Climate change: can cap and trade be the solution to Delhi’s pollution problem?

It cannot be denied that climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing issues of the day, with experts worrying about the future of the world as we move forward at this rate. In its publication of the Fifth Assessment Report in 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of 1,300 independent scientists from around the world concluded that there is a greater than a 95% chance that human activity at over the past 50 years has warmed the planet. They attribute the main causes of warming to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels such as petroleum (petroleum), natural gas and coal.

Other sources of greenhouse gases come from deforestation, changes in land use, soil erosion, agriculture and livestock (IPCC, 2013). When greenhouse gases are released, they heat the atmosphere. Well, the impact of global warming has been shared around the world, and therefore, must be action against it. According to data published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “changes in temperature and precipitation, rising ocean temperatures, sea levels and acidity, melting glaciers and sea ​​ice, changes in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather conditions. events, changes in ecosystem characteristics, such as the length of the growing season, the timing of flower blooming and bird migration, and increasing negative effects on human health and well-being. (EPA, 2017).

The majority of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) cites that 80% of global energy consumption is based on fossil fuels. In 2016, 56% of US carbon emissions came from transportation and electricity.

Likewise, in 2015, 58% of California’s carbon emissions came from transportation and electricity. In the United States, the main source of carbon emissions in the energy sector is coal. According to a 2015 report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), total CO2 emissions from US coal-fired electric power were 1,364 million metric tons. In contrast, CO2 emissions from natural gas and petroleum were 530 million metric tonnes and 24 million metric tonnes, respectively.

As can be seen from the archives of the past, global market agencies prefer energy produced by fossil fuels. In the electricity sector, global fossil fuel subsidies are around $ 100 billion per year, while global subsidies for renewable forms of electricity are around $ 30 billion per year (Kitson , Wooders and Moerenhout, 2011). Shifting to a low-carbon future will require reducing these massive fossil fuel subsidies. Although this subject has been raised repeatedly in various fora for a long time, its implementation has been more difficult to achieve.

According to the 2016 World Health Organization report, Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and has maintained its position in the list for a very long time. Among the 11 mega-cities in the world with more than 14 million inhabitants, Delhi has the highest levels of suspended particles (PM 10). This makes Delhi’s air virtually unbreathable, resulting in the death of around 10,000 residents annually due to rising pollution levels. (Talking tree, 2015).

According to a report published by Dr Pradhan in India Today in 2015, an inhabitant of Delhi is exposed to an average of 153 micrograms per cubic meter of PM 2.5. To put this statistic into perspective, consider that it is fifteen times the limit recommended by the WHO. Also note that PM 2.5 is considered the most harmful of all measurable particles.

However, none of these figures are new or unprecedented, as the pollution problem in Delhi has been understood and analyzed by policy makers and experts for some time now. What is new, however, is the political response to this problem.

The main causes of particulate matter, PM 2.5 and PM 10, in India are vehicle emissions and industrial processes. Other pollutants emitted by these two elements include CO, NOx, SO2, etc. Following the Delhi High Court’s remark that living in Delhi is equivalent to living in a gas chamber, the Delhi government imposed the odd-even policy in 2016. This policy was introduced in an attempt to mitigate pollution caused by congestion. Delhi roads.

Even if the impact of this policy is rather questionable, the purpose of its discussion is to highlight the fact that it is the only explicit political action aimed at directly combating pollutants. According to the 2019 Delhi State Action Plan report, some policy actions in the transport and vehicle sector have been proposed to control the pollution emitted by vehicles. However, any tangible impact has yet to be assessed. Most policies of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee include tackling polluted areas and sources of pollution, but not directly tackling pollutants.

The purpose of discussing these key strategies for improving the city’s air quality is to show what precisely these policies lack in action at the industrial level. Industrial exhaust fumes add major pollutants to Delhi’s air and easily count as a major source of pollution in the state.

Therefore, the idea behind the proposed document revolves around this: to directly control pollutants emitted by industries. Most of the existing actions in this regard include only the establishment of certain standards.

Areas like Okhla, Wazirpur, Jahangirpuri, Narela, Badarpur, Mundka and Mayapuri are called the toxic hubs of Delhi. Another thing common to all of these places, however, is that they are all industrial hotspots in the state. The correlation is obvious, and that’s exactly what we can use to our advantage.

The idea of ​​the proposed political action includes the establishment of a cap-and-trade market in these industrial regions.

Cap-and-trade model

Climate change and its impacts threaten the very existence of life on earth, as scientists and experts have repeatedly explained. Regardless of the challenges that lie ahead in terms of the required change and implementation, it is imperative that we continue to do our best to mitigate the effects of climate change and put our world on a more sustainable path.

The cap-and-trade system is a market-based tool that tackles climate pollution and creates income to invest in a clean energy future. The United States has a history of inaction at the federal level on climate change issues, but the world cannot afford to wait for federal legislation. The problem of climate change has grown considerably in the past and will continue to worsen if each authority is not aware of its responsibility. Therefore, sitting down for the Center to take action would get us nowhere, it is important that States take action and take responsibility for the next step.

A cap is a restriction on the amount of pollution that can be emitted by all businesses in a particular region. This level is then broken down into allocations, according to different industries and scale of operations. This allowance is then purchased or obtained in the form of a license from the state government (or regulatory body).

The trade then occurs by a company to pollute beyond a certain limit, of another company which is ready to give up part of its said limit, for a price. This price is set according to a microeconomic analysis of the will (based on investment and operating expenses) and an econometric analysis of the economic relationship at the industry level between production and pollution.

