CC10C. Staying Current—What Do You Think About Global Climate Change?

Articles from 2022 (most recent)

2022-11-09. Who’s Driving Climate Change? New Data Catalogs 72,000 Polluters and Counting. [] By Raymond Zhong, The New York Times. Excerpt: …a sprawling factory complex in eastern China is churning out tens of millions of tons of steel a year — and immense quantities of planet-warming gases. The plant’s owner has not disclosed how much the site emits. Now, though, researchers say that by peering down from space, they have found that the factory’s emissions are likely higher than those of any other steel plant on Earth. …a new global compendium of emissions released on Wednesday by Climate TRACE, a nonprofit coalition of environmental groups, technology companies and academic scientists …catalogs steel and cement factories, power plants, oil and gas fields, cargo ships, cattle feedlots — 72,612 emitters and counting, a hyperlocal atlas of the human activities that are altering the planet’s chemistry….

2022-11-09. Oil and gas greenhouse emissions ‘three times higher’ than producers claim. [] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: Greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas facilities around the world are about three times higher than their producers claim, new data has shown. Climate Trace, a project to measure at source the true levels of carbon dioxide and other global heating gases, published a new report on Wednesday showing that half of the 50 largest sources of greenhouse gases in the world were oil and gas fields and production facilities. Many are underreporting their emissions, and there are few means of calling them to account. Oil and gas production can leak methane, and the gas is also frequently flared intentionally, ostensibly for safety reasons but sometimes for convenience. Atmospheric levels of methane, a greenhouse gas about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, have been rising strongly in recent years, but countries’ reported emissions of the gas have been found to be much lower than the reality.…

2022-11-05. The World’s Peatlands Are Climate Bombs Waiting to Detonate. [] By Daniel Zarin, executive director of forests and climate change at the Wildlife Conservation Society—opinion piece in The New York Times. Excerpt: …wetlands make up only 3 percent of the earth’s land area but store twice as much carbon as all of the trees on the planet. Yet for all their importance, these landscapes have been largely forgotten in the global effort to address the climate crisis. This oversight has been hugely consequential and looms ever more so. Peatlands are filled with deep accumulations of slowly decomposing plants and other organic material known as peat. They are carbon sinks, absorbing more carbon than they release into the atmosphere, and have been crucial in slowing planetary warming. They also absorb, filter and release rainwater slowly, helping to ease droughts and floods that have increased in severity with changes to the climate. But increasingly, these landscapes are being decimated, and global action is required to protect them — and the climate.…

2022-10-27. Carbon emissions from energy to peak in 2025 in ‘historic turning point’, says IEA. [] By Jasper Jolly, The Guardian. Excerpt: Global carbon emissions from energy will peak in 2025 thanks to massively increased government spending on clean fuels in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to analysis by the world’s leading energy organisation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that government spending on clean energy in response to the crisis would mark a “historic turning point” in the transition away from fossil fuels, in its annual report on global energy. The invasion of Ukraine has prompted an energy crisis around the world, with global gas prices initially surging. The crisis has caused steep inflationthat has made households poorer around the world. …Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director and one of the world’s most influential energy economists, said the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion “is in fact going to accelerate the clean energy transition”. The IEA said planned investments in green energy in response to the crisis meant that – for the first time – government policies would lead to demand for polluting fossil fuels peaking this decade. The agency cited notable contributions from the US Inflation Reduction Act, the EU’s emissions reduction package, and actions by Japan, South Korea, China and India.…

2022-10-26. Cleaning Up Our Mess: No Nonsense Consideration of Carbon Capture Methods. [] 42 min talk (with 35 min Q&A) by Scott Denning, Colorado State University. This is an addition to GSS Climate Change chapter 10 section IV. Solving problems connected with global warming may not rest entirely with stopping emissions from burning fossil fuels. Extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is another strategy, though probably much more costly than stopping and preventing CO2 emissions. Negative CO2 emissions (also known as Carbon Dioxide Removal, CDR) means sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. All known methods for negative CO2 emissions are substantially more costly and difficult than preventing positive emissions by substituting low-carbon energy for fossil energy in the world economy. Nevertheless, these methods may become needed if policy fails to achieve deep decarbonization fast enough to prevent catastrophic damage.

