The amount of carbon dioxide piling up in Earth’s atmosphere set a record last month, once again reaching the highest levels in human history despite a temporary dip in the burning of fossil fuels worldwide caused by the coronavirus pandemic, scientists said Monday.
The production of cement, the binding element in concrete, accounted for 7 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. Concrete is one of the most-used resources on Earth, with an estimated 26 billion tons produced annually worldwide. That production isn’t expected to slow down for at least two more decades.
Last year, Mr. Xi made two signature commitments on climate. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide would peak before 2030, he vowed. It would also achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, he said, meaning the amount of carbon dioxide gas China releases into the atmosphere would be offset through methods like planting forests. Mr. Xi’s pledges, if realized, could make a significant difference to the world’s efforts to fight climate change.
Many scientists have long been skeptical of biomass’s climate benefits. Wood releases more carbon dioxide per unit of electricity produced than coal or gas, and a newly planted tree can take decades to reabsorb the carbon dioxide emitted by burning. “Wood is a sucky fuel,” said Tim Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton. In 2009, a group he led wrote in the journal Science protesting what they called a “critical climate accounting error.”
We know that soil feeds plants, but do we know how it got there in the first place? Soil forms via the interaction of five factors: parent material, climate, living beings, a land’s topography, and a “cooking” time that occurs on a geologic scale. Variations in these 5 factors make the world’s soils unique and extremely diverse. Soil acts as a carbon sink in the global carbon cycle because it locks away decomposed organic matter. But deforestation, various agricultural practices, and a changing climate are releasing it back into the atmosphere and oceans as carbon dioxide, resulting in an imbalance in global carbon budgets.
Meanwhile, the federal government is taking the first steps to vastly increase the size of the nation’s carbon dioxide pipeline network as a way of fighting climate change. Our investigation reveals that such pipelines pose threats that few are aware of and even fewer know how to handle.
Coal is the number-one single source for increasing global temperatures, with coal-fired electricity generation accounting for 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. And yet, scores of banks and institutional investors continue to pump money into supporting and expanding this fossil fuel industry, new research finds
"The administration established a multi-agency target of deploying 30 gigawatts, or 30,000 megawatts, of wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes for a year and slash 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions."
A Low Carbon Future for China's Furnace Cities (United Kingdom [UK], 10 min). Directed by Monika Koeck. China’s economic development and rapid urbanization has led to a dramatic rise in energy consumption due to excessive heating and air-conditioning causing carbon emissions of immense proportions. China’s government has set the ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40–45% by 2020 against the 2005 baseline. A UK/China-funded team working on how to solve the problem in some of the most extreme climate regions in China. The team discovers groundbreaking solutions using computational-fluid-dynamics simulations.
For now, the world remains off course. Last month, the agency warned that global carbon dioxide emissions were expected to rise at their second-fastest pace ever in 2021 as countries recovered from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic and global coal burning neared a high, led by a surge of industrial activity in Asia.
In 1994, John Elkington coined the phrase 'Triple Bottom Line, referring to Profit, People, and Planet'. The importance of all three together seemed more of a prophecy than a reality when it was written.
“What is the return for us?” said Scott Osteen, a farmer living in the proposed path of M-CORES. “You’re asking us to give up land, you’re asking us to give up our current way of life, but currently I don’t see the upside to it.” / And then there are the environmental costs of the project. The transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., making up 28 percent of emissions. Oscar Psychas, founder of the Young Leaders for Wild Florida, says highways invite more cars onto the road, a well documented phenomenon known as “induced demand.” Those cars emit carbon dioxide, driving climate change in a state that’s among the most vulnerable to its effects. Without proper protections for the environment, the roads could also bring more urban sprawl — which leads to yet more driving — and disturb some of the state’s natural barriers against sea level rise, such as wetlands. The southwestern leg of the highway could slice through some of the last remaining habitat of the endangered Florida panther.
The Global Ocean Explorers Survey Foundation (GOES) warns that the bits of plastic filling the seas are merging with toxic chemicals from sunscreens, fire retardants (PBDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tin and mercury, bonding together and being mistaken for food by plankton and other inhabitants of the sea. These poisonous cocktails have already wiped out an enormous amount of the plankton population on Earth, and GOES says we have only ten years to correct this death spiral. Plankton eat a significant amount of carbon dioxide and produce an astounding 75 percent of the Earth’s oxygen. That’s more than the Amazon rainforest. If all the planet’s plankton are killed off, it spells doom for all life on Earth.
