Special report: Our plastic planet Activist consumer groups are pushing for less use, and to some extent, less production, while industry aims for increased recycling. Plastics demand is projected to only increase — and the footprint of plastic pollution with it.
Following the Money That Undermines Climate Science It’s difficult to figure out who’s funding climate denial, because many of the think tanks that continue to question established climate science are nonprofit groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors. That’s true of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market research organization in Washington that disputes that climate change is a problem.
Greta Thunberg speaking at the UN -“Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
Ice on Fire - An HBO Documentary
Tue, Jun 11 at 8:00pm ET on HBO Go and HBO Now
On demand: Available Wed, Jun 12
Produced by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid and directed by Leila Conners, Ice on Fire is an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis. The film goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming.
Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.
Emails reveal Trump official consulted climate change deniers A Trump administration national security official has sought help from advisers to a think tank that disavows climate change to challenge widely accepted scientific findings on global warming, according to his emails.
MIT: The Green Future Index The Green Future Index is a ranking of 76 leading countries and territories on their progress and commitment toward building a low carbon future. It measures the degree to which their economies are pivoting toward clean energy, industry, agriculture, and society through investment in renewables, innovation, and green finance.
Life-Saving Drinking Water Disinfectants Have a 'Dark Side' -"Take a glass of water. You may or may not have pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PFAS and lead in it. Usually not," says Susan Richardson, a professor of biochemistry at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. "But there's always something that is in your drinking water, and that's disinfection by-products." Aptly named, the chemicals form in water when disinfectants that are widely used to kill pathogens in municipal drinking water facilities react with organic compounds. These compounds may be present in the water as a result of natural processes such as the decay of leaves and animal matter, as well as human activities that may release solvents, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and industrial chemicals. Exposure to disinfection by-products through drinking, bathing or swimming has been linked to potential increased risks of low birthweight babies, birth defects, miscarriages and cancer. "Disinfection is hugely important. We've got to kill those pathogens," says Richardson. "We had millions of people dying from waterborne illnesses before we started disinfecting water in the 1800s."
Worried about Earth's future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp Securing Earth's future requires prudent, long-term decisions. However this is impeded by short-term interests, and an economic system that concentrates wealth among a few individuals. Right-wing populist leaders with anti-environment agendas are on the rise, and in many countries, environmental protest groups have been labeled "terrorists." Environmentalism has become weaponised as a political ideology, rather than properly viewed as a universal mode of self-preservation. Financed disinformation campaigns against climate action and forest protection, for example, protect short-term profits and claim meaningful environmental action is too costly—while ignoring the broader cost of not acting. By and large, it appears unlikely business investments will shift at sufficient scale to avoid environmental catastrophe.
How China ended the lie of recyclable plastic A 2017 memo sent by China to the World Trade Center sent the global recycling industry into a tailspin. In the 1970s, the plastic industry helped get municipalities past "plastic hesitancy" by successfully marketing their product as recyclable, therefore guilt-free. While that is true in theory, mach of the plastic waste, especially what is known as "medium-value" plastics, are more profitable to make from scratch than from reclaimed material. Follow the money. Because China ships more materials to the US than vice versa, it was inexpensive to fill empty cargo ships returning to China with American single-use plastics. But the economics shifted eventually, making it not profitable to ship American medium-value plastic to China. After China's 2017 memo, shipments of waste plastic covered in the memo dropped by over 99%.
Photography campaign shows the grim aftermath of logging in Canada's fragile forests Watt’s photographs of the forest – and the grim aftermath of logging – are now the centrepiece of a campaign by the Ancient Forest Alliance to capture the impact of clearcutting old growth trees in British Columbia. Despite recent efforts by the province to protect these fragile forests, conservationists say far more is needed to prevent the collapse of ecosystems.
'We packed long underwear and never wore it': Arctic scientists shocked at warming While the world on average has warmed more than 1C because of human-caused climate change, the Arctic is heating much faster. The researchers found the shallow waters were up to 3C hotter than is typical throughout the water column. This year marked the second-biggest sea ice retreat toward the North Pole ever, after 2012.
