Something to keep in mind…


The rapid degradation of the Canadian boreal forest
threatens
to have a global impact
exacerbating the effects of climate change

In just 20 years, an area nearly the size of Ohio
has been cut with a huge portion
of this harvested wood

converted into pulps that are used to manufacture

newsprint,
paper,
and tissue

NRDC

* School Strike 4 Climate Action *

WHY is this not on the front page of every major news site ?

15,000 Australian school children protest lack of action on climate

School Strike 4 Climate Action was started by two 14 year-old Australian girls. When the Australian Prime Minister found out, he told students not to participate.

15,000 students ignored him. They left their schools and protested in the streets. My wish is for every student in the US to see what these young women have done and to do it here. This is a show stopper. Forward this to students, teachers, parents.

Click the links and be inspired!

School Strike 4 Climate Action protests have been held in every Australian state capital and 20 regional towns.

Organizers estimated around 15,000 left their classrooms in 30 locations across the country.

The groundswell was inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who pledged to protest outside parliament in Stockholm until the country caught up on its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Every day for two weeks she sat by herself, handing out leaflets that read, “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.” And now, she’s inspired Aussie teenagers to do the same: hold a school strike for climate change.

“We were so inspired by that. We thought, it’s an even harsher climate where we live,” 14-year-old Harriet O’Shea Carre and 14-year-old Milou Albrecht from Bendigo, Victoria said.

This is just the beginning. This is our first strike, our first movement altogether… We will keep leading more campaigns until something is done,”

But then came the rebuke by the Australian PM…

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, had earlier this week urged students this week not to take part and told them to be “less activist”.

“Maybe if the people in power like Scott Morrison listened to the climate scientists and took action to stop dangerous climate change then we wouldn’t have to resort to all become climate activists,” the organizers told CNN via email.

On Friday, the resources minister Matt Canavan said he would prefer students to learn about mining and science. “These are the type of things that excite young children and we should be great at it as a nation,” he told 2GB radio. “The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue.

COP24 • Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change • (UNFCCC)

The Katowice Climate Change Conference December 2-14, 2018

Poland Literally Filled an International Climate Change Conference With Coal
Earther December 3, 2018

Poland COP24 Coal exhibit.jpg

After picking coal companies to sponsor the talks, the Polish government decided to deck the halls of its exhibition center with piles of coal in a move that is beyond parody.

Confounded conference goers have been tweeting images and videos of the coal display as well as coal-related tchotchkes, including coal soap (it’s clean coal, get it?). A coal miner band greeted attendees after they walked in from air thick with coal-fire power plant haze. And in his opening remarks, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that coal “does not contradict the protection of the climate and the progress of climate protection.”

As Coal-Sponsored Climate Summit Opens, Campaigners Declare, ‘Business as Usual’ Not an Option
Common Dreams December 2, 2018

Seated indoors and marching through the streets, climate justice campaigners marked the start of the summit known as COP24 with demands

“Having a major coal utility like PGE as one of COP24’s sponsors sends the wrongest possible signal at the wrongest possible time.

Climate leadership collapse leaves UN chief with a daunting task Climate Home News December 2, 2018

The coalition that built the Paris Agreement has broken down, leaving Patricia Espinosa with few powerful friends to call on to secure a deal in Katowice

Patricia Espinosa must find a delicate balance at this year’s major climate summit.

As head of the UN’s climate change secretariat, she’s supposed to quietly mediate the contentious talks over global climate change rules. But in the end, it may fall on her to muscle countries to consensus and save the promise of the celebrated Paris climate agreement.

Figueres galvanised support for the deal with public punches about the urgency of stemming climate change. But she was also backed by well-tuned powerbrokers including the French summit presidency and the Obama administration, who opened a bridge between the developed and developing worlds by partnering with China. That coalition was broken by Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw from the deal.

On top of that, the politics around climate change have soured elsewhere in the past three years. Australia has backed away from future climate finance, Germany is struggling to set an end date for coal use and Brazil’s president-elect appointed a climate denier as foreign minister. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions reached new highs in 2017, according to UN data published in November.

