How Far Can Technology Go <br />To Stave Off Climate Change?

Analysis

How Far Can Technology Go
To Stave Off Climate Change?

by david biello
With carbon dioxide emissions continuing to rise, an increasing number of experts believe major technological breakthroughs —such as CO2 air capture — will be necessary to slow global warming. But without the societal will to decarbonize, even the best technologies won’t be enough.
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Report

As Chinese Luxury Market Grows, <br />An Upsurge in Tiger Killings in India

As Chinese Luxury Market Grows,
An Upsurge in Tiger Killings in India

by sharon guynup
Poachers killed more tigers in the forests of India in 2016 than any year in the last 15. The spike is linked to demand for tiger parts in China, where the endangered animal’s bones and skins are regarded as exotic luxury items.
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New Look at Rivers Reveals <br />The Toll of Human Activity

Report

New Look at Rivers Reveals
The Toll of Human Activity

by jim robbins
A recent outbreak of a deadly fish parasite on the Yellowstone River may have seemed unremarkable. But a new wave of research shows the episode was likely linked to the cumulative impact of human activities that essentially weakened the Yellowstone’s "immune system."
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On Slopes of Kilimanjaro, Shift <br />In Climate Hits Coffee Harvest

Report

On Slopes of Kilimanjaro, Shift
In Climate Hits Coffee Harvest

by daniel grossman
Rising temperatures and changing precipitation are taking a toll on coffee farms worldwide, including the plantations around Mount Kilimanjaro. If the world hopes to sustain its two billion cup-a-day habit, scientists say, new climate-resilient species of coffee must be developed.
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Aimed at Refugees, Fences Are<br />Threatening European Wildlife

Report

Aimed at Refugees, Fences Are
Threatening European Wildlife

by jim o'donnell
A flood of migrants from the Middle East and Africa has prompted governments in the Balkans to erect hundreds of miles of border fences. Scientists say the expanding network of barriers poses a serious threat to wildlife, especially wide-ranging animals such as bears and wolves.
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A Drive to Save Saharan Oases <br />As Climate Change Takes a Toll

Dispatch

A Drive to Save Saharan Oases
As Climate Change Takes a Toll

by emma bryce
From Morocco to Libya, the desert oases of the Sahara's Maghreb region are disappearing as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases. Facing daunting odds, local residents are employing traditional water conservation techniques to try to save these ancient ecosystems.
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Why U.S. Coal Industry and <br />Its Jobs Are Not Coming Back

Opinion

Why U.S. Coal Industry and
Its Jobs Are Not Coming Back

by james van nostrand
President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed to revive U.S. coal production and bring back thousands of jobs. But it’s basic economics and international concern about climate change that have crushed the American coal industry, not environmental regulations.
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Report

How Warming Is Threatening<br />The Genetic Diversity of Species

How Warming Is Threatening
The Genetic Diversity of Species

by jim robbins
Research on stoneflies in Glacier National Park indicates that global warming is reducing the genetic diversity of some species, compromising their ability to evolve as conditions change. These findings have major implications for how biodiversity will be affected by climate change.
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How Tracking Product Sources <br />May Help Save World’s Forests

Report

How Tracking Product Sources
May Help Save World’s Forests

by fred pearce
Global businesses are increasingly pledging to obtain key commodities only from sources that do not contribute to deforestation. Now, nonprofit groups are deploying data tools that help hold these companies to their promises by tracing the origins of everything from soy to timber to beef.
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With Trump, China Emerges <br />As Global Leader on Climate

Analysis

With Trump, China Emerges
As Global Leader on Climate

by isabel hilton
With Donald Trump threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, China is ready to assume leadership of the world’s climate efforts. For China, it is a matter of self-interest – reducing the choking pollution in its cities and seizing the economic opportunities of a low-carbon future.
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e360 digest

Republican Who Led EPA Urges
Confronting Trump on Climate

William K. Reilly, who was head of the EPA under President George H.W. Bush, is blunt in his assessment of the climate change deniers and anti-regulatory hawks
William K. Reilly

William K. Reilly
who have been nominated to fill many of President-elect Donald Trump’s top environmental posts. Reilly, a Republican, looks with special alarm on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, nominated to run the EPA. “For a prospective EPA administrator to doubt or even contest a conclusion that 11 national academies of science have embraced is willful political obstruction,” says Reilly. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Reilly discusses how Trump administration threats to cut funding for NASA climate change research represent a “reckless head-in-the-sand posture,” explains why he believes former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson may turn out to be one of the more enlightened environmental voices in the new administration, and urges EPA employees to stay and fight for the environment. “I would not advocate that committed people leave,” says Reilly. “We need them now more than ever.”
Read the interview.

