July 19, 2017
California Governor Jerry Brown just won a big victory in his efforts to fight climate change, but Canada’s Ontario province has been pushing him to go further.
A key tool in the fight against atmospheric carbon just got a big boost, with scientists finding a way to significantly speed up the process of locking away carbon in water or rocks – known as carbon sequestration.
July 14, 2017
Last week, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) announced it would appeal a judge’s ruling that gave creditors priority access to a bankrupt oil company’s assets over its financial obligations to clean up abandoned wells.
There’s no doubt that if we’re going to stop or even slow down climate change, we have to get our collective shit together. But collective action starts with individual choices, and for all the data-driven decision makers out there, the path forward just got a bit more lucid. A new study in Environmental Research Letters has determined exactly which life choices reduce our carbon footprints the most.
July 13, 2017
We already know that climate change might make air travel more turbulent. But now it looks like it will impact it in an even more drastic way: A new study in the journal Climatic Change examines how rising air temperatures will affect airplanes' ability to take off. And the results aren't promising.
July 10, 2017
Investors have been told the fight against climate change is in their hands, with 71% of the world's industrial greenhouse gas emissions originating at just 100 fossil fuel companies — a third of which are publicly traded.
June 27, 2017
Some of the largest companies in America are also those leading the charge toward a more sustainable future, according to a joint report by Calvert Research, WWF, CDP, and Ceres.
June 25, 2017
The United Nations is eyeing blockchain as part of its fight against climate change.
During a recent UN meeting in Germany, an official with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussed how the tech could provide benefits as the world moves to adopt the Paris Climate Change Agreement, an accord struck last year aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.
A recent blog post detailing discussions at the UN meeting in May remarks that the organization could use the tech to create a transparent and efficient system that can monitor, for example, carbon emissions and clean energy trading, fund allocation. Blockchain could also be leveraged to ensure the accuracy of carbon emission reduction data.
June 16, 2017
Swedish lawmakers, by an overwhelming majority vote (254 against 41), have bound the country to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2045. Only one out of country’s eight political parties didn’t support the Climate Act in parliament yesterday, which comes into action in January 2018.
The Climate Act requires a commitment to report on progress and keep track of Sweden’s progress on its climate goals:
June 6, 2017
California said it would cooperate with China on clean technology, emissions trading and other "climate-positive" efforts in a bid to fill a gap left after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord last week.
The government of California and China's Ministry of Science and Technology will work together to develop and commercialise know-how on carbon capture and storage, clean energy, and information technology to rein in greenhouse gases, according to a Tuesday statement.
June 2, 2017
President Trump may be quitting the Paris accord on climate change — but forcing the rest of the nation to go along with him is proving more of a challenge.
Led by California, dozens of states and cities across the country responded Friday to Trump’s attack on the worldwide agreement by vowing to fulfill the U.S. commitment without Washington — a goal that is not out of reach.
May 31, 2017
Sitting on top of a waste incineration facility near Zurich, a new carbon capture plant is now sucking CO2 out of the air to sell to its first customer. The plant, which opened on May 31, is the first commercial enterprise of its kind. By midcentury, the startup behind it–Climeworks–believes we will need hundreds of thousands more.
May 29, 2017
A panel of the world's most eminent economists have estimated how high carbon prices need to be for the world to avoid climate catastrophe - and put forward ideas on how to spend the money raised.
May 21, 2017
If you want to see a solution to the climate crisis in your lifetime, they might be the two most important words you hear this year: carbon pricing.
Sure, the crisis is a complex challenge with no one solution. But while carbon pricing may not be a silver bullet, it's one we're going to need in the chamber—and critically, support is growing all along the political spectrum right when we need it.
May 16, 2017
New Delhi: India no longer needs international cooperation to decarbonise itself and needs to pressure countries to remain ambitious, including wealthier countries that need to act domestically and support developing countries in the transition to a green economy.
