I’m going to do all this reading and research anyway… might as well share what I learn!
NEWS
+
VIEWS
May 31 2022

future threat of a mass marine extinction, restoring river floodplains, keeping nuclear plants operating, Governor DeSantis sides with solar, most-popular U.S. vehicle goes electric

A new study summarized by the New York Times concludes that a mass extinction of ocean life will occur by 2300 if humans continue emitting greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The risk of this extinction event, on par with the five great extinctions in the fossil record, can be reduced by 70% if emissions are kept to the upper limit of the Paris Accord. As with so many other assessments of the future, this study demonstrates again that the world we get will be the world we choose. We have great agency now, as argued in a Times Magazine op-ed, to impact the future if we can find the political will to use it.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the Great Barrier Reef has been hit with a sixth mass coral-bleaching event. This one has occurred during La Niña ocean conditions, which are cooler than El Niño. Scientists had hoped La Niña years would be periods where the reef could recover. One scientist states: “Unexpected events are now to be expected. Nothing surprises me any more.”

Rising sea levels and more intense storms are generating a smelly health hazard as septic systems stop functioning. These systems were designed with the assumption that groundwater levels would remain static but, in many places, groundwater is rising with higher sea levels and heavy precipitation. The Washington Post notes that about 20% of U.S. households rely on septic systems, and of particular concern are the systems in coastal communities from New England to Florida. While experts note that we lack a comprehensive understanding of rates of failure, the numbers are already daunting. In Miami-Dade County, more than half of the 120,000 systems experience inadequate functioning at some point during each year. A key solution is to connect the most vulnerable homes and businesses to a sewer, but this can be very costly, and many low-income communities are particularly hard hit by the problem…

read more
May 15 2022

heat wave in Asia, deforestation in South America and Africa, drought and fire in the southwestern U.S., methane leaks in New Mexico, innovations in battery technology

The Guardian describes a powerful heat wave that is gripping India and Pakistan. For weeks, daily high temperatures in Pakistan’s Balochistan region have exceeded 120°F, and it’s only April. When the humidity of monsoon season arrives, many experts are worried that conditions will become ever more dangerous. The heat is impacting agriculture, with yields of wheat in the hottest areas dropping 50%. An article in The Atlantic describes the challenge India faces to meet its renewable-energy goals as electrical demand climbs (in large part due to the growing amount of air conditioning). Last month, more than 600 passenger and postal trains were canceled so that the railroad could deliver more coal to power plants to prevent blackouts, as India faced its worst electricity shortage in six decades. Yet even with these steps, many communities faced outages. This also underscores the need for developed nations to help countries like India accelerate their renewable-energy deployment so that rising demand for electricity does not result in rising greenhouse-gas emissions. (Grist notes that per-capita emissions in the U.S. are over seven times higher than in India).

Coal-burning is also on the rise in China, where many municipalities suffered power outages last year, as described by the New York Times. At the same time, China is building huge amounts of renewable power as well (it will add more wind and solar power capacity this year than the entire rest of the world did last year). China is still committed to having greenhouse-gas emissions peak in 2030 but, with more coal-fired plants built in the next few years, any decline in emissions will likely be gradual. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Reuters reports delays in deployment of solar (due in part to a Department of Commerce investigation into Chinese tariff violations), resulting in a utility in Indiana delaying closure of a coal-fired power plant by two years…

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!
May 31 2022

future threat of a mass marine extinction, restoring river floodplains, keeping nuclear plants operating, Governor DeSantis sides with solar, most-popular U.S. vehicle goes electric

A new study summarized by the New York Times concludes that a mass extinction of ocean life will occur by 2300 if humans continue emitting greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The risk of this extinction event, on par with the five great extinctions in the fossil record, can be reduced by 70% if emissions are kept to the upper limit of the Paris Accord. As with so many other assessments of the future, this study demonstrates again that the world we get will be the world we choose. We have great agency now, as argued in a Times Magazine op-ed, to impact the future if we can find the political will to use it.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the Great Barrier Reef has been hit with a sixth mass coral-bleaching event. This one has occurred during La Niña ocean conditions, which are cooler than El Niño. Scientists had hoped La Niña years would be periods where the reef could recover. One scientist states: “Unexpected events are now to be expected. Nothing surprises me any more.”

Rising sea levels and more intense storms are generating a smelly health hazard as septic systems stop functioning. These systems were designed with the assumption that groundwater levels would remain static but, in many places, groundwater is rising with higher sea levels and heavy precipitation. The Washington Post notes that about 20% of U.S. households rely on septic systems, and of particular concern are the systems in coastal communities from New England to Florida. While experts note that we lack a comprehensive understanding of rates of failure, the numbers are already daunting. In Miami-Dade County, more than half of the 120,000 systems experience inadequate functioning at some point during each year. A key solution is to connect the most vulnerable homes and businesses to a sewer, but this can be very costly, and many low-income communities are particularly hard hit by the problem…

read more
May 15 2022

heat wave in Asia, deforestation in South America and Africa, drought and fire in the southwestern U.S., methane leaks in New Mexico, innovations in battery technology

The Guardian describes a powerful heat wave that is gripping India and Pakistan. For weeks, daily high temperatures in Pakistan’s Balochistan region have exceeded 120°F, and it’s only April. When the humidity of monsoon season arrives, many experts are worried that conditions will become ever more dangerous. The heat is impacting agriculture, with yields of wheat in the hottest areas dropping 50%. An article in The Atlantic describes the challenge India faces to meet its renewable-energy goals as electrical demand climbs (in large part due to the growing amount of air conditioning). Last month, more than 600 passenger and postal trains were canceled so that the railroad could deliver more coal to power plants to prevent blackouts, as India faced its worst electricity shortage in six decades. Yet even with these steps, many communities faced outages. This also underscores the need for developed nations to help countries like India accelerate their renewable-energy deployment so that rising demand for electricity does not result in rising greenhouse-gas emissions. (Grist notes that per-capita emissions in the U.S. are over seven times higher than in India).

Coal-burning is also on the rise in China, where many municipalities suffered power outages last year, as described by the New York Times. At the same time, China is building huge amounts of renewable power as well (it will add more wind and solar power capacity this year than the entire rest of the world did last year). China is still committed to having greenhouse-gas emissions peak in 2030 but, with more coal-fired plants built in the next few years, any decline in emissions will likely be gradual. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Reuters reports delays in deployment of solar (due in part to a Department of Commerce investigation into Chinese tariff violations), resulting in a utility in Indiana delaying closure of a coal-fired power plant by two years…

read more

IN BRIEF: PAST
CLIMATE NEWS

MORE MY TAKES