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

Articles from 2023–24 (most recent)

2024-05-20. Carbon Offset Programs Underestimate the Threat of Hurricanes. By Sierra Bouchér, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: New England is one of the most heavily forested areas in America: Roughly 15 million metric tons of carbon is stored there every year. These projects account for disasters that can kill trees and release their stored carbon. However, a new study published in Global Change Biology suggests that they may be underestimating the destructive power of hurricanes. A single hurricane in New England could release at least 121 million metric tons of carbon from downed trees, the study showed, the equivalent of the energy use of almost 16 million homes in 1 year. Many carbon offset programs reforest in the region. …When a company buys a carbon credit, it buys a slight surplus of offset, allowing offset programs to plant slightly more trees to take in more carbon than is being emitted. That way, if trees are lost to drought, fire, disease, or other disasters, the program stays carbon neutral. …As of 2020, 7% of California’s Cap-and-Trade Program carbon was stored in New England forests, and 3% of that carbon was set aside for storm damage. A single storm could take out that buffer pool…. Full article at https://eos.org/articles/carbon-offset-programs-underestimate-the-threat-of-hurricanes.

2024-05-09. What are the most powerful climate actions you can take? By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: …the most effective action individuals can take …Most experts (76%) backed voting for politicians who pledge strong climate measures, where fair elections take place. …The second choice for most effective individual action, according to the experts, was reducing flying and fossil-fuel powered transport in favour of electric and public transport. …Globally it is a small minority of people who drive aviation emissions, with only about one in 10 flying at all. Frequent-flying “super emitters” who represent just 1% of the world’s population cause half of aviation’s carbon emissions, with US air passengers having by far the biggest carbon footprint among rich countries. …Meat production has a huge impact on the environment. Most people in wealthy countries already eat more meat than is healthy for them and more than 60% of the scientists said they had cut their own meat consumption. Almost 30% of the experts said eating less meat was the most effective climate action, while a similar proportion backed cutting emissions from heating or cooling homes, by installing heat pumps…. Having fewer children was backed by 12% of the experts but many made further suggestions. …Shifting savings or pension funds away from fossil fuel investments and towards green ones was also mentioned by multiple experts…. Full article at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/09/what-are-the-most-powerful-climate-actions-you-can-take.

2024-05-06. Deadly Pacific ‘blobs’ tied to emission cuts in China. By WARREN CORNWALL, Science. Excerpt: Starting in late 2013, the first in a handful of record-shattering heat waves struck the north Pacific Ocean near Alaska. Temperatures in these warm “blobs,” which have occurred four times in the past decade, sometimes reach more than 2°C above normal. …Research has implicated climate change, which can supercharge natural fluctuations in ocean heat. But now, scientists are pointing to another surprising contributor: China’s success in stemming air pollution. A steep decline in aerosols—tiny airborne particles such as sulfates—emitted by Chinese factories and power plants in the 2010s appears to have amplified a string of extreme heat waves on the other side of the Pacific, driving up to 30% of the temperature increase during these heat waves, scientists report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. …Aerosols can act like tiny mirrors, reflecting sunlight back into space and reducing the amount that reaches Earth’s surface. Eliminate them and the world warms. Scientists last month reported that cleaner air might be responsible for 40% of the increase in heat driving global warming between 2001 and 2019…. Full article at https://www.science.org/content/article/deadly-pacific-blobs-tied-emission-cuts-china.

2024-05-03. Florida sees thriving future if climate resilience managed, research finds. By Richard Luscombe, The Guardian. Excerpt: Climate predictions in Florida, for the most part, make pretty grim reading. Rising oceans threaten to submerge most of the state by the end of the century, and soaring temperatures could make it too hot to live here anyway. But new research by a coalition of prominent universities paints a more upbeat picture of Florida’s future as a thriving state for humans and wildlife, with natural resources harnessed to mitigate the worst effects of the climate emergency generally, as well as extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods. Such a prosperous tomorrow, the authors say, can only follow essential preparatory work today. One key element, an 18m-acre swath of protected land called the Florida wildlife corridor, is already mostly in place, and will spearhead Florida’s climate resilience if properly managed and allowed to evolve, the researchers believe…. Full article at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/article/2024/may/03/florida-climate-future.

2024-04-05. It’s Never Too Late to Take Climate Action. [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-never-too-late-to-take-climate-action/] By JAMES K. BOYCE, Scientific American. Excerpt: It’s official: this February was the hottest one on record. You may have noticed something odd when you stepped outside your door and winter was missing. It turns out the weather weirdness was worldwide. In case you missed it, this comes on top of the news that January was the hottest ever, too, and that 2023 was the hottest year we’ve experienced so far. Again and again, climate activists have warned that we have only so much time left to head off catastrophe. Soon, we are told, it will be “too late” to save the planet and ourselves. Their message rests on the assumption that fear is the most potent spur to action. This communication strategy is deeply flawed. Politically, it leads many to despair that all is lost. When the climate apocalypse fails to arrive on schedule, it leads others to seek comfort in the parable of the boy who cried wolf. Scientifically, the depiction of the climate crisis as a cliff—once we fall off the edge, it’s game over—is nonsense. Climate change does not end with a grand finale. Instead, it unleashes a cascade of mounting damages that will escalate exponentially over time….

2024-04-03. Here’s why the Bay Area has the perfect weather for a first-of-its kind geoengineering study. [https://www.sfchronicle.com/weather/article/geoengineering-cloud-research-alameda-19368199.php] By Anthony Edwards, San Francisco Chronicle. Excerpt: In Alameda [CA], scientists are embarking on a novel attempt to cool the Earth — by spraying salt into clouds. The work, known as marine cloud brightening, is controversial and is just one method of geoengineering — which describes interventions meant to slow Earth’s warming. But proponents say the technology may be needed to mitigate climate change. To brighten clouds, researchers spray microscopic sea salt into the air over the ocean to boost clouds’ reflectivity. This means less sunlight is absorbed, leading to a planetary cooling effect. …Scientists hypothesize that by manually increasing the number of particles in the atmosphere, clouds will reflect more sunlight back to space, causing Earth to cool. …Scientists like Russell say that before more drastic solutions are deployed, the focus should be on reining in greenhouse gas emissions and making further investments in solar and wind power.  “Emitting particles to offset global warming is not the smartest idea … but it may be better than doing nothing,” Russell said. “Given the point we’re at with warming and climate change, we feel it’s important to know what our options are.”…. See also article in the New York Times.

2024-03-31. Can We Engineer Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis? [https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/31/climate/climate-change-carbon-capture-ccs.html] By David Gelles, The New York Times. Excerpt: On a windswept Icelandic plateau, an international team of engineers and executives is powering up an innovative machine designed to alter the very composition of Earth’s atmosphere. If all goes as planned, the enormous vacuum will soon be sucking up vast quantities of air, stripping out carbon dioxide and then locking away those greenhouse gases deep underground in ancient stone — greenhouse gases that would otherwise continue heating up the globe. …Global temperatures are now expected to rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius, or more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century. That has given new weight to what some people call geoengineering, though that term has become so contentious its proponents now prefer the term “climate interventions.” …Many of the projects are controversial. A plant similar to the one in Iceland, but far larger, is being built in Texas by Occidental Petroleum, the giant oil company. Occidental intends to use some of the carbon dioxide it captures to extract even more oil, the burning of which is one of the main causes of the climate crisis in the first place….

2024-03-26. Startups aim to curb climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the ocean—not the air. [https://www.science.org/content/article/startups-aim-curb-climate-change-pulling-carbon-dioxide-ocean-not-air] By ROBERT F. SERVICE, Science. Excerpt: …one long gray barge docked at the [Port of Los Angeles] is doing its part to combat climate change. On the barge, which belongs to Captura, a Los Angeles–based startup, is a system of pipes, pumps, and containers that ingests seawater and sucks out CO2, which can be used to make plastics and fuels or buried. The decarbonated seawater is returned to the ocean, where it absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere, in a small strike against the inexorable rise of the greenhouse gas. After a yearlong experiment with the barge, which is designed to capture 100 tons of CO2 per year, Captura is planning to open a 1000-ton-per-year facility later this year in Norway that will bury the captured CO2 in rock formations under the North Sea. Equatic, another Los Angeles–based startup, is launching an even larger 3650-ton-per-year ocean CO2 capture plant this year in Singapore, and other companies are planning demos as well. …Proponents say capturing CO2 from the ocean should be easier and cheaper than a seemingly more direct approach: snagging it directly from the air. Direct air capture, which relies on fans to sweep air past absorbent chemicals, currently costs between $600 to $1000 per ton of CO2 removed, largely because atmospheric CO2 is so dilute, making up less than 0.05% of the air by volume. Earth’s oceans, in contrast, hold the gas at a concentration nearly 150 times higher, and absorb roughly 30% of all CO2 emissions each year….