Why cap and trade?

Two main reasons make this market-based tool an impressive strategy:

First, it tackles climate pollution through direct control of pollutants, and its implementation is state-based. Second, it generates income to invest more in political actions aimed at improving the state’s pollution conditions.

days of poor air quality in delhi could start on Sunday |  city ​​news, Indian express

The global precedents of Cap-And-Trade-

The cap and trade program was originally introduced in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) 2006. The program was extended until 2030 in 2017, due to its success during its first decade. It has since been adopted in various countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, South Korea and Quebec.

Action plan for adoption in Delhi

If you look at the list of countries above, you will only see developed countries, mainly due to the nature of the political action required to implement the model. For Delhi, however, the advantage is that most industries are concentrated in specific regions and are mostly homogeneous in raw materials. This may allow for a more defined adoption of the model, depending on regional requirements.

The studies carried out by the Delhi Pollution Control Board specify the pollution emitted by different regions, which means that the establishment of an exogenous ceiling can be specific to the industry since the industrial concentration by zone is mainly homogeneous in Delhi.

Note also that the success of such a program depends on the way in which the exchanges take place between the companies. A key determinant in this regard, according to examples from different studies, depends on differences in operating scale, availability of capital and operating costs. Although more definitive information on this subject would require further analysis, a report published by O Saigal explicitly explains this difference.

Of course, a number of endogenous considerations would be necessary to inculcate during the modeling, the available data and the aforementioned parameters explain that this can be done. Appropriate planning and policy formation can do just that.


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Google bans ads by opponents of the consensus on climate change • The Register

Google has decided not to run any advertising alongside content that “contradicts the well-established scientific consensus on the existence and causes of climate change”.

The decision impacts YouTube, advertisers and publishers. It appears to be primarily a matter of commerce rather than conscience: the adtech strangler has touted the move as a change in its advertising and monetization policy.

“In recent years, we’ve heard directly from a growing number of our advertising partners and publishers who have expressed concerns about ads running alongside or promoting inaccurate claims about climate change,” the Google missive read. “Advertisers just don’t want their ads to appear alongside this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.”

Hence the new policy, which will ban ads appearing on content that suggests climate change is a hoax, scam or denies that human activity contributes to it. Ads suggesting any of the above will also be prohibited.

Google says it “will carefully consider the context in which the claims are made, distinguishing between content that states a false claim as a fact, versus content that reports or discusses that claim.

“We will also continue to allow advertising and monetization on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research and more.”

Google said it had “consulted authoritative sources on the subject of climate science, including experts who contributed to the assessment reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” for the help define its policies.

Their recommendations will be implemented using “a combination of automated tools and human review” to assess content and ads.

But Google hasn’t explained how the review process will work.

The register expects it to need it, and quickly, as the reaction to the change we’ve seen on social media has already criticized Google’s position as another example of Big Tech effectively becoming the arbiter of a acceptable public discourse.

Here is another point of view.

Others have pointed out that Google has been enjoying this content for years.

It is also easy to find a favorable sentiment for change.

One thing is certain: this change will trigger weeks of culture warfare arguments that will bring a lot of heat but very little light and hardly change their minds. ®



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MakerDAO Founder’s Plans to Fight Climate Change and Return to ETH

MakerDAO founder Rune Christensen published an essay outlining steps that could be taken to make the protocol a vehicle for tackling climate change.

In a lengthy article published Oct. 5 on the MakerDAO Governance Forum, Christensen asserts that MakerDAO should strive to ensure that all of its guarantees include “sustainable, climate-aligned assets that take into account the long-term impacts of financial activity on the environment ”.

Christensen says the protocol collateral should be invested in real-world sustainable assets (RWAs) through senior credit positions in projects that build “solar farms, wind turbines, batteries, recharging stations and ‘other cost-effective renewable energy solutions, along with their supply chains, sustainable resource extraction and recycling. He further stated:

“Today we already have everything we need to start expanding our RWA exposure to hundreds of billions of US dollars and beyond, safely and in full compliance with financial regulations, using the model. of real-world assets based on the fiduciary that the community has developed over many years. “

Related: MakerDAO To Dissolve Foundation And Become Truly Decentralized Again

Christensen also expresses the need for MakerDAO to restore its commitment to a decentralized guarantee, advocating that the protocol again relies on the Ethereum network and the Ether token.

MakerDAO users deposit crypto assets into the protocol to secure the minting of the Dai stablecoin (DAI). While Ether was initially exclusively supported by the protocol, it has since expanded to support other assets, including USD Coin, Wrapped Bitcoin, and Basic Attention Token.

The Maker founder highlighted the improvement in environmental efficiency expected to be achieved through Ethereum’s transition to a proof-of-stake consensus with Eth2, saying:

“Once the upgrade from proof of work to proof of stake is completed, Ethereum will become a high energy efficiency blockchain. ETH will become a lasting competitor to Bitcoin’s current role as the leading cryptocurrency. “


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Google adds a search page dedicated to “climate change”

In addition to new features for Maps, Nest thermostats and flights, Google will be posting more information on how to make sustainable choices in research, shopping and finance. This includes a Google search results page dedicated to “climate change” and research into ineffective traffic lights.

Google will add a dedicated ‘climate change’ results page later this month. The “Overview” (with 10 blue links) and “News” tabs work the same, but “Causes”, “Effects” and “Take Action” are taken directly from United Nations data.

