The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.

US winter has shrunk by more than one month in 100 years

The length of the US winter is shortening, with the first frost of the year arriving more than one later than it did 100 years ago, according to more than a century of measurements from weather stations nationwide.

The trend of ever later first freezes appears to have started around 1980, according to data from 700 weather stations across the US going back to 1895 and compiled by Ken Kunkel, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming despite publicly backing Paris climate agreement

Oil giants Shell and BP are planning for global temperatures to rise as much as 5°C by the middle of the century. The level is more than double the upper limit committed to by most countries in the world under the Paris Climate Agreement, which both companies publicly support.

The discrepancy demonstrates that the companies are keeping shareholders in the dark about the risks posed to their businesses by climate change, according to two new reports published by investment campaign group Share Action. Many climate scientists say that a temperature rise of 5°C would be catastrophic for the planet.

Rising Seas Are Flooding Virginia’s Naval Base, and There’s No Plan to Fix It

Climate change poses an immediate threat to Norfolk. The seas are rising at twice the global average here, due to ocean currents and geology. Yet while the region is home to the densest collection of military facilities in the nation, the Pentagon has barely begun the hard work of adaptation. A detailed study in 2014 by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center identified about 1.5 feet of sea level rise as a “tipping point” for the base that would dramatically increase the risk of serious damage to infrastructure. But there is no plan to address this level of rise, which scientists expect within a few decades.

St. Louis adopts a 100 percent renewable energy goal

Missouri’s history is deeply tied to coal: The first commercial coal operations west of the Mississippi river took place there in the late 1800s, it currently obtains around 75 percent of its electricity from coal plants, and St. Louis, Missouri’s most populous city, is home to some of the biggest coal companies in the country, from Peabody Energy to Arch Coal.

But on Friday, the city’s leadership decided to take the city in a completely different direction, with the St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously voting to adopt a goal of obtaining 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035.

Shipping executive: ‘We have deliberately misled public on climate’

A UK shipping executive has turned on the industry for ignoring the effect lobbying has had on its efforts to reduce carbon pollution.
In an op-ed published on the trade press site Splash 24/7 on Thursday, Andrew Craig-Bennett said industry mockery of a report released this week that concluded lobbyists had “captured” talks at the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO) was misplaced.

On Monday, the NGO Influence Map released a damning report that exposed the degree to which these shipping registries and industry lobby groups had infiltrated the body intended to regulate them.

Are Antarctica’s Ice Sheets Near a Climate Tipping Point?

The world needs to eliminate nearly all carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning by 2050 to avoid pushing Antarctica’s ice sheets past a tipping point that could cause a major surge in sea level rise, new research shows.

If CO2 emissions from fossil fuels continue at their present pace, many Pacific islands and millions of people along low-lying shores like the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Bay of Bengal could be swamped by 1.3 meters (more than 4 feet) of sea level rise before the end of this century, an international team of scientists found in a new study published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

U.S. government should manage climate risks as costs soar: GAO report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. federal government should adopt a strategy to manage climate change risks, as their cost to the government may rise as much as $35 billion per year by mid-century, a congressional watchdog office report released on Monday said.

Extreme weather and fire events have cost the federal government over $350 billion over the last decade, the report said, citing the Office of Management and Budget.

Preliminary government estimates of the economic losses of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the wildfires in nine western states combined this year alone are poised to exceed $300 billion.

”Our government cannot afford to spend more than $300 billion each year in response to severe weather events that are connected to warming waters, which produce stronger hurricanes,” said Maine Senator Collins.

Cantwell, lead Democratic on the Senate energy committee, whose home state Washington was affected by wildfires, said the report warns that the federal government will need to pay “trillions more in the future unless we mitigate the impacts.”

The GAO recommended that White House executive offices, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy, use available economic reports to “craft appropriate federal responses.”

At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.

 

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