Greenhouse gas emissions expected to hit record decline

May 5, 2020 by  
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While your home energy bill may have increased while you shelter in place, the planet’s overall energy use has taken a significant downturn. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) first quarter report, global carbon emissions could be down by 8% this year, the biggest drop the agency has ever seen. In the first quarter of 2020, global energy demand decreased by 3.8%, thanks in large part to lockdowns in Europe and North America. The report collected data for 30 countries from January 1 through April 14. The analysis concluded that countries in full lockdown averaged a 25% weekly decline in energy demand, while countries in partial lockdown averaged 18%. While your own energy bill probably won’t reflect this trend, reductions in energy use by industrial and commercial concerns far outweigh upticks in residential demand. “For weeks, the shape of demand resembled that of a prolonged Sunday,” the report said. In short, the longer and more stringent the lockdown, the better for Earth’s atmosphere. Related: 6 ways to save energy while sheltering in place “This is a historic shock to the entire energy world. Amid today’s unparalleled health and economic crises, the plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use,” Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, said in a press release. “It is still too early to determine the longer-term impacts, but the energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before.” Global coal demand fell by nearly 8% compared with 2019’s first quarter. Analysts attributed this to a mild winter, the growth in renewable energy sources and the pandemic’s hard hit on China’s coal-based economy. Oil demand was also down, falling nearly 5%. The extreme aviation slowdown accounted for much of the oil decline, paired with global road transport activity dropping by half. “Resulting from premature deaths and economic trauma around the world, the historic decline in global emissions is absolutely nothing to cheer,” Birol said. “And if the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis is anything to go by, we are likely to soon see a sharp rebound in emissions as economic conditions improve. But governments can learn from that experience by putting clean energy technologies — renewables, efficiency, batteries, hydrogen and carbon capture — at the heart of their plans for economic recovery. Investing in those areas can create jobs, make economies more competitive and steer the world towards a more resilient and cleaner energy future.” + International Energy Agency Image via Marcin Jozwiak

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Greenhouse gas emissions expected to hit record decline

Climate Change 101: What Is Climate Change?

May 5, 2020 by  
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This article is the first of five in a series … The post Climate Change 101: What Is Climate Change? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Climate Change 101: What Is Climate Change?

Climate Change: Preparing for Regional Risks

May 4, 2020 by  
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Climate change touches all parts of the world in uniquely … The post Climate Change: Preparing for Regional Risks appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Climate Change: Preparing for Regional Risks

We need a Project Drawdown for conservation

April 24, 2020 by  
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The organization Project Drawdown has done a great job of identifying and sharing the most viable solutions to climate change. We need to do the same thing for biodiversity.

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We need a Project Drawdown for conservation

Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

April 23, 2020 by  
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Washington-based architect and designer Michael Mannhard has unveiled designs for BladeYARD, a proposal for a Burning Man 2021 installation built from recycled wind turbine blades. Created as a visual warning of the effects of climate change and shortsighted solutions, the installation mimics a large-scale ruin with parts of the blades submerged in the sands of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Part of Mannhard’s inspiration for the project stems from a recent Bloomberg News article that says wind turbine blades can’t be recycled, and as a result, they are piling up in landfills at a rate of nearly 8,000 blades a year. “What does it mean when this symbol of hope fails us so greatly?” asks Mannhard, who recalls growing up in the Midwest and marveling at sights of the massive turbines. “How is it that the most prominent symbol of our sustainable future was designed in such a way as to simply be buried in the ground at the end of its working life as a blade? These objects are now layered in new meaning as symbols of our shortsightedness in how we approach our built world and the incredible challenge of designing for the whole life cycle of products.” Related: Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art The BladeYARD project would explore those questions by bringing people up close with a “graveyard” of wind turbine blades. The massive blades — some of which can reach 100 meters in length — would be arranged like the bleached bones of an animal carcass, with some elements lying flat and partly buried in the sand while others stick straight up. Burning Man participants would be able to climb atop of, seek shelter under and wander through the sculptural installation. If it is accepted as an installation at Burning Man 2021, Mannhard plans to have BladeYARD dismantled and moved to a more permanent home after the event. Burning Man is scheduled to take place every year at the end of the summer in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. + Michael Mannhard Images by Michael Mannhard

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Recycled wind turbine blades proposed as a playscape for Burning Man

Megadrought grips Western states, new study says

April 21, 2020 by  
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As if we weren’t in enough of a pickle, a new study claims that the western U.S.  is in the midst of a megadrought affected by climate change. “We now have enough observations of current drought and tree-ring records of past drought to say that we’re on the same trajectory as the worst  prehistoric  droughts,” the study’s lead author Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a statement. “We’re no longer looking at projections, but at where we are now.” Researchers say the 19-year drought the region has experienced since 2000 is as bad as any in the past 1,200 years. The study, published in the journal  Science , looked at part of northern Mexico and the U.S. states of California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. So far, the only earlier drought that rivals the current one was one in the Medieval period that began in 1575. The researchers used tree ring data to estimate annual soil moisture for pre-modern data. They found four multi-decade droughts, aka megadroughts, dating back to 800 A.D. Natural variables play a role in drought. But studying the current drought, scientists put almost half the blame, or 47%, on  global warming . “There is no reason to believe that the sort of natural variability documented in the paleoclimatic record will not continue into the future, but the difference is that droughts will occur under warmer temperatures,” said Connie Woodhouse, a University of Arizona climate scientist. Woodhouse was not involved in the study. “These warmer conditions will exacerbate droughts, making them more severe, longer, and more widespread than they would have been otherwise.” The 20th century could also be blamed for giving humans false optimism. It was the wettest century in the whole 1200-year study, which helped the population boom. “The 20th century gave us an overly optimistic view of how much water is potentially available,” said co-author Benjamin Cook of Lamont and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The 21st century looks like it will be bringing drier decades. + Common Dreams Via Earth Institute Images via Pixabay