2024-03-05. The Anthropocene is dead. Long live the Anthropocene. [https://www.science.org/content/article/anthropocene-dead-long-live-anthropocene] By PAUL VOOSEN, Science. Excerpt: …a panel of two dozen geologists has voted down a proposal to end the Holocene—our current span of geologic time, which began 11,700 years ago at the end of the last ice age—and inaugurate a new epoch, the Anthropocene. …Few opponents of the Anthropocene proposal doubted the enormous impact that human influence, including climate change, is having on the planet. But some felt the proposed marker of the epoch—some 10 centimeters of mud from Canada’s Crawford Lake that captures the global surge in fossil fuel burning, fertilizer use, and atomic bomb fallout that began in the 1950s—isn’t definitive enough. …The Anthropocene backers will now have to wait for a decade before their proposal can be considered again. ICS has long instituted this mandatory cooling-off period, given how furious debates can turn, for example, over the boundary between the Pliocene and Pleistocene, and whether the Quaternary—our current geologic period, a category above epochs—should exist at all….

2024-02-28. These Cities Aren’t Banning Meat. They Just Want You to Eat More Plants. [https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/28/climate/plant-based-treaty-climate.html] By Cara Buckley, The New York Times. Excerpt: Amsterdam … Los Angeles …are signatories to the Plant Based Treaty, which was launched in 2021 with the aim of calling attention to the role played by greenhouse gases that are generated by food production. …Anita Krajnc …and other activists modeled the Plant Based Treaty after the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls on governments to stop new oil, gas and coal projects. …The first municipality to sign on was Boynton Beach, Fla., in September 2021…. Twenty-five other municipalities have since joined, including Los Angeles, Amsterdam and more than a dozen cities in India. …Globally, food systems make up a third of planet-heating greenhouse gasses, with the environmental toll of the meat and dairy industries being particularly high. Livestock accounts for about a third of methane emissions, which have 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the short term. It’s also a water intensive industry. It takes 2,110 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, 520 gallons of water to produce one pound of cheese and 410 gallons of water to produce one pound of chicken. By comparison, protein-rich lentils require 190 gallons of water per pound. …A 2023 study from the University of Oxford found that, compared to diets heavy in meat, vegan diets resulted in 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, 54 percent less water use and 66 less biodiversity loss….

2024-02-19. Los Angeles Just Proved How Spongy a City Can Be. [https://www.wired.com/story/los-angeles-just-proved-how-spongy-a-city-can-be/] By MATT SIMON, Wired. Excerpt: …A long band of moisture in the sky, known as an atmospheric river, dumped 9 inches of rain on the city over three days—over half of what the city typically gets in a year. It’s the kind of extreme rainfall that’ll get ever more extreme as the planet warms. The city’s water managers, though, were ready and waiting. Like other urban areas around the world, in recent years LA has been transforming into a “sponge city,” replacing impermeable surfaces, like concrete, with permeable ones, like dirt and plants. It has also built out “spreading grounds,” where water accumulates and soaks into the earth. With traditional dams and all that newfangled spongy infrastructure, between February 4 and 7 the metropolis captured 8.6 billion gallons of stormwater, enough to provide water to 106,000 households for a year. …Long reliant on snowmelt and river water piped in from afar, LA is on a quest to produce as much water as it can locally. …Centuries of urban-planning dogma dictates using gutters, sewers, and other infrastructure to funnel rainwater out of a metropolis as quickly as possible to prevent flooding. Given the increasingly catastrophic urban flooding seen around the world, though, that clearly isn’t working anymore, so now planners are finding clever ways to capture stormwater, treating it as an asset instead of a liability….

2024-02-02. Could a Giant Parasol in Outer Space Help Solve the Climate Crisis?. [https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/02/climate/sun-shade-climate-geoengineering.html] By Cara Buckley, The New York Times. Excerpt: The idea is to create a huge sunshade and send it to a far away point between the Earth and the sun to block a small but crucial amount of solar radiation, enough to counter global warming. Scientists have calculated that if just shy of 2 percent of the sun’s radiation is blocked, that would be enough to cool the planet by 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 Fahrenheit, and keep Earth within manageable climate boundaries. …To block the necessary amount of solar radiation, the shade would have to be about a million square miles, roughly the size of Argentina, Dr. Rozen said. A shade that big would weigh at least 2.5 million tons — too heavy to launch into space, he said. So, the project would have to involve a series of smaller shades. They would not completely block the sun’s light but rather cast slightly diffused shade onto Earth, he said. …The sunshade idea has its critics, among them Susanne Baur, …. A sunshade would be astronomically expensive and could not be implemented in time, given the speed of global warming, she said. In addition, a solar storm or collision with stray space rocks could damage the shield, resulting in sudden, rapid warming with disastrous consequences….

2024-01-16. Can Submerging Seaweed Cool the Climate? [https://eos.org/features/can-submerging-seaweed-cool-the-climate] By Saima May Sidik, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Running Tide is one of many organizations asking whether submerging seaweed could be part of an effective strategy for mitigating climate change. When these algae photosynthesize, they turn carbon dioxide from the upper ocean into biomass. In some parts of the ocean, submerging that biomass below thousands of meters of water could lock its carbon away for hundreds or even thousands of years, drawing down levels of carbon in the atmosphere. …But major questions remain. For example, if growing seaweed depletes the pool of nutrients available for other forms of ocean life, then will it actually increase the ocean’s net carbon storage? What happens to ocean bottom ecosystems if humanity creates giant, underwater seaweed landfills? And how will companies monitor the effects of sending tons of seaweed to a watery grave?….

2024-01-10. Why Humans Are Putting a Bunch of ‘Coal’ and ‘Oil’ Back in the Ground. [https://www.wired.com/story/why-humans-are-putting-a-bunch-of-coal-and-oil-back-in-the-ground/] By Matt Simon, Wired. Excerpt: Startups are processing plant waste into concentrated carbon to be buried or injected underground. It’s like fossil fuels, but in reverse. In a roundabout way, coal is solar-powered. Millions of years ago, swamp plants soaked up the sun’s energy, eating carbon dioxide in the process. They died, accumulated, and transformed over geologic time into energy-dense rock. This solar-powered fuel, of course, is far from renewable, unlike solar panels: Burning coal has returned that carbon to the atmosphere, driving rapid climate change. But what if humans could reverse that process, creating their own version of coal from plant waste and burying it underground? That’s the idea behind a growing number of carbon projects: Using special heating chambers, engineers can transform agricultural and other waste biomass into solid, concentrated carbon. Like those ancient plants captured CO2 and then turned into coal, this is carbon naturally sequestered from the atmosphere, then locked away for (ideally) thousands of years….

2024-01-06. Can $500 Million Save This Glacier?. [https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/06/magazine/glacier-engineering-sea-level-rise.html] By on Gertner, The New York Times. Excerpt: …a glacier on Greenland’s west coast…referred to by its Danish name, Jakobshavn…situated on the edge of Greenland’s massive ice sheet, that moves 30 billion to 50 billion tons of icebergs off the island every year. …Glaciologists have identified it as one of the fastest-deteriorating glaciers in the world. …Jakobshavn alone was responsible for 4 percent of the rise in global sea levels during the 20th century. It probably contains enough ice to ultimately push sea levels up at least another foot. …at the bottom of the bay’s entrance…the warm water flows over a sill, a ridge rising several hundred feet above the ocean floor …akin to a threshold that crosses the floor of a doorway between two rooms. [British glaciologist John Moore] and his colleague Michael Wolovick published an article that proposed looking into building a sea wall 100 meters high…on the floor of Disko Bay. Raising the sill, using gravel and sand, could reduce the warm water in the fiord and allow Jakobshavn to thicken naturally and stabilize. …If the idea proved workable in the Arctic, it could be translated to Antarctica, where much larger glaciers in the Amundsen Sea, especially one known as Thwaites, threaten to raise sea levels substantially. …geoengineering seeks to reduce the impacts of climate change and to buy us more time as we transition to a zero-carbon world. …A number of glaciologists…view Moore’s idea for protecting glaciers as technically or ethically problematic. …geoengineering, in general terms…only addresses — at best — some of its impacts. Of more direct concern…seabed curtains in the Arctic might affect ecosystems and fisheries…. For