Greta Thunberg video "Nature Now by Tom Mustill" Plant trees. Stop using and extracting fossil fuels.
We spend 1000x more on fossil fuel subsidies than on natural based solutions.
We need to Protect, Restore and Fund natural solutions.
VOTE for people who will defend our climate.
Aggressive push to 100% renewable energy could save Americans billions – study A new analysis by Rewiring America, an energy policy organization, finds that households would benefit financially from a complete switch to clean energy sources such as solar and wind. More than 40% of energy emissions are determined by appliances in and around the home, according to the report, such as heating, electricity, refrigeration and car use. Sign up to the Green Light email to get the planet's most important stories Read more Should all of these related factors be fully electrified and sourced from clean energy, households could save as much as $321bn in energy costs, the report finds, or up to $2,500 a household a year. Households would be faced with the upfront costs of installing solar panels and electric devices such as stovetops and heat pumps, but Rewiring America says strong government assistance for renewables would help deliver long-term savings.
75 ways Trump made America dirtier and the planet warmer -"I want crystal clean water and air."
That's what Donald Trump said in the first chaotic presidential debate with Joe Biden. But there is scant evidence of that desire in the actions of his administration, which has spent nearly four years systematically dismantling core environmental protections, some of which stretch back decades.
What has COVID-19 taught us about flattening the climate curve? Moody's has estimated the potential economic damage from the rising temperatures caused by carbon emissions at seven times the costs of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. It is high time to start flattening the curve on an impending climate emergency. And the added bonus is that we could quadruple the returns within a decade. The World Bank has calculated that “$1.8 trillion in investment by 2030 concentrated in five categories – weather warning systems, infrastructure, dry-land farming, mangrove protection and water management – would yield $7.1 trillion in benefits.”
Pope Francis makes case for urgent climate action -“The Earth must be worked and nursed, cultivated and protected,” the 83-year-old head of the Catholic Church said. “We cannot continue to squeeze it like an orange.”
The evidence is compelling on human activity as the principal cause of global warming So why the scientific confidence in attributing the warming to human emissions? Because an abundance of temperature data matches with high-quality observations of CO2 emissions and, since 1955, with the resulting atmospheric concentrations. Using these data, the global scientific community has confirmed, by detailed analyses using computer models of how our planet works, that the only plausible explanation for the warming is the emissions of greenhouse gases by humans. The point here deserves emphasis: We know from observed temperature increases (and not simply through modeling) that Earth is warming. No one seriously contests that. Those who might wish that warming were caused by something other than humanity’s use of fossil fuels have never proven another possible cause of that warming: If not fossil fuels, then what? No response to that question can be authoritatively answered and proven.
Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5 C warming limit by 2024, major new report says There's a one-in-four chance the global annual average temperature will exceed 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels for at least one year over the next five years. The chance is relatively small, but still significant and growing. If a major climate anomaly, such as a strong El Niño, occurs in that period, the 1.5℃ threshold is more likely to be crossed. El Niño events generally bring warmer global temperatures.
I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing Without cars, Manhattan’s streets could give priority to more equitable and accessible ways of getting around, including an extensive system of bike “superhighways” and bus rapid transit — a bus system with dedicated lanes in the roadway, creating a service that approaches the capacity, speed and efficiency of the subway, at a fraction of the cost. Eliminating most cars in Manhattan would also significantly clean up the air for the entire region. It would free up space for new housing and create hundreds of acres of new parks and pedestrian promenades, improving the fundamental health, beauty and livability of America’s largest metropolis.
Warming Greenland ice sheet passes point of no return The finding, published today, Aug. 13, in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment, means that Greenland's glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.
Trump Eliminates Major Methane Rule, Even as Leaks Are Worsening The rollback of the last major Obama-era climate rule is a gift to many beleaguered oil and gas companies, which have seen profits collapse from the Covid-19 pandemic. But it comes as scientists say that the need to rein in methane leaks at fossil fuel wells nationwide has become far more urgent, and new studies indicate that the scale of methane pollution could be driving the planet toward a climate crisis faster than expected.