Here is an overview…

At COP24 in Poland, Negotiators Must Lay Down Ground Rules for the Paris Agreement
World Resource Institute November 28, 2018

Climate leaders will gather once again next week to make progress in the global fight against climate change. This year’s meeting … marks the most important moment since countries celebrated adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Countries will need to come to agreement on the implementing guidelines (or colloquially, the “Paris Rulebook”) necessary to operationalize the landmark 2015 agreement [and] signal their intention to strengthen their national climate plans by 2020

First day live updates here: CNN December 3, 2018

David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon
The Guardian December 3, 2018

Naturalist tells leaders at UN climate summit that fate of world is in their hands.

“The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands.

Interestingly, Fox News reports on the COP24, but they want jobs for all the displaced coal workers…

World faces ‘impossible’ task at post-Paris climate talks
Fox News November 29, 2018

The U.S., meanwhile, is far from being the driving force it was during the Paris talks under President Barack Obama. Brazil and Australia, previously staunch backers of the accord, appear to be following in Trump’s footsteps.

Some observers fear nationalist thinking on climate could scupper all hope of meaningful progress in Katowice. Others are more optimistic.

During the first week of talks, leaders are expected to sign a Polish-backed declaration calling for a ‘just transition’ that will “create quality jobs in regions affected by transition to a low-carbon economy.”

HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP

New bipartisan climate bill: Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act
Red Green and Blue December 5, 2018

Here is a bold claim, but one worth making: the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 7173) may be the strongest and most comprehensive climate bill ever submitted to Congress.

The strongest, because it sets emissions reduction targets of 90% below 2015 levels by 2050, and the most comprehensive because it addresses all fossil fuel combustion in the U.S., plus super-pollutants like fluorinated gases. Previous bills have set overall targets of 80% emission reductions, or set targets of 100% reductions but only for certain sectors, such as electricity or transportation.

But we also want to be clear: the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act alone will not solve climate change. It can forge a clear path and do a huge chunk of the work, but no one should expect any single policy to solve climate change by itself.

There is a growing consensus, including from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that establishing a strong price on carbon is an essential piece of meeting our emission reduction goals. This policy would do just that with a carbon fee starting at $15 and rising steadily by at least $10/year. Even more, the policy has strong environmental integrity mechanisms, with specific emissions reduction targets set for each year through 2050. If those targets are not met, the carbon price is increased by $15/year instead of $10/year.

And these targets are far better than what the U.S. pledged in Paris (26-28% reduction from 2005 levels by 2025), or what was expected from the Clean Power Plan (32% reduction in electricity sector by 2030). They are even stronger than the targets set by California for its cap and trade system (80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050). The targets in H.R. 7173 were written to meet the goal of staying below 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise set by the IPCC before Paris and are in line with some, though not all, of the recently released IPCC suggestions for staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise.

Record-High Carbon Emissions Show ‘We Are Speeding Towards the Precipice of Irrevocable Climate Chaos’
Common Dreams December 5, 2018

As world leaders are meeting at the COP24 in Poland to discuss how to achieve goals outlined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, scientists and activists are raising alarm about “brutal” new research published by the Global Carbon Project on Wednesday which offers the international community a “reality check” by showing that carbon emissions will hit a record high this year.

Global Carbon Budget Summary Highlights
GCP December 5, 2018

Emissions from fossil fuels and industry

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry have increased every decade from an average of 3.1±0.2 GtC yr-1 (11.4 GtCO2) in the 1960s to an average of 9.4±0.5 yr-1 during 2008-2017 (34.4 GtCO2). Emissions in 2017 were 9.9±0.5 (36.2 GtCO2) with a share of coal (40%), oil (35%), gas (20%), cement (4%), and flaring (1%). Global emissions in 2018 are projected to increase by more than 2% (+1.8% to +3.7%) after three years of almost no growth, reaching 10.1±0.5 GtC (37.1 GtCO2), a new record high.