2022-10-07. Device Made for the Moon May Aid in Carbon Sequestration on Earth. [] By Bill Morris, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) involves stripping carbon dioxide from emissions, pressurizing it into a “supercritical fluid,” then pumping it deep underground into porous rock reservoirs, where it will, in theory, remain entombed. Potential carbon storage sites include depleted oil and gas fields and deep saline aquifers. Although CCS technology has been around for decades, it has yet to be widely adopted. Partly, that’s because of the high cost of building sequestration plants, but it’s also due to lingering questions about how well the process actually works. Over extended periods, even a small amount of carbon dioxide leakage can become significant, and where storage sites are under the seabed, leakage can have profound effects on marine life. …CCS monitoring typically relies on heavy seismic equipment mounted on trucks or ships. The equipment sends powerful vibrations into Earth’s crust and analyzes the sound waves that are reflected back. Japan’s ambition to explore the solar system, however, may have led to a breakthrough for carbon storage here on Earth. A team from the University of Tokyo and Kyushu University, led by Tsuji, developed a lightweight system, the Portable Active Seismic Source (PASS), designed to be carried aboard Mars and Moon landers that may also detect carbon leaks at sequestration sites. Scientists published their results in Seismological Research Letters last month. …The PASS, which is just 10 centimeters in length, creates vibrations by means of a spinning wheel mounted with an off-center weight. Because of the device’s small size, the vibrations it produces are relatively weak, but the team uses software to “stack” hundreds of signals, amplifying the transmission enormously.…

2022-09-27. Huge expansion of oil pipelines endangering climate, says report. [] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: More than 24,000km of new oil pipelines are under development around the world, a distance equivalent to almost twice the Earth’s diameter, a report has revealed. The projects, led by the US, Russia, China and India, are “dramatically at odds with plans to limit global warming to 1.5C or 2C”, the researchers said. …The developers of the 10,000km of pipelines in construction stand to lose up to $75bn (£70bn) if action on the climate crisis prevents the new pipelines being fully used, according to the analysts at Global Energy Monitor (GEM) who produced the report. …“For governments endorsing these new pipelines, the report shows an almost deliberate failure to meet climate goals,” said Baird Langenbrunner at GEM. “Despite climate targets threatening to render fossil fuel infrastructure as stranded assets, the world’s biggest consumers of fossil fuels, led by the US and China, are doubling down on oil pipeline expansion.” The oil industry enjoyed record profits in the last year, the report said, and “is using this moment of chaos and crisis to push ahead with massive expansions of oil pipeline networks”.…

2022-09-14. Oil Executives Privately Contradicted Public Statements on Climate, Files Show. [] By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times. Excerpt: Documents obtained by congressional investigators show that oil industry executives privately downplayed their companies’ own public messages about efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and weakened industry-wide commitments to push for climate policies. Internal Exxon documents show that the oil giant pressed an industry group, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, to remove language from a 2019 policy statement that “could create a potential commitment to advocate on the Paris Agreement goals.” The Paris Agreement is the landmark 2015 pact among nations of the world to avert catastrophic global warming. The statement’s final version didn’t mention Paris. At Royal Dutch Shell, an October 2020 email sent by an employee, discussing talking points for Shell’s president for the United States, said that the company’s announcement of a pathway to “net zero” emissions — the point at which the world would no longer be pumping planet-warming gases into the atmosphere — “has nothing to do with our business plans.” These and other documents, reviewed by The New York Times, come from a cache of hundreds of thousands of pages of corporate emails, memos and other files obtained under subpoena as part of an examination by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform into the fossil fuel industry’s efforts over the decades to mislead the public about its role in climate change, dismissing evidence that the burning of fossil fuels was driving an increase in global temperatures even as their own scientists warned of a clear link.…

2022-09-07. Desert Winemaking ‘Sounds Absurd,’ but Israeli Vineyards in Negev Show the Way. [] By Isabel Kershner, The New York Times. Excerpt: …While these Negev [desert] vineyards are new, making wine here is not. The area was famed for its locally produced wines in ancient times. But the climate then was probably more forgiving than it is now, and the area’s wineries are developing farming techniques that might soon need to be replicated around the globe, as the effects of climate change worsen. “To succeed in the Negev, you have to be bold and experiment,” said David Pinto, a vintner who planted his family plot with vines about three years ago. …With some 325 days of sunshine and little annual rainfall, the desert vines depend on drip irrigation, an innovation developed by another Negev collective in the 1960s that allows the farmer to tightly control the amount of water. …in a global wine industry that must adapt to climate change, Israel could be a role model, said Aaron Fait, an expert in desert research and agriculture at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.…

