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- Thu Aug 6, 2020 - US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change
The U.S. stands to avoid 4.5 million premature deaths if it works to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degree Celsius, according to new research from Duke University.
The same study found working to limit climate change could prevent about 3.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits and approximately 300 million lost workdays in America.
\'The avoided deaths are valued at more than $37 trillion. The avoided health care spending due to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits exceeds $37 billion, and the increased labor productivity is valued at more than $75 billion,\' Drew Shindell, a professor at Duke University, told lawmakers Wednesday.
\'On average, this amounts to over $700 billion per year in benefits to the U.S. from improved health and labor alone, far more than the cost of the energy transition.\'
Shindell, who conducted the study alongside researchers at NASA, unveiled the findings during a House Oversight Committee hearing on
- Thu Aug 6, 2020 - Ireland is Dublin down on climate
The Supreme Court of Ireland handed environmental campaigners a win last week, ruling that the Irish government's climate plan doesn't go far enough to cut carbon emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.
The government's National Mitigation Plan, adopted in 2017, set a broad roadmap for slashing Ireland's carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, as required by a landmark 2015 climate law. But the environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment argued that the mitigation plan was not \'fit for purpose,\' since it allowed for emissions increases in the short term and didn't set intermediate targets for the government to reach. Ireland currently emits around 13.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person, the third-highest level in the European Union.
In a ruling last week, the Supreme Court sided with the environmentalists. They ordered the government back to the drawing board to explain exactly how they intend to lower emissions in the near future.
- Thu Aug 6, 2020 - Existing solutions could prevent catastrophic climate change
It's possible to avoid catastrophic climate change by ramping up solutions that already exist today.
That's the conclusion of a recent report by Project Drawdown. The nonprofit works with a global team of researchers to analyze the potential impact of a range of climate actions -- from installing smart thermostats and building wind farms to eating less meat and restoring abandoned farmland.
\'We have mapped out 80 of them -- 80 existing technologies and practices that are real, that are workable, that are tangible,\' says Chad Frischmann, research director of Project Drawdown.
The group published their findings in a 2017 book, and in spring 2020, they released a major update based on their ongoing research.
It shows that some strategies such as reducing food waste and phasing out polluting refrigerants could have a greater impact than others.
But Frischmann says solving the climate crisis requires action on all fronts -- from how we produce energy to what we eat.
- Thu Aug 6, 2020 - Brazil dismantles environmental laws via huge surge in executive acts
The Bolsonaro government, and especially its Environment Ministry (MMA), has made intense use of infralegal acts --- end runs around Brazil's rule of law, bypassing Congress --- as a strategy to dismantle the nation's environmental protections during the period when the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, according to a survey carried out by Instituto Talanoa, a civil society think tank, in partnership with the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
Between March and May of this year, the Presidency of the Republic and several ministries published 195 acts (ordinances, normative instructions, decrees and other measures) in the nation's Official Gazette that have a direct or indirect connection with the country's environmental policy, repeatedly undermining it, according to Talanoa's analysts. In the same months of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic provided any cover --- the government issued only 16 such measures. That represents more than a twelvefold increase.
It was also during the same period
- Wed Aug 5, 2020 - Tensions rise in Horn of Africa as Ethiopia fills controversial dam
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, situated snuggly between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan on the Blue Nile, has brought years of controversy to the Horn of Africa. Adding to that tension, water started pooling in the dam's reservoir in July, absent an agreement between the three countries on how the process to fill the dam would proceed.
Construction on the massive dam, Africa's largest hydropower project, began in early 2011, yet conflict over water access, energy, and natural rights between the three countries is ongoing.
After years of intermittent negotiations, talks resumed in June this year with a hope that the countries could come to a compromise before Ethiopia began to fill the reservoir. No understanding was reached. An agreement facilitated by the United States and the World Bank was almost concluded in February this year, yet Ethiopia declined to sign the drafted agreement, claiming that the United States overstepped its observer roll and favored Egypt. The main sticki
- Wed Aug 5, 2020 - Shipping's share of global carbon emissions increases
Carbon emissions from shipping rose in the six-year period to 2018 and accounted for 2.89% of the world's CO2, a study released on Tuesday showed, amid growing pressure on the industry to bring levels down.
