Climate Change ☀️
Humanity’s greatest ally against climate change is the Earth itself
Ecosystems can draw down carbon and buffer us from the worst effects of climate change — but only if we protect them

Giant kelp is among the best organisms on the planet for taking planet-warming gases out of the atmosphere. Buoyed by small, gas-filled bulbs called “bladders,” these huge algae grow toward the ocean surface at a pace of up to two feet per day. Their flexible stems and leafy blades form a dense underwater canopy that can store 20 times as much carbon as an equivalent expanse of terrestrial trees.

And when the fierce waves of winter come and kelp is ripped from its rocky anchors and washed out to the deep sea, that carbon gets buried on the ocean floor. It may stay there for centuries, even millennia, locking away more greenhouse gases than 20 million American homes use in a year.

Yet this powerful force for planetary protection is under siege. Warming waters and worsening storms caused by climate change have weakened the kelp forests. Sewage and sediment spill onto them from cities on the shore. Most significantly, the demise of important predators such as otters and sea stars has led to an explosion in the population of sea urchins, which eat kelp. Huge swaths of underwater forest are being replaced by urchin “barrens” — denuded landscapes, desolate but for the spiky, spherical animals. Eventually, even the urchins start to starve.

Humans have put our planet on a path toward disaster. If people keep polluting at the current rate, scientists say, climate change will cause prolonged droughts, devastating storms, collapsing ecosystems and vanishing species. Coastal cities will be deluged by sea level rise; widespread food and water shortages will lead to the deaths of millions. To avoid this fate, civilization must rapidly transform — cutting carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 and reaching “net zero” by the middle of the century.

The Earth itself is our greatest ally in this effort. Ecosystems like California’s kelp forests absorb about half of the greenhouse gases humans emit, studies show. Without them, warming would be even worse. Nature shields us from the worst consequences of our own actions, forgiving the sins we refuse to repent.

But it cannot endure endless abuse. Life on Earth is threatened by overexploitation, pollution and habitat degradation, in addition to rising temperatures. The fraction of the planet that is undisturbed by human activities shrinks every year.

If we hope to solve climate change, humanity must also address this biodiversity crisis — restoring ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them. Otherwise, our species risks becoming like the sea urchins: agents of our own suffering, looters of the only home we have.


Nature doesn’t only need us to save it. Humanity needs nature if we hope to survive.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/04/22/earth-day-biodiversity/

Greta Thunberg: U.S. fossil fuel tax incentives a 'disgrace'

Swedish climate advocate Greta Thunberg urged a House subcommittee on Thursday to end tax breaks for fossil fuel producers, saying their existence was a "disgrace," and she accused lawmakers who have failed to remove them as "proof that we have not understood the climate emergency."

"How long do you honestly believe that people in power like you will get away with it? How long do you think you can continue to ignore the climate crisis, the global aspect of equity and historic emissions without being held accountable?” she testified virtually to the House Oversight Environment Subcommittee hearing.

“You get away with it now, but sooner or later people are going to realize what you have been doing this time. That’s inevitable. You still have time to do the right thing and to save your legacies, but that window of time is not going to last for long,” she said.
Read the full article: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/22/greta-thunberg-american-fossil-fuel-tax-484185

California's wildfire season has lengthened, and its peak is now earlier in the year
Researchers have analyzed CALFIRE wildfire statistics from 2000 to 2019, comparing them with data from 1920 to 1999, to learn that the annual burn season has lengthened in the past two decades and that the yearly peak has shifted from August to July.

California's wildfire problem, fueled by a concurrence of climate change and a heightened risk of human-caused ignitions in once uninhabited areas, has been getting worse with each passing year of the 21st century.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210422123611.htm

China's Xi Promises to 'Strictly Limit' Coal
President Xi Jinping of China said his country would “strictly limit increasing coal consumption” in the next five years and phase it down in the following five years.

That’s significant because China is, by far, the world’s largest coal consumer and is continuing to expand its fleet of coal-fired power plants. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel.


Mr. Xi repeated his pledge from last year to draw down carbon emissions to net zero by 2060. And, in a pointed reminder to his host, President Biden, he said that the industrialized countries of the West had a historic responsibility to act faster to reduce emissions.

The United States is history’s largest emitter. China is today’s largest emitter.

Mr. Xi added a conciliatory note by saying “China looks forward to working with the international community, including with the United States” on addressing climate change.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/climate/chinas-leader-xi-jinping-promises-to-strictly-limit-coal.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