Wednesday, July 24, 2013



On May 14 Fen Montiaigne published an interview with Ralph Keeling in The Guardian titled, Record 400ppm CO2 milestone 'feels like we're moving into another era'.  Ralph is the son of Charles David Keeling, the first climate scientist to make accurate measurements of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at the Mona Loa Observatory in Hawaii, starting in 1958, when the concentration was 315 ppm.  Ralph is now the Director of the Scripps CO2 program, based in California.  In respnse to the question, What steps would you recommend be taken fairly soon to begin to rein in emissions?” Keeling said, “Again I'm not the person to think in detail how this can work or what the constraints are. But clearly we have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. That requires developing renewable sources of energy, and we need a marketplace that allows that to happen. As long as fossil fuels are too cheap, that's going to be hard to see. So we need some system in which the cost of the damage caused by CO2 emissions is paid at the gas pump or at the point of extraction and not by generations living later.” (emphasis added)  At:  His answer highlights the issue of intergenerational justice.

Treehugger for June 10, 2013 has an article by Saah Hodgdon titled, Women Must Be Heard in the Climate Change Debate.  She writes, “Every day, in countless places around the world, women's lives and livelihoods are being threatened by forces beyond their control. The impacts of climate change, such as floods, droughts, extreme weather, and declining agricultural production, affect everyone. But when crops, water sources, and natural resources become scarce, women - who are often responsible for managing these resources - suffer the most.”  “According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women: As small-scale farmers - the vast majority in some areas of the world - (women) have far fewer resources than men to cope with crop failures or pursue methods of farming more adapted to climate shifts. As migrants and refugees pushed from areas of climatic stress, they confront greater risks of disease and violence. During disasters that follow natural hazards, they count higher among the dead.”  At:

On June 14 John Funk of the Cleveland Plain Dealer posted an article titled, Exxon's Rex Tillerson sees climate change as risk managment problem.  In response to a question after an address to the City Club of Cleveland, Tillerson, the head of the world’s largest oil company, admitted that climate change is a serious and complex problem, but opined that society may not be able to fix it and will just have to adapt.  This was the second time in 13 months that Tillerson admitted that climate change might be real.  At:

On July 3 Lauren Morello posted an article in Nature titled, Evolution makes the grade.  She reported that the Next Generation Science Standards, released in April, are the first effort in 15 years to overhaul and modernize US science education.  They include the teaching of both evolution and climate change.  Education officials in Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland and Vermont have all approved the standards; at least five more states — California, Florida, Maine, Michigan and Washington - may consider them soon.  Legislatures in Louisiana and Tennessee have passed bills that allow teachers to present material that undermines both evolution and climate change.  At:

On July 15 Elizabeth Rauer posted the results of a study from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment titled, The Best Defense Against Catastrophic Storms: Mother Nature.  It says, “The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, offers the first comprehensive  map of the entire U.S. coastline that shows where and how much protection communities get from natural habitats such as sand dunes, coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves.  In our changing climate, extreme weather, sea-level rise, and degraded coastal ecosystems are placing people and property at greater risk of damage from coastal hazards. The likelihood and magnitude of losses can be reduced by intact ecosystems near vulnerable coastal communities.”  The map of the coastline can be used to zoom in to particular sections of the coast (e.g., the East Coast) to see which areas are at low, medium or high risk with and without protection from natural habitats that could be lost in the future through development, sea level rise, and coastal storms.  At:

The World Resources Institute has recently introduced CAIT 2.0 - WRI’s Climate Data Explorer.  One can easily find, for example, the per capita GHG emissions of various countries.  Some examples for 2010 in metric tonnes are:  U.S. (18.33), Russian Federation (11.71), Germany (9.88), China (6.65), Brazil (2.46) and India (1.40).  At:

The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications"
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community. 

