ECO CRISIS – Climate

itv.com/     4/2021  A time-lapse video feature launched by Google Earth has drawn on nearly four decades of satellite imagery to vividly illustrate how the impact of humans and climate change have affected the planet.


theguardian.com   2/12/2021  Climate costs: Bjørn Lomborg accused of misinterpreting results – – A key claim in a column by the Danish thinktank head frustrates scientists who modelled reducing emissions – by Graham Readfearn

…”The cited figure does appear in a supplementary section of the paper. But the authors of the study (which actually appeared in Nature Climate Change, not Nature) have told Temperature Check they have been asking Lomborg since early November to stop making that claim.  Prof David Victor, of University of California San Diego, said Lomborg’s summary “took the results out of context and used them for a purpose that we explicitly said they were not to be used, and which he was reminded of when he asked for the underlying data”….

Also in the op-ed, Lomborg gave examples of where voters around the world had rejected new policies to lower emissions because of their cost. He cites a survey, also from the US, where he says “most respondents were unwilling to spend even $US24 a year”. The survey is from September 2019 – right in the middle of the presidency of Donald Trump, who thought climate change was a hoax and pulled out of the Paris climate agreement because he said it was costing Americans too much.

Yet the same survey also found 60% of people would support raising taxes on companies that burned fossil fuels “even if it may lead to increased electricity and transport prices”. Lomborg wrote that people in Switzerland had “said no to a new carbon tax” without outlining that the country already has a price on greenhouse gas emissions of $180 a tonne. He was referring to a referendum in June where Swiss voters narrowly rejected raising the cost to $320 a tonne, by a margin of 51.6% to 48.4%.

In emerging economies, Lomborg said, leaders saw demands to reach net zero by 2050 as “unjust because it stopped poor countries from developing their economies”. Lomborg then quoted the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, from an article he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, saying African nations should be allowed to move more slowly away from fossil fuels, without mandates on solar and wind power. He quoted Museveni as saying: “Africans have a right to use reliable, cheap energy.” But the full stop came too early. What Museveni actually said was: “Africans have a right to use reliable, cheap energy and doing so doesn’t prevent the development of the continent’s renewables.” …”…

gg caw  Bjørn Lomborg is head of “The Copenhagen Consensus Center , “…a think tank that researches and publishes the smartest solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Our studies are conducted by more than 300 economists from internationally renowned institutions, including seven Nobel Laureates, to advise policymakers and philanthropists how to achieve the best results with their limited resources. – Copenhagen Consensus is an outstanding, visionary idea and deserves global coverage” – The Economist”


theguardian.com 11/2021  Blue carbon: With the ocean key to meeting 1.5C, all eyes are now on the vital but overlooked “big three” marine ecosystems – seagrass, mangroves and salt marshes

see also in the guardian


nature.com  2021  Mapping the irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems – Nature Sustainability
Monica L. Noon, Allie Goldstein, Juan Carlos Ledezma, Patrick R. Roehrdanz, Susan C. Cook-Patton, Seth A. Spawn-Lee, Timothy Maxwell Wright, Mariano Gonzalez-Roglich, David G. Hole, Johan Rockström & Will R. Turner

ABSTRACT:  Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires rapid decarbonization and improved ecosystem stewardship at a planetary scale. The carbon released through the burning of fossil fuels would take millennia to regenerate on Earth. Though the timeframe of carbon recovery for ecosystems such as peatlands, mangroves and old-growth forests is shorter (centuries), this timeframe still exceeds the time we have remaining to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. There are some natural places that we cannot afford to lose due to their irreplaceable carbon reserves. Here we map ‘irrecoverable carbon’ globally to identify ecosystem carbon that remains within human purview to manage and, if lost, could not be recovered by mid-century, by when we need to reach net-zero emissions to avoid the worst climate impacts. Since 2010, agriculture, logging and wildfire have caused emissions of at least 4.0 Gt of irrecoverable carbon. The world’s remaining 139.1 ± 443.6 Gt of irrecoverable carbon faces risks from land-use conversion and climate change. These risks can be reduced through proactive protection and adaptive management. Currently, 23.0% of irrecoverable carbon is within protected areas and 33.6% is managed by Indigenous peoples and local communities. Half of Earth’s irrecoverable carbon is concentrated on just 3.3% of its land, highlighting opportunities for targeted efforts to increase global climate security.


theconversation.com/  23/11/2021  Why the oil industry’s pivot to carbon capture and storage – while it keeps on drilling – isn’t a climate change solution

After decades of sowing doubt about climate change and its causes, the fossil fuel industry is now shifting to a new strategy: presenting itself as the source of solutions. This repositioning includes rebranding itself as a “carbon management industry.”

This strategic pivot was on display at the Glasgow climate summit and at a Congressional hearing in October 2021, where CEOs of four major oil companies talked about a “lower-carbon future.” That future, in their view, would be powered by the fuels they supply and technologies they could deploy to remove the planet-warming carbon dioxide their products emit – provided they get sufficient government support.

That support may be coming. The Department of Energy recently added “carbon management” to the name of its Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and is expanding its funding for carbon capture and storage.

