Photo credit: Karsten Würth (@inf1783)/Wikimedia Commons
Standard Climate Models May Understate GHGs from Permafrost Melt by 14%
Standard climate models may be underestimating greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost by missing one of the key pathways for carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, according to new research published earlier this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Climate Models for Upcoming UN Report Show ‘Incredibly Alarming’ Risk of Runaway Warming
The climate community and the general public are in for some “incredibly alarming” worst-case scenarios as modelling for the United Nations’ next major climate risk assessment takes shape, with about a quarter of the new research showing a sharp increase in the amount of global warming that would be expect if atmospheric carbon levels doubled from pre-industrial levels.
417.1 ppm: Atmospheric CO2 Levels Reach Three-Million-Year High
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a three-million-year high, at 417.1 parts per million (ppm), despite the 17% drop in daily emissions brought about by the coronavirus lockdown, according to annual measurements at the atmospheric research lab at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
Countries Are ‘Way Off Track’ from Meeting Climate Targets, Latest UN Assessment Warns
Ocean and surface temperatures last year were the highest on record, average global temperature was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, the Earth lost more ice than it gained for a 32nd year in a row, and sea levels hit an all-time high, prompting United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to declare humanity “way off track” from getting climate change under control in his foreword to the World Meteorological Organization’s latest annual climate assessment.
‘Rare, Happy News’ from Climatologists: Worst-Case Warming Now ‘Increasingly Implausible’
It doesn’t make the climate crisis any less urgent, but there’s a growing view among scientists that humanity’s decarbonization efforts so far have dodged the worst climate outcomes projected in the last global assessment report in 2014.
Researchers Predict Near-Record Annual Increase in Atmospheric CO2
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are on track for one of their largest annual increases since record-keeping began in 1958, driven in part by the bushfire calamity sweeping Australia, the UK Met Office reported last week.
WMO Declares 2010s the Warmest Decade on Record as Climate Impacts Accelerate
The 2010s are almost certain to take their place as the warmest decade on record, and 2015-2019 as the five-year span with the highest average temperatures ever, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports, in a dire provisional statement released Tuesday at the beginning of this year’s United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid.
Nine Climate Tipping Points Could Pose ‘Existential Threat to Civilization’, Scientists Warn
With this year’s United Nations climate conference set to kick off in Madrid Monday morning, the Earth is in danger of crossing as many as nine crucial climate “tipping points” that represent an “existential threat to civilization”, scientists warn in a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Record GHG Concentrations Prompt Call for Drastic Action to Reduce Emissions
A pair of alarming reports from United Nations agencies shows greenhouse gas emissions at record levels and rising at a faster annual rate, meaning that efforts to counter the climate crisis must increase three- to five-fold to avoid a world of 3.2°C average global warming in less than 100 years.
Warming Will Produce Rapid Sea Level Rise, Annual ‘100-Year’ Storms, Declining Fish Stocks, Shrinking Glaciers Without Fast Climate Action: IPCC
The world’s oceans will rise nearly one metre (three feet) by 2100, 100-year coastal storms and flooding will happen annually, fish stocks will see serious declines, snow and ice cover will diminish, and killer storms will get wetter and more powerful without fast action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, concludes the latest science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last week after a contentious negotiating session in Monaco.
‘Climate is Fast Outpacing Us’, Hitting ‘Sooner and Faster’ Than Expected, Agencies Warn UN Summit Delegates
The world’s leading international climate science agencies are predicting 2.9 to 3.4°C average global warming by 2100 based on governments’ current climate commitments, “a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe,” The Guardian reports.
New Models Put Warming at 6.5 °to 7.0°C by 2100 Without Fast Action to Cut Carbon
Average global warming could hit 6.5° to 7.0°C by 2100, up to two degrees higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest scenarios, if humanity doesn’t get its greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to new modelling by two leading research agencies in France.
The 12-Year Target: How a 2030 Goal Became a Proxy for Deeper Decarbonization (and More Detailed Science)
The oft-cited 2030 deadline to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45% is actually a stepping stone to the even more significant goal of total decarbonization by mid-century, InsideClimate News reports, in a review of the science behind a target date that has been cited frequently in the race for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
IPCC Land Report Paints Stark Picture for Food Supplies, Charts Course for Immediate Action
Global food supplies, species and ecosystem diversity, and the health and safety of populations are all in peril without immediate, wide-ranging shifts in land use, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in a landmark report released in Geneva last week.
Scientists Debate Whether Revised Temperature History Reduces Available Carbon Budget
A recent revision of sea surface temperature records from the mid-20th century to the present has scientists and policy-makers considering whether the carbon budget to keep average global warming to 1.5°C should be revised downwards by as much as a third—and questioning researchers whether the update is relevant to the climate impact communities actually experience on the front lines of the crisis.
Saudis Lead Fossil States to Block 1.5°C Report, Declare Island States a ‘Disposable Global Zone’
A landmark report on 1.5°C pathways was forever dropped from formal consideration in United Nations climate negotiations, and Climate Action Network-International scorched countries for their “weak political positions on responding to the climate crisis,” as mid-year negotiations to implement and push beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement wrapped up yesterday in Bonn.
Saudi Arabia Obstructs UN Adoption of IPCC’s 1.5°C Pathway Report
Countries participating in mid-year climate negotiations in Bonn this month are at risk of excluding the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways from their consideration of climate science, with alarmed health professionals calling out Saudi Arabia for its continuing refusal to accept the conclusions in the October, 2018 special report.
Atmospheric CO2 Hits 415.26 PPM, Highest Level Since Humans Evolved
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were measured at 415.26 parts per million (ppm) on Saturday, believed to be the highest level since humans first evolved.
CO2 Emissions Rise 1.7% in 2018 as Energy Demand Sets Record, Coal Consumption Grows
Global carbon dioxide emissions increased 1.7% in 2018, driven by record-high energy demand and still-increasing use of coal-fired power plants, the International Energy Agency reported yesterday.
Massive Arctic Warming Can Still Be Averted by Rapid GHG Cuts, Carbon Brief Concludes
Climate analysts are taking a second look at a key paragraph in a widely-reported study, published last week by the UN Environment Program, that appears to have overstepped with the claim that Arctic warming between 5.0 and 9.0°C is locked in and inevitable by 2080.
Atmospheric Methane Increases Could ‘Negate or Reverse Progress’ on CO2 Cuts
Increases in atmospheric methane between 2014 and 2017 could put the targets in the Paris Agreement out of reach, and point to the “urgent need to reduce methane emissions, especially from the fossil fuel industry,” according to a new research article published last week by the American Geophysical Union.
Average Warming Could Temporarily Exceed 1.5°C in Next Five Years
Four major meteorological agencies have now confirmed that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with the UK Met Office calculating a 10% chance that average global warming will temporarily exceed the critical 1.5°C threshold in at least one of the next five years.
2019 Set to Deliver Big Jump in Atmospheric CO2
Scientists are looking ahead to a “worrying” jump in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations this year, right on the heels of a report declaring 2018 the fourth-warmest year on record.
The Hard Work Starts Now as COP Delivers Incomplete Rule Book, Low Ambition
After two weeks of marathon negotiations ended with a deeply equivocal, incremental response to the global climate crisis, COP 24 in Katowice, Poland ended where it began: with a wide spectrum of delegates and other climate specialists declaring that the hard work begins now.
COP Refuses to ‘Welcome’ 1.5°C Report as Major Negotiation Points Bog Down
As the first week of this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) drew to a close, debate ground down Saturday night on a decision that should have been easy—whether the world’s governments should actually “welcome” the landmark 1.5°C pathways report they commissioned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2015. With petro-states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, and the United States obstructing the decision, delegates were left to simply “note” the report’s arrival after chewing up valuable negotiating time on a matter of semantics.
CO2 Emissions in Richest Countries Set to Show First Increase in Five Years
Carbon dioxide emissions in the world’s richest countries are on track to increase slightly this year after five years of reductions, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) is pointing to oil and gas consumption as the main culprit.
Climate Emergency, Community Devastation ‘Redefine the Politics’ as COP 24 Begins
The annual United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) got under way yesterday in Katowice, Poland, amid urgent calls for action in response to a year of back-to-back climate emergencies and repeat warnings that the window of opportunity for pathways to 1.5°C average global warming is just a dozen years from closing.
Wider Emissions Gap Shows ‘Countries Are Not Doing Enough’, UN Agency Reports
The gap between countries’ greenhouse gas reduction plans and their promises under the Paris Agreement is even wider than previously believed, according to a major report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ahead of the annual UN climate conference opening next week in Katowice, Poland.
IEA Sees Signs of Energy Transition, But Backtracks on Paris-Compliant Modelling
An end to new fossil plant construction, a coal industry already past its production peak, a surge in natural gas use, and up to a billion electric vehicles on the road by 2040, with gasoline demand peaking in 2025, are among the key findings and projections in the annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) released this week by the International Energy Agency.
Climate Home News Compiles ‘37 Things to Know’ About IPCC’s 1.5°C Report
The UN published a summary on the science of 1.5°C global warming on Monday. It’s a big deal.
1.5°C Is Doable, but Just a Dozen Years Left to Get on a Low-Carbon Pathway
Humanity has a dozen years to hold off the accelerated risks of extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, drought, sea level rise, and extensive poverty that would result from 2.0°C average global warming by pursuing a tough but doable pathway to 1.5°C, according to a long-awaited science report released in Incheon, South Korea this morning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Reaction: IPCC Report Combines Urgency and Hope, but ‘Every 0.1° is a Choice Between Life or Death’
About 40 representatives of climate, energy, international development, and other groups affiliated with Climate Action Network-International were monitoring the negotiations in Incheon, South Korea. Here are some of their reactions to the IPCC’s 1.5°C report.
Abreu: ‘The Science Prevailed’ as IPCC Hands Governments a 2050 Deadline for Net Zero Emissions
Catherine Abreu is executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, and was Climate Action Network-International’s Head of Delegation for last week’s high-stakes meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Incheon, South Korea. In this in-depth interview with The Energy Mix, she talks about the alarming but extraordinary result that scientists, civil society advocates, and government negotiators are bringing home from IPCC 48, and how it came about.
Alarming Findings in IPCC Report Become ‘Thunderous Call to Action’
With representatives of more than 130 countries and about 50 scientists gathered in Incheon, South Korea to negotiate final details of the IPCC’s 1.5°C science report, the Washington Post headlined that they were “struggling to find the right words for very bad news.”
IPCC Special Report Could Drive Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts Through Talanoa Dialogue
With pressure and momentum building for countries to speed up their action on climate change in the crucial decade between 2020 and 2030, veteran climate negotiator Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) sees today’s IPCC report on 1.5°C as one of the building blocks for a significant “2020 moment” during COP 24 in December.
With Countries ‘Nowhere Near on Track’ to 1.5°C, IPCC Author Urges Massive Transformation
A massive transformation in the world’s energy production, transportation patterns, and food systems will be needed to limit average global warming to 1.5°C—and right now, countries are “nowhere near on track” to achieve that goal, according to an author of the forthcoming report on 1.5° scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
IPCC ‘Pulls Its Punches’ in Crucial Report on 1.5°C Warming
Reviewers watching over the production of a crucial special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are warning that its statements about the dangers of climate change are being watered down to accommodate some of the world’s heaviest carbon polluters.
IPCC Report on 1.5°C ‘Guardrail’ Draws Support from Some Climate Hawks, Alarm from Others
An upcoming report on ways to limit average global warming to 1.5°C has been generating a lot of discussion at this week’s climate negotiations in Bangkok, and in the weeks leading up to the meetings, with some climate policy advocates asking delegates to take the report seriously while others question its most basic scientific assumptions.
Average Warming On Track to Exceed 1.5°C by 2040: Leaked IPCC Report
Average global warming is on track to exceed 1.5°C by about 2040, according to a leaked draft of a special report commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Fiji Dismisses Chief Climate Negotiator, Raising Concerns for COP 23 Momentum
Fiji’s presidency of the UN climate talks was an unprecedented opportunity for the Pacific island state to make its mark internationally.
WMO Sees ‘Enormous Challenge’ to Hit Paris Targets as 1.5°C Warming Looms
There’s a one in five chance that average global warming will hit 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, and a 70% chance that at least one month will exceed that threshold, according to the latest in a series of annual climate updates released yesterday by the World Meteorological Organization.
South Pole Warms Three Times Faster than Global Average
The South Pole may be the coldest place on Earth, but it has been warming at three times to global rate over the last 30 years, according to new research published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Drought Forces Puerto Rico to Limit Water Access During Pandemic Response
Still far from recovered from its ravaging by Hurricane María in 2017, Puerto Rico is now struggling under drought conditions, with water woes made worse by financial straits that have prevented its state utility company, PREPA, from dredging critical reservoirs on schedule.
38°C Heat in Siberian Town Sets New Record Above Arctic Circle
The northeastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk is believed to have set an all-time high temperature record above the Arctic Circle Saturday when thermometers soared to 38°C/100.4°F. The town is located 4,800 kilometres north of Moscow, has been keeping temperature records since 1885, and normally sees an average June temperature of 20°C/68°F.
Climate and Conflict Could Displace One Billion by 2050
While data remains scarce on the multiple causes driving current and future migrants to flee their homes, a new report points to the frightening conjunction of climate, water resources, and conflict could find one billion people in search of safety by 2050.
Extreme Arctic Temperatures, Siberian Wildfires Driving Up CO2 Emissions
Last week’s 30°C temperatures in the Arctic Circle have observers fearing a repeat of 2019’s devastating summer of apocalyptic wildfires.
Climate Impacts of Hurricane Harvey Pegged at $67 Billion
In a finding that could radically alter future calculations of the social cost of carbon, researchers say new methods of event attribution have now pegged the share of damages from Hurricane Harvey that were caused by global warming at 74.4% of the US$90-billion-plus total—much higher than previous estimates of 22%.
