Saturday, July 27, 2019

EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

After years of pressure from environmental campaigners, the European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, has proposed to end financing for all fossil fuels by 2020. It would be the first multilateral financial institution to make such a commitment.

It may have been the tough confirmation battle of the incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that convinced the EIB to make the policy change. During her meetings with European Parliament political groups ahead of her confirmation vote, Von der Leyen embraced the idea of French President Emmanuel Macron to create a European climate bank, saying she would transform the EIB into such an entity.

Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Demonstrators display a banner calling for the EU's lending arm to stop all investments in fossil fuels at the One Planet summit organized by Emmanuel Macron (Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) GETTY

Continue reading at: EU Lending Bank To End All Fossil Fuel Financing By 2020

Friday, July 26, 2019

How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Every year, hundreds of petroleum industry executives gather in Anchorage for the annual conference of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, where they discuss policy and celebrate their achievements with the state’s political establishment. In May 2018, they again filed into the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, but they had a new reason to celebrate. Under the Trump administration, oil and gas development was poised to dramatically expand into a remote corner of Alaska where it had been prohibited for nearly 40 years.

Tucked into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill signed by President Donald Trump five months earlier, was a brief two-page section that had little to do with tax reform. Drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the provision opened up approximately 1.6 million acres of the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing, a reversal of the federal policy that has long protected one of the most ecologically important landscapes in the Arctic.

The refuge is believed to sit atop one of the last great onshore oil reserves in North America, with a value conservatively estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars. For decades, the refuge has been the subject of a very public tug of war between pro-drilling forces and conservation advocates determined to protect an ecosystem crucial to polar bears, herds of migratory caribou, and native communities that rely on the wildlife for subsistence hunting. The Trump tax law, for the first time since the refuge was established in 1980, handed the advantage decisively to the drillers.

A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine
A visitor and a lone caribou watch each other on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, an area in the north of the refuge known for its rich biodiversity. | Nathaniel Wilder for Politico Magazine

One of the keynote speakers at the conference that afternoon was Joe Balash, a top official at the Department of the Interior. Balash, who grew up in a small town outside Fairbanks and describes himself as “a local kid,” referred to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a “jewel,” and predicted that the entire North Slope region was “about to change in some pretty astounding ways.” The executives were there to hear him talk about what was going to come next: Before development could begin, Interior needed to complete a review of potential environmental impacts, and then get the first leases sold to industry. He recounted for the audience that on his second day on the job—right around when the tax bill was passed—then-Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt sat him down and told him that he would be “personally responsible” for completing the legally complex environmental review process for the wildlife refuge and “having a successful lease sale.”

“No pressure,” Balash said to audience laughter.

The pressure, in fact, couldn’t be greater.

Continue reading at: How Science Got Trampled in the Rush to Drill in the Arctic

Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

Europe added 1.9GW of new offshore wind capacity in the first half of 2019, up from the 1.1GW installed in the same period last year, according to WindEurope.
Countries that contributed to the new installations are the UK with 931MW, including Ørsted's Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm, Denmark with 374MW, Belgium with 370MW and Germany with 252MW.

The combined installations of new offshore and onshore wind capacity amounted to 4.9MW in H1 2019, which is an increase from the 4.5GW added in the same period last year.
Europe invested EUR 8.8 billion in the construction of future wind farms, with EUR 2.4 billion dedicated to offshore wind. These investments will result in 5.9GW being installed and connected over the next two to three years, WindEurope said.
At the end of last year, Europe set the target to have at least 32% of electricity produced by renewable energy by 2030.
According to WindEurope, Europe is also talking about a net-zero economy by 2050, but the rate of installations so far this year will not bring to the target.
Continue reading at: Europe Sees 1.9GW Offshore Wind Boost | Offshore Wind

UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

Profits from subsidy-free solar farms have helped to connect millions in Africa to cheap lighting
A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems.
Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4m for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5m the year before.
A 5% share of the record profits will be channelled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2m homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006.
The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

A project manager for Solarcentury walks the lines of solar panels at a solar farm near Truro in Cornwall. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Continue reading at: UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

Thursday, July 25, 2019

How plastic-industry pollution threatens Gulf seafood [Opinion] -

From Padre Island to the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico is turning into a plastic soup. Researchers are finding microplastic trash in almost every water sample collected from the Gulf, at some of the highest concentrations reported in the world. And the situation is about to get far worse — off the Texas coast and in other U.S. waterways.

Shrimp infused with microplastics? The pollutants are making their way onto our dinner plates.

Photo: Lauri Patterson, Contributor / Getty

That’s because the petro-plastic industry is embarking on a reckless expansion boom. Determined to turn the country’s oversupply of fracked natural gas into more throwaway packaging and products, industry plans to build or expand 80 facilities that turn fracked gas into plastic, including 48 in Texas.

Continue reading at: How plastic-industry pollution threatens Gulf seafood [Opinion] -

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

World Hunger Is on the Rise - Heated

Let’s face it: The U.S. is not feeding the world

kuarmungadd for Getty Images

For the third straight year, U.N. agencies have documented rising levels of severe hunger in the world, affecting 820 million people. More than 2 billion suffer “moderate or severe” food insecurity. During the same period, the world is experiencing what Reuters called a “global grains glut,” with surplus agricultural commodities piled up outside grain silos rotting for want of buyers.

Obviously, growing more grain is not reducing global hunger.

Yet every day, some academic, industry, or political leader joins the Malthusian chorus of warnings about looming food shortages due to rising populations and strained natural resources. For example, here’s Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University, sounding the familiar alarm: “We’ve got to find a way to feed the world, double the food supply,” he said. “And we all know if we don’t produce enough food, what the outcome is: it’s war, it’s competition.”

“How will we feed the world?” calls the preacher. “Increase our bounty,” responds the choir.
There is so much wrong with that answer. And even with the question, which is profoundly arrogant.

How will “we” feed “the world?” We know who we mean when we ask that question: rich countries, with high-yield seeds and industrial-scale agriculture. The United States thinks it’s feeding the world now. It is not.

Continue reading at: World Hunger Is on the Rise - Heated

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090 | The Independent

My comment: One of the tipping points I posted about earlier. Things are speeding up. 10-15 years may be too optimistic?