But how effective are these solutions, and what are their consequences? Coming from backgrounds in economics, ecology and public policy, we have spent several years focusing on carbon drawdown. We have watched mechanical carbon capture methods struggle to demonstrate success, despite U.S. government investments of over US$7 billion in direct spending and at least a billion more in tax credits. Meanwhile, proven biological solutions with multiple benefits have received far less attention.


sciencenews.org  11/2021 A new map shows where carbon needs to stay in nature to avoid climate disaster
Releasing the carbon stored in vulnerable ecosystems could push global warming past 1.5 degrees Celsius – by

A new map shows where carbon needs to stay in nature to avoid climate disaster


theguardian.com/  21/11/2021  Climate denial is waning on the right. What’s replacing it might be just as scary   by

…”This wrapping of ecological disaster with fears of rampant immigration is a narrative that has flourished in far-right fringe movements in Europe and the US and is now spilling into the discourse of mainstream politics. … Simply ignoring or disparaging the science isn’t the effective political weapon it once was. “We are seeing very, very little climate denialism in conversations on the right now,” said Catherine Fieschi, a political analyst and founder of Counterpoint, who tracks trends in populist discourse. But in place of denial is a growing strain of environmental populism that has attempted to dovetail public alarm over the climate crisis with disdain for ruling elites, longing for a more traditional embrace of nature and kin and calls to banish immigrants behind strong borders…”…


news.sky.com  10/2021  Who should pay the world’s climate debt?  New research suggests that developed countries should pay almost double the amount proposed under the Paris Agreement to offset their historical emissions.  by Amy Borrett

…”Now, new research from the Center for Global Development (CGD) estimates that members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) should commit almost double this amount – $190bn (£138bn) a year – until 2100. Brian O’Callaghan, lead of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, says that the developed world now needs to face up to “climate colonialism”. He added: “As rich countries, we industrialised early, effectively buying ourselves economic prosperity at the cost of significant carbon emissions. These emissions now threaten lives and livelihoods in developing nations. Since industrialisation began, high-income economies have produced three-fifths of the world’s historical carbon emissions, almost 100 times more than the proportion produced by low-income countries. …  Brian O’Callaghan from Oxford University says that it is “impossible” to address the impacts of climate change without significant international support for these developing economies.  “As much as they might like to catalyse a green transition, governments [of most developing countries] simply don’t have the cash to do so,” he said. “This is where rich nations must correct their past wrongs.” …”


cdef.org.blog    28/10/2021COP26 and Beyond: CGD’s Work on Coherence and Effectiveness in Climate Finance and Policy   by Masood Ahmed

“With COP26 about to get underway, many of the opportunities and tensions inherent in the international community’s approach to supporting climate change transformation are rising to the surface. Within the rich body of work which is ongoing within this area, CGD’s focus is on shaping and improving climate and finance policy to ensure it does the most for the development, and the planet …”…


ft.com  20/10/2021  Green shoots – words of hope on the climate crisis – Three books present a case for optimism ahead of the COP26 summit, and in the face of looming environmental catastrophe ECO crisis hope – by P Clarke FT –  > J Goodall, D Abrams, C Butfield,  J Hughes, K Hayhoe

ECO crisis hope - J Goodall, D Abrams, C Butfield, JHughes, K Hayhoe - P Clarke FT 10 2021

theguardian.com  11/2021 Saving Us by Katharine Hayhoe review – across the climate crisis divide – A scientist and gifted speaker makes a convincing case for calm, informed discussions in the race to avert catastrophe – by 

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World is one of the more important books about climate change to have been written. Much of the literature to date feeds the appetite of readers who are already interested in the issue, but this book by Katharine Hayhoe, an internationally renowned climate scientist, could result in a massive expansion of interest in the subject.


phys.org  10/2021  Carbon removal will cost as much annually as the NHS budget, but research shows polluters could pay  by University of Oxford  – Professor Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risk, and Johannes Bednar, Oxford University Centre for the Environment and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, write:

…”The trouble is, there is no political or economic mechanism to establish responsibility for large-scale removal of CO2 and it will not be cheap …

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Oxford and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), has come up with a solution to this intergenerational dilemma. In a Nature paper, Operationalizing the net-negative carbon economy, they argue that, when the remaining quantity of carbon emissions compatible with 1.5 degrees Celsius warming has been consumed, emitters should no longer pay to store carbon in the atmosphere until the end of time, as they conveniently do under current carbon taxes and emission trading schemes (ETS). Instead, emitting parties should pay a fee to temporarily store CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, emitters become ‘carbon debtors’, responsible for subsequent CO2 removal and obliged to pay interest on their debt to account for the implied risks, such as the potential default of carbon debtors.

A financial instrument, a ‘carbon removal obligation’, could be used to apply the ‘polluter pays principle’ to financing CO2 removal, and it could be neatly integrated into existing emission trading architectures. The good news is, as soon as emitters become responsible for removing their future share of CO2, it seems likely, fewer emissions will be produced in the first place. Under this scenario, the paper envisages a faster transformation to carbon-neutral practices. Importantly, if carbon removal is cheap and scalable, such technologies would be rolled-out at large scale in the near term, to achieve net-zero more quickly.

