For many, climate change may sound like a concept that's far in the future. But as wildfires scorch the west, hurricanes devastate the south and record-breaking heatwaves suffocate many parts of the nation, it's clear: climate change is here. This blog is your one-stop rundown on what's current in climate news, with an emphasis on the Bay Area.
- Evidence shows that tipping points leading to irreversible change have already passed, according to this United Nations report.
- It is no longer possible to prevent global warming from reaching 1.5°C.
- It is still possible to prevent warming from reaching 2°C if humans take swift action. This matters because, while many adverse effects will happen at 1.5°C, consequences will be more devastating at 2°C.
Here's what's happening now:
Sunday, April 18
We've discussed climate migration here before, and now we're seeing it at the border. The impact of Hurricanes Eta and Iota is one of many reasons migrants from Central America are making the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border to seek refuge. Climate-related events like the twin hurricanes increasingly intensify drivers of migration, including violence, food insecurity and poverty. For more details, click here.
When President Biden convenes a virtual climate summit on Thursday, he faces the tough task of how to put forward a symbolic goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The climate crisis poses a complex political challenge for Biden, since the problem is harder to see and far more difficult to produce measurable results on than either the pandemic relief package or the infrastructure bill. To learn what scientists, environmental groups and business leaders hope to see him do, check out this article.
Friday, April 16
We already know that to fight climate change we must cut carbon, and we've discussed here before that reducing new emissions is just one strategy -- scrubbing away carbon that's already in our air is also key. Technologies that do just that already exist and work, but the vast network that the planet needs would require a substantial investment on an international level. Now, researchers at University of California San Diego are seeking answers to questions about how that can be done. To see what they have to say, check out this story.
Yesterday, Google Earth added a timelapse feature to show how climate change, urbanization and deforestation have altered Earth over the last 40 years, Reuters reported. The feature uses satellite images, videos and interactive guides to let users view a timelapse of any area on the planet, exposing the change in coastlines, expansion of cityscapes and agricultural lands and recession of glaciers, forests and rivers. Click here to read the story from Reuters. Click here to see a blog post from Google about the feature.
Thursday, April 15
Have you noticed gas prices rising lately? Energy research and consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a report today that price of oil could plunge to as little as $10 a barrel by 2050 if the world succeeds in electrifying the energy market and meeting Paris Agreement goals. The report also said that oil demand could fall 70% by 2050 from current levels. For more details, click here.
JPMorgan said today it's committing $2.5 trillion over the next 10 years toward climate action and sustainable development, with a large portion earmarked for green projects, including renewable energy and clean technologies. The idea is to focus on speeding the transition to a low-carbon economy. The money will also finance and facilitate transactions that support socioeconomic progress in developing countries, as well as economic inclusion in developed markets. Here's the story.
Monday, April 12
Do you ever think about how much water it takes to maintain a lawn? Las Vegas-area water officials have spent two decades trying to get people to replace thirsty greenery with desert plants, and now they're asking the Nevada Legislature to outlaw roughly 40% of the turf that's left. Check it out.
By now, you've likely heard about the "green jobs" in Biden's infrastructure bill. If you're interested in how many green jobs are going to be created, what kind of jobs they will be, how much they will pay and what you might need to get hired, click here.
Two big South Korean electric vehicle battery makers said yesterday that they have settled a long-running trade dispute that will allow one company to move ahead with plans to manufacture batteries in Georgia. President Joe Biden called it “a win for American workers and the American auto industry.” Here's the story.
Sunday, April 11
With a major lack of rainfall in the North Bay this past winter, concerns of another severe wildfire season for 2021 are mounting -- but did you know that the drought conditions are also linked to the deaths of 150 already-threatened Tule elk? SFist reported today that the lack of rainfall has translated into food deserts where the creatures once had grasslands and shrubs to eat. Here are the details.
According to a new study, over a third of the Antarctic ice shelf is at risk of collapsing as the planet continues to warm, SPACE reported today. Why is this significant?
"Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise. When they collapse, it's like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea," lead study author Ella Gilbert, a research scientist in the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, said in a statement. To learn more, click here.
Friday, April 9
What does Prince William think about climate change? In comments made during a discussion yesterday at the virtual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group, he spoke about what he described as the "intrinsic link between nature and climate change," urging investment "through reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and supporting healthy oceans." Here's the story.
Did you know? If you want help understanding or explaining climate change to others, a list of examples and resources are available on the government website for the United States Geological Survey. Just click here.
Thursday, April 8
Leonardo DiCaprio shared a video on Twitter yesterday urging the Biden administration to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline. The pipeline garnered national attention in 2016 when one Mississippi river crossing became a focal point just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where the tribe argued the pipeline would jeopardize their primary water source and violate scared sites, NPR reported in 2017. Protesters organized on social media and traveled from around the country to "stand with Standing Rock."