2022-08-25. Pace of Climate Change Sends Economists Back to Drawing Board. [] By Lydia DePillis, The New York Times. Excerpt: Economists have been examining the impact of climate change for almost as long as it’s been known to science. In the 1970s, the Yale economist William Nordhaus began constructing a model meant to gauge the effect of warming on economic growth. The work, first published in 1992, gave rise to a field of scholarship assessing the cost to society of each ton of emitted carbon offset by the benefits of cheap power — and thus how much it was worth paying to avert it. Dr. Nordhaus became a leading voice for a nationwide carbon tax that would discourage the use of fossil fuels and propel a transition toward more sustainable forms of energy. It remained the preferred choice of economists and business interests for decades. And in 2018, Dr. Nordhaus was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. …the Inflation Reduction Act with its $392 billion in climate-related subsidies, one thing became very clear: The nation’s biggest initiative to address climate change is built on a different foundation from the one Dr. Nordhaus proposed. Rather than imposing a tax, the legislation offers tax credits, loans and grants — technology-specific carrots that have historically been seen as less efficient than the stick of penalizing carbon emissions more broadly. The outcome reflects a larger trend in public policy, …. A central shift in thinking, many say, is that climate change has moved faster than foreseen, and in less predictable ways, raising the urgency of government intervention. In addition, technologies like solar panels and batteries are cheap and abundant enough to enable a fuller shift away from fossil fuels, rather than slightly decreasing their use.…

2022-08-23. Americans experience a false social reality by underestimating popular climate policy support by nearly half. [] By Gregg Sparkman, Nathan Geiger & Elke U. WeberNature Communications. Excerpt: …Systematic misperception of public opinion …like a widespread underestimation of public support for climate action could inhibit willingness to talk about the problem with others…, and could lead people to falsely conclude that the vocal minority who dismiss climate change are representative of broader public opinion…. Further, given that most Americans report concern about climate change and support many policies to address the issue…, why has the US not yet enacted major climate policy to address the issue? If most Americans were unaware of the popularity of their pro-climate action views, this could encourage inaction through pressures to conform to the (mis)perceived political attitudes of others, a phenomenon robust across the political spectrum…. These concerning possibilities raise the question: Do Americans accurately perceive public support for climate mitigation? …the vast majority of Americans greatly underestimate how many of their fellow Americans worry about climate change and support transformative climate policies to remedy the situation. …We find that roughly 80–90% of Americans underestimate the true level of concern for climate change as well as support for transformative climate policies like a carbon tax, 100-percent renewable energy mandates, and a Green New Deal. Not only are these misperceptions nearly universal in the country, but the magnitude is large enough to fully invert the true reality of public opinion: although polls show that a supermajority support these climate policies (66–80%), the average American’s estimate of public opinion suggests it is just a minority (37–3%…). In other words, supporters of major climate policies outnumber opponents 2 to 1, but Americans falsely perceive nearly the opposite to be true. In fact, Americans’ estimates for all national support for climate policies is roughly the same or even lower than even just Republican levels of support.…

2022-08-20. Diet for a hotter climate: five plants that could help feed the world. [] By Cecilia Nowell, The Guardian. Excerpt: Over the course of human history, scientists believe that humans have cultivated more than 6,000 different plant species. But over time, farmers gravitated toward planting those with the largest yields. Today, just three crops – rice, wheat and corn – provide nearly half of the world’s calories. That reliance on a small number of crops has made agriculture vulnerable to pests, plant-borne diseases and soil erosion, which thrive on monoculture – the practice of growing only one crop at a time. It has also meant losing out on the resilience other crops show in surviving drought and other natural disasters. As the impacts of the climate crisis become starker, farmers across the world are rediscovering ancient crops and developing new hybrids that might prove more hardy in the face of drought or epidemics, while also offering important nutrients. …Here’s a look at five crops, beyond rice, wheat and corn, that farmers across the world are now growing in hopes of feeding the planet as it warms…. Amaranth: the plant that survived colonization …Fonio: the drought-resistant traditional grain …Cowpeas: the fully edible plant …Taro: adapting the tropical crop for colder climes …Kernza: the crop bred for the climate crisis.…