18 Jan 2017: For Third Year in a Row, Earth
Experiences Record-Breaking Temperatures

Scientists confirmed this week that 2016 was the hottest year since record keeping began in 1880, marking the third consecutive year of record warmth across the globe. The average global surface temperature (over both land and ocean) in 2016 was 58.69 degrees F — 1.69 degrees above the 20th century average and 0.07 degrees above last year’s record. “That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you take that and you average it all the way around the planet, that's a big number," said Deke Arndt, the head of global climate monitoring at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last year’s record status was confirmed in three separate analyses by scientists at NOAA, NASA, and the U.K. Met Office. According to NOAA, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times since the start of the 21st century.

 

Interview: In Costa Rica, Momentum
Builds for a Clean-Energy Economy

Costa Rica has an impressive track record when it comes to renewable energy. The country, famous for its ecotourism industry, produces almost all of its electricity
Monica Araya

Monica Araya
from renewable sources. But Monica Araya wants her nation to go even greener. Araya, the founder and director of Costa Rica Limpia — a citizen’s group that promotes renewable energy — is now pushing for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Costa Rica, all part of a vision of making her country one of the world’s first carbon-neutral nations. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Araya describes how the fledgling effort to decarbonize Costa Rica’s transportation sector has encountered government resistance, and she urges clean-energy advocates worldwide to intensify their efforts, despite the pro-fossil fuel stance of the incoming Trump administration. “If the U.S. doesn't want to be part of the game, the game is going to continue,” says Araya. “Clean energy's going to continue. Electric mobility is going to continue... Costa Rica's going to move forward.”
Read the interview.

17 Jan 2017: China Cancels Plans for
100 New Coal-Fired Power Plants

China has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants, including several that were already under construction, according to news reports. The power stations, with an estimated price tag of $62 billion, would have had an electricity-generating capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, spread across several provinces. The decision, announced by the National Energy Administration, follows other recent moves by China to build more renewable energy facilities and reduce the country’s dependence on coal. Last year, China announced it would cap coal power generation at 1,100 gigawatts, according to Reuters. It plans to install 130 gigawatts of new solar and wind power by 2020. The latest decision also comes at a time when the country is expected to assume a key role in global climate change action following the election of Donald Trump, who supports reducing U.S. climate efforts.

 

From Obama’s Chief Scientist,
Parting Words of Caution on Climate

John Holdren is the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history and probably one of the most influential,
John Holdren

John Holdren
having advised President Obama on key energy issues for the last eight years. A physicist by training, Holdren was among the chief architects of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan. The plan has been lauded by environmentalists, but is loathed by conservative politicians, some of whom have filed suit against it. Holdren spoke with Yale e360 contributing writer Elizabeth Kolbert about the difference between “dangerous” and “catastrophic” warming, the incoming Trump administration, and how to talk to people who deny the existence of climate change. “Part of the reason that I retain some optimism about the future is that there are these fundamental forces pushing us toward doing the right thing,” he said.
Read the interview.

12 Jan 2017: A Bay in Denmark May
Hold The Global Record for Carbon Storage

Danish scientists say that a sheltered bay in southern Denmark may hold the world record for carbon storage per meter

Thurøbund Bay in Southern Denmark.
because of its abundant seagrass meadows, which sequester carbon extremely efficiently. Reporting in the journal Biogeosciences, the scientists said that CO2 absorption by eelgrass in Thurøbund Bay has resulted in the bay storing 27,000 grams of carbon per square meter, more than twice as much as other efficient carbon-storing ecosystems worldwide. A key reason for Thurøbund’s impressive carbon storage is that once seagrasses die in its sheltered waters, they are buried in the bay’s sediments, locking up the carbon. By contrast, many of the nine other Baltic Sea sites studied by the scientists were in exposed coastal areas, which means that dead grasses are carried out to sea and often not buried in sediment. The importance of “blue carbon” storage in coastal waters is gaining increasing attention, with international programs now paying local residents to replant sea grasses, mangroves, and other shallow-water plants.

 
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