Now, the fate of the pipeline is up for review with a hearing set for tomorrow that could lead to a shutdown of the line pending federal review, local Duluth radio station KDAL reported.
Did you know? Bitcoin is impacting climate change. Here's how: Unlike most forms of currency — issued by a single entity like a central bank — bitcoin is based on a decentralized network and needs to be "mined." This mining on computers uses vast amounts of electricity, especially when conducted on a large scale. Some 75% of the world's bitcoin mining is done in China, and as a result China could end up exceeding its emissions reduction targets, according to a study published this week. To learn more, read this story.
Wednesday, April 7
Japan’s famous cherry blossoms reached their peak earlier than ever before this year, with experts suggesting the record-setting date is the result of climate change. Researchers at Osaka University, who have compiled historical data on the issue using the diaries of emperors, aristocrats, governors and monks, said it was the earliest peak bloom in more than 1,200 years. Here's the story. Check out the chart below from the World Meteorological Organization.
At the beginning of the pandemic, as grocery store shelves emptied of essentials, many people in the U.S. got a taste of a world where food isn’t easy to come by. But as climate change threatens the planet, experts say mass food shortages are a real danger. That’s why people like Elizabeth Medgyesy of Sonoma County are turning to farming for self-sufficiency and peace of mind. Check out this video to learn more.
Did you know? Food production accounts for about 25% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, and scientists say that limiting global warming won't be possible without changing the way we eat, The Atlantic reported yesterday. So what can you do? Reducing food waste and switching to a plant-based diet are a good start. To see more suggestions, click here.
Have you noticed more sharks in Monterey Bay? Scientists think that warming waters are changing shark behavior along the Bay Area coast. Joe Rosato Jr. has details here.
After setting records for the worst fire season in terms of acres burned in two of the last three years – 2018 and 2020 – it may be easy to argue our lengthening fire seasons with more intense wildfire growth rates are one of the more noticeable impacts of climate change for California and the Bay Area. Here's more.
Monday, April 5
The World Bank Group says it has been sending financial support to developing countries to invest in sustainable opportunities as part of a 5-year effort to mainstream climate considerations in investing. Check it out.
No single country can solve the climate crisis — and the American pursuit of greater research and development on climate change is not a counter to China, the Biden administration's climate envoy John Kerry told CNBC yesterday. China accounts for around 30% of the world's CO2 emissions, more than twice that of the U.S., but it's spending more on clean energy development. Here's more on that.
Saturday, April 3
Biden's infrastructure initiative — and the measures it contains to curb climate change — may be a tailwind for investors in sustainable or ESG funds. (ESG stands for environmental, social and governance. Click here to learn more about ESG funds.) If signed into law, the $2 trillion infrastructure proposal would rank as one of the largest federal efforts ever to curb the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Click here to see what financial advisors are recommending.
As sea levels rise, consuming coastlines, massive wildfires become more frequent and drought leaves reservoirs dry, it is predicted that people will migrate to more habitable regions and farming will be profoundly impacted. To see an interactive map from ProPublica that shows possible outcomes, click here.
Friday, April 2
Scientists have been warning of human-caused climate change for years, but in a new study, NASA used satellites to directly observe the connection between fossil fuel emissions and climate change, CBS reported. To learn more about the science behind why the earth is warming, click here.
Do you know the difference between climate change and global warming? If not, you're not alone. The terms are often used interchangeably, even though they have distinct meanings, NASA said in a report. First of all, it's important to understand the difference between weather and climate. Weather refers to local conditions at a given time, while climate refers to long-term regional and global averages.
It's also important to understand that, while global warming is caused primarily by humans, there are natural forces that cause the climate to change. Global warming refers to human-caused warming specifically, while climate change refers to changes caused by humans as well as natural process that lead to changes. To learn more, read NASA's report.
Thursday, April 1
We've discussed climate migration here before, and now Pope Francis is talking about it, too. On Tuesday he released a statement calling for collective focus on migrants forced to leave their homes because of climate change's effects on their homelands as a preface to a booklet titled, "Pastoral Orientations on Climate Displaced People," which includes recommendations for how to address the crisis.
"When we look, what do we see? Many are being devoured in conditions that make it impossible to survive. Forced to abandon fields and shorelines, homes and villages, people flee in haste carrying just a few souvenirs and treasures, scraps of their culture and heritage," the statement read in part.
Wednesday, March 31
President Biden unveiled a more than $2 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery package today, aiming first to approve a proposal designed to create jobs, revamp U.S. infrastructure and fight climate change before it turns toward a second plan to improve education and expand paid leave and health-care coverage. For details, click here.
