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A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications provides a glimmer of hope on meeting the Paris Agreement’s greenhouse gas emissions targets globally. According to the study, if we begin right now, and “carbon-intensive infrastructure is phased out at the end of its design lifetime from the end of 2018, there is a 64% chance that peak global mean temperature rise remains below 1.5 °C.”
President Trump issued an Executive Order late last year directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to increase logging on lands under their agencies’ control by 31% above levels of timber harvest in 2017. The Washington Post reported that the President had been itching to sign this Order — he wanted to do it during his trip to California in mid-November, an inside source told The Post, but it wasn’t ready for his signature. The order only became public earlier this week.
Andrew Wheeler, the Acting EPA Administrator, appeared before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee yesterday for his confirmation hearing and was greeted by protesters and angry questioning by the Committee’s Democratic members. The protesters began shouting “Shutdown Wheeler” just as he began to read his opening statement, and were quickly removed, as he raised his eyebrows in disdain (see video above.) Drawing fire from the Democrats on the Committee, Wheeler said that climate change is a “global issue” but “not the greatest crisis,” and did not even mention climate change in his opening statement.
Our good friends at the Yale Program for Climate Communication along with the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication analyzed in their most recent survey the percentage of people who have changed their opinions about climate change and it turns out about 8% of surveyed Americans indeed had changed their attitude. Overall 84% of respondents said that they were MORE concerned than in the previous two years about global warming.
So what happens once you do accept climate change and begin worrying about the state of our planet? It turns out that, as UnDark reported, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that climate change and its effects are linked to elevated rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress, and a host of negative emotions including anger, hopelessness, despair, and a feeling of loss. Researchers have dubbed these feelings “ecological grief.”
A new study published by the National Academy of Sciences delivered some sobering news on Monday — that Antarctica is losing ice at a rate six times faster than it has in the past. According to CNN, the rate of ice loss has increased each decade over the last 40 years — from a loss of 40 gigatons (a gigaton is one billion tons) per year from in the decade from 1979 to 1990 to a loss of 252 gigatons per year in the decade from 2009 to 2017. And Axios explained that this finding is “important” because “previous studies had regarded that part of the continent as stable or not yet undergoing a net loss.”
Oceans are heating up at a rate as much as 40% faster than the global consensus of scientists studying climate change had previously predicted. A team of scientists looking at the numerous recent studies which made that claim have now validated those studies’ conclusions based on ocean heat content (OHC) observations (actual ocean temperature data), according to a new report published in the journal Science on Friday. It also validates (as if we needed more proof) that the planet is clearly warming.
Why This Matters: Science matters. The more data scientists have to work with, the better they can understand the changes that are wreaking havoc with our planet. With more ocean observing sensors, which could be much more beneficial if we expanded the network of buoys and added sensors to more ships, we would not have to fill in nearly so many gaps and could do a much better job of forecasting risks and impacts, such as sea level rise, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification. As the experts who conducted the review said, “There is a clear need to continue to improve the ocean observation and analysis system to provide better estimates of OHC, because it will enable more refined regional projections of the future.”