Airlines and cattle ranchers have beef with Google’s climate math

Airlines and cattle ranchers have beef with Google’s climate math

Enlarge (credit: Damien Meyer/Getty Images)

Flying premium from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a common trip for some Californians, could generate 101 kilograms of carbon emissions, or perhaps 142 or even 366 kilograms—depending on what source you search online.

The wide range of estimates stems from what some climate experts view as a growing problem, with Google at the center. More people are trying to factor climate change impacts into life choices such as where to vacation or what to eat. Yet scientists are still debating how to accurately estimate the impacts of many activities, including flying or producing meat. While the math gets sorted out, some industries decry emissions estimates as unfair.

Google has led the way among Big Tech companies in trying to inform users about their potential carbon footprint when traveling, heating their homes, and, as of recently, making dinner. But airlines, cattle ranchers, and other industry groups are pushing back, saying Google’s nudges could hurt their sales. They have demanded—successfully, in the case of airlines—that the search giant rethink how it calculates and presents emissions data.

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#airlines, #climate-change, #greenhouse-gas, #methane-emissions, #science, #syndication

The world’s farms are hooked on phosphorus, and that’s a problem

The world’s farms are hooked on phosphorus, and that’s a problem

Enlarge (credit: Brian Brown/Getty Images)

Disrupting Earth’s chemical cycles brings trouble. But planet-warming carbon dioxide isn’t the only element whose cycle we’ve turned wonky—we’ve got a phosphorus problem too. And it’s a big one, because we depend on this element to grow the world’s crops. “I don’t know if it would be possible to have a full world without any mineral phosphorus fertilizer,” says Joséphine Demay, a PhD student at INRAE, France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment.

Since the 1800s, agriculturalists have known that elemental phosphorus is a crucial fertilizer. Nations quickly began mining caches of “phosphate rock,” minerals rich in the element. By the middle of the 20th century, companies had industrialized chemical processes to turn it into a form suitable for supercharging crops, hardening them against disease, and making them able to support more people and livestock. That approach worked remarkably well: The post-World War II “Green Revolution” fed countless people thanks to fertilizers and pesticides. But sometimes there’s too much of a good thing.

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#agriculture, #climate-change, #environment, #phosphorous, #science

This 32,000-mile Ocean Race has yachts doing research along the way

A brightly painted racing yacht at speed

Enlarge / 11th Hour Racing Team is one of five teams competing in the IMOCA class of this year’s Ocean Race, a six-month dash across the world. The IMOCA-class yachts use foils and can reach more than 35 knots. (credit: Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing)

Just over a week ago, one of the world’s most grueling races got underway off the coast of Africa. Eleven teams, including five International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA)-class racing yachts, departed Alicante in the Canary Islands for the first leg of a 32,000-nautical-mile (60,000-km) route that includes a 12,750-nautical-mile stretch between South Africa and Brazil through the Southern Ocean. The crews have little in the way of creature comforts beyond freeze-dried meals and a bucket for a bathroom. Along the way, the boats will collect scientific data on the state of our oceans, from dissolved gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide to microplastics.

IMOCA-class boats are 60 feet (18.3 m) long and feature a single hull made from carbon fiber. In addition to sails, the yachts have retractable foils that lift the hull out of the water above 18 knots (33 km/h) and allow a top speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) or more. Designers have some freedom with the hull and sail shape, but everyone has to use the same design of masts, booms, and static rigging.

Mālama is one such boat, and it’s crewed by the 11th Hour Racing team. In addition to collecting data on climate change, the team worked to minimize the carbon impact of building the yacht itself, experimenting where allowed with lightweight, sustainable materials like balsa or composites made from flax. “I like to think of where can we use renewables that actually adds performance to the program,” said Simon Fisher, navigator for the 11th Hour team.

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#11th-hour-racing-team, #around-the-world-race, #carbon-fiber, #cars, #climate-change, #imoca, #malama, #microplastics, #ocean-race, #pollution

How flood forecasts in real time with block-by-block data could save lives

A vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California, on January 5, 2023.