Study: U.S. Tax Code Has Not Yet Been Effective Tool to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Federal tax provisions do not have a large effect on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a National Resources Council report published June 20. The Congressionally requested study examined various tax provisions, including renewable electricity production tax credits, oil and gas depletion allowances, home energy efficiency improvement credits, and owner-occupied housing provisions, and found that the policies yield little reduction in GHG emissions per dollar of revenue loss. The combined federal revenue losses from energy sector tax subsidies in 2011 and 2013 totaled $48 billion. The report finds that while provisions for renewable electricity reduce GHG emissions, other subsidies, such as those for ethanol and other biofuels, may have slightly increased emission. Overall, the report concludes that current approaches are not nearly as effective as carbon taxes or tradable emissions allowances would be.
For additional information see: Environmental Leader, Study
Mayors Pledge to Prepare Cities for Extreme Weather
On June 17, more than 45 mayors and other elected officials from U.S. cities pledged to make their communities more resilient to extreme weather and energy and economic challenges. The pledge, the Resilient Communities for America Agreement, includes a commitment to use more renewable energy and make buildings and infrastructure more energy efficient, as well as a commitment to share information and solutions. This pledge comes less than a week after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his $20 billion plan to prepare New York City for rising sea levels and increasing temperatures (see June 17 issue). Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, whose city has seen both severe flooding and drought the past five years, expressed the importance of local action, stating, “These extreme [weather] events are becoming more and more prevalent, and local government is really where it happens.”
For additional information see: Reuters, Resilient Communities for America
Shenzhen Becomes First Chinese City to Implement Cap and Trade System
Shenzhen implemented China’s first cap and trade system on June 18, with 635 companies included in the program. These companies emitted a total of 31.7 million tonnes of carbon (CO2) emissions in 2010. The goal of the cap is a 21 percent reduction in the emissions intensity by 2015, from 2010 levels. Li Yan, Greenpeace's climate and energy campaign manager in China, stated, "This is just a baby step when you look at the total quantity of emissions, but it enables China to establish institutions for carbon controls for the first time.” Over the next year, six other regions in China are expected to implement their own cap and trade systems (see October 15, 2012 issue).
In related news, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission agreed to share information and work together to establish their emissions trading systems. Under the agreement, the two groups will collaborate to develop effective data gathering tools and pollution monitoring systems that can improve their systems. Mary Nichols, chair of CARB, visited Shenzhen for the opening day of their market, where she told Director of the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission Xu Anliang, “Congratulations to Shenzhen for taking this important step forward today. We are pleased to work with you in the effort to combat global climate change. The actions of states, provinces, and cities are creating a foundation that national and international action can spring from. We are blazing the trail.”
For additional information see: Reuters, Scientific American, CARB Press Release
Note: The Shenzhen cap and trade system is designed to reduce CO2 emissions intensity - the amount of CO2 produced per unit of production (e.g., per MWh of electricity generated).  It may not reduce actual CO2 emissions (tons of CO2 per year) if the economy keeps growing.

