[Mar 29-Apr 4 ‘21] Big agriculture knew too

Big agriculture is like big fossil, build it and they will bike, detailed look at how we calculate ancient temperatures and The Verge video about the climate impacts of fossil gas and your gas stove.

  
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Welcome to this weeks edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

References: [1], [2], [3], [4] and [5].

Let’s start this one off with by far the saddest April Fools, a tweet by Greta Thunberg. Imagine if this was actually true and not a joke. And if you want to read on what happened during IEAs summit click the tweet below.


‼️News you can’t miss

Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.

🙀 #BigAgricultureKnewToo, like big oil big meat and dairy companies have spent millions in lobbying efforts to curb climate action.

😻 Bike infrastructure added during COVID has increased bike traffic by up to 48% in some cities.

😼 An interactive and detailed look at how so called proxy data is used to calculate temperatures 1000s of years ago.

💩 A great video by The Verge that once again tells the truth about gas stoves and fossil gas.


👩‍⚕️ Status: Climate & Science

Let’s look at how we’re doing this week!

[#greenland] — A group of scientists have observed that lakes on the Greenland ice sheet are draining through cracks in the ice into the Atlantic ocean which in turn acts as a lubricant hereby increasing the speed at which an ice shelf can move.

[#anniversary] — It’s been 10 years since the esteemed research journal Nature launched their Nature Climate Change section and in this article past editors of that look back at the papers that stood out.

[#temperature] — Ever wondered how we can know what the temperature was 1000s of years ago? Look no further. Carbon Brief has done an excellent interactive deep dive of how so called “proxy data” is used to reveal details about the climate of the past.


📰 The 7 Grand Challenges

⚡️Decarbonize Electricity

Clean electricity is the one do-or-die challenge we must solve.

[#solar] — The US Department of Energy has set an ambitious goal of halving the cost of solar by 2030. If they do that unsubsidized solar power in the US will cost 2 cents / KWh. The goal is being called ambitious but not impossible by a number of experts.

[#nuclear] — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commision (NRC) is looking into allowing some nuclear power plants to run more than 100 years. Currently there are two plants in Pennsylvania and Florida that has been given the permission to run for a total of 80 years. That’s quite stunning, very few electricity production technologies can do this.

[#chinasolar] — Here’s a detailed look at China’s booming solar industry. China’s market share of global PV production went from 14% in the early 2000s to 66% in 2013. Quite impressive.

[#gasstove] — Michael, are you back at hating on gas stoves again? Yes indeed. Here’s a video by The Verge summing up all the problems that fossil gas is causing in your home, for your health and for the climate crisis. It’s great to see major tech news media picking up on this stuff ❤️.

🏘 Reduce impact of urban and rural areas

Lowering the impact of urban and rural areas.

[#biking] — A new study has revealed that cities that have added bike lanes and other bike infrastructure has seen bike traffic increase by up to 48%. Build it and they will bike.

[#heathrow] — The UK is looking to expand Heathrow Airport. But that is currently being challenged in courts due to the fact that goes directly against the Paris Agreement. The problem is that the Supreme Court of the UK ok’ed the expansion. And this has now caused 150 lawyers, academics and policy makers around the world to urge the court to reverse their ruling.

[#hemp] — A detailed look at how Paris is using hemp when building green public housing — and no they don’t smoke it. But use it as insulation. This creates a much better indoor climate as well as is good for the climate.

[#fashion] — Here’s a look at the waste generated by the fashion industry and it’s quite enormous. The fashion industry produces 150 billion items every year. And if you wonder where all of this goes — people buy it and they buy more. Average clothes consumption is up 60% in the past 20 years and they throw away more. Since 2002 the average number of times an item is worn before it is tossed has dropped by 33%

🛁 Clean non-electrifiable activities

Some activities we do today can’t be electrified, these must be cleaned some other way.

[#hydrogen] — A new research project looks at retrofitting a 9 person aircraft with a hydrogen powered engine and will be a worlds first to be using hydrogen.

🌳 Protect and grow nature

Nature is our ally, we must protect it and help it help us.

[#deforestation] — In 2020 we cut down the same area as Netherlands in tropical old growth forest. The WRI and Global Forest Watch have calculated that this amounted to 2.6Gt of carbon emitted. It’s a 12% increase from 2019 to 2020.

[#coralreef] — Even the EU is concerned about the climate threat faced by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The EU is hoping that Australia will sign a pledge to do a green and just recovery from COVID19.

[#book] — A new book examines what we call “the natural world” and claims that it doesn’t really exist. There’s just about no square meter left on the Earth that hasn’t in some sense been touched and polluted by humans.

🍽 Optimize food

Without the lower impact of food or drink the hero doesn’t work (modified old danish proverb).

[#productivity] — A new study has analyzed the top 10 food crop production in the world in terms of productivity and confirms that increased heat due to global warming is having a big impact on productivity. Especially in the global south. We already need to increase food production by 70% by 2050 to account for the rise in population and this task will be much harder due to decreased productivity due to global warming.

[#deforestation] — A new study has calculated that the average citizen in the developed world’s food intake (beef, palm oil, chocolate, coffee etc) leads to the loss of four trees every year. Many of these in wildlife rich forests.

⬇️ Engineered drawdown and geoengineering

Protecting our planet and species one way or another

[#carbonremoval] — Shopify has purchased the removal of 10.000 tons of CO2 from a plant to be constructed by Carbon Engineering in Texas. The CO2 will be injected into a rock formation and will over time be turned to stone.


⭐️Special Topics

🎩 Global and local policy

We have a special interest in covering the major global and local policies regarding climate, whether good or bad.

[#eu] — It appears that EU policymakers are making little progress on the new EU climate law that is supposed to be done by mid-april. The 2030 target is apparently the big problem and it’s not even very ambitious or compliant with the Paris Agreement (as has been discussed multiple times in this newsletter).

⛽️Major Carbon Emitters

We have a special interest in covering the moving of the major carbon emitters as these are the key roadblock to climate action.

[#law] — A lawyer who took on Chevron can now mark his 600th day in house arrest. This article has some of the details but if you want more, I can highly recommend Drilled Podcast on the same topic from earlier this year.

[#investing] — Carbon Tracker has released a new report that looks at the performance of energy stocks and notes that fossil fuel stocks have lost 123B$ in value in the past decade. They are doing 52% worse than a key world equities index. On the other hand stocks in utilities that are focussed on renewable energy generation has increased 111B$ in value.

[#lobbyism] — And we finish with probably the most important piece of news this week: A new study has found that meat and other agriculture companies have behaved more or less exactly like big fossil and spent millions in lobbying efforts to curb climate action and spread doubt about the agricultural sectors carbon emissions 😾.


That’s it for this week folks! Remember if you’re feeling down, angry or sad from some of the news in this newsletter one cure is to act. And one way you can always act that also happens to be one of the most powerful things you can do is to talk about it. That also works if what you just read made you hopeful or happy btw.

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See you all next week 👋