By MIRIAM ACZEL Following the recently granted extension, the United Kingdom (U.K.) will soon trigger Article 50, officially “Brexitting” from the European Union (EU), a decision...
Archive for tag: Climate Change
By MIRIAM ACZEL Just weeks after the widespread Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protests swept across France for the better part of December, a petition commonly known...
With Hurricane Florence making landfall in the Carolinas, Super Typhoon Mangkhut headed for the Philippines, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria fresh in our minds, many are asking what role climate change is playing in these disasters.
Scientists have known for years that global warming can exacerbate storms. But our understanding of the connection between hurricanes and climate change has evolved significantly in just the past year.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, has received extensive publicity for his active stance on tackling climate change, a marked contrast to his Southern neighbor, President Donald Trump. However, the provinces and territories of this vast country have a range of specific characteristics and conditions that make it difficult to implement climate policies – and a one-size-fits-all Federal policy simply wouldn’t work.
At a provincial level, for example, British Columbia is known for its pioneering carbon taxation policy, which has delivered revenue-neutral emissions reductions by putting a direct price on carbon at the point of sale and redistributing the revenue within the province. In contrast, Quebec and Ontario favour cap and trade schemes to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, a policy they have built together with states in the US, such as California, to ensure they are in synch with important trading partners. This diversity of approach in Canada is reflective of the very different economic sectors, cultures, terrains and demographics the country is home to – including the rural versus urban distribution of people across different provinces.
A recent report published in Nature Energy by researchers at two UK institutions, the University of Sheffield and Imperial College London, considers the “enabling conditions in Great Britain and the potential for rapid fuel switching in other coal-reliant countries.” The report found that the United Kingdom’s overall carbon emissions dropped by 6% in 2016, thanks to “cleaner electricity production.” Importantly, the report found that the reduction was not due to an increase in lower-carbon nuclear or renewable energy sources, but rather, the underestimated benefits of switching from coal to natural gas energy generation. If a fuel switch can be encouraged to make better use of existing gas infrastructure, the fuel switch may be able to scale up quickly and produce significant near-term emission reductions.
On April 11, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) President Fred Krupp announced the organization’s plans to create and launch a new satellite to monitor and measure global methane emissions—from space.
The ‘groundbreaking’ MethaneSAT plans were unveiled in a TED talk in Vancouver, BC.. The satellite will measure only emissions of methane, the powerful greenhouse gas responsible for roughly one quarter of the manmade global warming we currently experience. Methane is a particularly important cause of climate change because of its potency;while it is not as long-lasting in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is “far more devastating” because it traps over 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the first twenty years after its release.
The World Economic Forum is sounding the alarm – water crises are the top global risk over the next decade. Competition for this essential and highly localized resource is aggravating geopolitical conflict in already stressed environments. This was one of the key messages from Sandra Postel of National Geographic, who delivered the keynote address at the April 25 Northern Virginia Community College Green Festival.
There is a short analogy that has been used to explain the human response to climate change (whether in the form of denial, inaction, or delay, or simply nonchalance): that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will hop right out, but if you put the frog in a pot of cold water and then turn on the burner, he will remain calmly in the pot until he is fully cooked.
The analogy does provide some insight into our lackadaisical response to a changing climate. From a human perspective, climate change is indeed a slow-moving phenomenon, but geologically-speaking, it is incredibly rapid. As a set of events and changes unleashed primarily by our discovery of fossil fuels some 300 years ago (and dramatically increased rates of extraction and combustion mostly in the last hundred), a cognitive sense of changing climate is distributed across only a dozen generations – either too slow to notice, or too ambiguous to come to conclusions about causality.