Climate change

This First-Ever Plant Sucks CO2 out to the Air and Feeds It to Vegetables

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While there are those who wish to debate the causes of climate change and how much humanity has contributed to it, others look to address greenhouse gas emissions through technology. A first-of-its-kind commercial plant started to operate recently in Switzerland that sucks CO2 from the air to sell to buyers.

The Climeworks AG plant near Zurich is the first one to capture CO2 on an industrial scale, selling about 900 tons of the gas per year to help grow vegetables. That’s how much carbon dioxide 200 cars would release.

Climeworks sees this as a first step, with the company’s goal being to capture 1% of the global CO2 emissions by using this kind of negative emissions technology. Their long-term objective can be achieved with an additional 250,000 plants like this one.

The company touts the scalability of its plants as a favorable factor in achieving their goals.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks.

Preventing temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius is the target set by the Paris agreement on climate change.

The plant is situated atop…

Scientists Have Had Enough. They’re Starting to Run for Office.

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Ever since we fell through the looking glass, things have just gotten weirder and weirder. It was a slow fall, really, gaining momentum over the last decade or two, beginning with “intelligent design” (read: creationism) appearing in public school curricula. And by the time climate change became obvious to the scientific community, it was just too much, and the very idea of science itself came tumbling down. With America now under the control of a party for whom “alternate facts” bear the same level of validity as factual facts, the official stance of the U.S. government regarding the collapse of our environment is to do…nothing. For those whose believe in understanding and knowledge, it’s a nightmare that won’t stop. And now, some scientists are selflessly putting their personal interests aside to run for office, in the hopes to restore evidence-based reasoning — AKA, sanity — to public policy.

At the center of this new political movement is 314 Action, a non-profit founded primarily by scientists. Why 314? Why, it’s pi.

Like Pi, science is all around us. Too often, legislators choose to ignore science in favor of convenient beliefs or intuition. We are committed to electing more leaders who will use their training as STEM professionals to influence policy-making. Evidence-based reasoning should be the foundation of legislation related to issues like climate change, and gun violence.

The organization is involved in promoting a pro-science agenda throughout state and local governments as well as in Washington, D.C. Their action goals:

  • Elect more leaders to the U.S. Senate, House, State Executive and Legislative offices who come from STEM backgrounds
  • Strengthen communication among the STEM community, the public and our elected officials
  • Make science more accessible to the public
  • Educate and advocate for and defend the integrity of science and its use
  • Provide a voice for the STEM community on social issues
  • Promote the responsible use of data driven fact based approaches in public policy

Though the anti-science forces have been building for some time as noted earlier, shocking moves by the Trump administration — including the muzzling of EPA scientists, the demotion of climate science at NASA, and the rejection of the Paris Climate Accord — have positively galvanized the scientific community. As 314 Action’s director of communicationsTed Bordelon put it to IFL Science!, “The future…

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Kayaks Over to a Family to Discuss Climate Change

In possibly one of the most endearingly Canadian gestures he has shown in office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trending on Twitter for casually kayaking up to a family on World Environment Day and chatting it up with a local family.

Carrie Robinson, whose parents were discussing the rising water levels of Ontario’s Niagara River and similar environmental issues with Trudeau, filmed the exchange and later posted the clip on social media.

“Justin Trudeau just kayaked up to my house and talked to my parents? Classic,” says Robinson.

WATCH: Canada…

Al Gore’s Sequel to An Inconvenient Truth Gets Recut for One Very Obvious Reason

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Al Gore’s sequel to his Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth was scheduled to hit theaters on July 28th, but some major news dropped this week that you may have heard about. Now, an early cut will screen in cities for free next week and the decision for America to drop out of the Paris Accord will be added to the film,

Anyone speculating on potential box office for An Inconvenient Sequel before the November election would probably have guessed that it wouldn’t make the surprise $49.8 million that its predecessor managed. The original film represented a sea change moment in America when skeptics of climate change started coming around. Since then, only the hardest of hardliners deny that humans are causing climate change. Even Donald Trump, a man who has no shame, is now unwilling to say whether or not he believes in climate change. He has said on numerous occasions that he believes it’s a hoax, and he proved his feelings this week when he decided to ignore America’s commitment to the Paris Accord. It’s probably safe to say, there will be a lot of people…

Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’ Recut To Include Trump Climate Accord Exit

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, the follow-up to the 2006 climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth, starring former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, will be recut from the original version premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January before it hits theaters in July. The updated version will now include U.S. President Donald Trump’s Thursday exit from the Paris Climate Accord, expanding Trump’s antagonist screen presence in the film.

