monumental step in making New Jersey a global leader in offshore wind development and deployment.”
Continue reading at: New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Awards Historic 1,100 MW Offshore Wind Solicitation to Ørsted’s Ocean Wind Project

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Costa Rica Has Banned Styrofoam — A Major Win for the Environment

After rolling out a national strategy to drastically reduce plastic use by 2021 last year, Costa Rica is now taking its environmental protection efforts a step further by banning the use of styrofoam containers.

The new legislation, signed on Thursday, prohibits the import, marketing, and distribution of polystyrene containers — commonly referred to as styrofoam — throughout the country.
The legislation will go into effect in 24 months after it is officially published in the government newsletter, La Gaceta. The legislation is now awaiting President Carlos Alvarado’s signature, and then will be sent to the national printer for publication in La Gaceta.
Fines for violations range from $763 (446,200Costa Rican Colon) to $7,629 (4.46 million Costa Rican Colon). The government is required to aid companies in adapting to environmentally friendly containers before the law is fully enforced.
Costa Rica Has Banned Styrofoam — A Major Win for the Environment

UK Government U-turns on deletion of ban on hormone disrupting pesticides, claims it was a ‘drafting error’

Following a legal letter from Leigh Day on behalf of CHEM Trust, the UK Government have announced today that they will re-instate a ban on pesticides with endocrine (hormone) disrupting properties in their no-deal Brexit laws.

European Commission notes on WTO EDC

The Government are claiming this is a drafting error, yet this European ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides has been a major focus of lobbying from pesticide companies and the US government for many years, so it is surprising that such an error could be made accidentally and not be spotted by those who work in the sector.

UK Government U-turns on deletion of ban on hormone disrupting pesticides, claims it was a ‘drafting error’

EU climate deal falls at summit, four countries wield the axe – EURACTIV.com

The European Council failed to agree on Thursday (20 June) on a landmark climate strategy for 2050 as the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Poland baulked at the mention of a specific date, despite the efforts of France and Germany to convince them.

Leaders of the EU-28 did not manage to broker an agreement that would have seen member states slash greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2050, after Estonia and three of the Visegrad Four protested at the inclusion of an explicit date.

The next opportunity to return to the issue will be October, at an end-of-month summit due to be Jean-Claude Juncker’s last as Commission president. The summit is likely to be dominated by Brexit though as the UK is due to leave the bloc at midnight on 31 October.


Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) were two of four leaders to block conclusions on the climate deal. [Photo: EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK]

A final version of Thursday’s conclusions says the EU will “ensure a transition to a climate neutral EU ‘in line with the Paris Agreement’”, replacing the 2050 date that appeared in the latest draft this morning.

Continue reading at: EU climate deal falls at summit, four countries wield the axe – EURACTIV.com

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Acute water shortages hit parts of India amid searing heat wave | CBC News

Climate Denial Kills
The southeastern city of Chennai is depending on water tanker trucks as taps run dry.
All four reservoirs that supply Chennai, known as the Detroit of south Asia for its flourishing automobile industry, have run dry this summer, largely because of poor monsoon rains last year.
Chennai is one of 21 cities that a government think-tank warned last year could run out of ground water by 2020. This year's monsoon is delayed, further compounding problems across a swath of western and central India.

People in New Delhi are also being forced to rely on tankers delivering water amid a searing heat wave. (Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters)
Continue reading at: Acute water shortages hit parts of India amid searing heat wave | CBC News

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The women leading Asia’s zero-waste movement

China, Indonesia and Vietnam are amoung the worst ocean plastic polluters in the world, according to a 2015 Ocean Conservancy report.
But it's not just their own waste they are swamped with. At its height in January 2017, the UK was exporting 28,000 tonnes of waste to China in just one month alone. Following China's import ban, this fell to close to zero, leaving the UK scrambling for a new destination for its waste.
As images of plastic-choked rivers in Indonesia and dead whales washed onto the shores of the Philippines circulate on social media, individuals in Asia have begun practising a zero-waste lifestyle.
Amongst them are three inspiring women championing zero-waste in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. They spoke to the BBC about their quick tips on how to reduce our impact on the planet.
The women leading Asia’s zero-waste movement

Monday, June 17, 2019

Nature On The Eve Of Destruction -- The UN Extinction Report

One million species are close to extinction, thanks to Homo sapiens.
Thus warns a landmark new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), presented at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary meeting earlier this month in Paris.
Sir Robert Watson, Chair of the IPBES, said, “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Smokestacks and Garbage. It is no wonder that nature can’t compete in this wasteland of humanity. Bangladesh. See https://populationspeakout.org. M.R.HASASN
The Report highlights the urgency of global decarbonization and the need to increase nuclear power along with all other non-fossil energy sources. But while global warming will have a multiplier effect, this rapid decline in species is not just the result of climate change, but of humans all on their own.
Continue reading at: Nature On The Eve Of Destruction -- The UN Extinction Report

