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Arlington Vision 2020 Committee/Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) Chapter

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This page includes content from the Climate Change News blog, which is maintained daily by David Landskov, and content from our old SA blog archives.

  • The Next Five Years Will Be ‘Anomalously Warm,’ Scientists Predict

    Climate Change News Aug 16, 2018 | 04:10 am

    The Next Five Years Will Be ‘Anomalously Warm,’ Scientists Predict Humans are already making the planet warmer.  Now Earth could help speed the process up. The past four years have been the four warmest ever recorded — and now, according to a new scientific forecast, the next five will also probably be “anomalously warm,” even beyond what the steady increase in global warming would produce on its own. That could include another record warmest year, even warmer than the current record year of 2016.  It could also include an increased risk of heat extremes and a major heat event somewhere in the Earth’s oceans, of the sort that has triggered recent die-offs of coral reefs across the tropics. “What we found is that for the next five years or so, there is a high likelihood of an anomalously warm climate compared to anomalously cold,” said Florian Sevellec, a scientist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, who co-authored the study published in Nature Communications with Sybren Drijfhout of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Earth is warming, but this does not mean that every year is warmer than the previous one.  Rather, there is an overall warming trend — meaning that each successive decade tends to be warmer than the last — but also plenty of bouncing around among individual years in how hot they get. One key determinant of a year’s temperature is what scientists sometimes call the climate’s “internal variability,” as opposed to the contribution of human-released greenhouse gases.  The new forecast for 2018 through 2022[…]

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  • Wednesday 15

    Climate Change News Aug 16, 2018 | 03:50 am

    Wednesday 15

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  • Heat:  The Next Big Inequality Issue

    Climate Change News Aug 15, 2018 | 05:28 am

    Heat:  The Next Big Inequality Issue The deadly global heatwave has made it impossible to ignore:  in cities worldwide, we are now divided into the cool haves and the hot have-nots. When July’s heatwave swept through the Canadian province of Quebec, killing more than 90 people in little over a week, the unrelenting sunshine threw the disparities between rich and poor into sharp relief. While the well-heeled residents of Montreal hunkered down in blissfully air conditioned offices and houses, the city’s homeless population – not usually welcome in public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants – struggled to escape the blanket of heat. Benedict Labre House, a day centre for homeless people, wasn’t able to secure a donated air-conditioning unit until five days into the heatwave.  “You can imagine when you have 40 or 50 people in an enclosed space and it’s so hot, it’s very hard to deal with,” says Francine Nadler, clinical coordinator at the facility. Fifty-four Montreal residents were killed by this summer’s heat.  Authorities haven’t so far specified whether any homeless people were among them, but according to the regional department of public health, the majority were aged over 50, lived alone, and had underlying physical or mental health problems.  None had air conditioning.  Montreal coroner Jean Brochu told reporters that many of the bodies examined by his team “were in an advanced state of decay, having sometimes spent up to two days in the heat before being found”. It was the poor and isolated who quietly suffered the most in[…]

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  • Caribbean Nations Partner with Global Superstars & Corporate Giants for $1 Billion Climate Accelerator

    Climate Change News Aug 15, 2018 | 05:13 am

    Caribbean Nations Partner with Global Superstars & Corporate Giants for $1 Billion Climate Accelerator An impressive coalition made up of 26 Caribbean nations, more than 40 private sector giants, 8-time Olympic gold medal winner Usain Bolt, and global music superstar Sean Paul are combining to launch the $1 billion Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator intended to make the region the world’s first climate-smart zone. Announced late last week by what can only be called a cavalcade of stars and parade of nations, the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator was launched with pomp and ceremony and attended by the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, President of the InterAmerican Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, and 8-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Usain Bolt. The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator bills itself as bringing together “an unprecedented group of leaders to implement transformative climate action” throughout the Caribbean, stemming from a high-level commitment made at French President Macron’s One Planet Summit (which we covered at the time).  The Accelerator intends to work to make the Caribbean the world’s first climate-smart zone which will include the implementation of solutions for resilience, renewable energy, development of sustainable cities, oceans, and transportation.  Beyond simply protecting the Caribbean region, the climate-smart zone will aim to create jobs and a new economy. “Being climate-smart means putting the people of the Caribbean at the center of all we do – to protect them from the challenges of climate change,” explained Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.  “The Caribbean Accelerator will also encourage[…]

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  • Tuesday 14

    Climate Change News Aug 15, 2018 | 04:18 am

    Tuesday 14

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  • VW's Electrify America Taps Flintstones, Jetsons for EV Campaign

