Rise of just 0.5 degrees C in India has already resulted in deadly heat

June 9, 2017 by  
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As the world works to keep temperature increase from climate change below 2 degrees Celsius , a smaller increase than that has already led to deadly heat in India . A new study reveals an average temperature increase of just 0.5 degrees Celsius means the country is two and a half times more likely to be hit with a deadly heat wave than it was 50 years ago. Between 1960 and 2009, average temperatures in India increased by 0.5 degrees Celsius, which is under one degree Fahrenheit. The probability of a large heat-related mortality event – where more than 100 people perish – skyrocketed by 146 percent, according to the new study. Researchers also found the amount of heat wave days increased by 25 percent in much of the country. Between 1985 and 2009 part of south and west India saw 50 percent more heat wave events, or extreme heat that lingers for more than three or four days, compared to the 25 years prior. Related: India shatters records with temperature of 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit Climatologist Omid Mazdiyasni of the University of California, Irvine and lead author on a study from 11 researchers in the United States and India said, “It’s getting hotter, and of course more heat waves are going to kill more people. We knew there was going to be an impact, but we didn’t expect it to be this big.” This is bad news for a region already grappling with heat. Neighboring Pakistan experienced the hottest ever temperature recorded in May in the world with a temperature of 53.5 degrees Celsius, or 128.3 degrees Fahrenheit, in the city of Turbat on May 28. And in New Delhi , temperatures have spiked higher than 44 degrees Celsius, or 111 degrees Fahrenheit, in the last couple of weeks. Study co-author Amir AghaKouchak, another UC Irvine climatologist, said, “The general public may think that a one or two degree temperature rise is not that significant, but our results show that even small changes can result in more heat waves and more death.” The journal Science published the study this week. Via Phys.org Images via Abhishek Singh Bailoo on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Rise of just 0.5 degrees C in India has already resulted in deadly heat

Researchers find widespread acidified water along US West Coast

June 6, 2017 by  
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Climate change is altering the planet in ways we might not often think about, such as in the acidification of the world’s oceans . A team of 20 scientists from institutions around the United States discovered acidified ocean water in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Study lead author Francis Chan of Oregon State University said, “The threat of ocean acidification is global and though it sometimes seems far away, it is happening here right now on the West Coast of the United States and those waters are already hitting our beaches.” Scientists conducted a three-year survey of the California Current System to uncover acidified water throughout what Oregon State University described as an ecologically critical nearshore habitat. Researchers also found hotspots of water with pH measurements as low as those found in oceanic surface waters anywhere else around the world. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide has contributed to the phenomenon. Related: Large section of Arctic Ocean is six times more acidic than 20 years ago Ocean acidification is a problem because many organisms are sensitive to pH changes. Researchers noted shell dissolution on small swimming snails , for example, but they’re not the only species impacted. Richard Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Washington said, “This is about more than the loss of small snails. These pteropods are an important food source for herring, salmon, and black cod, among other fish. They also may be the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ signifying potential risk for other species, including Dungeness crabs, oysters, mussels, and many organisms that live in tide pools or other nearshore habitats.” The researchers didn’t just uncover bad news though. They also found refuges of moderate pH environments they think could become havens for marine creatures as other waters become more acidic. These havens could offer a resource for ecosystem management. Chan called for minimizing environmental stressors and managing for diversity in the region to help marine species adapt. The journal Nature Scientific Reports published the study online the end of May. Scientists from research institutions and universities in Oregon, California, Florida, Washington, Massachusetts, and Hawaii contributed to the study. Via Oregon State University Images via Oregon State University

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Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year