So, where do we stand on the drought in California? Well, hopes for a wet "March miracle" did not materialize, and a dousing of April showers seems very unlikely at this point. And did you know that the entire West is gripped in what scientists consider a "megadrought" that started in 1999 and has been interrupted by only occasional years with above-average precipitation? Here's the story. Check out the tweet below to see pictures from The Press Democrat's Kent Porter.
Tuesday, March 30
Imagine this: Cities with all clean energy, electric cars, bike trails, clean air and reduced waste. That’s the goal of Palo Alto group Carbon Free Palo Alto, now in its 10th year of an ambitious goal of reducing the city’s emissions by 80% by 2030, with a focus on creating policies that change city infrastructure to a greener solution. To learn more, see this story.
Are you a parent or educator interested in teaching kids about climate change? If so, check out Common Sense Education's list of tools, designed to help kids learn about climate change. The six tools range in grade level for kids between the third and 12th grades, and all the tools are free -- from MIT's Climate Science, Risk & Solutions to Climate Kids - NASA's Eyes on the Earth.
Monday, March 29
It's easy to talk about climate change in general terms, but what about when it drives up food prices? That's what's happening now around the world, EcoWatch reported today. When farmers harvest food, it's often stored outside before processing. But with rising temps and unpredictable weather patterns, farmers are having to invest more money into storage, and those costs will be passed along to consumers, according to EcoWatch. Here's the story.
President Biden is set this week to unveil details of a major infrastructure package that's expected to include record spending on climate change. The plan will likely involve installing thousands of electric vehicle charging stations and building millions of new energy-efficient homes in support of his broader goal to achieve carbon-free power generation by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. For more details, read the story here.
To read about what Biden has learned from similar bills that have failed in the past, check out this New York Times story.
It's not just the federal government taking action -- the Governor of Massachusetts signed a climate bill on Friday, with a main goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, the Associated Press reported. The law includes incremental steps to reach a 50% reduction by 2030. Check out the AP story here.
Saturday, March 27
You may have noticed flowers blooming earlier and warmer temps earlier in the year, but what would you say to six month summers? According to a new study, that's possible, The Hill reported today. According to the study, the average duration of summer increased from 78 to 95 days between 1952 and 2011, with greenhouse gasses being the main cause. Scientists predict that if the increase continues at the current rate, summer could be six months long by 2100. To read the story, click here.
If you live in California, you already know that it can be difficult to get wildfire insurance. With extreme weather events becoming more frequent due to climate change, the insurance problem is only expected to worsen, The Economist reported. To read about what that might look like, click here.
In a session that will test Biden’s pledge to make climate change a priority, the president is including rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration. Biden is seeking to revive a U.S.-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish. For more details, click here.
Friday, March 26
We know that driving less decreases fuel emissions, so what would you say to a vehicle mileage tax? That's what Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says could be on the table in infrastructure talks.
"I'm hearing a lot of appetite to make sure that there are sustainable funding streams," he said. A mileage tax "shows a lot of promise if we believe in that so-called user-pays principle: The idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive."
To learn more about the infrastructure proposals, click here.
Did you know? As California faces wildfire seasons that are increasing in length and intensity, and other parts of the U.S. see more hurricanes and devastating natural disasters, other communities around the globe are suffering the effects of climate change at an increasing rate. In Bangladesh, 80% of the country is floodplain and it ranks seventh on the Global Climate Risk Index of countries most affected by extreme weather events, the BBC reported. To see the index, click here. To read about one family's mission to help a village in Bangladesh, see this BBC article.
A new UN report points to Indigenous and tribal communities playing an important role in fighting climate change by preventing deforestation, calling them the "best guardians of the forest." To read the report, click here.
With California now facing yearly threats of devastating wildfires, a Dominican University researcher is looking to salamanders as a potential indicator of the fires' impact on wildlife. Check that out here.
Thursday, March 24
The Canadian Supreme Court ruled to uphold the federal government's carbon pricing policy today, a controversial action that is a key piece of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate plan, Reuters reported. The court said that climate change is a threat to Canada, the fourth largest oil producer in the world. To read more, click here. Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna tweeted her support for the action, saying "It's time to stop fighting climate action in court and join the fight against climate change."
But Erin O'Toole, Leader of the Official Opposition and Conservative Party in Canada, tweeted his vow that Conservatives would repeal the ruling.
Carbon pricing was a hot topic in the U.S. today too, with the American Petroleum Institute endorsing a price on carbon emissions, which is a major shift as the trade group has largely resisted regulatory action on climate change. This comes as President Biden is set to announce a sweeping infrastructure proposal focused on curbing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to clean energy. Here's the story.
Meanwhile, 13 states sued the Biden administration yesterday to end a suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water and to reschedule canceled sales of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska waters and western states. The states, led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, seek a court order ending the moratorium imposed after Biden signed executive orders on climate change on Jan. 27. For more details, click here.
Interested in exploring some interactive climate tools? Whether you're interested in simulation models or agricultural policies, land use or regional gas emissions, check out Climate Interactive to get yourself informed.