Enlarge / A vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California, on January 5, 2023. (credit: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

The extreme flooding and mudslides across California in recent weeks took many drivers by surprise. Sinkholes swallowed cars, highways became fast-moving rivers of water, entire neighborhoods were evacuated. At least 20 people died in the storms, several of them after becoming trapped in cars in rushing water.

As I checked the forecasts on my cellphone weather apps during the weeks of storms in early January 2023, I wondered whether people in the midst of the downpours were using similar technology as they decided whether to leave their homes and determined which routes were safest. Did they feel that it was sufficient?

I am a hydrologist who sometimes works in remote areas, so interpreting weather data and forecast uncertainty is always part of my planning. As someone who once nearly drowned while crossing a flooded river where I shouldn’t have, I am also acutely conscious of the extreme human vulnerability stemming from not knowing exactly where and when a flood will strike.

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#atmospheric-river, #california, #climate-change, #flooding, #science

Exxon’s Own Models Predicted Global Warming–It Ignored Them

Scientists working for the oil giant Exxon in the 1970s and 1980s estimated temperature increases with remarkable accuracy. Those findings could now be used as evidence in climate litigation

#climate-change, #environment, #fossil-fuels

Despite public stance, internal Exxon climate analyses were very accurate

Oil Rig Drilling Platform in Dock for Maintenance

Enlarge (credit: MOF)

Currently, the major oil companies appear to have settled on an awkward compromise with the reality of climate change: They generally acknowledge that their product is helping drive it but plan to continue to produce as much of that product as they can. But that reflects a major change for these companies, which up until recently were funding think tanks that minimized the risks of climate change and, in many cases, directly denying the validity of the science.

In the case of ExxonMobil, that includes denying its own science. Thanks to documents obtained by the press, we now know that Exxon sponsored its own climate researchers who did internal research, collaborated with academic scientists, and came to roughly the same conclusions about carbon dioxide that the rest of the scientific community had—and executives were made aware of it.

But how rough were the conclusions that Exxon’s scientists gave its executives? It’s a question that goes to the heart of how misleading the executives were being when they downplayed the risks. A new study answers that question pretty definitively: Exxon’s scientists were as good (and sometimes better) than the scientific community as a whole at projecting the climate changes created by fossil fuel use.

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#carbon-emissions, #climate-change, #earth-science, #exxon, #science

New imaging finds trigger for massive global warming 56 million years ago

Image of a hard-hatted individual guiding aa large orange device as it's lowered into the ocean.

Enlarge / Scientists about to sink an Ocean Bottom Seismometer to the Atlantic seabed in 2021.

Scientists have scanned a section of the North Atlantic and revealed the remnants of what had been a huge pulse of hot rock that initiated a rapid climate warming event 56 million years ago.

The climate event, known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), warmed the already-hot climate of the time by about 5.6° C due to a jump in atmospheric CO2. Levels of that greenhouse gas rose from about 1,120 parts per million to about 2,020 ppm—much higher than today’s 417 ppm. Although it didn’t trigger a major extinction, it still exterminated some deep-sea creatures and tropical plants. Scientists want to understand the PETM better, because it’s an example of how the Earth reacted to a rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 a bit like we’re currently experiencing, albeit starting from a hot, ice-free climate.

Finding a cause

Although the cause of PETM has been debated since it was discovered in the 1990s, more and more evidence has accumulated that points to massive quantities of CO2 and methane emitted due to volcanic activity in the North Atlantic as the primary cause. This activity created what’s now known as the North Atlantic Igneous Province— the same kind of enormous volcanic phenomenon linked to climate disruption and extinctions at other times in Earth’s past, like the end-Triassic, the end-Permian, the early Jurassic, and others.

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#climate-change, #earth-science, #geology, #oceanography, #petm, #science, #volcanism

Sedimentation threatens to steal capacity from nearly 50,000 dams

Image of a large hydroelectric dam and power lines.

Enlarge (credit: Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm)

Slowly but surely, the world’s reservoirs are getting gunked up with sediment. In an unblocked river, the flowing water carries bits of sediment along—picked up from river banks or swept into the river from rain. However, rivers whose flow has been interrupted by a dam deposit some of that sediment right behind the dam itself, in the reservoir. “Gradually, [over] years and years, it will be accumulating,” Duminda Perera, a researcher with the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health in Hamilton, Ontario, told Ars.