2022-08-12. As Historic Climate Bill Heads to Biden’s Desk, Young Activists Demand More. [] By Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — For the septuagenarian lawmakers who wrote the historic climate bill that Congress passed on Friday, and the 79-year-old president who is about to sign it into law, the measure represents a “once in a generation” victory. But younger Democrats and climate activists crave more. They look at the bill as a down payment, and they worry a complacent electorate will believe Washington has at last solved climate change — when in fact scientists warn it has only taken the first necessary steps. “This bill is not the bill that my generation deserves and needs to fully avert climate catastrophe, but it is the one that we can pass, given how much power we have at this moment,” said Varshini Prakash, 29, who co-founded the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate activism group. Christina Tzintzun Ramirez, 40, president of NextGen America, which is focused on young voter participation, said it wasn’t lost on her that the climate deal was crafted largely by older men and included some concessions to the fossil fuel industry.

2022-08-10. These Groups Want Disruptive Climate Protests. Oil Heirs Are Funding Them. [] By Cara Buckley, The New York Times. Excerpt: They’ve taken hammers to gas pumps and glued themselves to museum masterpieces and busy roadways. They’ve chained themselves to banks, rushed onto a Grand
racetrack and tethered themselves to goal posts as tens of thousands of British soccer fans jeered. The activists who undertook these worldwide acts of disruption during the last year said that they were desperate to convey the urgency of the climate crisis and that the most effective way to do so was in public, blockading oil terminals and upsetting normal activities. They also share a surprising financial lifeline: heirs to two American families that became fabulously rich from oil. …Aileen Getty, whose grandfather created Getty Oil, helped found the Climate Emergency Fund and has given it $1 million so far. The Equation Campaign started in 2020 with a $30 million pledge, to be distributed over 10 years, from two members of the Rockefeller family, Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert and Peter Gill Case. John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1870 and became the country’s first billionaire.…

2022-08-05. Building Resilience in the Face of a Dwindling Colorado River. [] By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Policymakers, industry and conservation professionals, and tribal members explore pathways to a sustainable future for the millions of people reliant on the “lifeblood of the American West.” In the past couple of decades, however, severe drought has plagued the Colorado River Basin, and the current period is the driest in the past 1,200 years. The situation is so dire that on 14 June, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Camille C. Touton told a U.S. Senate committee that states within the region will need to cut usage by between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet in 2023 to protect the Lake Mead and Lake Powell reservoirs. …various stakeholders have already been exploring pathways to resilience to dwindling water resources. Urban water authorities have increased water efficiency and are experimenting with changing city landscapes in Colorado, farmers are reducing their water use, and conservation groups are exploring how to keep fish habitat stable with reduced streamflow.…

2022-06-30. Meat, monopolies, mega farms: how the US food system fuels climate crisis. [] By Amanda Schupak, The Guardian. Excerpt: Food and the climate crisis are locked in a tangled web of cause and effect. Globally, food systems contribute about a third of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, yet they are also uniquely vulnerable to climate impacts: from soaring temperatures and drought to intense rainfall and flooding. Food production is caught in a battle between people and profits, as an increasingly industrialized system prioritizes low operating costs and high profits. …Agriculture contributes less than 1% to GDP in the US – yet it is responsible for 11% of the country’s GHG emissions, polluted waterways and millions of acres of degraded land. …The average American eats about 57lb of beef in a year, nearly twice the average of other high-income countries. …But beef is a climate disaster. It takes an enormous amount of land to raise cattle – land that would sequester more carbon as grass that doesn’t get grazed and forests that are not felled for pasture. It also takes an enormous amount of food to feed cattle. About 55% of the grain grown in the US goes to fattening cows (and other animals). And as the ruminants chew, they burp out methane, a powerful planet-warming greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, animal waste and fertilizer runoff pollute rivers and poison drinking water supplies. …industrial agriculture continues to pump methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while weakening soil, crushing biodiversity and sucking aquifers dry.…

2022-06-21. Side Benefits of Climate Action May Save Millions of Lives in Africa. [] By Saima Sidik, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Moving from fossil fuels to clean energy sources comes with many side benefits, including a reduction in air pollution, which is responsible for premature deaths of 8–10 million people around the world. In a new study, Shindell et al. model the impacts that cleaner air and sustainable growth would have on Africa under a scenario in which Earth warms by about 2°C by 2100. The researchers predict that levels of many pollutants in Africa, including carbonaceous aerosols, sulfur dioxide, and ammonia, would drop substantially, but the magnitudes of the drops would vary across different regions. …the researchers predict that all regions of Africa will experience massive benefits if climate action results in cleaner air. By around 2050, the annual number of premature deaths could drop by around 45,000 in southern Africa and 175,000 in West Africa, with other regions of the continent experiencing intermediate declines. Cumulatively, cleaner air could prevent about 3 million premature deaths on the continent by 2050 and more than 10 million by the end of the century, according to the authors. (GeoHealth, 2022).

