Posts

New Climate Data Shows Last 7 Years Have Been Warmest On Record For Earth

According to a new analysis from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the last seven years have been the warmest on record for planet Earth. The Climate Change Service tracks global temperature changes and other climate change indicators as well. 

The analysis also found that Earth’s temperature is continuing to rise due to heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions, and 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record. 

Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at Copernicus, said that while global temperatures are always expected to fluctuate due to large-scale weather and ocean patterns, – such as El Niño and La Niña – the larger issue of climate change and its impact on annual temperature changes is not to be taken lightly. 

“The really important thing is to not get hung up on the ranking of one particular year but rather kind of see the bigger picture of ever-warming temperatures, and that ever-warming doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the next. But that was what we’ve seen so far with every decade warmer than the next — and this is quite likely to continue.”

Embed from Getty Images

Copernicus reported that Earth’s average temperature is currently 1.1 degrees Celsius above average pre-industrial levels. Scientists have warned that Earth will feel the worst impacts of climate change if that threshold hits the 1.5 degree Celsius mark.

Kim Cobb, director of the Global Change Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said a “warming of 1.1 degrees Celsius is a conservative estimate.”

“It is very fair to say that 1.1 degrees Celsius is conservative, because the last half of the last decade has been warmer than the first half,” Cobb explained. 

Back in 2015 world leaders agreed that Earth’s temperature must remain under 2 degrees Celsius when compared to pre-industrial levels, with a preferred goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees. While that level of temperature change may seem small, NASA scientists explained it’s similar to how a 1 or 2 degree increase in our internal body temperature can cause a fever.

Cobb explained that even though “we’ve just barely crossed the 1 degree threshold for warming, we are still reeling from a near-constant series of weather and climate extremes. With rare exceptions, these extremes can now be definitively linked to human-caused warming. Going forward, we should expect the frequency and severity of such extremes to increase, exacting an enormous toll on societies around the world.”

Copernicus also reported how almost every “corner” of the world felt the effects of climate change in 2021. Rain fell for at the summit of Greenland for the first time ever on record, and droughts throughout the Western US have caused a multitude of wildfires and water shortages. Several regions of the world also experienced above average temperatures last year. 

Embed from Getty Images

Last summer in Europe was the warmest on record, and the continent also experienced its share of natural disasters such as flooding in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as wildfires. 

Experts have continued to warn the world about global greenhouse gas emissions, as it’s currently expected that by 2030 emissions will be roughly twice as high as what’s necessary to prevent the planet from warming to that 1.5 degree mark. 

In 2021, emissions from methane, a greenhouse gas that’s about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, rose substantially. 

Vamborg stated that the report should serve as a reminder to the world that the rise in greenhouse gas emissions is “what fuels the planet’s rapid warming. The global temperature curve will continue to grow as we continue to emit greenhouse gases.”

Cobb explained how humanity still can stop the planet from crossing the 1.5 degree mark. “Choosing to limit fossil fuel emissions to that point could potentially cool the planet in the second half of this century.” 

“The idea that we might live to see a reversal of global warming is inspiring, as generations that have witnessed decade after decade of warming. It’s a future worth fighting for, and bringing to life, one energy choice at a time.”

1987 CFC Ban Prevented Global Temperatures From Increasing By 2.5 Degrees Celsius

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol banned the use of ozone-depleting chemicals across the globe. It came into effect on September 15th 1987, and remains the only UN treaty that has been ratified by every country in the world – 198 UN states. A new study has found that, if not outlawed, these chemicals would have caused a 2.5 degrees Celsius rise of extra global warming by 2100.

The landmark environmental agreement, named: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, regulates the production and use of approximately 100 man-made chemicals which are referred to as Ozone depleting substances (ODS). 

Those chemicals were identified as damaging to the stratospheric Ozone layer, which protects the globe and all of its organisms, due to harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, causing global temperatures to rise. 

The globe is already facing the catastrophic consequences of global rising temperatures, and governments, companies and individuals across the world are being urged to do more to cut carbon emissions and combat the current climate crisis. 

