India’s farmer network is saving seeds from climate change

November 21, 2017 by  
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Deep at a “seed bank” in the Himalayan foothills, farmers are preserving hardy indigenous varieties of wheat, corn and rice.

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India’s farmer network is saving seeds from climate change

A "giant leap backward for humankind" as CO2 levels rise after years of stability

November 13, 2017 by  
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Researchers had hoped global carbon emissions had peaked after three stable years – but a new projection shatters those hopes. The Global Carbon Project and University of East Anglia (UEA) revealed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could grow by two percent in 2017. Future Earth executive director Amy Luers described the news as a “giant leap backward for humankind.” Researchers presented the information at COP23 in Bonn, Germany. They’re pointing to China’s activities as the main cause – CO2 emissions there are projected to grow by around 3.5 percent. Coal use is expected to increase in China and the United States in 2017 – after decreases since 2013. Related: Almost 200 countries gather at COP23 to accelerate climate action CO2 emissions are projected to go down in America and the European Union, by 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively – both smaller declines than during the prior 10 years. India’s emissions are projected to increase by around two percent – but that’s down from more than six percent a year in the last decade. UEA’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research director Corinne Le Quéré said in a statement, “With global CO2 emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tonnes for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees Celsius. This year we have seen how climate change can amplify the impacts of hurricanes with more intense rainfall, higher sea levels, and warmer ocean conditions favoring more powerful storms. This is a window into the future.” The researchers said there are uncertainties in our ability to estimate emissions changes – Glen Peters of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research and lead author on a study said it could take up to 10 years to independently verify a change in emissions based on measurements of CO2 atmospheric concentrations. The research was published simultaneously in the journals Environmental Research Letters , Nature Climate Change , and Earth System Science Data Discussions , with scientists from around the world contributing to the studies. Via Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research , the University of East Anglia , and the AFP Images via Dirk Duckhorn on Flickr , © Robert Castillo/ Dreamstime.com via the Global Carbon Project , and the Global Carbon Project

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A "giant leap backward for humankind" as CO2 levels rise after years of stability

Climate change art illustrates sea level rise in Venice during COP 23

November 9, 2017 by  
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Artist Andreco has unveiled his latest art installation, Climate 04-Sea Level Rise in Venice, to raise awareness of the climate change conference COP 23 currently underway in Bonn, Germany. Introduced as a project promoting dialogue between the arts and sciences, the climate change-inspired installation calls attention to the effects of potential sea level rise in Venice. The site-specific project consists of three parts: a wall mural, a sculpture, and an academic conference. Climate 04-Sea Level Rise is the fourth iteration of Andreco’s ongoing Climate project, started in Paris in November 2015 during COP 21 . For each conference since, the artist has realized various site-specific installations that take inspiration from recent scientific research and estimates in climate studies. From the introduction of the new installation: “Andreco’s aim for this project is to underline the weaknesses of the territory where his interventions will take place. While in Bari the main theme was the accelerating desertification caused by the rising temperatures, in Venice the artist’s focus is the sea level rise.” Related: Almost 200 countries gather at COP23 to accelerate climate action Andreco’s interventions in Venice begins with a giant mural , located next to Canal Grande in Fondamenta Santa Lucia, that represents his artistic interpretation about estimates and data regarding sea level rise in the Italian city. The mural is made of long curvaceous blue lines, punctuated by equations and mathematical symbols, mimicking waves that rise high above a person’s height. A crystalline steel sculpture to the side contains native coastal plants that speak to the importance of the landscape in combating storm surges. The last part of the intervention was a series of talks by international researchers held to stimulate public discussion about climate change. + Andreco

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Climate change art illustrates sea level rise in Venice during COP 23

Getting unstuck on the climate change debate

November 9, 2017 by  
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We have enough data, now we need to fix our solution deficit.

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Getting unstuck on the climate change debate

Why sustainable communities must look above the street level

November 9, 2017 by  
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And how real estate developers and investors can play a role in their creation.