Early Hurricanes Kill 14 in El Salvador, Threaten Major Damage in Gulf of Mexico
Hurricane season in the East Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico is off to an early and deadly start this year, with 14 killed as Tropical Storm Amanda swept through El Salvador and forecasters keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Cristobal as it moves toward the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Ocean Warming Means ‘Escalating Threats’ to Marine Life through 2100
The climate in the world’s deep oceans could be changing seven times faster by mid-century, even if humanity manages a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published late last month in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Locust-Driven Famine Threatens Millions as COVID-19 Rages
Experts are urging policy-makers in Africa and Asia to fight the escalating locust plague at the same time as they combat the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that famine will be a very real threat for millions without strong, pre-emptive action.
New Study Reveals Shrinking Snow Mass Across North America
Across all the non-alpine regions of North America, more than 46 billion tonnes of snow has “gone missing” this decade—and the same has happened every decade since 1980, according to the latest, best estimate from climate researchers, posing serious problems for regional administrators seeking to manage reservoir levels.
U.S. Braces for Above-Average Hurricane Season on Top of Pandemic
The United States is likely facing an above-average hurricane season, with the prospect of unprecedented challenges if storms make landfall while officials are still scrambling to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in its annual hurricane forecast released last week.
Cyclone Amphan Hits South Asia Communities Already Coping with Pandemic
After initially shaping up as the biggest cyclonic storm South Asia had seen in 20 years, Cyclone Amphan brought less death and damage than expected when it came ashore yesterday, after authorities in India and Bangladesh evacuated more than three million people from the storm’s path.
Doubling of Impacts by 2030 Points to Need for Flood Protection Investment
With the number of people around the world affected by flooding rivers, storm surges, and sea level rise set to double by 2030, aggressive investment in flood protection infrastructure could prove to be very cost-effective in the long term, the World Resources Institute (WRI) concludes in a recent blog post.
Arctic Ocean Study Documents Rapid, Unprecedented Change
From melting ice to spiking acidity, from stagnating thermoclines to troubled food chains, frighteningly rapid changes are under way in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, while a lack of long-term data leaves scientists and Indigenous peoples uncertain about how to respond.
Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows
The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014
Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.
Category 5 Cyclone Hits Vanuatu in Midst of Coronavirus Lockdown
A Category 5 cyclone hit the South Pacific island state of Vanuatu Monday, with the country’s 276,000 residents already under travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 May Deliver ‘One-Two Punch’ to Flood, Wildfire Response
The potential for a one-two punch—natural disaster plus COVID-19—has emergency preparedness teams across Canada working feverishly to be ready for complex battles that could range from wildfire smoke increasing the risk of serious lung infections, to trying to sandbag flooded rivers while keeping the imperative of social distancing.
Air Pollution, Lack of Clean Water Increase Infection Risk for Poorer Communities
Chronic health problems—often owing to high levels of pollution—and poor access to clean water are putting poor, Indigenous, and non-white communities across the world at greater risk of infection and hospitalization in the face of COVID-19.
‘Remarkable’ Conservation Gains Show Oceans Could Be Fully Restored by 2050
A series of isolated but remarkable examples of biological resilience show that conservation efforts could fully restore the glory of the world’s oceans within 30 years if countries redouble their efforts to make it happen, according to a major international review published yesterday in the journal Nature.
AccuWeather Predicts Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season
Meteorologists at commercial weather service AccuWeather are forecasting the fifth straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with a projection of 14 to 18 tropical storms between June 1 and November 30, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes, and two to four of which will strengthen to major hurricanes.
Polar Ice Melt Sped Up Six-Fold from 1990s to 2010s
Polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, putting them on track with the worst-case scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to new analysis led by the University of Leeds and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and published last week.
COVID-19 Pandemic Rekindles Discussion on Climate Change, Infectious Disease
From shifting disease patterns in a warming world, to shrinking animal habitats, to the impact of air pollution in making people more vulnerable to infection, news stories over the last several days have rekindled discussion on the various connections between the climate crisis and the spread of infectious disease, including new pathogens like the coronavirus.
Tropical Forests Lose One-Third of Carbon Storage Ability, Could Soon Become Carbon Source
Tropical forests have lost much of their ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and could begin turning into net carbon sources in the next 10 to 15 years, according to an alarming new study published last week in the journal Nature.
Bahamas Fights to Rebuild after Devastating Hurricanes
Six months after Hurricane Dorian came roaring ashore in the Bahamas, locals are still struggling to repair their own shattered lives, depending on each other and the ongoing commitment of international charities. Meanwhile, government efforts are focused on rebuilding the island nation’s tourist economy.
Above-Average Heat, Drought-Fueled Fire Risk On Tap for 2020
Despite the absence of El Niño conditions this year, many parts of the world will still see above-average temperatures through 2020—proof that climate change caused by human activity is now as powerful as El Niño itself, says the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Coastal Cities Must Fight or Flee as Global Waters Rise
With global sea levels expected to rise an average of one to four feet by 2100, cities like San Francisco, Manila, and Boston are set to become case studies in how urban planning decisions will create varying impacts across economic classes in an increasingly watery world.
Antarctic Island Loses 20% of Annual Snow Cover in Sudden Warming Event
New NASA satellite imagery released February 21 points to a startling, sudden warming event near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the part of the continent closest to South America, where high barometric pressure and changes in wind patterns drove dramatic melting on Eagle Island.
Devastating Locust Swarms Tied to Climate Change
Devastating locust swarms in East Africa are being linked to climate change-driven cyclones, while response to the crisis is being stymied and the threat of food insecurity grows.
Study Shows Governments, Scientists Underestimating Fossils’ Methane Releases by 25-40%
Governments and scientists are underestimating methane leaks from oil and gas operations by 25 to 40%, meaning that tens of millions of tons of a greenhouse gas more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide may have gone unaccounted for, according to a contentious new study published Wednesday in the prestigious journal Nature.
Air Pollution Impacts Cost $8 Billion Per Day, Greenpeace Study Shows
The health impacts of air pollution cost countries US$8 billion per day, according to a study released this week by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
Massive Study Links Gender-Based Violence to Climate Change, Environmental Degradation
Climate impacts and environmental degradation are driving an increase in violence against women and girls, while gender-based exploitation obstructs efforts to address the combined crisis, according to a massive study released late last month by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Antarctic Research Station Temperature Reading Hits Record High of 18.3°C
An Argentine research station in Antarctica logged an ominous new temperature record last Thursday with a reading of 18.3°C/65°C—warmer that day than Orlando, Florida, balmy enough to walk around in a t-shirt, and less than a month after a British endurance swimmer and oceans advocate swam a glacier in a Speedo bathing suit.
Australia ‘Megafires’ Hit Wildlife Harder than Regular Blazes
The unprecedented speed and ferocity of Australia’s “megafires” wiped out far more animals than a normal fire would, and those that survived face a perilous future within ecosystems that were already broken by drought before they were incinerated by flames.
Extreme Heat Drives North American, European Bumblebee Species Toward Extinction
Extreme heat waves brought on by climate change have already driven some North American and European bumblebee species to the edge of extinction, according to a new study published last week in the journal Science.
Warming Speeds Up Ocean Currents Far Sooner Than Climate Models Predicted
Just over three-quarters of the world’s oceans have sped up in the last decade, in what the Washington Post calls a “massive development that was not expected to occur until climate warming became much more advanced”.
Scientists Say World’s ‘Riskiest’ Glacier May Be Melting at Faster Rate
Scientists are becoming concerned that the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, considered the “most important” and “riskiest” glacier in the world and sometimes known as the “doomsday” glacier, may be melting at a faster rate, due to water at the base of the ice that is above the freezing point.
Countries’ Credit Ratings at Risk from Sea Level Rise
2015-16 Ocean Heat Wave Drove Mass Starvation, Death for a Million North Pacific Seabirds
An ocean heat wave in 2015-16 produced the biggest-ever mass mortality event for an avian species, disrupting food supplies for common murres in the North Pacific and killing as many as 1.2 million of them.
From Newfoundland Snowstorms to Australian Bushfires, Climate Means the ‘Exceptional Becoming Normalized’
From an epic snowstorm blanketing Newfoundland to devastating bushfires and flash floods in Australia, climate change is the common thread that is turning the exceptional into the “new normal”, a Calgary-based climatologist told CBC News this week.
Political Dysfunction, Economic Turmoil Exacerbate the Climate Crisis as Disease and Famine Spreads
Late 2019 saw the calamitous rise of both dengue fever in Honduras and hunger in Zimbabwe, events that demonstrated how government dysfunction, poverty, and political and economic turmoil leave both public officials and citizens unable to respond adequately to the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis.
Scientists Declare 2010s the Hottest Decade, 2019 the Second-Warmest Year on Record
NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have declared the 2010s the hottest 10 years on record, with 2019 the second-warmest ever, findings confirmed by climate-related devastation around the globe.
45 Million in Southern Africa Face ‘Critical Levels of Hunger’
Climate-induced drought and severe flooding, coupled with economic woes, have left 45 million people across Southern Africa facing critical levels of hunger and in desperate need of support from the international community, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warns.
Global Business Leaders Cite Climate as Decade’s Biggest Risk
Global business and political leaders have declared climate change the decade’s biggest risk, in the latest edition of an annual survey issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Biggest-Ever Arctic Expedition Seeks to Understand Changing Ecosystem Before it Collapses
The world’s biggest-ever Arctic study expedition is being stunned, stymied, unnerved, and occasionally exhilarated, as a rotating team of more than 300 researchers operating from a German icebreaker scramble to understand the complex, changing ecosystem at the heart of the climate crisis before it collapses.
Canada, U.S. Report Rising Cost, Frequency of Climate-Fuelled Disasters
Canada and the United States are both beginning to count up the rising annual cost of climate-fuelled natural disasters, with Canada placing the tab at more than C$430 million and the U.S. reporting a doubling in the number of billion-dollar climate- and weather-related events in the last decade.
Canada Faces Similar Wildfire Risk to Australia, as Alberta Lays Off Specialist Firefighters
With heat waves and extended drought making Canada vulnerable to massive wildfires like the ones now sweeping Australia, Alberta has cut funding and jobs for about 63 specialized remote-region firefighters—and British Columbia is “poaching” some of them to join its own wildfire prevention and response team.
Climate-Driven Temperatures Will Kill More in 2100 than Infectious Diseases Today
Climate-driven temperature shifts will kill more people in 2100 that infectious diseases do today, making health and safety impacts an important factor in calculating the social cost of carbon, says University of Chicago economist Michael Greenstone, co-director of the university’s Climate Impact Lab.
24 Dead, Coal Seam Ignites as Terrified Evacuees Flee Australian Bushfires
Terrified Australians fled to the water from a beach where they had taken refuge from raging bushfires, authorities reported at least 24 people dead and several times as many missing, ecologists estimated that 480 million animals had been affected, and the 15 million acres burned so far exceeded the size of Switzerland, as the ravaged states of New South Wales and Victoria moved into the heart of annual wildfire season. Two new coal seam fires were travelling underground and expected to burn for months, and coal-friendly Prime Minister Scott Morrison was driven away by hecklers when he tried to visit a front-line community described by one evacuee as “hell on Earth”.
Record Flash Floods Kill 60, Displace 400,000 in Jakarta
Jakarta’s most intense flash floods since record-keeping began more than 20 years ago have killed at least 60 people and displaced more than 400,000.
Melting Permafrost Turns Arctic into Net Source of Greenhouse Gases
As scientists grow ever more certain that the Arctic is becoming a net contributor to climate change as its carbon- and methane-heavy permafrost melts, the 35 million people who call the polar region home fear exposure to heavy metals and dangerous pathogens, while witnessing a collapsing food chain.
Climate Crisis Could Drive $20 Trillion in Losses, Trigger Global Financial Meltdown
Climate change is the next economic threat that could trigger a global financial meltdown by destroying up to US$20 trillion in market value, independent journalist Nick Cunningham writes for Oilprice.com.
U.S. Heat Waves Cause 25,000 More Premature Births Per Year
An estimated 25,000 babies per year were born prematurely in the United States over a 20-year span due to heat waves, according to a study last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Oceans Face Oxygen Loss, Acidification as Warming Challenges Ability to Absorb Carbon
With the Earth’s oceans rapidly and dangerously losing oxygen due to a combination of global warming and pollution, Greenpeace is urging countries to restore and protect the planet’s marine ecosystems, both for their own sake and because a healthy ocean is vital to fighting the climate emergency.
Arctic Temperatures Up to 11° Above Normal Produce Treacherously Thin Ice
Treacherously thin ice, arriving very late, is one of the immediate impacts of the shockingly warm temperatures this autumn across much of the far North, reports The Canadian Press.
‘Hazardous’ Air Quality in Lahore, Pakistan Prompts Amnesty International Action Alert
Amnesty International has issued what it describes as an unprecedented Urgent Action alert for an entire city, calling on its global network to defend the health of Lahore, Pakistan.
UPDATE: Climate Community Reacts After Business Journal Overstates Koala Extinction Risk
The massive bushfires sweeping New South Wales, Australia have experts debating whether koalas are now “functionally extinct”, after flames killed more than 1,000 of the animals and burned 80% of their habitat.
‘Being Rich Matters’ as $7.9 Trillion in Future Climate Impacts Hit Africa Hardest
The impacts of climate change could cost the world’s economy US$7.9 trillion by 2050, according to the latest climate resilience index from a leading UK-based finance and economics magazine.
Doctors Urge Rapid Decarbonization to Avert Life-Long Health Impacts of Climate Change
The increase in extreme weather and air pollution due to climate change is seriously harming human health, and a world of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods, and extreme heat will produce life-long health risks for a child born today unless countries move swiftly to curb carbon pollution, according to the latest annual climate and health update published this week by the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet.
Venice Submerged by Second-Highest Tidal Floodwaters Ever
Eighteen months before Venice’s state-of-the-art flood barrier is scheduled to be complete and operational, the so-called “Floating City” is drowning, submerged this week under the second-highest climate change-driven tidal floodwaters on record.
