What Is Electrochemistry, and Why Is It So Important to a Green-Energy Future?
A host of startups are scrambling to hire electrochemists who they hope will usher in a new era of cleaner energy. People working in electrochemistry say there is a birth-of-the-internet feeling in their field, with investors paying closer attention and colleges building stronger links with industry. And startups are hanging out “Now Hiring” signs for electrochemists.
Leaked video footage of ocean pollution shines light on deep-sea mining
a Canadian mining firm that is one of the leading industry players, spent September to November of last year testing its underwater extraction vehicle in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, a section of the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii. But a group of scientists hired by the company to monitor its operations, concerned by what they saw, posted a video of what they said was a flawed process that accidentally released sediment into the ocean.
World’s biggest investment fund warns directors to tackle climate crisis or face sack
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s single largest investor, has warned company directors it will vote against their re-election to the board if they do not up their game on tackling the climate crisis, human rights abuses and boardroom diversity.
Taiwan’s retreat from nuclear power
"Germany was far from the only nation to try to turn against nuclear energy after the 2011 accident in Japan. Taiwan did, too. And the current government under President Tsai Ing-wen, whose party shares the German Greens’ anti-nuclear position, wants to shut down Taiwan’s nuclear plants by 2025."
Study Documents a Halt to Deforestation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest After Indigenous Communities Gain Title to Their Territories
"A study published in the scientific journal PNAS Nexus suggests that after Indigenous communities obtain legal title to their territories, the rate of deforestation significantly declines."
"The PNAS Nexus study looked at forest cover change, or the net difference between deforestation and reforestation, in 129 Indigenous territories throughout the country’s Atlantic rainforest from 1985 to 2019. Among the territories reviewed, 77 Indigenous communities had obtained legal title to their lands during the time period studied while 52 had not."
While most trees in CA are likely 'breathing (& drinking) easier' w/this wet winter, a few species may be benefiting more than others from the big water recharge. One of these is the world's largest, the Giant Sequoia.
"Montane forests in the southern Sierra Nevada, where the majority of Sequoias are found, have received very little precip over the last 3 yrs. As a result, many 'big trees', especially those in Sequoia/ Kings Canyon NPs & GS Natl Monument, have likely become water stressed."
"As might be expected based on massive size & leaf area (>2.5 billion living leaves per tree), these monarchs of the forest need *a lot* of water. During the summer a single tree can use >500 gallons/day - which makes them highly dependent on abundant/reliable supply for survival."
Battling Lava and Snowstorms to Keep a Climate Project Alive
Ever since an eruption in Hawaii halted a long-running record of carbon dioxide, scientists have found ways to carry on — atop a neighboring volcano.
"Two and a half miles above the Pacific, with the combined exhalations of a vast swath of humankind and its cars and factories blowing toward him, Aidan Colton looked out over the volcano’s snow-streaked summit and lifted up a glass flask the size of a coconut."
"He held his breath — even the carbon dioxide from his lungs might corrupt the sample. After a moment, he opened the valve. The air he is collecting at Mauna Kea is feeding the world’s longest-running record of direct readings of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere."
"After Mauna Loa started belching lava, technicians with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the observatory, flew in and installed instruments on Mauna Kea shortly before a fierce winter storm brought hurricane-force winds to the summit, which could have delayed the work. They got it done so quickly because, months earlier, NOAA had already started exploring putting a backup site there, at a telescope run by the University of Hawaii."
A leading conservation research group found that 40% of animals and 34% of plants in the United States are at risk of extinction
NatureServe, which analyzes data from its network of over 1,000 scientists across the United States and Canada, said the report was its most comprehensive yet, synthesizing five decades' worth of its own information on the health of animals, plants and ecosystems.
Fears about A.I. are best understood as fears about capitalism.
"And I think that this is actually true of most fears of technology, too. Most of our fears or anxieties about technology are best understood as fears or anxiety about how capitalism will use technology against us. And technology and capitalism have been so closely intertwined that it’s hard to distinguish the two."