Germany to support EU climate neutrality by 2050 – leaked documents

Germany will join a growing group of EU countries to support the pledge to aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, increasing the likelihood EU leaders will agree to the goal at a meeting this week (20-21 June), several media outlets report. Documents show that Germany has thrown its weight behind an EU-wide target to cut net carbon dioxide emissions to zero by mid-century, after having resisted such calls by several neighbouring countries, including France, for months. Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert largely confirmed the media reports. [Update adds Seibert's statement.]
Photo shows German chancellor Angela Merkel at press conference after European Council summit in March 2019. Photo: European Union 2019.
Continue reading at: Germany to support EU climate neutrality by 2050 – leaked documents

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Montana Judge Stops Mining at Yellowstone’s Doorstep

Thanks to Earthjustice litigation, a proposal for a giant gold mining project near Yellowstone National Park is now entirely off the table.
As people across the country prep for their summer vacations, residents and businesses in Paradise Valley, the northern gateway to Yellowstone National Park, are gearing up to greet them.
A Montana district court blocked an access road for drilling rigs and heavy equipment from tearing up this landscape.
A Montana district court blocked an access road for drilling rigs and heavy equipment from tearing up this landscape. PHOTO COURTESY OF WILLIAM CAMPBELL
A destination in and of itself, Paradise Valley offers the full array of the Yellowstone region’s iconic wildlife and magnificent landscapes. With a lot riding on the tourist season, one thing the locals shouldn’t have to worry about is a massive new gold mine driving away tourists.
Continue reading at: Montana Judge Stops Mining at Yellowstone’s Doorstep

This remarkable Greenland photo highlights extreme Arctic melting

The melting Arctic is on dramatic display.
At mid-June, Arctic sea ice is now at a record low for this time of year, and melted ice is especially notable both in and around Greenland — home to the second largest ice sheet on the planet. Steffen Olsen, a climate researcher at the Danish Meteorological Institute, snapped a photo on Thursday of Greenland sea ice that had melted into a large lake of aqua water, pooled atop the icy surface.
A big melting event in Greenland.
A big melting event in Greenland. IMAGE: STEFFEN M. OLSEN
Olsen, along with local hunters, had to sled across the flooded ice to retrieve vulnerable weather and ocean monitoring equipment. Their sled dogs splashed through the icy water.
Continue reading at: This remarkable Greenland photo highlights extreme Arctic melting

EDF consortium wins 600 MW Dunkirk offshore wind project - ET EnergyWorld

Interesting, Enbridge is diversifying into renewables. Maybe we can pursue them to drop tar sands and pipeline?

EDF's bid in partnership with Germany's Innogy and Canada's Enbridge beat rivals including utility Engie in partnership with Portugal's EDPR and energy group Total in partnership with Denmark's Orsted.
PARIS: A consortium led by French state-owned utility EDF has won a contract for a major 600 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project near Dunkirk in western France, Environment Minister Francois de Rugy said on Friday.
EDF's bid in partnership with Germany's Innogy and Canada's Enbridge beat rivals including utility Engie in partnership with Portugal's EDPR and energy group Total in partnership with Denmark's Orsted
De Rugy said nine international energy and industrial companies had shown an interest in the project and that seven had made a bid.
"EDF has been chosen," de Rudy said in Saint Nazaire, western France, where he was launching a separate EDF offshore wind project.
Image result for offshore wind project
Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The ministry said the tariff proposed by the winning consortium was significantly lower than 50 euros per megawatt hour (MWh). That compares with 63 euros/MWh for an onshore wind tender of around 516 MW that was awarded by the government on Wednesday.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Permafrost is thawing rapidly. How much should we worry? » Yale Climate Connections

Scientists warn of consequences to infrastructure, the economy, and the climate.

The change is visible from space. In the Earth’s high latitudes, new lakes and ponds are appearing in once-dry areas. These so-called “thermokarst” lakes form when underground ice collapses as permafrost warms. In the freshly formed lakes, the greenhouse gas methane is bubbling to the surface and escaping to the atmosphere, where it will make human-caused climate change even worse.

Permafrost lakes

“I’m very concerned about the state of permafrost ecosystems,” says Ben Abbott, an assistant professor of ecosystem ecology at Brigham Young University. He and other scientists interviewed in this month’s “This is Not Cool” video, by independent videographer Peter Sinclair, warn that thawing permafrost will have cascading impacts on ecosystems and local infrastructure, which is buckling as it shifts on formerly sturdy ground.