Flames Reach Sydney Suburbs as Australians Face ‘Most Dangerous Bushfire Week Ever’
With 150 wildfires burning on the country’s east and west coasts and 85 raging across New South Wales, 46 of them out of control and 14 at an “emergency level”, the premier of Australia’s most populous state declared a seven-day state of emergency Monday and officials issued an unprecedented “catastrophic” fire warning for Sydney, where bushfires were breaking out in suburbs just a few kilometres from the city centre.
Climate Change Makes the Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes 330% More Frequent
The United States faces the most destructive hurricanes more than three times as often as it did a century ago, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that blames the shift “unequivocally” on climate change.
Climate Crisis Will Bring ‘Untold Suffering’ Without Major Societal Shifts, 11,000 Scientists Warn
Major shifts in global society will be needed to avoid “untold suffering due to the climate crisis,” according to a statement endorsed by more than 11,000 scientists from 153 nations and published this week in the journal BioScience.
New Delhi Declares Health Emergency, Restricts Car Traffic to Reduce Dangerous Air Pollution
India’s capital, New Delhi, declared a public health emergency Monday and banned some cars from its roads in an effort to reduce alarming levels of dangerous air pollution.
Sea Level Rise Could Put Three Times More People at Risk World-Wide
Deploying a far more accurate method than has been used to date to predict future sea level rise, researchers say three times more people than previously thought will face inundation by 2050, with some of the world’s greatest cities at risk of going under the waves.
‘Unprecedented’ Antarctic Warming Spells Trouble for Emperor Penguins
With Antarctica warming at “unprecedented” rates, British researchers are calling for much stronger efforts to protect the emperor penguin, as the sea ice upon which the birds depend for their breeding and molting cycles grows ever more uncertain in depth and duration.
Central Bank Office in San Francisco Traces Financial Risks of a Destabilized Climate
A destabilized climate could lead to a precipitous decline in property values, cutting communities off from the tax base they need to fund climate adaptation while banks stop lending in areas that experience repeated floods, according to an analysis released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Thawing Arctic Tundra Emits 600 Megatonnes More Carbon Per Year Than It Absorbs
Thawing Arctic permafrost is now emitting 600 million tonnes more carbon each year than its resident plants like lichen and wild blueberry can absorb in summer, according to research just published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Climate Change Puts 100% of Arctic Bird Species at Risk, But Fast Action Can Stem the Impact
Should humanity fail to keep average global warming below 2.0°C, 100% of all Arctic bird species and 98% of those that make their homes in the northern boreal forest will be at high risk of extinction.
Warming Could Drive Up Risk of Ebola Epidemics in Africa
The risk of Ebola epidemics in Africa—especially in less-developed countries with high birth rates—will increase significantly if the world does not act aggressively to rein in global warming, according to a new paper in the journal Nature Communications.
Watt-Cloutier: Protecting the Arctic from Runaway Warming is ‘the Test of Our Time’
Protecting the Arctic from rapid warming is one of the essential steps in averting runaway climate change for the entire planet, Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier states in an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail.
Mont Blanc Glacier at Risk of Collapse Triggers Evacuations, Road Closures
With a glacier on Mont Blanc, Italy’s highest mountain, at risk of collapse, authorities closed roads and evacuated Alpine hamlets late last month, while Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called for action on climate change.
Explainer: Arctic Warming Affects Northern Communities, Reshapes Global Weather Patterns
Rapid ice loss is already having a devastating impact in the world’s Arctic and Antarctic regions. And in an explainer on the implications of an ice-free Arctic, CBC stresses that what happens in the polar region doesn’t stay there.
Five Dead in Southeast Texas as Tropical Depression Imelda Dumps Up to 43 Inches of Rain
At least five people are dead in southeast Texas after Tropical Depression Imelda dropped up to 43 inches (1.1 metres) of rain on the region, becoming the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.
New Analysis Shows ‘Enormous Area’ of the Earth Above 2.0°C
Some of the planet’s hot spots are already above the temperature agreed by scientists and politicians as the maximum allowable to prevent a disastrous climate crisis, Climate News Network reports, in a summary of a detailed and evocative analysis from a team led by Washington Post climate specialist Chris Mooney.
Extreme Weather Displaces a Record Seven Million People in First Six Months of 2019
A record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather in the first half of this year, marking 2019 as “one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades” before Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas or the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season got under way, the New York Times reports.
Adaptation Efforts Need $1.8 Trillion by 2030 to Avert ‘Climate Apartheid’
Countries must invest US$1.8 trillion in climate adaptation funding by 2030 to prevent a world of “climate apartheid”, in which the wealthiest pay to protect themselves from sea level rise and mounting food shortages while everyone else suffers.
Bahamas Devastated, Coastal North Carolina Swamped as Hurricane Dorian Passes Through Atlantic Canada
Recovery efforts are under way in Atlantic Canada after a weakened but still-punishing Hurricane Dorian swept through the region as a Category 2 storm that toppled trees and a giant construction crane, brought down power lines, sent at least one roof airborne, and left about 80% of Nova Scotia without power.
Whales, Salmon, Sea Lions at Risk in West Coast Ocean Heat Wave
Whales, salmon, and sea lions are at risk as an ocean heat wave takes shape off the west coast of North America, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned in a recent blog post.
Australian Agency Downgrades Great Barrier Reef Status from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’
An Australian government agency has downgraded its outlook for the Great Barrier Reef to “very poor” for the first time, shining a light on what the Financial Times describes as a “fierce battle between environmental campaigners and the government over the country’s approach to climate change”.
Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Dorian as Storm Shifts to Florida Coast
After stalling for 36 hours over parts of the Bahamas and leaving mind-boggling destruction and devastation in its wake, Hurricane Dorian is on the move as a Category 2 storm and began hitting Florida’s east coast with 110-mile/177-kilometre-per-hour winds Tuesday evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Rising Seas, Catastrophic Storms to Deliver ‘Misery on a Global Scale’ by 2100 Unless Climate Action Accelerates
Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280 million people from the world’s coastlines and produce “misery on a global scale” unless countries speed up their efforts to control the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis, according to a draft United Nations report obtained last week by Agence France-Presse.
Financial Risk of Climate Change Has Economists, Ratings Agencies Worried
The potentially devastating economic and financial impact of unrestrained climate change has been coming into focus in several recent news stories, with global GDP on track to fall as much as 7.2% by 2100, accountants and ratings agencies taking note, and an economic historian warning the United States Federal Reserve to take action against a risk that could trigger the next global economic crash.
Increased Emissions May Drive Atmospheric Warming Farther, Faster Than Scientists Thought
Increased greenhouse gas emissions may drive up atmospheric temperatures by as much as 35% more than climate scientists previously believed, according to more than a half-dozen of the new climate models that will inform the next major assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Water Shortages in 17 Countries Put One-Quarter of Global Population at Risk
From India to Iran to Botswana, the New York Times is out with text and graphics that illustrate the 17 countries, home to one-quarter of the world’s population, that are at increasingly urgent risk of running out of water, according to new data from the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Pediatricians, Public Health Link Children’s Health Hazards to Climate Crisis
The Canadian Paediatric Society and the Ontario Public Health Association are both out with new warnings about the impacts of climate change on children’s health.
Massive Arctic Heat Wave Produces Record Ice Melt in Greenland, Wildfires in Siberia
Caught up in the harrowing fallout from the planet’s hottest July—and June—on record, Greenland shed a mind-boggling 10 billion tonnes of ice in a single day, while Siberia lost a Belgium-sized section of its boreal forests to monster wildfires that have sent emissions soaring.
July Likely to Be Hottest Month Since Record-Keeping Began in 1880
With another week still go to in the month, dozens of climate experts are already predicting that heat waves covering North America, Europe, and the Arctic will make July 2019 the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880.
Babies with Congenital Heart Disease More Likely Near Active Oil and Gas Sites
Mothers living near active oil and gas sites in Colorado are 40 to 70% are more likely to give birth to babies with congenital heart defects (CHDs) compared to their counterparts in areas with less intensive fossil development, researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health conclude in a study published last week in the journal Environment International.
2.0°C Would Bring ‘Profound Climate Shifts’ to Every City in the World
Virtually 100% of all global cities will experience profound shifts in climate by 2050 if average global warming reaches 2.0°C, with 77% on track to experience the temperature and rainfall patterns now associated with equatorial regions and 22% projected to suffer conditions never before seen in any city on Earth, says a new study.
Two Million People Lose Access to Water as Drought, Dam Management Problems Hit Harare
Only about half of the 4.5 million people living in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare and four satellite towns have access to municipal water supplies, with some suburbs going weeks without water and reported cases of typhoid beginning to emerge, Climate Home News reports.
Record Arctic Heat Produces Wildfires, Health Alerts in Alaska and Beyond
A record heat wave across Alaska and much of the Arctic is thawing tundra and sucking moisture out of circumpolar forests and peat bogs, triggering wildfires and choking, black smoke that are starting earlier, burning hotter, and spreading farther north than they have before.
Ocean Acidification Could Drive Mass Extinction Without Rapid Drop in CO2 Emissions
Ocean acidification driven by ever-increasing carbon dioxide levels could take on a life of its own and begin driving a sudden, mass extinction if emissions are not brought under control by the year 2100, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
UN Stresses Adaptation Funding as Frequency of Global Climate Disasters Hits One Per Week
The frequency of major climate disasters has reached one per week around the world, a top United Nations official warns, in a new report that calls for developing countries to prepare now for the “profound impact” they will continue to face.
Climate Damages Could Hit $69 Trillion by 2100
The impacts of climate change could cost the global economy US$69 trillion through 2100 if average global warming is allowed to hit 2.0°C, according to a new study by consultants at Moody’s Analytics.
Scientists Scramble to Understand Sudden Drop in Antarctic Sea Ice
Researchers startled by a sudden nosedive in Antarctic sea ice since 2014—at a rate that makes current Arctic melting look slow by comparison—are pointing to the likelihood of further accelerated melting at both poles as yet another reason to limit average global warming to 1.5ºC.
Climate-Driven Heat Stress Could Put 80 Million Jobs at Risk by 2030, UN Agency Warns
Heat stress caused by climate change could put the equivalent of 80 million jobs at risk by 2030, with poor countries facing the most serious impacts, according to an International Labour Organization (ILO) report released Monday.
Poorest Will Face ‘Climate Apartheid’ if Crisis Deepens, Rule of Law Crumbles
Near-universal failure to acknowledge the magnitude of the climate crisis risks setting the stage for an era of “climate apartheid,” in which private wealth becomes the only guarantor of (relative) well-being and positive social forces like democracy and the rule of law crumble, warns a recent United Nations report.
Europe Bakes as Early Summer Heat Wave Drive Temperatures Above 40°C
With nighttime temperatures exceeding 30°C in Madrid and weekend day temperatures expected to soar far above normal for June in many cities across their continent, Europeans are struggling to keep hydrated and cool, while officials work to staff hospitals and warn of “extreme” forest fire risk
India’s Sixth-Largest City Runs Out of Water
India’s sixth-largest city has run out of water, after a crippling drought and heat wave left its four main reservoirs completely dry.
Permafrost in Remote Canadian Arctic Thawing 70 Years Earlier Than Predicted
Permafrost in the remotest parts of the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, providing further evidence that the global climate crisis is accelerating and drawing the planet ever closer to dangerous feedback loops.
Dengue Risk to Hit Two Billion More People in 2080 Unless Carbon Emissions Are Curtailed
Based on a warming scenario “roughly representative of the world’s current emissions trajectory,” more than two billion additional people will be at risk of dengue fever by 2080, within its current geographic range and well beyond, according to a study just published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
Oceans Could Lose 17% of Biomass by 2100 Unless GHG Emissions Are Brought Under Control
The world’s oceans could lose 17% of their biomass by 2100 if humanity fails to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, representing a devastating blow to biodiversity and a terrifying reduction in a resource base upon which much of humanity ultimately depends.
Villages Evacuate, Leaving Sick and Elderly Behind, as India’s Crippling Drought Deepens
Families in hundreds of villages in parts of India have been forced to leave the sick and the elderly behind, as they evacuate their communities in the face of extreme heat and drought.
Annual Peace Index Cites Climate Change as ‘Tipping Point’ for Conflict
Climate change will threaten peace in countries around the world in the next decade, according to the latest edition of an annual index produced by Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
India Bakes Under Stifling Heat Wave as Data Show Warming Trend
Much of the Indian subcontinent was blanketed in a stifling heat wave last week, with five of the 15 hottest places on the planet located in India or Pakistan and the northern town of Churu hitting a high of 50°C (122°F) on Monday.
‘Conflicts Are Predestined’ Where Climate Disasters Threaten Food, Water, Livelihoods
Governments must invest new effort and money to prevent climate change from driving new conflicts, according to a diplomatic statement drafted by the German foreign office.
Study Predicts End of Civilization by 2050 if Global Warming Hits 3.0°C
An alarming new study by Australia’s Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration is pointing to the “high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end” by 2050—with the all-important caveat that that’s the outcome to expect if humanity fails to take action on the climate emergency and get greenhouse gas emissions under control.
Japan’s 2018 Killer Heat Wave Was ‘Essentially Impossible’ Without Climate Change
Japan’s heat wave in July 2018 could not have happened without climate change.
Scientists Consider Possible Climate Connection to Severe Midwest U.S. Tornado Season
With the American Midwest looking like assembly line central for tornadoes this spring, many are wondering whether a toll of 1,000 twisters and counting means climate change—or just a very bad year.
More Countries Put Up Barriers as Migrants Flee Climate Chaos
With many governments still dragging their feet on climate action, many are also actively preparing—via militarized borders and regressive immigration policies—for one of its most dire and tragic consequences: refugees fleeing climate-driven conflict, desertification, and sea level rise.
