The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century.
A rise of seven degrees Fahrenheit, or about four degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.
But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.
In this warming world, some parts of the planet are warming much faster than others. The warming is causing large ice bodies to start to melt and move rapidly, in some cases sliding into the ocean.
This movement is the topic of a very new scientific study that was just published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The Arctic is warming much faster than other parts of the planet and the ice there is showing the signs of rapid warming. This fact has serious consequences. First, melting ice can cause sea levels to rise and inundate coastal areas – it also makes storms like hurricanes and typhoons more destructive. Melting ice also causes a feedback loop, which can cause more future warming and then more ice loss.
It’s not just the atmosphere and the oceans that are heating up. An ever-denser blanket of greenhouse gases is also sending warmer air and water deeper into the planet’s rocky bones.
In the mountains of Switzerland, scientists have measured startling temperature increases, with jumps of as much as half a degree Celsius in just a decade 20 feet deep into the rocks. On Svalbard, an Arctic island north of Norway, similar warming has been measured more than 100 feet deep in the permafrost.
Tracking these changes is critical to assessing growing threats to people, said Bjørn Samset, research director at the CICERO climate research center in Oslo.
The warming, combined with other climate effects like extreme rainfall, is speeding up some basic geological processes.
Over 8 trillion gallons of rain fell on North Carolina during Hurricane Florence, according to an unofficial estimate reported by the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
As the floodwaters rose, they churned up pollution and debris, which then was fed into the swollen rivers of North Carolina, a new NASA image reveals.
In January 2016, a 20-year-old killer whale known as “Lulu” washed up dead on the shores of Scotland after getting caught in rope. While her grisly death was likely directly caused by the ropes, toxicologists later reported she had extraordinarily high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs—chemicals once used to make plastics, adhesives, paints, and industrial equipment up until the 1970s—in her blubber.
This November, for the second major election in a row, citizens of Washington will vote on a ballot initiative that would put a price on carbon emissions (among many other things). The first such ballot initiative, in 2016, failed, part of a long series of failures of climate policy in the state.
This year’s effort hopes to ride the electoral blue wave and break Washington’s climate losing streak. If it passes, Washington will take its place as a part of a growing West Coast climate vanguard, alongside California and Oregon, representing close to 20 percent of the US economy. If it fails, it will not only be a crushing blow to an already battered state climate community, but it will cast doubt on the larger states-will-save-us narrative, which is just about the only narrative US climate hawks have left.
New York City: RE100 companies are more profitable than their peers, a new report reveals today – underlining the business case for putting sustainability at the heart of corporate growth strategies.
The RE100 report with Capgemini Invent, which draws on 2016-17 data from a sample of 3,500 companies, shows RE100 businesses (committed to 100% renewable electricity) consistently perform better than non-members on two key financial indicators: net profit margin and EBIT margin (Earnings Before Interests and Taxes). The difference is significant (up to 7.7 percentage points), and is true across all sectors (most prominently for IT, telecommunications, construction and real estate).
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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