Permafrost is thawing rapidly. How much should we worry? » Yale Climate Connections

State and local governments seeking climate change 'solutions' have plenty of options » Yale Climate Connections

Government bodies at all levels have a wide range of choices available for addressing climate change.

A March 2019 five-part series addressed actions individual people can take to reduce their carbon footprint on the road, in and around their homes, and in their diets.

That series raised the obvious question of whether individual actions on their own can be adequate to help society confront the climate challenges we all face. The answer is decidedly ‘No’: Societal actions globally also are essential. That’s the focus of this companion two-part series.

This post focuses on actions all levels of government can take in this effort. A second part of this series will address actions only the federal government can take. After that, the author plans to address a range of private sector (manufacturing, agriculture, services) actions needed to help prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change.

The following list of governmental actions, based on science and common sense, is by no means exhaustive. They are straightforward, with some already being implemented, and they could be scaled up.

City hall

State and local governments seeking climate change 'solutions' have plenty of options » Yale Climate Connections

Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target - BBC News

Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change.

Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a "moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than what we inherited".

Man cleaning solar panels at Landmead solar farm

GETTY IMAGES

Cutting emissions would benefit public health and cut NHS costs, she said.

Britain is the first major nation to propose this target - and it has been widely praised by green groups.

But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible.

Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target - BBC News

Analysis: global plastics boom fueled 2018 CO2 emissions rise - Unearthed

The world added more non-fossil power last year than ever before, but energy demand rose by even more

Last year’s rise in global CO2 emissions – the largest since 2011 – was driven in part by a surge in demand for petrochemicals used largely to manufacture plastic materials, according to statistics in BP’s latest world energy review.

Growth in production of naptha, ethane and LPG – which primarily function as petrochemical feedstocks – accounted for half of oil demand growth in 2018, far more than in previous years.


Petrochemical production has been soaring in recent years. Photo: China Photos, Getty Images.

Emissions were also pushed up by a rebound in China’s coal use – tied to the steel industry – and a jump in demand for heating and cooling around the world, largely due to yearly variation, but potentially a sign of things to come as climate change proceeds.

Analysis: global plastics boom fueled 2018 CO2 emissions rise - Unearthed

Hundreds of new pesticides approved in Brazil under Bolsonaro | Environment | The Guardian

Many of those permitted since far-right president took power are banned in Europe

Brazil has approved hundreds of new pesticide products since its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, took power in January, and more than 1,000 since 2016, a study has found. Many of those approved are banned in Europe.



A farmed field alongside native savanna in Formosa do Rio Preto, western Bahia state. Photograph: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

Of 169 new pesticides sanctioned up to 21 May this year, 78 contain active ingredients classified as highly hazardous by the Pesticide Action Network and 24 contain active ingredients banned in the EU, according to the study published on Wednesday by Greenpeace UK’s news agency Unearthed. Another 28 pesticides not included in the report were approved in the last days of 2018.

Hundreds of new pesticides approved in Brazil under Bolsonaro | Environment | The Guardian

Brazil's President Is Making It Impossible to Fight Deforestation, Activists Say

Brazil's President Is Making It Impossible to Fight Deforestation, Activists Say

Britain Becomes First Major Country to Commit to Legally Binding Zero Emissions Target

Britain Becomes First Major Country to Commit to Legally Binding Zero Emissions Target

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Justice Through Citizen Science: How ‘Chemical Fingerprinting’ Could Change Public Health • The Revelator

When residents of Tonawanda, N.Y., began falling sick with cancer, they launched their own investigation. It led to legal action and the closure of a polluting coal plant, but the work didn't end there.
University at Buffalo PhD candidate Kaitlin Ordiway (left) prepares to run a sample in a secondary ion mass spectrometer. UB chemistry professor Joseph Gardella (right) is leading the Tonawanda Coke soil study. (Photo by Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo)
Justice Through Citizen Science: How ‘Chemical Fingerprinting’ Could Change Public Health • The Revelator

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change? – Uneven Earth

Debates about the Green New Deal—Ocasio-Cortez’s version and occasionally radical varieties such as that of the US Green Party—have incited much discussion about paths to utopia. Central to these conversations is the labour question: who will do the work of making the world, and how will that work be apportioned? And how much will the US Way of Life © have to change?
Ecologically-minded socialists and degrowthers tend to point out that cheap energy and excess material use are built into the socio-technical structures of capitalism. Getting rid of capitalism requires replacing capitalist technology. We must build, literally, a new world, which may require more labour and much lighter consumption patterns in the core, especially among the wealthy. Eco-socialists also tend to be more attentive to agriculture’s role in development in the periphery and core.