Embed from Getty Images

An international team of scientists have found, however, that the continued use of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), banned in the Montreal Protocol, would have contributed to temperatures rising by an additional 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.  

The researchers estimated that the use of CFCs could raise global temperatures to approximately 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. CFCs could be used in refrigerators, insulation foams and aerosols. The study found that the ongoing depletion of the ozone caused by CFCs and greenhouse gasses would have drastically compromised Earth’s ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. 

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the agreement was “perhaps the single most successful international agreement”.

The ozone layer shields the earth and its flora from damaging UV rays. Increasing a plant’s exposure to UV can damage its tissues, restricting growth and limiting its ability to photosynthesise. Photosynthesis allows vegetation to pull CO2 from the atmosphere. CO2 is a toxic planet heating greenhouse gas, and the damage to plants would have also released additional CO2 currently stored in healthy vegetation. 

Speaking to The Guardian, lead researcher in the study, Dr Paul Young, said: “a world where these chemicals increased and continued to strip away at our protective ozone layer would have been catastrophic for human health, but also for vegetation… with our research, we can see that the Montreal protocol’s successes extend beyond protecting humanity from increased UV to protecting the ability of plants and trees to absorb CO2.”

“Although we can hope that we never would have reached the catastrophic world as we simulated, it does remind us of the importance of continuing to protect the ozone layer… Entirely conceivable threats to it still exist, such as from unregulated use of CFCs.”

Embed from Getty Images

Not only are CFCs damaging to the Ozone layer, they are also a greenhouse gas themselves. According to the BBC, “The scientists estimated there would be: 580 billion tonnes less carbon stored in forests, other vegetation and soils and an extra 165-215 parts per million (40-50%) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

The study doesn’t indicate that we have successfully beat climate change, just avoided further damage. There is still much more to be done when it comes to combating the climate crisis. 

The Earth has already warmed between 1.1 and 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit that warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and keep it well below 2 degrees Celsius – to prevent the cataclysmic impact and irreversible damage this increase would have on the world. To do this, governments across the world are urged to drastically cut their greenhouse gas emissions among other actions. 

A report from NASA, entitled Why Global Temperatures Matter, examined the IPCC special report on climate change, and detailed the chain of events that global warming has, from the impact on wildlife, ecosystems to human survival. It explained: ‘at 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, the report projects that climate-related risks to human health, livelihoods, food security, human security, water supply and economic growth will all increase, and will increase even more at 2 degrees warming.’

Lead researcher in the study Dr Paul Young, of the Lancaster Environment Centre said to BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science program:

“What we see in our ‘world-avoided experiment’ is an additional 2.5C warming above any warming that we would get from greenhouse-gas increases… The science was listened to and acted upon – we have not seen that to the same degree with climate change.”

However, he also noted “But I would be cautious of using it as a positive example for the climate negotiations… It’s not [directly] comparable – but it’s nice to have something positive to hold on to and to see that the world can come together.”

United Nations Reports Record High Greenhouse Gas Levels Throughout World 

The United Nations announced this week that greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere hit record levels in 2020, and the world is “way off track on capping rising temperatures.”

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report that showed carbon dioxide levels surged to 413.2 parts per million in 2020, which shows an exponential rise in the rate of emissions last year when compared to the rest of the decade. There was, however, a temporary decline in emissions during the initial phase of Covid-19 lockdowns. 

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said “the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would result in temperature rises far in excess of the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average this century.

Embed from Getty Images

“We are way off track. We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life. We need a dramatic increase in commitments from our world’s nations.”

Glasgow, Scotland hosted the climate talks where the UN met to discuss capping the global warming rates on Earth at the 1.5-2 degrees Celsius upper limit originally set out in the Paris Agreement. 

“It is going to be very, very tough this summit. I am very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need and it is touch and go, it is very, very difficult, but I think it can be done,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a news conference.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia claimed that the nation will be aiming to reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2060, adding that they also plan on doubling emission cuts within the next decade alone. 