The search also makes it easier to find electric vehicles and other green vehicles. Google notes that interest in electric vehicles, as well as charging stations, has “never been higher”. The company will showcase climate-conscious models and allow users to compare models while helping users understand the benefits of electric vehicles.

There will be green tags for “Electric” and “Hybrid plug-in”, with results having a “Loading” tab. This notes the time it will take to refuel and the stations near you, as well as an “Annual Energy Cost Estimate” tool which allows you to “modify the parameters” and compare them to a vehicle. gasoline.

Meanwhile, Google Shopping will offer more cost-effective and sustainable alternatives when searching for power-hungry devices in the United States. This includes furnaces, dishwashers, water heaters, ranges and dryers.

Google Finance extends its sustainability score (from the Climate Disclosure Project) to your entire tracked portfolio. This will assess the sustainability of your investments and is currently “soon”.

Finally, Google today shared research on improving the efficiency of traffic lights to reduce idling time. This means less wasted fuel and less air pollution at street level. Optimizing, Israel’s early observations showed a 10-20% reduction in fuel delays and intersections. The company is currently piloting this effort in Rio de Janeiro and hopes to expand it to other cities.

So instead of manually measuring and calculating times, one of our AI research groups found a way to accurately calculate the traffic conditions and times at most intersections in cities around the world. , then they train a model on that data to optimize these inefficient intersections.

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Nobel Prize in Physics rewards work on climate change

Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for essential work in understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing, identifying the effect of human behavior on these changes and ultimately predicting the impact of global warming.

The winners were Syukuro Manabe from Princeton University, Klaus Hasselmann from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, and Giorgio Parisi from Sapienza University in Rome.

Others have received Nobel Prizes for their work on climate change, including former US Vice President Al Gore, but the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said this was the first time the physics prize was awarded specifically to a climatologist.

“The findings recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge of climate has a solid scientific basis, based on rigorous analysis of observations,” said Thors Hans Hansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

Complex physical systems, like climate, are often defined by their disorder. This year’s winners helped understand what appeared to be chaos by describing these systems and predicting their long-term behavior.

In 1967, Dr Manabe developed a computer model that confirmed the critical link between the main greenhouse gas – carbon dioxide – and global warming.

This model paved the way for more and more sophisticated ones. Dr. Manabe’s subsequent models, which explored the links between ocean and atmospheric conditions, were crucial in recognizing how the increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet could affect ocean circulation in the North Atlantic. , said Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University.

“It has fundamentally contributed to our understanding of climate change and the dynamic human-caused mechanisms,” said Dr Mann.

About a decade after Dr Manabe’s foundational work, Dr Hasselmann created a model that relates short-term climate phenomena – in other words, rain and other types of weather – to long-term climate such as oceanic and atmospheric currents. Dr Mann said this work laid the groundwork for attribution studies, an area of ​​scientific research that seeks to establish the influence of climate change on specific events such as droughts, heat waves and torrential rains. intense.

“This underpins our efforts as a community to detect and attribute the impacts of climate change,” said Dr Mann.

Dr Parisi is credited with discovering the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems, including everything from a tiny collection of atoms to the atmosphere of an entire planet.

“The gist of his job is that he’s incredibly eclectic,” said David Yllanes, a researcher at Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a nonprofit research center. “Many important physical phenomena involve collective behaviors that arise from fundamentally disordered, chaotic, even frustrated systems. A system that seems hopelessly random, if analyzed the right way, can give a robust prediction for collective behavior.

These ideas can help understand climate change, which “involves fluctuations resulting from the interaction of very many moving parts,” said Dr Yllanes.

But Dr. Parisi’s impact on climate science is small compared to his impact in many other fields, including math, biology, and computer science. It involves everything from lasers to machine learning.

Dr Manabe and Dr Hasselman will share half the cost of around $ 10 million. The other half will go to Mr. Parisi, whose job was largely separate from that of the other two. After the award was given, many climatologists said they were only marginally aware of Mr Parisi’s work – or had not heard of him at all.

Dr Manabe said in a telephone interview that five days ago a group of Japanese journalists contacted him saying they had heard a rumor that he would soon win the Nobel Prize. But he didn’t believe them.

Then, early this morning, he received a phone call from the Nobel Committee.

“That’s when I thought I won,” he said.

Three hours after the prize was announced, Dr Manabe said he was unaware he was sharing the prize with two other people. He praised Dr Hasselman’s work and how he built himself up, but said he didn’t know Dr Parisi.

After responding to the committee’s call, Dr Manabe analyzed the list of past physics prize winners, only to realize that this was the first time the prize had been awarded for climate science.

“I think they made a point of choosing something that is essential for the company,” he said.

The three scientists strive to understand the complex natural systems that have been driving climate change for decades, and their findings have provided the scaffolding on which climate predictions are built.

The importance of their work has only increased in urgency as forecasting models reveal increasingly gloomy prospects if the rise in global temperature is not stopped.

In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations, released a report showing that the nations of the world can no longer prevent global warming from intensifying. . The global average temperature will rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, even if all countries meet the emission reductions promised under the Paris Agreement. This increase in temperature is likely to lead to more forest fires, droughts and extreme flooding, according to a United Nations report released in September.

The IPCC report says nations have a short window to reduce fossil fuel emissions and avoid worse future outcomes. And this work is based directly on the models of Dr Manabe.

“Today’s climatologists sit on the shoulders of these giants, who laid the foundation for our understanding of the climate system,” said Ko Barrett, senior climate advisor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who is also vice-chairman of the IPCC.