G8 Leaders Reiterate Commitment to Address Climate Change
Leaders at the June 17-18 G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, released a statement that includes a series of commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change for economic reasons. “Climate change is one of the foremost challenges for our future economic growth and well-being. We remain strongly committed to addressing the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2020 and to pursue our low carbon path afterwards,” the statement read. The leaders committed to take action through organizations such as the Major Economies Forum (MEF), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The statement also pledges work with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to adopt a new international climate agreement by 2015, and to mobilize $100 billion of climate finance by 2020.
For additional information see: G8 Statement, Business Green
World Bank Study Highlights Risks to Impoverished and Coastal Regions
In a new report released June 19, the World Bank warns that climate-driven impacts will threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. The report looks at the likely impacts of warming in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia today (as well as in a two degrees Celsius and four degrees Celsius world) and builds upon a 2012 World Bank study (see November 26, 2012 issue). According to the report, climate-related extreme events from current warming are already pushing the most vulnerable households below the poverty threshold and will make economic growth and poverty eradication increasingly difficult as temperatures continue to rise. By 2030, the report warns, between 40 percent and 80 percent of the land used to grow maize in Sub-Saharan Africa will be unable to sustain crops due to droughts and heat, while sea-level rise and increased tropical storms could inundate much of Bangkok, Thailand and other low-lying coastal cities and islands. “In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth’s temperature,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, stated, “Jim Kim is sounding a wakeup call for the world to work harder and faster to combat climate change. Rapid cuts in CO2 emissions are necessary to stabilize long-term temperatures, but in the near-term, fast action to cut short-lived climate pollutants is critical for reducing the impacts we’re already suffering and the even more punishing impacts that are fast approaching in the next couple of decades.”
For additional information see: Washington Post, AP, Study, Kim Speech Transcript
Study Finds that Climate Goals Can Be Achieved Profitably
A new study by McKinsey and Company, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) demonstrates that if U.S. businesses reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of three percent annually, they can save up to $780 billion over the next 10 years, including $190 billion in the year 2020 alone. The report, released June 18, concludes that a three percent annual GHG emissions reduction will amount to a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the U.S. corporate sector from 1990 levels. Businesses could achieve this reduction by investing between three and four percent of their capital expenditures on carbon reduction projects, such as energy efficiency improvements and installation of renewable energy. Companies that lack the necessary capital to invest in projects can include energy efficiency upgrades into operation improvement expenditures. The report finds that nearly 80 percent of the companies that reported their climate and environmental goals to the CDP earned higher returns on carbon reduction investments than on their overall corporate capital investments.
For additional information see: Business Green, WWF Press Release, Report
2012 the Second Most Expensive Year for U.S. Extreme Weather
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climate Data Center released an assessment June 13 concluding that damages from the 11 billion-dollar severe weather events in 2012 cost the United States $110 billion. Overall, 2012 was the second costliest year from severe weather in the United States, topped only by 2005. These events – which included seven severe weather and tornado events, two tropical cyclones, a severe drought and wildfire – were also responsible for more than 300 deaths. NOAA reports that the two costliest events in 2012 were Hurricane Sandy ($65 billion) and the yearlong drought across the country ($30 billion).
For additional information see: NOAA Press Release, Daily Climate, Report
Climate Change Raising Liability to the National Flood Insurance Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a report June 11 stating that the portion of the United States at risk for flooding – otherwise known as the floodplain area – will increase by up to 45 percent by the end of the century. If this occurs, the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) could see premiums rise to $11.2 billion by the year 2100, compared to $3.2 billion in 2009. Furthermore, the number of NFIP-insured properties could rise from today’s level of 5.6 million, to 11.2 million by 2100. The NFIP incurred $16 billion in debt after Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy increased that figure to $25 billion. Losses on each insured property could increase as much as 90 percent by 2100, which must then be covered by either the future storm victims or the government. The study assumes that sea levels will rise by four feet by the end of the century, though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted last year that sea level rise could exceed six feet by 2100. Furthermore, changes in the frequency and strength of storms will likely cause severe flooding around rivers, in addition to oceanic surges. The report predicts that the greatest increases in floodplain areas will occur near the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest. The report attributes 30 percent of this increased risk to population growth and 70 percent to climate change.
For additional information see: Mother Jones, Report
Ice Melt in Antarctica Largely Caused from Below
A study published June 13 in Science concludes that the majority of Antarctic sea ice loss is due to melting on the underside of the ice shelves that line the coasts of the continent. Previously, scientists had believed that the majority of ice loss was occurring due to icebergs breaking off of these ice shelves. However, when the researchers measured the volume of change in different areas of the ice shelves, they found that melting at the bottom of the ice shelves accounted for 55 percent of all ice loss. This study underlines the importance of the ocean temperature surrounding the Antarctic to sea ice melt. According to lead author Dr. Eric Rignot, professor of Earth system science at University of California, Irvine, “This has profound implications for our understanding of interactions between Antarctica and climate change. It basically puts the Southern Ocean up front as the most significant control on the evolution of the polar ice sheet.”
For additional information see: Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Study
President Obama Releases Climate Action Plan
At a June 25 speech at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama outlined a suite of executive actions in his Climate Action Plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change. Central to the plan is the Environmental Protection Agency promulgating draft carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for existing power plants by 2014. In addition, the plan directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to permit enough renewable energy projects on public lands to power six million homes, and for federally assisted housing to deploy 100 megawatts of new renewable energy, both by 2020. The plan sets a goal for 20 percent of all energy for federal buildings to be from renewable sources by 2020, and for the federal government to reduce its emissions by at least three billion tonnes cumulatively by 2030. Obama’s plan will also release $8 billion in loan guarantees for advanced fossil fuel and efficiency projects, and strengthen the Better Building Challenge to increase building efficiency 20 percent by 2020.
Along with domestic GHG reduction provisions, the plan directs federal agencies to help the nation prepare for climate-related impacts. Climate resilience measures include: support for climate-resilient infrastructure investments; the convening of a short-term climate preparedness task force composed of state, local and tribal officials; and the development of guidelines to support local communities planning for climate impacts.
At the international level, the president pledged that the United States would help negotiate an ambitious international climate agreement by the end of 2015, to take effect in 2020. Obama also vowed to continue work to reduce short-lived climate pollutants both domestically and internationally after the agreement in early June with President Xi Jinping of China to phase down hydrofluorocarbon use under the Montreal Protocol (see June 10 issue). Furthermore, the president stated that unless there is no other option to generate electricity, the United States would no longer finance new coal plants overseas that do not deploy carbon capture technology and urged other countries to do the same.