American schools are the second-largest public infrastructure investment. But what most people don’t know is that they are also among the biggest energy consumers in the public sector. K-12 schools consume about 8% of all the energy used in commercial buildings. In turn, they emit as much carbon dioxide as 18 coal-powered power plants. This not only burdens the environment, but children themselves – students suffer from heatstroke, affected hormone and sleep cycles, as well as respiratory issues. Many schools have started redesigning their infrastructure with the climate crisis in mind. From installing more solar panels to replacing old heating, cooling and ventilation systems, or HVAC systems, with more sustainable ones, school districts are increasingly transitioning to cheaper and greener options. But old building habits and funding constraints can pose a challenge.
While the IPCC opus doesn’t drill down into emissions from food production per se, it does contain rich information about its impacts. Carbon dioxide, now prevalent in the atmosphere at it highest rate in 2 million years, gets most of the ink, but two other heat-trapping gases, methane and nitrous oxide, also contribute mightily to the greenhouse effect. These gases now waft about at their highest levels in 800,000 years, the report states—and are spewed in large quantities by industrial-scale farms, mostly related to the mass production of meat. Overall, a 2021 report from the United Nations Environment Program and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition found, fossil fuel production accounts for 35 percent of global methane emissions, vs. 32 percent for agriculture.
Touting natural gas and biomass fuel as renewable doesn't fly. - tr* "Our community needs to step up efforts to cut carbon emissions, but do so in a way that gets widespread support and spreads costs equitably. The world's countries have little hope of working together to combat climate change if Gainesville can’t even figure it out."
But the most promising concrete technologies utilize very little energy to incorporate CO2. That’s because when CO2 is incorporated into concrete, it’s literally piped into the mix. The natural tumbling motion of churning concrete is all the energy that’s needed to transform the CO2 into a calcium carbonate, a substance that doesn’t just act as filler but also actively strengthens the concrete mix. All of this tough calcium carbonate means the concrete needs less cement in its mix, which is another environmental savings, since cement is the worst polluting component of concrete.
Governments must halve emissions by 2030 if they intend the Earth to stay within the 1.5C “safe” threshold. But the latest set of national policies submitted to the UN shows emissions will merely be stabilised by 2030.
Questions such as whether a meaningful amount of carbon can be captured, how long it stays in the ground and how to measure sequestration remain unanswered.
How exactly does a massive shipment of crude oil, or fossil gas fracked in the United States and shipped across the Atlantic, manage to get a "carbon neutral" label? The greenhouse gas emissions associated with this drilling is not absorbed or erased. They are zeroed out on paper, thanks to an accounting trick: Using credits from carbon offsets.These emissions illusions are key components to corporate climate pledges. Fortune 500 companies, including many fossil fuel polluters, have raced out to announce "net zero" commitments, often accompanied by slick self-congratulatory advertising. But these schemes are more often about image management than pollution reduction; Shell, after all, plans to grow its fossil fuel business while making "net zero" promises.
US climate change envoy John Kerry has urged the world's top 20 polluters which create 81% of emissions between them to reduce CO2 immediately.
Emissions need to be cut by 45% this decade, if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C (2.7F), scientists have warned. That means the 2020s must be the decade when the world changes course, before the level of carbon in the atmosphere rises too high to avoid dangerous levels of heating. But the scale of the current emissions rebound from the Covid-19 crisis means “our starting point is definitely not a good one”, said Birol.
Adding a further 4m metric tons above last year’s level, produced by the average US coal plant, will cost 904 lives worldwide by the end of the century, the research found. On a grander scale, eliminating planet-heating emissions by 2050 would save an expected 74 million lives around the world this century.
The lobbyist described some Republican senators as “a captive audience” because they are reliant on industry backing.“The Republicans, we have the great relationship with the senators, where we have assets,” he said. McCoy said that meetings with senators might ostensibly be about a global issue, such as Russia or the Middle East, but the conversations are used to ensure backing on issues of concern to Exxon such as taxes and environmental legislation.“There are all these opportunities that you use, and to use the fishing analogy just to kind of reel them in,” he said.
Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species future.
"Peatland is so important for carbon sequestration and for wildlife. And, currently, we're wrapping it in plastic and selling it in garden centres," said Elliot Chapman-Jones.
A steadily growing trend in investment went fully mainstream in 2020 as a record number of corporations pledged to go “net zero” and move to cancel out the carbon emissions they produce to halt a catastrophic rise in global temperatures.
Moving in the right direction! The move is part of Canada Goose's strategy to become more environmentally conscious and extend the use of sustainable materials as well as low carbon methods of making its coats.