    Climate Change News Aug 14, 2018 | 08:06 am

    VW's Electrify America Taps Flintstones, Jetsons for EV Campaign Volkswagen AG unit Electrify America said on Monday it is launching a national advertising campaign using cultural U.S. cartoon icons the Flintstones and Jetsons in a bid to broaden consumer awareness of electric vehicles. The campaign here is part of $45 million public education program and includes a television commercial called "JetStones," which features General Motors Co's fully-electric Chevy Bolt model and includes existing models from five other automakers. The aim of the “brand neutral” campaign is to raise awareness of existing EV models, emphasize their increasing range and that infrastructure exists to keep them fueled on America’s roads, said Richard Steinberg, Electrify America’s senior director of green cities and communications. “We’re trying to say with this campaign that electric vehicles are fun to drive, the range is great, and charging is more widely available than people know,” Steinberg said. VW has agreed to spend a total of $2 billion nationwide on clean car infrastructure as part of an agreement with federal regulators after admitting to diesel emissions cheating.  This campaign, focused heavily on major U.S. cities, is part of that commitment....In the “JetStones,” an unshaven driver of an orange conventional internal combustion engine vehicle pulls up to a red light to the theme song of “The Flintstones,” a cartoon about a Stone Age family. A similar-colored Chevy Bolt pulls up with a dapper driver at the wheel to show music for “The Jetsons,” a cartoon about a futuristic family.  It pulls away at speed when the light turns green,[…]

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  • Monday 13

    Climate Change News Aug 14, 2018 | 06:47 am

    Monday 13

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  • The Technical and Economical Climate Solution

    Climate Change News Aug 13, 2018 | 07:26 am

    The Technical and Economical Climate Solution Even amongst global warming believers, there is a growing schism about how to address the warming problem. On the one hand, carbon pricing is widely seen as an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate investments in low-carbon innovation, and create a sustainable economy. It was originally based on the free-market theory that if you tax something, you get less of it.  Without government regulation, the market will find the most efficient way to reduce carbon.   In every jurisdiction, however, where carbon pricing has been implemented, it increases regulation but even more problematically, the unconditional Intended Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement is only consistent with an increase in temperature of 3.2°C by 2100.  Which as Ray Pierrehumbert, a physics professor at the University of Oxford has pointed out would see a significant drop in food production, an increase in urban heat waves akin to the one that killed thousands of people in India in 2015, and more droughts and wildfires. And to compound the issue, the free-marketeers don’t present a viable climate solution or at least one that is effective and publicly acceptable. As Schalk Cloete pointed out, “current technology-forcing policies imply that wind/solar power combined with battery electric vehicles represent our only viable energy future. . . .  Given the fundamental limitations of these technologies, this is a very dangerous notion.”...In the RealClimate piece, Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target + Update, Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam University, claims the basic ocean physics facts are:  (i)[…]

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  • China × Cleantech — July

    Climate Change News Aug 13, 2018 | 07:25 am

    China × Cleantech — July BYD and Changan Automobile created a joint venture to build a battery factory with an annual production capacity of 10 GWh.  “The first phase will deliver the first 5–6GWh of production capacity and the second phase will deliver the remaining 4–5GWh of production capacity at the new Chongqing facility.” After earlier news about a Tesla gigafactory in China, we found out in July that the gigafactory would be financed via local government bank loans.  Additionally, Tesla CEO Elon Musk went to China for meetings related to the gigafactory.  While foreign companies do business in China all the time, Tesla has apparently broken through a couple of barriers.  This gigafactory will reportedly be the largest foreign investment in the history of Shanghai, and it is also the first time a foreign company will get such access. Volkswagen Group is also pushing into China, in this case partnering with FAW Group and the Connected Vehicles Research Institute.  Despite a lot of fluffy talk about leadership and potential, the news doesn’t have quite the level of progress Tesla’s news above shows, but the good news is that every automaker inching or leaping into China is very clearly focused on electrification as part of their strategy, including Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen’s Germany neighbor BMW has also been making more China moves.  It increased its stake in a joint venture with Chinese firm Brilliance.  The joint venture, which we’ve covered a handful of times, is BMW Brilliance Automotive. Read more at China × Cleantech — July

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  • Electric Car Growth Produces Battery Shortages, Carmakers Can’t Match Production with Demand

    Climate Change News Aug 13, 2018 | 07:19 am

    Electric Car Growth Produces Battery Shortages, Carmakers Can’t Match Production with Demand Conventional car companies are in a quandary, where the only sources for batteries to compete with Tesla are companies like LG Chem, SK Innovation, CATL, and Samsung SDI, which are just beginning advanced NMC 811 production over the next year. It seems that only Tesla figured EVs would be successful this early and planned ahead to build a gigafactory to supply the vast amount of cells necessary to build the large numbers of electric cars consumers want.  Even Tesla has to expand its battery factory size and efficiency by 3× to fulfill demand for both storage and EV batteries.  The original plan was for 35 GWh for cars and 50 GWh total.  The updated plan is for about 100 GWh for cars and 150 GWh total. Tesla’s current rate of production of 75 kWh packs for the Model 3 is equivalent to 23–24 GWh annually.  This production level is expected to rise as Gigafactory 1 is completed. Read more at Electric Car Growth Produces Battery Shortages, Carmakers Can’t Match Production with Demand

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