Insurance Industry Concerned about Costs from Extreme Weather, Climate Change
The Geneva Association, an insurance industry think tank, released research highlighting the threat of warming oceans and climate change to the insurability of catastrophic risk in some areas. The Association also held a conference in London, focusing on how governments and the insurance industry can partner to mitigate damages from natural disasters. “Given that energy from the ocean is a key driver of extreme events, ocean warming has effectively caused a shift towards a ‘new normal’ for a number of insurance-relevant hazards,” said John Fitzpatrick, secretary general of the Geneva Association. In addition to pointing out that volatility of climate-related events makes the pricing of insurance difficult and risky for insurers, the report highlights three main areas in which the risk of ocean damage is increasing. First, continental ice melt is increasing the volume of ocean water on the planet, accelerating sea level rise and flooding. Second, as the ocean warms, precipitation levels change. Third, the effects of climate change on large-scale climate phenomena such as El Nino, the North Atlantic Oscillation or monsoon systems, is unknown. The report urges insurers to develop modernized risk estimation methods and suggests public-private partnerships as a means to strengthen community resilience and infrastructure.
For additional information see: Financial Times, Insurance Journal, Study
Sharp Reductions in HFCs Can Avoid Up to Half a Degree of Warming by 2100
A study published June 26 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics calculates that phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100. “Our calculations show that controlling HFC growth can avoid a significant amount of warming in this century, at least comparable to CO2 mitigation at 2050, and almost 50 percent of CO2 mitigation by 2100,” stated lead author Yangyang Xu, climate researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. HFCs are a small contributor to warming today, but are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries, including the United States, European Union, China and India. “The findings of our study provide even greater justification for phasing-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.” stated co-author Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. “It’s the biggest, fastest, and cheapest climate mitigation available to the world today. The prominence that the President gave HFCs in his speech and climate plan makes it clear he will be continuing his personal diplomacy to ensure a swift victory under the Montreal Protocol.”
For additional information see: Scripps Press Release, IGSD Press Release, Study
Poll Finds Strong Support for Carbon Regulations
The Georgetown Climate Center released a poll June 24 that found 87 percent of Americans support Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This includes 78 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats. Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, stated, “Polling that we are releasing today shows that Americans want the Administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and to take steps to protect future generations from the worst climate change impacts.”
In related news, the Small Business Majority published a poll on June 25 showing that nearly 6 in 10 small businesses believe that climate change and extreme weather events are an urgent problem that can harm the economy and small businesses in particular. The study also found that 42 percent of small businesses believe the Small Business Administration should track claims related to extreme weather events to increase government aid to small businesses. A similar poll released by the American Sustainable Business Council found that 63 percent of small businesses support carbon dioxide regulations by the EPA on existing power plants.
Study: Government Underfunding Climate Resilience
On June 19, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a report concluding that from 2011 to 2013 the federal government spent six times more on disaster relief than resilience efforts to protect communities. The report, titled “Pound Foolish: Federal Community-Resilience Investments Swamped by Disaster Damages,” estimates that the federal government spent about $136 billion on disaster relief compared to only $22.4 billion on resiliency programs. The report recommends assessing local preparedness needs and creating a fund to support resiliency programs that protect communities from natural disasters and extreme weather events. The report states, “Revenue that should be targeted to resilience is too often diverted to disaster recovery or falls victim to shortsighted austerity measures such as the budget sequester. The federal government could save additional lives and money by increasing assistance to communities to help them address their resilience needs.”
For additional information see: Los Angeles Times, The Hill, CAP Report
Assessment of Geologic Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential Released by Dept. of Interior
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its first ever detailed assessment of America’s capacity for technically accessible geologic carbon sequestration on June 26. According to the research, the United States has the potential to store 3,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in geologic basins throughout the country. The assessment examined the storage potential of 36 basins across the United States, finding that the Coastal Plains region holds about 65 percent of America’s CO2 sequestration capacity. Alaska and the Rocky Mountains were also found to have significant capacity. For reference, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2011, the United States emitted 5.5 gigatonnes of energy-related CO2.
For additional information see: DOI Press Release, Study
Note: I recall that the cost of capturing and storing CO2 from a coal-fired power plant can be of the order of $30-40/ton of CO2 - raising the price of electricity by 3-4 cents per kWh.  Once the CO2 has been diluted to about 0.04% in the atmosphere (400 ppm), the cost of capture and storage by chemical and physical processes goes up to about $1000/to($1/kWh).

