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Climate Change & Global Warming

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 19, 2018

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 19, 2018

Most of our focus this week will be on Latin America. There is no good thematic reason for that, it

Wellness

Your Partner Shouldn’t Be Your Everything — Why You Need an “Other Significant Other”

Your Partner Shouldn’t Be Your Everything — Why You Need an “Other Significant Other”

Around the time I had this realization I started reading a new book called The All-or-Nothing Marriage by Eli Finkel.
One of my favorite of his evidence-based, relationships tips, or #lovehacks, is the idea of the OSO — the other significant other.
The OSO is a platonic family member or friend who plays a role in our life that our romantic partner, for whatever reason, simply can’t.
Then give your friend the cowboy hat so you have a new two-stepping partner.
He’s well-suited to support her with career conversations, and he’s a great workout buddy, but he rolls his eyes at the idea of meditation and has no interest in woodworking.
He’s just not the right person to help her meet these other needs, which leaves Seema feeling less fulfilled than when she tapped into her larger network.
What Seema needs are some OSOs so she can have her needs met and take some pressure off her marriage.
Start by asking yourself what roles you’ve asked your partner to play that they are uninterested in fulfilling.
For those your partner isn’t suited for, find a friend or family member who can fill those role.
The next time I had a life-changing coupon story, I knew exactly what to do.

Conservation & Sustainability

Seeing Red on Climate

Seeing Red on Climate

There’s also a broader, national effort to target American conservatives.
Bozmoski did neither.
“It’s the only solution that’s effective enough to address climate change and fits with conservative principles,” Bozmoski said.
He thinks talking to conservatives about climate change requires language that is hyper-specific and localized.
While Conservation Hawks and RepublicEn use grassroots organizing to drum up support among conservatives, lobbyists like Tolbert use a “grasstops” approach to push Republican representatives in Congress to support solutions.
We “create political space with a member of Congress by showing him that there is support from key members in his community,” Tolbert said.
He believes massive support for significant action on global warming is “going to have to include conservative groups, and virtually every discipline in society.” When Republicans do finally warm up to the idea of a conservative environmental movement, the eco-right will step out of the wings.
“They’re going to begin to get worried” about the growing impacts of a warming planet, Ruckelshaus said.
Shortly after it started, the alliance launched a website called Green Decoys, which claims that left-wing environmental NGOs use sportsmen as a cover for their “radical environmental activist” agendas.
“I support candidates that think we cling to our guns because we just don’t know any better.” Tanner isn’t worried about people who question his legitimacy.

Organic Living

4 Easy Eco-Friendly Habits Everyone Should Adopt

4 Easy Eco-Friendly Habits Everyone Should Adopt

Everybody can incorporate some simple habits into their lives that can contribute to helping the environment and decrease the impact of human consumption on the planet.
Plastic bags and other packaging materials contribute to many of our environmental issues.
On the other hand, using reusable custom printed insulated bags made of recycled and recyclable materials is the way to go.
And you’ll be able to keep your food hot as well.
If you want to curb that and protect your fabrics, start on permanent press and switch back to regular before the rinse.
This trick alone will allow you to save tons of water.
Switch to Cloth Diapers Another household item that contributes greatly to pollution is disposable diapers.
While many people may have an antiquated notion of cloth diapers, you should know that they have greatly improved over the years.
Use Homemade Cleaning Products Did you know that most of your cleaning product needs are right there in your cupboard?
All these tricks should allow you to reduce your impact on the environment and reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

Energy

Oil And Gas Drilling Puts Oklahoma’s Survival At Risk By Causing Massive Earthquakes

Oil And Gas Drilling Puts Oklahoma’s Survival At Risk By Causing Massive Earthquakes

Injecting saltwater back underground in Oklahoma, a disposal method used after fracking, has been linked to a surge in earthquakes since the oil and gas boom reached the state in 2009.
Toxic Ancient Saltwater Nearly all oil wells release saltwater from underground as another product of the recovery process.
The water is trapped in the same porous areas of the rock as oil and gas.
To address that problem, companies pump it back underground into deep and porous geologic formations.
Wastewater from that spike is linked to a massive increase in earthquakes.
In Oklahoma, which has had an increase in fracking wells since 2009, earthquakes have surged in recent years.
Magnitude three or higher earthquakes were once a rarity in the state, with one per year before 2011.
Fracking isn’t directly causing these earthquakes, said Pollyea.
He says that reducing how much saltwater is injected will take a longer time period to result in substantial reductions in earthquakes.
… I anticipate a continued reduction in the rate of seismicity.” Pollyea’s study also found that saltwater injections and earthquakes were correlated with each other as far as 77 miles apart.

