[May 17-23’21] No more fossil fuels from this year!

A 4320km2 iceberg, 30% of Shell shareholders calls bullshit, climatarianism is a thing and IEA says no more fossil fuels starting this year.

  
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Welcome to this weeks edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

References: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5] and [6].


‼️News you can’t miss

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

🙀 The world’s biggest iceberg came into existence. A 4320 km2 behemoth.

😻 30% of Shell’s shareholders voted for a resolution that calls total bullshit on Shell’s climate “plan”.

😼 A look at climatarianism or eating according to how carbon intensive the food is.

💩 IEA: “No more fossil fuel expansion now! From this year”.


👩‍⚕️ Status: Climate & Science

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

[#antarctica] — Antarctica just created the worlds largest iceberg. A gigantic 4320 square km one just broke of Antarctica. That’s approximately 10% of the area of Denmark or ~50% of Corsica. That’s a big iceberg. This article discusses how much this is due to climate change or how much this is due to how ice shelves work.

[#lanina] — After many of the hottest years in a row 2021 is off to a colder start which in a new study is deemed to be primarily because of a strong La Nina. 2021 is still expected to be one of the hottest since the 1800s, just not as hot because the La Nina.

[#attribution] — This post in CarbonBrief looks at how the field of extreme weather event attribution (the field of figuring out how much a particular extreme weather event was fueled by climate change) has developed and how scientists are able to attribute specific weather events to climate change. Last week one such study was published about 2012’s big hurricane Sandy in the US. That study calculated that 8B$ worth of extra damage was due to climate change.

[#greenland] — A new study looks at evidence that the Greenland ice sheet are on the brink of a major tipping point. If all of Greenlands ice were to melt, then we would be in for a 7 meter sea level rise. So nothing near the doomy 59m if Antarctica melts but still pretty serious.


📰 The 7 Grand Challenges

⚡️Decarbonize Electricity

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

[#iea] — This is without a doubt the single most important news item last week. IEA (who’s known for being very fossil fuel friendly) published their flagship Netzero by 2050 report last week which surprised everyone by being extremely clear in it’s language: If we are to solve the climate crisis governments globally must stop funding fossil fuel expansion, now, from this year. Any government that is not banning fossil fuel cars by 2035 is unambitious and not compliant with being net zero by 2050. In other words, the report calls out on the gigantic gap between political rhetoric and reality. There was a lot of news stories this week about this report. Here I just posted the Guardians. Google yourself to find other views on this report. One article is worth highlighting which looks at how conservative the IEA is in predicting the growth of solar and wind and their conclusion is that they’re still too conservative. Also it quite hilarious to read an fossil fuel industry lackeys desperate attempt at explaining the IEA report. Read at your own peril.

[#vietnam] — In Vietnam, banks are increasingly shunning coal which has led to an amazing increase in rooftop solar installations growing more than 10x in a year. From less than 1GW to 10GW in 2020.

🏘 Reduce impact of urban and rural areas

Lowering the impact of urban and rural areas.

[#ev] — 20% of people who have bought an EV goes back to ICE for their next car. 70% of those does it because of charging troubles. Either they switched back because they couldn’t charge at home or because charging infrastructure at a new location they were moving to was not adequate. Here’s an interview and study of those people in the 20% group.

[#china] — During the first half of 2021 China’s carbon emissions have grown by 15%. That’s the fastest in more than a decade. I wonder when if ever China will start living up to it’s promises...

🛁 Clean non-electrifiable activities

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

[#plastic] — A new study reveals that just 20 companies are responsible for more than half of all single-use plastic. And just 100 companies create 90% of all plastic waste.

[#shipping] — Shipping has a lot of problems when it comes to climate change. But also “just” in terms of pollution. There’s regulation in place that ensures that ships have to burn low-sulfur fuel OR put on a scrubber that will reduce the amount of air pollution. The problem then is that the so called “wash water” — the polluted water left after the scrubbing process — is dumped in the ocean. You know, as you do.