The filmmakers behind An Inconvenient Sequel, which includes the original documentary’s producer Davis Guggenheim as well as many other returning crew members, announced that Trump’s highly criticized withdrawal from the Paris Accord “will appear in the final film”, according to a spokesperson for Paramount Pictures. Just as for the original documentary, Paramount is releasing An Inconvenient Sequel in conjunction with Participant Media.

An Inconvenient Truth, which followed Gore as he worked tirelessly to convince U.S. legislators and the general public of the impending catastrophic events resulting from climate change, was critically acclaimed, winning 32 awards and was nominated for 11 more. Two of those wins were Academy Awards, making An Inconvenient Truth the only documentary to have achieved this.

Al Gore is once again the featured star of An Inconvenient Sequel, and the passion he shares with the documentary’s creators for environmental activism is unmistakable – the DVD carton packaging for the original film is made from 100 percent recycled material. It is unsurprising that Gore would have some strong feelings about Trump’s commitment to exit from the Paris Climate Accord.

Please join in the fight to protect our home. Make your voice heard and share the official poster for @aitruthfilm. #BeInconvenient pic.twitter.com/WjvH7veLMw

“Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action,” Gore admonished in a statement released shortly after the announcement that the U.S. would be backing out of the climate deal.

“It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time. But make no mistake: if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.”

“Civic leaders, mayors, governors, CEOs, investors and the majority of the business community will take up this challenge,” the statement went…

Elon Musk Quits Trump’s Councils in Protest

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President Trump announcement that the U.S. is going to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change has prompted a strong backlash from business leaders. Many have urged Trump to stay in the environmental pact, like the other 194 nations that signed it, and are now expressing their disappointment. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Neuralink, has previously warned that he would have to leave the President’s councils if Trump pulled out of the Paris accord. And now that he did, Musk is out.

“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” said Musk in his tweet.

Musk was part of an economic advisory board Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. He has taken flak previously for seemingly legitimizing Trump’s ideas by serving in such a capacity, a decision Musk defended by saying he used the access to the the President in order to influence him not to leave the Paris Agreement and to institute a carbon tax to fight emissions.

Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017

Other business titans also expressed their strong disapproval of Trump’s actions, which is now reported to be based in part on misinterpreting data from MIT scientists. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger also quit the President’s councils in protest over the decision, saying it’s a “matter of principle”.

As a matter of…

‘Trump can’t cancel the momentum behind the Paris climate deal’

World leaders, cities, businesses and communities have vowed to press ahead with the Paris climate deal after President Trump announces the US’s withdrawal from the landmark agreement

Global leaders, business chiefs, cities and grassroots organisations alike have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement after President Trump announces the US will pull out of the accord.

Frederik Dahlmann, assistant professor of global energy at the UK-based Warwick Business School, told Positive News that the president’s decision ignores the very significant shifts occurring in the global energy system.

“At a time when costs in the renewable energy sector are falling significantly and clean tech employment is reaching record levels, combined with other key economies’ desire – notably the EU and China – to accelerate rather than to stop these trends, politically the US will find itself in growing isolation, and face accusations of scientific ignorance and moral irresponsibility.”

Dahlmann, who researches the transition to a low-carbon economy, said Trump’s decision would go down in history as “significantly anachronistic and self-harming”.

US businesses, communities, cities and states are miles ahead on climate change

US businesses, communities, cities and states are “miles ahead in their assessment and responses to the threats posed by climate change”, said Dahlmann.

