Climate Change Ledger - February 1, 2021
The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty concept is now gaining traction all around the world. Hundreds of organisations, companies, cities and individuals are endorsing the initiative. The momentum is building for a global plan to end the exploration for new fossil fuels, phase out existing production in line with a 1.5C scenario, and implement a just transition for every worker, community and country. To endorse the Treaty www.fossilfueltreaty.org
Female scientists focus on a secret weapon to fight climate change: Moms
Six climate scientists who are also mothers have launched a $10 million campaign to educate and empower other mothers to do something about climate change. Ads featuring the scientists will be on national TV and online for the next month. “What world have I brought my child into?” a new mom pleaded. “What can I do to make sure my baby isn’t brought up in a world that’s being destroyed?”
It was 2019, and climate researcher Katharine Hayhoewas at a church breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska, when a young woman tapped on her shoulder and confessed that she was terrified. Ever since the birth of her daughter, the young woman said, she couldn’t stop worrying about the threat of a rapidly warming planet. “That heartfelt question is one I thought I could only really answer as a fellow mom,” said Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University who has spent years trying to educate the public about climate change. Hayhoe told the Alaska woman the same thing she sometimes had to tell herself when she worried about her own son’s future: Channel your fear into action. Talk to your friends and family. Advocate for change in your town, your church, your school, your state.
COMOX YOUTH CLIMATE COUNCIL is active in the CV. Check out their website. Consider a donation or becoming a volunteer (you don’t have to be a “youth”). https://comoxyouthclimatec.wixsite.com/cycc
Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet – and Often Your Budget, Too Electric vehicles are better for the climate than gas-powered cars, but many people are still reluctant to buy them. One reason: The larger upfront cost. Despite the higher sticker price, electric cars may actually save drivers money in the long-run. A team at the MIT calculated both the carbon dioxide emissions and full lifetime cost — including purchase price, maintenance and fuel — for nearly every new car model on the market. They found electric cars were easily more climate friendly than gas-burning ones. Over a lifetime, they were often cheaper, too.
Climate scientists say vehicle electrification is one of the best ways to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, the transportation sector is the largest source of emissions, most of which comes from cars and trucks. For electric cars, lower maintenance costs and the lower costs of charging compared with gasoline prices tend to offset the higher upfront price over time. (Battery-electric engines have fewer moving parts that can break compared with gas-powered engines and they don’t require oil changes. Electric vehicles also use regenerative braking, which reduces wear and tear.) The cars are greener over time, too, despite the more emissions-intensive battery manufacturing process. It is estimated that an electric vehicle’s production emissions would be offset in anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on how clean the energy grid is where the car is charging. New York Times, 1/15/21
John Kerry said the U.S. would follow through with its pledge to help developing nations with climate mitigation. The U.S. climate envoy told the Climate Adaptation Summit that the United States would follow through with its pledge to the Green Climate Initiative, a United Nations program to help developing countries shift to clean energy and take preventive measures to minimize the harm from climate-related flooding and other extreme weather events. The United States pledged $3 billion to the fund during the Obama administration, but so far only paid $1 billion of that amount, leaving a $2 billion shortfall. The United States has not contributed to the fund sincePresident Donald Trump took office in 2017 and pulled the nation out of the Paris climate accord. Bloomberg, Washington Post, 1/26/21
‘Zombie’ greenhouse gas lurks in permafrost beneath the Arctic Ocean. Millions of tons of organic carbon and methane beneath the Arctic Ocean thaw out and ooze to the surface each year. And climate change could speed up this release of greenhouse gases. Because that sediment is in such an inaccessible spot, there’s only a little bit of patchy data on how much carbon and methane lie buried there and how quickly those gases are escaping into the ocean and atmosphere.
2020 tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record. The recordis based on data from the European Commission. Each of the past 6 years has been hotter than any other recorded before 2015, in temperature records dating to the 19th century. 2020’s record is particularly alarming to climate scientists: Although 2016’s record temperatures were aided by the largely natural climate cyclone known as El Niño, which raises surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, this past year saw a La Niña phenomenon, which generally contributes to cooler ocean temperatures. “If one pictures global warming as a car rolling down a hill, El Niño acts as a gas pedal, speeding the descent, whereas La Niña serves as a modest application of the brakes.” “What’s happening now, scientists say, is that even La Niña years are setting global temperature records, due to the over–powering influence of human-caused warming from decades of greenhouse gas emissions.” Energy 202, Washington Post, 1/11/21
Earth is losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year. And it’s going to get worse. Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past 2 decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise. From thin ice covering most of the Arctic Ocean to the mile-thick mantle of the polar ice sheets, ice losses have soared from about 760 billion tons per year in the ‘90s to more than 1.2 trillion tons per year in the 2010s. That is an increase of more than 60 percent, (28 trillion tons of melted ice in total). Roughly 3 percent of all the extra energy trapped within Earth’s systemby climate change has gone toward turning ice into water.Washington Post 1/25/21
The amount of warming baked in from pollution already in the air is enough to blow past climate goals. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change found that carbon dioxide already in the air will continue to fuel global warming to more than 2 degrees Celsius, even if emissions halt. Scientists have long predicted that carbon, which can stay in the atmosphere for well over a century, will continue to increase future temperatures, but the new study suggests an even greater amount of committed warming.“It’s like the distance a speeding car travels after the brakes are applied,… But it’s not game over because, while that amount of warming may be inevitable, it can be delayed for centuries if the world quickly stops emitting extra greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the study’s authors say.”AP, Energy 202, Washington Post, 1/6/21
Protected areas may not safeguard all that Canadians need them to: research The country’s vast network of parks isn’t adequately safeguarding areas that provide fresh water and recreation to nearby populations. The research also says over half of the areas Canadians rely on for those benefits are facing mining, energy or forestry pressure. It says the hot spots are coming under increasing pressure: up to two-thirds of the areas most important for freshwater, carbon storage or recreation are also subject to resource extraction.
As populations and economies grow, he said, land-use planners will have to start considering other landscape values than what can be cut or dug out. Matthew Mitchell, lead author of the paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters.CP, 1/5/21
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