2024-01-04. In Juneau, Alaska, a carbon offset project that’s actually working. [https://grist.org/energy/in-juneau-alaska-a-carbon-offset-project-thats-actually-working/] By Taylor Kate Brown, Grist. Excerpt: When Kira Roberts moved to Juneau, Alaska, last summer, she immediately noticed how the town of 31,000 changes when the cruise ships dock each morning. Thousands of people pour in, only to vanish by evening. As the season winds down in fall, the parade of buses driving through her neighborhood slows, and the trails near her home and the vast Mendenhall Glacier no longer teem with tourists. …But Mendenhall is shrinking quickly: The 13-mile-long glacier has retreated about a mile in the past 40 years. Getting all those tourists to Juneau — some 1.5 million this summer by cruise ship alone — requires burning the very thing contributing to its retreat: fossil fuels. …In an effort to mitigate a portion of that CO2, some of those going whale watching or visiting the glacier are asked to pay a few dollars to counter their emissions. The money goes to the Alaska Carbon Reduction Fund, but instead of buying credits from some distant (and questionable) offset project, the nonprofit spends that cash installing heat pumps, targeting residents like Roberts who rely upon oil heating systems. Heat pumps are “a no-brainer” in Juneau’s mild (for Alaska) winters, said Andy Romanoff, who administers the fund. Juneau’s grid relies on emissions-free hydropower, so electricity is cheaper and less polluting than oil heat. They also save residents money — Roberts said she was paying around $500 a month on heating oil, and has seen her electricity bill climb just $30….

2023-12-12. A Transformative Carbon Sink in the Ocean? [https://eos.org/opinions/a-transformative-carbon-sink-in-the-ocean] By Doug ReuschKayleigh BrisardGil Hamilton and Carson Theriault, Eos/AGU/AGU. Excerpt: Effectively lowering atmospheric carbon levels will require a range of actions, from individuals making hard decisions about lifestyle changes to international cooperation to pursue solutions from a diverse menu of options. Among the options under consideration are methods for deliberate carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere…. …humanity may need to implement CDR on a vast scale to compensate for the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels over the past century. Ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE), in which the addition of ions like Mg2+ and Ca2+ (sourced from materials such as olivine or lime) to the ocean drives more dissolution of atmospheric CO2 to form bicarbonate (HCO3), holds considerable promise, because the ocean’s capacity for storing bicarbonate is ample on the relevant time frame [Renforth and Henderson, 2017]. …Earth’s mantle…is a vast reservoir of ultramafic (low-silica) rock. In concept, a small fraction of this rock—minimally about 600 cubic kilometers if completely converted to carbonate—could neutralize the entire slug of Industrial Age fossil carbon in the atmosphere. Oceanic transform faults and their fracture zone extensions present tectonic settings where such reactive mantle rocks, which are typically buried under kilometers of crust, are exposed at Earth’s surface. …Oceanic transform fault settings are known to host low-temperature hydrothermal systems that sequester dissolved CO2 by precipitating mineral carbonate [Kelley et al., 2007]. …Geoengineering solutions can have unintended consequences, so a cautious approach is in order.

2023-12-07. An Electrifying Approach to Carbon Capture. [https://eos.org/articles/an-electrifying-approach-to-carbon-capture] By Bill Morris, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: …a group of researchers at the University of Calgary is using electricity to enhance seawater’s ability to store carbon. The group is developing an instrument, dubbed PEACH (Practical Electrochemical Air Capture and Hydrogen), that uses an electrochemical cell, analogous to a lithium-ion battery, to capture alkaline sodium ions from salt water. …arrays could be lowered more than 500 meters into the ocean to gather ions, then raised to release them as sodium hydroxide at shallower depths, creating an “alkalinity pump” from deep water to the surface. …Alkaline surface waters draw carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, eventually converting it to bicarbonate, which can securely store carbon in the ocean for more than 10,000 years. A by-product of the ion exchange is hydrogen, which could be stored as a fuel. The group will present their research at AGU’s Annual Meeting 2023 in San Francisco….

2023-11-28. An architect has found a way to build flood-proof homes. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/interactive/2023/flood-resistant-home-bamboo/] By Nick Aspinwall, The Washington Post. Excerpt: Yasmeen Lari spent a …career designing …structures out of concrete, glass and steel before stumbling into her ideal material. It was at a camp for refugees…. Residents there were struggling to secure bricks and wood to build communal kitchens — until she spotted a nearby bamboo grove. “Let’s use it,” recalls Lari…. The material worked so well that over the last decade, Heritage Foundation of Pakistan …has built some 85,000 structures for displaced Pakistanis, including victims of last year’s devastating monsoon rains. That disaster, the worst flooding in Pakistani history, left a third of the country underwater and destroyed more than 2.1 million homes. The thousands of bamboo structures Lari’s group had erected “all survived,” she said. …Many species of bamboo have been used as a building material in Asia for thousands of years and they are among the world’s fastest-growing plants. A type of grass, bamboo can be ready for harvest in as little as three years, a fraction of the time needed for timber wood to grow. Like manufactured timber, bamboo products can store carbon, and bamboo forests perform well as carbon sinks, meaning they absorb more carbon than they release. …A crew without much technical knowledge can manufacture and assemble the structures’ eight panels and the interior bamboo beams that support them on-site. Lari designed them so that homeowners can easily make repairs and even additions. “If bamboo is taken care of,” she said, “bamboo can last forever.” If a flood is coming, homeowners can dismantle the structure’s bamboo skeleton from its permanent foundation and move it to higher ground. Bigger buildings, such as community centers, stand on stilts several feet high….

2023-11-13. Climate Tipping Points Could Be Triggered by “Committed Warming”. [https://eos.org/research-spotlights/climate-tipping-points-could-be-triggered-by-committed-warming] By Rebecca Owen, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Unless we rapidly reach net zero emissions, the climate will inch closer to a point of no return—even after greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. As the planet warms, climate tipping points, such as the melting of ice sheets or loss of the Amazon rainforest, become increasingly likely. …A new study by Abrams et al. examines committed global warming, or warming that continues after greenhouse gas emissions are held constant until a new thermal balance is achieved. It’s a bit like how turning a running faucet from hot to cold doesn’t immediately change the temperature of the water, because there is still hot water in the pipeline. The authors present three scenarios for how the global mean temperature could rise and trigger tipping point events. One represents an increased use of fossil fuels, another represents rapidly reaching net zero emissions, and a third closely matches the current trajectory…. See also Eos article, Deep Emissions Cuts Still Needed to Prevent the Worst Climate Change Impacts

2023-11-09. How Llama Poop Is Helping an Andean Community Adapt to Melting Glaciers. [https://eos.org/articles/how-llama-poop-is-helping-an-andean-community-adapt-to-melting-glaciers] By Sofia Moutinho, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Ecologist Anaïs Zimmer was walking in the Peruvian Andes one day, explaining to community members how hard it is for vegetation and soil to establish itself in deglacierized areas, or areas where glacier ice is retreating. That was when locals suggested an unconventional solution: bringing in llamas to fertilize the soil with their poop. Zimmer, then at the University of Texas at Austin, had been studying the consequences of glacier loss in the Andes for the past decade. Peru, which is home to 70% of the world’s tropical glaciers, has lost more than half of them in the past 50 years because of climate change, according to the country’s ministry of agriculture. When the ice disappears, it uncovers metallic, rocky soil that had been covered for millennia. …But an ancient practice might offer a solution to these problems. The introduction of llamas, a camelid traditionally herded by native Inca populations, can speed up soil and vegetation development in areas of glacier retreat, suggests new research published in Scientific Reports. …The locals helped Zimmer realize llamas could act as natural gardeners, not only fertilizing the soil with nutrient-rich poop but also spreading seeds. After the llamas eat plants from the mountains and lower grasslands, they can carry seeds in their stomachs, wool, and hooves up to the high altitudes of the glacier forelands….