What can you do to fight the climate crisis? As the climate crisis intensifies, scientists and experts agree that systemic change is critical. But while individual efforts alone aren’t enough to reverse global heating, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do. We asked several climate scientists and advocates about individual actions that can make a difference.
We've been having the wrong debate about nuclear energy The debate on both sides often misses key points. A central tenet of much of the pro-nuclear rhetoric is a misleadingly gloomy portrayal of renewable energy options. Meanwhile, absolutist arguments against nuclear energy too often apply primarily to older plants no longer being built. And at times both sides tend to hang their hats on optimistic advances in technologies that may or may not become commercially available in time to make needed progress toward decarbonization. Given a pressing need to re-think the world’s energy systems, it’s worthwhile talking about nuclear energy. But first, spurious and inflammatory claims have to be cast aside in favor of a fair appraisal of the best and quickest ways to move beyond fossil fuels.
Saudi Arabia censors fossil fuel subsidy discussion as G20 host Sources close to the G20 preparations told Climate Home News the Saudi authorities were uncomfortable with the term “subsidy” and asked for the word to be removed from policy proposals. Instead of “fossil fuel subsidies” – an established concept in the energy literature – they inserted “fossil fuel incentives” – a term with no commonly agreed definition.
Every $1 invested in ocean sustainability generates $5 of benefits for the planet The world’s oceans are a hotbed of economic activity, from tourism to international shipping to commercial fishing. Ocean-based industries account for 31 million full-time jobs and trillions of dollars of economic benefits every year. But as climate change worsens, the ocean and its industries are under threat. There’s good news, though: investing in ocean sustainability is worth the cost: every $1 in key ocean actions can generate $5 in economic, health, and environmental benefits.
Rare night clouds may be warning sign of climate crisis Noctilucent clouds form in the mesosphere, the rarefied upper atmosphere with little moisture and intensely low temperatures. The scant water vapour there can freeze on to specks of smoke from meteors burning up in the atmosphere, creating the crystals that form noctilucent clouds. The mesosphere is coldest in summer, allowing the crystals to form. These clouds may also be a warning sign of the climate crisis. They were first recorded in 1885 and were rarely seen for years afterwards, largely in polar regions. But in recent times the clouds have appeared much further afield and are growing much brighter. Much of the moisture needed to form the clouds comes from methane, a potent greenhouse gas that produces water vapour when it breaks down in the upper atmosphere. And as methane pollution has increased, so noctilucent clouds have grown more common and more widespread.
Fossil fuels have no place in COVID-19 recovery plans: UN chief -"Every financial decision should take account of environmental and social impact as well as a price should be placed on carbon. Let us commit to no new coal today and end all external financing into the developing world. Let us embrace the vast opportunity of a clean energy future. This is more important than ever in the coming months as the companies, investors and countries make big financial decisions about the future. Nations must commit to net-zero targets by 2050 and submit more ambitious national climate plans before COP-26 near year."
2020 Is Our Last, Best Chance to Save the Planet In the future, we may look back at 2020 as the year we decided to keep driving off the climate cliff–or to take the last exit. Taking the threat seriously would mean using the opportunity presented by this crisis to spend on solar panels and wind farms, push companies being bailed out to cut emissions and foster greener forms of transport in cities. If we instead choose to fund new coal-fired power plants and oil wells and thoughtlessly fire up factories to urge growth, we will lock in a pathway toward climate catastrophe. There’s a divide about which way to go.
'2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau did not create “2040” for viewing during the coronavirus pandemic. Although only now being released, online, in the U.S., the documentary premiered in Australia in the spring of 2019. Nevertheless, the film fits well with this summer 2020 moment. For a nation wondering what post-pandemic life will look like, “2040” provides an optimistic vision of a new normal, one that addresses issues of social justice while meeting challenges posed by climate change. As such, “2040” is the most upbeat documentary about climate change since climatologist Richard Alley’s PBS series “Earth: An Operator’s Manual.” And it’s often funny, entertaining, and, in a family sitcom sort-of-way, touching.
