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Three-quarters of Americans want to know more about presidential candidates’ plans to tackle global warming: poll

by Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone


Highlights

  • New data compiled by Yale University shows that an average of 76% of US adults expressed interest in news stories about the climate plans from the Trump Administration and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden 
  • In California, 80% of people expressed interest in the candidates’ climate plans as the state experiences more frequent and massive wildfires due to the climate crisis
  • Neighboring states Oregon and Washington saw 79% of people interested in the climate plans
  • A separate study by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of Americans find climate change a major threat to the country, an increase from 44% in the last decade
  • Democrats express more concern about climate change compared to Republicans
  • Politicians in the Republican party claim the climate crisis will be best solved by the market and tech solutions while also claiming that climate change should not be the country’s top priority 

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.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/bil-mckibben-2020-election-climate-crisis-1064873/

California fires: Climate hellscape science warned us of is here

by The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, The Los Angeles Times


Highlights

  • The west coast of the United States is currently experiencing the climate catastrophe scientists have been warning the world about for decades
  • Around 2 million acres of land have burned in California from this year’s early fire season
  • Though some fires were accidentally started by people, climate change contributed to the conditions that have dried out the land and made it so flammable
  • This year there have been 40,000 wildfires in the US before the end of August, compared to 33,600 in 2019 within the same time frame
  • An average of 6.9 million acres have burned each year since 2000, with an annual average of 71,300 wildfires
  • Fires are not the only looming threat during the climate crisis: coasting flooding may affect nearly 300 million people globally, while an estimated 40% of Americans will experience the effects of sea-level rise
  • To combat the worst effects of the climate crisis, the world needs to end its reliance on burning fossil fuels, stop building in fire-prone areas, and start planning for rising sea levels

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Campaign includes accelerating timelines for climate action to be more in line with the current science and the reality on the ground. Endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform today. 

As forests burn, the carbon stored in those trees is lost. Funding and programs for soil sequestration are needed to achieve net negative emissions by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and storing it safely in soils– where it won’t go up in smoke. 


Read More: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-09-09/wildfires-record-temperatures-hellscape-climate-change-greenland-rising-seas

New report on climate-driven mass migration of humanity

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica


Highlights

  • Due to the climate crisis, mass migrations of people will continue to grow as flooding, drought, food insecurity become more widespread
  • In Alta Verapaz, Guatemala is experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis, as El Nino storms will decrease rainfall by 60%, making it nearly impossible to grow crops for sustenance and income
  • the planet could see a greater temperature increase in the next 50 years than it did in the last 6,000 years combined
  • In the next 80 years, the world could see temperatures so hot that going outside for a few hours can be deadly
  • Extremely hot areas that currently cover less than 1% of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land, displacing 1 of every 3 people alive outside the climate niche where humans have relied on for crop cultivation and livable temperatures
  • Climate refugees must be admitted into countries that are not experiencing the most severe effects of the climate crisis. Preparation and planning of this mass migration is key in order to avoid political instability and conflict
  • In Southeast Asia, where increasingly unpredictable monsoon rainfall and drought have made farming more difficult, the World Bank points to more than 8 million people who have moved toward the Middle East, Europe, and North America
  • Using a model created by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, the most extreme climate scenario would result in over 30 million migrants trying to reach the US over the next 30 years
  • Reduction in emissions would result in close to 700,00 climate migrants from Central America and Mexico to the US from now to 2050. Without emissions reductions, the US could see close to one million migrants
  • The United Nations estimates that some 65% of farmable lands have already been degraded in the African Sahel due to rapid desertification
  • Coastal regions in the US, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Iraq, and Egypt are at risk of submerging underwater due to rising tides

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 aheadFor 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://features.propublica.org/climate-migration/model-how-climate-refugees-move-across-continents/