2023-11-08. Impact of Holocene environmental change on the evolutionary ecology of an Arctic top predator. [https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adf3326] By MICHAEL V. WESTBURY et al, Science Advances. Excerpt: The Arctic is among the most climatically sensitive environments on Earth, and the disappearance of multiyear sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is predicted within decades. As apex predators, polar bears are sentinel species for addressing the impact of environmental variability on Arctic marine ecosystems. …we investigate how Holocene environmental changes affected polar bears around Greenland. We uncover reductions in effective population size coinciding with increases in annual mean sea surface temperature, reduction in sea ice cover, declines in suitable habitat, and shifts in suitable habitat northward. …[over the past 11,000 years…Whenever temperatures rise, polar bear populations crash. For example, about 4500 years ago, sea surface temperatures climbed by 0.2°C, sea ice cover shrank by about 3%, and polar bear populations dropped by about 20%. Several thousand years before that, when water temps rose 0.5°C, their populations plummeted about 40%. “We see a disturbing connection between population decline and environmental changes,” says study co-author Michael Westbury. “The relationship is not linear.” In the next century, sea surface temperatures are expected to rise as much as 2 to 5°C—an order of magnitude more of a temperature increase than the animals faced before. “It doesn’t look good for the polar bear,” says co-author Eline Lorenzen….

2023-11-06. Avnos launches the World’s first Hybrid Direct Air Capture system in partnership with Southern California Gas Company. [https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20231106857589/en/] By BusinessWire. Excerpt: LOS ANGELES …Avnos, Inc. (Avnos), the Los Angeles-based company developing the novel Hybrid Direct Air Capture (HDAC™) technology for carbon dioxide removal, today began its first operational commercial pilot project in Bakersfield, California. …the HDAC pilot delivers the world’s first water-positive Direct Air Capture (DAC) solution. In launching this system, Avnos has inverted the water paradigm in DAC – producing 5 tons of liquid distilled water per ton of CO2 captured, as compared to 5-10 tons of water consumption per ton of CO2 captured in other DAC approaches. As a result, Avnos opens the geographic and climatic operating range for DAC to many more regions around the globe. The Bakersfield pilot will capture approximately 30 tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide and produce 150 tons of water per year. …Capturing water from the atmosphere allows Avnos to leverage a first-of-a-kind moisture-swing CO2 adsorbent material, which in turn eliminates the need for heat input and reduces energy consumption by more than 50% as compared to other DAC technologies. These enhancements reduce operating costs, boost resource efficiency, and make HDAC more robust in more geographies, all while generating an additional value stream – a first in the industry. …For more information, please visit www.avnos.com….

2023-10-25. Can Indigenous knowledge and Western science work together? New center bets yes. [https://www.science.org/content/article/can-indigenous-knowledge-and-western-science-work-together-new-center-bets-yes] By JEFFREY MERVIS, Science. Excerpt: Last month, NSF [funded] a 5-year, $30 million grant designed to weave together traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and Western science. Based at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, the Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) aims to fundamentally change the way scholars from both traditions select and carry out joint research projects and manage data. The center will explore how climate change threatens food security and the preservation of cultural heritages through eight research hubs in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. …Each hub will also serve as a model for how to braid together different knowledge traditions, or what its senior investigators call “two-eyed seeing” through both Indigenous and Western lenses….

2023-10-19. What is biochar? Why an ancient farming technique could help fight climate change. [https://www.fastcompany.com/90966491/what-is-biochar-why-an-ancient-farming-technique-could-help-fight-climate-change] By ADELE PETERS, Fast Company. Excerpt: On a site next to a sawmill in Waverly, Virginia, a startup takes sawdust and offcuts from the mill and heats it up to turn it into biochar, a material that can store carbon for hundreds or thousands of years. The project, which recently began operating, will capture a little more than 10,000 metric tons of CO2 each year. Microsoft will buy the carbon removal credits as part of its plan to become a carbon negative company. It’s one of a growing number of biochar production plants. The potential is big: A new study calculated that if biochar production scales up as much as possible globally, it could capture as much as 3 billion metric tons of CO2 a year, or 6% of global emissions. …When organic waste (like wheat stalks or manure from a farm, or sawdust from forestry) is heated up to extremely high temperatures without oxygen, it turns into a charcoal-like material known as biochar. The material has a long history—indigenous communities in South America used it at least 8,000 years ago in farming, because when it’s added to the soil, it helps plants grow. But it’s also increasingly becoming one tool to help tackle climate change. …Biochar is considered a relatively permanent form of carbon storage, unlike planting trees that face the risk of later being cut down or burning in a forest fire. It’s also cheaper than technology like direct air capture, massive machines that suck CO2 out of the air….

2023-09-26. A new climate change report offers something unique: hope. [https://www.npr.org/2023/09/26/1201781387/climate-change-emissions-report-offers-hope] By Jeff Brady, NPR. Excerpt: Countries are setting records in deploying climate-friendly technologies, such as solar power and electric vehicles, according to a new International Energy Agency report. The agency, which represents countries that make up more than 80% of global energy consumption, projects demand for coal, oil and natural gas will peak before 2030. While greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, the IEA finds that there’s still a path to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s what’s needed to avoid the the worst effects of climate change, such as catastrophic flooding and deadly heatwaves. …overall message is more optimistic than the one issued in 2021, when the IEA released its first Net Zero Roadmap. In addition to optimism, the 2023 version shows that the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy will have to speed up even more in the coming decade. For example, the world is on track to spend $1.8 trillion on clean energy this year. To meet the target outlined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement among the world’s nations, the IEA finds annual spending would have to more than double to $4.5 trillion by the early 2030s…. See also article in Axios.

2023-09-25. Inside the Great British Seaweed Race to Save the Earth. [https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-the-great-british-seaweed-race-to-save-the-earth] By Charlotte Lytton, Daily Beast. Excerpt: …97 percent of seaweed farming currently happens in Asia, British companies are looking to muscle in on the $13.3 billion industry. …A 2021 study from the University of California, Davis found that mixing a small amount of seaweed into cow feed over five months reduced Earth-polluting methane emissions by 82 percent—making it a potential green goldmine….

2023-09-22. For Many Big Food Companies, Emissions Head in the Wrong Direction. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/22/business/food-companies-emissions-climate-pledges.html] By Julie Creswell, The New York Times. Excerpt: Five years ago McDonald’s said it planned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third in parts of its operations by 2030. A few years later, it pledged to be “net zero” — cutting emissions to as close to zero as possible — by 2050. But in its most recent report, McDonald’s disclosed that things were moving in the wrong direction: The company’s emissions in 2021 were 12 percent higher than its 2015 baseline. McDonald’s is hardly alone. An examination of various climate-related reports and filings for 20 of the world’s largest food and restaurant companies reveals that more than half have not made any progress on their emissions reduction goals or have reported rising emissions levels. The bulk of emissions — in many cases more than 90 percent — come from the companies’ supply chains. In other words, the cows and wheat used to make burgers and cereal….

2023-09-19. Biden’s Green Energy Money Is Sugar on a Poison Pill. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/19/opinion/climate-summit-2023-un.html] By Lydia Millet, Opinion Piece in New York Times. Excerpt: …federal funding for clean technologies …[is] a crucial step but brutally inadequate: If we keep drilling, pumping and using oil and gas, green-energy money will remain a sprinkling of sugar on a poison pill. …The more difficult and more essential task is to remove incentives for oil and gas companies to continue their frantic pace of production, transport and profiteering. …U.S. crude oil exports have gone up almost 850 percent since an important export ban was lifted in 2015, and in 2023 domestic oil production will hit an all-time high. Cleaning up our domestic portfolio won’t mean much if we keep shipping out dirty fuels to be combusted abroad. …Fossils are currently subsidizing conflicts from Russia’s war against Ukraine to militias in Myanmar. …while the Paris Agreement doesn’t even make mention of fossil fuels, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres is now targeting them directly by welcoming only nations that will commit to no new fossil fuel development and to concrete transition and phaseout plans to speak at the climate summit. …Congress is deeply entangled with the fossil fuel industry, and in the short term will stay that way. …stop saying yes to all new oil and gas projects — including the planned Sea Port Oil Terminal off the Texas coast, intended to increase our exports — and more exploration and drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico. …stop the billions of dollars in fossil fuel financing invested abroad, which locks in decades’ worth of extraction….

2023-09-14. New files shed light on ExxonMobil’s efforts to undermine climate science. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/sep/14/exxonmobil-documents-wall-street-journal-climate-science] By Dharna Noor, The Guardian. Excerpt: ExxonMobil executives privately sought to undermine climate science even after the oil and gas giant publicly acknowledged the link between fossil fuel emissions and climate change, according to previously unreported documents revealed by the Wall Street Journal. The new revelations are based on previously unreported documents subpoenaed by New York’s attorney general as part of an investigation into the company announced in 2015. They add to a slew of documents that record a decades-long misinformation campaign waged by Exxon, which are cited in a growing number of state and municipal lawsuits against big oil….