Carbon removing technologies then no longer serve as an excuse to delay mitigation at the expense of future generations, instead they become essential components of the near-term mitigation mix helping to reduce the amount of global carbon debt. The researchers argue that this is key to promote learning and reveal costs, socioenvironmental co-benefits and hazards; and to lift the promising options for carbon removal out of the pilot phase. …”…


 

theguardian.com  10/2021  Hot Air by Peter Stott review – the battle against climate change – the battle against climate change denial – A personal account of one climate scientist’s struggle to promote facts in the face of contrarian prejudice  by Philip Ball

“How on earth did we get here? How did we arrive in a world where temperatures in British Columbia can come within a whisker of 50C, where a ring of fire made Athens look apocalyptic, massive floods ripped apart towns in Belgium and Germany – yet still there is no international plan for how to keep the world habitable by the end of the century, and those protesting about that are labelled extremists? … (The book) … exposes the sustained efforts of a coalition of business lobbies, politicians, maverick scientists and contrarian attention-seekers to discredit and undermine that enterprise – efforts that continue even now, as the world literally burns. … It is not hard to fathom the motives of the oil companies, nor those of the conservative thinktanks they have funded, such as the George C Marshall Institute or the Koch Foundation. But in the UK such denialism is kept in the public eye by a small band of professional contrarians including James Delingpole, Sherelle Jacobs and Peter Hitchens via outlets such as the Telegraph, Spectator and Mail on Sunday – the same people and media that have argued against life-saving measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Venn-diagram overlap on these two unrelated issues is so complete that we’re clearly looking at a psychological issue … More puzzling are the maverick scientists who throw their lot in with the denialist cause. Here again, though, there is a pattern of contrarianism. Before they became key climate-deniers, the environmental scientists Fred Singer and Patrick Michaels argued that ozone depletion had little or nothing to do with human activities, either. That case, too, was “scientific hokum”, Stott says. Yet denialism pays: Singer and Michaels have been generously supported by fossil-fuel companies.


theguardian.com   10/2021   Fossil fuel companies paying top law firms millions to ‘dodge responsibility’ – Over the last five years, the 100 top law firms in the US represented fossil fuel clients in 358 legal cases and transactions worth $1.36tn by Isabella Kaminski

…”Over the last five years, the 100 top ranked law firms in the US facilitated $1.36tn of fossil fuel transactions, represented fossil fuel clients in 358 legal cases and received $35m in compensation for their work to assist fossil fuel industry lobbying, according to a “climate scorecard” published in August. …  Fossil fuel companies rely heavily on armies of lawyers to advise on projects, lobby, negotiate contracts, secure permits and navigate an increasing number of climate lawsuits. Law firms’ fossil fuel industry work has increased compared with the previous year’s scorecard, even as climate warnings become more dire and the International Energy Agency has warned new fossil fuel development is incompatible with the target of net zero emissions by 2050. …”…


theguardian.com/ 8/2021 How the BBC let climate deniers walk all over it by George Monbiot


theguardian.com/   6/10/2021  Fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds – Trillions of dollars a year are ‘adding fuel to the fire’ of the climate crisis, experts say  by Damian Carrington

…”The comprehensive IMF report found that prices were at least 50% below their true costs for 99% of coal, 52% of diesel and 47% of natural gas in 2020. Five countries were responsible for two-thirds of the subsidies: China, the US, Russia, India and Japan. Without action, subsidies will rise to $6.4tn in 2025, the IMF said. …”…


bbc.co.uk   6/10/2021 Climate change: Voices from global south muted by climate science
By Matt McGrath

Climate change academics from some of the regions worst hit by warming are struggling to be published, according to a new analysis. The study looked at 100 of the most highly cited climate research papers over the past five years. Less than 1% of the authors were based in Africa, while only 12 of the papers had a female lead researcher. The lack of diverse voices means key perspectives are being ignored, says the study’s author. Researchers from the Carbon Brief website examined the backgrounds of around 1,300 authors involved in the 100 most cited climate change research papers from 2016-2020. They found that some 90% of these scientists were affiliated with academic institutions from North America, Europe or Australia. …”…


bbc.co.uk  6/10/2021  Nobel in physics: Climate science breakthroughs earn prize – By Paul Rincon

Three scientists have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work to understand complex systems, such as the Earth’s climate. Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and, Giorgio Parisi were announced as the winners at an event in Stockholm.


theguardian.com  10/2021  Greta is right’: climate pledges must be matched by action, say Mars executives
The company will tie executive pay to emissions reduction and eliminate deforestation through its supply chain by

…”Grant Reid’s comments, and those of Mars’s chief sustainability and procurement officer, Barry Parkin, come after the climate activist Greta Thunberg condemned many of the climate actions promised by global leaders as so much “blah, blah, blah”. … “There are hundreds if not thousands of companies that have made net zero commitments. We need millions of companies,” he said. “Ultimately the planet doesn’t care about the commitment, it cares about the action.”…


theguardian.com  9/2021 Green growth’ doesn’t exist – less of everything is the only way to avert catastrophe – It is simply not possible to carry on at the current level of economic activity without destroying the environment  – by George Monbiot


avaaz.org/page/en/    23/9/2021 What is climate anxiety? – “I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom” – Mitzi Tan, 23, the Philippines –  Avaaz members just funded the biggest-ever survey on climate anxiety in children and young people — surveying 10,000 people in 10 countries around the world. In every country, it shows that anxiety about the planetary crisis is very high, and it’s not just because we’re witnessing devastating climate disasters, it’s also linked to governments consistently failing to take decisive, meaningful action to stop the crisis. Here’s what the study found:

  • 45% – Nearly half of global youth surveyed (45%) say climate anxiety is affecting their daily lives: how they play, eat, study, and sleep.
  • 75% – More than seven in ten (75%) believe “the future is frightening” — jumping to 81% of youth surveyed in Portugal and 92% in the Philippines.
  • 58% – 58% said governments were “betraying me and/or future generations,” while 64% said their governments are not doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe.
  • 39% – Almost four in ten youngsters (39%) said they are now hesitant about having children


bbc.co.uk/  21/9/2021  A trip to a melting glacier will shape how the BBC’s new climate editor, Justin Rowlatt, reports on the story of climate change.

