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The climate fix you’ve been waiting for: Rock dust?

Scientists have been trying to figure out how to make use of one of nature’s tricks for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with rock and rain. As rain washes away tiny particles of rock, newly exposed minerals bind with carbon, transforming carbon dioxide into new chemicals. It’s a simple combination of basic chemistry and erosion.

We can speed the process up by speeding up erosion, crushing tons and tons of rock and spreading it across the earth’s surface, if we had the money to do it and a vast area where inhabitants don’t mind trucks covering everything with a layer of rock dust once a year. Farms are the most likely candidate for such a massive undertaking, because farmers already do some incidental advanced weathering as a byproduct of “liming”, where they apply crushed limestone to fields when their soils become too acidic.

A paper just published in Nature provides the most detailed calculation to date of just how much carbon this technique, known as enhanced weathering, could capture and how much it would cost. Deploying the practice worldwide could remove 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year — about a third of what the United States emits each year — and would run between $60 and $200 per ton of carbon to apply all that rock dust on fields, varying by country. It would be cheaper in places like Indonesia and India that have better conditions for weathering (warm, seasonally wet weather), and low labor and energy costs. The countries with the greatest potential to deploy enhanced weathering are, the researchers note, “coincidentally the highest CO2 fossil fuel emitters (China, USA, and India).”

One of the scientists involved in the study, James Hanson, the climate Cassandra and Columbia University climatologist, said in an email that he became interested in weathering because it can trap carbon for thousands of years. Hansen said other approaches, “such as reforestation, are important, but require management to assure that the carbon sink is maintained.”

The researchers estimate that if the United States spread rock dust on half the country’s farmland it could capture 420 million tons of carbon dioxide, at an annual cost of $225 for every American, or $176 for every ton of carbon. That’s a higher price tag than some other solutions. Building solar farms, for instance, currently cuts emissions at a rate of less than $40 per ton. But because the world is failing to slash emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that we will need to use “negative emissions,” expensive techniques to suck carbon out of the atmosphere, to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

Farmers stand to benefit, too. In theory, spreading much more rock dust on fields could improve soil health and crop yields. And that could help farmers get out of poverty and increase world food production at the same time they’re soaking up carbon. And, as with any major attempt at geoengineering our atmosphere, there’s likely to unforeseen pitfalls, and unexpected benefits, along the way.

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The climate fix you’ve been waiting for: Rock dust?

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Bloomberg bombed the debate, but his climate record is pretty good

In between absorbing blows from his fellow presidential contenders at the ninth Democratic debate in Nevada on Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to present his vision for what his climate agenda might look like if he were elected the next president of the United States. He didn’t quite succeed.

That’s a testament to how bad his debate performance was — because of all the candidates on stage, the billionaire latecomer probably has the strongest climate bona fides. He’s donated millions to shutter coal plants across the United States with his “Beyond Coal” partnership with the Sierra Club, something he briefly touted Wednesday night. In the absence of federal leadership on climate, he’s worked with cities and states to negotiate emissions reductions goals as part of America’s Pledge, an initiative he helped launch.

Similarly to his answers to questions about his personal wealth and treatment of women, Bloomberg basically bungled his opportunity to respond persuasively to prompts about rising temperatures and international cooperation. Aligning himself with moderate candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Bloomberg came out in support of natural gas as a “transition fuel.” Natural gas production in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years due to the fracking boom, but recent research shows the fracking industry is largely responsible for a prolonged spike in methane emissions, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than carbon in the short term. (On Thursday, a spokesperson clarified to Grist that Bloomberg believes that “while gas played a useful role in the early stages of transitioning away from coal, its role as a transition fuel has ended now that renewable energy is cheaper and gas is now a bigger source of carbon pollution than coal.”)

Also on Wednesday night, instead of taking a hard line on China — currently the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gas — Bloomberg pivoted to India, arguing that the developing country was an ”even bigger problem.” While India’s emissions are on the rise, China still emits four times as much carbon from fossil fuel use.

Pundits’ reviews of Bloomberg’s performance were overwhelmingly negative. For the time being though, it looks like Bloomberg’s stash of cash all but ensures his continued presence in the race. And if he can figure out how to communicate more clearly, the next debate is a chance to establish himself as a serious climate candidate.

So how might he do that? He could start by talking about his record. Bloomberg championed climate policies when few politicians were thinking about rising temperatures. After Superstorm Sandy ravaged parts of New York City in 2012, then-Mayor Bloomberg launched a sustainability agenda that was considered to be the most ambitious urban climate mitigation plan in the world.

He led a campaign to protect the city’s drinking water and waged a city-wide effort to revamp its garbage collection system. He created a sustainability task force and, later, a sustainability office that was tasked with tracking the city’s emissions. He attempted to introduce congestion pricing to limit car use in parts of the city. (Though that idea ultimately failed, it’s been reintroduced with more success recently.) Many of his efforts to green the Big Apple went the way of his failed ban on large sodas, but they laid groundwork for the upwelling of urban sustainability efforts happening now across the nation.

“Now you hear a lot about climate action at the national level,” Antha Williams, senior adviser for climate and environment for the Bloomberg campaign, told Grist. “But Mike was really the person who got a lot of that local work started.” That record, she said, will resonate with voters, many of whom say they consider climate change a top priority.

He can also go the Elizabeth Warren route, and get wonky. His specialty is the private sector. He could make a case for why he’s the best candidate to address corporate climate accountability. “One of the things he’s done over the past several years is lead a task force on climate-related financial disclosures,” Williams said, referencing a transparency initiative established in 2015 and chaired by Bloomberg. “That has put together a set of standards that should be reported for companies to actually show their exposure on climate change.”

Or he could set himself apart from his competitors by plugging the work he’s done on the international stage — an area where he is rivaled by only Joe Biden. The United Nations tapped him to be a climate envoy in 2014; and he also served as the head of C40, an international organization of cities committed to climate action. “When Trump walked away from the Paris climate agreement, Mike was there,” Williams said. “He was there to do the reporting that the U.S. shirked.”

Bloomberg’s climate platform checks many of the same boxes as his opponents’ plans: rejoin the Paris Agreement, halve the United States carbon emissions by 2030, invest in frontline communities to combat environmental injustice, the list goes on. As Pete Buttigieg said of those on the debate stage Wednesday night, “I’ve got a plan to get us carbon neutral by 2050. And I think everybody up here has a plan that more or less does the same. So the real question is, how are we going to actually get it done?”

Bloomberg is one of just a few candidates with an actual record to point to in answering that question. But you wouldn’t have known it from his time on stage in Las Vegas.

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Bloomberg bombed the debate, but his climate record is pretty good

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Why New Delhi’s air is always so toxic this time of year

India’s capital city of New Delhi has been making headlines this week for its abysmal air quality as the concentration of particulate matter reached above 400 micrograms per cubic meter, 20 times the levels deemed healthy by the World Health Organization and the worst the city has seen since 2016.

On October 31, the government declared a public health emergency, closing schools, banning construction and fireworks, and limiting private vehicle use to every other day for five days in an effort to protect the population and make a dent in the pollution. Flights have been delayed and hospitals inundated with patients suffering from coughs, dry eyes and throats, and other symptoms brought on or exacerbated by the toxic air.

On the ground, it looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie. Blanketing the streets is smog so dense you can’t see the length of a city block, and the sharp smell of smoke is detectable even through a mask, without which you’d be exposed to air that, over the course of a day, is equivalent to smoking a couple packs of cigarettes.

Unfortunately, this sort of air pollution is nothing new to the residents of Delhi, nor those of many other Indian cities. A study released earlier this year found that 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, and the fall and winter months are always especially toxic.

The stew of pollution choking New Delhi this time of year doesn’t have one single source. Massive clouds of smoke drift south from the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana, where farmers burn crop stubble from their fields after the harvest to trap nutrients in the soil. Fireworks set off in the streets by the city’s 2 million residents during the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, don’t help either. And then there are the usual suspects: car and industrial emissions.

But it’s not just human activity that’s to blame — local weather patterns don’t help the problem, either. Cold air settles into the low-lying city, bringing with it, and holding in, pollutants.

The government has been struggling for years — mostly without success — to curb air pollution. Crop burning and firecrackers are both illegal, but people mostly ignore these bans, as well as the efforts to replace the practices with greener alternatives.

Hopefully residents will be breathing easier soon — air quality has begun to improve significantly in the last couple days thanks to winds, the odd-even car scheme, and a reduction in crop burning in Haryana. But these are short-term fixes, and just as history tells us that this year’s emergency-level air pollution wasn’t a fluke, it also suggests that large-scale measures will need to be taken if the people of New Delhi hope to avoid future polluted falls and winters.

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Why New Delhi’s air is always so toxic this time of year

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Rain – Cynthia Barnett



A Natural and Cultural History

Cynthia Barnett

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: April 21, 2015

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive.   It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Cynthia Barnett's  Rain  begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River.   It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge.  Rain  is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume. Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.

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Rain – Cynthia Barnett

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The internet is ablaze with Lil Dicky’s bizarre, star-studded climate anthem

Lil Dicky, the self-flagellating Jewish rapper slash comedian, came out with another banger on Friday. Born Andrew David Burd, Lil Dicky is known for his hits with rappers Fetty Wap, Rich Homie Quan, and Chris Brown. His songs are about stuff other artists don’t usually discuss, like fiscal responsibility and being a white rapper, and often verge into satire.

Lil Dicky’s latest jam, Earth, takes on new and unusual subject matter, even for him: climate change. The 7-minute music video is his most celebrity-packed yet, featuring Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Bad Bunny, PSY, Zac Brown, Miley Cyrus, Sia, Snoop Dogg, and more. How did Dicky get all those celebs to star on his track? Probably the same way he got strangers to let him use their mansions and yachts for free for his $ave Dat Money music video: a lot of begging.

Regardless of how Lil Dicky pulled it off, Earth is already trending on YouTube with 6 million views and climbing, and the rapper worked with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to donate proceeds from the video to climate and environment projects. So what all is the song about? Think “We Are The World,” but animated and millennial as f***.

The video opens with a clip of a newscaster talking about the fires that ripped through California last year. But the video rapidly leaves the sweltering California streets and enters an animated world, replete with talking bald eagles and safari animals.

Dicky frolics with penguins, analyzes chatty microbes under a microscope, and talks to a marijuana plant voiced by Snoop Dogg (duh). The video might look like a Disney channel special, but isn’t too concerned with being wholesome (Justin Bieber’s line: “I’m a baboon. I’m like a man just less advanced and my anus is huge).

The second half of the video is a call to action. “These days it’s like we don’t know how to act, all these shootings, pollution, we under attack on ourselves,” he says. “Like let’s all just chill.” Gripping stuff.

If you don’t want to watch an animated Lil Dicky sing about the planet in a loincloth g-string for seven minutes, I don’t blame you. But think of it this way: what if this whole video is a critique of the tired and worn-out tropes used by old-school Earth Day advocates? Hmm??

As Dicky recently told TIME in an interview, “If we don’t completely redefine how we do everything on earth, from an energy perspective, from a food perspective, from a conserving nature perspective, in the next 12 years, the damage is irreversible and we’re screwed.” Clearly, he knows that recycling bottles and changing light bulbs isn’t enough to get ourselves out of this climate predicament.

Then again, the celebrities in his video are contributing more than their fair share of pollution by jetting around the world to play shows, as Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg points out. Commenters have also noted some racist and misogynistic tropes. (Case in point: Lil Dicky points out India, Germany, and “Africa” as he twirls around the globe. You can’t group a whole continent with a bunch of countries, ya dingus.) Maybe this shit isn’t that deep and I’m just looking for an excuse to dunk on Earth Day? You be the judge.

Either way, the fact that Lil Dicky chose to focus one of his songs on climate change in the first place marks a shift in popular culture. “I’d like to figure out a way to impact humanity as best as I possibly can beyond my typical d**k and fart jokes,” he said. Well, Mr. Dicky, I guess you succeeded?


The internet is ablaze with Lil Dicky’s bizarre, star-studded climate anthem

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Coal, oil, and natural gas demand hits record high in 2018

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If the world is going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Last year, we took another lurching step toward planetary catastrophe.

Demand for coal, oil, and natural gas hit new all-time highs in 2018, according to a worrying new report from the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization that compiles statistics on global energy use.

IEA data released on Monday show that nearly every major economy on Earth boosted its use of polluting energy sources. Continuing on like this amounts to knowingly sentencing the world to an unlivable future.

The report provides further evidence that the world’s two biggest emitters, the United States and China, are choosing to switch from coal to natural gas, not coal to renewables. While natural gas is often touted as being lower in CO2 emissions than coal, it still releases plenty of CO2 as well as methane — an even more powerful greenhouse gas. The move could lock in decades of emissions.

In Asia, coal demand itself also continued to grow. In China and India, 2018’s growth came from coal power plants that are only 12 years old on average (coal plants typically last about 40 years). Although coal demand continued to drop in the U.S., natural gas consumption surged to its highest level since record-keeping began 46 years ago.

Despite strong growth from wind, solar, and nuclear, carbon-free sources accounted for just one-third of the world’s new energy in 2018, meaning fossil fuels remain firmly dominant.

For the most part, humanity’s growing demand for energy still means a growing demand for fossil fuels. Europe was the only region in the world that managed to stabilize its total energy demand through expanded use of renewable energy.

China added more than six times the amount of renewable energy to its grid than the United States did — but even that is nowhere near enough to offset continued investment in fossil fuels.

The IEA also said that efforts to improve energy efficiency failed to offset global economic growth. Society’s basic energy challenge is to simultaneously build huge amounts of carbon-free energy sources and radically boost efficiency. Energy efficiency is normally responsible for a huge offsetting of growth, but it fell last year due to the combination of ineffective and poorly enforced policies. In other circles, the idea of abandoning economic growth entirely is gaining steam.

There is a huge gap between global climate policy and the urgent demands placed on leaders by the bare truths of climate science: On our current pace, with current policies, the world will warm by about 3.3 degrees C this century — roughly in-line with the worst-case scenario, according to climate scientists.

It doesn’t have to be this way. A new research report from a clean-energy policy think tank found that solar and wind have become so cheap in the United States that it’s more cost-effective to immediately tear down and replace 74 percent of the country’s coal-fired power plants than to continue fueling them. That poses an important question to utilities and elected officials: What, exactly, are you waiting for?

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Coal, oil, and natural gas demand hits record high in 2018

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The results are in, and January was one of the warmest in all of recorded history

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January 2019 was the third-warmest January in the history of global weather record-keeping, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The only warmer global Januarys in the instrumental record, which dates back to the 1880s, were 2016 and 2017, and there’s evidence that the planet hasn’t been this warm in a very long time. The last time January global temperatures were below average was in 1976 — before millennials were even a thing.

So here’s the strange truth: Last month may have felt cold where you live, but your senses were deceiving you. We’ve forgotten what “normal” weather feels like, so global warming is gaslighting us.

Only a few specks of land were even slightly cooler than average: far northern Canada, parts of northern Finland, a bit of central India, and a small corner of western China. Even the eastern United States, which was hit with blizzards and cooler temperatures when the polar vortex roared at full force for days, officially ended the month “near average.” It was one of the coolest spots on the planet and its January was only 1.8 degrees F cooler than normal.

In contrast, some parts of the planet were simply blazing with heat. During the peak of the southern hemisphere’s summer, it was the warmest January for land areas in history — more than 7.2 degrees F outside the bounds of historical norms. Parts of southern Africa, much of Brazil, and nearly all of Australia endured a record-breaking month.

With an official El Niño now underway, January’s oddness only boosts the odds that this year is going to keep on being blazing hot. In fact, NOAA estimates that 2019 is squarely on pace for one of the warmest years in history, with a 99.9 percent chance for another top 10 year.


The results are in, and January was one of the warmest in all of recorded history

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No Beast So Fierce – Dane Huckelbridge


No Beast So Fierce

The Terrifying True Story of the Champawat Tiger, the Deadliest Man-Eater in History

Dane Huckelbridge

Genre: Nature

Price: $12.99

Expected Publish Date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: William Morrow


A gripping, multifaceted true account of the deadliest animal of all time and the hunter on its trail, equally comparable to Jaws as to Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard. "A SUBURB WORK OF NATURAL HISTORY." —Booklist, starred review • "A GRIPPING PAGE-TURNER." —PW • "A REMARKABLE NARRATIVE." —Michael Wallis  Nepal, c. 1900: The single deadliest animal in recorded history began stalking humans, moving like a phantom through the lush foothills of the Himalayas. As the death toll reached an astonishing 436 lives, a young local hunter was dispatched to stop the now-legendary man-eater before it struck again. One part pulse-pounding thriller, one part soulful natural history of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger, acclaimed writer Dane Huckelbridge’s No Beast So Fierce is the gripping, true account of the Champawat Tiger, which terrified northern India and Nepal from 1900 to 1907, and Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter who pursued it. Huckelbridge’s masterful telling also reveals that the tiger, Corbett, and the forces that brought them together are far more complex and fascinating than a simple man-versus-beast tale. At the turn of the twentieth century as British rule of India tightened and bounties were placed on tiger’s heads, a tigress was shot in the mouth by a poacher. Injured but alive, it turned from its usual hunting habits to easier prey—humans. For the next seven years, this man-made killer terrified locals, growing bolder with every kill. Colonial authorities, desperate for help, finally called upon Jim Corbett, a then-unknown railroad employee of humble origins who had grown up hunting game through the hills of Kumaon. Like a detective on the trail of a serial killer, Corbett tracked the tiger’s movements in the dense, hilly woodlands—meanwhile the animal shadowed Corbett in return. Then, after a heartbreaking new kill of a young woman whom he was unable to protect, Corbett followed the gruesome blood trail deep into the forest where hunter and tiger would meet at last. Drawing upon on-the-ground research in the Indian Himalayan region where he retraced Corbett’s footsteps, Huckelbridge brings to life one of the great adventure stories of the twentieth century. And yet Huckelbridge brings a deeper, more complex story into focus, placing the episode into its full context for the first time: that of colonialism’s disturbing impact on the ancient balance between man and tiger; and that of Corbett’s own evolution from a celebrated hunter to a  principled conservationist who in time would earn fame for his devotion to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat. Today the Corbett Tiger Reserve preserves 1,200 km of wilderness; within its borders is Jim Corbett National Park, India’s oldest and most prestigious national park and a vital haven for the very animals Corbett once hunted. An unforgettable tale, magnificently told, No Beast So Fierce is an epic of beauty, terror, survival, and redemption for the ages.

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No Beast So Fierce – Dane Huckelbridge

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Eclipse – J. P. McEvoy



The science and history of nature’s most spectacular phenomenon

J. P. McEvoy

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: April 20, 2017

Publisher: William Collins


J P McEvoy looks at remarkable phenomenon of a solar eclipse through a thrilling narrative that charts the historical, cultural and scientific relevance of solar eclipses through the ages and explores the significance of this rare event. In the year when Britain will be touched by a solar eclipse for the first time since 1927, J P McEvoy looks at this remarkable phenomenon through a thrilling narrative that charts the historical, cultural and scientific relevance of solar eclipses through the ages and explores the significance of this rare event. Eclipse shows how the English Astronomer Norman Lockyer named the element Helium from the spectra of the eclipsed Sun, and how in Cambridge Arthur Eddinton predicted the proof of Einstein’s General Relativity from the bending of sunlight during the famous African eclipse of 1919. During late morning on 11 August, 1999 the shadow of the last total eclipse of the Millennium will cut across the Cornwall Peninsula and skirt the coast of Devon before moving on to the continent, ending its journey at sunset in the Bay of Bengal, India. Britain’s next eclipse will be in September, 2090. Throughout history, mankind has exhibited a changing response to the eclipse of the sun. The ancient Mexicans believed the Sun and the Moon were quarrelling whilst the Tahitians thought the two celestial objects were making love. Today, astronomers can calculate the exact path the moon’s shadow will track during the solar eclipse. As millions encamp for the brief spectacle with mylar glasses, pin-hole cameras, binoculars and telescopes, space agency satellites and mountain-top observatories study the corona, flares and the magnetosphere of the Sun as the 125 mile-wide black patch zooms along the ground at 2000 mph. About the author J P McEvoy was born in the USA. He has published over 50 papers on his specialist subject, superconductivity. He has been involved in improving public understanding of science for many years. He wrote the TV series Eureka, describing great moments in science from Archimedes to the present. In addition to journalism and radio broadcasting, he has written two guides in the ‘Begginers’ series for Icon Books.


Eclipse – J. P. McEvoy

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Global carbon emissions are on the rise, but don’t let that dash your hopes

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Carbon dioxide, that invisible, earth-warming gas you keep hearing about, is anticipated to hit an all-time high in 2018. Emissions are expected to rise by 2.7 percent this year, according to new research. That’s compared to a 1.6 percent rise in 2017 and a plateau between 2014 and 2016.

What’s behind this disturbing shift? A rise in coal usage, particularly in India and China, as well as the United States’ continued dependence on oil and gas. That’s according to two studies published Wednesday by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from around the world. Unveiled the same week as the United Nations climate change conference in Poland, the new research puts in sharp perspective just how far the world still needs to go to address carbon emissions, even with renewables booming.

“The growing global demand for energy is outpacing decarbonization for now,” Corinne Le Quéré, a French-Canadian climate scientist and lead author of the research, said in a statement. “This needs to change, and change quickly.”

There’s a lot a stake with this spike in emissions. Most recently, the United Nations IPCC climate report warned of a societal and ecological collapse if we don’t keep the world below 2 degrees C warming. When it comes down to it, climate change means the loss of lives — as emissions go up, we’ll see more intense heatwaves, hurricanes, and wildfires.

It all sounds pretty grim, but some of the same researchers behind these reports found things to be optimistic about. Le Quéré, along with former U.N. climate office head Christiana Figueres and other climate experts, authored an analysis in Nature of the Global Carbon Project’s findings. What we’ve achieved so far, they write, seemed “unimaginable a decade ago.” Here are the roses among the thorns:

  1. “If current trends continue, renewables will produce half of the world’s electricity by 2030.”

The future is renewable. This isn’t just a hopeful thought — it’s already poised to be. The cost of solar has dropped a whopping 80 percent in the past decade, and renewables are now cheaper than coal. We already have a lot of the systems in place to shift the world away from gas and oil. Worldwide, more than half of new capacity for generating electricity is renewables.

Developing countries are leading the way on this one; in many, renewables account for the majority of new power generation. Now, the world’s developed nations (the largest polluters) need to catch up.

  1. “Big batteries will spread beyond utilities.”

Renewables have some issues to work out — namely, how to keep delivering power even when clouds cover the sun and the wind stops blowing. The good news is that batteries offer a promising solution for beautiful, continuous power storage. They’ve certainly come a long way from the tiny, forgotten devices scattered about the catch-all drawer in your kitchen: Battery technology is quickly improving, and the price of battery storage is anticipated to halve by 2030.

Advances in battery technology have led to demand for electric vehicles, and many car manufacturers are shifting over. The transition to batteries will allow “developing regions to leapfrog the need for fossil-fuel power plants and conventional distribution grids, just as mobile phones overtook landlines,” according to the commentary.

  1. Most U.S. citizens live in a jurisdiction that still supports the Paris goals.”

National governments in key countries like Brazil and the United States threaten to undermine global progress on climate change. The good news is that local governments and businesses are stepping up their game. After President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, thousands of city officials promised to stick with the country’s original goals.

As the Nature analysis notes, “globally, more than 9,000 cities and municipalities from 128 countries, representing 16 percent of the world’s population, have reiterated their commitment to the Paris Agreement.” On top of that, more than 6,000 companies around the world have committed to the climate agreement, and 1,400 companies have factored a price on carbon into their business plans.

As global leaders now meet in Poland to determine how to hold onto a quickly destabilizing world, the task at hand is clear — at least in the abstract. The commentary states that the transition to renewables is “an economic imperative and an ecological necessity” and calls upon leaders to “accelerate that momentum and keep everyone on board.”


Global carbon emissions are on the rise, but don’t let that dash your hopes

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