Thursday, March 18
For the first time, a federal energy board is weighing how a proposed natural gas pipeline would affect greenhouse gas emissions, one of several steps taken this week by the Biden administration in its effort to slow climate change. This is meaningful because it marked the first time the commission has formally assessed a pipeline's greenhouse gas emissions and their expected contribution to climate change. Here’s the story.
Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted about the climate crisis, saying that new EPA Administrator Micael Regan is “a proven leader who is ready to get to work.”
In California, we’ve been used to drought conditions for some time. But did you know that almost half of the country is in a drought? Today, government forecasters said that nearly half of the continental U.S. is considered to be in moderate to exceptional drought and conditions are expected to grow more severe and persistent over the next three months. Click here for more details.
Wednesday, March 17
As we know all too well, California has been hit hard by devastating wildfires in recent years, leading to several deaths and causing thousands of people to lose their homes. Now, Sonoma County is taking action -- with tech. Officials say they will add artificial intelligence technology to help fight wildfires with a 24-7 monitor to track fire outbreaks. The technology will be added to the county’s network of wildfire detection cameras that monitor California’s backcountry to spot the first outbreak of flames. Many of the cameras are affixed to existing radio communication towers. For more details, click here.
As awareness about climate change increases in 2021, Starbucks announced today that it plans to make its green coffee carbon neutral by 2030. What does this mean? Green coffee refers to the first steps of the coffee supply chain as beans are grown, harvested and transported to ports. The coffee giant is also aiming to halve water usage in green coffee processing by 2030. Check out the story here.
Bill Gates, who recently published a book on climate change, tweeted today some notes he wrote about climate change and how it will impact the world's poorest people.
With named storms coming earlier and more often in warmer waters, the Atlantic hurricane season is going through some changes with meteorologists ditching the Greek alphabet during busy years. A special World Meteorological Organization committee today ended the use of Greek letters when the Atlantic runs out of the 21 names for the year, saying the practice was confusing and put too much focus on the Greek letter and not on the dangerous storm it represented. Also, in 2020 with Zeta, Eta and Theta, they sounded so similar it caused problems. Here’s more.
Sunday, March 14
What would you do if you had to choose between a 50% increase in property taxes or having parts of your town, including the main road, wash into the sea? That’s the predicament residents of Avon, N.C. (population 421) are facing, the New York Times reported. While the risks of climate change are extreme in Avon, the question of how to raise money to protect cities -- and what is worth saving -- is not unique to the town. Coastal cities from Miami to SF are facing similar challenges. Click here to read the NYT story.
Interested in learning more about the financial impacts of climate change? Check out this climate change calculator from the Financial Times, and create your own model.
The recent extreme weather events, energy supply shortages and power outages in Texas brought attention to the issue of flaring in the oil and gas industry -- a practice that emits more than 300 million tons of CO2 every year. That’s because, during the storms, oil production across the state shut down, and many refining operations flared during that time. And as drilling resumed, there was the risk of needing to flare in order to continue operations. This reignited an already controversial debate about flaring. Read about it here.
Saturday, March 13
Did you know? The gyrfalcon is the world’s largest falcon, and it can fly at speeds that surpass 80 mph. At three pounds, it’s able to capture prey twice it’s own size, National Geographic reported. The impressive animal lives year-round in the Arctic, creating a problem for the species as the Arctic warms over two times faster than the rest of the planet. Learn more here.
How is climate change a women’s issue? UNWomen has created an interactive photo essay to explain: “A changing climate affects everyone – but it’s the world’s poorest and those in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls, who bear the brunt of environmental, economic and social shocks.” Here’s a link to the photo essay.
Friday, March 12
What would you think if you heard that over a billion tons of food went to waste each year? Well, according to a United Nations estimate, that’s the case, the Associated Press reported. While you might be sad to think of some people going hungry while others waste food, that’s not the only problem -- food waste contributes to climate change too. Think about it: the environmental toll of production, including the land required to raise crops and animals, and the greenhouse gas emissions produced along the way. The surprising part? Household waste accounts for 61% of food waste, whereas restaurants only account for 26%. For more details, click here.
Want to see what the world would look like in different scenarios, such different rates of sea level rise? Or would you like to look back and see how global temperatures, Arctic sea ice cover and CO2 concentrations have changed over time? Check out this interactive tool from NASA called the Climate Time Machine.
Thursday March, 11
Is it possible that parts of the Amazon rainforest release more carbon than they store? It might be. According to a recent study, rising temps, drought and deforestation are reducing the ability of the world’s largest rainforest to store carbon, National Geographic reported. Why does this matter? The world’s climate is influenced by the Amazon’s ability to store carbon, offsetting emissions by fossil fuelsa. Here’s the story.