Oceans

Marine Conservation Institute Releases SeaStates US 2017

Marine Conservation Institute Releases SeaStates US 2017

Our Atlas of Marine Protection (MPAtlas.org) team has released its annual review of US marine protection levels for 2017.
They update the SeaStates US report annually to ensure it is the most rigorous, quantitative, and topical accounting of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the waters of US coastal states and territories.
First published in 2013, the reports are a tool to measure and evaluate American progress towards effective marine protection.
More importantly, 23% of that figure is within strongly protected areas closed to commercial extraction and with no, or strictly limited, local and recreational extraction.
Protections in federal waters accounted for the majority of US protection and also did not change in 2017, but we are likely to see a dramatic decline in 2018.
President Barack Obama built on the impressive conservation legacy of President Bush by expanding these two marine monuments in the Pacific Ocean and designating an additional 18% of US waters as strongly protected from human activity.
The strong protections and management of Papahānaumokuākea earned it a Platinum Global Ocean Refuge award in 2017.
President Obama also designated the first strong protections along the US East Coast in the New England Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
Sadly, the Trump administration may soon undermine much of this progress.
After two decades of bipartisan commitment and leading the world in the effort to protect our global ocean, the US appears poised to abdicate its leadership role.

Alternative Energy

Worldwide Clean Energy Investments Hit $333.5 Billion Last Year

Worldwide Clean Energy Investments Hit $333.5 Billion Last Year

Global investment in renewable energy hit $333.5 billion in 2018, the second-highest on record, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). “Typical utility-scale PV systems were about 25 percent cheaper per megawatt last year than they were two years earlier.”
Solar power dominated half of 2017’s total clean energy investments at $160.8 billion, mostly thanks to China’s “insatiable appetite” for solar projects, a Bloomberg report noted.
China invested $133 billion across all clean energy technologies, with $86.5 billion poured just into solar.
The country installed a “runaway” 53 gigawatts of solar capacity last year, BNEF estimated.
Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific at BNEF, explained that China’s solar boom happened for two main reasons. “First, despite a growing subsidy burden and worsening power curtailment, China’s regulators, under pressure from the industry, were slow to curb build of utility-scale projects outside allocated government quotas. “Second, the cost of solar continues to fall in China, and more projects are being deployed on rooftops, in industrial parks or at other distributed locales.
Large wind and solar project financings pushed Australia up 150 percent to a record $9 billion, and Mexico up 516 percent to $6.2 billion.
Below are the 2017 totals for other countries investing $1 billion-plus in clean energy: India $11 billion, down 20 percent compared to 2016 Brazil $6.2 billion, up 10 percent France $5 billion, up 15 percent Sweden $4 billion, up 109 percent Netherlands $3.5 billion, up 30 percent Canada $3.3 billion, up 45 percent South Korea $2.9 billion, up 14 percent Egypt $2.6 billion, up 495 percent Italy $2.5 billion, up 15 percent Turkey $2.3 billion, down 8 percent United Arab Emirates $2.2 billion, up 23-fold Norway $2 billion, down 12 percent Argentina $1.8 billion, up 777 percent Switzerland $1.7 billion, down 10 percent Chile $1.5 billion, up 55 percent Austria $1.2 billion, up 4 percent Spain $1.1 billion, up 36 percent Taiwan $1 billion, down 6 percent Indonesia $1 billion, up 71 percent

Alternative Energy

How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy

How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy

Those supercomputers use a ton of power, which largely comes from coal- and gas-fired power plants spewing gobs of carbon pollution.
Climate wonks say blockchain has a role to play in the clean-energy economy, helping homeowners sell electricity, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits, and making it easier for governments to track greenhouse gas emissions.
Blockchain allows users to do business directly with each other without involving a central authority like a bank.
Since users don’t need a bank to validate their transactions, they can do business faster without the help of a bank.
A major obstacle to addressing climate change is that our energy system is highly centralized, while the technologies we will need to cut carbon pollution, by and large, are not.
Currently, in many places, they can sell that electricity back to the power utility, but this undercuts the utility’s core business of generating and selling electricity.
The generating stations probably are located a distance away,” Scott Kessler, Director of Business Development at LO3 Energy, told Nexus Media.
IBM is working with Energy-Blockchain Labs, a Chinese firm, to streamline China’s carbon trading scheme using blockchain, allowing businesses to transfer allowances directly to each other without needing a government to verify those transactions.
But experts say it could be used to track emissions, cut pollution and sell clean power.
At every turn, it could make that work cheaper, faster and more transparent.

