Sustainable Arlington

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


Paint the Town Green

Celebrate Arlington’s Path to a Sustainable Future

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 3-5 p

Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA

Read More


SA Blogs Page


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.

  • By 2035 the ‘Great Fuel Switch’ Will Mark the End of the Age of Oil and Gas, Analysts Expect

    Climate Change News Oct 21, 2018 | 04:10 am

    By 2035 the ‘Great Fuel Switch’ Will Mark the End of the Age of Oil and Gas, Analysts Expect Solar and wind energy will meet 20 percent of global power needs sooner than previously forecast. Close to 20 percent of global power needs will be met by solar or wind energy by 2035, marking a shift from the age of oil and gas to the age of renewables, according to a new report from researchers at the consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The growing focus on sustainability in many parts of the world, the report says, “is almost akin to a gravitational force, pulling things in one direction and driving the ‘great fuel switch,’ leaving little possibility for a reversal.” Energy transitions, similar to the ongoing shift to renewables, are nothing new, Wood Mackenzie researchers write in the report released Wednesday, entitled “Thinking Global Energy Transitions:  The What, If, How and When.”  The current hydrocarbon-based economy has itself evolved out of many previous energy transitions, from the age of biomass to the age of coal, and, ultimately, to that of oil and gas.  Each of these was different, but all took at least 30 to 50 years to unfold, the report says. Technological advancements in the renewable energy industry, coupled with the growth of energy storage and the growth of electric vehicles, are driving the “large-scale commodity switch” away from fossil fuels, Prajit Ghosh, Wood Mackenzie’s head of global strategy, power and renewables, said Wednesday in a statement. “The result is that the energy transition seems less the plot of a sci-fi movie and more of a feasible, albeit ambitious, plan,”[…]

  • Saturday 20

    Climate Change News Oct 21, 2018 | 03:50 am

    Saturday 20

  • 'Dire' IPCC Report Ignites Headlines, Media Coverage

    Climate Change News Oct 20, 2018 | 05:45 am

    'Dire' IPCC Report Ignites Headlines, Media Coverage Whether report, and media coverage of it, will budge public opinion remains unclear. News of the short-term climate catastrophe scientists say the world now faces first came over the weekend of October 6-7.  That’s just as many across the U.S. were already consumed by “breaking news” of an entirely different sort – the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh....Major broadcast networks and cable news stations, and what remains of serious daily newspapers soon were giving earnest play to the latest IPCC report, and expressing substantial levels of concern. For those who somehow missed it, a quick catch-up:  The news from IPCC scientists gathered from across the world was indeed serious, and troubling to all but those wanting to still play the “hoax” card.  A few samplings from the report:“Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”Limiting the warming to 1.5 rather than to 2 degrees C will provide “clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems…, ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.”  That is, there’s a big difference in that one-half degree C in terms of adverse impacts.“We are already seeing the consequences of 1-degree C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and diminishing arctic sea ice, among other changes.”“By 2100, global sea-level rise would be 10 cm [nearly four inches] lower with global warming of 1.5 C compared with 2 C.”“Likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer[…]

  • New Materials Could Make Concentrated Solar Power Cheaper than Battery Storage

    Climate Change News Oct 20, 2018 | 05:00 am

    New Materials Could Make Concentrated Solar Power Cheaper than Battery Storage Sunlight can do lots of useful things.  It can make plants grow.  It can allow solar panels to make electricity.  And it can be used to heat stuff up to extremely high temperatures.  That last one is what makes concentrated solar power possible.  According to a report in Science Daily, “Concentrated solar power plants convert solar energy into electricity by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a lot of light onto a small area, which generates heat that is transferred to a molten salt.  Heat from the molten salt is then transferred to a “working” fluid, supercritical carbon dioxide, that expands and works to spin a turbine for generating electricity.” The critical elements in that process are the heat exchangers used to transfer the heat stored in the molten salt to the carbon dioxide working fluid.  If the whole process could be made to operate at even higher temperatures, CSP systems could make more electricity from a given amount of sunlight. “Storing solar energy as heat can already be cheaper than storing energy via batteries, so the next step is reducing the cost of generating electricity from the sun’s heat with the added benefit of zero greenhouse gas emissions,” says Kenneth Sandhage, a professor of materials engineering at Purdue University. At the present time, those heat exchangers are made of stainless steel or nickel based alloys, but they get too soft at the desired higher temperatures and at the elevated pressure of supercritical carbon dioxide.  Professor Sandhage has been collaborating[…]