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Why sustainable communities must look above the street level

How business can bolster the Paris Agreement

November 9, 2017 by  
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An interview with David McCauley, senior vice president of Policy and Government Affairs at WWF.

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How business can bolster the Paris Agreement

Why Trump’s nominee to lead NASA is terrifying choice for the planet

November 6, 2017 by  
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In an administration that has been defined by its disdain for scientific concensus and even basic facts , it should come as no surprise that Jim Bridenstine, former Republican Congressman and President Trump’s nominee to lead NASA , has no scientific background. During a recent Senate confirmation hearing , Bridenstine claimed that while humans are contributing to climate change, there is no way of knowing to what extent – a statement that goes against scientific consensus. Bridenstine has aggressively denied climate science in the past , has gone so far as to introduce legislation that would eliminate Earth science from NASA’s mission statement, and seems poised to ignore scientific evidence even if appointed to lead what is perhaps the most iconic institution of engineering and science in American government . During his Senate hearing, Bridenstine was questioned by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who took issue with Bridenstine’s failure to acknowledge current science. In response to a question on the factors that contribute to climate change, Bridenstine responded that “it’s going to depend on a lot of factors and we’re still learning more about that every day. In some years you could say absolutely, in other years, during sun cycles and other things, there are other contributing factors that would have maybe more of an impact.” Bridenstine’s statement revealed his failure to understand climate change , which is measured over decades, not in year-to-year variations. The most recent IPCC report concluded that there is a 95% chance that humans are mainly responsible for the changing climate. Even a report from the Trump Administration reached the same conclusion. Related: The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-Colorado) offered his endorsement of Bridenstine in an op-ed for the Orlando Sentinel . “Jim Bridenstine has a firsthand perspective on the need to better understand our Earth and the behavior of the atmosphere,” Perlmutter wrote. “He has a keen awareness of the important Earth science missions NASA is undertaking and wants to continue to advance our understanding of the planet.” Although Bridenstine has pledged to keep NASA “apolitical,” his previous career as a Republican congressman seems likely to haunt his tenure at NASA, if he is confirmed. “I believe you’re going to get confirmed,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Bridenstine during his confirmation hearing. “But, I would say to my Democratic friends on this committee, that if the confirmation ends up going down to a party-line vote, I think that would be deeply unfortunate for NASA and for the space community .” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1) , lead image via Wikimedia

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Why Trump’s nominee to lead NASA is terrifying choice for the planet

Newly-released report stating humans are the cause of climate change at odds with Trump officials

November 6, 2017 by  
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On Friday, 13 federal agencies under the Trump Administration released a comprehensive scientific report that states clearly that humans are the dominant cause of climate change. This may come as a surprise, given the Republican position on the issue . President Trump has called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese and has removed the United States from the landmark Paris agreement. Trump’s fellow Republicans have even tied themselves in knots to praise fossil fuels, with current US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry going so far as to link them with the prevention of sexual assault . The release of the legally mandated report highlights how far removed Trump and his Republicans remain from mainstream scientific opinion, even from within federal agencies under Trump’s leadership. The report details the ways in which climate change has already impacted the planet, including a 1.8 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase in the past 115 years. The long-term trend towards a warmer, more volatile planet and human activity’s primary role in it is “unambiguous,” reads the report, and that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” for the warming climate. The Trump Administration and the Republican Congress continues to argue otherwise in spite of the scientific consensus. “This report has some very powerful, hard-hitting statements that are totally at odds with senior administration folks and at odds with their policies,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, according to the New York Times . “It begs the question, where are members of the administration getting their information from? They’re obviously not getting it from their own scientists.” Related: Renewables keep booming despite Trump administration’s attempts to axe Obama’s Clean Power Plan The report is the latest installment of a congressionally mandated review known as the National Climate Assessment. Every four years, hundreds of scientists within government and academia compile a peer-reviewed report that is considered the United States government’s most authoritative statement on climate science. Although members of the Trump Administration clearly take issue with the science presented in the report, they are largely focused on passing tax reform and have chosen not to engage in a fight over climate change at this moment. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration’s decision to ignore climate science could have dire consequences in the future. “This profoundly affects our ability to be leaders in developing new technologies and understanding how to build successful communities and businesses in the 21st century,” said Christopher Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, according to the New York Times . “Choosing to be dumb about our relationship with the natural world is choosing to be behind the eight ball.” Via New York Times Images via Depositphotos (1) , lead image via Ralf Kayser  