From the roof to the road to the foods people eat, the Bay Area is going green, and now more people than ever say they want to put their money where their conscience is. Green investing has caught on recently because it focuses on companies making a difference in the fight against climate change -- and those companies have made investors a lot of money. NBC Bay Area’s business and tech reporter Scott Budman takes a look.
Wednesday, March 10
As we’ve discussed here before, ESG funds (environmental, social and governance) are gaining attention from investors as climate change and social justice issues take the spotlight. (Example: ESG funds may invest in energy firms that aren't reliant on fossil fuels.) Now it’s going to be easier to use ESG funds in your retirement plan -- the Biden administration announced today that it won't enforce a Trump-era rule that made it harder to use ESG funds in 401(k) plans. To learn more about how these rules work, click here.
If you think all news is bad news, think again. A 20-year-old climate activist from Southern California spent 589 days picking up trash from Eaton Canyon, LAist reported.
“I have covered an enormous portion of my park checking the entire main trail, checking all the waterfalls, all the storm drains, everything ... and for the first time in 589 days I can say with confidence that my park Eaton Canyon ... is completely free of municipal waste,” Edgar McGregor said in a tweet.
Even U.S. Senator Alex Padilla is tweeting about it.
Nobody wants to leave home or abandon their community, but experts say that may happen to millions of people and soon if steps aren't taken to curb climate change. One expert who studies climate change and its impact on human health says the climate crisis is causing life-threatening problems, like the wildfires in California and the storms in Texas, and forcing people to pick up and move their entire life somewhere else, thus making them "climate refugees." Here’s that story.
For more info on how climate migration could look in the future, check out this New York Times story from environmental journalist and Marin County resident Abrahm Lustgarten. It’s also available as a podcast here.
Sunday, March 7
As our country’s aging infrastructure faces a changing climate and more frequent intense weather, the time has come to rethink how we will improve these issues. As The Washington Post reported, the American Society of Civil Engineers consistently gives America’s infrastructure C- to D+ marks. But the Post reported that engineering with nature could be a solution.
“Imagine a concrete flood wall with an expansive reef and marsh in front of it. The wall provides flood protection benefits during storms but does little on a sunny day. In contrast, the reef and marsh system not only reduces the power of waves but also self-adjusts to rising seas, captures carbon, improves water quality, and provides places for us to hunt, fish and recreate,” The Post reported.
An oil spill in Marin County yesterday may have made it's way into the ocean, and officials are looking into the incident. If oiled wildlife is seen, the public is asked not to approach the animal and instead call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926. To read about what happened, click here.
Saturday, March 6
Do you ever find yourself struggling to explain climate change? Do you sort of understand it, but you're unclear on some of the evidence? If so, NASA has a report for you. Click here to read about how scientists know climate change is real.
Last month, a flood in India led to a landslide that killed 70 people and left 134 more people missing. A new report states that melting ice combined with heavy rainfall was a factor in the event, The Independent reported. Here's how climate change was involved.
Experts agree that lowering our carbon emissions is no longer enough to limit climate change. In one report, experts said that we need to actually remove between 100 to 1,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the 21st century, and a number of companies are working on engineered solutions for carbon removal. To learn more about the process and funding needed to accomplish it, click here.
Friday, March 5
As U.S. policy shifts toward climate change, the oil industry is quickly moving in a greener direction. But it's not just policymakers inspiring the changes -- it's also investors. Check it out.
Thursday, March 4
How do you feel about banning new gas stations? Well, Petaluma has. In a move that is believed to be the first of it's kind in the nation, the city council voted unanimously to ban all new gas stations in an effort to cut carbon emissions, and the city hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030. Here's the story.
Check out this tweet from Leonardo DiCaprio about beef's impact on climate. What do you think?
More severe drought, extended and more intense fire seasons have become common since 2000, but you may be surprised to see how much warmer than average the Bay Area's temps have been through the same period. Consider February 2020, when many locations around the Bay Area recorded zero measurable rain. Read more about the changes here.
Sunday, February 28
The deadly winter storm that caused widespread power outages in Texas and other states is a “wake-up call” for the United States to build energy systems and other infrastructure that are more reliable and resilient in the face of extreme-weather events linked to climate change, Biden's national climate adviser says. Here's the story.
Climate change can feel like a problem too huge to face, but there are things you can do. From plastic toothbrushes to cotton rounds to squeezing shampoo out of a plastic bottle, NBC Bay Area forecaster Vianey Arana is sharing ideas about small changes you make a big difference for our planet. Check out the list.
Did you know? Soil is a component in combating climate change. See the tweet below from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Thursday, February 25
Have you heard of the urban heat island effect? It used to be that people didn’t need an air conditioning unit if they lived in cities by the San Francisco Bay, such as Berkeley, Oakland or San Francisco, but due to the asphalt, concrete and other materials that absorb heat it can be 5 degrees hotter in parts of these cities. With climate change, this could become a bigger issue. To find out what can be done, click here.