Robert Kopp, a climatologist at Rutgers University who also worked on the IPCC report, called Dr Manabe a critical figure in the rise of climate science in the mid-1960s.

“He took the weather models that were starting to emerge in the period after World World II and turned them into the first climate models,” he said.

Piers Forster, a climatologist at the University of Leeds in England, called Dr Manabe’s 1967 article detailing these models “arguably the greatest climate science article of all time.”

Dr Barrett also praised Dr Hasselmann and Dr Parisi for developing this work and commended the Nobel Committee for showing the world that climate studies today are based on decades of scientific work. “It is important to understand that climate science rests on fundamental foundations of physics,” she said.

Dr Manabe is a meteorologist and senior climatologist at Princeton University. Born in 1931 in Shingu, Japan, he obtained his doctorate. in 1957 from the University of Tokyo before joining the US Weather Bureau. In the 1960s, he conducted groundbreaking research into how increasing levels of carbon dioxide lead to higher temperatures on the Earth’s surface. This work “laid the foundations for the development of current climate models”, according to the Nobel judges.

Dr Hasselmann is a German physicist and oceanographer who dramatically advanced public understanding of climate change through the creation of a model that links climate and chaotic weather systems. He is a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. He got his doctorate. in 1957 from the University of Göttingen in Germany before founding the meteorological institute which he directed until 1999. He is also the founder of what is today known as the Global Climate Forum. In 2009, Dr Hasselmann received the 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change.

Dr Parisi is an Italian theoretical physicist born in Rome in 1948, whose research has focused on quantum field theory and complex systems. He got his doctorate. from La Sapienza University in Rome in 1970. In 1980 he was responsible for the discovery of hidden patterns in complex messy materials. He is a professor at La Sapienza University in Rome.

Referring to the climate change forecast at a press conference after the award was announced, Dr Parisi said: “It is clear that for the next generation we need to act very quickly now.


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Climate Change Threatens Florida’s Jewel Everglades

Miami (AFP)

Umberto Gimenez loves alligators. He gives them nicknames like “Smile” and “Momma Gator” and laughs when he thinks of their antics.

Gimenez, an airboat captain, found his paradise in Florida’s Everglades National Park, a natural gem in the southeastern US state threatened by climate change.

“It’s an amazing place and there is only one in the world,” he says.

The largest wetland in the United States is under threat and has become a battleground for one of the most important ecological conservation efforts on Earth.

Gimenez hopes the efforts will help preserve the park.

But time is running out and global warming is sabotaging a subtropical wilderness that is home to more than 2,000 species of animals and plants.

The main threat comes from the sea.

The Everglades, like all of South Florida, are nearly flat, making the ecosystem extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, one of the biggest consequences of rising temperatures.

An alligator lays on the grass near a canal in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

The passage of salt water through freshwater wetlands can have disastrous effects.

The region stores and filters the water on which nine million Florida residents depend, or nearly 21 million people.

Once the salt enters underground aquifers, they can be destroyed.

In addition, the salt water risks destroying the habitat of much of the region’s rare flora and fauna.

The intensification of droughts and the decrease in rainfall, other consequences of climate change, are also of concern.

“As a massive bog that builds organic soils over time, this ecosystem has sequestered huge amounts of carbon that are locked up in the soils that contribute to habitat formation,” says Steve Davis, Scientific Director of the Everglades Foundation, a non-governmental organization.

Small fish swim near aquatic vegetation underwater in Everglades National Park, Florida - which is threatened by sea level rise due to climate change - September 30, 2021
Small fish swim near aquatic vegetation underwater in Everglades National Park, Florida – which is threatened by sea level rise due to climate change – September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

A lack of fresh water not only stops carbon sequestration, it also causes what was stored in the soil to be released into the air.

A double climatic catastrophe.

– Multi-billion dollar project –

Gimenez puts on sunglasses, ties a bandana around his head, and jumps barefoot in his airboat with Davis.

The boat starts and goes through a carpet of greenery with water hidden under the vegetation.

Everglades Foundation Scientific Director Steve Davis collects weeds and algae in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021
Everglades Foundation Scientific Director Steve Davis collects weeds and algae in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

We have the impression of floating on the grass.

For thousands of years, water has accumulated north of the Everglades during the rainy season, shaping the landscape by moving very slowly following the gentle slope of the terrain.

In the last century, however, the natural flow has been diverted to allow urban and agricultural growth in South Florida.

In doing so, he altered the 1.5 million acre (607,000 hectare) wetland ecosystem, weakening it in the face of climate change.

In 2000, Congress approved a project, funded equally by Florida and the federal government, to protect the area, which was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1976.

A bird flies holding its prey in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 as America's largest wetland faces a myriad of climate change threats
A bird flies holding its prey in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 as America’s largest wetland faces a myriad of climate change threats AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

Its initial cost was $ 7.8 billion.

The goal was “to store water, clean it, and return it as naturally as possible to the national park,” Davis said.

To achieve this, scientists designed a complex system of canals, dikes, dams and pumps.

They also designed artificial swamps to filter the water and rid it of nutrients that damage the wetland.

At the same time, sections of road that blocked the flow of water to the park were raised.

“Restoring the Everglades is the model for other ecosystem restoration efforts, whether it’s wetlands like the Pantanal (in South America) or estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay,” says Davis.

Everglades Foundation Scientific Director Steve Davis collects weeds and algae in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021
Everglades Foundation Scientific Director Steve Davis collects weeds and algae in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

“We have the same kind of problems here,” he adds. “It’s about ensuring the right amount of clean water is flowing through the ecosystem.”