In a split from his past attitude toward climate change, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro vowed to end illegal deforestation in the country by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The biggest carbon emitter remains China, where totals are still rising, and the US, whose emissions are falling but historically (and per capita) far exceed China’s. Together they are responsible for 40% of global emissions, so without them nothing decisive is achievable.
But depending on which study you read, the annual carbon emissions from the electricity required to mine Bitcoin and process its transactions are equal to the amount emitted by all of New Zealand. Or Argentina.
The carbon footprint of U.S. food waste is greater than that of the airline industry. Globally, wasted food accounts for about 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental consequences of producing food that no one eats are massive.
President Joe Biden and his team have said little, if anything, about old-growth forests — typically defined as those at least 150 years old and largely undisturbed by human activity. These forests sequester massive amounts of carbon in trees and soil, and scientists say protecting the few that remain intact will prove key to meeting climate and biodiversity targets.
Researchers have worked out a way to transform food scraps, used cooking oil, animal manure and wastewater sludge into jet fuel with a carbon footprint 165% lower than standard jet fuel, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
We speak with leading climate scientist Michael Mann about the catastrophic impact of the climate crisis around the world. He says he and other scientists predicted the extreme weather events now wreaking havoc. “We said that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels and elevating the levels of carbon pollution in the atmosphere and we continue to warm up the planet, we will see unprecedented heat waves and wildfires and floods and droughts and superstorms,” says Mann.
As Japan marks the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the global conversation around the merits of using nuclear power to tackle the climate crisis remains hot. Many environmentalists are opposed, pointing to the risk of nuclear meltdowns and the difficulty of properly disposing of nuclear waste.
The main focus of the War Legacies Project is to document the long-term effects of the defoliant known as Agent Orange and provide humanitarian aid to its victims.
June saw a series of destructive blazes that swept through rural counties at the northern edge of the state, fueled by a historic Pacific Northwest heat wave. But July is already shaping up to be worse. One thing everyone agrees on is that climate change is a factor that cannot be ignored. “The exceptional fire weather this year and in recent years does not represent random bad luck,” said Jacob Bendix, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in pyrogeography, or the study of wildfire distribution. “It is among the results of our adding carbon to the atmosphere — results that were predictable, and indeed that have been predicted for decades.”
Two lobbyists for Exxon have been caught on tape admitting how the company manipulates politicians and the public. Among the damning admissions are that the company views its advocacy for a carbon tax as little more than “an advocacy tool” and that it once funded “shadow groups” to fight climate science. When it comes to oil and gas majors, getting a peek at the internal workings of a company past its PR-heavy facade is rare. But the new investigation conducted by Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace UK, provides a revealing peek behind the curtain of secrecy to show how Big Oil operates to game the system.
But just as we humans have littered the Earth with our rubbish and the seas with our runoff, we've also poisoned the planet with our ruckus. And while noise is often treated more as a fist-shaking nuisance than a global health risk, it turns it isn't just annoying, it's actually killing us. "When we look at the healthiest ecosystems that exist today on our planet, we're finding they're also the quietest places," Hempton said. "They are the places taking carbon out of the environment, producing oxygen for us to breathe and where endangered species aren't endangered." When Hempton says that by saving quiet, you wind up saving everything else, this is exactly what he means – healthy soundscapes sustain healthy environments, and if we were to start treating noise as the soundtrack of climate change and noise pollution as pollution, it would have resounding effects on every living thing, including ourselves.
Embarking on an 800-mile walk across the state of Florida, Nicholas Vazquez is a 23-year-old climate activist using unconventional tactics to raise awareness for climate change.
Moved by the lack of opportunity for women and youth in her community in El Salvador, Reina Molino ventures to Guatemala to study bici-maquinas—bicycle pedal-power technology. Leaving everything she knows behind, Reina embarks on an inspiring journey of self-empowerment and problem solving. Through the mentorship of Carlos, founder of the social enterprise Bici-Tec and the friendship of Geovany, Reina seeks to find her life purpose and change the lives of people in her community. For more information visit http://bicitec.org/ This video was produced on location by an Actuality Abroad student crew and shot primarily with Canon cameras.
Floating wind projects take advantage of steady winds that blow offshore. Those faster, steadier winds can produce more energy. Wind power increases with the cube of wind speed. Bigger turbines with longer blades capture more wind and are more aerodynamically efficient. How they overcome obstacles such as interference with fisheries, environmental damage, and high cost will influence how many, and which ones, get built.