Congressional climate action plan

Congressional Climate Crisis Action Plan would decarbonize U.S., add $8 trillion in benefits by 2050

by Megan Mahajan, Forbes


Highlights

  • The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has released their climate policy report titled Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America 
  • Climate policy firm Energy Innovation modeled a subset of the Select Committee’s recommendations using a simulator and found it will hit net zero carbon dioxide emissions before 2050 and slash net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 88% from 2010 levels by 2050
  • This policy could prevent 62,000 premature deaths annually from pollution, while generating nearly $8 trillion in cumulative monetized health and climate benefits by 2050
  • Under this model, the electricity sector could reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean energy by 2040
  • Electrifying buildings with clean energy can deliver much-needed emissions reductions within that sector
  • 100% zero-emission vehicle sales for light-duty vehicles by 2035 and for heavy-duty vehicles by 2040 would help the transportation sector meet 2050 net-zero targets
  • More than 70% of voters support legislation targeting a 100% clean economy according to new polling

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform advocates for a formal California State commitment by 2022 to 80% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions and net negative emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future.


Read More: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2020/06/30/congressional-climate-crisis-action-plan-would-decarbonize-us-add-8-trillion-in-benefits-by-2050/#56af4e331381

How Amazon is bringing the Keystone XL Pipeline online

by Steve Horn, OneZero


Highlights

  • TC Energy, a Canadian pipeline corporation that owns the Keystone XL pipeline, has partnered with Amazon Web Services 
  • The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Alberta to Nebraska but its permit was recently vacated by a federal judge
  • This announcement comes after Google declared it would not help create artificial intelligence for oil extraction companies
  • Amazon tech employees called on Jeff Bezos to adopt company-wide climate policy which resulted in a climate pledge. However, employee demands for Amazon to cancel its contracts with oil and gas companies went ignored
  • After President Barack Obama denied permitting access to the company for the pipeline, TC Energy faced a financial loss and continues to do so as the price of oil drops significantly
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently gave the company a $4.2 billion loan to help Keystone XL 
  • Amazon’s technology promises to make pipeline flow operations more efficient and profitable

The failure to consider consumption-based emissions such as the delivery of online purchasing ignores a significant portion of the greenhouse gases we emit out of the boundaries of the area being measured.


Read More: https://onezero.medium.com/how-amazon-is-bringing-the-keystone-xl-pipeline-online-440000803ae9

Earth Day 2030: California celebrates reaching net-negative emissions

Let’s imagine it is April 2030. In the early 2020s, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, we in California finally addressed the climate crisis at the speed and scale science demanded.

Nation & World Collaborating for Speed & Scale Climate Action

Today, Earth Day 2030, we celebrate the deep systemic changes we have collectively made for a healthy, equitable, and climate-safe future. We reflect back on an exceptional ten years of climate action.

The decade began with a nightmare, COVID-19, which woke us up to the deadly consequences of ignoring science. We quickly realized that we must heed the warning of climate experts and take immediate, bold action to avert climate catastrophe.

It took an exponentially growing body of diverse advocates (like you!) putting pressure on policymakers to create bold change in line with the science. COVID-19 showed us how quickly and dramatically we could change government policies, unleash market forces, and create opportunities for everyone to participate in a climate-safe economy.

Today we look back on our many achievements, including:

  • California accelerated the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use. 

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s is showing enormous benefits for health, the environment and the economy as the state halted all new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and began rapidly phasing-out fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, and equipment.

We dramatically increased investments in public transportation, housing near jobs, and innovative programs that reduced toxic air pollution, especially for frontline communities.

The state also enacted zero-emissions building codes and began phasing out methane gas. We are grateful to the workers whose livelihoods were dependent on fossil fuel industries for making this rapid transition to a 100% GHG-free, clean energy economy possible.

Ranchers, farmers, and public resource managers were incentivized to implement climate-friendly habitat and soil protection and restoration programs on millions of acres from the Sierras to the sea.

Farmers led the way in reducing emissions while supporting food and water security with climate-friendly, regenerative production.

  • Unavoidable damage from extreme climate events meant that California became heavily invested in community resilience and protecting the most vulnerable, lower-income communities.

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s funded and supported California’s counties and cities to develop and implement clean, local, decentralized, resilient energy and storage, building independent capacity to address climate and other emergencies.