Embed from Getty Images

The nation of Ottawa offered an official plan where they would have developed nations donate up to $100 billion a year to poorer countries to tackle climate change by 2023. This plan calls on more developed nations to put in more effort when it comes to helping poorer nations. 

According to a poll performed by Reuters, economists found that hitting the Paris Agreement goal of net-zero carbon emissions will require more investments from richer countries. If the world continues on as it is, the average global temperature will increase by “1.6C, 2.4C and 4.4C by 2030, 2050 and 2100 respectively, which would also result in 2.4% lost output by 2030, 10% by 2050 and 18% by 2100,” according to the median replies to the poll.

In London, climate activists are taking action into their own hands by blockading major roads and disrupting traffic in the city’s financial district; similar protests are occuring all throughout Europe as well. 

“Greenhouse gas emissions are provoking climate catastrophes all over the planet. We don’t have time. It’s already late and if we don’t join the action against what’s happening, we won’t have time to save what is still left,” said Alberto, 27, a sociologist who took part in a sit-in protest in Madrid which blocked off one of the largest shopping streets in the city.

How The Real Estate Industry Is Working To Combat Climate Change

Real estate accounts for nearly 40% of the energy-related carbon emissions in the world. Investors are now focusing on cutting emissions to net zero by refurbishing old properties and avoiding new projects.

This Company Is Using New Technology With Nature To Combat Excessive AC Use

The heat waves in the US have become more and more common as climate change has worsened in recent years. SkyCool Systems is a relatively new company attempting to combat the harmful greenhouse gases emitted from excessive air conditioning use throughout the country through new technology. 

“Our planet naturally cools itself by sending heat out in the form of infrared light or radiation. We’re using that effect to essentially radiate heat out during the day and at night, even under direct sunlight.” 

Eli Goldstein is SkyCool’s co-founder and CEO who explained that this process is known as radiative cooling. SkyCool uses rooftop panels made using nanotechnology and optical film that radiates infrared light and cools itself in the process. 

Embed from Getty Images

According to the company these panels work in the opposite way that traditional solar panels do by reflecting about 97% of the sunlight that hits them, and cooling the surface below. 

The SkyCool model involves an embedded network of pipes that are below the panels. These pipes are filled with water that’s kept cool by the panels and then can flow into a refrigeration or air conditioning system. The goal is to take pressure off the AC or fridge cooling systems which can use a lot of energy. 

The panels also cool themselves naturally and don’t require any external power to function, which helps the entire house use less electricity during times of extreme heat. 

Jesus Valenzuela is the store manager at a grocery outlet store in Stockton, California which recently adopted the SkyCool system technology. 

“After we had our SkyCool system installed, our electricity company increased their rates on us. We actually didn’t see our bill go up at all. In fact, we saw it go just a little bit down. I estimate that the panels have saved the store roughly $3,000 a month.”

Goldstein’s co-founder and UCLA professor Aaswath Raman is one of many scientists who have been researching the benefits of radiative cooling for years now. Raman is an expert in the field who claims that while several similar solutions have appeared in recent years, there have also been challenges, like how well the technology works without sunlight. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Our technology works best in hot, dry climates where the sky is clear, so when you have clouds, that blocks that radiative cooling window. In the same way that [carbon dioxide] blocks light and sort of has that heat trapping effect, water vapor also will block infrared light.”

“The biggest obstacle to making the technology ubiquitous is its relatively high cost. Most radiative cooling solutions suffer from a high manufacturing cost and large-scale production limits,” researchers at China’s Fudan University wrote in a paper published in the journal Nature.

Goldstein claims that SkyCool’s panels do cost more than solar panels, but didn’t disclose the actual cost. 

“New technologies like radiative cooling are often more expensive. People are very sensitive to first cost, and so that is another barrier to getting new things out there.”

“Much of that is because of low production volumes. Scaling up production could help bring the cost down, particularly for developing countries in Asia and Africa where we hope to eventually expand. For now, we’re focused on commercial applications of the technology, though we hope to start installing panels on the roofs of individual homes.”

