Climate Change ☀️
Scientists say this E. coli won’t make you sick and could be good for the planet
Plastic has been discovered at the bottom of the ocean, at the top of the Himalayas, embedded in Arctic sea ice and swirling in the air around us.

It is an environmental crisis that has spurred the creation of a number of plastic substitutes, many made from plants and advertised as compostable or biodegradable, though studies have shown some versions may not be either.

Now a team of scientists says it has created a possible alternative using a bacteria better known for turning stomachs. The material, which they call “aquaplastic,” is derived from Escherichia coli, or E. coli.


The bacteria lives in the gut but when ingested through contaminated food or water can land someone in the emergency room.

Using genetically engineered E. coli, scientists from Northeastern University, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and elsewhere say they turned E. coli into a plastic that can be made into plastic film or bendable three-dimensional molds for cones, bowls, tubes or other structures. The plastic substitute almost completely dissolves in 45 days, according to a study published last month in Nature Chemical Biology.

They fed the E. coli a nutrient-rich material that enabled it to produce two types of “aquagels,” flexible material they used to make different forms of aquaplastics.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/05/12/plastic-waste-ecoli/

Facing rising temperatures, Miami appoints chief heat officer
Last June, Miami reported its hottest temperatures on record. The daytime sun was brutal and there was little respite even at night. Dozens of heat-related deaths were reported that year.

As the Earth warms, the city by the ocean says its heat problem is poised to become even deadlier.


Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D) recently announced the county was creating a first-of-its-kind position — chief heat officer.

“We know extreme heat does not impact people equally — poorer communities and Black and Hispanic people bear the brunt of the public health impacts,” the mayor said in a statement. A chief heat officer will “coordinate our efforts to protect people from heat and save lives.”

It’s a position that other communities, including Athens and Freetown, Sierra Leone, also battling rising temperatures, are expected to create, according to the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, a nonprofit organization.

There are an average of 1,500 heat-related deaths per year nationwide, according to bioclimatologist Laurence S. Kalkstein of the University of Miami. But that will grow as communities continue to endure the effects of climate change, he said. A 2015 report from a climate-change study group led by Mike Bloomberg predicted that over the next five to 25 years, as temperatures increase, Florida would see an additional 1,840 heat-related deaths per year.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/05/12/climate-urban-heat-miami/

Study finds six degrees celsius cooling on land during the last Ice Age
Researchers show that prior studies have underestimated the cooling in the last glacial period, which has low-balled estimates of the Earth's climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases. The rather high climate sensitivity is not good news regarding future global warming, which may be stronger than expected using previous best estimates.

Temperature estimates in the study are substantially lower than indicated by some notable marine and low-elevation terrestrial studies that have relied on various proxies to reconstruct past temperatures during the LGM, a period about 20,000 years ago that represents the most recent extended period of globally stable climate that was substantially cooler than present.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210512143600.htm

U.S. has entered unprecedented climate territory, EPA warns
The Trump administration delayed the report, which cites urban heat waves and permafrost loss as signs of global warming, for three years

For years, President Donald Trump and his deputies played down the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and delayed the release of an Environmental Protection Agency report detailing climate-related damage. But on Wednesday, the EPA released a detailed and disturbing account of the startling changes that Earth’s warming had on parts of the United States during Trump’s presidency.

The destruction of year-round permafrost in Alaska, loss of winter ice on the Great Lakes and spike in summer heat waves in U.S. cities all signal that climate change is intensifying, the EPA said in its report. The assessment, which languished under the Trump administration for three years, marks the first time the agency has said such changes are being driven at least in part by human-caused global warming.


As it launched an updated webpage to inform the public on how climate change is upending communities throughout the country, the Biden administration gave the agency’s imprimatur to a growing body of evidence that climate effects are happening faster and becoming more extreme than when EPA last published its “Climate Indicators” data in 2016.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said he wants to make clear to the entire country the dangers of rising temperatures in the United States.

“We want to reach people in every corner of this country because there is no small town, big city or rural community that’s unaffected by the climate crisis,” Regan told reporters Wednesday. “Americans are seeing and feeling the impacts up close with increasing regularity.”

EPA staffers said the data detail how the nation has entered unprecedented territory, in which climate effects are more visible, changing faster and becoming more extreme. Collectively, the indicators present “multiple lines of evidence that climate change is occurring now and here in the U.S., affecting public health and the environment,” the agency said.

In 2020, for example, ocean heat reached its highest level in recorded history, and it fuels marine heat waves and coral bleaching. The extent of Arctic sea ice also was the second smallest on record dating to 1979. Wildfire and pollen seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer.


The newly compiled data illustrate the chasm between the current administration and Trump’s when it comes to climate policy. President Biden has identified cutting greenhouse gas emissions linked to rising global temperatures as one of his top priorities, insisting that a shift away from fossil fuels and to cleaner forms of energy also could create needed U.S. jobs.

Trump questioned the idea that burning fossil fuels was warming the planet and endangering Americans’ lives and livelihoods, and his administration delayed an update to the EPA’s peer-reviewed report on climate change indicators, first published in 2010. As a result, the report offers a snapshot of the extent to which the science around climate change grew more detailed and robust during Trump’s term, even as his administration at times tried to stifle those findings.

... Heat waves are occurring about three times more often than they did in the 1960s, the agency found, averaging about six times a year. In turn, Americans are blasting air conditioners to stay cool during the hot months, which has nearly doubled summer energy use over the past half-century and added even more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

At nearly every spot measured in Alaska, permafrost has warmed since 1978. The biggest temperature increases were found in the northernmost reaches of the state, where the thawing of the once permanently frozen soil has made it more difficult for Native Alaskans to store wild game underground and for drillers to transport oil by pipeline.

... While the EPA’s report does not make projections into the future, it suggests disastrous times ahead if the United States and other industrialized nations do not act quickly on global warming.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/12/us-has-entered-unprecedented-climate-territory-epa-warns/

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