  • Warming Raises Threat of Global Famine Repeat

    Climate Change News Oct 20, 2018 | 04:10 am

    Warming Raises Threat of Global Famine Repeat Global warming is increasing the chances of worldwide harvest failure on the scale of the tragic 19th-century drought and famine that claimed 50 million lives. Climate change driven by human-induced global warming could recreate the conditions for a re-run of one of the most tragic episodes in human history, the Great Drought and Global Famine of 1875 to 1878. Those years were marked by widespread and prolonged droughts in Asia, Brazil, and Africa, triggered by a coincidence of unusual conditions in the Pacific, Indian, and North Atlantic Oceans. The famine – made more lethal by the political constraints linked to 19th-century colonial domination of three continents – is now thought to have claimed up to 50 million lives. And the message contained in new research published in the Journal of Climate is stark:  what happened before could happen again. One of the triggers was a cyclic blister of Pacific warming called El Niño, known to reverse global weather patterns, scorch rainforests and destabilize societies. Another factor was a set of record warm temperatures in the North Atlantic that have been linked to drought in North Africa. Linked to famineA third was an unusually strong Indian Ocean dipole, a natural cyclic temperature change that has recently been linked to famine in the Horn of Africa. The 1875-78 drought and famine began with the failure of the monsoon in India and China, leading to the most intense drought in the last 800 years.  So many died in Shanxi province, China, that the[…]

  • Friday 19

    Climate Change News Oct 20, 2018 | 03:50 am

    Friday 19

  • Thursday 18

    Climate Change News Oct 19, 2018 | 05:55 am

    Thursday 18

  • Bill Gates Throws New Weight and Cash into Climate Fight

    Climate Change News Oct 18, 2018 | 06:30 am

    Bill Gates Throws New Weight and Cash into Climate Fight In back-to-back events this week, the billionaire launched projects to slow global warming and limit the damage it causes. The billionaire philanthropist known for his work on global health and development threw new weight and money behind efforts to limit global warming this week. In back-to-back events on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bill Gates launched a global commission to develop climate change adaptation measures and a European investment fund for clean energy innovation. Both initiatives are aimed at supporting investment in nascent and risky technologies.The Global Commission on Adaptation will focus on managing the effects already linked to climate change, for example by developing a seed for subsistence farmers that can withstand more frequent droughts.  Gates will lead the commission with former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva. The Breakthrough Energy Europe initiative, creates an initial €100m joint investment fund for technologies such as battery storage and zero-emission manufacturing processes.  Gates, who is chairman of the $1bn Breakthrough Energy Ventures, launched the fund with the European Commission on Wednesday. Together, they address the two-pronged challenge posed by climate change – mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the changes, even if the global temperature rise is limited, Gates told reporters in Brussels. “We want economies to grow.  The amount of steel, cement, food, meat that gets produced globally – that is going to increase.  But at the same time, we need to slash emissions,” he said.  “But even if we achieve the 1.5C or 2C[…]

  • Designers Are Reinventing Hurricane Maps for an Era of Extreme Weather

    Climate Change News Oct 18, 2018 | 05:45 am

    Designers Are Reinventing Hurricane Maps for an Era of Extreme Weather As climate dangers rise, researchers are testing new ways of communicating clearly about uncertainty. Over the years, various researchers and media organizations have tested out new ways of visualizing the potential path of a hurricane.  One method that has gained a lot of traction is to visualize each possible path as a separate line in what’s called a “spaghetti graph.”...Among the redesigns he’s seen, Alberto Cairo, a data visualization expert who has been conducting research with his colleagues at the University of Miami to improve hurricane maps, thinks this is one of the most promising.  He intends to study it more with his colleagues as part of their research. “We will try to test as many alternatives as possible to see which one or what combination of maps works better for people,” he says.  Ultimately, the solution may not even involve showing the hurricane’s trajectory if their research finds that people don’t need that information to make a decision. “Because that’s the whole purpose,” he says, “Giving people the information that they need to make a sound decision as to how they need to protect themselves and their families.” Read more at Designers Are Reinventing Hurricane Maps for an Era of Extreme Weather

  • EU Lawmakers to Back 35 Percent Co2 Cut for Trucks by 2030

    Climate Change News Oct 18, 2018 | 05:10 am

    EU Lawmakers to Back 35 Percent Co2 Cut for Trucks by 2030 EU lawmakers are expected to back a 35 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from new trucks by 2030, EU sources said ahead of a vote on Thursday over new rules that seek to fight global warming without harming industry. The target will be the first CO2 standard for trucks in the EU, which currently has no limits on what accounts for almost one quarter of the bloc’s transport-related emissions. The vote in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee would set tougher climate targets than those proposed by the EU executive in May.  It had called for a 30 percent CO2 cut by 2030. The sources said the 35 percent target is backed by a majority of lawmakers in the committee, which tends to push for more ambitious climate legislation than the assembly as a whole. However, lawmakers remained divided over how tough an interim 2025 target should be ahead of Thursday’s vote. In a clash between worries over climate and competitiveness, left-leaning parties have banded together to push a more ambitious target of a 20 percent reduction by 2025 than what has been proposed by the bloc’s executive. But the European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest party in the chamber, favors the European Commission’s original proposal of 15 percent by 2025. “The big battle will be between what is going to be adopted for 2025,” said Bas Eickhout, the Green lawmaker in charge of seeing the proposal through Parliament. The parliament groups will also face off over whether to require[…]