FtF News #161 – 10th August 2022
Heatwaves, flooding, a major new US climate bill (that’s actually happening this time!) and a new look for FtF
As you can probably see, I’m trialling a new format this time around, with more links, but a less verbose format. I’d love to hear your thoughts – please let me know, either in the comments or by replying to this mail!
As part of the new format, I’d also like to trial another idea – reader submissions! If you’ve spotted an interesting climate story you think would fit in FtF, you can now submit it here!
Once again, this week’s issue was ably assisted by Syuan Ruei Chang, who contributed a number of the articles and stories featured this week.
Mother nature’s reactions to the ever-warming world
Iran has been hit by widespread flooding and landslides after heavy rain across the country, killing over 50 people and damaging hundreds of villages.
Seoul had its worst storm in 80 years, with 8 killed by widespread flooding.
Tokyo has already broken its record for the most severe heat days (≥35°C) in one year.
Temperatures in the Middle East are rising far faster than the global average, and the region could lose 6-14% of its GDP by 2050 due to water scarcity.
England had its driest July since 1935, with the south of the country the driest it has been since records began.
Mexico is also suffering from drought conditions across around two thirds of municipalities, with many neighbourhoods only receiving water once a week.
Wildfires are sweeping across central Europe, with major blazes in both Czechia and Germany.
Near record amounts of sargassum seaweed are choking coastlines across the Caribbean, impacting wildlife and tourism across the region.
The Great Barrier Reef has recorded its highest number of corals in 36 years in central and northern regions – a sign of hope for the imperilled reef.
The latest from in climate research and analysis
The worse climate change will get, the harder it will be for the world’s poorest to migrate away from the worst harms.
Women entrepreneurs in Africa face significantly higher climate risks than their male counterparts, further reinforcing gender inequalities.
The non-carbon impacts of aviation are so significant that even net zero flight could still leave 90% of future flights’ environmental impact unaffected.
New analysis of the carbon stored by CCS suggest that estimates for carbon storage projects were overestimated by up to 30%, making it look more effective than it is.
Research suggests that accelerating the uptake of EVs in the US could prevent up to 10% of cropland expansion globally, thanks to reduced demand for biofuels.
Less well understood species might be as much as twice as at risk of extinction as more studied plants and animals.
A 10-year project in the UK has found that nature-friendly farming methods boost diversity without impacting crop yields, sometimes doubling the number of species.
Climate change could lead to some US cities reaching temperatures currently only seen in the Middle East, India or Africa by the end of the century.
Global warming of 2°C could double the cost of flooding in China versus 1.5°C.
A rapid attribution study suggests that the recent record heat in the UK was made at least ten times more likely by climate change, though it was still an exceptional event.
Sea levels are rising at around double the rate of a century ago, according to the UK Met Office’s latest annual report on the climate.
Party Political Broadcast
Climate politics are a special creature indeed
The US, out of nowhere, suddenly pulled a huge $369bn climate legislation package and passed it through the Senate. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer managed to turn around the deal just weeks after Manchin walked away from the table entirely. Against the odds, it passed the Senate, making it the first major climate bill to ever do so. It’s far from perfect, but imperfect is far better than nothing.
Nancy Pelosi made a surprise visit to Taiwan, causing uproar in China, who halted all climate talks with the US as part of a massive show of outrage.
Rich countries fell nearly $17bn short of the target of $100bn/year in climate funding by 2020, with the majority of the shortfall due to the US.
Germany has approved a €177.5bn climate and transformation fund to both green the economy and move away from dependency upon Russian fossil fuels.
India has passed a climate plan, cementing its pledges on emissions reduction and net zero that were unveiled last year at COP26.
Australia has also passed its climate law, locking in a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
Climate happenings in the corporate world
The oil industry is set for a record $50bn profit in Q2 this year, though pressure is rising for politicians to act against this profiteering – UN Secretary General António Guterres has called for a tax on the ‘grotesque greed’ of oil firms.
BP and Shell have been spending huge amounts on trying to greenwash their image in the UK to limit public backlash.
Extreme climate-linked weather events caused around $65bn in losses in the first half of 2022 (not even including the recent European heatwave).
Major California wildfires have, in the last 7 years, burned through almost all the offsets held back to protect for the next century against the risk of, well, wildfires.
The Future is Electric
Renewables, EVs and all things electrification
The LCOE of renewables with storage is now less than gas power in both China and South Korea, which could have interesting implications for their clean transition.
Japan and South Korea both hit new records for solar power generation in May, reaching around 15% and 7% of their total electricity respectively.
The US Midwest is to build 18 new electricity transmission lines – 2,000 miles of new cables – to beef up the grid.
Nearly 20 US states (along with Quebec) have agreed on a roadmap to electrify 100% of medium and heavy duty vehicle sales by 2050.
New inventions and nifty climate solutions to inspire hope
‘Yard trucks’ are used in thousands of logistics sites, are heavily polluting, and perfect for electrification. Fortunately, companies are now moving to do just that.
Efforts in activism and awareness
Greenpeace is taking the UK government to court over its approval of the Jackdaw gas field in the North Sea.
Knowledge is Power
Fuelling awareness of the climate crisis
UK football club Reading FC is adding climate stripes to its home kit to raise awareness of the climate crisis.
An alarming map of air temperature over the US on the 31st July really drives home how intense recent heatwaves have become.
Interesting deep-dives into climate-related topics
A look at how Barbados is trying to push back on climate colonialism and the massive burden of international debt, and help the country survive climate change.
Navajo farmers suffered huge financial losses after the EPA accidentally dumped toxic waste into the San Juan river. Seven years later, they’re still seeking justice.
Fungi are a vast and varied group of organisms, and relatively poorly understood, but could play a key role in (amongst other things) storing huge amounts of carbon.
Grasslands are as major a carbon sink as forests, but are often treated as far less valuable. However, sustained efforts are starting to turn that around.
Floods may be destructive for humans, but are a huge part of many river ecosystems, so damming rivers must be approached with care.
An exploration of the methane emissions of giant landfills in South Asia, and the complexities faced in trying to clean them up.
A reminder of why individual actions, though relatively insignificant on a global scale, still matter in tackling the climate crisis.
[Video] A nuanced look at the growing issues of waste in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, from Rare Earth.