…”When we finally flew over the front of the enormous glacier after weeks of travelling, I found myself staring down at an epic vision of shattered ice. As I wrote at the time, it felt like I’d reached the frontline of climate change; a place where the equilibrium that has held our world in balance for thousands of years was slipping and crashing.

Satellite monitoring shows that the overall rate of ice loss from West Antarctica has increased five-fold over a 25-year period. This one glacier – Thwaite’s glacier – alone now accounts for 4% of global sea level rise. Needless to say, this acceleration is a result of us humans polluting the air with greenhouse gases. That fact explodes any impression that the ice is overwhelming. The opposite is true, we are overwhelming the ice.”…


economist.com 15/9/2021 The world’s biggest carbon-removal plant switches on – Despite high prices, customers are lining up

…”…the plant’s creators hope it will mark a big shift in humanity’s interaction with the climate. Orca is, for now, the largest installation in the infant “direct air capture” industry, which aims to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. When sealed underground such CO2 counts as “negative emissions”—an essential but underdeveloped method for tackling global warming. To stop temperatures rising by 1.5°C or even 2°C above pre-industrial averages, as per the Paris climate agreement, hundreds or thousands of billions of tonnes of CO2 will have to be removed from the atmosphere in the second half of the century.”…


brill.com/view/journals  3/2021 Seize the Means of Carbon Removal: The Political Economy of Direct Air Capture  Andreas Malm,Wim Carton

… “We here examine the technology of direct air capture, tracing its intellectual origins and laying bare the political economy of its current manifestations. We find a space crowded with ideology-laden metaphors, ample fossil-capital entanglements and bold visions for a new, ethereal frontier of capital accumulation. These diversions must be cut short if a technology with the capacity to help repair at least some climate damage is to be of any use. Only socialising the means of removal will allow this to happen.”…

Keywords: carbon removalnegative emissionsdirect air captureclimate-change mitigationpolitical economycarbon capture and usage


Scientists understood physics of climate change in the 1800s – thanks to a woman named Eunice Foote | Sylvia G. Dee


globalecoguy.org/  3/2021  7 Reasons Why Artificial Carbon Removal is Overhyped – Artificial carbon removal is largely a sideshow when it comes to climate change. At best, it may eventually grow into a minor solution. At worst, it’s a distraction from reducing emissions — and plays right into the fossil fuel industry’s hands.


bbc.co.uk  14/9/2021  Climate change: Young people very worried – survey-A new global survey illustrates the depth of anxiety many young people are feeling about climate change. By Roger Harrabin

…2Nearly 60% of young people approached said they felt very worried or extremely worried. More than 45% of those questioned said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives. Three-quarters of them said they thought the future was frightening. Over half (56%) say they think humanity is doomed. Two-thirds reported feeling sad, afraid and anxious. Many felt fear, anger, despair, grief and shame – as well as hope. One 16-year-old said: “It’s different for young people – for us, the destruction of the planet is personal.”

The survey across 10 countries was led by Bath University in collaboration with five universities. It’s funded by the campaign and research group Avaaz. It claims to be the biggest of its kind, with responses from 10,000 people aged between 16 and 25.


phys.org/news  17/9/ 2021 Animals died in ‘toxic soup’ during Earth’s worst mass extinction: A warning for today

…”The three main ingredients for the toxic soup are accelerated greenhouse gas emissions, high temperatures, and abundant nutrients. The volcanic eruptions provided the first two, while sudden deforestation caused the third. When the trees were wiped out, the soils bled into the rivers and lakes, providing all the nutrients that the microbes would need. When the researchers compared the fossil records of different warming-related mass extinctions, the team found extremely similar fossil records. This implicates deadly microbial blooms as repeat offenders of freshwater extinctions during extreme warming events. Today, humans have been following this recipe, and freshwater microbial blooms have been on the rise, illustrating how important the geosciences are in understanding the past in ways that offer crucial context for understanding contemporary changes in climate.”…


irishtimes  31/7/2021 Time to stop seeing climate action through the lens of economics – Only a bold political vision will prepare the public for the measures that are needed  by Shana Cohen


economist.com/  24/7/2021  a-3degc-world-has-no-safe-place


ecowatch.com  Warning of Civilizational Collapse Was on Point, New Study Finds by Olivia Rosane

The Limits to Growth, sparked controversy and concern when it first emerged. But now, new research published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology says we are currently on track to living out its warnings.

“The MIT scientists said we needed to act now to achieve a smooth transition and avoid costs,” Gaya Herrington, the author of the new study, told The Guardian. “That didn’t happen, so we’re seeing the impact of climate change.”


theguardian.com  25/7/2021   Yep, it’s bleak, says expert who tested 1970s end-of-the-world prediction – A controversial MIT study from 1972 forecast the collapse of civilization – and Gaya Herrington is here to deliver the bad news

At a UN sustainability meeting several years ago, an economic policy officer came up to Gaya Herrington and introduced himself. Taking her name for a riff on James Lovelock’s earth-as-an-organism Gaia hypothesis, he remarked: “Gaya – that’s not a name, it’s responsibility.”  Herrington, a Dutch sustainability researcher and adviser to the Club of Rome, a Swiss thinktank, has made headlines in recent days after she authored a report that appeared to show a controversial 1970s study predicting the collapse of civilization was – apparently – right on time.


dezeen.com   7/5/2021  Planting trees “doesn’t make any sense” in the fight against climate change say experts
Marcus Fairs
Afforestation is an unreliable way of sequestering atmospheric carbon, according to several key figures interviewed by Dezeen as part of our carbon revolution series.  While trees capture huge amounts of carbon, they need to remain growing for a long time to be effective carbon stores, experts say.