2023-09-12. New York University will divest from fossil fuels in win for student activists. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/sep/12/new-york-university-fossil-fuel-divestment] By Dharna Noor, The Guardian. Excerpt: New York University plans to divest from fossil fuels, the Guardian has learned, following years of pressure from student activists. The move from one of the US’s largest private universities, whose endowment totals over $5bn, represents a significant win for the climate movement, organizers said….

2023-09-08. Temperature Extremes Hit Lower- and Middle-Income Countries Hardest. [https://eos.org/articles/temperature-extremes-hit-lower-and-middle-income-countries-hardest] By Katherine Kornei, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: In an analysis of 13,000 cities around the globe, researchers furthermore found that smaller cities in lower- and middle-income countries were more likely to experience excessive heat and cold than larger urban areas in more affluent regions. …Using data spanning 2003–2019, the researchers estimated monthly averaged maximum and minimum thermal discomfort for each city. The 10 hottest cities were clustered across four countries: Bahrain, Pakistan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The 10 coldest cities, on the other hand, spanned just two countries: China and Russia. Manama, Bahrain (population: 1,250,000), and Yakutsk, Russia (population: 216,000), took the honors of being the world’s hottest and coldest cities, respectively. …But these results shouldn’t trigger a sense of hopelessness, Tuholske was quick to point out. Research has shown that people living in smaller cities, which can be conducive to tighter social networks and stronger familial ties, are sometimes well poised to enact positive change….

2023-08-28. You’re doing it wrong: Recycling and other myths about tackling climate change. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2023/08/28/climate-action-poll/] By Kate Selig and Emily Guskin, The Washington Post. Excerpt: A slim majority of Americans think their individual actions can reduce the effects of climate change, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. But do they know which actions are the most effective? Not quite. The poll finds most people believe recyclinghas a lot or some impact on climate change. About three-quarters say not eating meat or dairy would have a little or no effect on climate change. Climate experts say they’re wrong on those and other counts. …Among the 10 actions Americans were polled on, experts said flying less and cutting out meat and dairy are among the best steps people can take….

2023-08-27. How Indigenous Techniques Saved a Community From Wildfire. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/27/world/canada/canada-wildfires-kelowna-british-columbia.html] By Ian Austen, The New York Times. Excerpt: The fire advanced on the city of Kelowna [Canada] for 19 days — consuming 976 hectares, or about 2,400 acres — of forest. But at the suburban fringes, it encountered a fire prevention zone and sputtered, burning just a single house. The fire prevention zone — an area carefully cleared to remove fuel and minimize the spread of flames — was created by a logging company owned by a local Indigenous community. And as a new wildfire has stalked the suburb of West Kelowna this month, its history with the previous one — the Mount Law fire, in 2021 — offers a valuable lesson: A well-placed and well-constructed fire prevention zone can, under the right conditions, save homes and lives. It’s a lesson not only for Kelowna but also for a growing number of places in Canada and elsewhere threatened by increased wildfire amid climate change….

2023-08-19. With TikTok and Lawsuits, Gen Z Takes on Climate Change. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/19/climate/young-climate-activists.html] By David Gelles, The New York Times. Excerpt: As Kaliko Teruya was coming home from her hula lesson on August 8, her father called. The apartment in Lahaina was gone, he said, and he was running for his life. He was trying to escape the deadliest American wildfire in more than a century, …. But for Kaliko, 13, the destruction of the past week has reinforced her commitment to a cause that is coming to define her generation. “The fire was made so much worse due to climate change,” she said. “How many more natural disasters have to happen before grown-ups realize the urgency?” Like a growing number of young people, Kaliko is engaged in efforts to raise awareness about global warming and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, last year she and 13 other young people, age 9 to 18, sued their home state, Hawaii, over its use of fossil fuels. With active lawsuits in five states, TikTok videos that mix humor and outrage, and marches in the streets, it’s a movement that is seeking to shape policy, sway elections and shift a narrative that its proponents say too often emphasizes climate catastrophes instead of the need to make the planet healthier and cleaner. …Young people are helping organize a climate march in New York next month, during the United Nations General Assembly. And their force is being felt even in deep-red states like Montana, where a judge on Monday handed the movement its biggest victory to date, ruling in favor of 16 young people who had sued the state over its support for the fossil fuel industry….

2023-08-11. U.S. unveils plans for large facilities to capture carbon directly from air. By Robert F. Service, Science. Excerpt: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it will spend $1.2 billion for two pioneering facilities—one in Texas, the other in Louisiana—that will remove millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually from the atmosphere using a technology known as direct air capture (DAC). Part of a controversial effort to combat global warming, the awards represent the first phase of $3.5 billion in funding for DAC hubs set aside in last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and mark the first major governmental backing in the world for the emerging carbon capture technology. …But critics of the strategy are plentiful as well. Benson’s Stanford colleague Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist, calls the program “a boondoggle” and “a complete waste of money.” He argues that because DAC requires so much energy to capture CO2, purify it, and pump it underground for permanent storage, it is one of the most expensive and inefficient ways to sequester carbon. A better climate strategy, Jacobson says, would be to simply spend the money on building out renewable energy faster, so that coal and natural gas electricity plants can be retired more quickly. But DAC proponents counter that even though the world is spending more than $1 trillion a year on clean energy technologies, that won’t be enough for countries to meet their carbon reduction goals…. See also New York Times article U.S. to Fund a $1.2 Billion Effort to Vacuum Greenhouse Gases From the Sky by Coral Davenport.

2023-08-09. Climate Education That Builds Hope and Agency, Not Fear. [https://eos.org/opinions/climate-education-that-builds-hope-and-agency-not-fear] By Jeffrey D. Corbin,  Meghan A. Duffy,  Jacquelyn L. Gill and  Carly Ziter, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Reframing climate change education around a message of “hopeful alarm” not only will underscore the threats we face but will also show students how they can act to shape the future. …The urgency of the climate crisis grows every year; meanwhile, disinformation and politicization have made communicating the science of climate change increasingly challenging. For the past 2 decades, such communication efforts have focused mainly on convincing people that climate change is real while also combating organized campaigns of denialism [Mann, 2012]. These efforts have largely succeeded: Polls show that the public now overwhelmingly accepts the reality of climate change. …So although challenging climate change denial may still be necessary in some contexts, scientists, educators, and others who communicate about climate science face a new challenge: the clear gap between the public’s concern over climate disruptions and its understanding of what can be done today to affect our tomorrow. We must better convey to audiences the needed changes—in energy sources and land use, for example—and that humanity can, indeed, influence the scale of disruptions that unfold [Marris, 2021; Mann, 2021]….

2023-07-27. Shaky Ground. [https://www.science.org/content/article/farmers-paid-millions-trap-carbon-soils-will-it-actually-help-planet] By Gabriel Popkin, Science. Excerpt: Lance Unger …on his farm near the Wabash River in southwestern Indiana …rather than leaving his fields fallow, he sowed some of them with cover crops of oats and sorghum that grew until the winter cold killed them off. And before [spring] planting …, Unger drove a machine to shove aside yellowing stalks—last season’s “trash,” as he calls it—rather than tilling the soil and plowing the stalks under. For these efforts, a Boston-based company called Indigo paid Unger $26,232 in late 2021 and an even larger chunk late last year. That’s how much an emerging market values the hundreds of tons of carbon that, in theory at least, Unger yanked out of the atmosphere with his cover crops or left in the soil by not tilling. Slowing climate change isn’t a priority for him, he says, …[but] the money made it worthwhile. Indigo also made money in the deal. It took a 25% cut of the bundle of credits it then sold at about $40 per ton of captured carbon. Buyers were companies such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and Shopify, which were looking to offset greenhouse gas emissions from their operations and bolster their green bona fides. For advocates, the exchange represents a beautiful marriage of idealism and capitalism in the service of an urgently needed climate solution. …But as the industry heats up, so does the skepticism. Some researchers say the science of how soils store and release carbon is too uncertain to support an industry claiming to be cooling the planet. They accuse companies like Indigo of exaggerating the benefits of their programs….

2023-07-21. The Inequality of Heat Stress. [https://eos.org/articles/the-inequality-of-heat-stress] By Rebecca Owen, Eos/AGU. When record-breaking temperatures and heat domes envelop swaths of the United States each summer, people across the country experience these extreme heat events differently. Those living in historically redlined neighborhoods, where discriminatory land use and housing policies caused segregation and racism to flourish, are still, even today, at higher risk for hotter temperatures and the health effects caused by heat stress. In a new study published in One Earth, researchers showed that heat stress disproportionately affects poor and non-white residents in 481 American cities.… For GSS Climate Change chapter 10.