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Conservation & Sustainability

Seeing Red on Climate

Seeing Red on Climate

There’s also a broader, national effort to target American conservatives.
Bozmoski did neither.
“It’s the only solution that’s effective enough to address climate change and fits with conservative principles,” Bozmoski said.
He thinks talking to conservatives about climate change requires language that is hyper-specific and localized.
While Conservation Hawks and RepublicEn use grassroots organizing to drum up support among conservatives, lobbyists like Tolbert use a “grasstops” approach to push Republican representatives in Congress to support solutions.
We “create political space with a member of Congress by showing him that there is support from key members in his community,” Tolbert said.
He believes massive support for significant action on global warming is “going to have to include conservative groups, and virtually every discipline in society.” When Republicans do finally warm up to the idea of a conservative environmental movement, the eco-right will step out of the wings.
“They’re going to begin to get worried” about the growing impacts of a warming planet, Ruckelshaus said.
Shortly after it started, the alliance launched a website called Green Decoys, which claims that left-wing environmental NGOs use sportsmen as a cover for their “radical environmental activist” agendas.
“I support candidates that think we cling to our guns because we just don’t know any better.” Tanner isn’t worried about people who question his legitimacy.

Conservation & Sustainability

Understanding the Nomadic Habits of Snowy Owls

Understanding the Nomadic Habits of Snowy Owls

It would be foolish to gamble on a new spot when the old spot worked well enough.
But snowy owls understand well enough that in any given year, their job is to first find the lemmings before they decide where to nest.
One study led by Jean-Francois Therrien showed that when a site in Arctic Canada, Bylot Island, experienced a peak in the lemming cycle, the abundance of lemming predators also peaked – the lemmings got found.
It is much simpler to study animals that come to the same place year after year.
The study of snowy owl movements has become possible only since the advent of remote tracking devices.
A study of nine female owls, also by Jean-Francois Therrien and colleagues, found that a snowy owl’s nest could be as much as 1,000 miles away from last year’s nesting location.
Despite their ability to seek out areas of high lemming abundance, some years are better than others for snowy owl nesting success.
Even during winter, the owls maintain their nomadic ways, often choosing different sites from one winter to the next.
Although they are lemming specialists during the summer, snowies expand their menu in winter and eat a wide range of prey across a wide range of habitats Research by Audrey Robillard summarizes a wintering snowy owl’s lifestyle as either temperate or Arctic and either land-based or marine.
Owls that winter in wilder places may have a better shot at surviving the winter.

Conservation & Sustainability

Scotland’s historic sites at high risk from climate change, report says

Scotland’s historic sites at high risk from climate change, report says

Dozens of Scotland’s most famous historic sites are at very high risk of being badly damaged by climate change and need urgent protection, an expert survey has found.
Of those, 28 sites are identified as at the greatest risk because they are not yet properly protected.
They too are under constant supervision, lowering the threat level to amber, but HES officials warn that even so, protected sites could still be damaged by the far more severe weather events now being forecast.
Combined into a single database, the surveys have confirmed evidence from numerous places that already fragile or exposed historic sites are at even greater risk from heavier flooding, coastal erosion driven by stronger storms and rising sea levels, increased winter rainfall or much drier summers.
The database will be constantly updated and refined, said Ewan Hyslop, the agency’s head of technical research and science, particularly after far more detailed and updated UK-wide projections of climate risks are published in several months.
HES has increased the priority it gives to climate mitigation under legislation driven through by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, which requires public bodies to factor climate change into their activities.
The budget of Sepa, the Scottish agency responsible for monitoring climate change, will also be cut again.
The research draws on forecasts from Sepa that sea levels around Scotland will increase by between 16.5 and 28 centimetres by 2050, threatening coastal sites such as Skara Brae.
The report notes: “Water is the most destructive agent of decay.
On a large scale, heavy and intense rainfall can directly lead to flooding in a short timeframe, which has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to all elements of the historic environment within reach of these potential flood zones.”