The U.S. and China Agree to Further Climate Protection
The U.S.-China Working Group on Climate Change, set up in April during Secretary of State John Kerry’s first visit to China (see April 22 issue), announced agreement on July 10 on five new initiatives to jointly reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. Implementation plans are to be completed by October 2013. The new US-China initiatives are: reducing black carbon and other emissions from heavy-duty trucks and vehicles; demonstrating carbon capture, utilization, and storage; increasing energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport; strengthening capacity for collection and management of greenhouse gas data; and collaborating on smart grid systems, deploying renewable and clean energy, and improving demand management. The U.S.-China partnership also is working to implement the June agreement by President Obama and President Xi Jinping to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol (see June 10 issue). "The US-China initiatives will produce fast mitigation from cuts to HFCs and black carbon, two climate pollutants that clear out of the atmosphere quickly and produce quick cooling. The initiatives also will produce longer term mitigation by cutting carbon dioxide, and by pursuing carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects," said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. The high level meeting included the Secretaries of State, Energy, Treasury, Transportation, and Commerce, as well as officials from the White House.
For additional information see: State Dept. Fact Sheet, Washington Post, IGSD Press Release
Rate of Global Warming Increased from 2000-2010
A report released July 3 by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) concludes that the rate of global warming has accelerated in recent decades. The report, “The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes,” analyzed global and regional temperature trends and found that 2001-2010 was the warmest decade for land and ocean surface temperatures in both hemispheres. Average global temperatures were 0.21 degree Celsius warmer this past decade than from 1991 to 2000. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud stated, “The decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans.”
For additional information see: BBC, Bloomberg, AP
United Church of Christ Divests from Fossil Fuels
On July 3, the United Church of Christ became the first American religious body to divest its pension funds and investments from fossil fuel companies due to climate change concerns. The divestment will occur in stages over the next five years, although the church left open the possibility of keeping some investments if the companies meet certain standards. The United Church of Christ is a Protestant church with approximately 1.1 million members. Its campaign to divest from fossil fuels was led by the Rev. Jim Antal, who is president of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.
In related news, two major financial institutions have also announced their divestment from fossil fuel companies. The largest bank in the Netherlands, Rabobank, will cease lending to companies or landowners that extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. Storebrand, a major Norwegian pension fund, has sold its investments in 13 coal producers and the six oil companies most heavily involved in tar sands. Both banks cited long-term financial risks connected to climate change as reasons for divestment.
For additional information see: AP, Sustainable Business
IMF Director Says that Climate Action Will Create Jobs
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde stated during an interview with MSNBC that climate change will transform economies around the world. She noted that these transformations would include disasters brought about by climate change, but also said, “There will be areas of growth. You talk about green growth – that will be associated with particular jobs for which the training has not yet been invented and needs to be aggregated and put together.”
For additional information see: International Business Times
Hurricane Frequency and Strength to Increase with Climate Change
A new study published July 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes that tropical cyclones are likely to become stronger and more frequent with climate change. The study finds that the world could experience up to 20 more hurricanes and tropical storms annually by the end of the century. The study disputes previous reports, including a 2012 paper from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that predict a decrease in storm frequency as climate change makes individual storms more powerful. Study author Kerry Emanuel, professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used six high-resolution climate models to simulate 600 storms each year from 1950 and 2005 and then project global hurricane activity out to 2100.
For additional information see: USA Today, TIME, Study
Ocean Acidification Impacts Entire Marine Ecosystems
Ocean acidification has farther reaching effects on marine ecosystems than previously realized, according a study published July 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers compared ecosystems in low, high, and extremely high areas of acidity by a volcano vent in Italy. They found that the low acidity areas had much higher concentrations of biodiversity. Urchins and grazing animals were not common in the higher acidity areas, and those that were present in the higher acidity areas did not consume the algae. Lead author Dr. Kristy Kroeker, marine biologist at the University of California, Davis, explained, “The background, low-grade stress caused by ocean acidification can cause a whole shift in the ecosystem so that everything is dominated by the same plants, which tend to be turf algae.” Approximately 30 percent of anthropogenic carbon released into the atmosphere has been absorbed by the oceans.
For additional information see: The Daily Climate, UC Davis News, Study
Communities of Color Disproportionately Impacted by Urban Heat Islands
Minority populations are more likely than others to live in dangerous “urban heat islands,” according to a study published July 1 in Environmental Health Perspectives. Urban heat islands occur in neighborhoods that have large amounts of asphalt, cement and roofing that absorb heat and lack trees to shade people and infrastructure. During heat waves, urban heat islands can be as much as five to 10 degrees warmer than other areas. Researchers compared the locations of heat islands to census data and found that, compared to whites, blacks are 52 percent more likely to live in an urban heat island, while Asians are 32 percent more likely, and Latinos are 21 percent more likely. These results can have important implications for how communities address the increased heat risks that are associated with climate change. Co-author Dr. Rachel Morello-Frosch, professor of environmental science, policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley noted, “Efforts to minimize heat risks in cities need to be more attuned to the racial disparities we see on a national scale. We need to make sure that any heat mitigation strategies really focus on the most vulnerable communities.”
For additional information see: Los Angeles Times, Study
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Chad A. Tolman
New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

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