According to Perera, the increased sedimentation in these reservoirs, and the resulting loss of volume, are rarely considered. However, he and some of his fellow researchers recently penned a new study, suggesting that nearly 50,000 large dams—defined as being 15 m tall or more or above 5 meters high and blocking more than 3 million cubic meters of water—are being robbed of their capacity.

This slowly accumulating sediment takes up volume in the reservoir, occupying cubic meters that would otherwise be filled with water that would ultimately flow through hydroelectric turbines or be diverted to agriculture. “If you fill a cup with water, and then you put soil… the water volume is reduced,” he said.

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#climate-change, #dams, #energy, #hydroelectricity, #science, #sedimentation

2022 was once again one of the warmest years on record

global temperature map

Enlarge / Average 2022 temperatures compared to the average of 1991-2020. (credit: NOAA)

They say history repeats, but usually they don’t mean it quite this literally. The global average surface temperature in 2021 ended up ranking fifth warmest or sixth warmest, depending on the dataset. We now have the tally for 2022—and it’s the new fifth or sixth warmest, depending on the dataset.

Each year in mid-January, various centers that manage global temperature datasets release their results for the previous year. Because each group pulls from a slightly different collection of weather stations and uses a slightly different calculation process, they don’t get exactly the same numbers. The big picture is identical, but since just 0.01°C can separate years in the ranking, those small differences can alter the order.

In the European Copernicus ECMWF dataset and the Berkeley Earth dataset, 2022 is the fifth warmest in the global instrumental record going back to the mid-to-late 1800s. Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UK Met Office datasets pin it at No. 6, just below 2015 instead of just above it. NASA’s dataset has it tied with 2015 for fifth warmest. The total heat energy in the ocean, on the other hand, reached a new record. Over 90 percent of the total heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions has gone into the oceans, and this value varies less from year to year.

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#climate-change, #global-temperature, #science

Oceans Break Heat Record for Fourth Year in a Row

The world’s oceans hit their warmest levels on record for the fourth consecutive year in 2022, fueling sea-level rise and contributing to climate disasters

#climate-change, #environment, #oceans

Why California Is Being Deluged by Atmospheric Rivers

California has been hit by repeated storms fueled by torrents of moisture called atmospheric rivers that will only intensify in a warming climate

#climate-change, #environment, #weather

Half of All Mountain Glaciers Are Expected to Disappear by 2100

Even if the world meets its most ambitious climate targets, about half of all mountain glaciers will melt away by the end of the century

#climate-change, #environment

How California could save up its rain to ease future droughts

Highway 101 flooding in California

Enlarge / Heavy rain from a series of atmospheric rivers flooded large parts of California from late December 2022 into early January 2023. (credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

California has seen so much rain over the past few weeks that farm fields are inundated and normally dry creeks and drainage ditches have become torrents of water racing toward the ocean. Yet, most of the state remains in severe drought.

All that runoff in the middle of a drought begs the question—why can’t more rainwater be collected and stored for the long, dry spring and summer when it’s needed?

As a hydrogeologist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, I’m interested in what can be done to collect runoff from storms like this on a large scale. There are two primary sources of large-scale water storage that could help make a dent in the drought: holding that water behind dams and putting it in the ground.

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#california, #climate-change, #drought, #megadrought, #science, #syndication, #water-use

Poem: ‘Weight’

Science in meter and verse

#arts, #climate-change, #environment, #meter

Will Global Emissions Plateau in 2023? Four Trends to Watch

A slow economy, clean energy spending, electric vehicles and heat pumps could offset coal combustion to level carbon emissions

#climate-change, #environment

Climate enforcers need hard evidence, and Friederike Otto has it

A red-orange sky over the Houses of Parliament.

Enlarge (credit: Peter Zelei Images)

On July 19, 2022, the UK experienced a taste of the weather to come. Temperatures reached 40.3° Celsius—soaring past the previous record by more than one-and-a-half degrees.

Dozens of homes in east London were destroyed by fires, while elsewhere in the country, the heat pushed the power grid close to the point of failure. The Office for National Statistics estimates that there were more than 2,800 excess deaths among over-65s during the summer heat waves of 2022, making it the deadliest year for heat since 2003.

