Sunday, May 19, 2019

Car Giant Plumps for Carbon Neutrality

Germany’s major automotive supplier chooses to go for carbon neutrality as it joins the climate change fast lane.

Robert Bosch Gmbh Ceo Volkmar Denner (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Bosch, the German engineering conglomerate which is the world’s largest supplier to the car industry, says it is aiming for full carbon neutrality by next year, in order to meet the challenge posed by climate change.

Volkmar Denner, Bosch’s chief executive, says it’s vital that companies act now in order to stop the planet from overheating and endangering global stability.

“Climate change is not science fiction; it’s really happening”, Denner said in a statement reported by Reuters news agency.

“If we are to take the Paris Agreement seriously, then climate action needs to be seen not just as a long-term aspiration.  It needs to happen here and now.”

Bosch says that at present it emits around 3.3 million tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide each year, while its annual energy consumption is equivalent to the combined total of the power used by all private households in the cities of Berlin and Munich.

Read more at Car Giant Plumps for Carbon Neutrality

Hayhoe:  Climate Hope Comes from People

 Katharine Hayhoe (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Professor Katharine Hayhoe is visiting the UK and delivering a lecture as part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series on the 15th may at 3pm.  The lecture is open to the public and can also be watched live online.  Nick Breeze caught up with her before the event. 

Nick Breeze (NB):  Here in the UK, in the last month or two, hundreds of people have been arrested and climate change is in the news.  In some ways that is good but it also creates another polarity because some people don’t agree with the methods. 

How do we get past this impasse of what is a social system of high carbon consumption, that people are protesting against, and the overwhelming desire to just stop making climate change worse?

Katharine Hayhoe (KH): Yes, the level of concern and urgency is growing with the Extinction Rebellion and the children’s climate strikes.  It is because the urgency is growing to the point where we scientists are standing up and saying we need to do something about it. 

And then, there was the 1.5-degree report where it is shown that even a 0.5 degree of change carries quantifiable impacts that should be avoided.  The scientific urgency has increased and our personal experience of the impacts has changed rapidly in the last decade, and I think that is even more important.

The vast majority of people surveyed in the US agree that climate is changing, plants and animals will be affected, future generations will be affected, even people in the developing countries will be affected.  But then you say, ‘do you think climate change will affect you personally?’  And the majority still answer ‘no’. 

It is up to 41 per cent saying yes though, and it has gone up from 30 per cent to 40 per cent in the last 10 years.  And this year we saw the biggest jump in that number.  And that is because we are experiencing impacts in the places where we live, and we are recognizing that it really does affect us and we do need to fix it. 

NB: Ok, and you think it is the tangible impacts that are really contributing now to the dialogue?

KH: I think so, I think it is the tangible impacts coupled with the increasing clarity of the scientific messaging and also, the involvement of so many different voices.  So, in the UK as well as around the world, we see voices from the business sector, we see voices talking about divestment from the fossil fuel sector. 

You know, the Rockefeller Foundation divested for climate change reasons away from fossil fuels.  We see countries like Norway taking tremendous steps forward.  We see faith leaders of all kinds from the Anglican Church across the spectrum speaking about climate change. 

We are starting to see these discussions happening in almost every sphere, so climate change is no longer considered to be an environmental issue that only environmentalists care about.  And of course, climate change is a human issue.  We already have all the values we need to care about it. 

So we are starting to see these discussions in many different places where we didn’t see it before and that is also contributing to this growing awareness and groundswell of demand for meaningful action.

Read more at  Hayhoe:  Climate Hope Comes from People

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saturday 18

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020

Air Pollution, Diseases, Drought, Climate Change, and Earthquakes Are Creating Risks "in a Way that We Have Not Anticipated"

Agiro Cavanda looks at his flooded home in the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, at Wimbe village in Pemba, Mozambique, April 29, 2019. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings) Click to Enlarge.
Increasingly complex, growing and related risks, from global warming to pollution and epidemics, threaten human survival if left to escalate, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.

A biennial assessment report on how the world is dealing with disasters said the past could no longer be relied on as a guide to the future, with new risks emerging "in a way that we have not anticipated".