June 5, 2017 by  
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Are you eager to get your hands on a new electric vehicle,  but the price is too steep? You’re in luck – electric cars will likely reach cost parity with vehicles that have internal combustion engines by next year, and electric vehicles could be cheaper that gas by as soon as 2025, according to a new report by USB . The report makes it clear that while electric vehicles will still cost more than ICE cars, owning a new EV will be comparable to owning a gas or diesel car in the long-term. Analysts took into consideration the fuel costs, maintenance costs and other related expenditures related to owning all vehicles and used the information to determine that over time, the cost of owning a green vehicle is comparable to owning a conventional one. As Green Car Reports  reports , it is becoming more affordable to own an EV due to breakthroughs in battery capacity, charge times and a growing demand for environmentally-friendly technology. Part of the analysis required UBS to break down a $37,000 Chevrolet Bolt in order to estimate how much the vehicle cost to build. It was discovered that “the EV powertrain is $4,600 cheaper to produce than we thought and there is more cost reduction potential left.” Analysts continued that the 238-mile range Bolt costs around $28,700 to build and that GM is only expected to produce 30,000 Bolts in 2018. Therefore, there won’t be a huge incentive for it to be profitable. Related: UK solar smashes record, supplying 25% of electricity demand On the other hand, the Tesla Model 3 is expected to be produced in numbers as high as 500,000 by 2018. When extras are added on to the base price of the Model 3 at $35,000, the company is expected to break even. UBS declared that electric vehicles are the “most disruptive car category since the Model T Ford” and that though total sales for electric cars is still relatively small, global EV sales will reach 14% by 2025 (4.2 million vehicles). Europe is expected to take the lead in this department, selling 30% of the world’s electric cars within eight years. Now that EVs will soon cost the same to own as a car or truck with an ICE, a massive shift is expected to take place within the auto industry . + UBS Via  Green Car Reports

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Electric cars could reach cost parity with conventional cars by next year

What’s next for the Paris Accord

June 5, 2017 by  
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What happens to the Paris Climate Agreement now that the leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions has signaled his intent to withdraw from the landmark accord? We take a closer look at the consequences of Donald Trump’s decision to rescind US efforts to limit global warming in accordance with the 2015 agreement. President Donald Trump is a showman and his press conference was political theater for the 61 million Americans who voted him into office last November. The reality is that the withdrawal process could take up to four years to complete and Trump could be exiting the White House before he exits the Paris Accord if he doesn’t win reelection. The other reality is that, thanks to Senate Republicans who would never ratify the Paris Accord as a treaty, in order to push it past the finish line with the US onboard, the deal had to be “non-binding,” meaning all actions are voluntary. Related: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement By declaring its intent to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the US joins Syria and Nicaragua in refusing the deal. It should be noted that Nicaragua didn’t join the agreement because it didn’t go far enough in emissions reductions for the Central American nation. Minus the US, a total of  194 countries have signed and 147 parties have ratified the accord , representing 66 percent of global emissions. The accord entered into force on November 4, 2016 — 30 days after at least 55 parties representing at least 55 percent of global emissions joined. While it certainly could be argued that Trump has damaged America’s standing in the international community, it is not so clear that Trump has actually hurt the Paris Accord, Actually, there are indications that Trump’s announcement is having the opposite effect, with countries, cities and corporations redoubling their commitments to the Paris Accord and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Many experts believe that since Trump was never serious about committing the US to climate action, that his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord could actually free up other world leaders to draft an even stronger agreement with enforcement mechanisms not possible with a Republican-ruled Senate in the US. Australian climate scientist Luke Kemp told The New York Times, “I worry that letting the United States just stay in the agreement and do whatever it wants could show how weak Paris is. It sends the message that the agreement is more about symbolism than action.” CHINA AND EU TAKING THE LEAD With Trump ceding US leadership on climate, China and the European Union are stepping in to fill the power vacuum. In a joint statement following Trump’s announcement, China and the EU — backed by all 28 EU member states — reaffirmed their commitment to full implementation of the Paris climate deal. The statement, the first between the EU and China, commited to cutting back on fossil fuels and increasing development of green technologies. Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump “The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever,” the statement reads. “The increasing impacts of climate change require a decisive response.” CITIES, STATES AND BUSINESSES STEPPING UP A group that so far includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses is negotiating with the United Nations to have their climate contributions accepted alongside other nations who have signed onto the accord. The Democratic governors of California, Washington and New York formed the US Climate Alliance to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Accord after Trump’s announcement. It isn’t only Democrats defying Trump — Charlie Baker, the popular Republican governor of Massachusetts, said on Friday that he was joining the US Climate Alliance . Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump “As the commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change,” Baker said in a statement, adding that the initiative aims “to protect the environment, grow the economy and deliver a brighter future to the next generation.” Also after Trump’s announcement, 187 mayors representing more than 52 million Americans and some of the largest US cities, stated their intention to individually join the Paris Accord and work together on stronger climate change mitigation measures and transitioning to the 21st century clean energy economy. Cities around the world protested Trump pulling out of the Paris accord, including Tel Aviv, which lit up city hall in green lights . “We need to take responsibility for the next generation,” Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement posted to Facebook. “That means, among other things, continuing to research, learn and act on the quality of the environment and the climate.” Major corporations are also on board with the Paris Accord — 95 of the world’s largest companies have commited to 100 percent renewables, including Google, Walmart and Nike. GREEN TECHNOLOGIES GETTING CHEAPER The price of solar, wind, batteries and other green technologies are dropping fast, leading to increased integration into the electricity grid. In 2016, the amount of new solar power coming online nearly doubled from the previous year — enough to power 2 million homes. Related: The sweet moment California got a record 50% of its electricity from solar Republican-ruled states are leading the renewables revolution. Kansas tripled its wind power production between 2011 and 2015. Wyoming leads the nation with 1,600 watts of new renewable energy capacity per capita being built. Nevada leads the nation in new solar power jobs while North Dakota leads in new wind power jobs. The conservative town of Georgetown, Texas is on track to be 100 percent renewable energy this year, becoming the largest US city to achieve the clean energy goal. Dale Ross, the mayor of Georgetown, admits “it’s the reddest of cities, in the reddest of states…but we put national politics aside to do our best for the people we’re elected to serve.” Images via Wikipedia 1 , 2 , 3 , 4  and White House Archives