Conservation & Sustainability

Remembering conservation visionary Leon Rajaobelina

Remembering conservation visionary Leon Rajaobelina

Leon Rajaobelina, the longtime head of the Conservation International Madagascar program and a prominent leader in that country, passed away January 11.
Rajaobelina’s contributions to Conservation International, its missions and its partners were many.
In 2005, he spearheaded the Madagascar Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity, serving as chairman until 2011.
In addition, he co-chaired the Steering Committee of the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services Initiative.
His long and distinguished career included work in the public and financial sectors in Madagascar and internationally.
Before he joined Conservation International, Rajaobelina served as alternate executive director of the International Monetary Fund, governor of the Central Bank of Madagascar, Madagascar’s minister of finance and its ambassador to the United States.
He also acted as Special Advisor to the president of Madagascar, working to advance the nation’s development strategy with international donors and others.
In a tribute to Rajaobelina, Conservation International’s Chairman of the Board and former CEO, Peter Seligmann, and former president, Russell Mittermeier, shared the impact he had on them and their work.
And, he was a financial wizard, leading national and global efforts to define the economic value that nature brings to nations, and the economic peril that the destruction of nature causes to people and to countries.
“Leon understood the Conservation International idea of ‘head in the sky and feet in the mud.’ In Madagascar, where the contrast of biodiversity wealth and economic poverty is as stark as any place on earth, Leon persistently and successfully convinced sequential Malagasy heads of state that the path to economic advancement was actually a path of biodiversity protection and conservation.

Conservation & Sustainability

It’s time to go nuclear in the fight against climate change

It’s time to go nuclear in the fight against climate change

Something big has to change, and fast, in order to prevent us from going over the climate cliff.
Solar power has grown at a whopping 68 percent average rate over the past 10 years, but still accounts for less than 2 percent of total U.S. electricity generation.
The 99 reactors in the U.S. generate about 10 times that amount.
“In 2016, renewables received about 100 times more in federal subsidies than nuclear plants,” Michael Shellenberger, founder of the Berkeley, California-based, pro-nuclear advocacy group Environmental Progress, wrote in an email to Grist.
A similar story is playing out in Germany.
Jenkins wrote on Twitter that Germany’s shift in energy policy was misguided and resulted effectively in fossil fuels replacing much of the missing nuclear power — a pattern that’s playing out at home, as well.
For once-and-future climate leaders like Germany and the United States to turn their backs on one of the best tools we have for rapidly decarbonizing the global economy is a short-sighted decision of international and multi-generational consequence.
He and Shellenberger see support for the industry as a tactic for attracting the Trump Administration’s attention on climate policy.
The sheer urgency of climate change demands an all-of-the-above approach to making carbon-free energy.
The more the world feels the powerful effects of climate change and the longer we wait to reduce emissions the more attractive nuclear energy could become.

Conservation & Sustainability

Houston’s city-beautification efforts might also fight future flooding

Houston’s city-beautification efforts might also fight future flooding

On a recent afternoon, Beth White, CEO of the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, steps onto a trail along Brays Bayou in the southeastern part of the city.
There are 12 major bayous in Harris County, connecting 22 watersheds to the Gulf of Mexico.
White is walking near a meandering part of the Brays in the neighborhood of Idylwood.
Parks Board, a local nonprofit that advocates for green space, completed trails here in 2014, adding a kayak ramp and native plants as part of its Bayou Greenways 2020 project.
His research suggests that different natural features, like wetlands and reservoirs, help to mitigate flooding.
The Bayou Greenways project is based on a plan from 1912 to connect Houston’s bayous with park space.
In northeast Houston, the Greens Bayou Wetlands Mitigation Bank, finished in 2016, filters water and provides habitats for native species.
Flood Control planted trees along a river to prevent erosion and is using another creek to study how well prairies soak up floodwaters.
“We’re not primarily a flood-mitigation project,” she says.
After Harvey, Dinn organized a group of neighbors to clean debris out of the bayous.

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Climate Change & Global Warming

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 19, 2018

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 19, 2018

Most of our focus this week will be on Latin America. There is no good thematic reason for that, it

Climate Change & Global Warming

UK climate strategy has ‘significant gaps’, advisers warn

UK climate strategy has ‘significant gaps’, advisers warn

The government must increase ambition for electric vehicles and invest more in carbon capture and storage, an independent panel has advised The UK government must urgently formulate new policies to bridge the “significant gaps” between its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its legally-binding targets to tackle climate change, a panel of experts has warned.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s official climate policy adviser, said in a report analysing the UK’s clean growth strategy that it “does not go far enough” to meet commitments under the legally binding Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.
The CCC said that “even if delivered in full”, existing and new policies would fail to meet the interim goals set by the fourth and fifth carbon budgets “by a significant margin”.
Chairman of the CCC John Gummer (also known as Lord Deben) said the government will have to “put flesh on the bone” of existing and new policies to explain how it is going to close that gap.
The technology to pump emissions from industry or power generation underground is a key component of most carbon-cutting model scenarios, but has yet to take off commercially.
The government’s clean energy package in 2017 allocated £100 million ($138m) to develop CCS, a radical cut from the previously promised £1bn.
David Joffe, acting head of carbon budgets at the CCC, told DeSmog UK that the government had to invest “at least hundreds of millions” to prove the technology at scale.
“This is not about spending extra but about spending wisely,” he said, adding: “We need to start doing things now that we will have to do later anyways.” In transport, the committee recommended raising ambition for ultra-low emission vehicles to make up at least 60% of sales by 2030.
The government was aiming for 30-70%.
This is an excerpt from a longer article by DeSmog UK