Series of 'anomalously warm summers' caused ground to thaw, researchers say

Permafrost hs begun thawing in the Canadian Arctic more than 70 years early because of climate change, according to new research.

A "series of anomalously warm summers” has dramatically accelerated melting rates at three sites despite average annual ground temperatures remaining low. Ponds and hillocks have formed as a result. 

It had been thought that the permafrost - ground that remains frozen for at least two years - would remain until at least 2090.

But the study found thawing levels were above 150 to 240 per cent above historic levels. 

Researchers called this a “truly remarkable amount".

Image result for permafrost thawing early

Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island was the worst-affected site, according to the study, published on the journal Geophysical Research Letters

There, permafrost thawing levels were 240 per cent higher than historic levels and the ground sank 90cm over the course of the study which ran for over 12 years, between 2003 and 2016.

Researchers also recorded thawing at depths not expected until air temperatures rose to levels that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted it would reach in 2090...

Continue reading at: Climate change: Arctic permafrost now melting at levels not expected until 2090 | The Independent

Friday, July 19, 2019

It’s the End of the World as They Know It – Mother Jones

The distinct burden of being a climate scientist


On election night 2016, Kim Cobb, a professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, was on Christmas Island, the world’s largest ring-shaped coral reef atoll, about 1,300 miles south of Hawaii. A climate scientist, she was collecting coral skeletons to produce estimates of past ocean temperatures. She had been taking these sorts of research trips for two decades, and over recent years she had witnessed about 85 percent of the island’s reef system perish due to rising ocean temperatures. “I was diving with tears in my eyes,” she recalls.

In a row house made of cinder blocks on the tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, she monitored the American election results, using a satellite uplink that took several minutes to load a page. When she saw Donald Trump’s victory, she felt shock and soon descended into severe depression. “I had the firm belief that Washington would act on climate change and would be acting soon,” the 44-year-old Cobb says. “When Trump was elected, it came crashing down.”

Continue reading at: It’s the End of the World as They Know It – Mother Jones

PFAS Resources — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

PFAS (per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances) comprise a group of over 5,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic to humans and wildlife and last so long in the environment they have been referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. PFAS are used in numerous consumer products to confer waterproof, greaseproof, stain-proof and non-stick properties. They are also used for industrial purposes such as fire fighting foam. It is now becoming clear that PFAS are in the food, water, air, and bodies of many people around the world. The few PFAS that have been thoroughly studied show adverse impacts on the endocrine, immune, and metabolic systems.


Learn more about PFAS chemicals using the following resources provided by TEDX and our partners.

Read more at: PFAS Resources — The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

The Cure to the Tragedy of the Commons? Cooperation | Hakai Magazine

When fishers communicate openly, coral reefs win.

Fishers who keep their lines of communication open — even when they are competing for the same fish — end up with healthier fishing grounds. Researchers interviewed almost 650 fishers in Kenya and found that those who shared info about when and how they work had more fish and higher biodiversity in their waters. “The hardest thing in conservation is getting a bunch of disparate people to cooperate to ensure the perpetuation of a resource that they all depend on,” says ecologist Jack Kittinger. “When that happens, lo and behold, you’ve got better ecological success.”

Fisherman with traditional dhow fishing boat at Diani beach, Kenya
When Kenyan reef fishers who are in competition for the same fish species openly discuss tools and techniques and sort through problems, their cooperation results in healthier reef ecosystems. Photo by RZAF_Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Continue reading at: The Cure to the Tragedy of the Commons? Cooperation | Hakai Magazine

July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists | Environment | The Guardian

If global trends continue for another fortnight, it will beat previous two-year-old record

Record temperatures across much of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth, according to climate scientists.
The past fortnight has seen freak heat in the Canadian Arctic, crippling droughts in Chennai and Harare and forest fires that forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon campsites in southern France and prompted the air force in Indonesia to fly cloud-busting missions in the hope of inducing rain.
If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it will beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025C, according to calculations by Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, and others.

Tourists leave the Acropolis on 4 July in Athens, Greece, after it closed because of high temperatures. Photograph: Miloš Bičanski/Getty Images

This follows the warmest-ever June, which was confirmed this week by data from the US space agency Nasa, following Europe’s Copernicus satellite monitoring system.

Continue reading at: July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists | Environment | The Guardian

DOE Tour of Zero: Eastford Farm Bungalow by Paul Torcellini | Department of Energy

Paul Torcellini’s Connecticut home may look like a traditional bungalow. But there’s an important difference.

Torcellini: “It is a zero-energy house. We produce more energy onsite than we consume in the course of a year.”

Torcellini bungalow

As an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab, Torcellini has seen lots of tiny, zero-energy homes. But he wanted a more conventional size.

Torcellini: “You know, we’re like, we can do this with a family. We can do this taking five showers or baths a day, and all the laundry that goes with it, and four chest freezers so we can grow and store our own food.”

To provide that energy, he installed solar panels. And to keep heating and cooling needs low, he designed the home with south-facing windows and twelve-inch walls that provide tight insulation … all without breaking the bank.

Torcellini says going zero-energy no longer means drastically altering a building’s budget, size, or style. If a community wants to build a zero-energy school, for example …

Torcellini: “You’ll have multiple architects, engineers saying, ‘I can do that, and I can do it at no additional cost.’ So cost is not the excuse anymore. Technology is not the excuse. It’s the will to just do it.”

Learn more baout it here: DOE Tour of Zero: Eastford Farm Bungalow by Paul Torcellini | Department of Energy

Subscribe to Customized Maps of Environmental Concerns

Annotate & Share Your SkyTruth Alerts Map

SkyTruth’s latest update to Alerts adds features that allow subscribers to annotate a map view and share it with co-workers, organizations and interested parties. These additions add to a rich set of features that are unique to online mapping and satellite imagery viewing — all available for free to the public. New annotation features allow subscribers to:
  • Highlight traits found in satellite imagery
  • Measure the area of new development or changes in a habitat’s footprint
  • Add information to a SkyTruth Alerts incident
  • Measure boundary setbacks or the distance between 2 objects
  • Add text to the map in preparation for sharing with others
This is accomplished with a set of tools that can annotate by using shapes (rectangles, circles, polygons), lines, text, markers and measurements. A guide to these tools is available here.
New sharing capabilities allow you to save current map views either as a JPG image or a unique URL. Visit here for a  guide to sharing and some of its limitations.