Before the temperatures had even peaked, Friederike Otto was in her office in Imperial College London, getting ready to answer the question that she knew would be thrown at her countless times in the following week: Was climate change to blame?

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#climate-change, #natural-disasters, #policy, #science, #syndication

A New Map Tracks the World’s Largest Glaciers

A visualization compares the forms of Earth’s largest flows of ice

#climate-change, #conservation, #environment, #graphic-science, #water

Are Home Insurers Abandoning Communities Vulnerable to Climate Change?

The U.S. Treasury Department makes an unprecedented move to find out

#climate-change, #environment

Financial Firms May Have to Reveal their Climate Risk

And public companies may have to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, if regulators finalize proposed rules

#climate-change, #environment

Climate Activists Find a Way to Get Germany’s Attention: Stop Traffic

Extreme tactics have pushed the climate crisis to the top of the public discourse but also stirred debate over whether the activists are going too far.

#automobiles, #climate-change, #debates-political, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #germany, #global-warming, #green-party-germany, #last-generation, #politics-and-government, #roads-and-traffic, #traffic-accidents-and-safety

Where 2022’s news was (mostly) good: Yhe year’s top science stories

The self-portrait of Webb's mirrors is also looking very sharp thanks to the improved alignment.

Enlarge / The self-portrait of Webb’s mirrors is also looking very sharp thanks to the improved alignment. (credit: NASA/STScI)

How often does something work exactly as planned, and live up to its hype? In most of the world, that’s the equivalent of stumbling across a unicorn that’s holding a few winning lottery tickets in its teeth. But that pretty much describes our top science story of 2022, the successful deployment and initial images from the Webb Telescope.

In fact, there was lots of good news to come out of the world of science, with a steady flow of fascinating discoveries and tantalizing potential tech—over 200 individual articles drew in 100,000 readers or more, and the topics they covered came from all areas of science. Of course, with a pandemic and climate change happening, not everything we wrote was good news. But as the top stories of the year indicate, our readers found interest in a remarkable range of topics.

10. Fauci on the rebound

For better and worse, Anthony Fauci has become the public face of the pandemic response in the US. He’s trusted by some for his personable, plain-spoken advice regarding how to manage the risks of infection—and vilified by others for his advocacy of vaccinations (plus a handful of conspiracy theories). So, when Fauci himself ended up on the wrong end of risk management and got a SARS-CoV-2 infection, that was news as well, and our pandemic specialist, Beth Mole, was there for it.

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#climate-change, #covid, #fauci, #magnetars, #mars, #nasa, #pants, #science, #sls, #webb-telescope

2022’s US climate disasters, from storms and floods to heat waves and droughts

Rain and fast snowmelt sent the Yellowstone River and nearby streams raging beyond their banks in June 2022.

Enlarge / Rain and fast snowmelt sent the Yellowstone River and nearby streams raging beyond their banks in June 2022. (credit: William Campbell / Getty Images)

The year 2022 will be remembered across the US for its devastating flooding and storms—and also for its extreme heat waves and droughts.

By October, the US had already seen 15 disasters causing more than $1 billion in damage each, well above the average. The year started and ended with widespread severe winter storms from Texas to Maine, affecting tens of millions of people and causing significant damage. Then, March set the record for the most reported tornadoes in the month—233.

During a period of five weeks over the summer, five 1,000-year rainfall events occurred in St. Louis, eastern Kentucky, southern Illinois, California’s Death Valley, and Dallas, causing devastating and sometimes deadly flash floods. Severe flooding in Mississippi knocked out Jackson’s troubled water supply for weeks. A historic flood in Montana, brought on by heavy rain and melting snow, forced large areas of Yellowstone National Park to be evacuated.

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#climate-change, #science

Startup Make Sunsets promises to disrupt… the stratosphere?

Image of clouds bathed in orange and pink light.

Enlarge / Stratospheric aerosols can make for great sunsets, regardless of how they get there. (credit: Rachel Dulson)

Humanity has managed to stabilize its carbon emissions, but they have yet to start trending downwards. It looks increasingly probable that we’re going to emit enough to commit to at least 1.5° C of warming—and we need to act quickly to avert going past 2° C. This failure to get our emissions in order may force us to consider alternatives such as pulling carbon dioxide out of the air or geoengineering to reduce the amount of incoming sunlight.