Historically, Republicans have often been opposed to addressing concerns about climate change, but according to a recent poll, that might be changing with the younger generation, Newsweek reported. According to the poll, Republicans aged 18 to 39 were more likely to view climate change as a threat, and want the government to respond with a market-based plan. For more info on what this poll found, read the story from Newsweek.
The world's largest green hydrogen plant is on its way to Sweden, according to a firm that plans to build a steel production facility using a "fossil-free manufacturing process. "The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time," said the soon-to-be leader of the company. "And given … steel's impact on other industries' sustainable development, a rapid change of the steel industry is extremely important." Here's the story.
The sunshine is back and the ice has melted. But more than a week after a deep freeze across the South, many communities are still grappling with getting clean water to their citizens. The still-unfolding problems after last week's major winter storm have exposed extensive vulnerabilities in the nation's waterworks. To learn more, click here.
Wednesday, February 24
What are some of the financial impacts of climate change? Well, for one thing, it could lead to a significant rerating in some financial markets when investors start taking the risks more seriously, experts have told CNBC. The interest rates on debt payments can be a reflection of how much risk is associated with a particular country or company over a particular period of time. To read about what this could look like, click here.
VP Harris tweeted today that she and Biden met with the Prime Minister of Canada to discuss working closely together on an array of important issues including COVID-19 and climate change.
Biden’s nominee to head the Interior Department faced sharp questions from Republicans yesterday over what several called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. If confirmed, Deb Haaland, a New Mexico congresswoman, would be the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Here's more.
Monday, February 22
As power resumes for most of Texas, some households face energy bills as high as $10,000. The question is, who should pay? According to the mayor of Houston, the state should. Here's the story.
It's already too late to stop the earth from warming 1.5 degrees Celsius, but we can still stop it from warming further, preventing catastrophic consequences. How long do we have to get that done? According to John Kerry, special envoy for climate, we have nine years, The Hill reported. To learn more, click here.
Now, for some good news! A sprawling redwood forest north of San Francisco recently received permanent protection under a deal between a Bay Area environmental group and a family who has owned it since 1925. The property, in Mendocino County, is home to golden eagles, black-tailed deer, northern spotted owls, Coho salmon and steelhead trout, along with at least 159 native species of plants.
Saturday, February 20
It's only a month into his job, but President Biden is already being tested. Yesterday, he declared a major disaster in Texas as winter storms plunged Texas, Oklahoma and neighboring states into an unusual deep freeze that left millions shivering in homes that lost heat and power, and in many homes, water -- leaving at least 69 people dead. Today he asked federal agencies to identify additional resources to address the suffering. Here's the story.
He also tweeted to let people know how they can provide additional help.
The U.S. officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement yesterday, but one expert is saying that's not enough. "We have to ratchet up the commitments now if we are to stay on course to averting a catastrophic three degree Fahrenheit warming," said scientist Michael Mann. Here's what's up.
Here's more on the tough steps ahead for country after we were welcomed back into the climate agreement.
With all this tough news, you might feel overwhelmed. But there are always things that we can do, as individuals, to help. The average American tosses 13,000 pounds of paper a year, most of which is junk mail. But there’s something you can do to cut down on the amount of paper being printed in the first place. Click here to learn what that is.
Thursday, February 18
As power begins to return to parts of Texas left in the dark after extreme weather overwhelmed the state's power grid, the crisis continues for many who still lack safe drinking water. To read the story, click here. To gain a deeper understanding of why the power grid was overwhelmed, and what might happen during similar events in the future, check out this episode of The Daily podcast from The New York Times.
The failure of the Texas grid has also led to a political battle -- it has ignited a feud between Democrats and the GOP over Republicans' decades-long oversight of the energy industry. Gov. Greg Abbott, along with other conservative state leaders, falsely blamed the outages on renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Here's the story.
Facebook is now getting more involved in the fight against climate change. It announced that it will now debunk common myths about climate change, relying on experts from George Mason University, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the University of Cambridge to identify and debunk such myths. To learn more about that, click here.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg tweeted today that for the first time, $889 million in grants for infrastructure projects will include attention to racial equity and climate change.
Tuesday, February 16
How is the globe warming if it's so cold? As Texas and other portions of the country shelter in place and brace for a second wave of winter storms, some are questioning what role climate change has played on these extreme weather patterns across the country. Chris Gloninger, a meteorologist with NBC10 Boston, explained to NBCLX that there was a definite connection.
And how is this impacting the power grids? As these storms blast through parts of the central and southern states, power grids are being pushed past worst-case scenarios that grid operators planned for, leaving millions without power -- and therefore, heat-- amid dangerously low temperatures, the New York Times reported. And this is just the beginning. With the wildly unpredictable weather linked to climate change, these grids will likely be pushed beyond their limits time and time again. To learn more, read this story from the New York Times.