Climate Change & Global Warming

5 Books from 2017 That Will Help You Connect With Nature

5 Books from 2017 That Will Help You Connect With Nature

“The process of thriving as human beings, even in the middle of a throbbing metropolis, is to acknowledge the wild in you.” Each year writers, researchers, and scientists dig into the fertile earth of nature to see what lessons they can glean from its wildness.
The following five books bring us closer to nature from different aspects of this journey: from ornithology and poetry to neuroscience and children’s literature, these books crack open a deeper understanding of wildness and our connection to it that lingers long after we turn the last page.
As Wohlleben notes, this is quite a feat “when you don’t have a brain.” Throughout his explorations of the latest research into animal emotions, Wohlleben intersperses anecdotes about his own interactions with animals to put forward the idea that all is not what it seems.
On this question, Wohlleben is straightforward.
What other benefits might such an adjustment bring the planet and us?
Otter, magpie, adder, wren, and kingfisher emerge from the page and into the world, along with 15 others dazzlingly illustrated by Jackie Morris.
The Nature Fix Aristotle walked in the woods to clear his mind.
Mary Oliver (see above) used nature as a balm to heal her heart and bring forth a torrent of inspired words.
“We don’t experience natural environments enough to realize how restored they can make us feel,” Williams writes, noting the proven benefits include less reactivity, more empathy, and more focus, to name a few.
Mozart’s Starling If you are birder from North America, there’s one bird you’ll likely never seek out: the lowly European starling.

Climate Change & Global Warming

The Chinese coal city that electrified its entire taxi fleet

The Chinese coal city that electrified its entire taxi fleet

Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, replaced 8,000 petrol-powered taxis with electric vehicles in a single year.
By reducing the number of petrol cars on the road, the city is tackling its car pollution problem while shoring up China’s position as a leader in clean technology.
However, Taiyuan was not one of them.
Like most of China’s city’s, Taiyuan has a public taxi fleet owned by several companies.
Public taxi drivers buy their own vehicles (or lease them from companies).
Taiyuan’s fleet was due to be replaced in 2016 anyway (in China, municipal governments set limits on how long fleets are allowed in operation before re-registration is needed), so taxi drivers were expecting to buy new vehicles.
EVs account for 1.8% of all road vehicles in Taiyuan (20,000 EVs out of 1.15 million vehicles).
But Shanxi produces one quarter of the country’s coal and its power generation relies on it far more than the national average.
It is worth noting that the city’s promotion of the EV sector is closely associated with the current mayor, Geng Yanbo, who featured in the BBC documentary The Chinese Mayor.
On October 23, 12 cities in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, including London and Paris, announced they would buy only zero-emission buses from 2025.

Climate Change & Global Warming

Scotland’s historic sites at high risk from climate change, report says

Scotland’s historic sites at high risk from climate change, report says

Dozens of Scotland’s most famous historic sites are at very high risk of being badly damaged by climate change and need urgent protection, an expert survey has found.
Of those, 28 sites are identified as at the greatest risk because they are not yet properly protected.
They too are under constant supervision, lowering the threat level to amber, but HES officials warn that even so, protected sites could still be damaged by the far more severe weather events now being forecast.
Combined into a single database, the surveys have confirmed evidence from numerous places that already fragile or exposed historic sites are at even greater risk from heavier flooding, coastal erosion driven by stronger storms and rising sea levels, increased winter rainfall or much drier summers.
The database will be constantly updated and refined, said Ewan Hyslop, the agency’s head of technical research and science, particularly after far more detailed and updated UK-wide projections of climate risks are published in several months.
HES has increased the priority it gives to climate mitigation under legislation driven through by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, which requires public bodies to factor climate change into their activities.
The budget of Sepa, the Scottish agency responsible for monitoring climate change, will also be cut again.
The research draws on forecasts from Sepa that sea levels around Scotland will increase by between 16.5 and 28 centimetres by 2050, threatening coastal sites such as Skara Brae.
The report notes: “Water is the most destructive agent of decay.
On a large scale, heavy and intense rainfall can directly lead to flooding in a short timeframe, which has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to all elements of the historic environment within reach of these potential flood zones.”

Climate Change & Global Warming

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 12, 2018

Climate Change Week in Review Week Ending January 12, 2018

  None of the four points discussed below is a scientific finding, or a technological development. This may be our

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