Science & Tech News

November 20, 2015

Laudato Si’ takes both a clear view of the current science while eyeing hope for the future.  We continue that effort keeping track of science and tech news regarding climate change and decarbonisation.  If you are interested in participating on the team of scientists and technical practitioners supporting GCCM, or if you have findings or articles to suggest for this space, please contact [email protected]

Wildfires on tundra burn off protective layer, contribute to permafrost thaw and carbon release from formerly frozen soils and peatlands

Wildfires on Arctic tundra can contribute to widespread permafrost thaw much like blazes in forested areas, according to a study published in the most recent issue of the online journal Scientific Reports.  The project, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, examined the effects of the massive Anaktuvuk River fire, which burned roughly 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska’s North Slope … Read More

This rapidly breaking and melting Greenland ice sheet could raise sea level by nearly 2 feet

Greenland’s glaciers held 75% of the world’s freshwater before humans started pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in high volumes, at the beginning of the Industrial Age.  Since then, Greenland has been melting, but the melting has sped up considerably now.  The New York times produced an in-depth multi-media report on Greenland’s ice sheets. Now, a massive glacier in Greenland … Read More

Single mine rivals coal emissions of whole countries, plus job and economic benefits much lower than promised and environmental costs much higher

The Carmichael coal mine in Australia will emit 79 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year — more than the annual emissions from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and about equal to the average annual emissions from both Malaysia and Austria. The projects will also emit three times as much carbon dioxide equivalent per year as the city … Read More

New Obama policy that energy, mining, and other development projects on America’s public lands should result in a net benefit — or at minimum no net loss — for the nation’s rivers, lands, and wildlife resources

In what is being hailed as a “landmark” conservation policy, President Obama on Tuesday released a presidential memorandum establishing that energy, mining, and other development projects on America’s public lands should result in a net benefit — or at minimum no net loss — for the nation’s rivers, lands, and wildlife resources. “We all have a moral obligation to …Read More

More jobs and economic growth and lower energy bills with shift to 50-60% renewables by 2030. Even better as we shift to over 80% by 2050!

Climate change is our nation’s greatest challenge—left unaddressed, it will have devastating impacts on our economy, our environment, and our communities and families. The good news is that addressing this challenge presents a tremendous opportunity to grow our economy and increase our shared prosperity. Today, NextGen Climate America released a new economic analysis based on data from E3’s Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in … Read More

Carbon in atmosphere still rising fast – Earth passing thresholds

Climate change is set to pass the milestone of 1C of warming since pre-industrial times by the end of 2015, representing “uncharted territory” according to scientists at the UK’s Met Office. 2015 is also set to be the hottest on record, as the temperatures are so far beating past records “by a country mile”, they said. The World Meteorological (Met) … Read More

Researchers develop low-cost offshore floating wind turbine – 12 euro cents per kilowatt hour

From Josh Hill at Clean Technica Researchers have designed and patented a floating platform for offshore wind turbines that they believe can reduce costs up to 12 euro cents per kilowatt hour. A team of researchers from the the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) developed the new model of a floating structure for offshore wind … Read More

Scientists warned the US president about global warming 50 years ago: 5 Nov 1965

On 5 November 1965 climate scientists summarized the risks associated with rising carbon pollution in a report for Lyndon Baines Johnson.  As the American Association for the Advancement of Science highlighted, US president Lyndon Johnson’s science advisory committee sent him a report entitled Restoring the Quality of Our Environment. The introduction to the report noted: Pollutants have altered on a global … Read More

Marion Wright Edelman challenges us to a personal audit on justice, consistency, and commitment to kids

I am often asked what’s wrong with our children and I almost always answer, adults are what’s wrong. We tell our children to control themselves while slapping and spanking and ejecting them violently in our homes, child care centers, schools, detention facilities and prisons. Adults tell children to be honest while lying and cheating and not to be violent while … Read More

6 US states considering carbon pricing

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington all have proposed legislation exploring carbon pricing as option for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Although the idea of a carbon price is not new, it is increasingly seen as a key climate solution in the lead-up to the U.N. climate talks in Paris in December. Six major oil and gas companies, including …

A $4.8tr opportunity not yet grasped – steps for banks to protect clients from climate change risks, tap historic dividend

Cross-posted from Business Green, by Lauren Compere, Boston Common Asset Management on 30 Oct 2015 The build-up to a new international climate agreement has seen 55 countries specify the amount of funding they require to deliver the mitigation and adaptation projects needed to keep global warming below 2°C.  This totals $4.8tr, more than the entire GDP of Japan or Germany, and represents … Read More

New study finds damage climate change will do to the economy has been dramatically underestimated

A new study published in Nature by scientists at Stanford and UC Berkeley has made waves for its finding that thus far we have dramatically underestimated the damage human-caused climate change will do to the global economy. By looking at data from 160 countries across the 50-year period from 1960 to 2010, the authors found that an average local temperature of 13°C (55°F) is … Read More

Ed Maibach on climate change communications: focus on what we agree on – fossil fuels are harming our health

An interview with Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University Fifteen years ago, there was very little difference between the way that Democrats and Republicans viewed climate change. About two out of three out of each group saw it as real and human-caused and serious.   Now we’re down to about a third … Read More