Unchecked Warming Could Drive Two Metres of Sea Level Rise by 2100, Experts Say
Coastal communities around the world should gear their climate resilience planning for a “catastrophic” two metres (6.5 feet) of sea level rise by 2100, more than double the likely outcome most recently projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if nothing is done to reverse the greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate emergency, according to a survey of expert judgement published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Bank of Canada Review Declares Climate Risk to Financial System, Wider Economy
The Bank of Canada cites climate change as a risk “to both the economy and the financial system” in its 2019 Financial System Review (FSR), the first in the annual series to examine the climate crisis as a threat to the country’s financial stability.
Rapid Warming Devastates Alaska Ecosystems, Destroys Ways of Life
Record-high sea surface temperatures, record-low Bering Sea ice, and the early disappearance of river ice in Alaska this winter are among the red flags of a rapidly warming climate that is devastating Arctic ecosystems, destroying traditional ways of life—and killing people outright.
Losing Up to a Million Species Will Create ‘Danger Zone’ for Humanity: UN Commission
The Earth is on track to lose up to a million species, many of them within decades, a rate of extinction that represents a danger zone for humanity, according to a leaked draft of a global biodiversity assessment due to be released today.
Epic Eastern Canadian Floods Drive Adaptation Discussion as GHG Reductions Lag
With record, devastating flooding in parts of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario, thousands of people evacuated with their homes underwater, 2,000 Canadian Forces troops providing assistance, and everyone from students to inmates volunteering to fill sandbags or lend a hand, experts and commentators are calling for a more serious approach to climate change preparations and adaptation.
But it remains to be seen whether the latest round of climate-fuelled natural disasters will be enough to shift the national debate on greenhouse gas reductions.
Permafrost Loss Could Produce $70 Trillion in Long-Term Costs, and Abrupt Thawing May Make It Worse
Just a week after researchers placed the cost of Arctic ice and permafrost melt as high as US$70 trillion, albeit over a span of nearly three centuries, a commentary in the journal Nature concludes that sudden permafrost collapse could double the warming from greenhouse gases released from northern tundra.
Studies Show Accelerating Ice Loss in Greenland, New Threat to Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf
The rate of ice loss in Greenland has sped up massively, from 51 billion tons in the 1980s to 286 billion tons between 2010 and 2018, according to a study based on nearly a half-century of data published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Independent Data Confirms Warming Trend, as Models Suggest Worse May Be Ahead
A recent review of satellite data is confirming that the Earth is already warming, possibly somewhat faster in the highest latitudes than previously believed, while new modelling suggests a warming surge may be on the horizon.
Investment Houses See Climate Targets Undercutting Fossils, Warming Above 2.0°C Boosting Financial Risk
Continued fossil industry development came under increased pressure from investors over the last week, with a major fund manager concluding that climate targets could undercut global oil demand by the mid-2020s and one of the world’s biggest investment advisors warning of trouble ahead if global climate goals are missed.
Two New Studies Trace Massive Glacier Loss Linked to Climate Change
North America accounts for more than half of the 369 billion tons of snow and ice the world’s glaciers are losing each year, and the Alps are on track to see two-thirds of their glacier ice melt by 2100, according to two different studies released this week.
Mass Bleaching Drives Down Replenishment of Great Barrier Reef Corals by 89%
The replenishment of new corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef crashed 89% in a mass bleaching “event” in 2016 and 2017 triggered by climate change, and also produced a shift in the coral species on the reef, according to a new study in the journal Nature.
Climate-Induced Warming Harms Food Chains by Leaving Insects ‘No Place to Hide’
Overheating is just as hazardous to insects in shaded woodlands as it is in open grasslands, meaning they receive no respite from climate-induced warming, according to a new study from the UK that points to possible impacts on food chains that depend on the smaller creatures.
Midwestern U.S. Loses Hundreds of Miles of Levees After ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Flooding
Severe flooding across midwestern U.S. states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri has taken out hundreds of miles of levees, leaving officials to compare the failed system to Swiss cheese, on the heels of mid-March “bomb cyclone” storm conditions that inundated more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) of farmland.
Australian Farmers Face Suicide Risk as Multi-Year Drought Turns from ‘Crisis’ to ‘Marathon’
A brutal, multi-year drought brought on by climate change is taking its toll on the mental health of Australia’s farmers, just as it has in India, leading to higher suicide rates as farm incomes and the communities that depend on them suffer.
‘Ecological Turmoil’ of Ocean Heat Wave Produces Six-Year Drop in Australian Dolphin Population
A single, extreme heat wave in Shark Bay, Australia spanning two months in 2011 drove down the local bottlenose dolphin population by 12% over the six years that followed, leading to a decline in dolphin calf births and suggesting “that the ecological consequences of extreme weather events may be too sudden or disruptive for even highly adaptable animals to respond,” concludes a new study in the journal Current Biology.
Extreme Weather Displaced Two Million, Affected 62 Million in 2018, WMO Reports
Extreme weather affected 62 million people in 2018 and displaced two million as of September that year, according to the latest in an annual series of State of the Climate reports released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
738 Dead, 1.8 Million in Urgent Need, Cholera Cases Hit 271 as Cyclone Impacts Wrack Mozambique
Half a month after Cyclone Idai ripped through parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, destroying 90% of the port city of Beira, the numbers that trace the devastation are continuing to mount: At least 738 dead with many more missing, an estimated three million people affected and 1.8 million in urgent need, 136,000 displaced and 50,000 homes destroyed in Mozambique alone, and deadly disease spreading quickly to people with no choice but to drink contaminated water.
Svalbard’s ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault in Trouble Due to Rapid Arctic Warming
The Global Seed Vault in Norway, intended as “the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” is now threatened by rapid warming in Longyearbyen, the town on the island of Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost community with 1,000 or more residents.
Climate Disaster Losses Could Undermine Financial System Stability, U.S. Federal Bank Exec Warns
Economic losses from natural disasters and other climate impacts could produce enough risk to undermine the security of the financial system, according to a research letter released Monday by Glenn D. Rudebusch, a senior policy advisor and executive vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Pine Ridge Reservation in Crisis, 13 Million People at Risk, as Experts Say Midwestern U.S. Flooding Could Continue for Months
The record-breaking floods that hit parts of the midwestern United States last week are shaping up as a long-term, slow-moving disaster, with residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation stranded for nearly two weeks with limited food and water, at least 50 levees across the region breached or overtopped, experts predicting months of flooding, and nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states facing elevated risk through May.
Rising Premiums Due to Severe Weather Could ‘Threaten Social Order’, Insurers Warn
The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is warning that climate change may soon turn rising insurance costs into a pressing social issue, as more frequent, severe weather puts rates beyond the reach of most households.
Humanitarian Disaster in Mozambique Points to ‘Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change’
With thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi still in need of rescue in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and nearly three million affected, meteorologist and Grist climate writer Eric Holthaus is pointing to the massive natural and humanitarian disaster as an example of the “fundamental injustice of climate change”.
Researchers Scramble to Understand Environmental Health Impacts of Climate Disasters
As wildfires and other climate-driven natural disasters become more frequent and severe, scientists are scrambling to understand the human and animal health hazards they leave behind.
Up to 1,000 Feared Dead in Mozambique, Making Tropical Cyclone Idai Africa’s Worst Ever
More than 1,000 people are believed dead, 90% of the port city of Beira has been destroyed, and 1.5 million people have been affected after Tropical Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique late last week with wind speeds of 175 kilometres (110 miles) per hour, before pushing inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Air Pollution Causes 8.8 Million Early Deaths Per Year, More Than Tobacco Smoking
Air pollution, most of it from fossil fuel burning, led to 8.8 million premature deaths world-wide and nearly 800,000 in Europe in 2015, almost double the previous estimate of 4.5 million and even more than the seven million per year caused by tobacco smoking.
Resource Extraction Drives 53% of Carbon Emissions, 80% of Biodiversity Loss, UN Reports
Resource extraction, from fossil fuels and mining to food and biofuels, is responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of biodiversity loss, according to a Global Resource Outlook released last week at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
Winter Rainfall Accelerates Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet
Rainfall is making the Greenland ice sheet melt more quickly, even during the long Arctic winter, concludes a new study in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.
Oceans ‘Spiking a Fever’ as Heatwaves Become More Frequent and Severe
A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change says ocean heatwaves act like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest” and are becoming much more frequent, killing off kelp, seagrass, and coral and imperiling an ecosystem humanity relies on for oxygen, food, storm protection, and atmospheric carbon removal.
411.66 PPM: Scientists Alarmed by Early Rise in Atmospheric CO2
Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are raising the alarm that the atmosphere has just hit a new peak in average carbon dioxide levels, at 411.66 part per million—not even because it’s a record, but because it was recorded three months before the time of year when CO2 concentrations normally reach their annual high.
Ocean Warming Leads to Declining Fish Stocks, with Developing Regions Hardest Hit
Ocean warming has delivered a significant decline in sustainable fish catches over the last century, but holding average global warming to 1.5°C would help protect future catches worth billions of dollars per year, according to two new studies.
Another Century of Fossil Use Could Eliminate Cloud Cover, Trigger 8.0°C of Additional Warming
A startling new study in the journal Nature Geoscience concludes that another century of burning fossil fuels at today’s levels could trigger the total loss of the world’s stratocumulus clouds and trigger another 8.0°C/14.0°F of global warming.
Report Links Climate Change to Majority of 2018’s Under-Reported Humanitarian Disasters
Climate change caused the majority of the world’s under-reported humanitarian disasters last year, and nine of the top 10 occurred in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, according to an analysis of more than a million online news stories released last week by CARE International.
Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080
Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Insect Collapse Over Next Century Could Trigger ‘Catastrophic Ecosystem Collapse’
The world’s insect populations could disappear in the next century, triggering a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to a first-ever global scientific review that points to climate change as one of the main threats to species that are a foundation of the Earth’s food chains and ecosystems.
Health Professionals Point to Cumulative Impacts of Wildfire Smoke
Experts who attended a wildfire workshop hosted by the British Columbia Lung Association last week in Vancouver are sounding the alarm about the health threats posed by wildfire smoke.
Lake Warming Above 1.5°C Means Less Winter Ice, More Summer Algae
The number of lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere likely to remain ice-free in winter, and correspondingly clogged with algal blooms in summer, would more than double at 2.0°C average global warming and quadruple at 3.0°C, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
‘Terrifying Assessment’ Shows Himalayas Losing One-Third of Ice by 2100 in Best-Case GHG Scenario
The Mount Everest area will lose more than half of its ice by 2100 in even the most optimistic greenhouse gas reduction scenario, and the Himalayan region as a whole will lose more than one-third, according to a 627-page regional assessment released this week by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Record Flood Hits Queensland, Australia While Tasmania Burns
Hundreds of people in northern Australia were forced to evacuate their homes and about 18,000 lost power after the coastal city of Townville, in Queensland, received nearly four feet (120 centimetres) of rain between January 26 and February 4.
Insurance Giant Aon Places Extreme Weather Costs at $653 Billion Over 2017-2018
A US$653-billion global price tag made 2017-2018 the most expensive two-year period ever for extreme weather, according to a report issued last month by UK-based Aon, the world’s biggest insurance broker based on revenue.
Thunberg Addresses World Economic Forum: ‘Our House is On Fire’
16-year-old climate strike leader Greta Thunberg of Stockholm brought her message to 3,000 CEOs attending the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, after travelling 32 hours by train to get to the Swiss mountain resort.
Climate Deaths by 2030 Could Exceed UN Agency’s Estimate of 250,000 Per Year
The World Health Organization may have been too “conservative” with its prediction that climate change will kill 250,000 people per year between 2030 and 2050, according to a new analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Study Shows Antarctic Ice Loss Speeding Up Six-Fold Since 1979
An influx of warm ocean water has boosted the rate of Antarctic ice loss six-fold over the last 40 years, in what the Washington Post calls a “startling new finding” that “could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.”
Oceans Warming Faster Than IPCC Estimate, China-U.S. Study Concludes
The world’s oceans are up to 50% warmer than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in its most recent report, and the rate of warming is still accelerating, a team of Chinese and U.S. scientists concludes in a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Chile Foresees More Wildfires Due to High Winds, Low Humidity, Plantation Forests
Chile’s government expects the area burned by wildfires to double this year, the country’s agriculture minister said last Tuesday morning, as flames continued to rage through the heart of the country amid a heat wave.
Climate Health Impacts Kill 2.1 Million World-Wide, 7,142 in Canada in 2017
Chronic exposure to the air pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions kills 2.1 million people world-wide and 7,142 in Canada per year, according to the second edition of an annual countdown on climate change and health produced by The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.
Regions Could Face Up to Six Climate Threats at Once by 2100
The risks and hazards associated with climate change are already coming in combination, and some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related threats at once by the end of this century, warns a paper published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
California’s Camp Fire Finally Contained: 17 Days, 85 Dead, 249 Missing, 14,000 Homes Lost
After 17 days, 85 dead, another 249 still missing, 14,000 homes destroyed, and flames that took out an area the size of Chicago, California fire officials declared yesterday that the Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history, has been contained.
Climate Change Brings Severe Drought, Soaring Temperatures to War-Torn Iraq
After years of being devastated by war, Iraq faces increased climate stress in a hotter, drier future, according to a stark report released recently by the Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks.
Researchers Acknowledge Errors in Study Methods, But Oceans Are Still Warming
The authors of a startling new study on ocean warming have filed a correction with the journal that originally published it and acknowledged “inadvertent errors that made their conclusions seem more certain than they actually are,” the Washington Post reports.
California’s Worst-Ever Wildfire Kills 23, Claims 7,000 Structures
California is dealing with the onslaught of three ferocious November wildfires, with satellite images showing dramatic growth in the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill Fires over the last couple of days.
‘Startling’ Warming Study Shows Oceans Absorbing 60% More Heat Than Scientists Thought
Global warming is farther advanced than scientists believed, with the world’s oceans absorbing 60% more heat per year over the last quarter-century than previously research had shown, according to a startling new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Migrant Caravan to U.S. Driven Primarily by Climate-Induced Drought
With Donald Trump sending 5,000 troops to his country’s southern border—and surprising the Pentagon yesterday by threatening a force of up to 15,000—in his latest attempt to head off hordes of Democratic voters in next Tuesday’s midterm elections, the United Nations and at least one aid agency are pointing to climate change as the main driver of the migrant caravan wending its way through Mexico to the United States.
Storms, Flooding Kill Six Across Northern Italy, Flood 70% of Historic Venice
About 70% of Venice was flooded earlier this week by the highest tides in at least a decade, with a regional weather system driving waters above 1.6 metres (63 inches) that even swamped the elevated sidewalks the city installed to accommodate rising waters.
Habitat Loss, Over-Exploitation Drive Loss of 60% of World’s Wildlife in 44 Years
Habitat loss and over-exploitation, followed by climate change, are among the key factors that have led to the loss of 60% of the world’s wildlife population between 1970 and 2014, according to the latest edition of World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report published Monday.
Intense Hurricane Obliterates Hawaiian Island
A 4.5-hectare Hawaiian island was literally wiped off the map forever when Hurricane Walaka swept through the region earlier this month, just a couple of weeks before Super Typhoon Yutu brought 290-kilometre-per-hour winds to the Northern Mariana Islands in the worst storm to hit United States territory since 1935.
Flash Flood in Jordan Kills 18, Mostly Children and Teachers
A flash flood near Jordan’s Dead Sea yesterday killed 18 people, mostly children and teachers on a school trip, producing what rescuers and hospital workers described as one of the country’s worst disasters in years.
Climate Change Already Making Local, International Conflicts Worse: Red Cross
Humanitarian organizations are already coping with the on-the-ground reality that climate change is making domestic and international conflicts worse, according to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
‘Clarion Call’ Study Points to ‘Hyper-Alarming’ Decline in Insect Populations
A “hyper-alarming” population decline in insects and the animals that feed on them extends across the Americas and is more serious than scientists previously believed, and climate change is the cause, according to a new study last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Search and Rescue Continues, Poorest Among the Hardest-Hit as Hurricane Michael Recedes
Poor communities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have been hit first and worst by Hurricane Michael, with some shellshocked evacuees returning home and realizing the storm has sent them “back to frontier days”.
Super-Heated Ocean Boosts Hurricane Michael into 250-Kilometre-Per-Hour ‘Monster’
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to hit the continental United States in nearly 50 years, packing winds of up to 155 miles (250 kilometres) per hour, killing six people so far, and triggering immediate analysis that connected the new strength of recent hurricanes to ocean warming caused by climate change.
Intense, Repeat Wildfires Pollute Rivers, Threaten Water Supplies
Wildfires are increasingly polluting rivers and threatening water supplies, according to a new study by the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Economic Costs of Climate Change Will Hit Hardest in India, U.S.
The future economic costs of climate change will hit hardest in India and the United States, according to a new study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Species Diversity Determines Forests’ Resilience Against Drought
Species diversity is one of the key factors that determine a forest’s resilience against drought, according to new research on 40 temperate and boreal forests published last month in the journal Nature.
Rising Carbon Levels Reduce Ocean Oxygen Levels, Subjecting North Atlantic Species to ‘Slow Suffocation’
Atlantic wolffish and cod and Greenland halibut are at risk of slow suffocation as climate change drives oxygen depletion in the cold waters off eastern Canada, one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, a team of oceanographers reports in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Permafrost Melt Closes In on Critical Climate Tipping Point
Melting permafrost is closing in on a critical tipping point where it will release large volumes of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, driving atmospheric warming above the maximum 2.0°C target in the Paris Agreement much sooner than scientists hoped, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Major Mental Health Crisis Hits Puerto Rico as Year-Long Hurricane Recovery Lags
A year after Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed much of the infrastructure on the island of Puerto Rico, the country is facing a major mental health crisis, as the grinding, day-to-day reality of living with the aftermath of a US$139-billion catastrophe steadily overwhelms the survivors.
Poor and Rural North Carolinians Are Hardest Hit as Aerial Photos Show ‘Overwhelming’ Devastation
Aerial photos showed “overwhelming” devastation, an 1,870-megawatt nuclear plant had to be shut down, and poor and rural residents of the Carolinas were hit hardest as tropical depression Florence continued to drop rain on a waterlogged region.
‘It’s All About the Water’ as ‘Slow-Moving Natural Disaster’ Turns Carolinas Into an Archipelago
Meteorologists may have downgraded it from a hurricane to a mere tropical storm, but the “storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas,” as rivers and streams overflow their banks and the waters continue to rise, the Washington Post reports.
Typhoon Mangkhut Kills 64 in Philippines Before Hitting Southern China, Hong Kong
At least 64 people are dead after 550-mile-wide Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, uprooting trees and setting off landslides and floods. But officials were at least tentatively relieved that the impact wasn’t even worse after the region sustained the world’s most powerful storm so far this year.
UN Agencies Urge Greater Resilience as Droughts, Floods Drive Global Hunger to 10-Year High
Climate shocks like droughts and flood have helped drive global hunger up to levels last seen a decade ago, leaving one out of nine people around the world undernourished, concludes the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report issued earlier this week by five United Nations agencies.
Climate Action in Cities Could Create 13.7 Million Jobs, Prevent 1.3 Million Premature Deaths
Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,” according to a report released over the weekend by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute.
Extreme River Flows More Likely at 2.0 Than at 1.5°C
Extreme river flows considered once-in-century events can be expected more frequently if average global warming is kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but even more so in many regions at 2.0°C, according to an international study of major river systems around the world.
Sweltering Summer Leaves 72% of Britons Concerned About Climate
A recent poll conducted by British pollster Opinium as the sweltering summer of 2018 drew to a close found concern about climate change amongst Britons “at the highest level in almost a decade,” The Independent reports.
Poorest, Most Vulnerable Countries Face Worst Impacts if Warming Pushes Past 1.5° to 2.0°C
The world’s poorest nations will see the biggest local climatic shifts at the margin between 1.5° and 2.0°C average global warming, even though they often have the least capacity to adapt to those impacts, according to a study published late last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Tens of Thousands of Species at Risk in Shift from 1.5 to 2.0°C Average Warming
Tens of thousands more species will be at risk of extinction if countries set their sights on the Paris Agreement target of 2.0°C average global warming, rather than the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C, according to a new paper in the journal Science.
2.0°C ‘Guardrail’ Won’t Hold Off Severe Climate Impacts
A target of 2.0°C average global warming is no longer the “guardrail” that will hold off many the worst effects of climate change, according to a series of papers published this week in Philosophical Transactions A, a scientific journal of the British Royal Society.
1.5°C Target Holds Far Better Future Than 2.0° for Arctic Ice
The difference between the Paris agreement’s 2.0°C top-line target for average global warming and its more ambitious 1.5°C goal could have a massive impact on the frequency of ice-free Arctic summers by the end of the century, according to two new studies in the journal Nature Climate Change.
1.5°C Target Could Prevent 153 Million Premature Deaths by 2100
The air quality improvements associated with a global effort to keep average global warming at 1.5°C would prevent up to 153 million premature deaths per year by 2100, with improvements on every inhabited continent and the greatest gains in Asia and Africa, according to a Duke University study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Paris Implementation Would Slash Health Care Costs
The Best Climate Models Predict 15% Higher Future Temperatures
A comparison of the reliability of climate models—based on their ability to replicate present-day conditions on Earth—finds that the most accurate also imply the bleakest forecast for humanity and most other living creatures, an article in the journal Nature reports.
Indigenous Communities Now a Top-Three Canadian Clean Energy Owner
Indigenous communities are now the third-biggest ownership bloc of clean energy projects in Canada, together operating 171 significant projects, with 26 more on the way. The Crown and private utilities are first and second in the list.
Global Development Banks’ Recovery Plans Must Omit Fossil Funding, Advocates Say
When 450 global development banks with their hands on US$2 trillion in public funds meet in November to chart their contribution to the pandemic recovery, they must declare an end to international financing for fossil fuels, three leading finance and development advocates argue in a post this week for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Small Modular Reactors Raise Nuclear Waste Risk, Distract from Real Climate Solutions
The rise of “small” nuclear reactors (SMRs) raises serious concerns about radioactive waste disposal and is ultimately a distraction from real climate solutions, according to two separate analyses published days apart in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, two of the three provinces that have been touting the technology.
Global Oil Demand, CO2 Emissions Likely Peaked in 2019 as Fossil Analysts Predict More Stranded Assets
A small parade of analysts stepped out last week with projections that global oil demand and carbon dioxide emissions likely peaked last year, with consumers’ need for refined oil products hitting a turning point and more big fossil companies expected to declare “impairments” in their production assets in the not-too-distant future.
Next Six Months Will Determine Success of Green Recovery, IEA Warns
The world’s governments can either spend the next three years and US$3 trillion entrenching the greenhouse gas emission cuts that accompanied the pandemic lockdown and creating a new narrative on climate change, or allow a record increase in oil demand next year that will push consumption back toward historic levels, the International Energy Agency warned this week.
‘Teal Deal’ Could Tap into Oceans for Climate Change Mitigation
As the window for climate action narrows, experts in marine science and economics are calling for a new “Teal Deal” that embraces the enormous potential for clean energy that lies in the world’s oceans—along with positive side benefits such as decarbonizing shipping, supporting marine fisheries, and restoring coastal habitats.
Record Renewable Energy Adoption in 2019 Still Falls Short of Climate Targets
Global clean energy investment grew 1% last year, to US$282.2 billion, and countries installed a record 184 gigawatts of new renewables capacity. But the momentum is still far short of what’s needed this decade to drive the transition off carbon, according to the latest Global Trends In Renewable Energy Investment report, published as a collaboration between BloombergNEF, the Frankfurt School, and the United Nations Environment Program.
Nobel Economist Nordhaus Proposes Import Tariffs to Enforce National Climate Action
The U.S. economist who shared a Nobel Prize for his work as a carbon pricing pioneer is now advocating import tariffs to penalize countries that don’t participate in international climate agreements.
Fossils Face $25-Trillion Loss as Coronavirus Drives Industry’s ‘Decline and Fall’
The world’s fossil companies stand to lose US$25 trillion in profits as the coronavirus pandemic triggers a terminal decline in demand for oil, gas, and coal and drives down the value of fossil fuel reserves by two-thirds, according to a report released yesterday by the London, UK-based Carbon Tracker think tank.
EU Confirms Green Strings Attached to €750-Billion Recovery Package, €1-Trillion/Seven-Year Budget
News reports are confirming that the European Union’s seven-year, €1-trillion budget proposal and its €750-billion coronavirus recovery package will both have green strings attached, with 25% of the funds devoted to climate action and a “do no harm” clause to prevent environmentally damaging investments.
Four-Day Work Week Could Boost Post-Pandemic Economy
Canadian workplace health experts are urging policy-makers to consider a condensed work week to reduce stress, increase productivity, and boost a post-coronavirus economy. A three-day weekend could also be a boon to the pandemic-ravaged tourism sector, which lost 50% of its work force this past spring.
200+ Groups Representing 40 Million Health Workers Call for Health, Climate Reform
Health workers around the world have joined together to deliver an open letter to G20 leaders urging them to implement post-pandemic recovery plans that prioritize human and environmental health—with key signatories representing more than 40 million individual medical professionals.
Green Hydrogen Projects Set to Skyrocket, Though Pandemic Could Slow Investors Down
Interest in “green” hydrogen produced from renewable electricity has been skyrocketing over the last several months, with global interest in electrolyser projects—particularly large ones—tripling between October 2019 and March 2020, according to an updated report released last month by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
OCI: ‘Transformational Moment’ Is Last, Best Chance to Break from Fossils
The slow emergence from pandemic lockdown is the “last, best chance to plan for the economy we need to stay within 1.5°C and avoid the worst chaos of global warming,” declares a recent five-point call to policy-makers to cooperate in a rapid worldwide phaseout out of fossil fuels.
Swedish Firm Produces World’s First Rolled Steel with Hydrogen
A company in Sweden reported a world first late last month, after replacing liquefied natural gas (LNG) with hydrogen to produce the high-temperature heat it needs to make steel.
World’s Biggest Solar Plant to Deliver Power at Record-Low 1.35¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour
The two-gigawatt Al Dhafra project in Abu Dhabi, the world’s biggest single-site solar installation, is expected to deliver electricity at a record-low US1.35¢ per kilowatt-hour when it goes into service in 2022.
Solar, Wind Are Cheapest New Power Sources for Two-Thirds of World Population
Solar and wind are now the cheapest source of new electricity for at least two-thirds of the world’s population, with prices coming in at just 4.4¢ per kilowatt-hour for wind and 5¢ for solar, BloombergNEF (formerly Bloomberg New Energy Finance) reported this week.
EU Rapidly Shunning Coal as Renewable Power Prices Drop
After centuries of being powered by coal, Europe is accelerating away from this dirtiest and most expensive of fossil fuels and toward ever-cheaper renewables—a sea change that is also going global, as pandemic-shuttered economies around the world leave coal increasingly without buyers.
Renewables Agency Urges $110-Trillion Green Infrastructure Investment to Supercharge Recovery, Boost Resilience
Governments around the world can “supercharge their recovery, become more resilient to crises, and save trillions of dollars,” while setting sights on deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050, by directing stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to green infrastructure, Forbes magazine reports, citing a new release this week from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Online Networks Light Up, Guterres Urges Green Recovery as Earth Day 50 Goes Virtual
The online universe lit up yesterday with an avalanche of webinars, news stories, email appeals, and at least one week-long global, virtual conference as millions of people around the world found ways to celebrate Earth Day 50 while sheltering at home.
Subnational Leadership ‘Essential’ in Climate, COVID-19 Crises
Informed, cooperative, and compassionate bipartisan leadership at all governmental levels is helping U.S. citizens weather the pandemic, just as such subnational leadership has proven to be an essential agent in the climate crisis fight.