“We’re just excited to be able to use this new technology for good,” Goldstein said.

Wildfires

 California Sheriff’s Office Issues Intense Wildfire Warning For Northern Residents

Thousands of residents in Northern California were forced to evacuate their homes this week as US Fire officials continue to fight around 96 large and active fires raging through 2 million acres of forest land. 

The River Fire is what officials are calling the fire that has now raged in Nevada and Placer counties in California. An estimated 40 building structures have been damaged or completely destroyed since Wednesday, when the fires initially began. CalFire Deputy Chief Jim Hudson claimed that the fire has already torn through 1,400 acres of land and was uncontainable Wednesday evening. 

Embed from Getty Images

Nearly 2,400 residents are under evacuation in Placer County alone, and in Nevada County 4,200 residents have now been placed under an evacuation order, according to Sheriff Shannan Moon. 

California’s largest active wildfire — the Dixie Fire — has already torn through Greenville, a town in Plumas County, also in the state’s northern region. “The Dixie Fire pushed into Greenville Wednesday and early indications are there has been significant damage,” California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services spokesman Brian Ferguson said. 

“Right now, there are still a lot of people unfortunately in Greenville that did not evacuate. And so, we are having to deal with that … and get all those folks out,” said Jake Cagle, the operations sections chief for California’s Incident Management Team.

Embed from Getty Images

Currently there are 11 large active fires throughout California and over 420,000 acres of land have been destroyed. Wildfires throughout the US have been fueled by extreme drought, global warming, and low humidity. 

The US Forest Service recently announced it will no longer be using the “let it burn” strategy when it comes to wildfires. Even Governor Gavin Newsom recently spoke out against this strategy in a call to President Joe Biden where he claimed the Forest Service has “a culture that too often is wait and see.”

“We need your help to change the culture in terms of the suppression strategies in this climate literally and figuratively to be more aggressive on these federal fires,” Newsom told Biden.

“The 2021 fire year is different from any before. In short, we are in a national crisis. At times like these, we must anchor to our core values, particularly safety,” said US Forest Service Fire Chief Randy Moore.

“We are in a ‘triage mode’ where our primary focus must be on fires that threaten communities and infrastructure. There is a finite amount of firefighting resources available that must be prioritized and fires will not always get the resources that might be requested,” Moore wrote. 

Climate

Climate Emergency Scientists Claim The Earth Is In Dire Need Of Our Help 

The Covid-19 pandemic initially helped combat climate change in America due to the lack of human activity in major metropolitans, where things like pollution are common. Now, climate scientists are warning that the climate crisis has worsened exponentially within the past decade, and this year was no different. 

In November of 2019, an article co-signed by over 11,000 scientists was published in a journal that declared a global climate emergency. This Tuesday, the same journal released an update in which they claimed a few improvements have been made to our environment thanks to the pandemic, but ultimately much more systemic work needs to be done if we want to see a real change in our planet’s health. 

Embed from Getty Images

“A major lesson from COVID-19 is that even colossally decreased transportation and consumption are not nearly enough and that, instead, transformational system changes are required, and they must rise above politics.” 

“Given the impacts we are seeing at roughly 1.25 degrees Celsius (°C) warming, combined with the many reinforcing feedback loops and potential tipping points, massive-scale climate action is urgently needed,” the article reads.

Ecology professor William Ripple and forest ecosystem researcher Christopher Wold were some of the lead authors on the article update, and they cited catastrophic flooding, wildfires, and record-breaking heat waves that have been impacting America. 

The data published shows a Covid-related dip in air travel led to a decrease in the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, however, record levels of methane and carbon dioxide were still recorded in the atmosphere, which has increased acidification in the Earth’s oceans, and led to the melting of major ice sheets. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Global gross domestic product dropped by 3.6% in 2020 but is projected to rebound to an all-time high,” Ripple said in a statement. 