Image: Karla S. Chambers
How much will the US Way of Life © have to change? – Uneven Earth

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Electric car Netherlands: focus on the Lombok eco-district in Utrecht - Easy Electric Life

The Lombok eco-district, located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, illustrates how the electric car fits into grander reflections on the city, consumption trends and power grids.
Operated by the Start-up LomboXnet, the carsharing service “We Drive Solar” launched in the district of Lombok has a fleet of 150 ZOEs at the disposal of residents on a self-serve basis. A number of parking spaces are reserved for these cars and are easily recognisable by their charging stations. While the latter are connected to the power grid, they are also powered by several thousand solar panels installed on neighbouring roofs, creating 100% renewable energy.

Electric car Netherlands: focus on the Lombok eco-district in Utrecht - Easy Electric Life

How an electric car can make you money

The solar-power charged electric cars making money
Electric cars are being used to help power a small Portuguese island in the Atlantic. Porto Santo Island has begun testing a scheme in which the batteries in electric vehicles are charged by solar power during the day but at night return spare energy to the grid to power people's homes. Some experts say this form of energy storage could become a global trend.

How an electric car can make you money

Monday, June 10, 2019

What it’s like to raise children in the world’s most polluted capital

Air pollution is a world-wide problem and is on the rise specifically in large cities of the developing world - driven by urbanization and fueled by climate change. Ulaanbaatar is the worst and a harbinger of things to come...

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Jargalmaa Sukhbaatar is five years old, and she hasn’t been to school in weeks. Her parents are keeping her at home to protect her from the toxic air outside.
The oldest of three children, Jargalmaa is a resident of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the world’s coldest capital city and one of its most polluted. During the winter months, when average temperatures can dip below -40 degrees (in both Fahrenheit and Celsius), the air in Ulaanbaatar fills with toxic particles that emanate from the unrefined coal burning inside people’s homes, causing a smog so thick that it becomes almost impossible to see.
Forty-five percent of Mongolians now live in the city, and experts say it is overpopulated. As Ulaanbaatar continues to grow and industrialize, the problem has only worsened. The pollution is especially bad in northern districts of the city, where families settle in traditional nomadic yurts, known as gers, and burn whatever they can find to stay warm in below freezing temperatures.

EUTERS / B. RENTSENDORJ
What it’s like to raise children in the world’s most polluted capital

83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump - The New York Times

Trump and his supporters are criminals!

By NADJA POPOVICH, LIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA and KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS UPDATED June 7, 2019
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses.

83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump - The New York Times

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fresh mountain smog? 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality – study

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues.

A rainbow is seen across the Yosemite Valley in front of El Capitan granite rock formation in Yosemite national park. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Fresh mountain smog? 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality – study

Friday, June 7, 2019

Rising demand for air conditioning could make climate change even worse

By Sarah Wesseler
Between 1992 and 2016, more than 22,000 people in India died as a result of heat exposure. In 2015 alone, the death toll reached 2,300.
Authoritative projections indicate that under a high-emissions scenario, 75 percent of the country’s population will face dangerous levels of heat and humidity by 2100. Cities that now house millions would become uninhabitable.
Air conditioners
Continue reading at: Rising demand for air conditioning could make climate change even worse

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Earth's carbon dioxide has jumped to the highest level in human history

By Andrew Freedman
The monthly peak amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere in 2019 jumped by a near-record amount to reach 414.8 parts per million (ppm) in May, which is the highest level in human history and likely the highest level in the past 3 million years.
Why it matters: Carbon dioxide is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas, with a single molecule lasting in the air for hundreds to around 1,000 years. The continued buildup of carbon dioxide due to human activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy, is driving global temperatures up and instigating harmful impacts worldwide.
A huge thermal power plant is emitting vapor into the sky, seen from the highway from Tianjin to Beijing.
A thermal power plant located between Tianjin and Beijing. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Continue reading at: Earth's carbon dioxide has jumped to the highest level in human history

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Toward zero hunger: More food or a smarter food system?

Contact: ericksn@umich.edu
ANN ARBOR—When thinking about ways to end global hunger, many scholars focus too narrowly on increasing crop yields while overlooking other critical aspects of the food system.
That’s one conclusion from a University of Michigan-led research team that reviewed recent scholarly papers discussing the United Nations goal of ending hunger and malnutrition worldwide by 2030. The authors are members of U-M’s Sustainable Food Systems Initiative.
Illustration of a chicken with wheat crops.
Toward zero hunger: More food or a smarter food system?
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