2023-07-16. As Climate Shocks Multiply, Designers Seek Holy Grail: Disaster-Proof Homes. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/16/climate/climate-geodesic-dome-house.html] By Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times. Excerpt: Jon duSaint, a retired software engineer, recently bought property near Bishop, Calif., in a rugged valley east of the Sierra Nevada. The area is at risk for wildfires, severe daytime heat and high winds — and also heavy winter snowfall. But Mr. duSaint isn’t worried. He’s planning to live in a dome. The 29-foot structure will be coated with aluminum shingles that reflect heat, and are also fire-resistant. Because the dome has less surface area than a rectangular house, it’s easier to insulate against heat or cold. And it can withstand high winds and heavy snowpack. …As weather grows more extreme, geodesic domes and other resilient home designs are gaining new attention from more climate-conscious home buyers, and the architects and builders who cater to them….

2023-06-20. Hidden beneath the surface. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2023/anthropocene-geologic-time-crawford-lake/] By Sarah KaplanSimon DucroquetBonnie Jo MountFrank Hulley-Jones and Emily Wright, The The Washington Post. Excerpt: In just seven decades, the scientists say, humans have brought about greater changes than they did in more than seven millennia. …Every new phase of Earth’s history begins with a “golden spike” — a spot in the geologic record where proof of a global transformation is perfectly preserved. …An exposed Tunisian cliff face bearing traces of an ancient asteroid impact marks the transition from the age of the dinosaurs to the Cenozoic era. Hydrogen molecules uncovered in Greenland’s ice denote the start of the Holocene — the 11,700-year stretch of stable temperatures that encompasses all of human civilization, up to and including the present day. …In 2009, the International Commission on Stratigraphy — an obscure scientific body responsible for defining the phases of Earth’s past — created a new working group to investigate the evidence for the Anthropocene. The group’s mission: to identify a potential “golden spike” site that might convince fellow scientists of the new epoch’s validity…. See also article in Science Magazine.

2023-06-12. A Landmark Youth Climate Trial Begins in Montana. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/12/us/montana-youth-climate-trial.html] By Mike Baker, The New York Times. Excerpt: Sixteen young people argue that the state is robbing their future by embracing policies that contribute to climate change. A landmark climate change trial opened on Monday in Montana, where a group of young people are contending that the state’s embrace of fossil fuels is destroying pristine environments, upending cultural traditions and robbing young residents of a healthy future….

2023-06-20. Colombian City Pioneers Path to “Early Warnings for All”. [https://eos.org/articles/colombian-city-pioneers-path-to-early-warnings-for-all] By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Countries with strong early-warning systems can reduce mortality from natural hazards by 8 times, and a 24-hour alert can reduce economic losses by 30%, said Nahuel Arenas, deputy chief for Americas and the Caribbean at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). …the United Nations launched the Early Warnings for All initiative (EW4All) to ensure everyone on Earth is protected by early-warning systems by 2027. …the Early Warning System of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley (SIATA), …provides early warnings for floods, landslides, fires, lightning, and poor air quality to the Aburrá Valley as well as the 2.5 million residents of its largest city, Medellín. “Where we live, emergencies happen all the time, and we’ve had to be flexible and adaptable to solve whatever problem needs to be solved,” said meteorologist Lina Ceballos-Bonilla, the coordinator of SIATA’s risk management team….

2023-06-10. Greta Thunberg Ends Her School Strikes After 251 Weeks. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/10/world/europe/greta-thunberg-graduates-activism.html] By Remy Tumin, The New York Times. Excerpt: For five years, Greta Thunberg has spent her Fridays in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm instead of in class; after 251 weeks, she is hanging up her cardboard protest sign — as a student. …Ms. Thunberg, an activist who has inspired young people around the world to demand action against climate change, graduated from high school on Friday in Sweden, signifying what she said would be her final school strike. …In her five years on the world stage, Ms. Thunberg has rallied her peers; written three books; faced off against former President Donald J. Trump; and excoriated economic leaders in Davos, Switzerland, for the “climate chaos” they created, as well as world leaders at the United Nations for their “business as usual” approach toward global warming. Ms. Thunberg said she planned to continue protesting on Fridays but because of her graduation, it would no longer qualify as “school striking.”…

2023-06-06. Satellite beams solar power down to Earth, in first-of-a-kind demonstration. [https://www.science.org/content/article/satellite-beams-solar-power-down-earth-first-kind-demonstration] By Daniel Clery, Science. Excerpt: …A satellite launched in January has steered power in a microwave beam onto targets in space, and even sent some of that power to a detector on Earth, the experiment’s builder, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), announced on 1 June. …The transmitted power was small, just 200 milliwatts, less than that of a cellphone camera light. But the team was still able to steer the beam toward Earth and detect it with a receiver at Caltech. “It was a proof of concept,” says Caltech electrical engineer Ali Hajimiri….

2023-06-01. The Science We Need to Assess Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal. [https://eos.org/opinions/the-science-we-need-to-assess-marine-carbon-dioxide-removal] By Jaime B. Palter,  Jessica Cross,  Matthew C. Long,  Patrick A. Rafter and  Clare E. Reimers, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: As companies begin selling credits for marine carbon dioxide removal in largely unregulated marketplaces, scientists must develop standards for assessing the effectiveness of removal methods. …Three categories of mCDR [marine CO2 removal] approaches—ocean iron fertilizationartificial upwelling, and seaweed cultivation—aim to stimulate primary productivity at the ocean’s surface with the expectation that some of the additional biomass produced will sink into and remain in the deep ocean. In contrast, ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) involves intentionally dispersing alkaline materials such as lime on the ocean’s surface to shift the chemical equilibrium of the seawater carbon system and thereby increase uptake of atmospheric CO2. Still another approach proposes to remove CO2 directly from seawater through electrochemical reactions and then store it underground. …At least half a dozen companies involved in mCDR, and more that are rapidly entering the space, are starting to market CO2 removal services to potential buyers interested in purchasing credits to offset carbon emissions. To support verification of these services, there is an urgent need for methods that rigorously quantify net carbon removal rates and storage durability of different mCDR approaches….

2023-05-23. Penguin Poop May Flush Iron into the Southern Ocean. [https://eos.org/articles/penguin-poop-may-flush-iron-into-the-southern-ocean] By Carolyn Wilke, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: For Earth’s oceans to sequester carbon dioxide, they need iron. The element can waft in on dust or spew from hydrothermal vents. But there’s another source: animal poop. A new study has suggested that penguins may help fertilize the Southern Ocean with their iron-rich guano. …Phytoplankton living in the oceans take up carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. When those tiny free-floating organisms die, they sink to the deep sea, carrying that carbon with them. Iron is essential for the phytoplankton to photosynthesize, and their growth is limited by the element’s availability. …Compared with numbers from 4 decades ago, the population of chinstrap penguins, and the amount of iron they contribute to the ocean, has dropped by more than 50%. Scientists suspect that a warming climate and changing food webs have contributed to declines….

2023-04-24. The Mental Toll of Climate Change. [https://eos.org/features/the-mental-toll-of-climate-change] By Katherine Kornei, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: …Megan Irving, a mental health therapist in Oregon …and mental health professionals like her are seeing more clients suffering from a …pervasive, form of stress: unease brought on by the effects of our changing climate. A growing body of research links the impacts of climate change to adverse mental health outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse. But individuals and communities can take steps to bolster their emotional resilience to climate-related stressors, researchers have suggested. …mental health impacts in three broad categories …The first category is brought on by acute events such as devastating storms, wildfires, and floods. Sudden-onset events can cause trauma, which often manifests as PTSD and has been linked to anxiety, major depressive disorder, and substance abuse… Events that evolve more slowly—and are almost chronic in nature—are responsible for the second category of impacts. Gradual shifts …linked to climate change include prolonged droughts, desertification, and persistent heat waves. Changes in temperature and weather patterns can trigger a sense of uncertainty, …. The third broad category of climate change–induced mental health impacts is often characterized as lingering and unshakable concern, worry, or anger. Those feelings—sometimes referred to collectively as climate anxiety—are brought on by an awareness that the environment is, perhaps indelibly, changing. And a person doesn’t need to have experienced trauma personally to be affected….