"So when you think about the canonical example of A.I. killing us all, like the paperclip maximizer, where you tell an A.I. to make as many paper clips as it can, and then it converts the entire world into a paperclip materials and that’s the end of us, that seems like some capitalist wanted to make paper clips and invented A.I."
Fearmongering over footballs
The fossil fuel industry says footballs couldn't exist without oil. It's a lie designed to prevent us from imagining a more sustainable world.
"Over the past 25 years, 68 football players across all levels have died from heat stroke, according to the University of North Carolina. Eleven of those players died in the past five years."
Researchers discover elephant extinction could have major impact on atmospheric carbon levels
If the already critically endangered elephants become extinct, rainforest of central and west Africa, the second largest rainforest on earth, would lose between six and nine percent of their ability to capture atmospheric carbon, amplifying planetary warming.
How Putin’s plans to blackmail Europe over gas supply failed
"Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, meanwhile, gleefully predicted that Europeans would be “freezing in their homes” because they hadn’t thought through the consequences of throwing their support behind Ukraine. “The cold is coming soon,” he said, menacingly, in June last year."
"Within eight months of Russian troops setting foot on Ukrainian soil, the bloc of 27 European states replaced about 80% of the natural gas it used to draw through pipelines with Russia, by rapidly building up new infrastructure for liquid natural gas, finding creative ways to help each other out amid shortages, and successfully pursuing energy-saving policies."
"The Nordic countries were even more successful at reducing gas consumption, with Denmark cutting total demand – for power generation, industry and domestic heating – by 24%, Sweden by 36% and Finland by a mighty 47% (although natural gas accounted for only 5% of its overall energy needs)."
Study: Future global streamflow declines are probably more severe than previously estimated
A new study finds that the amount of water in Earth’s rivers by mid-century may be lower than models currently predict. Using observations and weather data from more than 9,500 catchments around the world, researchers quantify how the flow of each river relates to drivers such as precipitation and groundwater storage. They find that streamflow is more sensitive to changes in precipitation than previously thought, particularly in Africa, Australia and North America.
This Five-Mile-Long Cloud of Methane Was Spotted Over Wyoming
Three satellites observed a big plume of the potent planet-warming gas over the US state last month, which scientists attributed to a natural gas facility.
"It all started with an apparent mistake. Alarms at Tallgrass Energy’s Douglas Gas Plant in Wyoming were triggered by high oxygen levels after a maintenance project didn’t go as planned. The operator told regulators it vented a total of about 2.1 metric tons of methane in five separate safety releases."
"A satellite passing over the US state, however, observed a methane cloud 4.6 miles (7.4 km) long emanating from the location, which scientists estimated was spewing the planet-warming gas at a rate of 76 to 184 metric tons an hour."
Administration Expected to Endorse Limited Drilling in Alaska Project
The Biden administration is expected to propose a scaled-down version of a sprawling oil drilling project in the North Slope of Alaska, according to two people familiar with the decision. The proposal would allow drilling to proceed on a limited basis as part of an $8 billion project known as Willow that climate activists have criticized for years.
"The move to allow some drilling is widely considered a balancing act as the Biden administration seeks a middle ground between its climate change goals and pressure from the oil industry, as well as Alaska lawmakers. Willow is a particular priority for Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a moderate Republican who is frequently the most likely senator to break with her party and support Democratic appointees and some policy compromises."
"The politics are complex. Mr. Biden has urged oil companies to increase production amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which continues to threaten energy supplies. At the same time, the administration is overseeing $370 billion in wind, solar, electric vehicle and other clean energy investments to pivot the country away from fossil fuels."
There’s a deal to save the Colorado River — if California doesn’t blow it up
"After months of tense negotiation, a half-dozen states have reached an agreement to drastically cut their water usage and stabilize the drought-stricken Colorado River — as long as California doesn’t blow up the deal."
"California, which takes more water than any other state, has rejected the proposal as too onerous, instead proposing its own plan with a less stringent scheme for cutting water usage."
"The Colorado River has been oversubscribed for more than a century thanks to a much-maligned 1922 contract that allocated more water than actually existed, but it has also been shrinking over the past 20 years thanks to a millennium-scale drought made worse by climate change."
