Climate Change ☀️
Despite Tensions, U.S. and China Agree to Work Together on Climate Change
The United States and China have agreed to fight climate change “with the seriousness and urgency that it demands” by stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions, a rare demonstration of cooperation amid escalating tensions over a raft of other issues.

The agreement, which included few specific commitments, was announced on Saturday night, Washington time, after President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, visited China for three days of talks in which the negotiators managed not to be sidetracked by those disputes.

“It’s very important for us to try to keep those other things away, because climate is a life-or-death issue in so many different parts of the world,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview on Sunday morning in Seoul, where he met with South Korean officials to discuss global warming. “What we need to do is prove we can actually get together, sit down and work on some things constructively.”
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Common plants and pollinators act as anchors for ecosystems
'Generalist' plants and pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and may also serve as buffers against some impacts of climate change, finds new research. The findings provide valuable insights for prioritizing the conservation of species that contribute to the strength of ecological communities.

The next time you go for a hike, take an extra moment to appreciate the seemingly ordinary life all around you. A house fly, humble yarrow weed and other "generalist" plants and pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and may also serve as buffers against some impacts of climate change, finds new University of Colorado Boulder research.
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The Science of Climate Change Explained
Climate change is often cast as a prediction made by complicated computer models. But the scientific basis for climate change is much broader, and models are actually only one part of it (and, for what it’s worth, they’re surprisingly accurate).

For more than a century, scientists have understood the basic physics behind why greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide cause warming. These gases make up just a small fraction of the atmosphere but exert outsized control on Earth’s climate by trapping some of the planet’s heat before it escapes into space. This greenhouse effect is important: It’s why a planet so far from the sun has liquid water and life!

However, during the Industrial Revolution, people started burning coal and other fossil fuels to power factories, smelters and steam engines, which added more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Ever since, human activities have been heating the planet.

We know this is true thanks to an overwhelming body of evidence that begins with temperature measurements taken at weather stations and on ships starting in the mid-1800s. Later, scientists began tracking surface temperatures with satellites and looking for clues about climate change in geologic records. Together, these data all tell the same story: Earth is getting hotter.

Average global temperatures have increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.2 degrees Celsius, since 1880, with the greatest changes happening in the late 20th century. Land areas have warmed more than the sea surface and the Arctic has warmed the most — by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit just since the 1960s. Temperature extremes have also shifted. In the United States, daily record highs now outnumber record lows two-to-one.

This warming is unprecedented in recent geologic history. A famous illustration, first published in 1998 and often called the hockey-stick graph, shows how temperatures remained fairly flat for centuries (the shaft of the stick) before turning sharply upward (the blade). It’s based on data from tree rings, ice cores and other natural indicators. And the basic picture, which has withstood decades of scrutiny from climate scientists and contrarians alike, shows that Earth is hotter today than it’s been in at least 1,000 years, and probably much longer.

In fact, surface temperatures actually mask the true scale of climate change, because the ocean has absorbed 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases. Measurements collected over the last six decades by oceanographic expeditions and networks of floating instruments show that every layer of the ocean is warming up. According to one study, the ocean has absorbed as much heat between 1997 and 2015 as it did in the previous 130 years.

We also know that climate change is happening because we see the effects everywhere. Ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking while sea levels are rising. Arctic sea ice is disappearing. In the spring, snow melts sooner and plants flower earlier. Animals are moving to higher elevations and latitudes to find cooler conditions. And droughts, floods and wildfires have all gotten more extreme. Models predicted many of these changes, but observations show they are now coming to pass.
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Humans are directly influencing wind and weather over North Atlantic
A new study provides evidence that humans are influencing wind and weather patterns across the eastern United States and western Europe by releasing CO2 and other pollutants into Earth's atmosphere.

In the new paper, published in the journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, the research team found that changes in the last 50 years to an important weather phenomenon in the North Atlantic -- known as the North Atlantic Oscillation -- can be traced back to human activities that impact the climate system.
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Northern Red Sea corals live close to the threshold of resistance to cold temperatures
Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth. In the northern Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba corals also have exceptionally high tolerance to increasing seawater temperatures, now occurring as a consequence of global warming. This characteristic led coral reef scientists to designate this region as a potential coral reef refuge in the face of climate change -- a reef where corals may survive longer than others that are being lost at an alarming rate due to human pressures.

However, global climate change will also result in more variable weather patterns, including extreme cold periods. Some researchers predict that the Red Sea region is entering a cooling phase.

Coral reefs are highly sensitive to temperature change. Therefore, identifying those that respond differently to thermal stress aids in understanding the mechanisms of environmental adaptation in corals. In addition, researchers can focus attention on conserving and studying such unique reefs.
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Mountain high: Andean forests have high potential to store carbon under climate change
The Andes Mountains in South America are the world's longest mountain range and a hotspot of biodiversity. But the forest that climbs up this mountain range provides another important service to humanity. Andean forests are helping to protect the planet by acting as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide and keeping some of this climate-altering gas out of circulation, according to new research.