Now, for some good news! Liza Goldberg, a freshman at Stanford University, is helping young people around the world better see and understand climate change. Goldberg's eighth grade science fair project — studying the effects of climate change on maple saplings in her Maryland backyard — caught the eye of a judge who happened to work for NASA. Goldberg was offered an internship at the age of 14. Check out her extraordinary story.
Monday, February 15
The NOAA released the January 2021 Global Climate Report on Friday, which finds that this was the seventh-warmest January on record worldwide. Records date back to 1880. It was also the 433rd consecutive month with temps (at least nominally) above the 20th century average. To read the report, click here.
Single-use coffee pods are great when you want to brew just one cup of joe. But they’re not so planet friendly. Worldwide, more than 120,000 are made every minute. Each of those pods takes 500+ years to break down. Switching to refillable coffee pods can help keep more than 56 billion single-use pods out of the landfill each year. Check out this video to learn more.
Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted today that she had a conversation with the president of France where they discussed, among other things, climate change. She said they look forward to working together.
Sunday, February 14
Scientists, politicians, youth activists and business leaders are talking about the dire consequences of climate change. But for the average person sitting on their couch, it can be hard to understand what is so urgent and why it matters to their life. In his new book, "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster," billionaire Bill Gates shares five basic concepts that have helped to frame his understanding of the pending climate crisis. For more details, click here.
With temps dropping to record lows in some parts of the country, people may be asking how it's possible that the earth is actually warming. As The Weather Channel explains, the answer isn't as simple as what's happening at any given moment. “When we talk about weather, we’re simply talking about what occurs on a daily basis, what do you see outside your window right now. However, when we talk about climate, climate is the average weather that we get over a long period of time," said one expert. Check out this story to learn more.
Saturday, February 13
Yesterday, the Interior Department announced that it's postponing on and offshore oil drilling leases for next month so that the program can be reviewed. In separate orders, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Land Management postponed lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and four Western states: Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. Here's more on that.
For a detailed yet easy to understand breakdown on how many tons of greenhouse gasses we're producing per year globally (51 billion), and the numbers involved to get us to zero, check out this story from The Guardian.
Friday, February 12
Elon Musk is weighing in on the carbon tax debate. He says the No. 1 way to decrease carbon dioxide emissions would be to levy a tax on carbon. "My top recommendation, honestly, would be just add a carbon tax," Musk told Joe Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast yesterday. "The economy works great. Prices and money are just information. ... If the price is wrong, the economy doesn't do the right thing." For more details on the possibility of a carbon tax, click here.
Check out this story that the United Nations shared on talking honestly about climate change.
As part of his climate plan, Biden is working to get farmers to lead the way in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Experts say that through regenerative agriculture practices, farmers can actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. To do this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said it would incentivize farmers to implement such sustainable practices. And more researchers and companies have started to better quantify and manage carbon that's stored in the soil. Here's the full story.
Thursday, February 11
We know that climate change has consequences for our health, but how are we already being impacted? Wildfire smoke is one of the most obvious -- and most damaging -- ways that Bay Area residents are being affected. One local company measured how much it's impacting us. Check out the story here.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg shared an article about the need for world leaders to stop treating tree burning as carbon neutral. See her tweet below.
Wondering how money invested in environmental funds did last year? As we've mentioned here before, ESG stands for environmental, social and corporate governance, and that basically means that these are funds aimed at helping the environment and promoting social good. Also known as sustainable funds, ESG investments apply environmental, social and governance principles. They may focus on climate change and inequality, for example. ESG funds captured $51.1 billion of net new money from investors in 2020, a record and more than double the prior year, according to Morningstar. Click here for more details.
Wednesday, February 10
Did you know? There is a dramatic increase in the number of great white sharks swimming in Monterey Bay, including an area off Santa Cruz County where a surfer was killed last year, according to a study published yesterday. The study found that sharks traditionally concentrated in warm waters further south have moved north since 2014 as water temperatures have warmed, the Mercury News reported. For more details, click here.
Leonardo DiCaprio shared a link yesterday to a website where a group of scientists put together a joint declaration on how the world can run off of 100% renewable energy by 2035. Check it out:
How many people are currently dying as a result of fossil fuel emissions? A Harvard report released yesterday shows grim and surprising new numbers: one in five premature deaths worldwide are linked to emissions. The study shows that burning fossil fuels have dire implications for the health of human beings, in addition to being a major contributing factor in climate change. Here's the story.
Sunday, February 7
Mark Carney, economist and former central banker, thinks that if no action is taken on climate change, the world is headed toward yearly mortality rates equivalent to COVID, BBC News reported. Carney, now the UN envoy for climate and finance, said that the scale of investments into green energy needs to double. "It's an enormous investment opportunity," he told BBC News.
