Sustainable Arlington

Envision Arlington/Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) Chapter


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This page includes content from the Climate Change News blog, which is maintained daily by David Landskov, and content from our old SA blog archives.

  • Billions Face Food,Water Shortages Over Next 30 Years as Nature Fails

    Climate Change News Oct 13, 2019 | 03:49 am

    Billions Face Food,Water Shortages Over Next 30 Years as Nature Fails A new model shows which areas of Earth will likely be hit the hardest by the changes caused by human activity, also revealing possible solutions. As many as five billion people, particularly in Africa and South Asia, are likely to face shortages of food and clean water in the coming decades as nature declines.  Hundreds of millions more could be vulnerable to increased risks of severe coastal storms, according to the first-ever model examining how nature and humans can survive together. “I hope no one is shocked that billions of people could be impacted by 2050,” says Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer a landscape ecologist at Stanford University.  “We know we are dependent on nature for many things,” says Chaplin-Kramer, lead author of the paper Global Modeling Of Nature’s Contributions To People published in Science. That nature is in sharp decline was made clear in the first-ever global assessment of biodiversity released earlier this year. Human activity has resulted in the severe alteration of more than 75 percent of Earth’s land areas and 66 percent of the oceans, putting a million species at risk of extinction, according to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Read more at Billions Face Food,  Water Shortages Over Next 30 Years as Nature Fails

  • Hurricanes Wreak Greater Havoc as Temperatures Soar

    Climate Change News Oct 13, 2019 | 03:47 am

    Hurricanes Wreak Greater Havoc as Temperatures Soar Devastation caused by the most powerful hurricanes has increased by up to twentyfold, according to a newly-identified pattern in natural disasters. The worst things that can happen could be about to get even worse.  While the economic cost of the average flood, drought, windstorm, landslide, or forest fire has crept up over the decades, the price exacted by the most extreme events – such as hurricanes Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 and Dorian over the Bahamas this year – has increased drastically. Weather-related disasters have been steadily increasing for decades, driven by rising atmospheric temperatures as a consequence of profligate use of fossil fuels and other human actions. Although better information, advance warning systems and community preparedness have in many ways reduced or contained the loss of life, the economic costs have risen, on average. The average count is not the only one that matters, though. According to European and US researchers, the top 5% of all disasters are proving radically more expensive. Read more at Hurricanes Wreak Greater Havoc as Temperatures Soar

  • Friday 111

    Climate Change News Oct 13, 2019 | 03:21 am

    Friday 111 <

  • With Rising Seas at Their Door, Mayors Vow to Combat Climate Change

    Climate Change News Oct 11, 2019 | 06:00 am

    With Rising Seas at Their Door, Mayors Vow to Combat Climate Change Mayors of cities from Lisbon to New Orleans called on Thursday for urgent global action to tackle climate change that could see hundreds of coastal metropolises swamped with water. The C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen gathered leaders of 94 world cities that are home to more than 700 million people and represent one quarter of the global economy. Their meeting comes a month after a United Nations study delivered a stark warning to the world: slash emissions or watch cities vanish under rising seas, rivers run dry, and marine life collapse. “The Gulf of Mexico is now at our front door,” New Orleans mayor LaToya Contrell told a news conference.  “While the sea level is rising, we’re also sinking, and we are losing a football field every 100 minutes.” She later told Reuters it would require “billions of dollars” to not only drain the city on the Mississippi River, but also collect and hold water to keep it from running into the drains immediately. Read more at With Rising Seas at Their Door, Mayors Vow to Combat Climate Change

  • 20 Companies, 33 Percent of All Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Climate Change News Oct 11, 2019 | 05:30 am

    20 Companies, 33 Percent of All Greenhouse Gas Emissions Back in October of 2016, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists did an interview with researcher Richard Heede, who had just completed a dozen years’ work to pin down the exact carbon contributions of all the oil, coal, and gas producers (and cement makers) since the industrial revolution kicked into high gear.  At that time, Heede’s findings seemed stunning enough, as can be seen from the title of our 2016 interview: Just 90 companies are accountable for more than 60 percent of greenhouse gases. Now, however, things have kicked up another notch.  In the time since our original Bulletin story, Heede has sharpened his focus still further, and narrowed his timeline to just the period since 1965—the point when the climate effects of fossil fuels became known to industry leaders.  His stunning new findings were the focus of an entire package of a half-dozen stories on the front page of today’s Guardian in a new section called “The Polluters;” the take-away is that a mere 20 fossil fuel companies are directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era. Asked for comment on these findings, climate scientist Michael Mann said in one of the stories in the Guardian’s polluters package:  “The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price—in the form of a degraded planet—so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits.” For his part, Heede—now with the[…]

