Climate Change ☀️
From Amazon To FedEx, The Delivery Truck Is Going Electric
All major delivery companies are starting to replace their gas-powered fleets with electric or low-emission vehicles, a switch that companies say will boost their bottom lines, while also fighting climate change and urban pollution.

UPS has placed an order for 10,000 electric delivery vehicles. Amazon is buying 100,000 from the start-up Rivian. DHL says zero-emission vehicles make up a fifth of its fleet, with more to come.

And FedEx just pledged to replace 100% of its pickup and delivery fleet with battery-powered vehicles by 2040.

(The U.S. Postal Service has smaller electric ambitions, only committing to go electric with 10% of its new delivery trucks — a decision that has led some lawmakers to cry foul over the purchasing plans.)
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/17/976152350/from-amazon-to-fedex-the-delivery-truck-is-going-electric

Smoke from wildfires wiped out the United State’s pandemic-related clean air gains in 2020
The country’s average for the deadliest type of air pollution rose nearly 7 percent over 2019

Wildfires that charred millions of acres in the West wiped out the country’s pandemic-related clean air gains in 2020, according to a report released this week.

Because pandemic restrictions limited travel and other activities, fine-particle pollution from the burning of fossil fuels dropped 13 percent between March and July compared to the previous year and dipped again in November and December, said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, who collaborated on IQAir’s annual World Air Quality Report.

But the 2020 historic wildfire season more than made up the difference. Overall, the U.S. average for the deadliest type of air pollution rose nearly 7 percent over 2019 because of smoke from fall fires, primarily those in California, Oregon and Washington.

... While no fine-particle pollution is considered to be safe, the World Health Organization’s about target is 10 parts per cubic meter or less. In 2020, the U.S. average was 9.6, and thirty-eight percent of U.S. cities exceeded the target level compared to 21 percent in 2019.

... During a fire, the concentration of tiny pollution particles soars and increases the risk of acute respiratory problems such as asthma attacks.

For example, perhaps one large fire raises the annual average in an area from 10 to 20 micrograms per cubic meter. Epidemiologists are trying to figure out whether that is more — or less — harmful to a person’s long-term health than year-round exposure to 20.

The working hypothesis is that they are the same, Pierce said.

Now that wildfires are becoming larger and more common while fossil-fuel emissions have trended downward in the United States for decades, a better question may be which type of pollution is more toxic. Unfortunately, new research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests that wildfire smoke may be significantly worse.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/17/air-pollution-us-wildfires/?arc404=true

Ocean areas that, if strongly protected, would help solve climate, food and biodiversity crises
From climate change and carbon emissions to biodiversity and global hunger, humanity faces so many challenges that tackling them quickly is a daunting task. One solution that potentially addresses multiple issues could provide the impetus society needs to make significant progress.

"Ocean life has been declining worldwide because of overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change. Yet only 7% of the ocean is currently under some kind of protection," said the study's lead author Enric Sala, an explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society.

"In this study, we've pioneered a new way to identify the places that -- if protected -- will boost food production and safeguard marine life, all while reducing carbon emissions," Sala said. "It's clear that humanity and the economy will benefit from a healthier ocean. And we can realize those benefits quickly if countries work together to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030."
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210317141645.htm

Biden administration wants the financial sector to face up to climate risk
The moves come as President Biden’s administration is pledging to slash greenhouse gas emissions and after 2020 set a U.S. record for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. There were 22 extreme weather events last year, ranging from tropical cyclones to drought, that cost taxpayers, businesses, investors and homeowners a combined $95 billion, according to the federal government.

In recent weeks, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have highlighted the ballooning costs of extreme weather linked to climate change and also flagged the potential danger to businesses, banking and investments that could come from a rocky transition away from an economy rooted in fossil fuels.

“Climate change poses a major threat to U.S. financial stability, and I believe we must move urgently and assertively in utilizing our wide-ranging and flexible authorities to address emerging risks,” Behnam said in a statement to The Washington Post. He added that the agency’s “unique mission” and its attention to risk and prices “puts us on the front lines of this effort.”

The CFTC action — one of several taken across the Biden administration in less than two months — could shift investment decisions across the nation by signaling to markets that it is costlier to invest in fossil fuels and other projects that could exacerbate global warming. At the same time, these policies could make it easier to finance clean energy and other efforts aimed at addressing climate change.


... Among the steps the agencies could take are altering the way oil companies calculate their carbon-rich reserves; changing how farmers count the carbon storage increased by improved tilling techniques; making sure cap-and-trade credits in California and the northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are properly measured; and ensuring that bond or derivative funds don’t include funds from “green bonds” that aren’t green.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/17/biden-climate-change-economy/

Looking for Climate Solutions? Protect More Ocean, Researchers Find.
For the first time, scientists have calculated how much planet-warming carbon dioxide is released into the ocean by bottom trawling, the practice of dragging enormous nets along the ocean floor to catch shrimp, whiting, cod and other fish. The answer: As much as global aviation releases into the air.

... Protecting strategic zones of the world’s oceans from fishing, drilling and mining would not only safeguard imperiled species and sequester vast amounts of carbon, the researchers found, it would also increase overall fish catch, providing more healthy protein to people.

... How much and what parts of the ocean to protect depends on how much value is assigned to each of the three possible benefits: biodiversity, fishing and carbon storage.


In order to maximize fish catch alone, the study found, nations would need to set aside 28 percent of the ocean for conservation. That’s because no-fishing zones serve as nurseries, replenishing fish and crustacean populations which then disperse beyond the protected areas.

... “The worst enemy of fishing and food security is overfishing,” Dr. Sala said.

Right now, 7 percent of the ocean is protected, and less than 3 percent is highly protected.

Shark and ray populations have crashed so drastically that scientists warn there is little time to save them. Fishing stocks are declining as the ocean warms.

The finding on emissions from trawling adds new urgency. Each year, the study found, bottom trawlers scrape an estimated 1.9 million square miles of the sea floor. If undisturbed, the carbon stored there can remain for tens of thousands of years.

... Trisha Atwood, an aquatic ecologist at Utah State University who was one of the study’s authors, compared trawling to cutting down forests for agriculture.

“It’s wiping out biodiversity, it’s wiping out things like deep sea corals that take hundreds of years to grow,” Dr. Atwood said. “And now what this study shows is that it also has this other kind of unknown impact, which is that it creates a lot of CO2.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/17/climate/climate-change-oceans.html

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