Covid-19 has led to a pandemic of plastic pollution Data are hard to come by but, for example, consumption of single-use plastic may have grown by 250-300% in America since the coronavirus took hold, says Antonis Mavropoulos of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), which represents recycling bodies in 102 countries. Much of that increase is down to demand for products designed to keep covid-19 at bay, including masks, visors and gloves. According to a forecast from Grand View Research, the global disposable-mask market will grow from an estimated $800m in 2019 to $166bn in 2020.
An enlightened response to COVID-19 can avert the climate emergency While everyone welcomes clearer skies and a sizeable fall in CO2 emissions during the pandemic, these benefits are transitory, insufficient in scale and impose too high a price in terms of lives, jobs and economic growth. Putting ourselves on a truly sustainable path will require levels of ambition, coordination and a mobilisation of finance (public and private) that dwarfs anything we have done before. We will succeed only by growing ourselves out of trouble – not with a thankless choice between sustaining livelihoods or sustaining the planet.
Who killed Berta Cáceres? Behind the brutal murder of an environment crusader On 29 November 2018, seven men were convicted of murdering Cáceres. David Castillo was detained in March 2018 and charged with masterminding the murder; he denies any involvement and remains in prison awaiting trial. The Atala Zablah family have denied any participation in the murder and have never been arrested or faced any charges
The Extraordinary Way We'll Rebuild Our Shrinking Islands Along with the sustainability firm Invena, the scientists have come up with a system of underwater structures that harness the energy of ocean waves to redistribute sand. Eventually, they hope these mounds will grow into new islands or help rebuild coastlines as sea levels continue to rise.
The best way to avoid future pandemics? Protect the natural world The good news is that far-sighted political leaders and the United Nations are already formulating nature-focused action plans that could help to stop the next pandemic before it starts. These strategies include conserving ecosystems and wilderness that are still untouched by human activity, clamping down on wildlife trade (including by educating people about the risks of consuming wildlife), and restoring and protecting significant areas of land and ocean.
New Study Reaffirms Sea-Level Rise Is Linked to Human Activities, Not Changes in Earth's Orbit The study is a worrisome reminder that it is up to us to save our planet before it is too late. Today, sea-level rises threaten to inundate densely populated coastal cities and other low-lying lands by 2100.
Green buildings: Greater focus on climate adaptation and mitigation in updated BREEAM standard The Building Research Establishment (BRE), which manages the popular BREEAM standard, announced ths week that version six of the BREEAM guidelines for both commercial and residential buildings expands the manual for benchmarking and certifying existing residential assets and incorporates a new 'Resilience' category focused on managing climate changes impacts.
It’s already getting too hot and humid in some places for humans to survive Extreme conditions reaching roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit on the heat-index scale — a measurement of both heat and humidity that’s often referred to as what the temperature “feels like” — doubled between 1979 and 2017, the study found. Humidity and heat are a particularly deadly combination, since humidity messes with the body’s ability to cool itself off by sweating. The findings imply that harsh conditions that scientists foresaw as an impending result of climate change are becoming reality sooner than expected.
Inside Clean Energy: A California Utility Announces 770 Megawatts of Battery Storage. That’s a Lot. The utility Southern California Edison said it will work with developers to build seven lithium-ion battery storage projects that add up to an eye-popping 770 megawatts, which is more than all of the battery storage projects commissioned in the country last year and enough to power a small city. The projects each use four-hour battery systems.
Coronavirus crisis hits solar and wind energy industry While President Trump has promised lifelines for airlines and oil companies struggling with a drastic decrease in demand as Americans remain under stay-at-home orders, there is little focus in Washington on economic relief for this sector — unlike during the Great Recession a decade ago, when Congress and the Obama administration earmarked an unprecedented sum for renewable energy and more efficient automobiles in a stimulus bill.