2022-06-16. How millions of lives can be saved if the US acts now on climate. [] By Oliver Milman, The Guardian. Excerpt: The rapidly shrinking window of opportunity for the US to pass significant climate legislation will have mortal, as well as political, stakes. Millions of lives around the world will be saved, or lost, depending on whether America manages to propel itself towards a future without planet-heating emissions. For the first time, researchers have calculated exactly how many people the US could save by acting on the climate crisis. A total of 7.4 million lives around the world will be saved over this century if the US manages to cut its emissions to net zero by 2050, according to the analysis. The financial savings would be enormous, too, with a net zero America able to save the world $3.7tn in costs to adapt to the rising heat. As the world’s second largest polluter of greenhouse gases, the US and its political vagaries will in large part decide how many people in faraway countries will be subjected to deadly heat, as well as endure punishing storms, floods, drought and other consequences of the climate emergency. …Climate Impact Lab consortium … conducted the study. …The lab’s new “lives saved calculator” uses a model of historical death records and localized temperature projections to come up with an estimate for the number of lives saved if emissions are eliminated.…

2022-06-04. Climate-friendly diets can make a huge difference – even if you don’t go all-out vegan. By Amanda Schupak, The Guardian. Excerpt: Changing habits can be hard but even partial shifts from meat-based menus could significantly decrease planet-heating emissions. What we eat has an enormous environmental impact. Scientists estimate that food production causes 35% of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, with meat responsible for more than twice the pollution of fruits, grains and greens. In April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report urged world leaders, especially those in developed countries, to support a transition to sustainable, healthy, low-emissions diets to help mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. …eating less meat is one of the most meaningful changes people can make to curb greenhouse gas emissions, help reduce deforestation and even decrease the risk of pandemic-causing diseases passing from animals to humans, according to the IPCC report. The shifts needn’t be extreme. Adopting a healthy Mediterranean-style diet – rich in grains, vegetables, nuts and moderate amounts of fish and poultry – could be nearly as effective as going vegetarian or vegan, the report found. If everyone met basic nutritional recommendations, which for most people in developed countries means more fruit and veg and less red meat, emissions could fall 29% by 2050, according to one study…. []

2022-06-01. We cannot adapt our way out of climate crisis, warns leading scientist. By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: The world cannot adapt its way out of the climate crisis, and counting on adaptation to limit damage is no substitute for urgently cutting greenhouse gases, a leading climate scientist has warned. Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy in the US and professor at Texas Tech University, said the world was heading for dangers unseen in the 10,000 years of human civilisation, and efforts to make the world more resilient were needed but by themselves could not soften the impact enough. “People do not understand the magnitude of what is going on,” she said. “This will be greater than anything we have ever seen in the past. This will be unprecedented. Every living thing will be affected.”…. [

2022-05-9. Climate limit of 1.5C close to being broken, scientists warn. By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: The year the world breaches for the first time the 1.5C global heating limit set by international governments is fast approaching, a new forecast shows. The probability of one of the next five years surpassing the limit is now 50%, scientists led by the UK Met Office found. As recently as 2015, there was zero chance of this happening in the following five years. But this surged to 20% in 2020 and 40% in 2021. The global average temperature was 1.1C above pre-industrial levels in 2021.… []

2022-04-10. Facing Disastrous Floods, They Turned to Mangrove Trees for Protection. By Suhasini Raj, The New York Times. Excerpt: As sea levels rise, eroding embankments and pushing water closer to their doorsteps, the residents of the hundreds of villages in the Sundarbans — an immense network of rivers, tidal flats, small islands and vast mangrove forests straddling India and Bangladesh — have found their lives and livelihoods at risk. In the absence of much government support, women like Aparna Dhara, with help from a nonprofit environmental conservation organization, have devised their own solution: planting hundreds of thousands of additional mangrove trees to bolster their role as protective barriers. …Mangroves, found only in tropical and subtropical climates, are distinctive for their ability to survive in brackish water. Research has shown mangrove forests to be an excellent way to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially the storm surge accompanying cyclones, by reducing the height and speed of waves. Mangroves also help reduce greenhouse gases, as they have high rates of carbon capture.… []