theguardian.com   28/6/2021  New climate science could cause wave of litigation against businesses – study
Experts say scientific advances are making it easier to attribute the damages of climate breakdown to companies’ activities  by Fiona Harvey

…”Businesses could soon be facing a fresh wave of legal action holding them to account for their greenhouse gas emissions, owing to advances in climate science, experts have warned. More than 1,500 legal actions have already been brought against fossil fuel companies whose emissions over decades have played a major role in building up carbon in the atmosphere.  Last month, in a shock ruling, the multinational oil and gas company Shell was ordered by a court in the Netherlands to cut its emissions by 45% in the next decade. Shell has said it will appeal against the decision. Earlier this month, a Belgian court ruled that the government’s failure to tackle the climate emergency was an infringement of human rights. Rupert Stuart-Smith, researcher at the Oxford University sustainable law programme, and lead author of a new study, said more such cases were likely to be successful, as new science was making it possible to attribute the damages of climate breakdown more directly to companies’ activities.” …


theguardian.com  23/6/2021  IPCC steps up warning on climate tipping points in leaked draft report

Climate scientists are increasingly concerned that global heating will trigger tipping points in Earth’s natural systems, which will lead to widespread and possibly irrevocable disaster, unless action is taken urgently. The impacts are likely to be much closer than most people realise, a a draft report from the world’s leading climate scientists suggests, and will fundamentally reshape life in the coming decades even if greenhouse gas emissions are brought under some control.


theguardian.com   23/6/2021  Cloud spraying and hurricane slaying: how ocean geoengineering became the frontier of the climate crisis  – Around the world, dozens of ingenious projects are trying to ‘trick’ the ocean into absorbing more CO2. But critics warn of unforeseen consequences


carbonbrief.org   21/6/2021  Why CO2 removal is not equal and opposite to reducing emissions  by Kirsten Zickfeld,

…”But how about the “net” aspect? The logic is that residual emissions of CO2 – and other greenhouse gases that are challenging or very costly to eliminate – can be balanced by removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere and storing it for the long term.    This can be achieved by enhancing natural carbon “sinks” that remove CO2 from the atmosphere – for example, by planting trees or restoring peatlands and mangrove forests. Other ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere include capturing CO2 from bioenergy plants or engineered methods that capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere and store it underground or in products.

An assumption that is commonly made when balancing a CO2 emission with a CO2 removal is that “one tonne in equals one tonne out” – that is, that the behaviour of the climate system in response to emissions and removals is “symmetrical”. But this assumption had not been tested, and – while likely reasonable for small emissions and removals – it seemed unlikely to hold for larger emissions and removals due to the non-linear nature of the Earth system.”….



theconversation.com/  10/6/2021   G7: why major economies are delaying a break with the fossil fuel industry  by George Ferns, Marcus Gomes

While the leaders of the world’s richest countries agree in theory on the need to reach net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, they remain faithful to a fossil fuel industry reluctant to substantively change its business model.   A recent report by the International Energy Agency, a typically conservative advisory body, argued for an immediate ban on new fossil fuel projects. But investments by oil, gas and coal companies into finding new sources continue, as does industry lobbying to undermine regulation.

The environment ministers of the G7 countries committed to end funding for new overseas coal projects by the end of 2021. But 51% of their COVID-19 economic recovery funds – a total of US$189 billion (£133 billion) – paid between January 2020 and March 2021 were earmarked as financial aid for the fossil fuel industry. Worse, US$8 of every US$10 dedicated to non-renewable energy was paid with no conditions on these companies to reduce their emissions.

Why does it seem so hard for G7 leaders to match their words with action when it comes to the fossil fuel industry?


economist.com    12/6/2021  How green bottlenecks threaten the clean energy business – A great green investment boom is under way, but supply-side problems are underappreciated

… “The figures for the coming decade are mind-concentrating. To stay on track for net zero, by 2030 annual production of electric vehicles needs to be ten times higher than it was last year and the number of roadside charging stations 31 times bigger. The installed base of renewable-power generation needs to rise three-fold. Global mining firms may have to raise the annual production of critical minerals by 500%. Perhaps 2% of America’s land will have to be blanketed in turbines and solar panels. …   Today only 22% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions are covered by pricing schemes, and those schemes are not joined up. Green bottlenecks are a sign that decarbonisation is at last shifting from being a theoretical idea to a reality. A powerful push is now needed to help make the revolution happen.”


insideclimatenews.org/   6/2021 Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Food Production are Far Greater Than Previous Estimates Suggest – A new study finds that if all parts of the food system are included, food production is responsible for as much as 40 percent of global emissions.  By Georgina Gustin


bbc.com  6/2021 The world’s forgotten greenhouse gas  By Ula Chrobak  – Emissions of the greenhouse gas commonly known as laughing gas are soaring. Can we cut emissions from its greatest anthropogenic source? I

In the world’s effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the source of our food is coming into the spotlight. There’s good reason for that: Agriculture accounts for 16 to 27% of human-caused climate-warming emissions. But much of these emissions are not from carbon dioxide, that familiar climate change villain. They’re from another gas altogether: nitrous oxide (N2O). Also known as laughing gas, N2O does not get nearly the attention it deserves, says David Kanter, a nutrient pollution researcher at New York University …”It’s a forgotten greenhouse gas,” he says.

