Thursday, January 9, 2020

2007 UN Climate Panel predictions for impacts on Australia turn out to be spot on.

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Global temperatures have risen by an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 2015. That's hotter than at any time since the steam engine was invented in the 17th century. And guess what those usually ran on? —Josh Petri

"An increase in fire danger in Australia is likely to be associated with a reduced interval between fires, increased fire intensity, a decrease in fire extinguishments and faster fire spread."

—A UN report from 2007 predicting the unprecedented wildfires that are currently incinerating huge swaths of Australia.

Top stories

There is some good climate news for once. Greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell an estimated 2% in 2019. The drop was wholly due to cuts in the electricity sector as coal-fired plants continue to close despite the efforts of President Donald Trump to prop up the dying industry.

On a less happy note, America also had 14 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more last year. Incredibly, that number could have been worse if several major storms hadn't missed the U.S. mainland.

In 2011, the $1 billion Crescent Dunes solar plant was to be the biggest installation of its kind. By the time it opened in 2015, it was already obsolete.

Next week, the European Union will unveil the financial pillar of its Green Deal. The Sustainable Europe Investment plan will mobilize at least $1.1 trillion over the next decade to shift the continent to a climate-neutral economy. 

The human death toll of recent Australian wildfires stands at 25. But as many as one billion animals may have been killed  since September, a scientist said. Distressing images of injured, dying or dead fauna—including koalas and kangaroos—have flooded social media as the conflagration destroys everything in its path.

What we've been reading

Right wing outlets, especially those owned by Australian native Rupert Murdoch, are pushing falsehoods about climate change even as the country battles historic wildfires. It's part of what critics say is a strategy by Murdoch to divert attention from the main culprit of global warming: fossil fuels.

A French think tank says the emissions generated by watching a half hour of streaming content is the same as from driving about 4 miles. Streaming services generated as much emissions as Spain last year, and Shift Project expects that number to double.

In yet another rollback of former President Barack Obama's policies aimed at combating the global climate crisis, the Trump administration is expected to release new rules on Thursday that would allow federal agencies to ignore the climate impact of major projects

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