Apr 28, 2019
by Tish Levee, For the Planet
But every day we are losing great natural treasures to climate change. In addressing the European Parliament, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate activist, whom I wrote about recently, said, “We came together for Notre Dame, we can do the same for the world. Watch her moving speech at https://tinyurl.com/yyrma7zs.
While folks in the lower 48 have been experiencing colder than usual weather, this doesn’t mean that “global warming” isn’t real; there’s a real difference between weather and climate change.
Researchers are warning that the Arctic has entered an “Unprecedented State,” threatening global climate stability, because "what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic."
One example — on March 19th, Klawock, in southeastern Alaska, hit 70° F, the earliest date that anywhere in Alaska has been this warm. Temperatures have risen up to 50° above usual in the state, which is heating two to three times faster than other US states. The effects of climate change are affecting Alaska, one of the fastest warming regions in the world, more than most places; many climatologists consider it to be ground zero in the warming world.
According to a recent study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), published in Forbes, an accelerated energy transition to renewables and energy efficiency coupled with electrification of key sectors like transportation would cumulatively save the world economy up to $160 trillion over the next 30 years in avoided health costs, energy subsidies, and climate damages. It would also keep global warming below 2° C (3.6° F). Every dollar spent on this transition would repay itself seven times over. Renewable energy (solar and wind) is now significantly cheaper than coal, and the cost of batteries has declined so rapidly that renewables plus battery storage are now cheaper than even natural gas plants in many cases. Bloomberg just announced that the rapidly decreasing cost of batteries means electric vehicles will cost less than gas-powered ones in just three years, six years earlier than they predicted in 2017.
By closing down coal plants to invest in wind energy, Spain plans to be 100% renewable by 2050, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% over 1990. Puerto Rico will also be 100% renewable by 2050, and Washington state just voted to become 100% renewable by 2045, as did California last fall.
Chicago’s joined over 100 other US cities, including Berkley, committed to 100% renewable energy by mid-century, the largest US city to do so. By 2034 all buildings will have renewable energy, and the city’s bus fleet will renewable by 2040.
New York City banned all plastic foam containers, including cups, this year; Maryland just passed veto-proof legislation to ban them by July 1, 2020; and New York joins California as the 2nd state to ban plastic bags.
India’s banning all single us plastics by 2022.
Guinness is ditching plastic packaging.
Trader Joe’s massive commitment to reduce plastic packaging spurred a consumer petition asking Whole Foods to follow suite.
Philippines stores joined those in Thailand and Vietnam, by wrapping vegetables and fruits in banana leaves instead of plastic.
While planting trees has been touted as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s not a “miracle solution.” We can’t possibly plant enough trees to stop or reverse climate change, but it can be an effective mitigation tool. Scientists have established there’s room to grow an additional 1.2 trillion trees in parks, woods, and abandoned land.
Australia and New Zealand each plan1 billion new trees by 2050.
In India 1.5 million volunteers recently planted more than 66 million tree saplings in just 12 hours.
Sikhs around the world are planting one million trees, as a “gift to the entire planet.”
In Myanmar a 2018 project using drones to fire “seed missiles” into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing resulted in thousands of 20-inch saplings in less than a year.
In Africa, over 20 countries joined to build the Great Green Wall of Africa, planting trees across roughly 6,000 miles of barren land at the southern edge of the Sahara, an area that was lush and green till the 1970s.
There is action and hope...
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