“Likely because of the pandemic, fossil fuel consumption has gone down since 2019, as have carbon dioxide emissions and airline travel levels. All of these are expected to significantly rise with the opening of the economy.

The article update sent a very similar message as its original, calling on the government for an elimination of fossil fuels, air pollutants, a switch to mostly plant-based diets, a more sustainable economy, and a means of stabilizing the human population. 

“As long as humanity’s pressure on the Earth system continues, attempted remedies will only redistribute the pressure. But by halting the unsustainable exploitation of natural habitats, we can reduce zoonotic disease transmission risks, protect carbon stocks and conserve biodiversity, all at the same time,”  Wolf said. 

“We need to quickly change how we’re doing things, and new climate policies should be part of COVID-19 recovery plans wherever possible. It’s time for us to join together as a global community with a shared sense of cooperation, urgency and equity.”

Government In Dubai Is Artificially Creating Rain To Combat Extreme Heat Wave

Temperatures in Dubai have regularly been surpassing 115 degrees Fahrenheit, so the government has decided to take matters into their own hands by artificially creating rain to cool the metropolitan area. 

Scientists working in the United Arab Emirates are using electrical charges from drones to manipulate the weather and force rainfall across the dry and desert areas of Dubai. Meteorological officials released video footage showing the rain in Ras al Khaimah and several other hot regions. 

Embed from Getty Images

The method is known as “cloud seeding” and so far is proving to be successful when it comes to minimizing drought conditions in a given area. This technology could become extremely useful in other parts of the world where climate change and extreme heat temperatures are destroying the environment. 

The United Arab Emirates has reported that they receive about 4 inches of rain every year. The government is hoping that if they regularly use this technology to generate rain, it could help alleviate some of the damage caused by the annual heat waves. 

Scientists create these storms by using drones which hit clouds in the sky with electricity. This electricity then creates large raindrops within the clouds that become heavy, and fall, thus creating a man made rainstorm. 

“It’s moving to think that the rainfall technology I saw today, which is still being developed, may someday support countries in water-scarce environments like the UAE,” Mansoor Abulhoul, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the U.K., said.

Embed from Getty Images

“Of course, our ability to manipulate weather is puny compared to the forces of nature. We are mindful that we have a big role to play, by working with global partners to understand and help prevent the worst effects of climate change.” 

Back in 2017, the researchers were awarded a $1.5 million funding grant for what they refer to as “Rain Enhancement Science.” So far the UAE has invested up to $15 million in creating man-made rainstorms. 

“The water table is sinking drastically in UAE, and the purpose of this is to try to help with rainfall,” University of Reading professor and meteorologist Maarten Ambaum said.

The UAE has become one of the first countries to use this technology, and at least 8 states throughout the US are experimenting with different versions of this technology to combat climate change.

Climate Experts Worried About Misinformation On Fox News’ 24-Hour Weather Channel 

Fox News Media announced that they would be launching their own weather channel this year, an announcement that has many climate experts worried considering how often Fox News reporters criticize science and spreads misinformation regarding climate change. 

Fox Weather will be “a 24-hour channel devoted to all things meteorological, providing cutting-edge display technology with forecasting experts surrounding every major weather event,” according to the press release from Fox Media. 

Embed from Getty Images

Over the years, hosts on Fox News have consistently undermined the idea that climate change caused by human activity is an actual issue worth fighting for. So the fact that the same company that owns that outlet which hires journalists who ignore the actual scientific facts of what global warming is, is creating a weather channel, has many worried. 

“Fox News has access to and is highly trusted by a wide range of conservative Americans – which is precisely the audience that least well understands the serious threats that climate change poses to the safety, security and health of all Americans,” said Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication.

“If Fox chooses to inform viewers about the realities of climate change and its impacts on the weather, it could be a game changer. Conversely, if it opts to perpetuate misinformation to advance political goals, it will be a huge disservice to all Americans.”