2023-04-21. California researchers attempt ocean climate solution. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/04/20/carbon-removal-ocean-climate-change-global-warming/5714197e-df8d-11ed-a78e-9a7c2418b00c_story.html] By Julie Watson, AP. Excerpt: LONG BEACH, Calif. — Atop a 100-foot barge tied up at the Port of Los Angeles, engineers have built a kind of floating laboratory to answer a simple question: Is there a way to cleanse seawater of carbon dioxide and then return it to the ocean so it can suck more of the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere to slow global warming? Called the lungs of the planet, the ocean, whose plants and currents take in carbon dioxide, has already helped the Earth tremendously by absorbing 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution and capturing 90 percent of the excess heat from those emissions. Acting as a giant carbon sink, it has been a crucial buffer in protecting people from even worse effects of early climate change. Seawater can store 150 times more carbon dioxide per unit volume than air, roughly. But absorbing the greenhouse gas has come at a cost, causing oceans to become more acidic, destroying coral reefs and harming marine species, including impeding shellfish from building their skeletons….

2023-04-19. Volcanic microbe eats CO2 ‘astonishingly quickly’, say scientists. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/apr/19/volcanic-microbe-eats-co2-astonishingly-quickly-say-scientists] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: Discovery of carbon-capturing organism in hot springs could lead to efficient way of absorbing climate-heating gas. …The new microbe, a cyanobacterium, was discovered in September in volcanic seeps near the Italian island of Vulcano, where the water contains high levels of CO2. The researchers said the bug turned CO2 into biomass faster than any other known cyanobacteria. …Dr Braden Tierney…said: …“The project takes advantage of 3.6bn years of microbial evolution,” he said. “The nice thing about microbes is that they are self-assembling machines. You don’t have that with a lot of the chemical approaches….” The new microbe had another unusual property, Tierney said: it sinks in water, which could help collect the CO2 it absorbs. But the microbe was not a silver bullet, Tierney said. “There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to climate change and carbon capture. There will be circumstances where the tree is going to outperform microbes or fungi. But there will also be circumstances where you really want a fast-growing aquatic microbe that sinks,” he said. That might include large, carbon-capturing ponds, he said. The microbe might also be able to produce a useful bioplastic. The project was funded by the biotechnology company Seed Health, which has also employed Tierney as a consultant. The company already sells probiotics for human health, has developed a probiotic for bees and is researching the use of microbial enzymes to break down plastics….

2023-04-04. The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030. [https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/04/04/ipcc-ar6-wgiii-pressrelease/] By IPCC. Excerpt: Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy. …We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030. …“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing.” …“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production,” said Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”…. See also Chart of Mitigation Options.

2023-03-29. What is carbon capture, usage and storage? [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/30/what-is-carbon-capture-usage-and-storage] By Jillian Ambroseand Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: The components of CCS [carbon capture and storage] have been around for decades now: it’s a group of technologies that can capture the carbon dioxide produced by major factories and power plants – preventing them from reaching the atmosphere and contributing to global heating – then transport them, bury them or reuse them. The key aim is to stop the CO2 escaping into the atmosphere and exacerbating the climate crisis. In most versions, the preliminary step involves fitting factory chimneys with solvent filters, which trap carbon emissions before they escape. The gas can then be piped to locations where it can be used or stored. Most carbon dioxide will be injected deep underground – where fossil fuel gas comes from in the first place – to be stored where it cannot contribute to the climate crisis. …But some of the CO2 could be used to help make plastics, grow greenhouse plants or even carbonate fizzy drinks. Why do we need carbon capture? According to the IEA, CCS projects could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by almost a fifth and reduce the cost of tackling the climate crisis by 70%. One of the key reasons CCS is necessary is because heavy industry – fertiliser producers, steel mills and cement makers – would be difficult and expensive to adapt to run on cleaner energy. …The early forerunners are in the US, Canada, Norway (which aims to be an international leader in the field) and China….

2023-03-21. Eight things the world must do to avoid the worst of climate change. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/21/methane-to-food-waste-eight-ways-to-attempt-to-stay-within-15c] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the “synthesis report” of its sixth assessment report (AR6) on Monday. Eight years in preparation, this mammoth report encompasses the entire range of human knowledge of the climate system, compiled by hundreds of scientists from thousands of academic papers, and published in four parts, in August 2021, February and April 2022, and March 2023. …key measures that governments and countries must take immediately if we are to avoid climate catastrophe: Reduce methane …Stop deforestation …Restore other degraded land, and stop it being turned to agriculture …Change agriculture, and change the way we eat …Solar and wind power …Energy efficiency …Stop burning coal …Put climate at the heart of all decision-making….

2023-03-20. A Different Kind of Pipeline Project Scrambles Midwest Politics. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/20/us/carbon-dioxide-ethanol-underground-midwest.html] By Mitch Smith, The New York Times. Excerpt: For more than a decade, the Midwest was the site of bitter clashes over plans for thousand-mile pipelines meant to carry crude oil beneath cornfields and cattle ranches. Now high-dollar pipeline fights are happening again, but with a twist. Instead of oil, these projects would carry millions of tons of carbon dioxide from ethanol plants to be injected into underground rock formations rather than dispersed as pollutants in the air. What is playing out is a very different kind of environmental battle, a huge test not just for farmers and landowners but for emerging technologies promoted as ways to safely store planet-warming carbon. …Supporters… say the pipelines… would lower carbon emissions while aiding the agricultural economy through continued ethanol production. …opponents are concerned about property rights and safety, and are not convinced of the projects’ claimed environmental benefits….

2023-03-19. How Does Carbon Capture Work? [https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/03/19/us/carbon-capture.html] By Eden Weingart, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Carbon capture is an umbrella term for technologies, some of them first proposed in the 1980s, that aim to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere or catch emissions and store them before they are released into the air. …Encouraged by tax incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act, some companies have proposed projects in the United States to capture CO2 and either use it or store it deep underground. Those proposals have been met with skepticism, though, by some environmentalists who say carbon capture could distract from efforts to reduce emissions in the first place. …Efforts to plant trees and other small-scale experiments are happening around the country. And two larger-scale methods are being developed: post-combustion capture and direct air capture….

2023-03-12. Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Threatens Climate Start-Ups. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/12/climate/silicon-valley-bank-climate.html] By David Gelles, The New York Times. Excerpt: As the fallout of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank continued to spread over the weekend, it became clear that some of the worst casualties were companies developing solutions for the climate crisis. The bank, the largest to fail since 2008, worked with more than 1,550 technology firms that are creating solar, hydrogen and battery storage projects. According to its website, the bank issued them billions in loans. …Community solar projects appear to be especially hard hit. Silicon Valley Bank said that it led or participated in 62 percent of financing deals for community solar projects, which are smaller-scale solar projects that often serve lower-income residential areas. …There are signs that, when the dust settles, the climate tech industry will have a new lender of choice….

2023-03-06. Meat, dairy and rice production will bust 1.5C climate target, shows study. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/06/meat-dairy-rice-high-methane-food-production-bust-climate-target-study] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: …Climate-heating emissions from food production, dominated by meat, dairy and rice, will by themselves break the key international target of 1.5C if left unchecked, a detailed study has shown. …the scientists said the temperature rise could be cut by 55% by cutting meat consumption in rich countries to medically recommended levels, reducing emissions from livestock and their manure, and using renewable energy in the food system. …The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, treated each greenhouse gas separately for 94 key types of food, enabling their impact on climate over time to be better understood. Feeding this emissions data into a widely used climate model showed that the continuation of today’s food production would lead to a rise of 0.7C by 2100 if global population growth was low, and a 0.9C rise if population growth was high….

2023-02-14. The Global Health Benefits of Going Net Zero. [https://eos.org/research-spotlights/the-global-health-benefits-of-going-net-zero] By Kirsten Steinke, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Fossil fuel combustion produces greenhouse gases that heat the planet, but it also emits air pollutants that harm human health. Fine particulate matter and ozone, for example, have been linked to fatal lung and heart issues. And a recent study published in GeoHealth adds to the growing body of research that shows that when countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the associated improvements in air quality could save countless lives. …The team concluded that particulate matter and ozone caused more than 2.2 million premature deaths each year in G20 countries. Reducing emissions in these countries from power plants alone could reduce that death toll by nearly 300,000 lives by 2040….