Major new state programs funded and supported local climate emergency response and preparedness measures, including early warning systems, resilience centers, and public education programs that are now benefitting all Californians.

  • California created new financing mechanisms, from frequent flyer fees and carbon taxes to private sector investments, that generated the billions of dollars needed annually for speed and scale climate solutions.

Millions of people took action to bring about the changes in policy that accelerated our transition.

On this Earth Day 2030, we commit to continuing our efforts to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for all.

We can achieve this vision if we act today based on the latest science. Support The Climate Center and help make Climate-Safe California a reality. Make every day Earth Day!

250,000 deaths a year from climate change is a ‘conservative estimate,’ research says

by Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News


Highlights

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that climate change could result in 250,000 deaths per year, and a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that number could be even higher.

  • Deaths from climate change would be a result of global increases in malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition, heat stress, extreme poverty, and food shortages starting as soon as 2030
  • Public health threats would be heightened due to the depletion of freshwater resources,  biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution, deforestation, and the spread of invasive species
  • Due to climate change-related food shortages alone, the world could see a net increase of 529,000 adult deaths by 2050
  • Climate change could force 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 and poverty makes people more vulnerable to health problems
  • The health care sector accounts for nearly one-tenth of US greenhouse gas emissions and would rank the seventh-highest emitter if it was its own country. Hospitals and other health care facilities should do more to lower their carbon emissions and some already have. 
  • The report’s co-author, Dr. Caren Solomon said that doctors have a special responsibility to safeguard health and alleviate suffering and they should work quickly to cut greenhouse gas emissions. She also suggested that physicians can put pressure on politicians to create better climate change-oriented public policy and also pressure groups to use financial divestment as a tool.

The climate crisis is here now, worse than anticipated, and accelerating, threatening all life. California must step up its climate leadership to avoid increasingly dire consequences and inspire climate action worldwide. Endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to enact policies that rapidly address the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/health/climate-change-health-emergency-study

Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change on land, sea and in the atmosphere

by UN News


Highlights

A wide-ranging United Nations climate report shows that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population.

  • The report, The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, which is led by the UN weather agency WMO, contains data from an extensive network of partners.
  • It documents physical signs of climate change – such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea-level rise and melting ice and the effects on socio-economic development, human health, migration and displacement, food security, and land and marine ecosystems.
  • UN chief António Guterres warned that the world is currently “way off track meeting either the 1.5°C or 2°C targets that the Paris Agreement calls for
  • the report confirms that 2019 was the second warmest year on record, and 2010-2019 was the warmest decade on record. Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
  • WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that there are good signs that we have started moving in the right direction. Last year emissions dropped in developed countries, despite the growing economy, so we have been to show that you can detach economic growth from emission growth. The bad news is that, in the rest of the world, emissions grew last year.
  • Climate impacts outlined in the report:
    • Heat: 2020 has seen the warmest January recorded so far, with many heat and fire records broken around the world
    • Dwindling ice: This winter there has been massive ice loss in the Arctic, Antarctica, and Greenland. Glaciers shrunk yet again, for the 32nd consecutive year.
    • Ocean climate impacts have included ocean heat, rising sea levels, the altering of ocean currents, melting floating ice shelves, and dramatic changes in marine ecosystems. The ocean has seen increased acidification and deoxygenation, with negative impacts on marine life, and the wellbeing of people who depend on ocean ecosystems. 
    • Unprecedented floods and droughts, leading to economic damages (for example, in the US, total economic losses from flooding were estimated at around $20 billion) and rising world hunger with over 820 million people were affected by hunger in 2018. 
    • Millions displaced by climate impacts: Worldwide, some 6.7 million people were displaced from their homes due to natural hazards 
  • Emissions goals: The UN chief called on all countries to demonstrate that emission cuts of 45 percent from 2010 levels are possible this decade, and that net-zero emissions will be achieved by the middle of the century.
  • Four priorities for COP26 were outlined by UN chief António Guterres:
    1. More ambitious national climate plans that will keep global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels
    2. Strategies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050
    3. A comprehensive program of support for climate adaptation and resilience
    4. Financing for a sustainable, green economy