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How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

June 5, 2017 by  
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Want to know exactly what President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means? Here are some projections of how climate change could alter our planet in the upcoming century. From rising sea levels to a thawing Arctic and bleached coral reefs , the Earth we leave to our grandchildren could be a remarkably different place. Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Gavin Schmidt told Business Insider we can’t stop global warming . It’s already in motion even if we were to curb all carbon emissions tomorrow. But Schmidt said it’s possible for us to slow climate change so we can better adapt to our changing world. Business Insider drew from several sources to examine what our world could look like – if nations do indeed stick to the Paris Agreement. Related: Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon We’ll see more temperature anomalies – or how much a given temperature is off the normal temperature of a region. Greenland summers could be utterly free of ice by 2050. Tropical summers could have 50 percent more extreme heat days by 2050. Water resources will be impacted, with scientists predicting severe droughts will occur more frequently. Rising sea levels could also change life on the coasts of numerous countries, and unexpected collapses of ice shelves could erratically change sea levels. Oceans could rise two to three feet by 2100, which could displace around four million people even in the best case scenarios. Meanwhile oceans will warm as they absorb carbon dioxide and lead to acidification that threatens coral reefs – nearly all of tropical reefs could be harmed. Half of those tropical coral reefs are still under threat in best case scenarios. Schmidt said the 2100 Earth could be between “a little bit warmer than today and a lot warmer than today.” We have an opportunity now to curb emissions and slow climate change through solutions like renewable energy or carbon capture technology. We just have to take action. Via Business Insider Images via NASA , Andreas Kambanis on Flickr , and Matt Kieffer on Flickr

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How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years

BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

June 1, 2017 by  
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During a highly anticipated speech at the Rose Garden, climate denier President Donald Trump announced that the United States of America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement secured under Barack Obama’s leadership. President Trump stated that the accord was “bad” and poorly negotiated by the Obama administration, and that he “is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.” Part of Trump’s speech read, ”The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first. The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy.” Before the announcement was officially made, Donald Trump was cited by The Daily Best telling congressional staffers on a conference call that he is withdrawing from the Paris accord. Energy policy adviser for the White House, Michael Catanzaro, confirmed that “the United States is getting out of the Paris agreement.” Catanzaro added that Trump “will be open to and will immediately be looking for a better deal.” Reportedly, the Trump administration will follow steps for withdrawal laid out in the agreement. In total, says Catanzaro, removing the U.S. from the deal will take four years. “But we’re going to make very clear to the world that we’re not going to be abiding by what the previous administration agreed to,” he said. Despite the fact that countries such as Costa Rica run on 100% renewable energy and Denmark once generated 400% of the power it needs from wind turbines , the Trump administration remains resistant to transitioning the U.S. to run on renewable energy resources. This is because President Trump, a businessman, believes that energy sourced from fossil fuels is the solution to making America great again – and he thinks climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese . Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump At the time of its signing, 195 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change in order to prevent global catastrophes which may result from rising temperatures. President Barack Obama committed America to a goal of lowering emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The broad aim was to increase these cuts over time. With the United States exiting the Paris Agreement, carbon emissions are likely to increase, potentially propelling global disasters resulting from rising sea levels , severe weather conditions, and increased temperatures. On a positive note, China and the European Union are prepared to publicly recommit to the agreement with or without the United States. Also, Trump cannot technically withdraw from the agreement until November of 2019. Finally, many U.S.-based companies, including Apple , have ambitious goals to run on 100% clean energy in the near future. With support from educated consumers, the U.S. may reach its previously contracted emissions goal with or without the President’s support. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Creative Commons

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BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

Fractured Antarctic ice sheet will create the largest iceberg ever recorded

June 1, 2017 by  
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Due to global warming and rising temperatures, glaciers are slowly melting – and, in some cases, breaking apart. A massive 8-mile crack is steadily growing along Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf – and when it splits, the resulting iceberg will be around 1,930 square miles (5,000 square kilometers) in size. That’s as big as Delaware – making it quite possibly the largest iceberg ever recorded. CNN reports that because the ice shelf’s direction has changed, it is breaking away from the rift at a fast pace. Adrian Luckman, lead researcher in UK-based research team Project MIDAS, said: “The rift tip appears to have turned significantly towards the ice front, indicating that the time of calving (breaking away) is probably very close. There appears to be very little to prevent the iceberg from breaking away completely.” When the gargantuan formation does fully break away from the rift, “the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area,” wrote Luckman. The resulting event “will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.” Researchers are concerned the rift’s change of direction and the sheer size of the iceberg will result in problems. For instance, Poul Christoffersen of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge is concerned that the whole ice shelf will disintegrate as a result of the event. “The ice shelf can and probably will undergo a rapid collapse,” he told the press. “And this isn’t a slow process — it can happen in a day or two.” Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Researchers are also concerned that climate change is resulting in larger iceberg formations and thinner ice shelves around Antarctica. Said Christofferson, “The ice shelves that are collapsing are getting bigger and bigger.” When glaciers melt and break apart, sea levels rise – which results in increased flooding and natural disasters . Christofferson added, “We need to make sure that we curtail our emissions of carbon dioxide so that we don’t destabilize the big ice shelves. If we go on with business as usual, we are playing with potential changes in sea levels that will affect millions and millions of people.” Via CNN Images via Wikimedia Commons , Wikipedia

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Fractured Antarctic ice sheet will create the largest iceberg ever recorded