Continue reading and subscribe at: Annotate

What is known about the mysterious disappearance of insects » Yale Climate Connections

These news articles and accessible scientific papers explain the latest findings on the 'insect apocalypse.'

Perhaps you remember when a drive in the country meant a windshield covered with the remains of many tiny insects. And you may have noticed that this is no longer always (or even usually) the case. Indeed, you can drive many interstate miles, even in rural areas, without having to clean your windshield to see properly.
(Photo credit: chapstickaddict / Flickr )
Are there really fewer insects than there used to be? Yes, in fact – a lot fewer. Is this drop-off an effect of a warming globe? Partly. We might call it one of the ways in which climate change is a threat multiplier – shifts in temperatures, rainfall, and drought increase the damage caused, for instance, by habitat loss and pesticides.

The drop-off in numbers of insects is also an example of a sliding baseline: Based on their own first-hand observations, young people set their expectations about the world decades later than their parents set theirs, and their parents in turn set theirs decades after their own parents or grandparents did. So those long, slow declines go relatively unnoticed. In the case of insects, which many of us don’t notice except as annoyances, even a faster decline may stay largely unobserved by many.

The best single article to read about all this (and the several recent scientific studies about it) is Brooke Jarvis’s “The Insect Apocalypse is Here” (Nonsubscribers can use one of their monthly free reads.) It is compelling to read, thorough, and rich in both information and human stories.

Continue reading at: What is known about the mysterious disappearance of insects » Yale Climate Connections

The 'war on coal' myth » Yale Climate Connections

Environmental regulations aren't the reason that coal is falling off the map.
Is environmental extremism causing the decline of the American coal industry? A look at the economics shows that coal has been beaten fair and square in the marketplace by cheaper and cleaner alternatives. The best way to support coal communities is to confront these economic realities, rather than creating a divisive and false narrative about the reasons behind the industry’s challenges.
Coal mining
Talen Energy in June announced the early closure of part of its Montana Colstrip power plant, the sixth-largest source of greenhouse emissions in the U.S. Two of the plant’s four coal-burning units are to be shuttered at the end of this year. The plant, and now its closing, are emblematic of the struggle between the fight to save coal communities and the inevitable economic forces plucking away at coal’s one-time dominance of American energy.
The Colstrip plant has four units, each its own power plant. The two oldest units, Units 1 and 2, are closing in light of insurmountable headwinds. They emit so much pollution that under federal law they are not permitted to operate unless the relatively cleaner units are also running and the net pollution then can be averaged-out. These 43-year-old units are also expensive to run compared to the amount of power they generate, so they are seldom used.
Continue reading at: The 'war on coal' myth » Yale Climate Connections

E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children.

The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops.

It was the administration’s second major move this year to roll back or eliminate chemical safety rules. In April, the agency disregarded the advice of its own experts when officials issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, a known carcinogen. Agency scientists and lawyers had urged the E.P.A. to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations.

In making the chlorpyrifos ruling, the E.P.A. said in a statement that the data supporting objections to the use of the pesticide was “not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable.” The agency added that it would continue to monitor the safety of chlorpyrifos through 2022.

A 2018 protest in California after a public hearing on increasing restrictions on the use of the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. 
A 2018 protest in California after a public hearing on increasing restrictions on the use of the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. CreditCreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

Continue reading at: E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems - The New York Times

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom

NOAA and its research partners predict that western Lake Erie will experience a harmful algal bloom (HAB) of cyanobacteria this summer that is larger than the mild bloom in 2018. Scientists expect this year’s bloom to measure greater than a 7 on the severity index. The severity index is based on a bloom’s biomass – the amount of its harmful algae – over a sustained period. The largest blooms, 2011 and 2015, were 10 and 10.5, respectively. Last year’s bloom had a severity of 3.6 considered a mild bloom. However, the size of a bloom is not necessarily an indication of how toxic it is. For more information on the projection click here.

NOAA HAB Forecast Bulletin

Continue reading at: Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Tipping Elements - the Achilles Heels of the Earth System — PIK Research Portal

Tipping elements are components of the Earth system of supra-regional scale which - in terms of background climate - are characterized by a threshold behavior. Once operating near a threshold, these components can be tipped into a qualitatively different state by small external perturbations. To compare them with the human body, tipping elements could be described as organs which drastically alter or stop their usual function if certain requirements, such as oxygen supply, are not sufficiently fulfilled.

The threshold behavior is often based on self-reinforcing processes which, once tipped, can continue without further forcing. It is thus possible that the new state of a tipping element persists, even if the background climate falls back behind the threshold. The transition resulting from the exceedance of a system-specific tipping point can be either abrupt or gradual. Its large-scale environmental impacts could endanger the livelihood of millions of people.

Map of the most important tipping elements in the Earth System overlain on the Köppen climate classification. There are three groups of tipping elements: melting ice bodies, changing circulations of the ocean and atmosphere, and threatened large-scale ecosystems. Question marks indicate systems whose status as tipping elements is particularly uncertain. Source: PIK, 2017.

Continue reading at: Tipping Elements - the Achilles Heels of the Earth System — PIK Research Portal

11 Critical Global Warming Tipping Points - Job One for Humanity

Global Warming Tipping Points Which Can Create Mass Extinction Within Our Lifetimes

(If you do not understand the basics of what global warming (aka climate change,) is or how it works, we strongly advise you click here first to view some basic illustrations that explain it. If you are not familiar with the 20 major and worst consequences of global warming we strongly recommend you review this page first as it will deepen your understanding of how the global warming tipping points can interact with these other global warming consequences to create a global warming extinction scenario within our lifetimes. Also please note that the global warming extinction process is also sometimes called runaway global warming or irreversible global warming.)

"You cannot be called an alarmist if there really is something to be alarmed about." Unknown Source

While you are learning about key global warming tipping points, it is critically important to understand that no compensatory calculations for the effects of any global warming tipping points being crossed were ever included in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC,) calculations for precisely how much we have to reduce our global fossil fuel use to save ourselves from extinction. This is important because the IPCC's global fossil fuel reduction calculations are currently being used by all of the member governments of the United Nations (about 190 countries,) for setting their own internal national fossil fuel reduction programs.