COVID-19 Could Slash Emissions 5%, But Permanent Cuts Depend on Structural Change
The COVID-19 pandemic could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5% this year, producing the deepest reduction since the end of the Second World War. But analysts warn the advantage could be “vanishingly thin” without economic recovery packages that emphasize a shift off carbon.
Some New Habits May Continue as Coronavirus Drives 38% Drop in Airline Emissions
Airlines’ greenhouse gas emissions are set to fall 38% this year as the coronavirus pandemic drives down travel demand, and the Australia Institute says some of the reductions may be permanent as businesses reassess their need for travel.
Electricity, Clean Water Hold Keys to Human and Climate Health
While the world’s most industrialized countries grapples with health care systems that are strained and fraying in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, large parts of the developing world still lack two simple resources that are the foundations for any kind of health system at all: electricity and clean water.
Week 13, March 30: Sustainable Aviation
Domestic and international aviation produced 21 Mt of CO2e in 2017 (14.34 Mt international, 6.67 Mt domestic), representing 3% of Canada’s emissions. Emissions are rising by 1 Mt a year. Fuel consumption and GHG emissions rose by 65.5% between 2005 and 2017, averaging 4.3% per year, in spite of a 17.6% increase in aircraft fuel efficiency.
Soils Can Deliver 5.5 Billion Tonnes of CO2 Storage Per Year
Restoring and protecting the planet’s soils could remove up to 5.5 billion tonnes of CO2 annually—almost equivalent to the current annual emissions of the United States—while at the same time bolstering soil fertility and water retention, along with broader ecosystem health.
Economic Shock from Coronavirus Points to Over-Reliance on Fossil Fuels, Need for Renewables
A crisis like the coronavirus pandemic points to a global economy that is over-reliant on fossil fuels and dangerously exposed to economic shocks that could be eased by a shift to renewable energy, a leading financial economist from the United Kingdom told Forbes magazine in a recent interview.
Benefits of Telecommuting May Outlast Virus Outbreak
Work-from-home policies being implemented around the world in an urgent effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 could create a significant long-term boost to climate action plans, both by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building future resilience.
Electricity Generation Cuts Emissions 2% in 2019, But Faster Coal Phaseout Needed
Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation fell 2% last year, the biggest annual drop since at least 1990, driven by reduced coal use in the European Union and the United States, according to a report released Monday by climate think tank Ember.
Drawdown’s Latest ‘Tools of Possibility’ Show Path to 1.5°C, with 1,570 Billion Tons of Emission Cuts by 2050
Humanity can prevent or draw down 1,570 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 2050 to approach a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming, or 992.77 billion tons to settle around 2.0°C, by adopting a menu of 82 practical solutions ranging from onshore wind to utility-scale solar, from reduced food waste and plant-rich diets to tropical forest restoration and clean cookstoves, according to the 2020 update of the popular Drawdown list.
Europe Could Cut Emissions 60% by Electrifying Fossil-Intensive Industries
Europe could reduce emissions in its transport, buildings, and electrical sectors 60% by 2050 by converting fossil-intensive industries to run on electricity, according to a report earlier this month by Norwegian utility Statkraft and power management company Eaton Corporation.
BREAKING: Cancelled Project Means the ‘End of New Coal’ in Europe
Lawyers at ClientEarth are heralding “the end for new coal” in Europe, after Polish utilities Enea and Energa announced last night that they would suspend work on the controversial new Ostrołęka C plant, citing economic concerns.
‘Words Make Worlds’: Holthaus Issues Call to Imagine, Create a Radically Positive Future
As the climate crisis deepens, we must be “radically imaginative,” telling ourselves and each other stories of fiercely visionary, loving, and productive collective actions that will help end the climate emergency, veteran meteorologist and climate hawk Eric Holthaus writes in The Correspondent.
Building Automation Would Save 4.62 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Building automation ranks #45 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate up to 4.62 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a cost of US$68.1 billion, eventually saving building owners around $880.6 billion.
Mixed Results for 2019 Show Slight Rise in Renewable Energy Investment
World renewable energy investment hit US$282.2 billion last year, slightly higher than 2018’s total of $280.2 billion, with investment declining in China but hitting a record high in the United States, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports.
Victor: Acting on Emission Cuts, Solving ‘Hard Problems’ Matters More than Statements of Ambition
The utter failure of leadership at this year’s United Nations climate conference shows that the next step for climate leaders is to evaluate everything they do “through the lens of whether it increases the chances of followership,” international relations specialist David G. Victor writes for the New York Times.
12-Point Agenda Lays Out Possibilities for Global Energy Efficiency Gains
A 12-point agenda released by three of the world’s leading energy efficiency councils is setting out the steps countries can take to bring annual efficiency improvements up to a Paris Agreement-compliant 3%.
Need to Get It Right: Article 6 Could Trigger Faster Carbon Cuts or Massive Greenwashing
It could make or break the success of the Paris Agreement. It’s a notably complicated section of an international accord that is already arcane and nuanced by real-world standards. And as negotiations passed their midpoint Friday, many participants at this year’s UN climate conference, COP 25, said they would rather postpone final drafting of Article 6 than settle for a bad decision.
‘Two Worlds Collide’ as Urgent Street Protests Meet Slow, Deliberate COP Negotiations
With negotiations at this year’s United Nations climate conference in Madrid, COP 25, reaching their midpoint, some delegates and observers are getting a sense of what Climate Home News calls “two worlds about to collide”.
‘Unglamourous’ Manure Workshop Brings Ground-Up Solutions to COP 25
The emissions reduction potential of manure was the decidedly…earthy, if “unglamourous” focus of a pre-conference workshop attached to United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid, according to ECO, the daily conference newsletter produced by Climate Action Network-International.
‘Vanguard vs. Laggards’: Spain Presses COP 25 Delegates for Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts
As this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP 25, got under way in Madrid, initial news coverage pointed to a division between the plodding, formal negotiating process and the broader, global urgency of getting 195 countries together to find common ground on a more urgent response to the climate crisis.
Efficient Water Distribution Would Save 870 Megatons of Carbon by 2050
More efficient water distribution places #71 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. It could cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 870 megatons by 2050 at a cost of US$137.4 billion, producing net savings of $903.1 billion.
IEA Drives Fossil Growth, Climate Breakdown with Latest World Energy Outlook
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is undercutting its own, essential role in confronting the climate crisis by downplaying renewable energy options and driving future investment to more expensive, higher-carbon fossil fuels, according to analysts responding to the release of its annual World Energy Outlook report earlier this week.
World’s Biggest Fossils Must Cut Output 35% by 2040 to Hit 1.5°C Warming Target
The world’s seven biggest fossil companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, must cut their oil and gas production 35% by 2040 to avoid driving average global warming above 1.5°C, according to a new analysis published last week by UK-based Carbon Tracker.
Wind Power Could Meet Global Electricity Needs 18 Times Over
With production costs falling and green power policies on the rise, wind energy could soon be positioned to meet the world’s demand for electricity 18 times over, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded in an analysis released last week.
New Study Shows Solar Meeting 40% of Global Power Demand, Wind 30% by 2050
Solar is on track to become the world’s biggest source of electricity by 2035 as renewable energy costs continue to fall, making it easier to electrify previously stubborn sectors like transportation and construction, according to the fourth in a series of annual analyses published by renewable energy company Statkraft.
Fossils Could Lose $2.2 Trillion by 2030 if Countries Get Serious About Carbon Cuts
The world’s most colossal fossils have invested US$50 billion in less than two years in new oil and gas projects that undercut the fight against climate change, according to a new analysis by the UK-based Carbon Tracker think tank, the first ever to assess whether individual fossil projects would be financially sustainable in a low-carbon world.
Renewables Investment to Hit $2.6 Trillion from 2010-2019
Global renewable energy investment is on track to hit US$2.6 trillion in this decade, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance study released last week by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Frankfurt School’s UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.
IPCC Land Use Report Draws New Attention to Soil Carbon, Regenerative Agriculture
In the wake of the IPCC land use report earlier this month, with its urgent focus on food supplies, soil conservation, and natural methods of storing carbon, follow-up news stories in the United States and Canada are tracing the steps farmers are already taking to shift their practices.
Living Buildings Would Revitalize the Environment, Build Community
Living buildings is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
European Investment Bank Promises Fossil Funding Phaseout in 2020
In a move that Oil Change International is hailing as a “massive step forward in climate leadership”, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced late last month that it will cut off the billions of euros per year that it invests in fossil fuel projects by the end of next year.
Perennial Food Crops Could Boost Soil Carbon and Food Security, Reduce Deforestation
Replacing soil-depleting annual food species with perennial crops is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
New Canadian Association Builds Energy Efficiency’s Profile, Beginning with the Industry Itself
With a national think tank positioning energy efficiency as a kind of “all-of-the-above” strategy to deliver lower home energy bills, boost business productivity, and cut pollution, the industry’s newly-minted trade association is embarking on an initial campaign to help energy efficiency companies and professionals see their own place in the sector.
Early Fossil Plant Shutdowns Will be Needed to Hit 1.5°C Average Warming Target
The world already has enough fossil fuel plants and high-emitting industrial facilities, buildings, and cars to drive average global warming above a 1.5°C threshold, according to an article earlier this month in the journal Nature.
Webinar: 1.5°C Still Doable Without ‘Unproven, Dangerous’ Geoengineering
It isn’t too late to limit average global warming to 1.5°C without resorting to geoengineering, and deploying geoengineering technologies such as carbon capture storage (CCS) and solar radiation management (SRM) would be counterproductive and dangerously irresponsible, according to panelists at an April 25 webinar.
IEA Could (Finally) Include 1.5°C Scenario in 2019 Annual Outlook Report
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is developing a scenario for holding global warming below 1.5°C that could be included in its influential annual outlook this year.
Ban Non-Electric Cars to Improve Air Quality, Extend Lives, Bloomberg Editors Urge
One of the surest ways to improve air quality and extend lives shortened by pollution is for cities to ban non-electric cars, two opinion editors with Bloomberg News conclude in a recent post.
Grid Flexibility Would Enable 80% Renewable Power Generation by 2050
Grid flexibility places #77 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions as an essential tool for making 80% renewable generation “a global reality” by 2050. Its costs and savings are impossible to calculate, as they will be embedded in local renewable energy projects around the globe.
Quebec’s Legault Promises 40% Cut in Oil Consumption by 2030
Quebec will invest massively to cut its oil consumption 40% by 2030 and shift transportation, buildings, and businesses to electricity, Premier François Legault announced Sunday, during his party’s general council meeting in Montreal.
Global Solar Set to Surge, But Still Falls Short of Paris Targets
The solar industry is expecting a continuing surge in the years ahead, according to two reports released earlier this month, though the rapid growth still falls short of what will be needed to keep average global warming below the minimum international target of 2.0°C.
Stop New Coal Plants by 2020, Cut Fossil Subsidies, UN Secretary General Urges
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is calling on countries to stop new coal plant construction by 2020, accelerate the shutdown of existing facilities, and “tax carbon, not people” in order to avert the “total disaster” that will occur if climate change is not brought under control.
Low-Carbon Investment Must Grow 250% by 2030 to Hit Paris Targets: IEA
Low-carbon energy investment must increase 250% by 2030 if countries are to meet their targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement, the International Energy Agency warned this week.
Pressure Mounts for Emission Cuts, Speed Reductions in International Shipping
With a key International Maritime Organization (IMO) committee meeting in London this week to address pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the high seas, environmental groups are warning that the UN agency is off-course in the effort to align the industry with a 1.5°C world.
Food Waste Composting Would Save 2.28 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Normalizing and intensifying the composting of food waste ranks #60 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon by 2.28 gigatons by 2050.
Carbon Farming Could Sequester Billions of Tonnes of CO2, with U.S. Pilot Project as One First Step
A concerted, well-supported effort by the world’s farmers to restore and protect soil health could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by as much as 65 parts per million (ppm) from the current, alarming level of more than 413 ppm, participants heard during an April 10 carbon farming webinar hosted by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Solar, Wind Displace 35 Times as Much CO2 Per Year as CCS Has Ever Sequestered
Solar and wind energy displace roughly 35 times as much carbon dioxide each year as carbon capture and storage (CCS) has sequestered in its entire history, DeSmog Blog reports, citing a new analysis by CleanTechnica.
Soil Health Emerges as Critical Climate Mitigation Tool as ‘Carbon Farming’ Takes Hold
The urgent need to restore the health of the world’s agricultural soils—for the sake of the food supply, and as a critical tool in climate mitigation—is one of the major themes of the global biodiversity report due for release today by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Ottawa, Toronto, Burlington, and Victoria Step Up with New Action on Climate
Four Canadian cities have stepped up their action on climate change in the last week, with Ottawa and Burlington, Ontario declaring a climate emergency, Toronto considering climate liability action against major fossil polluters, and Victoria endorsing free transit across B.C.’s Capital Regional District.
‘Climate Storytellers’ Needed to ‘Galvanize’ Public Support for Action
With entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and policy-makers working feverishly on the massive changes demanded by the climate crisis, every community needs a storyteller to help “galvanize” the population to support that activity, according to Climate Narrative Project founder Jeff Biggers.
Solar Water Heating Would Save 6.08 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Solar water heating ranks #41 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate 6.08 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a net cost of US$3 billion, resulting in net savings of $773.7 million.
Shipping Efficiency Would Save 7.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Increasing transport ship efficiency places #32 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Efficiency gains of 50% across the sector, at a net cost of US$915.9 billion, could prevent 7.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050, while saving the international marine industry US$1 trillion in fuel costs over the life of the vessels.
Northern Holland Installing World’s Biggest Floating Solar System
A company in The Netherlands has begun work on the world’s largest floating solar installation, a network of 73,500 panels on 15 islands on the Andijk reservoir in northern Holland that will have the ability to track the sun as it crosses the sky.