It Took A Pandemic To Prove Individual Actions Alone Won’t Solve The Climate Crisis We have long been told that individual actions are key to solving the climate crisis. Put another way, carbon calculators, marketing campaigns and even major news outlets have convinced us that we are the ones to blame for climate change because we buy things, we have kids, we fly and we drive and we are, by nature, shortsighted. But the emissions reductions we are seeing now are not the result of individual action at all, but rather of policy and collective action. People are following shelter-in-place guidelines dictated by federal, state and local agencies. They’re not making a choice.
Earth Day Message to Leaders: After Coronavirus, Rebuild Wisely The head of the United Nations, António Guterres, called on countries to transition away from fossil fuels as they repair their economies, including by suspending taxpayer funds to prop up polluting industries and instead using them to create “green jobs and sustainable growth.” “We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future,” Mr. Guterres said.
Church fund urges other ExxonMobil investors to sack board over climate The Church Commissioners and New York State Common Retirement Fund have written to fellow ExxonMobil investors ahead of an annual shareholder meeting on 27 May, hoping to support for the protest votes, which include forcing ExxonMobil to disclose its lobbying activities and their cost . “Our voting intentions are, again, a measure of our profound dissatisfaction with ExxonMobil’s approach to climate change risks and the governance failures that underpin it,” the letter said.
Eight Lessons from COVID-19 to Guide Our Climate Response Countries’ responses to COVID-19 outbreaks have ranged from swift, decisive, and forward-thinking to delayed, contradictory, and reactionary. In a webinar hosted by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in Ireland on 7 April, climate experts discussed what the global responses to the ongoing pandemic can teach us about what’s needed to act on climate change in an effective and equitable way. Here are eight takeaways from the discussion.
Norway and the A-ha moment that made electric cars the answer Electric car drivers have been given the right to park for free in some municipal car parks, drive in bus lanes, take ferries without a ticket and, thanks to A-ha, drive toll-free. They are not required to pay VAT on their cars, or road tax, and company electric cars are taxed at a lower rate than petrol or diesel vehicles.
Climate Enemies: The Men Who Sold the World Climate change is going to dramatically alter life on the planet in the coming decades. Just how dramatically will depend on how aggressively governments and businesses move to correct the practices that over the past century have filled the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, some bad actors are not only failing to address the crisis, they’re actively exacerbating it. Here’s a list of America’s worst offenders, from fossil-fuel industry magnates, to investment gurus, to the president himself.
Traffic and Pollution Plummet as U.S. Cities Shut Down for Coronavirus Los Angeles’s famous rush-hour congestion has virtually disappeared. On Wednesday at 8 a.m., traffic in the city was moving 53 percent faster than it usually does on a Wednesday morning, according to data from INRIX, a company that analyzes traffic data from vehicle and phone navigation systems. At 5 p.m., when the freeways are typically congested, traffic was moving 71 percent faster than usual.
The right dose of geoengineering could reduce climate change risks, study says Results from a new study by UCL and Harvard researchers suggest that even a crude method like injecting sulphur dioxide in the stratosphere could reduce many important climate hazards without making any region obviously worse off.
Heartland Launches Website of Contrarian Climate Science Amid Struggles With Funding and Controversy The conservative Heartland Institute, which made its name undercutting mainstream climate science, has launched a new effort to try to influence public discussion and political debate about global warming. The move comes as the organization is reportedly struggling financially and has fallen into renewed controversy over its work in Europe promoting climate denial there. Last week it laid off staff just weeks after it announced the hiring of a teenage German climate skeptic to counter the global popularity of environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
Here's why global CO2 emissions fell by the most since 1990 Coal-fired power generation fell by 3 percent globally, also the largest fall since 1990, research by independent climate think-tank Ember showed. The drop in Europe was 24 percent, driven by a switch to renewables, while US coal-fired generation was down 16 percent because of more competitive gas.