Joe Biden passed billions worth of climate change tax credits and rebates but Americans mostly have no idea about them
Polling shows that while Americans support action to slow climate change, they are broadly unaware of the Inflation Reduction Act, the massive legislation that includes financial incentives to lower emissions, and skeptical of their own role in the climate crisis.
In a warming world, California’s trees keep dying
California’s forest mosaics are vanishing. According to a study published in AGU Advances last July, the state’s forests lost almost 7%, or just over 1,700 square miles, of tree cover since 1985. That’s an area larger than Yosemite National Park. In particular, forests in California’s southwestern mountains lost 14% of tree cover.
Global elite produce almost half greenhouse emissions, UN says
The sweeping research, by a group led by the Nobel Prize winning economist Thomas Piketty, examined the unequal effects of climate change and also found that the top 1 per cent of global emitters were responsible for nearly a quarter of the total growth in pollution between 1990 and 2019.
The EU "coal bump" is down
Twitter thread on why the EU burned more coal for a while, and why that's finished now.
"The EU was perceived to be having a "coal rebound" in 2022 because it imported much more coal. But only 1/3 of that extra coal was burnt. 2/3rds was implicitly added to stockpiles. It was bought as an emergency buffer for a winter gas crunch that didn't happen..."
"It was the surge in solar that was one of the biggest stories of 2022, that led to such a small rise in coal. Solar generation increased twice as much as any other year. Almost 50% more capacity was installed in 2022 as in 2021. Total generation (and capacity) was up 25%."
Accountability Is The Most Important Climate Solution
"The focus on technological and policy solutions to climate has put the cart before the horse, and in doing so, created a solutions framework that is hopelessly inadequate. Americans in particular have a tendency to skip right over accountability and straight to "solutions," but failing to understand how a problem came about in the first place tends to deliver…not solutions, but new problems. And on climate, examples of that abound."
New paper shows that no, mining lithium and such won't blow our carbon budget.
We see a lot of concern today that renewables and other clean electricity will require too much materials, and producing those will break our remaining carbon budget. We have a new paper out today we find that these concerns are overblown.
New research warns that human activity and drought may have degraded more than a third of the Amazon rainforest – “double the previous estimate”.
The review study, published in Science, says that fires, land conversion, logging and water shortages have weakened the resilience of up to 2.5m sq km of the forest, an area 10 times the size of the UK, the paper says. This has left the area “drier, more flammable and more vulnerable than before, prompting the authors to warn of ‘megafires’ in the future”.
As the Colorado River Shrinks, Washington Prepares to Spread the Pain
The seven states that rely on the river for water are not expected to reach a deal on cuts. It appears the Biden administration will have to impose reductions.
"Without a deal, the Interior Department, which manages flows on the river, must impose the cuts. That would break from the century-long tradition of states determining how to share the river’s water."
"A century’s worth of laws, which assign different priorities to Colorado River users based on how long they’ve used the water, is facing off against a competing philosophy that says, as the climate changes, water cuts should be apportioned based on what’s practical."
"If the water level falls below 950 feet, the Hoover Dam will no longer be able to generate hydroelectric power. At 895 feet, no water would be able to pass the dam at all — a condition called “deadpool.”"
"That leaves California and Arizona, which have rights to 4.4 million and 2.8 million acre-feet from the Colorado — typically the largest and third-largest allotments among the seven states. Negotiators from both sides seem convinced of one thing: The other state ought to come up with more cuts."
Ice shelves guarded by snow shields
Floating ice shelves that fringe Antarctica are at risk from warming ocean water and from above by warming air. Work now reveals that snow accumulation on ice shelves can minimize surface melt and ponding, but that future atmospheric warming will likely overpower this protection that snow provides, leaving ice shelves vulnerable to collapse.
State of Climate Report shows how the world warmed in 2022: Warmest year on record on multiple scales, Extreme Heatwaves and flooding
State of Climate Report shows how the world warmed in 2022: Warmest year on record for ocean heat, 5th warmest year on record for surface, warmest year on record in 28 countries. Extreme Heatwaves and flooding. The year ended up cooler due to triple-dip La Nina