This horrific failure to include crossing any global warming tipping points in our current global and national fossil fuel reduction calculations is also true for the world's most recent 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. As you will soon discover this omission of including proper calculations for crossing global warming tipping points as the world continues to warm is the recipe for mutually assured destruction.

Yes, this failure to include allowance calculations for crossed tipping points also means that the national fossil fuel reduction programs of every member of the United Nations using the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement targets is also based on incomplete and inaccurate calculations. In other words, our current global fossil fuel reduction calculations are based on the inconceivable belief that "everything will work perfectly within our rapidly warming climate systems all of the time and we will never crossing any key global warming tipping points." Unfortunately, the immutable laws of mathematics and physics also do not work that way, particularly as we simultaneously continue to add massively more carbon and methane to our atmosphere each year.

We all know how "everything always goes perfectly as planned all of the time" so, there's nothing really to worry about here or, is there? As you explore the key global warming tipping points described below the shocking meaning to your future wellbeing of our government's not including crossing any global warming tipping points in their calculations for how much we have to reduce our global and national fossil fuel use to prevent extinction will become much clearer to you...

Tipping Points
The major Global warming tipping points within interacting climate, human, and biological systems are:
  1. The total amount of melting ice.
  2. The albedo effect.
  3. The release of methane from the warming of polar permafrost and tundra.
  4. The total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
  5. The die-offs of carbon-eating and oxygen-producing sea plankton because of the warming, carbonization, and acidification of the oceans.
  6. The ever-increasing atmospheric heat captured and stored by the oceans and sent to lower levels of the ocean.
  7. The loss of the atmospheric carbon-eating forests because of heat, drought, wildfires, and timber-harvesting or agriculture-related clearcutting.
  8. Soils that normally absorb carbon begin releasing it back into the atmosphere from their previously stored or inherent carbon because of the escalating heat.
  9. The changes in major ocean currents that help to stabilize our weather and seasons.
  10. The global warming-caused pandemic potential. When ancient ice, glaciers, permafrost, or frozen tundra melts, it releases still-living bacteria and viruses never seen before.
  11. Total weight of rising seas and melting ice shifting. Although research is sparse in this area, it has been posited that the total massive weight change from all ice melt areas (where ice covers land masses) as well as the heating, expanding and shifting weight effect on seas caused by global warming can move existing tectonic plates.
Continue reading at: 11 Critical Global Warming Tipping Points - Job One for Humanity

The urgency of Arctic change - ScienceDirect

This article provides a synthesis of the latest observational trends and projections for the future of the Arctic. First, the Arctic is already changing rapidly as a result of climate change. Contemporary warm Arctic temperatures and large sea ice deficits (75% volume loss) demonstrate climate states outside of previous experience. Modeled changes of the Arctic cryosphere demonstrate that even limiting global temperature increases to near 2 °C will leave the Arctic a much different environment by mid-century with less snow and sea ice, melted permafrost, altered ecosystems, and a projected annual mean Arctic temperature increase of +4 °C. Second, even under ambitious emission reduction scenarios, high-latitude land ice melt, including Greenland, are foreseen to continue due to internal lags, leading to accelerating global sea level rise throughout the century. Third, future Arctic changes may in turn impact lower latitudes through tundra greenhouse gas release and shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation. Arctic-specific radiative and heat storage feedbacks may become an obstacle to achieving a stabilized global climate. In light of these trends, the precautionary principle calls for early adaptation and mitigation actions.

Recent Arctic erosion and loss of permafrost along the Alaskan coast near Drew Point. Thawing land ice (white) is clearly visible. This is part of the current rapid changes happening in the Arctic. Photo from USGS (

Continue reading at: The urgency of Arctic change - ScienceDirect

Polar vortex breakdown | Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis

In January 2019, a pattern of high-altitude winds in the Arctic, better known as the polar vortex, weakened, sweeping frigid air over North America and Europe in the second half of the month. Arctic sea ice extent remained well below average, but temperatures in the far north were closer to average than in past years.

The left image shows atmosphere winds (70 millibars, about 60,000 feet altitude) on January 15, 2019. North America is in the center of this view. The right image shows surface air temperatures on January 30, 2019. For reference, Chicago was -26 degrees Celsius (-15 degrees Fahrenheit) on this morning (dark blue color). Credit: 

Arctic sea ice extent for January averaged 13.56 million square kilometers (5.24 million square miles). This was 860,000 square kilometers (332,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average sea ice extent, and 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles) above the record low for the month set in January 2018. January 2019 was the sixth lowest January extent in the 1979 to 2019 satellite record.

Continue reading at: Polar vortex breakdown | Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis

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

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.

Global Warming Is Messing with the Jet Stream. That Means More Extreme Weather.

A new study links the buildup of greenhouse gas emissions to more frequent heat waves, floods and droughts in the Northern Hemisphere.

Greenhouse gases are increasingly disrupting the jet stream, a powerful river of winds that steers weather systems in the Northern Hemisphere. That's causing more frequent summer droughts, floods and wildfires, a new study says.

The speed and waviness of the northern jet stream, a river of wind across the Northern Hemisphere, is affected by the temperature difference between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. Credit: NASA

The findings suggest that summers like 2018, when the jet stream drove extreme weather on an unprecedented scale across the Northern Hemisphere, will be 50 percent more frequent by the end of the century if emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate pollutants from industry, agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels continue at a high rate.

In a worst-case scenario, there could be a near-tripling of such extreme jet stream events, but other factors, like aerosol emissions, are a wild card, according to the research, published today in the journal Science Advances.

Continue reading: Global Warming Is Messing with the Jet Stream. That Means More Extreme Weather.

A warming Arctic produces weather extremes in our latitudes

Atmospheric researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now developed a climate model that can accurately depict the frequently observed winding course of the jet stream, a major air current over the Northern Hemisphere. The breakthrough came when the scientists combined their global climate model with a new machine learning algorithm on ozone chemistry. Using their new combo-model, they can now show that the jet stream's wavelike course in winter and subsequent extreme weather conditions cold air outbreaks in Central Europe and North America are the direct result of climate change. Their findings were released in the Nature online portal Scientific Reports on 28 May 2019.

Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2019,18, 717-746, DOI: 10.1039/C8PP90062K

For years, climate researchers around the globe have been investigating the question as to whether the jet stream's winding course over the Northern Hemisphere -- observed with increasing frequency in recent years -- is a product of climate change, or a random phenomenon that can be traced back to natural variations in the climate system. The term "jet stream" refers to a powerful band of westerly winds over the middle latitudes, which push major weather systems from west to east. These winds whip around the planet at an altitude of roughly 10 kilometres, are driven by temperature differences between the tropics and the Arctic, and in the past, often reached top speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour.

But these days, as observations confirm, the winds are increasingly faltering. They less often blow along a straight course parallel to the Equator; instead, they sweep across the Northern Hemisphere in massive waves. In turn, during the winter these waves produce unusual intrusions of cold air from the Arctic into the middle latitudes -- like the extreme cold that struck the Midwest of the USA in late January 2019. In the summer, a weakened jet stream leads to prolonged heat waves and dry conditions, like those experienced in Europe in e.g. 2003, 2006, 2015 and 2018.

Continue reading at (with link to full-text scientific paper): A warming Arctic produces weather extremes in our latitudes

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health: An Assessment of 16 U.S. States | CAKE: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

Climate change poses significant threats to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the delivery of healthcare services. Human morbidity and mortality rates are rising due to extreme heat events and changing patterns of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, and healthcare infrastructure is at risk from extreme events. Climate adaptation actions are taken to either avoid or take advantage of climate change impacts either by decreasing vulnerability or increasing resilience.

Read more and access the report at: The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health: An Assessment of 16 U.S. States | CAKE: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

Opinion | Agroecology as Innovation

On July 3, the High Level Panel of Experts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its much-anticipated report on agroecology in Rome. The report signals the continuing shift in emphasis in the UN agency’s approach to agricultural development. As outgoing FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva has indicated, “We need to promote a transformative change in the way that we produce and consume food. We need to put forward sustainable food systems that offer healthy and nutritious food, and also preserve the environment. Agroecology can offer several contributions to this process.”
While financial interests in the current input-intensive systems are responding to growing calls for agroecology with attacks on its efficacy, it is surprising that they are so ill-informed about the scientific innovations agroecology offers to small-scale farmers who are being so poorly served by “green revolution” approaches.
The commissioned report, Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition, two years in the making, is clear on the urgent need for change. “Food systems are at a crossroads. Profound transformation is needed,” the summary begins. It goes on to stress the importance of ecological agriculture, which supports “diversified and resilient production systems, including mixed livestock, fish, cropping and agroforestry, that preserve and enhance biodiversity, as well as the natural resource base.”
Continue reading at: Opinion | Agroecology as Innovation

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Groups Launch Legal Action to Protect Waterways from Slaughterhouse Pollution - Waterkeeper Alliance

Conservation groups today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to update slaughterhouse wastewater guidelines as required by the Clean Water Act.

More than 8 billion chickens, 100 million hogs, and 30 million beef cattle are processed each year in more than 5,000 slaughterhouses across the country. An estimated 4,700 of these are currently allowed to discharge processed wastewater directly into waterways or to publicly-owned treatment plants.

“Many of these dirty slaughterhouses contribute to impairments in the waterways where they discharge their pollution,” said Sylvia Lam, Attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project. “The most polluting plants also release far more pollution than the cleanest plants. EPA needs to step in, set stronger national water pollution standards for meat and poultry processing plants, and level the playing field.”

WOTUS water transfers rule campaigns waterkeeper alliance epa

The Clean Water Act requires the EPA to annually review, and potentially strengthen, industry-wide water pollution standards—called effluent limitation guidelines —for slaughterhouses to ensure the guidelines keep pace with advances in technology that reduce the amount of pollution animal processing and rendering facilities discharge into the nation’s waterways.

Continue reading at: Groups Launch Legal Action to Protect Waterways from Slaughterhouse Pollution - Waterkeeper Alliance

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remaining carbon budget - Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)

That’s how fast the carbon clock is ticking
The MCC Carbon Clock shows how much CO2 can be released into the atmosphere to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively. With just a few clicks, you can compare the estimates for both temperature targets and see how much time is left in each scenario.

In line with the recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) has updated its Carbon Clock.
In 2015, with the Paris Climate Agreement, all nations around the world set themselves the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C (preferably 1.5°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. An ambitious goal.

The Special Report of October 2018 presents new figures: The atmosphere can absorb no more than 420 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 if we are to stay below the 1.5°C threshold. However, since around 42 Gt of CO2 is emitted globally every year—the equivalent of 1332 tonnes per second—this budget is expected to be used up in just over nine years. The budget for staying below the 2°C threshold, for its part, of approximately 1170 Gt, will be exhausted in about 26 years.
Continue reading and signup for their newslatter at: Remaining carbon budget - Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)

Mi Lead Safe - Mi Lead Safe

Signup for Michigan Safe Drinking Water Virtual Town Halls:

July 9, 6:00 to 7:00 PM ET – Lower Michigan Residents

July 10, 6:00 to 7:00 PM ET – Northern Lower Michigan Residents

July 11, 6:00 to 7:00 PM ET – Upper Peninsula Residents

Family photo of mom and dad carrying kids on their back and smiling

Do you have a question  you would like addressed during the town halls? SUBMIT QUESTION/COMMENT or send email to

Mi Lead Safe - Mi Lead Safe

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis | Environment | The Guardian

I posted a BBC article on this before but this one has more maps and is more detailed...

Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide.
Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.
As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
The analysis found there are 1.7bn hectares of treeless land on which 1.2tn native tree saplings would naturally grow. That area is about 11% of all land and equivalent to the size of the US and China combined. Tropical areas could have 100% tree cover, while others would be more sparsely covered, meaning that on average about half the area would be under tree canopy.
The scientists specifically excluded all fields used to grow crops and urban areas from their analysis. But they did include grazing land, on which the researchers say a few trees can also benefit sheep and cattle.
Continue reading at: Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis | Environment | The Guardian

The Nation’s Largest Commercial Insurance Company Has Ditched Covering Coal. That’s a Big Deal. – Mother Jones

“Chubb’s announcement is a clear sign that coal is becoming uninsurable worldwide.”
This story was originally published by HuffPost and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Climate advocates have been pressuring U.S. insurance companies to end their support for the dirty energies driving the global crisis, and on Tuesday they claimed their first big win.
Chubb Ltd., the nation’s largest commercial insurance company, announced it will move away from insuring and investing in coal. It becomes the first major U.S. insurance company to take such action, joining more than a dozen European and Australian insurers that have already adopted similar policies.