– Delays –

The effects of rehabilitation are already noticeable. Davis gets off the boat, plunges his hands into the clear water, and picks up a dark ball from the bottom.

It is periphyton, a mixture of algae, bacteria and microbes, the presence of which indicates healthy water quality.

Tourist hydrofoil captain Umberto Lazaro Gimenez flies over Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021
Tourist hydrofoil captain Umberto Lazaro Gimenez flies over Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

Despite some progress, only one of the 68 major projects in the original 2000 plan has been fully completed.

The delays are mainly due to a lack of federal funding.

According to the Everglades Foundation, between $ 4 billion and $ 5 billion has been spent so far on the restoration project, with Florida contributing 70% and Washington contributing just 30%.

The emergency caused by climate change could, however, give a boost to the conservation plan.

President Joe Biden included $ 350 million for the Everglades in his 2022 fiscal budget, $ 100 million more than in 2021.

In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers to build a reservoir west of Palm Beach that will cost $ 3.4 billion.

Aquatic vegetation grows above the water in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021
Aquatic vegetation grows above the water in Everglades National Park, Florida on September 30, 2021 AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

About the size of Manhattan Island, it “will store a lot of water that will go south, rehydrate these wetlands, recharge the aquifer and push back sea level rise,” says Davis.


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Can climate change be a long-term alpha generator?

The ESG The investment industry is growing exponentially as investors flock to the space, seeking either to invest in accordance with their personal values ​​or to capture some of the market action. Although this is an unregulated space at the moment, standards could soon arrive from the SECOND, at least as far as ESG reports from companies, as more and more advisers and fund managers seek to attract investors with various ESG approaches.

CalSTRS DSI Christopher Ailman recently told CNBC’s “Delivering Alpha” that he believes climate change is a “mega-trend that if you take advantage of it and get ahead it will be an alpha generator for it. the next 30 or 40 years. If you don’t pay attention, it’s going to be alpha negative and you’re going to be stuck with a low beta return.

Global assets put in ESG global investments topped $ 2.24 trillion at the end of June, according to Morningstar data; the first time assets crossed the trillion dollar mark was in the second quarter of 2020, reflecting robust growth.

One of the biggest critiques of ESG Currently, there is a lack of standardization across industries and within reporting. Wellington vice president Wendy Cromwell believes all companies listed in the US should be required to disclose Tier one, two and three emissions, and that investors and scientists should work together to assess what the risk is Real physicality for a business comes from the impacts of global warming and the environment.

It is not an easy thing for investors to dig through all the research and data. Carine Ihenacho, director of governance and compliance at Norges Bank Investment Management, explained that it is important for investors and advisers “to find out what kinds of issues are important to businesses … how the business is handling them. it and how the company then reports progress. “

While some funds choose to forgo their exposure to elements such as fossil fuels to become a ESG fund, many supporters believe in actively engaging with businesses and making change through investing.

“Divestment does not reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Commitment does. I cannot stress this enough, ”said Ailman. “Engaging and changing people’s attitudes, turning around businesses, is what is absolutely essential now, because climate change is not just about the energy industry, it is about a lot of other industries, and the whole world must change. “

This has already been seen in the industry with the No.1 engine, backed in part by CalSTRS, removing and replacing three of Exxon’s board seats.

“We took this board of directors. We’ve changed that advice and we’re really changing this business from top to bottom, ”Ailman said.

Putnam believes in sustainability and owns ESG practices as a central aspect of its investment approach. His ESG-active and sustainability-focused sustainability managers are a fundamental part of its work to align shareholders ESG values ​​with investment practices by engaging directly with the companies in which they invest as to their ESG fundamental and practical.

The Putnam sustainable leaders AND F (PLDR) invests in companies focused on ESG problems go far beyond basic compliance and for whom ESG is integral to their long-term success. These companies have transparent goals and provide consistent and measurable progress updates.

As a semi-transparent fund using the Fidelity model, PLDR does not disclose its current holdings on a daily basis. Instead, it publishes a tracking basket of previously disclosed holdings, liquid ETFs that reflect the portfolio’s investment strategy, and cash and cash equivalents. The monitoring portfolio is designed to closely monitor the overall performance of the actual fund portfolio, and reports on the actual portfolio are published monthly.

Holdings at the end of August included Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) at 8.28%, Apple (AAPL) at 7.38%, and Amazon.com (AMZN) at 5.01%. The fund was heavily allocated to information technology stocks (32.41%), followed by healthcare at 15.91% and consumer discretionary at 14.61%.

PLDR has an expense ratio of 0.59% and owns 60 stakes at the end of August.

Meanwhile, the Putnam’s sustainable future AND F (PFUT) invests in companies seeking to provide solutions to future challenges of sustainable development. This is a forward-looking approach because these companies contribute to the development ESG and address sustainability issues.

PFUT focuses on impact businesses as identified by its sustainability rating system and on investing in businesses that drive economic development, as Putnam believes that strong sustainability practices equate to strong financial growth.

PFUT’s main sector allocations at the end of August were 32.21% in healthcare stocks, 29.58% in information technology and 8.70% in consumer discretionary.

The AND F has an expense ratio of 0.64% and owns 69 stakes at the end of August.

For more news, information, and strategies, visit the Big Ideas Channel.


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How Social Media Reduces Climate Change Debates To Opinions About Veganism

Dublin / London: Ten years ago, when we ranked the most controversial articles on Wikipedia, George W Bush was at the top of the list with global warming in fifth place. The article on global warming has now been renamed climate change, but it remains one of the most polarizing issues of our time and a frequently debated topic on social media.