Climate change could make cities 8C hotter by 2100, new studies show

May 31, 2017 by  
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Climate change is raising temperatures , but the impact could be worse in the world’s cities . Researchers say the urban heat island effect – or the fact that cities are hotter thanks to human activity – combined with climate change could increase temperatures in urban areas by around 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or eight degrees Celsius, by the end of the 21st century. Three researchers led by Francisco Estrada of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Institute of Environmental Studies projected city temperatures could rise by around five degrees Celsius due to climate change, as well as an additional two or three degrees Celsius as asphalt and concrete crowd out parks and lakes in metropolises, inducing the urban heat island effect. Such increased temperatures could impact human health and burden natural resources . Related: New NOAA tool shows how climate change will affect your neighborhood As major cities prepare for the impacts of climate change, many of them likely haven’t been considering the urban heat island effect. The researchers said many impact estimates don’t include the effect. So they drew on average planetary warming projections combined with the effect, and used data from 1,692 of Earth’s biggest cities between 1950 and 2015, to determine the economic costs of climate change. They also built their research on worse case scenarios: if carbon emissions continue to rise instead of declining. The results aren’t pretty: cities hit the hardest could lose 10.9 percent of GDP by 2100. Only around one percent of the planet’s surface is covered with cities, but the urban centers produce around 80 percent of gross world product. Around 78 percent of the energy consumed worldwide happens in cities. They also generate over 60 percent of global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels . Cities have a chance to act on the research now – mitigating the urban heat island effect by taking actions like planting trees ; green roofs could help too. The journal Nature Climate Change published the research online this week. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Climate change could make cities 8C hotter by 2100, new studies show

Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

May 29, 2017 by  
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The highest aviation alert was issued on Saturday after a volcano on Alaska’s Bogoslof Island erupted. As a result of the code “red” alert, pilots were instructed to fly at least 35,000 ft., and possibly as high as 45,000 ft, above the volcano to prevent its fiery ash from melting parts of the plane . According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), the volcano that erupted is part of the Aleutian Island chain. Not long after a code “red” was issued, it was downgraded to a code “orange.” “We actually went to color code red this afternoon because of numerous lightning detections and increased seismic signals,” said Jeffrey Freymueller of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska. Flights transiting from Asia to North America were most affected. Freymueller added that lightning in the Aleutians is often caused by volcanic plumes. “The combination of lightning and seismic data allowed us to go to red within about half an hour of the start of the eruption,” he said. In total, the eruption lasted for approximately 50 minutes. Related: Iceland’s “Thor” volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells Because the eruption is very recent, “Bogoslof volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition,” says a report issued by the Observatory. It went on to say that “additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds could occur at any time.” This is the eighth documented eruption at Bogoslof , which reportedly began its sequence in December, 2016. The last occurred in 1992. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Mapbox Screenshot

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Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

‘Indestructible’ Arctic seed vault flooded after permafrost melts

May 22, 2017 by  
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The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is supposed to protect all of the world’s seeds, but climate change has other ideas. The vault was built inside the Arctic Circle to protect a diverse seed collection from natural disasters, war, and other calamities, but meltwater from thawing permafrost recently flooded the vault’s entrance tunnel. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault , tucked in a mountain on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, was thought to offer failsafe protection, according to The Crop Trust , the organization behind the facility. Nearly a million packets of seeds can be found within, ready to offer a measure of food security for the world. But record high temperatures melted permafrost around the seed vault, and water breached the vault’s entrance. Related: 50,000 new seeds deposited in Arctic Circle’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault The seeds weren’t harmed, according to a statement on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault website, and the facility wasn’t damaged either. The water that did enter froze and has since been hacked out. But the seeds’ future safety is suddenly in question. Hege Njaa Aschim, Director of Communications at Norway’s construction and property agency, Statsbygg, told The Guardian, “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that [the vault] would experience extreme weather like that…It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day.” Vault managers have already taken steps to fortify the vault, such as digging trenches to channel water away and working to waterproof the tunnel that stretches into the mountain. They’ve installed pumps inside the seed vault to help get rid of water in case of flooding in the future. They also took out some electrical equipment that generated heat in the tunnel. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s statement on the incident said, “Globally, the Seed Vault is, and will continue to be, the safest backup of crop diversity .” Via The Guardian Images via Global Crop Diversity Trust on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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‘Indestructible’ Arctic seed vault flooded after permafrost melts

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