Trump’s statement comes just days after shareholders of the world’s largest public oil company, ExxonMobil, voted in favour of the fossil fuel giant analysing and disclosing the risks it faces due to climate change.

“Other companies are increasingly integrating proactive responses to climate change in their strategies,” said Dahlmann.“They are setting ambitious science-based carbon reduction targets and aiming to source their electricity almost exclusively from renewable sources.

“Put simply, the commercial and economic opportunities are already changing America’s competitive landscape such that [the withdrawal] will be largely seen as an unwelcome irritation, rather than…

Shareholders of the world’s biggest oil company defy board to urge better reporting on climate change

In a shock vote, shareholders of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, have voted to force the firm to be more open about the impact of climate change on its business

In a surprise vote on Wednesday, shareholders of the world’s biggest oil company ExxonMobil have urged the company to be more open about the impact on climate change on the business.

Some 62.3 per cent of shareholders reportedly voted for the resolution, going against Exxon’s own management during the company’s annual general meeting held in Dallas, Texas. It is one of a number of similar proposals passed by two energy companies in May alone.

The decision, which a Guardian journalist described as a “public rebuke” came as Donald Trump was widely reported to be preparing to pull out of the Paris climate accord, the agreement signed by nearly 200 countries to address climate change.

Edward Mason, head…

Visualizing Climate Change

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Climate Change is Rewriting the History Books is an infographic from Climate Central that uses a heatmap design style to show how average temperatures have changed over the last 137 years.

This March clocked in as the second warmest March on record when compared to the 20th century average, according to newly released data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NASA data published last week came to the same conclusion, comparing temperatures to a 1951-1980 baseline.

The NOAA data shows the planet was 1.9°F (1.05°C) above the 20th century average for March, the first time any month has breached the 1°C threshold in the absence of El Niño. This March is the latest freakishly hot month following three years in a row of record heat.

NOAA and NASA baselines don’t really tell the whole story. How much the world has warmed since pre-industrial times is a crucial measuring stick for international climate talks and a more accurate representation of how much climate change is altering the planet.

Using the baseline of 1881-1910, a new, more dire picture of global warming emerges. This March was 2.4°F (1.3°C) above the pre-industrial average by that measure. More notably, this March marks a whopping 627 months in a row of warmer than normal temperatures. If you were born after December 1964, you’ve never experienced a month cooler than average on this planet.

To understand what that looks like, take a peek at the global temperature chart below. Each month is represented by a box. Cool blues have been disappearing, replaced by a wave of…

Regardless of Trump, US businesses are speeding toward a low-carbon world

While Trump’s administration grapples with its position on climate change, it’s worth stepping back to see the wider picture in the US, believes Lance Pierce, North America president of the CDP. In fact – he writes from New York – it is business that is really taking action on climate

It is vital for the US to lead on the Paris Agreement on climate change. This is, of course, the global commitment made in 2015 enabling the world to tackle rising CO2 emissions and prevent a catastrophic further two degrees warming of the planet. Global warming doesn’t just increase temperatures, it threatens food security, clean water, and people’s health. Some 145 countries, including the UK and the US, have sealed the deal. It is this agreement that is currently being scrutinised by the US government. Will President Trump pull out?

We need to accelerate our joint actions as people, organisations and nations to have maximum impact, and the Paris Agreement represents a meaningful shift towards a low carbon economy. That is, it provides a clear path to guide our emissions reductions together with the rest of the world.

Everyone is quickly learning that cutting carbon pays

Our country’s power is not all in the capital in Washington. In fact, it is spread right across our vast nation, spanning boardrooms, city and state borders. Governments are not working alone: companies, investors, citizens, cities, states and regions are thankfully awake to the urgent need for tackling climate change and are the major force behind the move to a low carbon world. This will continue regardless of the US federal government’s position, a crucial point to remember.

Climate change is an urgent concern and our investors at the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, want to know how companies are dealing with environmental risk and working to build a green and fair economy. We see investors buying into those…