Chubb will no longer underwrite the construction of new coal-fired power plants, according to the policy. It will also stop investing in companies that generate more than 30% of their revenues from coal mining or production, as well as phase out existing coverage for mining and utility companies that exceed the 30% threshold.

Continue reading: The Nation’s Largest Commercial Insurance Company Has Ditched Covering Coal. That’s a Big Deal. – Mother Jones

Revealed: How the global beef trade is destroying the Amazon — The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Beef every day chops the Amazon away...

The cows grazed under a hot sun near a wooden bridge spanning a river in the Amazon. The quiet was occasionally broken by a motorbike growling along a dirt road that cut through the sprawling cattle ranch.
But the idyllic pasture was on land that the Lagoa do Triunfo ranch has been forbidden to use for cattle since 2010, when it was embargoed by Brazil’s environment agency Ibama as a punishment for deforestation. Nearby there were more signs of fresh pasture: short grass, feeding troughs, and fresh salt used to feed cattle — all in apparent contravention of rules designed to protect vital rainforest.
This vast 145,000 hectare ranch is one of several owned by AgroSB Agropecuária SA — a company known in the region as Santa Barbara. Located in an environmentally protected area, Lagoa do Triunfo is more than 600km from the capital of the Amazon state of Pará, on the western fringes of Brazil’s “agricultural frontier” — where farming eats into the rainforest.

An investigation by the Bureau, the Guardian and Repórter Brasil has found that cattle produced by Santa Barbara are being sold to JBS, the world’s biggest meat-packing company. JBS is the single biggest supplier of beef, chicken and leather globally, and exports fresh beef to Europe and about half of the corned beef eaten in the UK. In 2017, JBS said it had stopped buying Santa Barbara cattle, after it was fined $7.7 million for buying cows raised on illegally deforested land — but our investigation shows that is no longer the case.

The investigation found that last year the Lagoa do Triunfo ranch delivered hundreds of heads of cattle to some of Santa Barbara’s other farms for the final stage of fattening. Cattle was then sent from those farms to slaughter in JBS plants. Using GPS and publicly available maps and locations, reporters located cattle and pasture inside embargoed areas at Lagoa do Triunfo.

Continue reading: Revealed: How the global beef trade is destroying the Amazon — The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

'Football pitch' of Amazon forest lost every minute - BBC News

An area of Amazon rainforest roughly the size of a football pitch is now being cleared every single minute, according to satellite data.

The rate of losses has accelerated as Brazil's new right-wing president favours development over conservation.
The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.
A senior Brazilian official, speaking anonymously, told us his government was encouraging deforestation.


How is the forest cleared?

Usually by bulldozers, either pushing against the trunks to force the shallow roots out of the ground, or by a pair of the machines advancing with a chain between them.
In one vast stretch of recently cleared land, we found giant trees lying on their sides, much of the foliage still green and patches of bare earth drying under a fierce sun.
Later, the timber will be cleared and sold or burned, and the land prepared for farming.
In other areas, illegal loggers carve new tracks through the undergrowth to reach particularly valuable hardwood trees which they sell on the black market, often to order.

What does this mean for the forest?

Satellite images show a sharp increase in clearances of trees over the first half of this year, since Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil, the country that owns most of the Amazon region.
The most recent analysis suggests a staggering scale of losses over the past two months in particular, with about a hectare being cleared every minute on average.

Satellite images of deforestation showing change since 1984

Continue reading at: 'Football pitch' of Amazon forest lost every minute - BBC News

UK government warned deep sea mining could cause ‘potential extinction of unique species’, documents reveal - Unearthed

Seems that some people want to monetize on everything. At least some things and especially living beings should be left in peace!

The UK’s joint project with American military firm Lockheed Martin is the largest in the world but poses risks to deep sea ecosystems.
Deep sea mining could lead to “the potential extinction of unique species which form the first rung of the food chain,” according to a report commissioned by an arm of the British government.
‘The Subsea Mining Capability Statement’ – obtained by Unearthed using freedom of information rules – was produced by the National Subsea Research Initiative in 2017 and circulated amongst the UK government’s deep sea mining working group at key stakeholder meetings.
The British government has licenses for exploratory mining of polymetallic nodules in the Pacific Ocean as part of a joint venture with UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of US defence firm Lockheed Martin.

The statement’s environmental warnings echo those heard from the scientific community, many of whom fed into the UK parliament’s ‘sustainable seas’ inquiry which concluded deep sea mining “would have catastrophic impacts on the seafloor site and its inhabitants.”

Continue reading at: UK government warned deep sea mining could cause ‘potential extinction of unique species’, documents reveal - Unearthed

Redefining hope in a world threatened by climate change » Yale Climate Connections

Here's what leading thinkers, writers, and educators say about how to keep going in troubled times.

Prerhaps you have read that The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom has decided to use the terms climate emergency, crisis or breakdown instead of climate change in its news stories; and global heating instead of global warming. As social and cultural circumstances alter, words and their power change their meanings and impact, and the public in the end may have to adapt by using new words.
Or sometimes we can try to refine or redefine old words to fit new circumstances. For instance, hope, which as verb and noun has long implied both desire and expectation: “I hope [desire] that we can solve the climate problem” or “I have little hope [don’t expect] that our civilization will survive this existential climate crisis.” But what happens when desire outstrips results, and then discouragement leads to hopelessness, despair, cynicism, paralysis? When hope starts to sound passive and empty?

Here, from some leading thinkers, writers, philosophers, and educators, are a few useful, maybe even inspiring, ways to rethink hope. Click on the links for more good words.


  • Amory Lovins: “Many of us here stir and strive in the spirit of applied hope. We work to make the world better, not from some airy theoretical hope, but in the pragmatic and grounded conviction that starting with hope and acting out of hope can cultivate a different kind of world worth being hopeful about, reinforcing itself in a virtuous spiral. Applied hope is not about some vague, far-off future but is expressed and created moment by moment through our choices. … Applied hope is a deliberate choice of heart and head. … Applied hope requires fearlessness.”