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://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059061

UNITED IN SCIENCE: High-level synthesis report of latest climate science (Sept 2019)

See this excellent United Nations high level climate science synthesis (Sept 22 2019) of the latest from the advisory group to the UN Climate Action Summit. You can read the press release and summary here.  This is provides the scientific foundation for much more bold action in California– accelerated timelines and more aggressive policies to address the climate crisis.  -Ellie Cohen

Key Points:

  • There is growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago
  • Meeting the Paris Agreement of staying below 2C warming requires immediate and deep decarbonisation, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Current country commitments to reduce emissions globally need to be 3x greater to be in line with the 2°C goal and 5x more for the 1.5°C goal. Technically it is still possible to bridge the gap

Foreword by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General:

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. This important document by the United Nations and global partner organizations, prepared under the auspices of the Science Advisory Group of the Climate Action Summit, features the latest critical data and scientific findings on the climate crisis. It shows how our climate is already changing, and highlights the far-reaching and dangerous impacts that will unfold for generations to come. Science informs governments in their decision-making and commitments. I urge leaders to heed these facts, unite behind the science and take ambitious, urgent action to halt global heating and set a path towards a safer, more sustainable future for all.

Key Messages:

 

The Global Climate in 2015 – 2019
• Average global temperature for 2015-2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record. It is currently estimated to be 1.1°C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) times and 0.2°C warmer than 2011-2015
• Observations show that global mean sea level rise is accelerating and an overall increase of 26% in ocean acidity since the beginning of the industrial era

Global Fossil CO2 Emissions
• CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use continue to grow by over 1% annually and 2% in 2018 reaching a new high
• Growth of coal emissions resumed in 2017
• Despite extraordinary growth in renewable energy, fossil fuels still dominate the global energy system

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
• Increases in CO2 concentrations continue to accelerate
• Current levels of CO2, CH4 and N2O represent 146%, 257% and 122% respectively of preindustrial levels (pre-1750)

Emissions Gap
• Global emissions are not estimated to peak by 2030, let alone by 2020
• Implementing current unconditional NDCs would lead to a global mean temperature rise between 2.9°C and 3.4°C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels, and continuing thereafter
• The current level of NDC ambition needs to be roughly tripled for emission reduction to be in line with the 2°C goal and increased fivefold for the 1.5°C goal. Technically it is still possible to bridge the gap

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 & 2019 Special Reports
• Limiting temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would go hand-in-hand with reaching other world goals such as achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty
• Climate change puts additional pressure on land and its ability to support and supply food, water, health and wellbeing. At the same time, agriculture, food production, and deforestation are major drivers of climate change

Climate Insights
• Growing climate impacts increase the risk of crossing critical tipping points
• There is a growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago
• Meeting the Paris Agreement requires immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing deep decarbonisation complemented by ambitious policy measures, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and effort to remove CO2 from the atmosphere

Global Framework for Climate Services
• Climate and early warning information services should underpin decision-making on climate action for adaptation
• The capacities of countries to deliver climate and early warning information services varies across regions

—–

This report has been compiled by the World Meteorological Organization under the auspices of the Science Advisory Group of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, to bring together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), UN Environment (UNEP), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Global Carbon Project, Future Earth, Earth League and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The content of each chapter of this report is attributable to published information from the respective organizations. Overall content compilation of this material has been carried out by the World Meteorological Organization. This report is available electronically, together with more extended background reports and additional supporting material at: public.wmo.int/en/resources/united_in_science

The climate crisis is the battle of our time, and we can win

by Al Gore, NY Times

Things take longer to happen than you think they will, but then they happen much faster than you thought they could.

The destructive impacts of the climate crisis are now following the trajectory of that economics maxim as horrors long predicted by scientists are becoming realities.
More destructive Category 5 hurricanes are developing, monster fires ignite and burn on every continent but Antarctica, ice is melting in large amounts there and in Greenland, and accelerating sea-level rise now threatens low-lying cities and island nations.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/opinion/al-gore-climate-change.html