Cumulative Carbon Emissions

The cumulative carbon emissions are the sum of the total CO2 emitted during a given period of time. Total cumulative emissions from 1870 to 2017 were 425±20 GtC (1539 GtCO2) from fossil fuels and industry, and 180±60 GtC (660 GtCO2) from land use change. The total of 615±80 GtC of emissions was partitioned among the atmosphere (250±5 GtC), ocean (150±20 GtC), and the land (190±45 GtC). Land-use change represents about 31% of cumulative emissions over 1870–2017, coal 32%, oil 25%, and gas 10%.

Long article about rising temperatures, rising seas and an increasing population…

Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe
The Guardian December 2, 2018

But this year’s will be a grimmer affair – by far. As recent reports have made clear, the world may no longer be hovering at the edge of destruction but has probably staggered beyond a crucial point of no return. Climate catastrophe is now looking inevitable. We have simply left it too late to hold rising global temperatures to under 1.5C and so prevent a future of drowned coasts, ruined coral reefs, spreading deserts and melted glaciers.

One example was provided last week by a UN report that revealed attempts to ensure fossil fuel emissions peak by 2020 will fail. Indeed the target will not even be reached by 2030. Another, by the World Meteorological Organization, said the past four years had been the warmest on record and warned that global temperatures could easily rise by 3-5C by 2100, well above that sought-after goal of 1.5C. The UK will not be exempt either. The Met Office said summer temperatures could now be 5.4C hotter by 2070.

Trump Was the Lone Holdout…

Mother Jones December 2018

It is telling that on two of the most contentious topics at the Buenos Aires Group of 20 meeting, the United States eventually joined 19 other world leaders on trade, but when it comes to climate change, President Donald Trump remained firmly alone in his belief it is a hoax.

Two days of difficult negotiations at the G20 came to a close Saturday with a nonbinding six-page statement that attempts to defuse the brewing trade war between the United States and China by committing, vaguely, to reforming the World Trade Organization. “We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made,” the statement read. “The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement. We therefore support the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning. We will review progress at our next Summit.”

On climate, though, Trump was the only holdout. While the communiqué affirms support for the Paris climate change agreement on the eve of the next round of climate talks in Poland, it includes a separate section for the United States: “The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its strong commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment.”

Dramatic changes to Yukon glaciers a warning for the planet, researchers say
Axos August 23, 2018

Sea level rise may seem like a far-off threat, but a growing number of new studies, including one out Thursday, shows that real estate markets have already started responding to increased flooding risks by reducing prices of vulnerable homes.

The bottom line: According to a new report by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, housing values in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut dropped $6.7 billion from 2005 to 2017 due to flooding related to sea level rise. Combined with their prior analysis of 5 southeastern coastal states with $7.4 billion in lost home value, the total loss in 8 states since 2005 has been $14.1 billion.

Just what we need in the Arctic…

As arctic ice melts, the U.S. military prepares for threats from Russia, China
Chicago Tribune December 3, 2018

The mysterious operation was part of the U.S. military’s gradual growth in the Arctic as it grapples with the effects of melting polar ice and Russia’s and China’s increasing assertiveness in the region. The slowly evolving plan has included stationing more fighter jets in Alaska, expanding partnerships with Nordic militaries, increasing cold-weather training and designing a new class of icebreaker ship for the Coast Guard that could be armed.

The other COP: the plan to save the world’s biodiversity
Unearthed November 14, 2018

But there’s another set of COPs, which are tackling a different (but related) impending global ecological crisis. And we’re talking about this far less.

This week COP14 talks open in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt to discuss the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The COP24 conference aims to finalize the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement with a “rule book”. The European Commission has a detailed

fact sheet is here.

What’s at stake?

Essentially, all forms of life in all its diversity – and the resources that human society receives from them.

Or in the words of the CBD’s executive secretary Cristiana Pasca Palmer, “the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.”

The CBD has three aims: to conserve biodiversity, to ensure the resources that it provides are used sustainably and to see that the value of its genetics – used to produce food, fuel or medicines – are shared fairly.