Continue reading: Redefining hope in a world threatened by climate change » Yale Climate Connections

Jony Ive’s Fragmented Legacy: Unreliable, Unrepairable, Beautiful Gadgets

“If you’ve looked at computers, they look like garbage,” Steve Jobs said to a group in Aspen, Colorado, at the 1983 International Design Conference. Jobs built the world’s wealthiest corporation making computers look great alongside Jony Ive, Apple’s outgoing chief design officer. Jobs and Ive took inspiration from Dieter Rams, the legendary industrial designer renowned for functional and simple consumer products.
Photo of Rule 9 of Dieter Rams' good design principles: "Good design is environmentally friendly."
Photo by DAMS Library/Flickr.

Continue reading at: Jony Ive’s Fragmented Legacy: Unreliable, Unrepairable, Beautiful Gadgets

The last migration of the monarch butterflies? | Environmental Action

In the 1980s, about 4.5 million monarch butterflies wintered in California. This year? There were only about 30,000.
I grew up in the Bay Area in the 1990s—monarchs were an important part of my childhood. I want them to be a part of my children’s memories, too.
Seeing a monarch butterfly takes me right back to being a child. Monarchs flew to California every winter season.

The monarch butterflies overwintering in the sanctuary on the coast of Northern California 
I took many trips to monarch sanctuaries in Santa Cruz and Monterey with my classmates, where we learned about their lifecycle, epic migration, and even why they have their color (to warn potential predators that they are dangerous!).
But these butterflies are vanishing. We need all hands on deck if we’re going to save them. Alarmingly, the population of monarch butterflies that spent the winter in California was less than 0.5 percent of its historical size—and this year’s population was down by roughly 86 percent compared to 2017.
Continue reading at: The last migration of the monarch butterflies? | Environmental Action

Tesla YouTuber Bjørn Nyland breaks 24-hour electric car distance record — 2,781km - Electrek

A common refrain about electric cars is that they’re fine for city driving but can’t do road trips.  This has been disproven many times, and Tesla owners in particular have an easy time on road trips due to Tesla’s excellent Supercharger network.
But today we’ve seen yet another reason not to worry about the capability to take EVs on long trips, as Bjørn Nyland has managed to drive 2,781km (1,728mi) in 24 hours in a Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD.  Nyland set this record on IONITY quick chargers in Germany because currently, that network is significantly faster than Tesla’s Superchargers.
The previous record was 2,644km, set last year in a Model 3 by German Horst Lüning. Lüning previously held the record before that with 2,424km in a Model S.
Nyland wanted to emphasize that this record could be done in “realistic” conditions, so there was no closed course and common road rules were followed.  The record was set in Germany, on the Autobahn, and was done at high speeds, around 170km/h (105mph) much of the time.

Continue reading at: Tesla YouTuber Bjørn Nyland breaks 24-hour electric car distance record — 2,781km - Electrek

Are parts of India becoming too hot for humans?

India, the Arabian peninsula and gulf states, SW USA all will become unbearable- and then it will get worse...

Intense heat waves have killed more than 100 people in India this summer and are predicted to worsen in coming years, creating a possible humanitarian crisis as large parts of the country potentially become too hot to be inhabitable.
Heat waves in India usually take place between March and July and abate once the monsoon rains arrive. But in recent years these hot spells have become more intense, more frequent and longer.
A mirage shimmers  in New Delhi on June 10, 2019.
A mirage shimmers in New Delhi on June 10, 2019.
India is among the countries expected to be worst affected by the impacts of climate crisis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that even if the world succeeds in cutting carbon emissions, limiting the predicted rise in average global temperatures, parts of India will become so hot they will test the limits of human survivability.

"The future of heat waves is looking worse even with significant mitigation of climate change, and much worse without mitigation," said Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of hydrology and climate at MIT.

Continue reading at: Are parts of India becoming too hot for humans?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

You could be ingesting a teaspoon of microplastic every week, study finds - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A new study has found that the global average of microplastic ingestion could be as high as five grams a week per person, which is the equivalent of eating a teaspoon of plastic — or a credit card — every week.
The study was commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and carried out by the microplastics research team at Australia's University of Newcastle.
It collated the findings of 50 international research papers in an attempt to provide an accurate calculation of ingestion rates.
A glass filled with tiny flecks of coloured plastic
PHOTO: WWF says since 2000 the world has produced as much plastic as all the preceding years combined. (Supplied: University of Newcastle, Maddison Carbery)
Continue reading at: You could be ingesting a teaspoon of microplastic every week, study finds - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Alaska sees record temperatures in heatwave

The US state of Alaska, part of which lies inside the Arctic Circle, is sweltering under a heatwave, with record temperatures recorded in several areas, including its largest city.
Temperatures reached 90F (32C) in Anchorage on Thursday, shattering the city's previous record of 85F.
Several other places in southern Alaska also set all-time or daily records.
Experts say the unusual weather has been caused by a "heat dome" over the southern part of the state.
Twitter post by @NWSAnchorage: The #4thofjuly2019 was one for the books. Several ALL-TIME high temperature records were set at official observation sites throughout Southern #Alaska. But that's not all...there were more daily temperature records set too! #AKwx #ItsHotInAlaska
The high pressure system is expected to move north next week.
Continue reading: Alaska sees record temperatures in heatwave

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Climate change: Trees 'most effective solution' for warming - BBC News

Researchers say an area the size of the US is available for planting trees around the world, and this could have a dramatic impact on climate change.
The study shows that the space available for trees is far greater than previously thought, and would reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by 25%.
The authors say that this is the most effective climate change solution available to the world right now.

