I’m going to do all this reading and research anyway… might as well share what I learn!
NEWS
+
VIEWS
April 15 2024

greenhouse-gas concentrations continue to climb, the oceans are the hottest we’ve ever seen, methane-detecting satellite is launched, misinformation is rampant about offshore wind, power-cable upgrades can enhance the grid without new construction

In the last In Brief, it was reported that carbon-dioxide concentrations continue to increase in the atmosphere, according to the International Energy Agency. The Guardian notes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that methane and nitrous oxide, both greenhouse gases, also reached record levels in 2023 (along with carbon dioxide). The increases were not as great as in previous years, which could possibly indicate that the relentless rise is slowing, but it nonetheless underscores that we are continuing to make the hole we are in deeper rather than getting ourselves out of it.

The Guardian describes a call for expanding the classification of hurricanes to include a new Category 6 for the most extreme storms. If that category existed over the last 10 years, there would have been five storms in the new category. The intensity of major storms has notably increased during the four-decade satellite record of hurricanes. Another article in The Guardian describes how the rapid intensification of Hurricane Ian as it approached Florida led to much more serious damage and loss of life. Redlining and other historic discriminatory practices has also resulted in families of color being forced to buy homes in areas more prone to flooding, leading to these families being disproportionately impacted by storm events. Meanwhile, The Washington Post notes that the first forecasts for 2024 indicate a very active Atlantic hurricane season, with the combination of warm oceans (called “alarming” and “unprecedented”) and an emerging La Niña weather pattern leading to powerful storms.

Indeed, The New York Times reports that “the ocean has now broken temperature records every day for more than a year. And so far, 2024 has continued 2023’s trend of beating previous records by wide margins.” In The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert visits with a number of climate scientists to ponder the extraordinary temperature of the oceans. Some scientists are wondering whether there has been a fundamental change in the climate system that is leading to these temperatures, which were not expected to be observed for many decades. Others posit that this might be, in large part, natural variability. Critical to an understanding will be what happens as El Niño conditions begin to wane later this year…

read more
March 31 2024

carbon emissions continue to climb, U.S. world’s largest oil and gas producer, EPA moves to reduce emissions from transportation, heat fuels record Texas wildfire, the challenge of fossil-fuel subsidies

Reuters reports that, according to the International Energy Agency, global carbon-dioxide emissions increased 1.1% in 2023, to 37.4 billion metric tons. So, instead of slowing future global warming by reducing emissions, we are continuing to emit even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Analysts projected that there would have been a small decrease last year, but drought in many places reduced the ability to generate hydropower, and fossil-fuel burning was substituted. Emissions were lower in the U.S. (4.1%) and Europe (9%), but rose 5.2% in China. Part of the decline in U.S. emissions is due to reduced burning of coal, as reviewed by Inside Climate News, and The Guardian notes that U.S. emissions are down 17.2% from 2005. Meanwhile, Salon cites measurements showing that the winter of 2023-24 was the warmest ever recorded.

Despite the reality that we need to stop developing fossil-fuel projects if we are going to keep global temperatures from rising quickly, The Guardian reports that oil and gas development is continuing unabated around the world. In particular, the United States “has produced more crude oil than any country has ever done in history for the past six years in a row, and led the way in new oil and gas projects in 2022 and 2023.”

U.S. demand for electricity is soaring due primarily to demand from data centers (to power AI among other applications) and new manufacturing facilities (plans to build or expand more than 155 U.S. factories were announced from 2021-23). The Washington Post notes that, “In Georgia, demand for industrial power is surging to record highs, with the projection of electricity use for the next decade now 17 times what it was only recently,” while Northern Virginia and Texas both need the equivalent of several large nuclear-power plants to serve all the new data centers planned and under construction. The demand for power is driving up land prices, as companies are bidding for land in places where there is ample electricity supply. Data-center developers are also looking to create the power themselves by using fuel cells (Oregon) or geothermal energy (Texas)…

read more

IN BRIEF: PAST
CLIMATE NEWS

MORE MY TAKES
 

NEWS
+
VIEWS
I’m going to do all this reading and research anyway… might as well share what I learn!
April 15 2024

greenhouse-gas concentrations continue to climb, the oceans are the hottest we’ve ever seen, methane-detecting satellite is launched, misinformation is rampant about offshore wind, power-cable upgrades can enhance the grid without new construction

In the last In Brief, it was reported that carbon-dioxide concentrations continue to increase in the atmosphere, according to the International Energy Agency. The Guardian notes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that methane and nitrous oxide, both greenhouse gases, also reached record levels in 2023 (along with carbon dioxide). The increases were not as great as in previous years, which could possibly indicate that the relentless rise is slowing, but it nonetheless underscores that we are continuing to make the hole we are in deeper rather than getting ourselves out of it.

The Guardian describes a call for expanding the classification of hurricanes to include a new Category 6 for the most extreme storms. If that category existed over the last 10 years, there would have been five storms in the new category. The intensity of major storms has notably increased during the four-decade satellite record of hurricanes. Another article in The Guardian describes how the rapid intensification of Hurricane Ian as it approached Florida led to much more serious damage and loss of life. Redlining and other historic discriminatory practices has also resulted in families of color being forced to buy homes in areas more prone to flooding, leading to these families being disproportionately impacted by storm events. Meanwhile, The Washington Post notes that the first forecasts for 2024 indicate a very active Atlantic hurricane season, with the combination of warm oceans (called “alarming” and “unprecedented”) and an emerging La Niña weather pattern leading to powerful storms.

Indeed, The New York Times reports that “the ocean has now broken temperature records every day for more than a year. And so far, 2024 has continued 2023’s trend of beating previous records by wide margins.” In The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert visits with a number of climate scientists to ponder the extraordinary temperature of the oceans. Some scientists are wondering whether there has been a fundamental change in the climate system that is leading to these temperatures, which were not expected to be observed for many decades. Others posit that this might be, in large part, natural variability. Critical to an understanding will be what happens as El Niño conditions begin to wane later this year…

read more
March 31 2024

carbon emissions continue to climb, U.S. world’s largest oil and gas producer, EPA moves to reduce emissions from transportation, heat fuels record Texas wildfire, the challenge of fossil-fuel subsidies

Reuters reports that, according to the International Energy Agency, global carbon-dioxide emissions increased 1.1% in 2023, to 37.4 billion metric tons. So, instead of slowing future global warming by reducing emissions, we are continuing to emit even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Analysts projected that there would have been a small decrease last year, but drought in many places reduced the ability to generate hydropower, and fossil-fuel burning was substituted. Emissions were lower in the U.S. (4.1%) and Europe (9%), but rose 5.2% in China. Part of the decline in U.S. emissions is due to reduced burning of coal, as reviewed by Inside Climate News, and The Guardian notes that U.S. emissions are down 17.2% from 2005. Meanwhile, Salon cites measurements showing that the winter of 2023-24 was the warmest ever recorded.

Despite the reality that we need to stop developing fossil-fuel projects if we are going to keep global temperatures from rising quickly, The Guardian reports that oil and gas development is continuing unabated around the world. In particular, the United States “has produced more crude oil than any country has ever done in history for the past six years in a row, and led the way in new oil and gas projects in 2022 and 2023.”

U.S. demand for electricity is soaring due primarily to demand from data centers (to power AI among other applications) and new manufacturing facilities (plans to build or expand more than 155 U.S. factories were announced from 2021-23). The Washington Post notes that, “In Georgia, demand for industrial power is surging to record highs, with the projection of electricity use for the next decade now 17 times what it was only recently,” while Northern Virginia and Texas both need the equivalent of several large nuclear-power plants to serve all the new data centers planned and under construction. The demand for power is driving up land prices, as companies are bidding for land in places where there is ample electricity supply. Data-center developers are also looking to create the power themselves by using fuel cells (Oregon) or geothermal energy (Texas)…

read more

IN BRIEF: PAST
CLIMATE NEWS

MORE MY TAKES