Climate Change ☀️
Global land use more extensive than estimated
Humans leave their 'footprints' on the land area all around the globe. These land-use changes play an important role for nutrition, climate, and biodiversity. Scientists have now combined satellite data with statistics from the past 60 years and found that global land-use changes affect about 32 percent of the land area. This means that they are about four times as extensive as previously estimated.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517102658.htm

Greenland becoming darker, warmer as its snow ages and changes shape
'Blocking' weather pattern brings less fresh snow and increases ice sheet melt

A reduction in the amount of fresh, light-colored snow in parts of Greenland is exposing older, darker snow. The research reports on new weather patterns and explains how the changing shape of snowflakes on the surface is leading to conditions on Greenland's ice sheet, including possibly increased melting.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517105704.htm

Greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions are lengthening and intensifying droughts
Human-sourced boost to drying in Americas, Africa and Asia

Greenhouse gases and aerosol pollution emitted by human activities are responsible for increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of droughts around the world, according to a new study.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517124927.htm

Slow research to understand fast change
Forty years of experiments, observation, modeling and theory may be just what's needed to see where the world is headed

In a world that's changing fast, the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network can seem almost an anachronism. Yet the patience and persistence that have generated 40 years of careful, reliable science about the Earth's changing ecosystems may prove to be just what's needed in this rapidly shifting world. We can't wait for a crystal ball -- and we don't have to. By harnessing decades of rich data, scientists are beginning to forecast future conditions and plan ways to manage, mitigate, or adapt to likely changes in ecosystems that will impact human economies, health and wellbeing.

The National Science Foundation established the LTER Network more than 40 years ago to provide an alternative to funding models that favored constant innovation over continuity. The model has proven to be extraordinarily successful at both.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517144727.htm

Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns
The unevenness in global action comes even as scientists warn that the damages from rising temperatures are already reverberating around the globe. A report by the Environmental Protection Agency published last week found that in the United States, wildfires are now starting earlier in the year, heat waves are more frequent and flooding is more common.

If the world’s governments want to change course quickly, the International Energy Agency has essentially offered a step-by-step guide for how they might do so. The agency sketched out one potential timetable:
  • This year, nations would stop approving new coal plants unless they are outfitted with carbon capture technology to trap and bury their emissions underground. Nations would also stop approving the development of new oil and gas fields beyond those already committed.
  • By 2025, governments worldwide would start banning the sale of new oil and gas furnaces to heat buildings, shifting instead to cleaner electric heat pumps.
  • By 2030, electric vehicles would make up 60 percent of new car sales globally, up from just 5 percent today. By 2035, automakers would stop selling new gasoline- or diesel-fueled passenger vehicles. By 2050, virtually all cars on the roads worldwide either run on batteries or hydrogen.
  • By 2035, the world’s advanced economies would zero out emissions from power plants, shifting away from emitting coal and gas plants to technologies like wind, solar, nuclear or carbon capture. By 2040, all of the world’s remaining coal-fired power plants are closed or retrofitted with carbon capture technology.
  • In 2035, more than half of new heavy trucks would be electric. By 2040, roughly half of all air travel worldwide would be fueled by cleaner alternatives to jet fuel, such as sustainable biofuels or hydrogen.
The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry trade group, said it agreed with the goal of a lower carbon future but still saw a role for oil and gas going forward. “Any pathway to net zero must include the continued use of natural gas and oil, which will remain crucial to displacing coal in developing nations and enabling renewable energy,” said Stephen Comstock, the institute’s vice president of corporate policy.

The International Energy Agency warned that an energy transformation on the scale necessary would require “unprecedented” global cooperation, with wealthier nations helping poorer countries that lack the technological expertise or investment capital to decarbonize.

It would also require a crash research program to improve clean energy technologies.

The world can make enormous strides in cutting emissions over the next decade by deploying technologies that are already widely used, such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles. But roughly half the emissions cuts by 2050 would come from technologies that are still in the demonstration or prototype stage, the report said, such as cleaner hydrogen fuels for steel plants, advanced batteries to juggle wind and solar output and devices to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

... The agency concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius remains technically and economically feasible, but there is little margin for error or delay. “Making net-zero emissions a reality,” the report concluded, “hinges on a singular, unwavering focus from all governments — working together with one another, and with businesses, investors and citizens.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/climate/climate-change-emissions-IEA.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