  • Pipelines! - by James Hanson

    Climate Change News Oct 11, 2019 | 05:00 am

    Pipelines! - by James Hanson How much effort to spend fighting pipelines?  What is the best use of our time and resources?  On one hand, educating lawmakers and the public about the merits of a rising carbon fee is crucial.  Once enacted, a rising carbon fee will make the most carbon-intensive energy sources uneconomic.  Oil derived from tar sands or tar shale is high on the list of the most carbon-rich. However, as part of my testimony last week to the Illinois Commerce Commission, in opposition to the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline, I did a calculation of the amount of CO2 that will be released by the additional crude oil, if the pipeline capacity is increased from 570,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 1,100,000 bpd.  The additional CO2 emitted is equivalent to fifteen 1,000-megawatt coal plants. The lawyers asked the question “If the proposed expansion does not occur, won’t refiners find other sources of crude?”  The real question, it seems to me, is whether the Illinois Commerce Commission will pave the way for expanded use of this exceptionally harmful fuel or whether, by making the right choice, the Commission will exercise leadership that other authorities can emulate, which decisions, in combination, will function to restrict full exploitation of this carbon-intensive crude. Stopping pipelines is difficult.  Yet climate science is clear.  Most of the additional CO2 pumped into the air will need to be extracted, somehow, if we are to maintain shorelines and an hospitable climate for future generations.  Just slowing approval of[…]

  • Birds Are Telling Us It's Time to Take Action on Climate

    Climate Change News Oct 11, 2019 | 04:30 am

    Birds Are Telling Us It's Time to Take Action on Climate Global warming poses an existential threat to two-thirds of North American bird species—but there's still time to protect them.  Audubon's new climate report says we have to act now. An onslaught of severe-weather events, years of record heat, and daily flooding from sea-level rise have reinforced our findings and convinced a majority of Americans that it’s time to take action.  Research by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that more than 60 percent of Americans say the federal government should do more to address the problem.  At this point, denying the need to act on climate change is a suicide wish for the planet, for people, and for birds.   Late last year, a prominent senator wrote:  “The climate is changing and we, collectively, have a responsibility to do something about it.”  You might be surprised to learn that senator is the Republican leading the legislative committee that oversees environmental policy, and that he hails from the country’s top coal-producing state.  John Barrasso (R-WY) represents a shift in Washington, D.C., and across the nation; increasingly, we’re seeing Republicans joining Democrats in the search for climate solutions.  Audubon has helped accelerate that shift, and we have an opportunity to continue to drive change.  Read more at Birds Are Telling Us It's Time to Take Action on Climate

  • Thursday 10

    Climate Change News Oct 11, 2019 | 03:30 am

    Thursday 10 <

  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Shift Toward a 'Fossil Fuel-Free World'

    Climate Change News Oct 10, 2019 | 05:45 am

    Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Shift Toward a 'Fossil Fuel-Free World' The Three Winners Developed Lithium-Ion Batteries that Made Electric Vehicles and Battery Storage for Solar and Wind Power Possible  As Climate Solutions. When the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday to three scientists who developed lithium-ion batteries, it noted the importance of their research in making "a fossil fuel-free world possible," with electric vehicles and renewable energy storage helping cut emissions that drive climate change. The great twist in the story is that the Nobel recipient cited for making the "first functional lithium battery," M. Stanley Whittingham, came to his discovery in the 1970s as a research scientist in the laboratories of Exxon, the corporation that later would lead the vastly successful effort to deny climate change.  ExxonMobil faces a trial in New York later this month for allegedly misleading shareholders about the risks climate change poses to the company—and their investments. Whittingham was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with John B. Goodenough, a professor of engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and Akira Yoshino, a chemist at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. Read more at Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Shift Toward a 'Fossil Fuel-Free World' — with Exxon Connections

  • Sea-Level Rise Threatens 13 Million Americans.  Can FEMA Help?

    Climate Change News Oct 10, 2019 | 05:02 am

    Sea-Level Rise Threatens 13 Million Americans.  Can FEMA Help? Entrepreneur and presidential hopeful Andrew Yang caught flak at the second Democratic debate in July for saying that the time has come to move Americans living in the path of sea-level rise to higher ground.  “You can run but you can’t hide” doesn’t make a particularly good presidential slogan.  After all, admitting defeat and letting nature take its course isn’t exactly our first instinct as human beings. Managed retreat — abandoning areas that become so threatened by sea-level rise that they are, for whatever reason, considered not worth saving — has been a far less popular idea than adaptation strategies like flood gates, levees, and pumps.  (Just look at Miami.) But in many respects Yang’s realism is spot on.  If the world keeps burning fossil fuels as usual, between four and 13 million Americans will see their homes inundated by sea-level rise this century.  In the future, managed retreat will become unavoidable. Don’t take Yang’s word for it.  That’s one of the conclusions of a new study in Science Advances — the first to evaluate how managed retreat is functioning in the United States on a national scale.  The study’s authors analyzed the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s voluntary buyout program — an initiative that allows owners of flood-prone properties to sell their homes and land to local governments, usually in the aftermath of a disaster.  The aim of the program is to get vulnerable people and assets out of flood plains and to ensure that at-risk property doesn’t go back[…]