Climate 411

What role do emissions from international shipping and aviation play in the global climate, and what do those sectors need to do to help keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius?

https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-airplane-during-sunset-99567/

Silhouette of Airplane during Sunset. Pixels.com

In advance of the United Nations Secretary General’s climate summit in September, many countries are vowing to ramp up their Paris agreement commitments to help limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the growing emissions from two economic sectors – international shipping and international aviation – remain largely outside most of those commitments and could cause significant warming.

In a new study, researchers have found that, absent any climate action, the rising carbon dioxide emissions of international shipping and aviation could consume nearly one-third (15 to 30 percent) of our remaining “allowable warming” – the amount of additional warming that can occur before the world’s average temperature surpasses 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels – by the end of the century.

The international shipping and aviation sectors need to implement policy solutions with integrity and extend them over time to reduce their future warming and align with the 1.5 °C global temperature threshold.

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Posted in Aviation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Science / Comments are closed

Indigenous mobilization wins battle in President Bolsonaro’s war on indigenous peoples

https://www.flickr.com/photos/agenciasenado/47651605312/

Indigenous people mobilizing for land rights during the Free Land Encampment (Acampamento Terra Livre) in Brasilia, Brazil on April 25, 2019. Photo: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado via Flickr

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s personal crusade to extinguish indigenous rights and devastate indigenous territories just hit a wall. Two, actually. Both Brazil’s Supreme Court and Brazil’s top congressional leaders handed Bolsonaro setbacks over his executive decision to move control of protecting indigenous lands to the agriculture ministry, which is controlled by members of the agribusiness lobby known for its opposition to indigenous land rights.

Taken together, this means that Bolsonaro’s signature action to start the rollback of indigenous territories and declare open season on Amazon deforestation – which needs both congressional and judicial approval to fly – looks to be crashing on takeoff. It’s also a glimmer of hope for indigenous and environmental protections in a country now led by a president openly hostile to Brazil’s indigenous peoples and Amazon rainforest – repositories of its vast social and biological diversity, and key to stabilizing the global climate.

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Posted in Brazil, Forest protection, Indigenous People / Comments are closed

The Trump Administration’s Budget Would Make our Climate Crisis Even Worse

Scientists around the world are telling us, in no uncertain terms, that we – as in humankind — have little time left to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Those include: widespread coastal and riverine inundation, stronger storms and wildfires; new disease vectors; agricultural and other economic disruption. That is the reality and scope of the challenge we face.

There are, of course, things we can do — things we must do – to respond to the climate crisis, both to learn more about its causes and consequences and to activate solutions to prevent as much damage as possible.

Those solutions, for the most part, fit into four areas: investment, innovation and technology; science and research; mitigation, adaptation and relief; and policy. An intransigent and shortsighted White House has made the achievement of any significant policy gains difficult in the short term. Now, the latest federal budget proposed by the Trump Administration has sought to undercut those other three potential progress areas, exacerbating America’s susceptibility to climate disaster and running down the clock on desperately needed action.

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Four takeaways from the first hearing of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Hearing witnesses with Chairwoman Castor

The first hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis marked a positive move toward a meaningful and constructive conversation about climate action.

The Select Committee was created in early 2019 to compile innovative policy solutions to take action on climate change, which will be released next year.

The witness panel for the hearing last week, entitled “Generation Climate: Young Leaders Urge Climate Action Now,” was a notable departure from the norm. Rather than inviting climate science experts with decades of experience in their fields, the four witnesses were climate change leaders and activists all under the age of 24 because, as Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) noted these issues “adversely and disproportionately affect young folks.”

The witnesses drove home four points during the hearing.

  1. Policy solutions should be based on sound science

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Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy / Read 2 Responses

Latest EPA climate pollution data shows disturbing lack of progress

Greenhouse gas emission trends since 1990. Click to expand

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday reported that that the US made essentially no progress on climate pollution — an insignificant drop of 0.5% — even as scientists warn that without major reductions in emissions, global temperatures are on a dangerous track to increase well above 2 degrees Celsius.

Other data indicates that since 2017, the last year covered by this report, emissions have actually begun to rise. The Energy Information Agency and Rhodium Group estimate that in 2018 climate pollution from energy combustion rose 2.8 and 3.4%, respectively.

As climate pollution remains stubbornly high, the Trump administration has worked to undermine limits on carbon pollution, roll back rules on highly potent methane emissions and ducked international obligations to deal with climate change. This new report is another sign that without bold action, climate pollution will cause worsening impacts on our economy, health and future.

The dismal national climate pollution numbers contrast with pollution reductions underway in many states that have put in place aggressive policies to limit emissions and move towards clean energy even while the federal government sits on the sidelines. Read More »

Posted in Clean Air Act, Economics, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy, Science / Comments are closed

4 of the most dangerous attacks in the Trump admin’s new EPA budget proposal

The Trump administration’s federal budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year reaffirmed the White House’s misguided intent to undercut agencies and programs dedicated to protecting public health, the environment, and our climate. Similar its budget proposals of the last two years, the administration targeted EPA in particular for major reductions. In total, the administration proposed a greater than $2.7-billion-dollar reduction to EPA. That’s a 31% cut—deeper than any other agency—to an agency that is already struggling to function with a bare-bones budget that is at historic lows.

The proposal will hopefully be dead on arrival in Congress, thanks to members who recognize the importance of agencies critical to keeping people safe and healthy. However, it reveals something fundamentally unscrupulous about the administration: they see the protection of our air, water and planet as an area where corners can be cut, rules can be abandoned, and pennies can be pinched.

Nearly every EPA program is facing proposed cuts, but some of the attacks stuck out in particular for how damaging they would be to the American people. Here are 4 of the most dangerous ways the Trump administration’s proposal threatens our families and communities:

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Posted in Health, Policy / Comments are closed