Of the two, geoengineering comes with the longest list of unknowns, with a recent report from the National Academies of Science saying, “Scientific understanding of many aspects of solar geoengineering technologies remains limited, including how they could affect weather extremes, agriculture, natural ecosystems, or human health.”

So, some Silicon Valley types naturally decided to go ahead and launch a startup company that would offer geoengineering for a fee. The company claims to offer warming offsets despite the considerable unknowns regarding geoengineering. And it’s even worse than that sounds; based on an article in MIT Technology Review, the company has already started launching balloons to the stratosphere, despite not being capable of determining whether they’re actually deploying their payload.

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#climate-change, #geoengineering, #science, #sulfur-dioxide

Exxon’s bad reputation got in the way of its industry-wide carbon capture proposal

Environmental activists rally for accountability for fossil fuel companies outside of New York Supreme Court on October 22, 2019 in New York City.

Enlarge / Environmental activists rally for accountability for fossil fuel companies outside of New York Supreme Court on October 22, 2019 in New York City. (credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

ExxonMobil has been the prime target of activists and politicians angered by the oil industry’s efforts to block action on climate change. Now, newly disclosed documents confirm that the oil company’s reputational woes have extended into the industry itself and threatened to derail Exxon’s biggest climate proposal to date.

Last year, Exxon struggled to gain support from its peers when it proposed a cross-industry effort to build a carbon capture and storage hub in Houston, according to documents released by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which has been investigating the oil industry. Top executives at Shell, in particular, worried that joining with Exxon would present an “unacceptable risk” to the European oil major’s reputation.

“I am not interested in participating with any advocacy effort led by” Exxon, wrote Krista Johnson, Shell’s head of US government relations, in a July 2021 email to Gretchen Watkins, president of Shell USA. Johnson said their competitor was continuing to draw negative headlines and that “zero companies” were prepared to join an Exxon-led consortium at that time.

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#carbon-capture, #chevron, #climate-change, #exxonmobil, #petrolum, #science, #shell, #syndication

Perfectly Preserved Insects and Plants Point to Warm Greenland Future

A mile-long ice sample extracted by the U.S. military while it was studying whether to arm Greenland with nuclear missiles during the Cold War is yielding insights into the ice sheet’s future in a warming world

#climate-change, #environment

U.S. Energy Emissions Set to Rise for Second Straight Year

Increasing demand for natural gas and oil has offset emissions reductions associated with coal and pushed U.S. energy emissions higher for a second consecutive year

#climate-change, #environment, #fossil-fuels

Arctic Lakes Are Disappearing Fast, and Scientists Are Just Figuring Out Why

In an ominous sign of global warming, melting permafrost underneath Arctic lakes lets them drain into the ground

#climate-change, #environment, #observatory

Cleaner Jet Fuel Is Poised for Takeoff

Sustainable aviation fuel is poised for exponential growth thanks to increased investment and policy support, according to industry officials

#climate-change, #environment, #fossil-fuels

Your next pour-over may be Liberica or excelsa

Image of a cappuccino's foam.

Enlarge (credit: Diana Gitig)

Coffee is uniquely vulnerable to climate change. It grows in tropical regions, where temperatures and rainfall are becoming increasingly erratic; it is grown by small farms, which do not have the resources available to weather the coming literal and figurative storms; and despite the fact that coffee is among the most highly traded commodities in the world, little agricultural research time or money has been devoted to it.

Right now, just two species of coffee are grown commercially: Arabica and robusta. Droughts over the past couple of years have reduced coffee yield, even as demand is exploding. Something must be done. Tea plantations are facing similar problems, so switching to tea won’t help. (Molecular coffee might eventually be an option, though.)

But researchers in the UK and Uganda posit that coffee farms can adapt in a number of ways. They can move, they can change their practices, or they can plant different varieties of coffee. These researchers vote for option three. And they have a candidate: Liberica coffee.