About 90% of world trade is transported by sea and UN shipping agency - the IMO - aims to reduce the industry's overall greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.
The report - the fourth in a series commissioned by the IMO - said shipping's share of global CO2 emissions increased to 2.89% in 2018 from 2.76% in 2012, when the last study period ended.
CO2 emissions grew to 1,056 million tonnes in 2018 versus 962 million tonnes in 2012, the study showed.
The report said emissions in 2020 and 2021 would be significantly lower due to the impact of COVID-19 and that emissions over the next decades may be a few percent lower than projected depending on the recovery trajectory.
Tristan Smith, with advisory group UMAS which includes University College London, sa
- Wed Aug 5, 2020 - Why Biden's car plan might not be a 'clunker'
Former Vice President Joe Biden wants millions of Americans to trade in their older, polluting cars for shiny new electric vehicles.
The strategy aims to make a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.
Yet it contains echoes of \'Cash for Clunkers,\' a 2009 stimulus program unveiled by the Obama administration that many experts across the political spectrum view as a failure.
To ensure success, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president will need to avoid the pitfalls of the \'Clunkers\' program while capitalizing on advances in EV technology, experts said.
\'What Biden is proposing is nothing less than an entire retooling of the U.S. auto industry,\' said Paul Bledsoe, a former climate adviser in the Clinton White House.
\'Don't get me wrong --- that's an enormously hard thing to do. There are tremendous challenges in making sure that transformation happens in a way that stimulates the
- Wed Aug 5, 2020 - BP's dividend cut puts firm on road to deliver green energy pledge
BP has set itself the target of shrinking its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050. To do that will require big investment in a whole range of green energy alternatives. It will be happening at a time when the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 has sent the oil price tumbling and threatens to leave the company with more stranded assets on its hands.
Something has to give in those circumstances, and that something is BP's dividend, which was cut for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill a decade ago. In truth, the decision was a no-brainer, with perhaps the only surprise being that the payout to shareholders was reduced by half rather than by the two-thirds announced by Shell in April.
No company likes cutting its dividend, particularly one like BP that has a reputation for providing pension funds with a reliable income stream. It did its best to keep shareholders sweet by announcing it will use a chunk of its surplus cash to buy back stock.
But unlike Direct
- Tue Aug 4, 2020 - Can airplanes go green?
When Val Miftakhov touched down at Cranfield Airport in England last month, his Piper Malibu Mirage six-seater became the first commercial-grade, zero-emission airplane to fly in Europe. That test flight was just 21 miles. But Miftakhov, the chief executive of a Silicon Valley start-up called ZeroAvia, envisions a future of passenger planes that fly on hydrogen-powered electricity, not jet fuel.
Air travel accounts for about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions --- much less than produced by cars. Despite a temporary dip due to the coronavirus, demand for air travel has been dramatically growing and planes are projected to produce as much as 25 percent of global carbon emissions by 2050.
Miftakhov's Piper was powered by batteries, but his company is working on integrating a hydrogen fuel cell for aviation. He conceived of ZeroAvia only a few years ago, but his aspirations for designing a hydrogen-powered plane date to childhood. A pilot with a doctorate in physics, he's
- Tue Aug 4, 2020 - How Joe Biden got greener
During a recent virtual fundraiser focused on climate action, former vice president Joe Biden made a direct appeal to voters young enough to be his grandchildren.
\'I want young climate activists, young people everywhere, to know: I see you. I hear you. I understand the urgency, and together we can get this done,\' said the 77-year-old Democrat, who days earlier had announced a $2 trillion plan to combat climate change and environmental racism --- the most ambitious blueprint released by a major party nominee for president.
The moment marked a shift months in the making.
Biden had rolled out a proposal during the primaries --- a $1.7 trillion plan that aimed to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050 --- that did not impress many young activists who view climate change as an existential crisis.
The youth-led Sunrise Movement gave Biden an \'F' rating, saying his plan lacked detail and paled in comparison to the aggressive action proposed by rivals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I