This may seem due to how climate change is often presented primarily as a political issue: something that you can choose to support or not.

But maybe it’s just as much a result of the way social media works. Our recent research shows that polarization on social media is mathematically inevitable.

Additionally, this polarization allows online discussions of climate change to be replaced by culture-focused arguments about things like food.

This seems to further reinforce the idea that climate change is about ideology, making it harder to convince people to support action to address it.

The fact that it’s so easy to remove or unfollow people you disagree with on social media has sped up the formation of online echo chambers to the point that even an algorithmic tool designed to break the bubbles will not be able to help you.

Make no mistake: we are huge fans of social media and we have probably tweeted this article by the time you read it.

Social media can be seen as a marketplace of ideas, providing an open forum for exchanging facts and opinions and, importantly for scientists, for informing the public about their research.

But polarization can ruin anyone.

One example of this is the vegan sausage roll from British bakery chain Greggs, which sparked days of unrest on social media when it was introduced in the UK in January 2019 to coincide with Veganuary, a charity campaign. month in UK designed to encourage veganism.

Vegan-focused social media discussions that year were dominated by arguments over the relative merits of the sausage roll.

To understand the extent of this interference, we analyzed approximately half a million tweets posted between December 28, 2018 and January 28, 2019 containing one of the hashtags #vegan, #veganuary, and # veganuary2019 to map the prevalence of opinions. extremes among tweets.

About 30% of the tweets we analyzed were strongly pro-vegan, while 20% of the tweets used vegan-related hashtags to express their protest against veganism.

More importantly, many Twitter users who tweeted about Veganuary explicitly stated that if it hadn’t been for Greggs’ story, they wouldn’t have gotten involved.

On the one hand, paying close attention to the campaign can be seen as a blessing. On the other hand, the polarized nature of the arguments online focused disproportionately on the issue of the vegan sausage roll.

This shifted what could have been a fruitful and logical discussion of the pros and cons of veganism towards unproductive fights centered on the perceived threats to people’s identities related to what they do or don’t eat and what. that this means.

Many quickly took sides, refusing to engage in conversation and instead attacking personal qualities or intelligence on the other side.

This conflict resurfaced on social media a few months later, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN endorsed organization, released its special report on climate change and climate change. land in August 2019.

In order to gauge the level of public engagement with the report, we collected all tweets sent in August 2019 that contained the phrase IPCC.

We then used software to analyze the content of some 6,000 English tweets in order to extract the main topics of discussion.

We found that not only did a large portion of the tweets in response to the IPCC report relate specifically to food, but these tweets contained the most toxic and polarized language in the sample.

This is even more surprising considering that diet was mentioned only briefly in the original IPCC report, without any explicit recommendations on the consumption of meat or dairy products.

Evidence like this suggests that food and cooking are now at the heart of a new cultural war around the climate.

It could be catastrophic for climate action. Politicians and policy makers traditionally tend to avoid issues that are culturally controversial, and polarization of public opinion has been shown to weaken the responsibility of politicians when it comes to making important decisions.

Our recently published work in Climatic Change shows how tools such as computer subject modeling and sentiment analysis can be used to monitor public discourse on topics such as climate events, food, and climate policy. This could help decision makers plan more engaging communication strategies: in other words, to help them read the play.

Scientists and science communicators discussing reports like the one produced by the IPCC need to understand and anticipate the likelihood of emotionally charged and potentially negative responses to issues as polarizing as climate change as well as specific areas of polarization, such as climate change. diet, which are currently more popular.

This way, they can work to communicate key information in a way that allows readers to focus on what really matters.

In a time when so much is uncertain, there is one thing we are sure of; the importance of experts. We match academics with publishers to make sure their advice is clear and accessible. Your donation funds this work. By making a monthly donation, you will not only help us, but you will help all Australians stay informed.

By Taha Yasseri Associate Professor, Geary Fellow, Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin and Mary Sanford, PhD candidate in Social Data Sciences, University of Oxford (The Conversation)

Read also : Kangana Ranaut: UP brand ambassador for the “one district-one product” program



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Climate change: what ancient caves reveal about future New Zealand floods

Prehistoric deposits left in ancient New Zealand caves – like the Waipuna Cave in Waitomo – could help scientists better understand how precipitation changes as our climate warms. Photo / Supplied

Scientists are looking to prehistoric clues left in New Zealand caves to predict how climate change will cause deluge in our warmer, wilder future.

Researchers have long used records of prehistoric warm climates, trapped in sediment in ice cores, to better understand the potential rise in temperature as carbon dioxide concentrations warm our atmosphere.

Replenishing precipitation from those mild periods long ago in our planet’s past, however, is much trickier.

In New Zealand, precipitation records go back only to post-colonial development, when instrumental recordings first began.

Beyond this period, New Zealand’s past climate and rainfall patterns remain unknown, except for broad trends in relative humidity or drought over the past few thousand years.

“Because people have been recording precipitation for less than 200 years, we have a very limited picture of how precipitation regimes change when global climate transitions occur,” explained Dr Adam Hartland, a geochemist at the University. from Waikato.

“We know from paleoclimatic records that earlier in the current interglacial period we live in, about 9,000 years ago, it was wetter and the temperature of the atmosphere was slightly warmer than it is today. hui.

“Yet we cannot say that the precipitation in Hawke’s Bay, for example, was 50% higher than today.”