May 4, 2017
In the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 195 nations committed to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels. But some, like Eelco Rohling, professor of ocean and climate change at the Australian National University’s research school of earth sciences, now argue that this target cannot be achieved unless ways to remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are found, and emissions are slashed.
May 5, 2017
Modernization has harmed giant sequoias: not only have they been cut down in groves, but climate change has diminished their lifespan. Four designers in South Korea want to help preserve the trees’ legacy with a skyscraper called Tribute: The Monument of Giant, that could be tucked inside hollowed-out trunks, helping to keep trees with rotted heartwood from crashing down. The skyscraper would allow a visitor to feel small inside the vastness of a giant sequoia, while also offering education about the natural wonders.
As CO2 levels rise, controversial techniques including carbon capture and storage, enhanced weathering and reforestation may be solutions
April 29, 2017
he debate facing our world today is not whether we need to address climate change. That debate is far, far behind us. The issue is how to address climate change – as quickly and effectively as possible.
Virtually the entire scientific community – more than 99% of peer-reviewed studies – has concluded that climate change is real. It is caused by human activity. And the impacts are devastating.
We must aggressively transition our energy system away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy solutions. And we need to do so now
April 25, 2017
A chemistry professor and his team of students at the University of Central Florida found a way to turn greenhouse gases into clean air -- and produce energy simultaneously, UCF announced Monday.
Assistant Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo and his group found out how to do both by triggering the process of photosynthesis in the synthetic material metal-organic frameworks, which breaks down carbon dioxide into harmless organic materials.
March 16, 2017
Climate change is already beginning to wreak havoc upon the planet. In the short term, we're facing more winter storms, miserably hot summers, and a longer allergy season. In the long term, entire coastlines will likely disappear, threatening communities and wildlife.
On a more local level, experts say the US will be unrecognizable in 100 years.
But just how is all of this affecting you — your state, your coastline — right now?
A recent report from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health reveals that different geographic regions in the US are facing a range of effects, many of which are already taking shape today. Some of them are as geographically specific as to affect only one state.
The nonprofit started by former Patagonia executive Kris Tompkins and her late husband, The North Face co-founder Douglas Tompkins, has made what it says is the largest-ever land donation by a private entity to a country. Appearing with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet on March 16, Kris Tompkins announced that Tompkins Conservation plans to hand over more than 1 million acres (4,000 square km) to the nation of Chile.
In addition, the Chilean government agreed to designate or enhance protections on another 9 million acres (36,000 square km) of state land to conservation. The total conserved area is three times larger than the US’s Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.
February 25, 2017
One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken. That is the stark view of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists who will gather on Monday to determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere.
“The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” say the organisers of the Biological Extinction conference held at the Vatican this week.
For two decades, Klaus Lackner has pioneered efforts to combat climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now, after years of watching the global community fail to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, Lackner — director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University — is delivering a blunt message: The best hope to avoid major disruptions from global warming is to launch a massive program of CO2 “air capture” that will begin to reverse the buildup of billions of tons of carbon in our atmosphere.
February 21, 2017
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has long been tied to environmental risks such as spills. The frequency of spills, however, has long been murky since states do not release standardized data.
Estimates from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) vary wildly.
"The number of spills nationally could range from approximately 100 to 3,700 spills annually, assuming 25,000 to 30,000 new wells are fractured per year," the agency said in a June 2015 report. Also, the EPA reported only 457 spills related to fracking in 11 states between 2006 and 2012.
February 12, 2017
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released the December Energy Infrastructure Update – it includes a summation of the annual utility scale (1MW in size or greater) installations of electricity generation hardware. The report showed 26GW+ of power plants installed – 15GW of that being wind+solar and 1.2GW nuclear power. In addition to utility scale solar power is somewhere between 4.8GW to 6.8GW’ish of private and business solar power. When accounting for each technology’s capacity factor – it turns out that roughly 65% of electricity generated from these installations will be clean and most of this hardware will run for decades.