Interested in hearing more details on Biden's climate plan, including how an average day will look different in the future if his plans pass? Check out this podcast from the New York Times.
The last seven years have been the warmest on record, according to the NOAA. Check out the chart below to see the ratings.
Friday, February 5
Think climate change and COVID-19 are separate issues? Think again. According to a new study, climate change altered the forests of Southeast Asia, which led to 40 new species of bats in the region, CBS News reported. With them, these new species of bats carried 100 types of coronaviruses, and many scientists believe that the virus leading to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic originated when humans crossed paths with bats in China. Scientists now worry that climate change will increase the odds that there will be more pandemics in the future.
“Greenwashing” is when fossil fuel companies present themselves as working to solve the climate change crisis, when in fact they are just creating distractions from real progress. Leading climate scientist and author of “The New Climate War” Michael E. Mann joined LX News to discuss the obstacles that remain to winning the war and why systemic change is needed now. Watch the video here.
Leonardo DiCaprio shared an article by the New York Times about sharks, how they're in danger of becoming extinct and how you can help. Check it out:
Thursday, February 4
It's the latest development in a case that could test how far Biden is willing to go to unwind Trump's decisions: A judge says U.S. officials downplayed climate change impacts and other environmental costs from the expansion of a massive coal mine near the Montana-Wyoming border. He also said that the economic benefits were inflated. Here's the story.
If banks stop funding oil, gas, coal and industrial polluters, will that help slow climate change? Environmentalists think so, and that's what they're working to get lenders to do, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Click here to find out how.
Just west of the Carquinez Bridge in Contra Costa County is a site that looks like a big parking lot, but underneath are toxic heavy metals. Environmentalists warn that rising sea levels due to climate change could unleash these toxins into the San Francisco Bay. Here's how that might happen.
Wednesday, February 3
Yesterday, the UN announced regional climate weeks for 2021 and 2022, meetings aimed at implementing plans outlined in the Paris Climate Accord. The idea is to provide a platform for governments, cities, businesses, financial institutions and citizens to discuss opportunities in the fight against climate change. To learn more, click here.
Think PG&E's power shutoffs are going away soon? Think again. A lawyer for the utility announced today that public safety power shutoffs will likely continue indefinitely, even though the utility previously said that they would only last five to 10 years while workers enacted measures to reduce the risk of wildfires. PG&E’s lawyer said the company’s public safety shutoff program “will likely be a reality in California, in all of California, even after all compliance issues are worked out.” Here's the story from NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit.
And now, for some good news! Leonardo DiCaprio shared on Twitter that one year after massive brushfires in Australia, the first Koala joey was born at Aussie Ark, an organization aimed at providing a sanctuary for wildlife.
Sunday, January 31
As the new administration shifts the country's priorities in terms of climate change, one of the biggest challenges it faces is how to protect jobs. It needs to make sure that fossil fuel-driven economies aren't left behind as we shift away from that energy source. Meanwhile, big companies like Ford and Amazon are talking about massive climate jobs creation. To learn more about what people in different industries have to say, click here.
Iron Man to the rescue! Robert Downy, Jr. told BBC News that he wants to use his fame -- and financial resources -- to fight climate change. He's leading the Footprint Coalition, an investment fund aimed at supporting green tech businesses. He said a key moment for him was in 2018 when wildfires raged through Malibu. Here's the full story.
Did you know? If you're interested in learning more about climate change, the UN offers mini courses! Check out this six-hour course on the connection between gender and climate, or choose from many more.
Saturday, January 30
Climate isn’t the only thing changing. To fight it, we're changing too. What comes next will probably transform how we drive, where we get our power and other bits of day-to-day life, experts say. So far the greening of America has been subtle, driven by market forces, technology and voluntary action -- but all of that is about to change. Here's how.
On Thursday, the UN launched Race to Zero, with goals for 20 key sectors as it aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Check it out here or in the tweet below.
A San Mateo representative wants to use federal funds to help clean up the San Francisco Bay. Jackie Speier, a Democrat, introduced the bill that would authorize $50 million per year for five years to pay for environmental restoration activities within the Bay and the creation of a San Francisco Bay Program Office inside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To learn more about what this office would do, click here.
Friday, January 29
On his way out of office, Trump took a slew of actions, but a federal judge has blocked a rule that aimed to limit what evidence the Environmental Protection Agency could consider as it regulates pollutants to protect public health. To learn more about what this rule entails, check out this story.
Interested in understanding climate change at a deeper level? The International Panel on Climate Change has published a glossary of climate change terms such as afforestation (conversion to forest of land that historically has
not contained forests) and human systems (any system in which human organizations and institutions play a major role, such as agricultural, urban and political). For a complete list, click here.