If nations want even a 50 percent chance of avoiding dangerous global warming, they’ll need to keep more than 80 percent of current coal reserves in the ground. And in the United States, more than 90 percent of coal reserves would need to stay buried, according to a new study from University College London.
The study is the latest effort by researchers to put numbers on just how much coal, oil, and gas humanity can safely burn without committing the planet to temperature increases above the 3.6 degree Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) goal agreed on by international negotiators. Previously, scientists have estimated that the amount of current fossil fuel reserves exceed what we can burn by about a factor of three. In this new paper, published Wednesday by the journal Nature, researchers tighten the focus of this global carbon budget by breaking the global numbers into regional ones.Read more »
A new study challenges the image of high-ranking leaders in U.S. business and government as ruthless negotiators hell-bent on defending their own interests.
The reverse may be closer to the truth, according to the research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Critical to reaching this insight was the not-small logistical hurdle of getting actual, busy, high-ranking professionals to participate.Read more »
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization is out today with a report that’s sure to get people on the left and right all riled up: According to the UN, the Earth’s average temperature over land and sea in 2014 will be among the hottest—and likely the hottest—of any year since record-keeping began in 1880.
How hot? 58.23-degrees Fahrenheit, up 0.14 degrees from 2013, the UN says.
Some climate change activists, many of whom are now gathered in Lima, Peru, for annual UN climate talks, will seize on this told-you-so number as proof that global temperatures are rising. Climate change deniers will dismiss it as an outlier that proves nothing.Read more »
The way we cool buildings in the summer has a lot of middlemen. What if we could cut out the middlemen and just eject the heat out to space?
Technology being developed at Stanford University could slash the need for summertime air conditioning, which currently uses up about 15 percent of the $180 billion spent on energy for commercial buildings in the U.S.
In the beginning, we had to worry about smallpox. And then anthrax. And then Ebola. Now topping the list of parasitic biohazard nightmares, a brain-eating worm. As it turns out, they are real. You can get them. You can get a brain-eating worm.
Scientists affiliated with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. announced yesterday that they have sequenced the genome of a tapeworm that had lived in a British man's head for four years. The worm, which is called Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, is extremely rare, and can cause seizures and memory loss. Cases have typically popped up in the East, potentially caused by small infected shelfish, raw reptile or frog meat.Read more »
Here's one way to phrase the basic climate change conundrum: There's a huge gap between the volume of pollution emitted every year and how much scientists say we can safely send aloft.
This has a weird implication for potential fixes governments may need in the future.Read more »
Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:
- A dam revival, despite risks (NY Times)
- Is a ban on GM crops more harmful than growing them? (Guardian)
- Coal's black wind: Pregnant women in parts of India advised to stay away (Environmental Health News)
- New York City tries to cram in some energy storage (EnergyWire)
- This new restaurant is a lab to help find ways the food industry can fight climate change (Fast Company)
- Why one Democrat is so over Obama's climate regulations (National Journal)
- 'Green revolution': brings greater CO2 swings (Climate Central)
- Americans still use the whole pig (Atlantic)
Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business
So does all of this week's climate news amount to progress, or to promises Obama can't keep?
U.S. President Barack Obama is poised to pledge $3 billion to an international climate fund this weekend. The move comes on the heels of his landmark deal with China to address global warming—a surprise agreement that managed to delight climate watchers around the world.Read more »