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Megadrought grips Western states, new study says

Biodiversity, pandemics and the circle of life

April 20, 2020 by  
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Addressing biodiversity, like so many other things, seems to have been shunted aside by the coronavirus outbreak. It would make much more sense to keep it front and center.

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Biodiversity, pandemics and the circle of life

PepsiCo CSO: We can’t ‘lose sight’ of the long-term crisis

April 20, 2020 by  
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Simon Lowden on the company’s new science-based commitment, food security amid COVID-19, and why key climate action partnerships are stronger than ever.

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PepsiCo CSO: We can’t ‘lose sight’ of the long-term crisis

How to celebrate Earth Day virtually in 2020

April 17, 2020 by  
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With social distancing in full force this Earth Day , the 50th anniversary of this environmental movement is certainly one for the history books. Just because you can’t go outside in large groups this year doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of inventive ways to celebrate Earth, though. The Earth Day 2020 theme is “climate action,” and while we aren’t able to come together physically this year, technology is presenting some unique opportunities to show your love for the Earth virtually. Learn the history The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans (about 10% of the U.S. population at that time) took to the streets and college campuses to protest environmental ignorance and promote environmental awareness. The movement, now recognized as the world’s largest civic event each year, launched the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Related: How Earth Day began and how it helps the planet Take a virtual tour Because many of us are now homeschooling kids, Google has created 360-degree tours of 113 different national park sites, including monuments, historic sites and shorelines. The Nature Conservancy also features a series of virtual field trips designed for grades 5-8. Live webcams have also gained popularity since social distancing began. People may be staying indoors for the most part, but animals are still keeping up with their daily routines. Check out live feeds of marine animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium or a series of different feeds, from remote locations throughout Africa to rescue animal facilities around the world, with Explore.org . Earthx , in partnership with National Geographic, is streaming everything from speaker series to film festivals to student activities via its website. Participate in a running challenge A healthy running challenge that raises awareness for the environment is a win-win to celebrate this year’s Earth Day. The 2020 Earth Day Run presented by The Virtual Run Challenge encourages participants to spend the month of April (though you can start anytime) to collectively run the distance of the equator — 24,901 miles. Log your running and walking miles every day and connect with others for a common goal; participation is free. Related: Orca Running offers a Social Distance Run Virtual Strides is celebrating Earth Day by hosting the 5K/10K/Half-Marathon Earth Run virtually. After runners (or walkers) finish their course, they can upload results and photos to the website. Registration isn’t free, but a portion of the proceeds from the race (around $4 from each registration) will be donated to EarthShare, a non-profit that supports critical environmental causes. In the past, the organization has raised more than $300 million for programs benefiting air, land, water, wildlife and public health. Download the Earth Challenge 2020 app By downloading the Earth Challenge 2020 app , you’ll help gather critical environmental data near your area, providing scientists and other “citizen scientists” with research to help maintain a cleaner planet. Users measure air quality and plastic pollution where they are and add each reading to a global database. Related: Earth Day 2020 goes digital For example, Earth Challenge 2020 launched its monarch butterfly project on April 1 with a goal to fill 1 billion data points before the month’s end. When users launch the app, they are able to snap pictures of insects that they see, submit them to be verified and allow scientists to better understand the distribution of butterflies and migration patterns. This kind of knowledge is essential to identify the different regions that need habitat restoration. Take action From April 20 to April 25, more than 100 speakers from five continents will participate in the largest online climate conference ever held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Topics ranging from climate finance and agriculture to circular economy and politics will be discussed and can be viewed virtually via the partnership program We Don’t Have Time . Sign up with the official Earth Day website volunteer database for the latest resources and information on at-home or online activities as well as ways to spread the word to your friends. You can also create your own “act of green” and share it with the rest of the Earth Day community. The official Earth Day website also has a planning guide to help get people inspired and organized; check the map for ideas and to see how other people around the world are celebrating. Spread the word Digital tools are making it easier than ever to connect, especially through social media. You can bring your friends, teachers and family together to raise awareness and do their own part for the environment. Utilize Vote Earth to take the pledge to vote for climate candidates . The global initiative has already mobilized millions of people who wish to show their concern for the Earth and demand change at the polls. Sign up on the website to pledge to vote for candidates who support sustainability in your next election, and you’ll have the option to receive automatic email reminders to vote. + Earth Day Images via Carl Heyerdahl , University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability , Arek Adeoye , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

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Hip hop can bring green issues to communities of color

April 13, 2020 by  
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The environmental movement largely has failed to connect with people of color and marginalized urban communities. By confronting issues from contaminated water to climate change, hip hop music can help bridge that divide and bring home the realities of environmental injustice.

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Hip hop can bring green issues to communities of color

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