But other researchers say the new study is "too good to be true".
Continue reading at: Climate change: Trees 'most effective solution' for warming - BBC News

CO2 emissions are set to exceed 1.5 degrees of global warming | Science News

Current and planned energy infrastructure could emit around 850 gigatons of the greenhouse gas.
A new study shows just how hard it may be to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial times.
The world’s existing power plants, industrial equipment, vehicles and other CO₂-emitters are on track to pump out enough carbon dioxide to blow past that target by midcentury, researchers report July 1 in Nature.  Add in future power plants that are already planned, permitted or under construction, and we could emit enough by 2033 to raise average global atmospheric temperatures by 1.5 degrees, the researchers say. 
If we want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, then “we cannot invest more in fossil fuel power or infrastructure,” says Thorsten Mauritsen, a physical climate scientist at Stockholm University who was not involved with the work. “Everything we do from now has to change direction and not use fossil fuels.”
In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly all the world’s nations agreed to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to limit warming to “well below” 2 degrees by 2100 (SN: 1/9/16, p. 6). The United States has said it would pull out of the agreement (SN Online: 6/1/17), though the exit wouldn’t be complete until 2020.
Still, calls have increased since 2015 for the more ambitious goal of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees. That would mean fewer heat waves, spells of extreme weather and species extinctions (10/27/18, p.7).
smoke stacks
COMMITTED  Carbon dioxide emissions from the fossil fuel infrastructure that’s already built will probably push us past 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, according to a new study.
Continue reading at: CO2 emissions are set to exceed 1.5 degrees of global warming | Science News

Europe’s latest heat wave has been linked to climate change | Science News

Global warming driven by human activity made the heat wave at least five times more likely.
Climate change made it five times more likely that Europe would experience a powerful heat wave like the one that baked the region in June, an international team of scientists reports.
The findings, released July 2 by the World Weather Attribution Network, tackle the tricky question of how the heat wave might have been linked to global warming (SN Online: 6/2/19). The extreme weather broke heat records in parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, and set an all-time high for France of 45.9° Celsius (114.6° Fahrenheit).
Heat waves aren’t just about isolated high temperatures; the events are also defined by where, when and for how long they occur.  To identify heat wave patterns and determine if climate change played a role in the June event, the network’s scientists examined three-day averages of the average daily temperatures for France during the heat wave, and compared those to previous temperature observations as well as to climate simulations to assess the role of climate change.
SWELTERING SUMMER  Temperatures were blistering in Paris on June 26, as people sought relief from a brief but intense heat wave in the Trocadero Gardens fountain. A new study finds that climate change made the extreme temperature event at least five times more likely. XINHUA/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Current climate conditions make the June heat wave in France up to 100 times more likely to occur than it would have been in 1901, the team found. It’s unclear exactly how much climate change contributed to that increased risk, due to several factors including that temperature observations began only in 1947. But the researchers say they are “very confident” that climate change increased the probability by at least a factor of five. The findings have yet to be peer reviewed.
Continue reading at: Europe’s latest heat wave has been linked to climate change | Science News

June Was So Hot, Mussels Cooked to Death in Their Shells

Last month was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, affecting vulnerable people worldwide.
The European Satellite Agency recently announced that June was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth — in fact, in California, it was so hot that mussels on rocks fried to death inside their shells.
Temperatures in Bodega Bay in northern California soared up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 97 degrees in San Francisco last month. And the mussels, which attach themselves to coastal rocks, were exposed to the scorching heat following many consecutive days of mid-day low tides in the area.
The animals can normally cool off and survive higher temperatures by venting the heat, but need sea breeze to carry it away. Unfortunately, the Californian shorelines witnessed no such breezes during the recent extreme heat waves, causing the mussels to die off in alarming numbers.
Continue reading at: June Was So Hot, Mussels Cooked to Death in Their Shells

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Jane Goodall Talks Green New Deal, Tarzan, and Avoiding the Impossible Burger

Fifty-nine years ago, Jane Goodall, an animal lover with no formal academic training, traveled to Gombe, Tanzania, to observe chimpanzees for famed anthropologist Louis Leakey. Within months, the 26-year-old witnessed a chimp extracting termites from a mound using long blades of grass, upending mankind’s very understanding of itself: Humans were no longer the only species to make tools, no longer unequivocally superior. She went on to discover that chimps,like humans, have complex social and familial hierarchies, sharp intelligence, and deep-seated wells of emotion. Goodall has spent the rest of her life devoted to conserving the world they live in, one that’s disappearing due to climate change and the interests of big business. “What we’re doing to the planet is shocking and irresponsible, and it’s all done for making money,” she says. “We’ve got to understand we need money to live, but it goes wrong when we live for money.” At 85, the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace travels over 300 days a year, spreading the gospel of conservation. She spoke to ELLE from the institute’s U.S. headquarters in Washington, DC.
The kind of slow and steady observation you did for years contrasts so much with the fast-paced, technologically driven world we live in. Growing up today, would your story have been the same?
I think my story would have been very different. Screens, in a way, are killing us. I’d hesitate to say whether they totally stifle imagination, but they certainly would have stifled
mine. I read Tarzan when I was 10 and fell in love with him, and that’s what triggered my dream of going to Africa and living with wild animals. My mother saved up to take me to an early Johnny Weissmuller film, and after about 10 minutes, I burst into tears. I told her, “But that wasn’t Tarzan!” My imagination had created my own picture of Tarzan, and that’s something that the modern world certainly prevents children from doing.
Continue reading at: Jane Goodall Talks Green New Deal, Tarzan, and Avoiding the Impossible Burger

If Climate Change Doesn't Kill Me, My Anxiety About It Will

How the earth's devastation is burrowing into our psyches.
Ever since I could read, my time-honored method of dealing with any kind of uncertainty has been to flood the zone with data. Terrifying-seeming symptom? Hit the CDC website to convince myself it’s probably not an aneurysm in progress. Unfamiliar destination? Learn so much about the terrain that I could double as a local travel guide. But one patch of my anxiety quilt has gone unassuaged by this information-seeking compulsion, and that’s climate change. I’ve probably read more about the topic than anyone who doesn’t need to for her job. And with every article I read, book I devour, or haunting image of an emaciated polar bear or trash-gorged whale I see, I sink deeper into the quicksand of hopelessness.
climate change anxiety
Then there’s the never-ending soundtrack that is my inner monologue: Am I abetting the decline of my own civilization? Sure, I recycle, I don’t buy throwaway fashion, I call my representatives, but I’m a part of an industry (fashion) known for stoking a demand for more, more, more, even as my own habits tend toward self-abnegation. I’m incalculably lucky that my day-to-day life hasn’t been affected by climate change in the way that so many others have. But the fact that the threat is more abstract only makes the black hole seem more menacing. When will it swallow me, my hypothetical kids, and my even-more-hypothetical grandkids?
Continue reading at: If Climate Change Doesn't Kill Me, My Anxiety About It Will