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#agriculture, #biology, #caffeine, #climate-change, #coffee, #science

International Sports Need to Prioritize Sustainability

Events like the World Cup can emit millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide, but it doesn’t have to be that way

#climate-change, #culture, #economics, #environment, #sports

Alaska’s Protective Sea Ice Wall Is Crumbling because of the Climate Crisis

A massive storm slammed into Alaska’s western coast, and there was no ice to stop it.

#climate-change, #environment

Race to Develop Carbon Removal Technology Begins with Record Funding

The Biden administration launched a historic effort on Tuesday to commercialize direct air capture technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

#climate-change, #environment

Record lows on the Mississippi: How climate change is altering large rivers

In this aerial view, barges, stranded by low water, sit at the Port of Rosedale along the Mississippi River on October 20, 2022, in Rosedale, Mississippi.

Enlarge / In this aerial view, barges, stranded by low water, sit at the Port of Rosedale along the Mississippi River on October 20, 2022, in Rosedale, Mississippi. (credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Rivers are critical corridors that connect cities and ecosystems alike. When drought develops, water levels fall, making river navigation harder and more expensive.

In 2022, water levels in some of the world’s largest rivers, including the Rhine in Europe and the Yangtze in China, fell to historically low levels. The Mississippi River fell so low in Memphis, Tennessee, in mid-October that barges were unable to float, requiring dredging and special water releases from upstream reservoirs to keep channels navigable.

Conditions on the lower Mississippi may be easing somewhat, thanks to early winter rains. But as Earth scientists at the University of Memphis, we see this year’s dramatic plunge in water levels as a preview of a climate-altered future.

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#climate-change, #drought, #mississippi-river, #science

The Most Compelling Science Graphics of 2022

From COVID to space exploration, graphics helped tell some the year’s most important stories

#climate-change, #health, #public-health, #quantum-physics, #social-sciences, #sociology

New Arctic Report Warns of Disturbances for People, Plants and Animals

Across the Arctic, rain is replacing snow, melting sea ice is leading to coastal erosion, and increased ship traffic is putting fragile ecosystems at risk

#climate-change, #environment

Water Wells Go Dry as California Feels Warming Impacts

Officials say climate change is driving an increase in dry wells in drought-stricken California

#climate-change, #environment, #water

More Americans Are Moving into Dangerous Wildfire Zones

A new study that looked at U.S. Census data found that migration patterns are putting more people in the way of wildfires and hot summers

#climate-change, #environment, #natural-disasters

Forest Service to Explore a New Frontier–Electric Trucks

As part of the push to electrify government fleets, employees at three national forests will test out Ford F-150 Lightnings for field operations in rugged and remote areas

#automobiles, #climate-change, #environment

Los Angeles Bans New Oil Wells, Plans to Close Existing Ones

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Friday to ban new oil and gas wells in the city and eventually close existing ones

#climate-change, #environment, #pollution

As the Arctic warms, beavers are moving in

Beaver on a dam

Enlarge / Where beavers set up home, the dams they build profoundly change the landscape. It’s happening in the far north right now. (credit: Troy Harrison)

It began decades ago, with a few hardy pioneers slogging north across the tundra. It’s said that one individual walked so far to get there that he rubbed the skin off the underside of his long, flat tail. Today, his kind have homes and colonies scattered throughout the tundra in Alaska and Canada—and their numbers are increasing. Beavers have found their way to the far north.

It’s not yet clear what these new residents mean for the Arctic ecosystem, but concerns are growing, and locals and scientists are paying close attention. Researchers have observed that the dams beavers build accelerate changes already in play due to a warming climate. Indigenous people are worried the dams could pose a threat to the migrations of fish species they depend on.

“Beavers really alter ecosystems,” says Thomas Jung, senior wildlife biologist for Canada’s Yukon government. In fact, their ability to transform landscapes may be second only to that of humans: Before they were nearly extirpated by fur trappers, millions of beavers shaped the flow of North American waters. In temperate regions, beaver dams affect everything from the height of the water table to the kinds of shrubs and trees that grow.

