Climate Change ☀️
African rainforests still slowed climate change despite record heat and drought
Intact rainforests across tropical Africa continued to remove carbon from the atmosphere before and during the 2015-2016 El Niño, despite the extreme heat and drought. They removed 1.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere during the El Niño monitoring period. This rate is equivalent to three times the carbon dioxide emissions of the UK in 2019. Scientists were surprised by this discovery.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210517194737.htm

To reach climate goals, new oil and gas investment must be stopped, energy agency says.
Investment in new oil and natural gas projects must stop from today, and sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles must halt from 2035. These are some of the milestones that the International Energy Agency said Tuesday must be achieved for the global energy industry to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

These conclusions seem surprisingly stark for the agency, a multilateral group whose main mandate is helping ensure energy security and stability. But it has increasingly embraced a role in combating climate change under its executive director, Fatih Birol.

... The agency acknowledges that the disruption for the global energy sector, which produces three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions, could threaten five million jobs. “The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far-reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels,” the Paris-based group said in a news release.

... At the same time, Mr. Birol said, there would be major economic benefits from the trillions of dollars in investment in wind, solar and other sources of renewable energy. Doing so could create 30 million jobs,and add 0.4 percent year to world economic growth, he said.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/business/climate-change-report.html

Darwin’s Arch, a Famed Rock Formation in the Galápagos, Collapses
Erosion caused the natural archway in the remote Pacific islands to fall into the sea, officials said.

Darwin’s Arch, a famous, photo-friendly rock formation in the remote Galápagos Islands, collapsed on Monday because of natural erosion, Ecuadorean officials said.

The collapse of the natural archway in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles west of continental Ecuador, left a pile of rubble between two pillars.

The waters around the arch are known as a destination for divers, with tours from the main islands offering the opportunity to spot sharks, turtles, manta rays and dolphins. The arch was less than a mile from the uninhabited Darwin Island; both are named after Charles Darwin, the scientist whose study of species on the islands in 1835 influenced his theory of evolution and natural selection.

Monuments and islands everywhere are under threat of erosion, sometimes from the simple passage of time. But UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has warned that the Galápagos Islands are one of the world’s most vulnerable places to the effects of climate change.

The islands sit at the intersection of three ocean currents and are vulnerable to the El Niño weather system, which causes rapid warming of Pacific Ocean waters. The warming waters threaten the very species that Darwin observed.

Easter Island, also in the Pacific Ocean, stands to be eroded by rising waters, threatening its residents and famed moai statues now within the reach of waves.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/world/americas/darwins-arch-collapse.html

Climate change disinformation is evolving. So are efforts to fight back
Researchers are testing games and other ways to help people recognize climate change denial

Over the last four decades, a highly organized, well-funded campaign powered by the fossil fuel industry has sought to discredit the science that links global climate change to human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. These disinformation efforts have sown confusion over data, questioned the integrity of climate scientists and denied the scientific consensus on the role of humans.

Such disinformation efforts are outlined in internal documents from fossil fuel giants such as Shell and Exxon. As early as the 1980s, oil companies knew that burning fossil fuels was altering the climate, according to industry documents reviewed at a 2019 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing. Yet these companies, aided by some scientists, set out to mislead the public, deny well-established science and forestall efforts to regulate emissions.


... As disinformation tactics evolve, researchers continue to test new ways to combat them. Debunking by fact-checking untrue statements is one way to combat climate disinformation. Another way, increasingly adopted by social media platforms, is to add warning labels flagging messages as possible disinformation, such as the labels Twitter and Facebook (which also owns Instagram) began adding in 2020 regarding the U.S. presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

... My main tip is to arm yourself with awareness of misleading techniques. Think of it like a virus spreading: You don’t want to be a superspreader. Make sure that you’re wearing a mask, for starters. And when you see misinformation, call it out. That observational correction — it matters. It makes a difference.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/climate-change-disinformation-denial-misinformation

Climate Change's Impact On Hurricane Sandy Has A Price: $8 Billion
When Hurricane Sandy swept up the eastern seaboard in 2012, it left a trail of damage from Florida to Maine. Subways were inundated in New York City. Hurricane-force winds tore across New Jersey. Blizzard conditions walloped Appalachia.

The hurricane — also known as Superstorm Sandy — caused an estimated $70 billion in damages in the U.S., mostly from flooding. And while scientists have long believed that some of the carnage was attributable to a warming climate, it's been unclear just how much of a role human-caused warming played in the storm's impacts. New research, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, puts a dollar amount on some of those damages and it's a startling figure.

Using flood maps and sea-level rise measurements, researchers found that human-induced sea-level rise caused an estimated $8 billion in excess flooding damage during Hurricane Sandy and affected an additional 70,000 people.
Read the full article: >https://www.npr.org/2021/05/18/997666304/climate-changes-impact-on-hurricane-sandy-has-a-price-8-billion

20 Companies Are Behind Half Of The World's Single-Use Plastic Waste, Study Finds
In 2019, more than 130 million metric tons of single-use plastics were thrown away, with most of that waste burned, buried in a landfill or dumped directly into the ocean or onto land. Now, a new report finds that just 20 companies account for more than half of all single-use plastic waste generated worldwide.

The report, published Tuesday by Australia's Minderoo Foundation, offers one of the fullest accountings, to date, of the companies behind the production of single-use plastics that researchers believe could account for as much as 10% of global greenhouse emissions by 2050.

Single-use plastics are meant to be thrown out immediately after use, such as bags, drinking straws, bottles and packaging.

The study identifies 20 companies as the source of 55% of the world's single-use plastic waste, while the top 100 companies account for more than 90%.

Nearly all the single-use plastic manufactured by these companies — 98% according to the report — is made from " 'virgin' (fossil-fuel-based) feedstocks" rather than recycled materials.

At the top of what the foundation calls its "Plastic Waste Makers Index" is the energy giant Exxon Mobil, followed by the Dow Chemical Co. and China's Sinopec. The report found that Exxon Mobil was responsible for 5.9 million metric tons of such waste in 2019, while Dow and Sinopec contributed 5.6 million and 5.3 million, respectively. Taken together, the three companies account for 16% of all waste from single-use plastics such as bottles, bags and food packaging, according to the report.

... The report warned that in the next five years, the global capacity to produce the materials needed for single-use plastics could grow by more than 30%.

"An environmental catastrophe beckons: much of the resulting single-use plastic waste will end up as pollution in developing countries with poor waste management systems," according to the report.

Solving the issue will require drastic changes from producers, investors and banks, the authors wrote. The report said that producers of polymers — known as the building blocks of plastics — should begin disclosing their single-use plastic waste "footprint," while banks and investors should move to "phase out entirely" any financing that goes toward the production of single-use plastics.


But confronting the challenge will also require "immense political will," according to the authors, who noted that roughly 30% of the sector, by value, is state-owned.
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/2021/05/18/997937090/half-of-the-worlds-single-use-plastic-waste-is-from-just-20-companies-says-a-stu

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