It identified a range of major threats to human life and property, including air pollution, diseases, earthquakes, drought, and climate change.

There is also growing potential for one type of disaster to produce or exacerbate another, as when heavy rains trigger mudslides after wildfires, warned the report launched at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva.

"If we continue living in this way, engaging with each other and the planet in the way we do, then our very survival is in doubt," said Mami Mizutori, special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for disaster risk reduction.

Extreme weather events have doubled over the last 20 years, causing economic losses that are making it "an uphill battle" to maintain development gains in low and middle-income countries, she added in a statement.

Meanwhile, the gap between how well rich and poor cope with wild weather and other threats is widening due to poorly planned urbanization, environmental degradation, and population growth.

That "complex cocktail of risk" is destroying homes and displacing people, or pushing them to migrate in search of a better life, Mizutori said.

Air Pollution, Diseases, Drought, Climate Change and Earthquakes Are Creating Risks "in a Way that We Have Not Anticipated"

‘Extraordinary Thinning’ of Ice Sheets Revealed Deep Inside Antarctica

New research shows affected areas are losing ice five times faster than in the 1990s, with more than 100m of thickness gone in some places.

The Antarctic’s Thwaites glacier. More than 50% of the Pine Island and Thwaites glacier basins have been affected by thinning in the past 25 years. (Photograph Credit: PA) Click to Enlarge.
Ice losses are rapidly spreading deep into the interior of the Antarctic, new analysis of satellite data shows.

The warming of the Southern Ocean is resulting in glaciers sliding into the sea increasingly rapidly, with ice now being lost five times faster than in the 1990s.  The West Antarctic ice sheet was stable in 1992 but up to a quarter of its expanse is now thinning.  More than 100 meters of ice thickness has been lost in the worst-hit places.

A complete loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet would drive global sea levels up by about five meters, drowning coastal cities around the world.  The current losses are doubling every decade, the scientists said, and sea level rise are now running at the extreme end of projections made just a few years ago.

Read more at ‘Extraordinary Thinning’ of Ice Sheets Revealed Deep Inside Antarctica

U.S. Democratic Hopeful Inslee Unveils Second Climate Change Plan

U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Governor Jay Inslee participates in a moderated discussion at the We the People Summit in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2019. (Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria) Click to Enlarge.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender whose campaign is focused on climate change, unveiled a plan to invest $9 trillion in 10 years in modern manufacturing and green infrastructure to “revitalize America’s economy for the 21st century.”

This is the second plank of Inslee’s broader “Climate Mission” agenda, which sets a goal of achieving 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2035.

The 38-page plan calls for $300 billion in average annual federal spending to leverage around $600 billion more each year to invest in industries and manufacturing, infrastructure, and skilled labor, which it estimates would create 8 million jobs.

“America must rise to this 21st century challenge with a bold plan to:  create jobs; protect workers’ rights; repower the economy; rebuild our infrastructure; and reinvest in innovation,” according to his proposed strategy.

Read more at U.S. Democratic Hopeful Inslee Unveils Second Climate Change Plan

California Threatens Gasoline Car Ban

(Credit: Click to Enlarge
California might ban gasoline-powered cars if the federal government goes ahead with a plan to relax emission and fuel economy standards, Bloomberg reports, citing the chair of the California Air Resources Board.

“CARB will be exploring ways to ensure communities get the reductions of air pollution they so desperately need to keep the air clean and breathable -- and continue to fight climate change,” Mary Nichols said.  “That might mean, for example, tougher requirements for low-carbon fuels, looking at tighter health-protective regulations on California refineries, doubling down on our enforcement efforts on mobile and stationary sources -- and might lead to an outright ban on internal combustion engines.”

The fight over fuel economy standards has been going on since the Trump administration said it planned to freeze the standard at 2020 levels and is part of a wider confrontation between the state and the federal administration that has since Trump’s inauguration seen California file as many as 49 lawsuits against the federal government.  Of these, almost half, or 24, are against policies by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read more at California-Threatens-Gasoline-Car-Ban.html