Yet molecule for molecule, N2O is about 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide at heating the atmosphere. And like CO2, it is long-lived, spending an average of 114 years in the sky before disintegrating. It also depletes the ozone layer. In all, the climate impact of laughing gas is no joke. Scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have estimated that nitrous oxide comprises roughly 6% of greenhouse gas emissions, and about three-quarters of those N2O emissions come from agriculture.

But despite its important contribution to climate change, N2O emissions have largely been ignored in climate policies. And the gas continues to accumulate. A 2020 review of nitrous oxide sources and sinks found that emissions rose 30% in the last four decades and are exceeding all but the highest potential emissions scenarios described by the IPCC. Agricultural soil – especially because of the globe’s heavy use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser – is the principal culprit.


bbc.co.uk/ 27/5/2021  It’s becoming more likely that a key global temperature limit will be reached in one of the next five years.

A major study says by 2025 there’s a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C hotter than the pre-industrial level. That’s the lower of two temperature limits set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. The conclusion comes in a report published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The analysis is based on modelling by the UK Met Office and climate researchers in 10 countries including the US and China. In the last decade, it was estimated that the chance of any one year reaching the 1.5C threshold was only 20%. This new assessment puts that risk at 40%.  Leon Hermanson, a senior Met Office scientist, told BBC News that comparing projected temperatures with those of 1850-1900 shows a clear rise. “What it means is that we’re approaching 1.5C – we’re not there yet but we’re getting close,” he said.  “Time is running out for the strong action which we need now.”


nature.com  The certainty of uncertainty  2020 Mark Buchanan

A recent meeting on climate policy in Madrid ended in failure, as the biggest CO2 polluters, led by the United States, blocked a non-binding measure intended to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Developed nations appear united in their determination not to act on climate change, despite the growing concern of a majority of people around the world. Projections of future fossil fuel use made by nations themselves imply that emissions will keep rising at least through 2030 (https://go.nature.com/364Xgrb). Even supposing that emissions will begin falling then is probably optimistic.

Part of the problem is that self-interested parties know that the costs of inaction will largely fall on people in the future, and those individuals — with the exception of the youth movement inspired by Greta Thunberg — lack a voice in the debate. Of course, much of the delay is also the direct result of a decades-long propaganda campaign funded by fossil fuel interests and right-wing media, which has convinced many people that the science of climate is both unsettled and highly uncertain. Too many people believe that we don’t really know much at all, and so we lack any sound basis for action.

Perhaps scientists have been too cautious in countering this view? Over a decade ago, NASA climate scientist James Hansen criticized his fellow scientists for what he called their “scientific reticence”. Science requires doubt and self-criticism, as well as brutal honesty about what one knows and does not know. That’s a good thing, of course. Yet Hansen argued that the inherently cautious culture of science has led many researchers to express their conclusions about climate change risks in unrealistically mild terms, with too great an emphasis on uncertainties, thereby tempting complacency among the wider public.

Scientists, perhaps, could have spoken more clearly about ‘uncertainty’, which means one thing in science, and something else in ordinary language. Even in a field as ridden with uncertainty as climate, there are many things we know with high confidence. For example, we have good knowledge of how much global average temperatures will rise for any given increase in CO2. We know less about how much sea level will rise along the United States West Coast, or if rainfall in, say, South China will become more or less predictable.

When it comes to effective communication about uncertainty, research is beginning to help inform on the best strategies. In a recent study, for example, a team of researchers undertook an experiment with more than 1,000 individuals, testing how they responded to messages about climate risks which conveyed uncertainty in different ways. Specifically, they focused on sea level rise. Some individuals were told a single ‘most likely’ prediction of sea level rise by year 2100. A second set heard a most likely prediction, augmented with an upper and lower bound. And a third group were told a most likely value, but then heard further information about a ‘worst case’ scenario, and also a statement of why it is not possible to foresee the full costs and consequences of sea level rise. After all, these depend on other unknown factors such as how much more powerful and frequent future storms turn out to be.


carbonbrief.com    2020 carbon removal  by  Kirsten Zickfeld

Guest post: Why CO2 removal is not equal and opposite to reducing emissions


Guest post: Learning from the contentious history of ‘carbon removal’


nature.com  2019  Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians  –  A M Petersen, Emmanuel M. Vincent, Anthony LeRoy

“… we observe just a 1% excess visibility, which objectively demonstrates the crowding out of professional mainstream sources by the proliferation of new media sources, many of which contribute to the production and consumption of climate change disinformation at scale.”


academia.edu   2016 Decoupling: A Key Fantasy of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda  by Rob Fletcher, Crelis Rammelt


academictimes.com   5/2021  Ring the alarm bell’: Heat from climate change has already killed hundreds of thousands by Zack Fishman


theguardian.com/  4/2021   relentless-climate-crisis-intensified-in-2020-says-un-report – Pandemic had no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels but made impacts of global heating worse for millions


theverge.com   4/2021 The math isn’t adding up on forests and CO2 reductions – Big polluters can hide behind forest offsets – By Justine Calma


theconversation.com  4/2021  there-arent-enough-trees-in-the-world-to-offset-societys-carbon-emissions-and-there-never-will-be-


bbc.co.uk  4/2021 Climate change: Shipping industry calls for new global carbon tax


academictimes.com  4/2021  economic-news-reporting-suffers-from-bias-toward-richest-americans/


theguardian.com  4/2021 wealthy-nations-failing-to-help-developing-world-tackle-climate-crisis


bbc.com/future  2020 is-it-wrong-to-be-hopeful-about-climate-change?     By Diego Arguedas Ortiz


independent.co.uk   4/2021 Rapid retreat of glaciers leading world towards ‘humanitarian crisis’, says top scientist – Melt of glaciers in the Himalayas and South America could threaten water supply of hundreds of millions of people, says glaciologist Prof Jemma Wadham – by Daisy Dunne


rollingstone.com  14/3/2021   Now Is Our Last Best Chance to Confront the Climate Crisis
With Joe Biden in office, a serious plan to combat climate change is finally in our sights — but the clock is ticking, and there is no more room for error by Jeff Goodall