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#arctic, #beavers, #climate-change, #science, #syndication

Indigenous Tribes in U.S. Will Get $75 Million for Climate Relocation

Grants to Indigenous tribes in the U.S. totaling $75 million are the first from a new voluntary relocation program aimed at climate risks

#climate-change, #environment

U.S. Embassies Face Growing Risk from Climate Change, Government Watchdog Says

A total of 32 U.S. embassies, including some of the most strategic, ranked in the highest category for climate disaster risk, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office

#climate-change, #environment

5 Billion People Will Face Water Shortages by 2050, U.N. Says

The World Meteorological Organization warns that climate-related shortages in water resources could affect two thirds of the world’s population by midcentury and will be felt unevenly

#climate-change, #environment, #water

Traces of ancient hurricanes on the seafloor are a warning for coastal areas

Hundreds of persons returning to their flood-wrecked homes in New Orleans after 1965's Hurricane Betsy.

Enlarge / Hundreds of persons returning to their flood-wrecked homes in New Orleans after 1965’s Hurricane Betsy. (credit: Bettman/Getty Images)

If you look back at the history of Atlantic hurricanes since the late 1800s, it might seem hurricane frequency is on the rise.

The year 2020 had the most tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, with 31, and 2021 had the third-highest, after 2005. The past decade saw five of the six most destructive Atlantic hurricanes in modern history.

Then a year like 2022 comes along, with no major hurricane landfalls until Fiona and Ian struck in late September. The Atlantic hurricane season, which ends November 30, has had eight hurricanes and 14 named storms. It’s a reminder that small sample sizes can be misleading when assessing trends in hurricane behavior. There is so much natural variability in hurricane behavior year to year and even decade to decade that we need to look much further back in time for the real trends to come clear.

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#climate-change, #climate-research, #historical-climate-records, #hurricanes, #science, #tropical-storms, #tropics

American EVs reduced gasoline consumption by just 0.54% in 2021

American EVs reduced gasoline consumption by just 0.54% in 2021

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Electric vehicles have never been more popular. Just about every automaker is in the midst of an electrification effort, spurred on by impending government regulations around the world aimed at reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. But is the movement having an effect? Here in the US, plug-in vehicles are selling better than ever, despite supply chain shortages and frequent hefty dealership markups.

According to Argonne National Lab, between 2010 and the end of 2021, the US had bought more than 2.1 million plug-in vehicles, including 1.3 million battery EVs. That sounds like a very impressive number, but bear in mind that’s out of a total national vehicle pool of nearly 276 million cars and trucks. Argonne estimates that despite all these plug-ins, national gasoline consumption was reduced by just 0.54 percent in 2021.

In total, Argonne calculates that US plug-in vehicles have driven nearly 70 billion miles since 2010, consuming 22 TWh of energy in the process. That’s displaced the use of more than 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline and 19 million tons of greenhouse gases, Argonne reports, although for context, the US consumed about 369 million gallons of gasoline a day in 2021. For 2021 specifically, plug-in vehicles saved about 690 million gallons of gasoline—about two days of consumption—and reduced CO2 emissions by 5.4 million metric tons, consuming 6.1 TWh in the process.

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#argonne-national-laboratory, #cars, #climate-change, #electric-vehicles, #gasoline

Young Climate Voters Could Tilt Georgia’s Runoff Election for Senate

Voters under age 30 turned out for Raphael Warnock in the first race, suggesting he lean even harder into climate policy

#climate-change, #environment, #politics

The World Cup In Qatar Is a Climate Catastrophe

Large sporting events often claim to be carbon neutral. But often this assertion is greenwashing, and it hides the incredible amount of pollution they actually create

#climate-change, #environment

A Burned Redwood Forest Tells a Story of Climate Change, Past, Present and Future

From the ashes of the giants of Big Basin Redwoods State Park arise a history of fire suppression and real questions about what happens to the forests in a drought-stricken West Coast going forward.

#climate-change, #environment

U.S. Renewable Energy Will Surge Past Coal and Nuclear by Year’s End

Wind, solar and hydropower will generate more than 20 percent of the power supply

#climate-change, #environment, #fossil-fuels

How Will Men’s World Cup Soccer Players Cope with Qatar Heat?

The question of how to preserve athletic performance amid extreme heat, including at the World Cup in Qatar, is pressing as climate change bites

#climate-change, #environment, #sports