Climate Change ☀️
EPA orders Virgin Islands refinery to shut down, citing ‘imminent’ health threat
On Friday, the Biden administration shut the plant down, citing an “imminent” threat to people’s health after several recent accidents contaminated St. Croix’s drinking water and left hundreds of people sick. In its 45-page order, the agency described the pollution’s impact in the words of its own employees who had come to stop it.

“The odor I briefly encountered was overwhelming and nauseating,” recounted another EPA staffer, who was coordinating the agency’s response on the island and inhaled gasoline-like fumes May 6. “I normally am suited up with respiratory protection and other [personal protective equipment] prior to being exposed to something like this.”

The rare move by the EPA, which has invoked emergency powers under the Clean Air Act only three times before, signals the extent to which the Biden administration has demonstrated its commitment to environmental justice.

“It means that voices of the people have finally been elevated to the point that they’re being heard,” said Frandelle Gerard, who directs the Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism Foundation and has criticized the refinery.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/14/limetree-bay-refinery/

Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C
Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), only around 50 scenarios avoid significantly overshooting 1.5°C. Of those only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, for instance the rate and scale of carbon removal from the atmosphere or extent of tree planting, a new study shows. All 20 scenarios need to pull at least one mitigation lever at "challenging" rather than "reasonable" levels, according to the analysis. Hence the world faces a high degree of risk of overstepping the 1.5°C limit. The realistic window for meeting the 1.5°C target is very rapidly closing.

"The energy sector is key to the 1.5°C target of course, with on the one hand reduction of energy demand and on the other decarbonisation of energy use and production," says Warszawski. "Yet we can't do away with the other strategies. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and for instance storing it underground also proves to be almost indispensable. Land use must become a net carbon sink, for instance by re-wetting peatlands or afforestation. Finally, emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane must be cut from animal production, but also from leaks in oil and gas extraction. This is quite a list."

The researchers drew from existing research to define bounds that delineate between the 'reasonable', 'challenging', and 'speculative' use of each of the levers by mid-century. The bounds quantify the range of emissions reduction potentials of each of the aggregate levers, which result from technological, economic, social and resource considerations. They can then be translated into contributions to keep warming at 1.5°C with no or low temperature overshoot.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210514134042.htm

Where on Earth is all the water?
There may be up to 70 times more hydrogen in Earth's core than in the oceans

High-temperature and high-pressure experiments involving a diamond anvil and chemicals to simulate the core of the young Earth demonstrate for the first time that hydrogen can bond strongly with iron in extreme conditions. This explains the presence of significant amounts of hydrogen in the Earth's core that arrived as water from bombardments billions of years ago.

Given the extreme depths, temperatures and pressures involved, we are not physically able to probe very far into the earth directly. So, in order to peer deep inside the Earth, researchers use techniques involving seismic data to ascertain things like composition and density of subterranean material. Something that has stood out for as long as these kinds of measurements have been taking place is that the core is primarily made of iron, but its density, in particular that of the liquid part, is lower than expected.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210514134102.htm

Which animals will survive climate change?
Climate change is exacerbating problems like habitat loss and temperatures swings that have already pushed many animal species to the brink. But can scientists predict which animals will be able to adapt and survive? Using genome sequencing, researchers from McGill University show that some fish, like the threespine stickleback, can adapt very rapidly to extreme seasonal changes. Their findings could help scientists forecast the evolutionary future of these populations.

A popular subject of study among evolutionary ecologists, stickleback are known for their different shapes, sizes, and behaviours -- they can even live in both seawater and freshwater, and under a wide range of temperatures. But what makes this species so resilient?
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210514134119.htm

Climate change threatens one-third of global food production
New research assesses just how global food production will be affected if greenhouse gas emissions are left uncut.

Climate change is known to negatively affect agriculture and livestock, but there has been little scientific knowledge on which regions of the planet would be touched or what the biggest risks may be. New research led by Aalto University assesses just how global food production will be affected if greenhouse gas emissions are left uncut.

'Our research shows that rapid, out-of-control growth of greenhouse gas emissions may, by the end of the century, lead to more than a third of current global food production falling into conditions in which no food is produced today -- that is, out of safe climatic space,' explains Matti Kummu, professor of global water and food issues at Aalto University.

According to the study, this scenario is likely to occur if carbon dioxide emissions continue growing at current rates. In the study, the researchers define the concept of safe climatic space as those areas where 95% of crop production currently takes place, thanks to a combination of three climate factors, rainfall, temperature and aridity.

'The good news is that only a fraction of food production would face as-of-yet unseen conditions if we collectively reduce emissions, so that warming would be limited to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius,' says Kummu.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210514134151.htm

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