Last year Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed how all the forest and wildfires the west coast has endured within the past two years were not caused by climate change. Carlson’s colleague Laura Ingraham also doubled-down on this ideology by insisting that the planet has a “natural cycle of warming, and climate activists like Greta Thunberg have been brainwashed, and the left’s obsession with climate is a political tool.” 

Embed from Getty Images

“The danger of Fox News running a weather channel is that if they pervert news about the weather anything like how they’ve perverted news about climate change and energy politics, millions of Americans will be further misled about this crisis,” said Geoffrey Supran, research fellow at Harvard University’s department of the history of science.

“It’s been shown that the most important predictors of public support for climate action are understanding that this crisis is real, human-caused, serious and solvable.”

“If Fox News Media’s weather channel downplays the links between global warming and extreme weather, it will only solidify their viewers’ existing biases against climate action. Fox News has been a powerful engine of climate misinformation for years – so powerful, in fact, that its influence has been named the ‘Fox News Effect’,” Maibach said.

One of our studies showed that before Fox News began its attack on the Green New Deal, most conservatives supported its core policy proposals. Six months later – after Fox had relentlessly attacked it and its sponsors – support for those proposals dropped to near zero among frequent Fox viewers.”

“I don’t expect that Fox News will change its ways or its views about climate change anytime soon, but Fox Weather has the opportunity to get the facts right. Let’s hope it chooses to,” Maibach said.

Clean Environment Concept

America’s National Science Academy Proposes $100 Million Geoengineering Research Program 

The nation’s national science academy recently claimed that the US should establish a multi-million-dollar research program specifically for looking into solar geoengineering. The group recently released a report that recommends the country put between $100-200 million into a five year program that would work to understand the “feasibility of interventions to dim the sun, the risk of harmful unintended consequences, and how such technology could be governed in an ethical way.”

The National Academies of Science (NAS) said that cutting fossil fuels emissions should be the nation’s number one priority when it comes to tackling climate change. However, the lack of action from our world leaders within the past decade has created an even more damaged environment to improve. 

The report claims that there are three types of solar geoengineering that would help heat escape the Earth’s atmosphere and thus cool the planet overall: “injecting tiny reflective particles into the stratosphere to block sunlight; using the particles to make low-lying clouds over the oceans more reflective; and thinning high-altitude cirrus clouds. Major volcanic eruptions are already known to cool the climate by pumping particles high into the atmosphere.

Embed from Getty Images

Geoengineers are already arguing that the impact of climate change is already so large that every option must be explored if the Earth wants any chance at surviving the next century. Professor Marcia McNutt is the president of the Academy who recently spoke to the media about the importance of this overdue research. 

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, solar geoengineering needs to be studied further. But just as with advances in fields such as artificial intelligence or gene editing, science needs to engage the public to ask not just can we, but should we? Questions of governance – who will decide to deploy this intervention and for how long – were as important as the scientific questions.”

Professor Chris Field of Stanford University was the chair of the committee that wrote the report, who claimed that “the US solar geoengineering program should be all about helping society make more informed decisions regarding the planet.”

“Based on all of the evidence from social science, natural science, and technology, this research program could either indicate that solar geoengineering should not be considered further, or conclude that it warrants additional effort.”

Embed from Getty Images

The report claimed that “a reasonable initial investment for this solar geoengineering research program is within a range of $100-200 million total over five years. The program would be a small fraction of the US budget for climate change research and should not shift the focus from other projects.”

“The program should be designed to move forward in a socially responsible manner with researchers following a code of conduct, research catalogued in a public registry, and public engagement undertaken. Outdoor experiments should be subject to appropriate governance including impact assessments,” according to the report. 

The academy claims that the program should also include scientific research regarding the possible climate outcomes that geoengineering could have on society and its many ecosystems. “Social dimensions cited for research included domestic and international conflict and cooperation, and justice, ethics, and equity.”

Professor Gernot Wagner of New York University said: “The report’s focus on research and research governance is important for one simple reason: the current discussion is – and should be – all about research into solar geoengineering, certainly not about deploying the technology, where, if anything, a firm moratorium would be appropriate.”