[Feb 5-11'24] Can farming change?
Farmer protests leads to rollbacks, energy demand might be lower in 2050, climate shocks could trigger unrest and China accounts for 96% of all new coal power.
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉
‼️News you can’t miss
Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.
👩⚕️ Status: Climate & Science
Let’s look at how we’re doing this week!
[#troubling?] — A world-first study suggests that global temperatures have already exceeded 1.5°C warming and may pass 2°C later this decade, based on temperature records contained in sea sponge skeletons. The study indicates that global climate change has progressed further than previously thought, with implications for extreme weather events and emissions reduction efforts. The findings also suggest that the goal of keeping the average global temperature rise below 1.5°C since pre-industrial times, as outlined in the Paris climate deal, may have already been surpassed. However, other scientists have challenged the conclusions of this study. The study, based on proxy data from sea sponges, suggests that warming started 40 years before the pre-industrial baseline period used by the IPCC. However, experts argue that the study's framing is misleading and has no bearing on the Paris Agreement limit. They caution against using proxy data from a single location to make assumptions about global temperatures.
[#AMOCcollapse] — A new study warns that the collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could have more extreme climate impacts than previously expected. The disruption of this critical system of ocean currents due to increasing freshwater inflows from melting ice sheets and global warming could shift rainfall patterns, reverse seasons, cause dynamic sea level rise, and affect ocean currents like the Gulf Stream. The study emphasizes the urgency of reducing emissions to prevent such a collapse and highlights the need to address the risk of an AMOC breakdown.
[#unrest] — Scientists warn that as the world surpasses 1.5 degrees of warming, climate shocks could lead to social unrest and authoritarian backlash. The increasing climate shocks and their impacts on society could trigger nationalist and authoritarian responses. The 1.5 degree mark, established by the Paris Agreement, has already been crossed in 2023, and current global climate policies are on track to heat the world by about 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, posing a threat to human civilization. The imminent breaching of the 1.5 degree limit may not stir the public due to denial, fear, and distractions from other crises. Passing the 1.5 degree threshold will likely empower climate activists calling for systemic change, but it may also trigger a backlash and repressive measures. The emotional and psychological responses to climate change, along with political and social tensions, will shape the future of climate action and its societal implications.
📰 The 7 Grand Challenges
Clean electricity is the one do-or-die challenge we must solve.
[#EUfossils] — According to a report by Ember, fossil fuel power plants in the European Union experienced a record drop in pollution last year, marking an unprecedented collapse in coal and gas electricity generation. Renewable energy, including wind and solar, now makes up more than two-thirds of the EU's electricity mix, surpassing fossil fuels. Coal generation saw the steepest fall, while wind energy soared and surpassed gas for the first time. The EU aims to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and has recommended slashing pollution by 90 percent by 2040 compared to 1990 levels (see later detailed post about this).