Central Bank Execs Stress Financial Sector’s Role in Addressing Climate Change
It’s time for central banks and the wider financial community to set clear, measurable goals for building a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, 34 of the world’s biggest central banks declared last week, in the first comprehensive report by the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).
Booming Community Solar Sector Promises Access for Low-Income Households
Determined to make good on the promise of equity contained in the phrase “community solar,” more than a dozen U.S. states and non-profit developers are working hard to ensure that low-income Americans have fair access to the power of the sun.
Bike Infrastructure Would Save 2.31 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Bike infrastructure ranks #59 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Better and more widespread bike infrastructure would eliminate 2.31 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce net savings of US$400.5 billion, with further lifetime savings of $2.1 trillion.
Micro Wind Would Save 200 Megatons of Carbon by 2050
Micro wind places #76 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. If its share of global electricity generation increases to 1%, it could eliminate 0.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a cost of $US36.1 billion, against savings of $19.9 billion.
Climate-Vulnerable Countries Plan New Tools to Fund Green Development
With at least a billion people in developing countries facing serious risk as the climate warms, the 48 members of the Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance (V20) is introducing a new set of tools to free up more funds at less cost for green development.
Renewables Make Decarbonization $15 Trillion Cheaper, Promise $160 Trillion in Savings by 2050
The plummeting cost of solar and wind farms, coupled with government policies driving faster electrification, has cut the cost of reaching global climate goals by US$15 trillion in the last year, concludes a report issued this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Alternative Cement Would Save 6.69 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Alternative cement places #36 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.69 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050. The shift would save US$174 billion, because such alternatives ultimately last longer.
Global Coal Plant Construction ‘Collapses’, But China Considers Massive New Buildout
The introduction of new coal-fired power plants around the world has entered a “collapse” over the last three years, although the China Electricity Council is considering a proposal for a massive new buildout.
Sustainable Investments Grow 34% Over Two Years, with Climate as Prime Motivator
Sustainable investments around the world grew 34% over the last two years to US$30.7 trillion, with financial professionals pointing to climate change as a leading motivator for investors, according to the latest in a series of biennial analyses by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.
Florida Utility to Replace Two Natural Gas Plants with World’s Biggest Battery
Florida Power & Light has announced plans to build the world’s biggest battery and charge it from an existing solar power plant to replace two of its existing natural gas generating stations, a deal it says will save its ratepayers US$100 million.
Idaho Signs Solar Contract at Record-Low 2.175¢/kWh, Sets 2045 Target for 100% Clean Power
A new, 120-megawatt solar farm in southern Idaho is on track to deliver electricity at prices started at 2.175 cents per kilowatt-hour, believed to be the lowest ever for a U.S. project.
Lookback from 2050: NPR Essay Shows How We Got Climate Change Under Control
It’s 2050. We’ve got climate change under control. And we got the job done through mass electrification, reimagining cities, protecting forests, and changing the way cows are fed.
UBS Bans Project-Level Finance for New Coal Plants
Swiss banking giant UBS has adopted new lending guidelines that ban project-level finance for new coal-fired generating stations around the world.
Electric Bikes Would Save 960 Megatonnes of Carbon by 2050
Electric bikes place #69 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. They can eliminate 0.96 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a cost of $US106.8 billion, with net savings of $226.1 billion.
Carbon Engineering Raises $68 Million for Commercial Direct Air Capture Plant
Squamish, B.C.-based Carbon Engineering has received billionaire backing from Silicon Valley investors, netting US$68 million to build its first commercial-scale Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Home Water Efficiency Would Save 4.61 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Water saving in the home places #46 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It can eliminate 4.61 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a net cost of $US72.44 billion, producing net savings of $1.8 trillion, based solely on energy savings from more efficient use of hot water.
Doig: International Equity is the Key to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts
Hitting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping average global warming well below 1.5°C will depend on a “frank and open discussion on equity” that drives negotiators toward faster, deeper emission cuts and away from “conventional development paths,” argues Dr. Alison Doig, Head of Policy at Christian Aid, in a blog post published late last week.
Connect Infrastructure Planning with Climate Crisis, Analysts Urge U.S. Legislators
Linking infrastructure policy with the climate crisis, introducing more low-carbon transit, and incorporating more nature in infrastructure design are all key steps in addressing the urban sprawl that is one of the underlying causes of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Forest Protection Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Forest protection places #38 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and sequester an astonishing 896.29 gigatons.
Quebec Cap-and-Trade Revenues Exceed $3 Billion as Carbon Market Withstands Ontario Withdrawal
A new infusion of C$215 million has pushed Quebec’s cumulative carbon cap-and-trade revenues above the $3 billion mark, at just the moment when Ontario has cancelled its carbon pricing program and Alberta’s Jason Kenney is vowing to do the same if he wins the provincial election later this year.
Marine Permaculture Could ‘Reforest’ the Oceans, Draw 102 Gigatons of CO2 by 2050
Marine permaculture technology that seeds the world’s oceans with kelp forests while pumping up colder, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean depths is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.
Reforestation Could Offset 10 Years of Emissions, But Countries Are Behind on Forest, Land Use Promises
After years of severely underestimating the number of trees on Earth, scientists are now calculating that a massive, global reforestation effort could offset at least 10 years of greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity.
Mass Transit Would Save 6.57 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Expanding use of mass transit ranks #37 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to eliminate 6.57 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce US$2.38 trillion in savings. The cost, according to Drawdown, is too variable to be determined.
From Vegan to Paleo, Farm Practices Matter More Than End Product
A solution to the raging food wars between vegans, paleos, and everyone in between is to recognize that good, bad, or terrible farming practices are far more important than the end product that lands on dinner plates, according to a recent post on Resilience.org.
Concentrated Solar Power Would Save 10.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) places #25 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Scaling up CSP to 4.3% of global electricity production by 2050 would avoid 10.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide. While implementation costs of CSP are high, at US$1.3 trillion, net savings by 2050 could total $414 billion, with lifetime savings of $1.2 trillion.
Exotic Carbon Capture Techniques Prop Up Fossil Interests, Aren’t Needed to Hit 1.5°C, New Study Asserts
The urgency and scope of the climate crisis are being needlessly exploited to drive fringe ideas like carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM) from the margins to the mainstream, according to a hard-hitting report issued last week by the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law and Berlin’s Heinrich Böell Foundation.
California Sets Sights on Up to 100,000 New Net-Zero Homes Per Year
Net-zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume may be about to hit the mainstream in California, where most new homes and multi-residential structures up to three stories high will be equipped with rooftop solar panels beginning next year.
Analysts See Oil Industry’s Twilight, But Not Soon Enough to Hit Climate Targets
Two different analyst reports this week show the oil industry moving into its twilight, but the projected rate of decline is still far too slow to hit a 1.5°C threshold for average global warming and hold off the worst effects of climate change.
Utilities Seek New Identity, Different Revenue Sources in Post-Carbon Economy
From rebranding themselves as “partners” in energy delivery, to renovating legacy infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicle charging, to redirecting into the business of “smart” homes, microgrids, and energy storage, utilities are working overtime to reinvent themselves for a post-carbon world.
World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Delivers First Power to UK Grid
The world’s biggest offshore wind farm was expected to begin delivering power to the United Kingdom grid this week.
Fossils’ Poor Stock Performance Makes Case for Divestment: IEEFA
Pouring more dollars into the fossil sector no longer makes sense for investors paying attention to a decade of poor stock performance, the gradual departure of institutional investors, depressed profits, a shaky future outlook, and the fact that fossils placed dead last in the 2018 Standard & Poors 500 stock market index, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis argues in a new briefing note.
Equipment Manufacturer Urges Bold Energy Efficiency Action to Meet Paris Climate Goals
Energy efficiency is poised to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Paris Agreement, depends on readily-available technology, and constitutes a trillion-dollar opportunity, writes Kim Fausing, President and CEO of Danish energy systems manufacturer Danfoss, in a recent post for the World Economic Forum. All that’s needed is a change of mindset on the part of energy consumers—especially the big industrial ones—and smart governance.
Origami-Style Window Blinds Would Produce Solar Electricity, Deliver Better Daylighting
An Australian architectural design firm is working on a new origami-style window blind that produces electricity and even brings more natural daylighting into the space.
Fuel-Efficient Trucks Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Increasing fuel efficiency in the global freight trucking industry places #40 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could reduce atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide by 6.2 gigatons by 2050, at a net cost of US$543.5 billion, but $2.78 trillion in net savings.
Solar, Wind, Storage Set for Breakout Year Thanks to ‘Remorseless’ Cost Reductions
World-wide renewable generation capacity could grow by more than 200 gigawatts this year, thanks to “remorseless reductions in the costs of solar and wind electricity and of lithium-ion batteries,” according to a commentary published earlier this month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Deloitte Sees 21 Million EVs in 10 Years, Cost Parity in 2021/2022
Another major consultancy is predicting electric cars’ dominance over conventional vehicles, with Deloitte projecting EVs’ total cost of ownership matching internal combustion as early as 2021 in the UK and 2022 globally, and no later than 2024.
100% Renewables, Land Restoration Can Meet 1.5°C Target Without ‘Unproven’ Geoengineering Techniques
A rapid shift to 100% renewable energy by 2050, combined with land restoration efforts to boost the resilience of natural ecosystems on every continent, would be enough to hold average global warming below 1.5°C without resorting to unproven and potentially dangerous “negative emissions” techniques, according to a two-year modelling effort conducted by 17 leading scientists and funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
‘Planetary Health Diet’ Would Cut Emissions, Protect Biodiversity by Halving Red Meat Consumption
The world’s first-ever science-based “planetary health diet” is calling for a “new global agricultural revolution” in which red meat and sugar consumption is cut by half, and vegetable, fruit, pulse, and nut consumption double, in order to avert 11 million deaths per year, curtail the devastating climate impacts of industrial agriculture, and protect biodiversity.
City Housing, Transportation Policies Can Cut Carbon…Without Intending To
Cities across the United States are beginning to adopt housing and transportation policies that also end up reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change—even if carbon reductions are the farthest thing from their decision-makers’ minds.
64% Chance that Full Fossil Phaseout Would Keep Average Warming Below 1.5°C
Humanity would have a 64% chance of keeping average global warming under the crucial 1.5°C threshold if all fossil infrastructure were replaced with zero-carbon alternatives at the end of its operating life, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Policy Moves, Front-Line Action Could Make 2019 a ‘Breakthrough Year’ for Climate Solutions
After a bruising year of climate change news, including alarming reports of far worse in the future and an incomplete result at the United Nations climate conference in Katowice, Poland, 2019 is dawning as something improbable: A year of hope for effective climate action.
Jaccard: Carbon Taxes are ‘Good Policy, Bad Politics’ When Regulations Do Most of the Work
One of Canada’s leading climate economists and modelers is out with a Globe and Mail opinion piece that questions the decades-old narrative that positions carbon pricing as the cornerstone for effective climate policy.
International Climate Action Must Include Limits on Fossil Fuel Supply
Constraints on fossil fuel supplies are needed alongside effort to reduce demand if the countries that participated in COP 24 earlier this month hope to gain control of the climate crisis, geographers Philippe Le Billon of the University of British Columbia and Berit Kristoffersen of Arctic University of Norway write for Policy Options.
Global Wind Industry on Track to Grow 680 Gigawatts Over 10 Years
The global wind industry is on track to deliver more than 680 gigawatts (680 billion watts) of new capacity over the next decade, according to two recent reports by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
Carbon Capture Moves ‘Front and Centre’ as Climate Crisis Deepens
One of the countless side discussions at this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland focused on the growing acceptance that some method of capturing carbon dioxide—from the atmosphere, or at the point where it’s first emitted—will be necessary to keep average global warming within 1.5°C.
Gender Equality Puts Climate Objectives Alongside Development Goals
Tuesday, December 11 was Gender Day at COP 24, a chance to underscore what gender equality means for effective climate action, and to identify what more can be done to unleash the power of half the world’s population.
Falling Cost of Renewables, Batteries Allows Countries to Boost Their Paris Commitments
The falling cost of renewable electricity and lithium-ion batteries will make it “substantially cheaper” for countries to fulfill their carbon reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement, according to a discussion paper released last month by Umwelt Bundesamt, the German environment agency.
World Bank Doubles Climate Fund to $200 Billion for 2021-25
The World Bank has committed US$200 billion to fund climate change mitigation and adaptation between 2021 and 2025, a doubling of its previous budget, and is funding the two aspects of the crisis equally for the first time.
Expert Panel Points to Breakout Potential in Direct Air Capture for Carbon
Direct air capture (DAC) techniques to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere may be on the cusp of the same drastic cost reductions that have brought solar, wind, and battery storage into the mainstream over the last decade, according to the chair of a recent U.S. expert panel on negative emission technologies.
Unsubsidized Wind, Solar, and Batteries Beat Fossils on Price, BNEF Concludes
Unsubsidized wind and solar are new the cheapest source of new grid-scale power in all the world’s major economies except Japan, according to the latest electricity cost competitiveness report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
‘Natural Climate Solutions’ Could Offset 21% of U.S. Emissions
A collection of “low-tech, time-tested forest, farm, and land management techniques” could offset 21% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, InsideClimate News reports, although it would take a carbon price of at least US$100 per ton for those strategies to meet U.S. targets under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Energy Efficiency Could Boost the Benefit of HFC Phasedown from 0.5 to 1.0°C
The governments behind the landmark Kigali Amendment on climate-busting hydro-fluorocarbon refrigerants are taking aim at energy efficiency improvements that could double the benefit of the HFC phasedown from 0.5 to 1.0°C.
‘Inflection Point’ Shows U.S. Solar, Wind Less Costly to Own and Operate Than Existing Coal Plants
Finance and investment consultants at Lazard are the latest to conclude that renewable energy has reached an “inflection point”, where building new solar and wind capacity is often less expensive to build and operate than existing fossil-fired power plants.
