Posts

New climate warnings in old permafrost

by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News 


Highlights

  • A new study in Science Advances says that only a few degrees of warming is needed for large scale permafrost thawing, which would release methane and carbon dioxide that has been trapped in the frost 
  • The permafrost regions of the arctic hold more carbon dioxide than the Earth’s atmosphere. If this carbon is released rapidly in large amounts it will accelerate climate change 
  • This tipping point due to permafrost melt has been seen before in other warming phases of the planet’s history
  • It is uncertain how much of this released carbon could be sequestered by peatlands and new arctic shrubs that have grown due to the warming of that region
  • The melting of permafrost is impacting indigenous peoples in the arctic, as the infrastructure they rely on is built on the collapsing permafrost

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement policies for massive greenhouse gas emissions reductions and begin a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere within ten years. With 9 of 15 global tipping points now active, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a safe climate well into the future. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16102020/permafrost-study-arctic-ocean-climate-change

Canada’s last fully intact arctic ice shelf collapses

by Moira Warburton, The Huffington Post


Highlights

  • The Milne Ice Shelf, located on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, has collapsed, resulting in the loss of over 40% of the glaciers total area
  • The area loss is more than the island of Manhattan 
  • Arctic amplification, high air temperatures, offshore winds, and open water in front of the ice shelf are to blame 
  • Luke Copland, a glaciologist at the University of Ottawa, says that summer in the Canadian arctic has been 5 degrees Celcius warmer over the 30-year average
  • The collapse of the shelf resulted in the loss of the northern hemisphere’s last known epishelf lake and took down a research camp that was empty before the collapse
  • Two other ice caps on Ellesmere Island are also diminishing and are likely to disappear within 10 years

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/canada-last-arctic-ice-shelf_n_5f2c9d69c5b64d7a55f0d6ec?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

‘Teetering at the edge’: Scientists warn of rapid melting of Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday glacier’

by Harry Cockburn, The Independent 


Highlights

  • The Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, which is almost the same size as the United Kingdom, is melting and its collapse would raise sea levels close to 2 feet
  • This glacier is considered to be very important to the health of other neighboring glaciers. Its collapse may result in the melting of more glaciers according to Paul Cutler of America’s National Science Foundation:

“It is a keystone for the other glaciers around it in West Antarctica… If you remove it, other ice will potentially start draining into the ocean too.”

  • Melt from this glacier already accounts for 4% of global sea-level rise
  • Earlier this year scientists discovered the presence of warm water under the glacier
  • The world has seen a doubling of sea-level rise since 1990
  • Though the Antarctic is experiencing warming, temperatures are rising higher in the Arctic where Siberia has experienced a record high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit

The Climate Center’s Rapid Decarbonization Campaign sets a goal that by 2025, California will have enacted the bold, accelerated policies required by science to double emissions reductions, accelerate drawdown, and secure resilient communities by 2030.


Read More: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/thwaites-glacier-antarctic-melting-doomsday-climate-a9616966.html

Arctic Drilling

Wall street is bending to pressure to halt Arctic-oil loans

By Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg Green


Highlights

Environmental activists are fighting oil companies to keep drilling out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by putting divestment pressure on banks.

  • Tribal representatives and other environmental activists pressed banking executives about their policies during shareholder meetings and in conversations with sustainability directors
  • Morgan Stanley has announced that they will not be financing arctic oil and gas development, becoming the fifth major U.S. bank to announce it will no longer support drilling in the arctic
  • Many large banks have made the same promise, with Bank of America being a major holdout 
  • Though the Interior Department is preparing to sell drilling rights along the arctic coast, the lack of infrastructure makes it hard to locate crude oil, making potential investors have second thoughts
  • Potential drilling could have dire impacts on native wildlife
  • Alison Kirsch, the lead researcher in the Rainforest Action Network’s Climate and Energy Program, says that by cutting off funding, these drilling projects can’t continue:

“A fossil fuel project needs three things to go ahead…It needs government approval– or a permit– but it also needs capital and it also needs insurance. And those last two pieces mostly happen in the private sector. So if you can intervene there, you can stop projects.”

  • Promises by these banks to divest in individual projects does not prohibit the banks from lending to these companies altogether

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is a major step towards achieving The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-24/wall-street-is-bending-to-pressure-to-halt-arctic-drilling-loans

 

The Arctic may have crossed key threshold, emitting billions of tons of carbon into the air, in a long-dreaded climate feedback

by Andrew Freedman, Washington Post

The Arctic is undergoing a profound, rapid and unmitigated shift into a new climate state, one that is greener, features far less ice and emits greenhouse gas emissions from melting permafrost, according to a major new federal assessment of the region released Tuesday.

The consequences of these climate shifts will be felt far outside the Arctic in the form of altered weather patterns, increased greenhouse gas emissions and rising sea levels from the melting Greenland ice sheet and mountain glaciers.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/12/10/arctic-may-have-crossed-key-threshold-emitting-billions-tons-carbon-into-air-long-dreaded-climate-feedback/

Global shipping inches forward on heavy fuel oil ban in Arctic

by Phil Mckenna, InsideClimate News

The International Maritime Organization inched forward this week on its promises to ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic and reduce black carbon emissions from ships.

Meeting in London, the United Nations regulatory body’s Pollution Prevention and Response subcommittee began work on defining which fuels would be banned and how. It also came up with a list of possible measures for cutting emissions of black carbon but didn’t set priorities.

An assessment of the economic, environmental and social impacts of a ban, put in motion last year, is expected to be finished before the subcommittee’s next meeting in 2020.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/22022019/shipping-pollution-IMO-heavy-fuel-oil-ban-black-carbon-measures-united-nations?utm_source=InsideClimate+News&utm_campaign=4188f07dc5-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-4188f07dc5-327824881

Some arctic ground no longer freezing — even in winter

by Craig Welch, National Geographic

Nikita Zimov was teaching students to do ecological fieldwork in northern Siberia when he stumbled on a disturbing clue that the frozen land might be thawing far faster than expected.

Zimov, like his father, Sergey Zimov, has spent years running a research station that tracks climate change in the rapidly warming Russian Far East. So when students probed the ground and took soil samples amid the mossy hummocks and larch forests near his home, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Nikita Zimov suspected something wasn’t right.

Read more: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/environment/2018/08/news-arctic-permafrost-may-thaw-faster-than-expected?for-guid=e7359d9a-2fcd-e611-88f6-90b11c3bc1f2