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Newly-released report stating humans are the cause of climate change at odds with Trump officials

Almost 200 countries gather at COP23 to accelerate climate action

November 6, 2017 by  
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COP21 ultimately led to the groundbreaking 2015 Paris Agreement . Now, two years later, world leaders are meeting in Bonn, Germany to talk climate action at COP23, and how they can speed up implementation of the landmark deal’s goals without support from the US. Delegates from nearly 200 countries will be present. Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama will serve as COP23’s president. It’s not just government leaders who are gathering, but representatives from cities, businesses, and civil society organizations. The BBC reported around 20,000 visitors and delegates will be present. Speakers will include Solar Impulse pioneer Bertrand Piccard , United Nations Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg , and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger , to name a few. Related: Nicaragua joins Paris Accord, leaving the US and Syria as lone dissenters Although President Donald Trump yanked the United States out of the Paris Agreement , the country cannot leave until 2020 so there will be an American team of negotiators present, which the BBC said is comprised largely of career civil servants. But some Trump administration members will reportedly back an event at COP23 promoting fossil fuels and nuclear energy as climate change solutions, which is upsetting some delegates. The BBC said at the event, speakers will focus on how coal and other fuels can help curb the impacts of increasing temperatures . A White House spokesperson said, “It is undeniable that fossil fuels will be used for the foreseeable future, and it is in everyone’s interest that they be efficient and clean.” International Institute for Environment and Development director Andrew Norton said the idea that fossil fuels can help tackle climate change is beyond absurd, saying, “These talks are no place for pushing the fossil fuel agenda. The US needs to come back to the table and help with the rapid cuts in emissions that the situation demands.” American governors, mayors, and business people part of the We Are Still In coalition will attend COP23 to show the world much of the country below the federal government still backs the Paris deal. Via the BBC and United Nations Climate Change Images via COP23Demo on Flickr and Takver ( 1 , 2 ) on Flickr

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Almost 200 countries gather at COP23 to accelerate climate action

This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

November 6, 2017 by  
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  The upper floor of this candy-colored school in the city of Salamanca, Spain, disappears into the sky. Locally based design studio ABLM Arquitectos used mirrored panels to make the upper floor “almost invisible,” while covering the lower story with playful  ceramic stripes. The school is located in a neighborhood on the periphery of Salamanca, which is going through a process of industrialization. Its playful design contrasts this trend, with stripes of colors introducing an element of fun and ease into the area. Related: Japanese kindergarten features awesome green courtyard where kids can run and climb The entrance canopy is covered in the same material as the upper floor of the building. This dematerialization of the structure is achieved thanks to the use of mirrored panels of composite aluminum . Another intent in using reflective materials is to reflect the surroundings and visually reduce the scale of the building. Spanish ceramicist Toni Cumella chose the colors for the lower level, deciding on a wide spectrum of colors–from pink to maroon and green. The interior contrasts the façade and features neutral colors and materials. Related: Barcelona’s Beautiful Martinet School Boasts a Sun-Shielding Ceramic Facade “The almost invisible school proposes a reflection on the domestic scale of this kind of infrastructures, where the little ones must find spaces that they can catch, and places with which they can dream,” said architects Arturo Blanco and Laura Martínez of ABLM Arquitectos. + ABLM Arquitectos Via Dezeen Photos by Miguel de Guzmán

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This candy-colored school in Spain disappears into the sky

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