Now Is Our Last Best Chance to Confront the Climate Crisis

The great danger is not climate denial. The great danger is climate delay. Instead of pushing for changes tomorrow, world leaders and CEOs like to make virtuous-sounding statements about what they will do in 2050. And then in 2050, they will make virtuous-sounding statements about what they will do in 2070. Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather calls this the “empty radicalism” of long-term goals.


Activists dressed in suits and hi vis clothing protest outside the Bank of England on 1 April


theconversation.com  2019  “Threatening messages can capture the public’s attention and create a sense of urgency, leading to a heightened level of concern,” according to Climate Access, a non-profit research group. “But worry by itself is not an effective motivator for action, as it more often leads to resignation and hopelessness. … Instead, effectively engaging the public on climate change requires a careful calibration of messages framed around solutions, the urgency of the climate crisis and individuals’ reasons for engaging or not engaging with the subject in the first place.”


independent  5/4/2021  Extinction Rebellion announces ‘wave’ of action against banks over fossil fuel investments – Group accuses banks of playing ‘deadly role’ in climate crisis – by Harry Cockburn

Extinction Rebellion will focus its direct action protests on the banking sector over the coming weeks after the group targeted the Bank of England and branches of high street banks across the country over the bank holiday weekend, as it orchestrates a wave of demonstrations designed to highlight banks’ role in the climate and ecological crises.


irishtimes.com   5/4/2021  Greta Thunberg: ‘It just spiralled out of control’ – As the Swedish environmental activist turns 18, what next for her ‘we children’ message?  by Leslie Hook

The corona pandemic brought nothing positive,” she says bluntly. “The emissions reductions we could see were temporary and accidental … They didn’t occur due to us actually trying to reduce emissions. So this has got nothing to do with climate action.” But the pandemic does contain a lesson, she says: “It proves that the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis. It just puts it in a different light.”


bbc.co.uk  31/3/2021   Climate change: Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky’  By Matt McGrath

Sharp divisions between the major global emitters have emerged at a series of meetings designed to make progress on climate change. India lambasted the richer world’s carbon cutting plans, calling long term net zero targets, “pie in the sky.” Their energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”. China meanwhile declined to attend a different climate event organised by the UK. …


news.sky.com     2/4/2021  Climate change has impacted agricultural productivity growth by 21% since 1960s
The impact of climate change on agricultural productivity is having a disproportionate effect on poorer, warmer countries.


reuters.com    4/2021 Exclusive: World Bank revises climate policy but stops short of halting fossil fuel funding  by Valerie Volcovici,  Andrea Shalal,  Kate Abnett – A revised World Bank policy on climate change commits to making financing decisions in line with efforts to limit global warming, but stops short of promising to halt funding of fossil fuels – The plan is not final and must still be approved by the bank’s board.


theguardian.com  24/3/2021  Big banks’ trillion-dollar finance for fossil fuels ‘shocking’, says report  –  Coal, oil and gas firms have received $3.8tn in finance since the Paris climate deal in 2015    by

“One bank after another is making solemn promises to become ‘net zero by 2050’,” said Johan Frijns, at BankTrack, part of the coalition behind the report. “But there exists no pathway towards this laudable goal that does not require dealing with bank finance for the fossil fuel industry right here and now.”

theguardian.com   5/4/2021  Extinction Rebellion to step up campaign against banking system

Group aims to highlight financial sector’s role in climate crisis through escalation in tactics this week    by  


bbc.com  Who is really to blame for climate change?

” … Fossil fuel firms clearly play a major role in the climate problem. A major report released in 2017 attributed 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions over the previous two decades to just 100 fossil fuel producers. An update last year outlined the top 20 fossil fuel firms behind a third of emissions.

But it is not only through their ongoing extraction of fossil fuels that these companies have had such a huge impact on climate action. They have also worked hard to shape the public narrative. In 2015, an investigation by US website Inside Climate News revealed that the oil firm Exxon knew about climate change for decades and led efforts to block measures to cut emissions.

Amy Westervelt is a climate journalist who has spent years exploring the thinking behind big oil’s strategy over the past decades, most recently in her podcast Drilled. She says there was a point in the late 1970s when oil companies in the US like Exxon appeared to be embracing renewables and increasingly viewing themselves energy companies, rather than just oil companies. But this mindset had changed completely by the early 1990s due to a series of oil crises and changing leadership, she says. “There was this real sort of shift in mindset from ‘If we have a seat at the table, we can help to shape the regulations,’ to ‘We need to stop any kind of regulation happening.’”

Fossil fuel firms have since done “a great job” of making any kind of environmental concerns seem elitist, adds Westervelt. For example, Rex Tillerson, the Exxon chief executive who went on to be US secretary of state, repeatedly argued that cutting oil use to fight climate change would make poverty reduction harder. “They have this talking point that they’ve been trotting out since the 1950s, that if you want to make that industry cleaner in any way, then you’re basically unfairly impacting the poor. Never mind that the costs don’t actually have to be offloaded on to the public.”