The Smoke’s Gone, But Hearts and Lungs Still May Be in Danger Months After Wildfires
Mother Jones December 1, 2018

For two weeks after the fire ignited, the air in Northern California, stretching as far as 200 miles from the flames, was so full of smoke that it was deemed unhealthy to breathe, especially for people with heart and respiratory ailments.

Past four years hottest on record, data shows
The Guardian November 29, 2018

Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather has affected all continents, while the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years.

The warming trend is unmistakeable and shows we are running out of time to tackle climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which on Thursday published its provisional statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. The WMO warned that, on current trends, warming could reach 3C to 5C by the end of this century.

Why Plans to Turn America’s Rust Belt into a New Plastics Belt Are Bad News for the Climate
Desmog October 28, 2018

The petrochemical industry anticipates spending a total of over $200 billion on factories, pipelines, and other infrastructure in the U.S. that will rely on shale gas, the American Chemistry Council announced in September. Construction is already underway at many sites.

This building spree would dramatically expand the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical corridor (known locally as “Cancer Alley”) — and establish a new plastics and petrochemical belt across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Queensland’s Catastrophic bushfire, extreme heatwave and climate change
Climate Citizen November 29, 2018

Welcome to the new normal, where the Prime Minister ignores climate change as an essential driving factor behind weather related disasters already impacting Australians.

We have never seen bushfires of this intensity and ferocity in November in Queensland. This is the first time that a bushfire emergency in Queensland has been escalated to the top level ranking of ‘Catastrophic’. 

Over 8000 people have been ordered evacuated from the town of Gracemere to Rockhampton, and other evacuations took place around Deepwater. Some 200 fires were burning across the state on Wednesday

Climate Adaption World Bank to invest $200bn to combat climate change
The Guardian December 3, 2018

The World Bank is to make about $200bn (£157bn) available to fund action on climate change from 2021-25, helping countries adapt to the effects of warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The sum represents a doubling of the five-year investment plan put in place after the landmark Paris agreement of 2015.

This year, the World Bank devoted $20.5bn to climate change, meeting the targets it promised as part of the Paris agreement two years early. However, the group has decided more is needed.

Adapting to the effects of climate change that are already inevitable will be a key aim, and for the first time the World Bank will put this effort on an equal footing with reductions in emissions, investing $50bn in direct finance to adaptation over the period.

All I want for Christmas is a 90% efficient solar panel
PV Magazine November 23, 12018

NovaSolix proposes a carbon nanotube based solar module which has the theoretical potential to reach 90% efficiency. The technology is based on a 1960s invention – the rectifying antenna (rectenna) – which is today used in radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags capture the radio waves put out by scanners and power themselves. NovaSolix aims to take that ability of converting a different portion (non-visible) of the electromagnetic spectrum, and – using carbon nanotubes tuned to the sun’s full spectrum output – collect a much broader portion of the energy in our environment.

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Proposal Now Backed by 15 House Democrats
EcoWatch November 29, 2018

Fifteen members of Congress have now backed Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to establish a “select committee” in the House of Representatives to develop a plan to—basically—reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to transition the U.S. to 100 percent renewable energy sources within 10 years of passing the Green New Deal legislation.

The proposal also has the support of nearly 100 environmental, economic and social justice organizations, according to the Sunrise Movement.

Comprehensive article…

Yet Another Benefit of Renewable Energy: It Uses Practically No Water Compared to Fossil Fuels
Desmog December 2, 2018

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently highlighted a little-discussed benefit of using renewables like wind and solar to produce electricity: Unlike most power sources, they require “almost no water.”

This is remarkable because thermoelectric power generation is the leading use of water in America.

Scientists achieve direct electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide, raising hopes for smart carbon capture
Science News November 28, 2018

Chemists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) propose an innovative way to achieve carbon capture using a rhenium-based electrocatalytic system that is capable of reducing low-concentration CO2 (even 1%) with high selectivity and durability, which is a new potential technology to enable direct utilization of CO2 in exhaust gases from heavy industries.

Newly discovered deep-sea microbes gobble greenhouse gases and perhaps oil spills, too
Science Daily November 27, 2018

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute have discovered nearly two dozen new types of microbes, many of which use hydrocarbons such as methane and butane as energy sources to survive and grow — meaning the newly identified bacteria might be helping to limit the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and might one day be useful for cleaning up oil spills.