2022-04-06. Tiny labmade motors could one day suck pollutants from the air and harvest precious metals. By Robert F. Service, Science Magazine. Excerpt: Tiny molecular machines make life possible. Spinning rotary motors generate the chemical fuel our cells need, miniature walkers carry nutrients, and minute construction crews build proteins. Now, chemists are getting in on the act by making even smaller and simpler versions of these biological machines. In three studies, scientists report designing their own molecular pumps and rotary motors. The puny devices are not quite ready to make their real-world debut, but future versions could suck carbon dioxide from the air and harvest valuable metals from seawater. The new studies show it’s possible to get teams of motors all working in the same direction and concentrate target chemicals in a confined space, a feat biology uses to sustain work.… []

2022-04-01. Environmental protesters block oil terminals across UK. By Damien Gayle, The Guardian. Excerpt: Hundreds of environmental protesters have blocked 10 oil terminals across the country as part of a campaign to paralyse the UK’s fossil fuel infrastructure. Early on Friday, supporters of Just Stop Oil began blockades at oil refineries around London, Birmingham and Southampton by climbing on top of tankers and gluing themselves to road surfaces. Shortly after 4am, activists blocked terminals in Purfleet and Grays, Essex, which they said were the biggest in the country. In Tamworth, near Birmingham, a group of more than two dozen protesters had been hoping to disrupt the nearby Kingsbury oil terminal. However, due to police intervention they were able only to block a road leading to the site. Just Stop Oil has demanded that the government agree to halt all new licences for fossil fuel projects in the UK. They have vowed to continue disrupting the UK’s oil infrastructure until the government agrees.… [] See also Damien Gayle’s Twitter feed about how scientists in white lab coats glued their hands to the glass facade of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Great Britain.

2022-03-28. Befriending Trees to Lower a City’s Temperature. By Peter Wilson, The New York Times. Excerpt: New York, Denver, Shanghai, Ottawa and Los Angeles have all unveiled Million Tree Initiatives aimed at greatly increasing their urban forests because of the ability of trees to reduce city temperatures, absorb carbon dioxide and soak up excess rainfall. Central Melbourne, on the other hand, lacks those cities’ financial firepower and is planning to plant a little more than 3,000 trees a year over the next decade. Yet it has gained the interest of other cities by using its extensive data to shore up the community engagement and political commitment required to sustain the decades-long work of building urban forests. …Called the Urban Forest Visual, the map displayed each of the 80,000 trees in its parks and streets, and showed each tree’s age, species and health. It also gave each tree its own email address so that people could help to monitor them and alert council workers to any specific problems. That is when the magic happened. City officials were surprised to see the trees receiving thousands of love letters. They ranged from jaunty greetings — “good luck with the photosynthesis” — to love poems and emotional tributes about how much joy the trees brought to people’s lives.… []

2022-02-25. How ‘solar canals’ could help California survive a megadrought. By Roger Bales, Fast Company. Excerpt: Mounting evidence suggests the western United States is now in its worst megadrought in at least 1,200 years. Groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many places, and the dryness, wildfires, and shrinking water supplies are making climate change personal for millions of people. As an engineer, I have been working with colleagues on a way to both protect water supplies and boost renewable energy to protect the climate. We call it the solar-canal solution, and it’s about to be tested in California. About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. As we explained in a 2021 study, covering these canals with solar panels would reduce the evaporation of precious water—one of California’s most critical resources—and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money.… []

2022-02-23. To fight climate change, a biotech firm has genetically engineered a very peppy poplar. By Gabriel Popkin, Science Magazine. Excerpt: A California biotech company seeking to create fast-growing trees that can rapidly soak up atmospheric carbon dioxide has announced its first experimental results: the firm’s genetically enhanced poplars grew more than 1.5 times faster than unmodified ones in lab trials. Plant scientists applaud the news, but caution that much more work is needed before engineered trees can start to help curb climate change.… []