This was a critical knowledge gap for this country, which depended on rainfall but also remained vulnerable to too much or little of it.

In 2019, for example, a lack of rainfall on the North Island left hydroelectric lake levels low and forced the energy sector to resort to coal, increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

This year, a succession of storms driven by tropically laden “atmospheric rivers” caused catastrophic flooding that cost tens of millions of dollars in insured damage.

As our climate warms, scientists have predicted that New Zealand’s annual average precipitation will decrease in the northeast of the South Island and in the north and east of the North Island, but would increase in other regions.

University of Waikato geochemist Dr Adam Hartland pictured in Nurau Cave in the Cook Islands.  Photo / Garry K Smith
University of Waikato geochemist Dr Adam Hartland pictured in Nurau Cave in the Cook Islands. Photo / Garry K Smith

Droughts could also become two or three times more frequent in the eastern and northern regions by 2040.

Despite the variability from year to year, we have seen the southwest of the South Island become progressively wetter and the north of the North Island become drier, as well as more extreme events that carry the footprint of global warming.

With more humidity in the atmosphere, for example, the frequency and magnitude of arrivals from atmospheric rivers – which already account for half of New Zealand’s total precipitation – are expected to increase, and some research suggests their areas of strike are moving south.

Still, Hartland said building a detailed picture of the interplay between climate and rain in a maritime country like New Zealand remains notoriously complex even today.

“Right now, we are witnessing a major climate reorganization as the entire Earth system catches up with all the greenhouse gases we put out into the atmosphere,” he said.

Scientists venture into Wairoa's Cave of Disbelief.  Photo / Kate Clark
Scientists venture into Wairoa’s Cave of Disbelief. Photo / Kate Clark

“This inevitably leads to changes in the way the atmosphere and the ocean circulate, which in turn affects precipitation – but the question is how much and where?

“Because the way air masses interact with New Zealand’s oceans and land mass is so complex, even the most advanced models of climate physics and meteorology cannot make accurate predictions. and distant. “

This was where looking for clues into the planet’s past could help – and it turns out there was plenty to be found deep in the ground.

As water flowed through the earth over millennia, it dripped into caves depositing minerals and creating what are known as speleothems, including the well-known stalactites and stalagmites.

These deposits are unique because they are formed by the flow of water – a property Hartland and his colleagues will mine in a new million-dollar study.

Using a combination of state-of-the-art geochemical and magnetic methods, the team will study speleothems in the Waitomo and Wairoa regions to reconstruct precipitation from decades to millennia, dramatically increasing our understanding of gravity and gravity. frequency of droughts and floods.

“Using caves as archives isn’t really new to science, but when it comes to how we use these deposits and generate information from them, and help better quantify climate change, we are. at the dawn of a revolution. “

They also plan to study periods when the climate has changed rapidly, providing analogues of short-term climate states.

Scientists observe deposits in Waipuna Cave in Waitomo.  Photo / Sebastian Breitenbach
Scientists observe deposits in Waipuna Cave in Waitomo. Photo / Sebastian Breitenbach

“We can even go back 120,000 or 130,000 years in the past and compare samples from that time with others that are forming today, which is not possible with other types of paleoclimatic records,” did he declare.

“Because global climate models are tested against paleoclimatic data, our results will be critical in validating climate projections used by government for planning and adaptation at all levels of society. “

Importantly, the study, supported by the Endeavor Fund, sought to bring together past rainfall from different parts of the country – giving us a potential glimpse into how each region might fare.

“If we can find out that it was much drier on the east coast of the North Island 9,000 years ago, it may give us additional confidence to move forward and start planning for the challenges we are facing. are going to have for water and resources, “he said.

“If several dry years can really change the characteristics of a region, it behooves us to find out what that looks like – otherwise we might find that we are investing in infrastructure in places where we perhaps shouldn’t be.”

Create an “extreme fire”

Extreme fires - like that seen in major bushfires in Australia - are becoming a growing threat to firefighters and Kiwi communities.  Photo / Nathan Edwards
Extreme fires – like that seen in major bushfires in Australia – are becoming a growing threat to firefighters and Kiwi communities. Photo / Nathan Edwards

Meanwhile, another team of scientists will design some of the most formidable features of huge fires in controlled experiments never before seen in the world to better understand “extreme fires.”

Our changing climate is also increasing the frequency and severity of forest fires, and native forests once considered safe are now under threat.

It also increases the risk for Kiwi communities at the rural-urban interface – as shown by one of the largest forest fires ever seen in New Zealand, which ravaged 5,000 ha and destroyed nearly 50 homes. in Ohau, a year ago this week.

Today, the average annual direct impact of rural fires on our economy is estimated at around $ 140 million – but with a fire season that may have lengthened by 70% by mid-century, these total costs could reach around $ 550 million.

In the worsening picture, authorities worry about what is called an “extreme fire” – behavior that, until recently, had rarely been observed in New Zealand.

It is characterized by dangerous characteristics such as spots, where embers and other particles are thrown in front of the fire front; conditions of “explosion”, where hell suddenly escalates in size and intensity; and whirlwinds of fire and tornadoes.

All of these elements, but especially the vortices of fire, will now be closely observed and analyzed in an $ 11 million study led by Scion to better prepare the country and our firefighters for this new normal.

Scion fire specialist Grant Pearce said the experimental “burns” part of the program will mark the first known attempt to create and measure large-scale fire vortices – reaching tens of meters high – in field conditions.