At the same time, fossil fuel companies have long employed PR tactics in a bid to control the narrative around climate change, says Westervelt, pushing doubts about the science and working to influence how people understand the role of fossil fuels in the economy. “They have put a real emphasis on creating materials for social studies, economics and civics classes that all centre the fossil fuel industry,” says Westervelt. “I think there’s a real lack of understanding about just how much that industry has shaped how people think about everything, and very deliberately so.”

It’s also worth remembering that the very concept of a personal carbon footprint was popularised by a wide-reaching 2005 BP media campaign. “It was the most brilliant example of ‘It’s your fault, not ours,’” says Westerwelt. “It’s a framework that serves them really well because they can just say ‘Oh well, if you really care then why are you driving an SUV?’”

….But even viewing climate inaction through this lens of power, those who have less of it can still act to confront it. Climate activist Greta Thunberg embodied this when in 2019 she told elites gathered in Davos that many of them were to blame for the climate crisis by sacrificing “priceless values” to “continue making unimaginable amounts of money”. As one academic essay puts it: “To avoid [confronting] power is to risk condoning a system that is inherently unsustainable and unjust.”


themillions.com  2020    Giving Voice to Shame and Fear: The Millions Interviews Jonathan Franzen  Jianan Qian

“There is infinite hope, only not for us.” – Jonathan Franzen began his New Yorker piece, “What if We Stop Pretending“ with this quote from Kafka. Franzen was referring, of course, to climate change, a topic he has been obsessed with for several years. His outlook was depressing: we wouldn’t be able to save our planet, and the symbolic expressions of unrealistic hope—ride your bike to work and the climate won’t get hotter—only served to deny the imminent disaster.

Not surprisingly, he was butchered on social media soon afterwards. People called him a “climate fatalist.” …

JF: It’s too early to say. My thinking about our climate situation has been evolving over the last six years. The point I finally came to, last summer, is that the fabric of our world is very fragile. Political institutions are fragile; international relations are fragile; the global economy is fragile; the natural world and its systems are fragile. All these systems are going to be hugely stressed in the coming decades, as the climate worsens dramatically. Out of that recognition, I’ve come to a greater appreciation of the value of local community. …” …


newyorker.com   2019    What If We Stopped Pretending?  The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.   By Jonathan Franzen

There is infinite hope,” Kafka tells us, “only not for us.” This is a fittingly mystical epigram from a writer whose characters strive for ostensibly reachable goals and, tragically or amusingly, never manage to get any closer to them. But it seems to me, in our rapidly darkening world, that the converse of Kafka’s quip is equally true: There is no hope, except for us.

I’m talking, of course, about climate change. The struggle to rein in global carbon emissions and keep the planet from melting down has the feel of Kafka’s fiction. The goal has been clear for thirty years, and despite earnest efforts we’ve made essentially no progress toward reaching it. Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it. …

THE RELEASE YESTERDAY of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on land use has resurfaced an uncomfortable reality. On top of everything it says about how we must fundamentally change our food system, cutting emissions alone is not enough to stave off disaster—we as a species have to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere to avoid catastrophic warming.  While the report more recommends bolstering natural systems like forests and peatlands, which have stored carbon without our help for hundreds of millions of years, researchers are working on more drastic solutions, such as giant machines that hoover up CO2Some scientists argue we might even have to geoengineer …


academia.edu   2020   Decarbonisation     Richard Lane

This chapter argues that critiques levelled at the anthropocene – that it prematurely settles who the ‘we’ are that bear both the historic responsibility and the brunt of the uneven impacts of contemporary environmental crises – also need to be made of decarbonisation as a goal of global climate governance. It maintains that decarbonisation should, similarly to the anthropocene, be thought of as ‘bad universal’, that in fact currently forecloses the difficult political work necessary to address the multiple complex issues of globe-spanning climate change. Its apparently positive conceptual content (the absolute necessity to reduce global emissions) is written precisely through the silences it imposes on the broad array of conflicts, oppressions and impacts that have historically lead to these emissions through the development of fossil-fuel based capitalism. I outline here the processes of exclusion, exploitation and incoherence through which decarbonisation has been developed, institutionally stabilised and propagated, and highlights the incoherencies that this results in. Through this process it aims to point towards the conditions required for an emancipatory and truly transformatory politics of decarbonisation.


irishtimes.com  02/2021  The New Climate Wars: How vested interests delay action – Book review: A punchy, provocative, but also deeply personal take on the crisis by a respected voice   John Gibbons

“Michael Mann reserves special scorn for defeatism: “Doomism today arguably poses a greater threat to climate action than outright denial.” There are many standout moments in climatologist Michael Mann’s new book, but perhaps the most salient is a chart reproduced from a 1982 internal Exxon document. With uncanny accuracy, the oil company’s own scientists four decades ago were able to predict the likely levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, by 2020, as well as its extremely dangerous impact on global temperatures.  What happened next is what the author describes, with some justification, as “the most immoral act in the history of human civilization”. Rather than raising the alarm, the fossil fuel industry sought instead to protect its profits by spreading disinformation, including funding vicious personalised attacks on individual scientists. …”


scientificamerican.com, 01/2021   by Richard Schiffman

Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to ‘Inactivism’  –  Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets.    The deniers have not given up the battle, however. They have merely changed their tactics, Mann contends in his book The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet. He spoke with Scientific American about the book and why he believes that the world is finally getting ready to move more aggressively on the climate crisis. …