2022-02-03. Good News: Rocks Crack Under Pressure from Mineral CO2 Storage. By Kimberly M. S. Cartier, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: When carbon mineralizes in stone, each new fracture exposes more surfaces that can react with and trap CO2, enhancing a rock’s storage capacity. As concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) continue to rise and drive climate change, scientists have been researching options not just to reduce CO2 emissions but also to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. Many carbon capture and storage methods seek to trap gaseous or water-dissolved CO2 in underground storage reservoirs, but these could leak and release greenhouse gas back into the atmosphere. “When you inject COin a gas form, it can escape, for example, if a fault is moving or there is damage to the reservoir. It is always going to be looking for a way to escape to an area where the pressure is lower,” explained Catalina Sanchez-Roa, an experimental geophysicist at Columbia University Climate School in New York City. “But with carbon mineralization, you [store] it as a mineral, as a solid, and then it’s very stably stored for a really long period of time.”.… []

2022-02-01. Global elimination of meat production could save the planet. By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News. Excerpt: A new study of the climate impacts of raising animals for food concludes that phasing out all animal agriculture has the potential to substantially alter the trajectory of global warming. The work is a collaboration between Michael Eisen, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Patrick Brown, professor emeritus of biochemistry at Stanford University and the CEO of Impossible Foods Inc., a company that sells plant-based meat substitutes. …Rapid global phaseout of animal agriculture has the potential to stabilize greenhouse gas levels for 30 years and offset 68 percent of CO2 emissions (PLOS Climate).… []

2022-01-05. Clever Wood Use Could Mitigate Wildfires and Climate Change. By Andrew Chapman, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: In a study published early this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, provide a possible path to limiting both carbon emissions and wildfires by turning the low-value wood harvested during forest thinning into new products. …Two scenarios modeled business-as-usual forest management in California with variations in how much wood is sold. The third introduced a value to the low-value wood generated from forest thinning, allowing it to be used for new products. Smaller trees can be turned into a construction-grade wood product called oriented strand board, which retains the wood as a carbon store. A mixture of forest residues, including leaves and bark, can be used to make low-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen fuel.… []

2022-01-04. Russia’s new permafrost monitoring system could improve climate models, protect infrastructure. By Olga Dobrovidova. Excerpt: With the Arctic warming up to four times faster than the global average, temperatures in the frozen soil, or permafrost, under northern Siberia have been rising, turning firm ground unstable and weakening foundations. On 29 May 2020, the thaw may have helped lead to a disaster, when a diesel fuel depot near the town of Norilsk collapsed and spilled more than 21,000 tons of fuel into a small river. The pollution turned the river rusty-red and ultimately reached the Arctic Ocean. The owner of the fuel depot, Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest miner of nickel and palladium, was fined almost $2 billion for the spill—the largest settlement for an environmental disaster in Russian history. Now, the disaster has spurred the government to set up the first national system to monitor Russia’s permafrost—the world’s largest expanse of frozen soil, covering two-thirds of the nation. In October, President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to a new $21 million system of 140 monitoring stations that could begin to deliver data as soon as 2023. Sensors placed in boreholes up to 30 meters deep will measure the temperature of permafrost at various depths, a critical parameter for tracking both the growing hazard thawing ground poses to infrastructure and the broader climate threat: that the thaw could release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.… []

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Non-chronological resources

Climate Change Solutions Simulator – EN-ROADS (developed by Climate Interactive, Ventana Systems, and MIT Sloan

Apps on Climate Central

Yale Forum – 10 Climate Apps

Climate Change

Climate Communication – Making Science Heard and Understood. This is a a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the scientific understanding of Earth systems and global environmental change, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the ClimateWorks Foundation. A project of the Aspen Global Change Institute.

Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia (2011). Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC). National Academies Press.

Do the Math

“Earth: The Operators’ Manual” is an uplifting antidote to the widespread “doom and gloom” approach to climate change. Host Richard Alley leads the audience on a one-hour special about climate change and sustainable energy.

Offsetting your carbon (or climate) footprint allows you to become part of the solution to climate change by supporting the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions equal to your carbon footprint.

See more on carbon offsets.

“Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization” by Lester R. Brown. A book about how to build a more just world and save the planet from climate change in a practical, straightforward way. Available for purchase and free download. 

Skeptic Arguments and What the Science Says from Skeptical Science. 

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism by John Cook, from Skeptical Science. 

Volcanoes–do they emit more CO2 than humans? See also article: Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide

Young Voices on Climate Change videos (3-6 minutes each) present positive success stories of youth, 11-17, finding local solutions to the global warming crisis, reducing the CO2 emissions of their homes, schools and communities. The videos document win-win scenarios such as four Florida middle school girls who do an energy audit and save their school $53,000. Produced and directed by author/ illustrator Lynne Cherry, co- author of How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming.