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

Lawsuits on mining leases near BWCA resist governance by memo and whim

Two more lawsuits were filed this week against the Trump administration’s about-face on Twin Metals Minnesota’s mineral leases at the edge of the Boundary Waters, bringing the total to three.

The documents bring some clarity and concision to the tangled procedural history of the leases’ renewals, cancellation and re-granting. And on mining’s threat to area businesses centered on paddling and quiet recreation, they present some compelling illustrations of potential job losses.

But perhaps their main value will be the focus they bring to this question: Has ours become a government of whim, or do the law, the rules and settled procedures still matter?

h/t Linda

Methane, Climate Change, and Our Uncertain Future

The greenhouse gas, methane, is produced by both natural processes and human activities. While there has been much attention paid to curbing anthropogenic emissions, a changing climate will likely increase the production of natural methane. In an open access article recently published in Reviews of Geophysics, Dean et al. [2018] describe the ways in which biological, geochemical, and physical systems influence methane concentrations and explore how methane levels in natural systems may alter in a warming climate. Here the authors answer some questions about the sources and significance of methane, and indicate some future research directions.

Swiss Re reveals group-wide coal policy

In line with its sustainability risk framework and consistent with the Paris Agreement, Swiss Re has begun implementing a group-wide policy that will see the insurance giant shutting its doors to businesses with more than 30% exposure to thermal coal.

Announcing the plan’s effectivity, Swiss Re said the decision to come up with a thermal coal policy was based on its commitment to the “Paris Pledge for Action,” taking on global warming and supporting what it described as a “progressive and structured” shift away from fossil fuels. Implemented across all lines of business and the (re)insurer’s global scope of operations, the policy applies to both existing and new thermal coal mines and power plants.

Ecosystems across Australia are collapsing under climate change

Australia is one of the most climatically variable places in the world. It is filled with ecosystems adapted to this variability, whether that means living in scorching heat, bitter cold or a climate that cycles between the two.

Despite land clearing, mining and other activities that transform the natural landscape, Australia retains large tracts of near-pristine natural systems.

Many of these regions are iconic, sustaining tourism and outdoor activities and providing valuable ecological services – particularly fisheries and water resources. Yet even here, the combined stress of gradual climate change and extreme weather events is causing environmental changes. These changes are often abrupt and potentially irreversible.

Rising seas’ cost may be $27tn a year by 2100

LONDON, 4 July, 2018 – The rising seas’ cost may be US$27tn a year for the world by 2100 if it fails to meet the UN’s 2ºC global warming limit by then, with sea level rise of, at its worst, almost six feet (nearly two metres), new research says.

A study led by the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) says the worldwide cost of flooding caused by rising sea levels, at their median level, could by 2100 be $14 trillion, if governments miss the United Nations target of keeping the rise in global temperatures, caused by unremitting fossil fuel use, to less than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. But the extent and cost could be much higher.

Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week

(This article, originally published Tuesday, was updated Wednesday to add all-time heat records at Mount Washington, N.H., and Tbilisi, Georgia set since Monday. On Thursday, the story was updated to include information on heat-related deaths in Canada and extraordinary heat in Siberia. On Friday, it was updated to add the likely all-time heat record in Africa and Southern California.)

From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East to Southern California, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week.

Large areas of heat pressure or heat domes scattered around the hemisphere led to the sweltering temperatures. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports the heat is to blame for at least 54 deaths in southern Quebec, mostly in and near Montreal, which endured record high temperatures.

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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