Earlier this week, a group of prominent Republicans called for a nationwide price on carbon to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and slow climate change.
It’s a proposal we should all be talking about, but we know Congress won’t - at least not before 2018 -because while these elder statesmen of the Republican party were floating the paper, their juvenile progeny in the Senate were voting to let US oil companies pay bribes overseas and stifling any mention of the $20 billion per year in subsidies and tax breaks that the US gives the fossil-fuel sector.
When climate denial and "alternative facts" pervade the body politic, it's time to zoom in on the science. Climate change is real and its effects are already visible—even more so when you can see them play out on the big screen.
The 15th Wild and Scenic Film Festival, in Nevada City in January, was rife with such evidence. Unlike most film festivals put on by big production companies, this one is produced by a nonprofit environmental organization called South Yuba River Citizens League—and powered by 700 of its volunteers. The organizers' passion is clear and so is their intent: to inspire audiences to take action on the challenges facing our planet. With climate change at the top of that particular list and 120 films running over the course of a weekend, it's safe to say this reviewer faced no shortage of opportunity to sit back, relax and learn.
January 29, 2017
Last week, a 200MW solar fishery came online in Cixi City in east China’s Zhejiang Province. The photos below show the immensity of the project. Dual use solar power comes in many forms: parking lot solar is always getting attention, walkable solar glass – like the project built by Apple (though I don’t think the Apple campus solar counts), and solar even roadways are now a thing. With the State of California considering requiring solar in all new construction, a slew of cities pushing the envelope already and Tesla’s Solar Roof coming, the near-term future has plenty of motivation for innovation in the building integrated photovoltaic market (BIPV). Will seeing things like solar-powered fisheries and roadways motivate more infrastructure integrated photovolatics?
January 23, 2017
My friend the writer and editor Laura M. Browning asked me to write about environmental action for her newsletter “One Small Thing,” which advises people on personal actions they can take to improve their world. Here's a preview:
Most Americans believe climate change is real and that something should be done about it, but they seem to want someone else to do it—usually, the government. In the wake of the 2016 election, what was always true should be abundantly clear: government won’t solve the problem of climate change.
That leaves us. Fortunately, there are lots of things
January 24, 2017
We know that Earth is changing in dramatic ways on a daily basis, but sometimes you need a bird's eye view – or a satellite feed – to really appreciate the evolution of our planet.
That's exactly what you get with a new set of images recently released by NASA, showing dramatic shifts in forest sizes, water levels, and ice cover over the last 40 years.
Some of the pictures really are shocking, like the comparison below of Lake Urmia in Iran, showing its shrinking size and changing colours.
January 16, 2017
A newly-discovered peatland in the Congo Basin of central Africa contains an estimated 30.6 billion tons of carbon in its waterlogged soils—equivalent to three times the total annual carbon emissions of every human being alive today.
Covering an area the size of England, the Cuvette Central is the largest tropical peatland area on Earth, dramatically increasing the amount of carbon stored in our planet’s hot and humid midsection, according to an analysis published last week in Nature. Now that this vast carbon sink has been identified, experts say we need to take every action possible to ensure it remains in the ground.
January 14, 2017
At the home of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, 500 sets of golden cutlery had been laid out. The well-groomed guests and an uncommonly smart gaggle of reporters had flown into Los Angeles from Moscow and Singapore, Paris and Johannes-burg.
Passing the stars on the Walk of Fame, they lingered by the bar, snacking on canapés and sipping champagne, and now they were taking their seats in the auditorium, making sure to snap a selfie or two.
January 7, 2017
Arctic sea ice area and volume have collapsed in recent decades. And the North Pole has been freakishly warm this winter, as carbon pollution has made what would have been once-in-1,000-years heatwaves increasingly commonplace.
But what’s so remarkable about this year is that the ongoing drop in Arctic sea ice has been matched by an unexpectedly sharp drop in Antarctic sea ice.