"The amount of carbon that is stored in the aboveground biomass in the stems and leaves of trees is actually increasing through time, potentially offsetting some of the carbon dioxide emissions that are released to the atmosphere," said Tello, an associate scientist at the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

... Carbon is an important building block of life on Earth, but the element contributes to global warming when it is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Living plant tissues such as the stems, bark, branches and twigs of trees can act as a carbon sink because they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis.

By locking in carbon, trees in forests around the world play a role in maintaining global climate stability. Some forests play a bigger role than others -- the Andes prime among them, the study found.
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Human land-use and climate change will have significant impact on animal genetic diversity
Researchers have made the first ever global assessment map of how future climate and land-use change impacts genetic diversity in mammals. The researchers hope the map will assist policy makers in prioritizing which areas should be preserved first.

Over the last 200 years, researchers have worked towards understanding the global distribution of species and ecosystems. But so far even the basic knowledge on the global geography of genetic diversity was limited.

... The researchers have looked into gene banks with mitochondrial data from mammals. The mitochondria also regulate the metabolism, and by looking how it has changed over time, it can also unveil changes in diversity.
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Ice cap study promises new prospects for accurate local climate projections
New, detailed study of the Renland Ice Cap offers the possibility of modelling other smaller ice caps and glaciers with much greater accuracy than hitherto. The study combined airborne radar data to determine the thickness of the ice cap with on-site measurements of the thickness of the ice cap and satellite data. Researchers gathered data from the ice cap in 2015, and this work has now come to fruition: More exact predictions of local climate conditions.

The accuracy of the study allows for the construction of models for other smaller ice caps and glaciers, affording significantly improved local projections of the condition of glaciers locally, around the globe.
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Coal Miners Union Seeks Voice in Move to Renewable Energy
The country’s largest mine workers union signaled on Monday that it would accept a transition away from fossil fuels in exchange for new jobs in renewable energy, spending on technology to make coal cleaner and financial aid for miners who lose their jobs.

“There needs to be a tremendous investment here,” Cecil E. Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, said in an interview. “We always end up dealing with climate change, closing down coal mines. We never get to the second piece of it.”

The mine workers’ plan, which Mr. Roberts is presenting at an event with Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, calls for the creation of new jobs in Appalachia through tax credits that would subsidize the making of solar panel and wind turbine components, and by funding the reclamation of abandoned mines that pose a risk to public health.

The mine workers are also calling for spending on research on carbon capture and storage technology, which would allow coal-fired plants to store carbon dioxide underground rather than release it into the atmosphere, and for policies that allow coal plants to remain open if they commit to installing the technology.
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Ocean currents modulate oxygen content at the equator
A study has used long-term observations to investigate the complex interplay between fluctuations in the equatorial current system and variations in oxygen content. During the last 15 years the intensification of upper-ocean currents resulted in an increasing oxygen content in the equatorial region.

Due to global warming, not only the temperatures in the atmosphere and in the ocean are rising, but also winds and ocean currents as well as the oxygen distribution in the ocean are changing. For example, the oxygen content in the ocean has decreased globally by about 2% in the last 60 years, particularly strong in the tropical oceans. However, these regions are characterized by a complex system of ocean currents. At the equator, one of the strongest currents, the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC), transports water masses eastwards across the Atlantic. The water transport by the EUC is more than 60 times larger than that of the Amazon river. For many years, scientists at GEOMAR have been investigating in cooperation with the international PIRATA programme fluctuations of this current with fixed observation platforms, so-called moorings. Based on the data obtained from these moorings, they were able to prove that the EUC has strengthened by more than 20% between 2008 and 2018. The intensification of this major ocean current is associated with increasing oxygen concentrations in the equatorial Atlantic and an increase in the oxygen-rich layer near the surface. Such a thickening of the surface oxygenated layer represents a habitat expansion for tropical pelagic fish.
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Exxon Mobil Proposes Carbon Capture Plan
Under growing pressure from investors to address climate change, Exxon Mobil on Monday proposed a $100 billion project to capture the carbon emissions of big industrial plants in the Houston area and bury them deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon, the largest U.S. oil company, wants to create a profit-making business out of the capture of carbon emitted by petrochemical plants and other industries. But its plan would require significant government support and intervention, including the introduction of a price or tax on carbon dioxide emissions, an idea that has failed to attract enough support in Congress in the past.

The company already captures carbon, which it injects into older fields to produce more oil. Exxon now wants to use its expertise to store the carbon dioxide generated by other industries. But without a price on emitting carbon, many businesses would have little financial incentive to pay Exxon to capture and store their carbon.

The Obama administration failed to enact a cap-and-trade system, which raises costs for polluting companies by forcing them to buy tradable permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. California, the European Union and 11 states in the Northeast use versions of cap-and-trade. Other governments, including British Columbia and Britain, have imposed a per-ton tax on emissions.
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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