“These will be carried out using residual forest fuels left over from the clearing of wild pines and will require very careful consideration and preparation to mitigate the dangers involved and the risk of escape.” “

A major fire, which occurred a year ago this week, destroyed nearly 50 houses in Ohau and damaged some 5,000 ha of land.  Photo / Otago Daily Times
A major fire, which occurred a year ago this week, destroyed nearly 50 houses in Ohau and damaged some 5,000 ha of land. Photo / Otago Daily Times

These types of experiments would help expand new theories predicting how and when fires got extreme.

“We no longer believe that fuels are the dominant factor causing these transitions, but assume that the coupling of fire front convection with atmospheric turbulence is the primary driver.”

And without having a clear understanding of this point of change, it has not been possible to develop effective tools and strategies to keep fire crews safe.

Still, Pearce said the program would explore and help develop potential new ‘smart firefighting’ technologies, such as drones, data systems and wearable sensors to give firefighters information about fires in time. real.

Elsewhere, the study would use models to simulate the spread of forest fires – drawing on work on the factors behind the Ohau fire – and also study the flammability of native forests, to through a mixture of tests and experiments.

Finally, the Kiwi and US research team planned to survey a range of people, from fire managers, boards and insurers to homeowners and developers, to identify barriers to planning and preparedness. fire hazards.

Pearce ultimately hoped the work, which is also supported by the Endeavor Fund, would help save lives, livelihoods, homes and ecosystems.


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Winter in Philadelphia can be snowy and cold, even with climate change

A month-long snow blitz was underway in Philadelphia, with up to 4 feet building up in nearby suburbs.

Texas, which has long suffered devastating and destructive hurricane damage, experienced an all-out disaster of a different kind, a cold snap that bypassed the state’s electricity grid and darkened millions of homes and companies.

At one point, nearly three-quarters of the contiguous United States was blanketed in snow during what turned out to be the coldest February in more than 30 years.

And with the 2021-22 snow season about to begin, northern hemisphere snow cover would be above normal in October and November if the trends continue.

READ MORE: Will it snow another day? Should we be worried? Yes and yes, says New Jersey’s international snow expert.

Is it global warming? Yes, say polar scientist Judah Cohen and other researchers, it is the work of climate change; more precisely, what they call “arctic change”.

In 2020, global temperatures were about 1.74 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, according to the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The Arctic region has warmed twice as fast.

Rising temperatures this way melted snow and ice which in turn released previously frozen waters.

Changes in the vital cold air pantry of the northern hemisphere could conspire to disrupt the upper atmosphere in a way that causes powerful pulses of polar air to spread more frequently to lower latitudes via the polar vortex, say Cohen and his co-authors in an article published in the journal Science last month.

“I’m not saying winters are getting colder,” Cohen, of Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., said in a telephone interview. But climate models have generally underestimated the ferocity of winters, and “expecting harsh winter conditions to decrease could be dangerous.”

READ MORE: What went wrong for the Philly winter forecast? “The polar vortex stole the show.”

Other atmospheric scientists, like NOAA researcher Amy Butler, agree that the arctic heat may well be linked to severe winter episodes in the United States. However, they expressed reservations about the limited period of observations and said it was not clear whether the authors had identified a trend.

Between 10 and 30 miles above the surface, during the winter, the polar vortex circulates around the Arctic with winds sometimes exceeding 150 mph.

When it howls, it confines vast puddles of freezing air, perhaps 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, over the sunless North Pole. Don’t ask about wind chill.

Occasionally, disturbances at lower levels of the atmosphere disrupt the stratosphere so that the vortex weakens, exporting arctic air as it seeps south.

In a way that is not fully understood, the cold air of the upper atmosphere interacts with the low-level jet winds that ignite and carry winter storms.

With 40 years of observations, Cohen and his team conducted computer modeling experiments using previously identified arctic atmospheric pressure models that preceded the polar vortex disturbances.

They included data to simulate the loss of arctic sea ice and recent increases in autumn snow cover in Eurasia – which they attributed to the additional moisture available in the released waters. The modeling results strongly showed a “physical link” between the warming of the Arctic and the weakening of the polar vortex which leads to a spill of cold air, they wrote, resulting in severe winter epidemics in Philadelphia and elsewhere.

Butler, a researcher at NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory, said the team’s concept was more than exaggerated. Their “hypothesis is plausible,” she said, but “I don’t think there is convincing evidence of a long-term trend in the strength of the polar vortex.

But any change in its location or shape could also influence the weather, she said.

Paul Pastelok, the seasoned seasonal forecaster at AccuWeather Inc., said the team’s results were promising, but the data was limited.

“We need more precise measurements to go back to the 1960s,” he said. “We don’t have real data for the whole Arctic, only partially, and that’s just not enough.”

Nothing happens in a vacuum in the atmosphere, and Pastelok said he has no doubts that the Arctic has a powerful influence on winter conditions and low latitudes.

He said he was an admirer of Cohen’s articles, which included the correlation of October snow cover in Siberia with the North American winter that followed, and consulted them to expand on his outlook.

READ MORE: Winter forecast for Philly calls for early snowfall, cold December and 100% chance of uncertainty

Regarding the results of the Science article, Pastelok said, “I think it will take another 20 years to really determine whether or not this can be used as a forecasting tool.”

Cohen says they might come in handy in the short term. “I would say the Arctic can precondition the atmosphere for these events so that you can anticipate when such events are more likely over the coming winter,” he said.

And in the meantime, he argues that it would be a mistake to conclude that a warmer world will result in milder American winters.

See: Texas, February 2021.


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