Energy Efficiency Delivers Half of U.S. Power Sector’s Carbon Reductions Since 2005
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is taking a short victory lap for efforts to boost efficiency in the country’s electricity system, after a U.S. government agency reported demand reductions accounting for half of the sector’s greenhouse gas cuts since 2005.
UK Renewables Capacity Exceeds Fossils for First Time Ever
Renewable electricity capacity in Britain has overtaken natural gas and coal for the first time ever, according to a report issued earlier this week.
Asleep at the Switch: Canada’s Pathway to 1.5°C Means Phasing Out Natural Gas
There’s a massive gap in Canadian climate strategy that is big enough and serious enough to undercut every other effort to turn the country from a climate laggard to a climate leader: Without a fast, determined effort to phase out natural gas, Canada will not meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, much less deliver on the increased ambition at the heart of the global accord.
Morneau Attends Efficiency Canada Launch, Calls Efficiency the ‘Ultimate Win-Win’
The Canadian government is amending federal regulations to make it easier for households and businesses to adopt energy-efficient products and strategies, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced, during the launch event for Efficiency Canada in Ottawa November 1.
Solar and Wind Shift ‘from Mainstream to Preferred’ in New Deloitte Analysis
Solar and wind have shifted “from mainstream to preferred” energy sources, according to a new analysis by Deloitte Insights that points to renewables as the technologies “best able to meet new demand for reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy.”
Mayors Urge Faster Phaseout of Gasoline, Diesel Cars
The mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Seoul, and Medellín are urging automakers to stop building gasoline and diesel cars as soon as possible, following a World Health Organization report that found 630 million children around the world are exposed to unsafe air.
‘Rewilding’ Ecosystems Could Cut Methane Emissions, Boost Forest Carbon Storage
Conservation scientists are taking a serious look at “rewilding” key ecosystems by reintroducing large species like lions and elephants, giant tortoises and donkeys, in areas where they once thrived. One of the 16 papers in a recent special series suggests the process could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Off-Fossil Transition to Reach ‘Point of No Return’ in 2035, But Not Soon Enough for IPCC Target
The global shift to non-fossil energy will reach the point of no return by 2035, fossil analysts at Wood Mackenzie conclude in a recent report, creating an “unstoppable” shift off fossil fuels. But a faster transition will still be needed to hit the decarbonization targets set out two weeks ago in the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways.
Energy Efficiency is Waning, But Could Quickly Drive Down Emissions, IEA Analysis Shows
Countries are falling behind on energy efficiency policies that would be enough to peak greenhouse gas emissions quickly and then drive them down, even if the global economy doubles through 2040, according to a new analysis released last week by the International Energy Agency.
Coal Industry Collapse Could Move Far Enough, Fast Enough to Hit IPCC’s 2030 Target: Analyst
The IPCC’s urgent call for the world’s power utilities to reduce coal consumption 60% by 2030 might look unrealistic through a business-as-usual lens. But it isn’t far off a mounting trend that has only begun to reflect the falling cost and heightened viability of renewable energy, writes Bloomberg News analyst David Fickling.
Zero-Energy Homes Now Affordable Enough for Mainstream Markets
After years of being perceived as a luxury product, the price of zero-energy homes has come down to the point that they’re now ready for “mainstream markets”, the Rocky Mountain Institute reports in a recent analysis.
Rapid Emission Cuts Would Reduce the Need for Carbon Removal Technologies: IPCC
While “carbon dioxide removal is necessary to meet the 1.5°C target,” the technique can’t substitute for deep emission cuts, and fast action on climate change will be needed to avoid the most harmful negative emissions technologies, The Sink and Mirror reports, in its summary of this week’s IPCC report on options for limiting average global warming to 1.5°C.
Carbon Capture Companies Announce Milestones in Canada, Italy
Just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a landmark 1.5°C pathways report that placed heavy emphasis on the need for viable carbon capture and storage methods, companies based in Switzerland and Canada are reporting progress on technologies designed to meet the challenge.
IPCC Delegates Consider Drastic Coal Cuts to Protect 1.5°C Target
Climate scientists gathered in Incheon, South Korea to review scenarios for 1.5°C average global warming may be poised to recommend a much faster phaseout of greenhouse gas emissions from coal, even as the United States tries to undercut the science behind the scenario report.
U.S. Utilities, Global Fossils Fight Public Opinion to Slow 100% Renewables Transition
As public demand veers increasingly in the direction of 100% renewable energy, the utility and fossil industries are doing their best to dampen the enthusiasm, injecting what they see as a dose of reality into the drive to get runaway climate change under control.
Wind to Become Europe’s Biggest Source of Electricity by 2027
Wind power will be the single biggest source of electricity generation in Europe, at 23% of total demand, by 2027, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told participants at WindEurope’s Global Wind Summit last week.
Massive Job Counts Show Renewables, Efficiency Taking Hold in ‘Every U.S. Zip Code’
The Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Boston regions lead the list of metropolitan areas that emerge as “America’s top 50 clean energy job engines,” producing 1.8 million jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy—more than half of the country’s 3,176,8329 clean energy employment, Environmental Entrepreneurs reports in a survey released this week.
Falling Renewables, Storage Costs Poised to Take the Bite Out of the Natural Gas Boom
A flurry of recent news reports all lead toward the mounting realization that new renewable energy systems are less expensive for power utilities to undertake than historically cheap natural gas plants. The finding could have stunning implications for an industry that has been preparing for a boom, with fossil publications and analysts excitedly touting a new wave of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport.
Sabia Urges Big Investors to Seize Multi-Trillion-Dollar Climate Opportunity
Major institutional investors must begin looking at the new climate economy as “what you start doing,” rather than a constraint on their activities or the financial returns they bring their clients, said Michael Sabia, president of the C$300-billion Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, in opening remarks to a group of foreign government representatives and private sector leaders during G7 meetings in Halifax last week.
ING Directs €500-Billion Lending Portfolio Toward Paris Targets with ‘Science-Based Approach’
Amsterdam-based financial institution ING Groep N.V. has unveiled plans to direct its €500-billion lending portfolio toward meeting the Paris Agreement target of holding average global warming to 2.0°C or less.
New Renewables Undercut Existing Fossil Prices in U.S. Grid Transition
U.S. utilities can now buy new renewably-generated electricity at less than it costs them to operate existing fossil plants, a senior executive at Denver-based Xcel Energy told Greentech Media this week.
Subsidy-Free Solar Sweeps Europe as Countries Reap Reward for Earlier Supports
From Germany to Italy, and from the United Kingdom to Spain, Europe is reaping the reward for its early support for renewable energy technologies that are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels—without any subsidies for the renewables. (We won’t vouch for any fossil project ever being subsidy-free.)
Ørsted Opens World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Project Off Northwest England
The 659-megawatt Walney Extension offshore wind project became the world’s biggest of its kind when it opened off the northwest English coast last week, boasting individual eight-megawatt turbines up to 195 metres in height and supplying enough electricity to power nearly 600,000 homes.
Fossil Demand Set to Peak in 2023 Due to Renewables Growth, Climate Action
Global fossil fuel demand is set to peak in 2023, putting trillions of dollars in oil, gas, and coal investments at risk due to a surging renewable energy sector, according to a new Carbon Tracker analysis released on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
Climate Solutions Promise $26 Trillion in Benefits as Global Economy Hits ‘Use It or Lose It Moment’
The “bold action” needed to address the climate crisis could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, while producing more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, preventing 700,000 premature deaths, and generating $2.8 trillion in government revenues in that year, according to a blockbuster report issued this morning by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
Espinosa and Hidalgo: Climate Action is Ramping Up, But ‘More is What We Need’
UN Climate Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Chair of C40 Cities, issued this post just days before delegates gathered for several days of climate negotiations in Bangkok.
Diverse Forests Store Twice the Carbon, Improve Biodiversity, Compared to Monoculture Plantations
Multi-species forests can sequester twice as much carbon as monoculture plantations, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.
Average U.S. Wind Cost Hits 2¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour
Average prices for wind power in the United States fell to 2¢ per kilowatt-hour last year, a stunning drop from a threshold of 7¢ in 2009, with inexpensive projects in the central part of the country leading the way, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Power Prices Below Zero Point to the ‘End of the Energy Mainframe’
The rise of cheap, available renewable energy is creating a management nightmare for traditional utilities from California to Germany to Australia, as the availability of surplus electricity drags down the price the power companies can charge for their product at certain times of day.
19 Cities, Combined Population 130 Million, Pledge Net-Zero Carbon Buildings by 2030
Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are three of 19 cities around the world whose mayors have promised to ensure that all new buildings in their communities are net-zero carbon by 2030—and that all their cities’ buildings, old and new, meet a net-zero standard by 2050.
Legal Rights for Nature Could Help Protect Biodiversity
With environmental destruction escalating around the world, environmentalists are accelerating conservation efforts through such endeavors as the Nature Needs Half (NNH) movement, and fighting pitched battles to have nature formally recognized as a legal entity with inalienable rights that must be protected.
Renewables Hit 64% of Global Electricity Supply by 2050 in New Bloomberg Analysis
New investment worth US$11.5 trillion will drive renewable energy to 64% of global electricity supply through 2050, while coal will largely be squeezed out of the grid, according to the annual New Energy Outlook report issued last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
G20’s $1.6T for New Gas Projects Undercuts Paris Climate Promises: Oil Change
With US$1.6 trillion in upcoming investments in new fossil gas projects, G20 countries are contradicting their own commitments under the Paris Agreement and perpetuating the myth that gas is a “bridge fuel” to a post-carbon future, states a report released yesterday by Oil Change International and endorsed by more than 20 organizations around the world.
Green Building Pioneers Urge LEED to Embrace Low-Carbon Tech, Climate Change Challenge
As the U.S. Green Building Council celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for environmentally sound buildings, it’s coming under pressure to toughen up a set of construction and retrofit rules that brought green design to the mainstream, but still fall short of the performance that will be needed to decarbonize the global economy.
Wealthiest Cities Hold Key to Fast, Effective Climate Action
Researchers from Norway, Sweden, Japan, and the United States are pointing to the world’s big, affluent cities—with both huge carbon footprints, and the institutional capacity and infrastructure to shrink them rapidly—as the key to avoiding catastrophic global warming.
Renewable Power Posts Record Growth, But Wider, Faster Shift Needed to Hit Paris Goals
Renewable electricity accounted for 70% of new power generation around the world last year, but greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise and the global economy as a whole needs to pick up the pace to drive the post-carbon transition, concludes the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report released earlier this week.
IEA Sees Global EV Fleet Tripling by 2020, Then Doubling Every Three Years Through 2030
The global electric vehicle fleet is on track to triple between 2017 and 2020, from 3.7 to 13 million, then grow by an average 24% per year through 2030, the International Energy Agency reported this week.
Studies Show 100% RE Grids are Already Happening
Lingering doubts about the feasibility or reliability of a 100% renewable grid can be laid to rest by a flurry of recent studies and reports showing several jurisdictions around the world “already at or close to 100%,” veteran climate and energy analyst Joe Romm reports in a recent analysis on Resilience.org.
Ramped-Up Corporate Renewables Procurement Still Falls Short of Paris Goals
Although more and more companies around the world “are voluntarily and actively procuring or investing in self-generation of renewable energy,” commercial and industrial users can still go a lot farther to help drive a transition off fossil fuels, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports.
60 Mega-Investors Demand Sharper Climate Focus at Fossils’ Annual Meetings
A group of 60 global investment managers representing more than US$10.4 trillion in assets is calling on fossil companies to take climate action more seriously at their upcoming annual meetings.
Bonn Climate Negotiations Bog Down, Leading to Extra Fall Session in Bangkok
After nine days of negotiations, the mid-year United Nations climate meeting remains bogged down in technical details, forcing countries to agree to an extra week of talks in Bangkok in September before they meet in Katowice, Poland in December to finalize the rulebook for implementing the Paris agreement.
Renewables Must Scale Up Six-Fold to Hit Paris Targets, But Cost Savings Are Massive: IRENA
Renewable energy deployment must scale up six-fold to hit the targets in the Paris agreement—but that outcome is still possible, and would lead to dramatic growth in the global economy and human welfare, according to a report released last week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Project Drawdown: 100 Steps to Reduce Atmospheric Carbon, Reverse Global Warming
The Energy Mix is introducing a regular feature to help balance our coverage between the depth of the climate crisis, the intensity of the fight against fossil fuel projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the shining promise of a decarbonized economy. Project Drawdown styles itself “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”. Beginning today, we’ll be summarizing one climate solution from the Drawdown site in each edition of The Mix.
Time to Embrace Supply-Side Campaigns, Keep Fossils in the Ground, New Study Argues
It’s time to get past a consistent bias shared by analysts, politicians, and pundits across the political spectrum, veteran climate hawk David Roberts writes in a recent column for Vox: the curiously widespread aversion to restricting the supply of fossil fuels and leaving more climate-busting carbon in the ground.
Green Investment, Fossil Divestment Go Hand in Hand
Two of the most popular household strategies for promoting the post-carbon transition—divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean solutions—will work best when they go hand in hand, and when the federal government joins individual Canadians who are already making the effort, writes Patrick DeRochie, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence.
101 Cities Source at Least 70% of Electricity from Renewables
Just over 100 cities around the world sourced at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017, a dramatic increase from the 42 that had hit that milestone in 2015, according to a new report by UK-based disclosure and environmental impact researchers CDP.
A Credible Carbon Price Tomorrow Can Influence Decisions Today
Over-the-horizon carbon prices can do a lot of good, but only if the promises are believable, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research concludes in a new report.
Loss and Damage Financing Must Push Beyond Market-Based Measures
A technical debate flowing out of last year’s UN climate conference in Bonn could help determine the global response to the unavoidable loss and damage developing countries will experience as a result of climate change.
Women’s Rights Are Key to Slower Population Growth, Faster Decarbonization
The need to get rampant global population growth under control is one of the factors that place women’s rights at the centre of the fight against climate change, former White House counsellor John Podesta and former Member of Congress Tim Wirth argue in a recent Washington Post opinion piece.