Climate Change ☀️
When It Comes To Clean Energy, USPS Delivery Trucks Don't Yet Answer The Mail
The federal government's fleet includes some 650,000 vehicles, everything from Army Humvees to Social Security Administration staff cars. The U.S. Postal Service's delivery trucks make up about a third of that.

So Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's announcement last month of a new contract to replace many of those aging, gas-guzzling vehicles was welcomed by groups urging the government do more to reduce carbon emissions.

DeJoy said the contract, initially for $482 million, "allows the Postal Service to be able to order electric power train vehicles as well as traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. This is great news," DeJoy said, "because we are committed to move forward a more environmentally sustainable mix of vehicles in our fleet."

Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the Sierra Club's Clean Transportation For All campaign, says postal delivery trucks are the "perfect use case" for electric vehicles.

"They don't travel far distances in any given day. They sit idle overnight when they can charge," she tells NPR. "And they travel through neighborhoods exposing people to air pollution. So shifting to a 100% electric USPS fleet should really be a no brainer."

But, as DeJoy later explained to lawmakers, because of financial constraints, only about 10% of those new trucks would be electric vehicles. Coplon-Newfield says that's not good enough. "Electrifying just 10% of the U.S. fleet, as the postmaster, DeJoy, has suggested, is really shortsighted and not acceptable."

Members of Congress are urging DeJoy to purchase more new electric vehicles. The postmaster general has said it would cost an additional $3 billion to $4 billion to make the Postal Service's fleet 90% electric — money the cash-strapped agency doesn't have.

While the Postal Service moves lowly toward adopting electric vehicles, Robert Puentes of the Eno Center for Transportation, a transportation think tank, says Biden is on the right track in pushing for EVs.

"Transportation is the No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases, and the U.S. lags far behind," he says. "And so for the president to try to put the government purchasing power in play and to try to convert those vehicles certainly makes sense."
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Saving the West’s most iconic cactus from climate change
The largest cactus in the United States, the saguaro is distinct, visually and biologically. A mature saguaro can grow to 40 feet and weigh a ton after soaking up rainwater. Supported by its wood skeleton, the saguaro can sprout dozens of arms. Sometimes the arms are curled; if two are growing side by side, they’re often hugging.

The saguaro grows in just one part of the world: in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona; northern Mexico; a smidgen of California; and most prolifically in a mountainous swath that flows west from Tucson to the California border. It’s a landscape of rock, hard sand and open blue sky, and the saguaro has been part of it for 10,000 years.

And now, a changing climate is raising concerns about how the saguaro will survive the 21st century in an environment that’s hot and getting hotter, dry and getting drier. In a climate wake-up call, drought and record-breaking heat in 2020 contributed to wildfires that killed thousands of saguaros.

... North America’s only monsoon — and the reason the Sonoran Desert is billed as the world’s “wettest desert”— brings billowing cumulonimbus clouds that drench the land in rain. Nearly half the annual rainfall required to hydrate the Sonoran Desert is delivered by the monsoon.

Last summer, the monsoon never came. A pitiful 1.62 inches of rain fell, compared with the average 6.08 inches — a rare occurrence that in meteorological dark humor is termed a “nonsoon.” As a result, 2020 was Tucson’s driest year on record, according to the National Weather Service. The lack of rain compounded long-term drought conditions.

... Individual weather events don’t inform a trend, Crimmins said. But 2020 was also Tucson’s hottest summer on record. Over the course of 124 uninterrupted days, daytime temperatures never dropped below 100 degrees, with 50 of those days peaking at 105 degrees or higher.

While heat is not necessarily a threat at this point — heat makes the cactus grow — it has contributed to a devastating new risk: fire kindled by invasive buffelgrass, a South African import. Buffelgrass, which has been thriving in hotter, drier conditions, forms a flammable carpet around the cactus.

Thousands of saguaros died on the buffelgrass-laden lower slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains on the north side of Tucson in June, when a massive lightning-ignited fire erupted and burned for seven weeks.
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Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations