Tag Archives: Climate Change

Advocates Cheer Revival of Bill to ‘Restore Critical Protections’ to Arctic Refuge

“We need a law on the books that will affirm these lands are not for sale, preserve the wilderness of the Coastal Plain, and uphold the sovereignty of Arctic Indigenous peoples,” said Sen. Ed Markey, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 2-1-2023 by Common Dreams

A polar bear rests on a barrier island in the Beaufort Sea in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: YangTS/flickr/cc)

Indigenous, climate, and conservation advocates on Wednesday welcomed the reintroduction of congressional legislation to restore protections and prevent fossil fuel development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), along with Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), reintroduced the Arctic Refuge Protection Act, the continuation of legislative efforts dating back to the 1980s to protect the critical wilderness and its inhabitants. Continue reading

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GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

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‘Nail in the Coffin’: Study Shows Exxon Accurately Predicted Warming Decades Ago

“Our analysis shows that ExxonMobil’s own data contradicted its public statements, which included exaggerating uncertainties, criticizing climate models, mythologizing global cooling, and feigning ignorance,” said lead author Geoffrey Supran.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-12-2023 by Common Dreams

Exxon Mobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo: WClarke/Wikimedia Commonns/CC

“This is the nail in the coffin of ExxonMobil’s claims that it has been falsely accused of climate malfeasance.”

That’s what University of Miami associate professor Geoffrey Supran said about a peer-reviewed study on the fossil fuel giant’s global warming projections published Thursday in the journal Science, which he began work on as a Harvard University research fellow. Continue reading

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UN Report Shows Ozone Layer Recovery Effort ‘Sets a Precedent for Climate Action’

“Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done—as a matter of urgency—to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases, and so limit temperature increase,” said one expert.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 1-9-2023 by Common Dreams

From the Pittsburgh Earth Day Climate Strike on 4/22/2022. Photo: Mark Dixon/flickr/CC

An assessment released Monday by leading science agencies highlights the effectiveness of an international treaty intended to protect the stratospheric ozone layer as well as the power of taking action now to limit global heating driven by human activity.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987 and entered into force in 1989. The landmark treaty regulates nearly 100 synthetic chemicals known as ozone-depleting substances (ODSs)—including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in air conditioners and refrigerators. Continue reading

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Researchers Warn Great Salt Lake’s Retreat Threatens Crucial Ecosystem, Public Health

“The lake’s ecosystem is not only on the edge of collapse. It is collapsing,” said one ecologist.

By Julia Conley.  Published 1-7-2023 by Common Dreams

Scientists are warning Utah officials that the Great Salt Lake is shrinking far faster than experts previously believed, and calling for a major reduction in water consumption across the American West in order to prevent the lake from disappearing in the next five years.

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) led more than 30 scientists from 11 universities and advocacy groups in a report released this week showing that the lake is currently at 37% of its former volume, with its rapid retreat driven by the historic drought that’s continuing across the West. Continue reading

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First-of-Its-Kind Study Links US Gun Violence Epidemic to Climate Emergency

The research follows several international studies showing the connection between extreme weather events and domestic violence.

By Julia Conley  Published 1-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Protest against new gun laws at the MN State Capitol in 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Researchers in the U.S. have linked the climate crisis and the extreme weather patterns it causes to the country’s epidemic of gun violence in a first-of-its-kind analysis, showing that thousands of shootings in the U.S. in recent years were attributable to higher-than-average temperatures.

As Environment Journal reported Tuesday, experts at Boston University School of Public Health and University of Washington School of Social Work analyzed 116,000 shootings in 100 of the country’s most populous cities between 2015 and 2020 and found that 7,973 took place during periods of unseasonable heat, concluding that about 7% of shootings could be attributed to extreme heat. Continue reading

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Nobody loved you, 2022

From devastating floods in Pakistan to Italy’s far-right PM to overturning Roe v Wade, this was a year of extremes

By Adam Ramsay  Published 12-30-2022 by openDemocracy

A flooded village in Matiari, in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Photo: Asad Zaidi/UNICEF

How do you turn 365 days experienced by eight billion people – and billions more other beings – into some kind of story?

Maybe you start with some events?

In which case, 2022 was the year that Covid vaccines kicked in. Daily global deaths hit 77,000 on 7 February, and have declined fairly steadily ever since. It was the year Russia invaded Ukraine, the first war between major European powers since 1945. Continue reading

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Temporarily Passing Paris Climate Targets Could ‘Significantly’ Raise Tipping Point Risk: Study

“To effectively prevent all tipping risks, the global mean temperature increase would need to be limited to no more than 1°C—we are currently already at about 1.2°C,” noted one scientist.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Fire in the Amazon Photo: Luísa Mota/flickr/CC

Surpassing the global temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, even temporarily, could dramatically increase the risk of the world experiencing dangerous “tipping points,” according to research published Friday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines tipping points as “critical thresholds in a system that, when exceeded, can lead to a significant change in the state of the system, often with an understanding that the change is irreversible.” Continue reading

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Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

By Common Dreams  Published 11-26-2022

Slump D is a massive retrogressive thaw slump on Herschel island., Yukon Territory. Photo: Boris Radosavljevic/flickr/CC

As our world continues to warm up, vast areas of permafrost are rapidly melting, releasing material that’s been trapped for up to a million years. This includes uncountable numbers of microbes that have been lying dormant for hundreds of millennia.

To study these emerging microbes, scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research have now revived a number of these “zombie viruses” from the Siberian permafrost, including one thought to be nearly 50,000 years old – a record age for a frozen virus returning to a state capable of infecting other organisms.

The team behind the study, led by microbiologist Jean-Marie, says these ancient viruses are potentially a significant threat to public health, and further study needs to be done to assess the danger that these infectious agents could pose as the permafrost melts.

The researchers warned it may just be the tip of the iceberg:

“One-quarter of the Northern Hemisphere is underlain by permanently frozen ground, referred to as permafrost,” researchers wrote in the paper.

“Due to climate warming, irreversibly thawing permafrost is releasing organic matter frozen for up to a million years, most of which decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane, further enhancing the greenhouse effect. Part of this organic matter also consists of revived cellular microbes (prokaryotes, unicellular eukaryotes) as well as viruses that remained dormant since prehistorical times.”

According to Global News:

In 2014, the same researchers unearthed a 30,000-year-old virus trapped in permafrost, the BBC reported. The discovery was groundbreaking because after all that time, the virus was still able to infect organisms. But now, they’ve beaten their own record by reviving a virus that is 48,500 years old.

“If the authors are indeed isolating live viruses from ancient permafrost, it is likely that the even smaller, simpler mammalian viruses would also survive frozen for eons,” virologist Eric Delwart from the University of California, San Francisco told New Scientist.

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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After COP27, all signs point to world blowing past the 1.5 degrees global warming limit – here’s what we can still do about it

 

Young activists have been pushing to keep a 1.5-Celsius limit, knowing their future is at stake.
AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

 

Peter Schlosser, Arizona State University

The world could still, theoretically, meet its goal of keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level many scientists consider a dangerous threshold. Realistically, that’s unlikely to happen.

Part of the problem was evident at COP27, the United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

While nations’ climate negotiators were successfully fighting to “keep 1.5 alive” as the global goal in the official agreement, reached Nov. 20, 2022, some of their countries were negotiating new fossil fuel deals, driven in part by the global energy crisis. Any expansion of fossil fuels – the primary driver of climate change – makes keeping warming under 1.5 C (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times much harder. Continue reading

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