Articles from 2023 (most recent)
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 Kaplan, Simon Ducroquet, Bonnie Jo Mount, Frank 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 fertilization, artificial 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….
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.
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.