2023-02-14. Could solar geoengineering cool the planet? U.S. gets serious about finding out. [https://www.science.org/content/article/could-solar-geoengineering-cool-planet-u-s-gets-serious-about-finding-out] By Paul Voosen, Science. Excerpt: Any work on solar geoengineering—the notion of artificially making the atmosphere more reflective to cool an overheated planet—is fraught with controversy. …The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is venturing …to understand the types, amounts, and behavior of particles naturally present in the stratosphere. …Research on solar geoengineering—also called solar radiation management—has long been anathema to some climate scientists and activists. They fear it could distract from emissions cuts, could have unforeseen risks, and would not address some impacts of rising carbon dioxide, including ocean acidification. Federal agencies have largely steered clear of the work, even after a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) in 2021 recommended a $200 million research program. …They want to study how such ­sulfur interacts with organic particles such as soot and the dust of meteorites. Rosenlof says they will also study how soot absorbs the Sun’s heat, causing air parcels to rise and prolonging particle lifetimes in the stratosphere….

2023-02-08. ‘They get the big picture’: the Swedish tech startup helping cities go green. [https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/feb/08/they-get-the-big-picture-the-swedish-tech-startup-helping-cities-go-green] By Jon Henley ,The Guardian. Excerpt: Online tool …used in eight countries by a rapidly lengthening list of cities – now more than 50 – including Helsingborg and Malmö in Sweden, Madrid in Spain, Kiel and Mannheim in Germany, Cincinnati in the US, and Bristol and Nottingham in the UK. … “Cities account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions,” Shalit said. “They are clearly critical to climate action, but they are also complex and highly interconnected systems – and they really lacked the tools to plan and manage their transition.” ClimateOS, the integrated platform developed by Shalit’s Stockholm-based startup, ClimateView, aims to help cities plan and manage their transition to zero carbon by breaking it down into distinct but interconnected “building blocks”….

2023-02-01. The Role of Insurance in Climate Adaptation. [https://eos.org/articles/the-role-of-insurance-in-climate-adaption] By Jenessa Duncombe, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: A new study highlights a way to stave off economic effects by promoting a widespread public insurance plan for Americans. The research supports the growing movement to use insurance­­—a key tool for managing society’s risk—as a form of climate adaptation. …The hypothetical insurance scheme used in the model is a mandatory nonprofit government-offered policy that is available everywhere at a flat fee. The scheme uses the average rate of insured losses from U.S. hurricanes over the past several decades (50%) tallied by the natural disaster database NatCatSERVICE from the German-based insurance company Munich Re. …a close analog is the National Flood Insurance Program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But the program isn’t compulsory and isn’t available to everyone….

2023-01-31. Emissions divide now greater within countries than between them – study. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/31/emissions-divide-now-greater-within-countries-than-between-them-study] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: The difference between the carbon emissions of the rich and the poor within a country is now greater than the differences in emissions between countries, data shows. The finding is further evidence of the growing divide between the “polluting elite” of rich people around the world, and the relatively low responsibility for emissions among the rest of the population. It also shows there is plenty of room for the poorest in the world to increase their greenhouse gas emissions if needed to reach prosperity, if rich people globally – including some in developing countries – reduce theirs, the analysis has found. …a growing body of work suggests that a “polluting elite” of those on the highest incomes globally are vastly outweighing the emissions of the poor. …rich people in developing countries have much bigger carbon footprints than was previously acknowledged. In a report entitled Climate Inequality Report 2023, economists from the World Inequality Lab dissect where carbon emissions are currently coming from. The World Inequality Lab is co-directed by the influential economist Thomas Piketty, the author of Capital in the Twenty-first Century, whose work following the financial crisis more than a decade ago helped to popularise the idea of “the 1%”, a global high-income group whose interests are favoured by current economic systems….

2023-01-23. I tried lab-grown meat made from animals without killing them – is this the future of ethical eating?. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/23/lab-grown-meat-animals-climate] By Oliver Milman, The Guardian. Excerpt: The meat … came from a named pig, an affable-looking swine called Dawn. …a clump of her cells were grown in a lab to create what’s known as “cultivated meat”, a product touted as far better for the climate – as well as the mortal concerns of pigs and cows – and is set for takeoff in the US. …“A harmless sample from one pig can produce many millions of tons of product without requiring us to raise and slaughter an animal each time,” said Eitan Fischer, founder of Mission Barns, a maker of cultivated meat that invited the Guardian to a taste test in an upscale Manhattan hotel. …Mission Barns is one of about 80 startup companies based around San Francisco’s Bay Area now jostling for position after one of their number, Upside Foods, became the first in the country to be granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November, a key step in allowing the sale of cultivated meat in the US. On Monday, Upside said it aims to start selling its cultivated chicken in restaurants this year, and in grocery stores by 2028. …In December, a company called Believer Meats broke ground on a $123m facility in North Carolina it claims will be the largest cultivated meat plant in the world, set to churn out 10,000 tons of product once operational. …the “world is experiencing a food revolution”, as the FDA put it, with the rise of cultivated meat holding the promise of slashing the meat industry’s ruinous planet-heating emissions and shrinking its voracious appetite for land, as well as sparing livestock the barbarity of factory farming. …The raising and slaughter of livestock is responsible for more than half of the greenhouse gas pollution of the entire food sector, which in itself is estimated to contribute around a third of total global emissions….

2023-01-20. ‘Super-tipping points’ could trigger cascade of climate action. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/20/super-tipping-points-climate-electric-cars-meat-emissions] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: …Three “super-tipping points” for climate action could trigger a cascade of decarbonisation across the global economy, according to a report. Relatively small policy interventions on electric cars, plant-based alternatives to meat and green fertilisers would lead to unstoppable growth in those sectors, the experts said. But the boost this would give to battery and hydrogen production would mean crucial knock-on benefits for other sectors including energy storage and aviation. …The tipping points occur when a zero-carbon solution becomes more competitive than the existing high-carbon option. More sales lead to cheaper products, creating feedback loops that drive exponential growth and a rapid takeover. The report, launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the three super-tipping points would cut emissions in sectors covering 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions….

2023-01-17. Banks still investing heavily in fossil fuels despite net zero pledges – study. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/17/banks-still-investing-heavily-in-fossil-fuels-despite-net-zero-pledges-study] By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: Banks and finance institutions that have signed up to net zero pledges are still investing heavily in fossil fuels, research has shown, …. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) initiative was launched by the former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, as one of the main UK achievements in hosting the Cop26 UN climate summit at Glasgow in 2021. The UK boasted at Cop26 that 450 organisations in 45 countries with assets of more than $130tn had signed up to GFANZ, to align their investments with the goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But its members have poured hundreds of billions into fossil fuels since then, according to data compiled by the pressure group Reclaim Finance….

2023-01-12. Exxon Scientists Predicted Global Warming, Even as Company Cast Doubts, Study Finds. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/12/climate/exxon-mobil-global-warming-climate-change.html] By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times. Excerpt: In the late 1970s, scientists at Exxon fitted one of the company’s supertankers with state-of-the-art equipment to measure carbon dioxide in the ocean and in the air, an early example of substantial research the oil giant conducted into the science of climate change. A new study published Thursday in the journal Science found that over the next decades, Exxon’s scientists made remarkably accurate projections of just how much burning fossil fuels would warm the planet. Their projections were as accurate, and sometimes even more so, as those of independent academic and government models. …Yet for years, the oil giant publicly cast doubt on climate science, and cautioned against any drastic move away from burning fossil fuels, the main driver of climate change. Exxon also ran a public relations program — including ads that ran in The New York Times— emphasizing uncertainties in the scientific research on global warming….

2023-01-11. The New Soldiers in Propane’s Fight Against Climate Action: Television Stars. [https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/11/climate/climate-propane-influence-campaign.html] By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times. Excerpt: An industry group is spending millions of dollars to push back against efforts to move heating away from oil and gas. …The Propane Education and Research Council, or PERC, which is funded by propane providers across the country, has spent millions of dollars on “provocative anti-electrification messaging” for TV, print and social media, …. …“The movement to electrify everything is rapidly gaining momentum, and poses a substantial threat to the sustainability of our industry,” he said, according to meeting minutes….

2023-01-01. Extinction Rebellion announces move away from disruptive tactics. [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/01/extinction-rebellion-announces-move-away-from-disruptive-tactics] By Robert Booth, The Guardian. Excerpt: The climate protest group Extinction Rebellion is shifting tactics from disruptions such as smashing windows and glueing themselves to public places in 2023, it has announced. A new year resolution to “prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks”, was spelled out in a 1 January statement titled “We quit”, which said “constantly evolving tactics is a necessary approach”. …XR is calling for 100,000 people to “leave the locks, glue and paint behind” and surround the Houses of Parliament on 21 April….

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 Education.org

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. 
http://earththeoperatorsmanual.com/

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.  http://YoungVoicesonClimateChange.com.

Climate Change cover