Walmart? Seriously…

The Green New Deal and a Vision of Environmental Sustainability
Columbia U December 3, 2018

Spicer and Hyatt found that efforts to convince Walmart’s shoppers to pay more for sustainability seemed to fail, since these shoppers had little leeway in their household budget to pay a “sustainability premium.” They also found that the absence of agreed-to sustainability metrics made it difficult to even know which products were sustainable and which were not. All of this led Walmart to focus their attention on the suppliers of goods they sold and to use their vast purchasing power as the world’s largest retailer to push sustainability through the supply chain. Suppliers were pushed to demonstrate their use of renewable energy, reduction of waste, limited environmental impact and care in sourcing raw materials. Walmart’s power as a consumer altered producer behavior. The supplier-based strategy was effective and as Spicer and Hyatt noted, consumers didn’t “even realize they’re helping make the world a better place”.

First Electric Commuter Airplane Expected Within Three Years
Green Optimist December 1, 2018

So here it is- the first ever, fully electric airliner, which can cover the whooping 621 miles on a single charge, while carrying nine passengers and two crew members. The running costs are expected to be as little as 7 to 9 cents per mile, which translates to just $200 per hour.

Wildlife & the Environment

Climate Change Is Shrinking Winter Snowpack and Harming Northeast Forests Year-Round
EcoWatch December 3, 2018

Historically, more than 50 percent of the northern hemisphere has had snow cover in winter. Now warmer temperatures are reducing the depth and duration of winter snow cover. Many people assume that winter is a dormant time for organisms in cold climates, but decades of research now shows that winter climate conditions—particularly snowpack—are important regulators of the health of forest ecosystems and organisms that live in them.

Massive need for growing trees on farms
PHYS ORG December 3, 2018

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.

Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed physically, and therefore produces less or supports less life. This is mostly caused by the loss of soil, changes in the quality of the soil, or changes to land cover – like trees being cut down.

About 20% of agricultural land and 40% of forests are degraded.

Climate Studies

Long article, good read…

Put more carbon in soils to meet Paris climate pledges
Nature December 3, 2018

Take these eight steps to make soils more resilient to drought, produce more food and store emissions, urge Cornelia Rumpel and colleagues.

Soils are crucial to managing climate change. They contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere. Plants circulate carbon dioxide from the air to soils, and consume about one-third of the CO2 that humans produce. Of that, about 10–15% ends up in the earth. Carbon is also essential for soil fertility and agriculture. Decomposing plants, bacteria, fungi and soil fauna, such as earthworms, release organic matter and nutrients for plant growth

Scientists Call for Eight Steps to Increase Soil Carbon for Climate Action and Food Security
Climate Change News December 3, 2018

The amount of carbon in soil is over twice the amount of carbon found in trees and other biomass. But one-third of the world’s soils are already degraded, limiting agricultural production and adding almost 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, an amount equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 216 billion hectares of U.S. forest.

…describe a path for recuperating soil carbon stocks to mitigate climate change and boost soil fertility.

Scientists Reveal Substantial Water Loss in Global Landlocked Regions
Climate Change News December 3, 2018

A new study reveals this decline has aggravated local water stress and caused potential sea level rise.

 

Using gravity observations from NASA/German Aerospace Center’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites, Wang and his colleagues quantified a net water loss in global endorheic basins of approximately 100 billion tons of water per year since the start of the current millennium.

Good article…

Uneven rates of sea level rise tied to climate change
PHYS ORG December 3, 2018

“By knowing that climate change is playing a role in creating these regional patterns, we can be more confident that these same patterns may linger or even intensify in the future if climate change continues unabated,” Fasullo said. “With sea levels projected to rise a couple of feet or more this century on average, information about expected regional differences could be critical for coastal communities as they prepare.”

Global Warnings

Paul Beckwith: “I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions.”

Kevin Hester: “There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles … 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change”

Guy McPherson: “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least an order of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun.”

Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!