🌳 Protect and grow nature

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

[#reforestation] — A really interesting project which builds upon a mix of indigenous knowledge and high-tech is being kicked off in Canada, where the project aims to “Seed the North” by planting a lot of trees and plants on areas that has been degraded either by wildfire, industry or similar.

[#biodiversity] — Earlier this year it was revealed that the world managed to hit exactly 0 biodiversity targets established 10 years ago. In response to that Germany just launched a 1B$ biodiversity fund with the aim to protect and conserve natural areas and species.

🍽 Optimize food

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

[#climatarianism] — Here’s a New York Times article about “climatarianism”, i.e. a diet in which you eat according to how carbon intensive the food is. This means that the Danish guy they’re intervieweing is eating primarily locally sourced fruits and vegetables as well as pizza. 

[#poolution] — In North Carolina residents are worried about a different type of pollution: Pig poo-lution. The coming hurricane season is likely to flood vast hog waste lagoons which not only releases a lot of methane, but will also flood nearby regions in pig poo and the associated harmful bacteria.

[#beef] — This article looks at the state of the general discussion about meat and how it is fast becoming the new coal. We’re seeing a lot of trends that seems to indicate that this is the case. Such as gourmet restaurants swearing off beef. 

⚖️ Climate Justice

Without justice there’s no future.

[#displacement] — Despite the pandemic climate change caused more internal displacement than war in 2020. In total 30m people got displaced because of weather related events and 10 million got displaced due to conflict.

📦 Other / catch-all

All the other stuff that I couldn’t fit into any of the other categories, than the other category.

[#art] — One topic that I find myself drawn to these days is how art can help us make the transitions necessary to solve the climate crisis. We must not forget that many of the high-tech solutions require emotional solutions to be deployed. And this is one area where art communicates in a different way than the usual: WINDTURBINES! SOLAR! NO COWS! MORE COWS! NO FLIGHTS! ELECTRIC FLIGHTS! and so on. Recently there was a great and interesting 🎧 How to save a planet episode that tried to find a climate anthem by looking at music’s influence on big social shifts like the Civil Rights Movements in the US. But this weeks article (linked to at the top), looks at the role of fiction and how it might be able to reach people which scientists cannot reach.


⭐️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.

[#g7] — This weeks G7 meeting produced an interesting result which was that the G7 nations has agreed to end support for coal production overseas in an attempt to make life even harder for the coal industry. Great! Main problem is that IEA’s report this week calls for that to happen today and not in the 2030s...

[#spain] — Viva España! Spain passed a new law that bans all new oil and gas exploration and drilling licenses, prohibits sale of fossil fuel based cars by 2040 and makes it illegal to produce fossil fuels in the country 2043. Furthermore, it targets 74% of renewable energy on Spain’s grid by 2030. Again great, but the IEA report says this year..

[#france] — A new climate law is passing through the French government. Critics say that it has been watered down so much that it’s hardly climate law and that it wouldn’t be compliant with the Paris agreement. The president Emmanuel Macron is facing re-election next year and really needs a climate bill to strengthen his environmental credentials.

⛽️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.

[#activistshareholder] — A significant share of Shell shareholders made history last week by being the first to reject the company’s net zero plan which by climate scientists are being called “a defence of the company’s current gas and oil exploration”. In fact 30% of the company’s shareholders voted for a resolution to limit the company’s carbon emissions. That’s a big chunk of shareholders calling total bullshit on Shell’s so called “plans”. The same organisation (the amazing folks at Follow This) that targeted Shell is going after Chevron next.

[#health] — A new report in the US puts a price tag on the health impact of climate change: 820B$. Everything from air pollution, airborne diseases, extreme heat, extended allergy seasons. All of that adds up.

[#climateguilt] — Last week we brought the news of a new report that looked at how the fossil fuel industry has used marketing campaigns to make us all feel guilty of the climate crisis. Here Drilled brings an interview with one of the authors of that report.

[#climatedenial] — A new study looks at the who’s funding climate denial in the US. Funding of climate denial has risen by 3.4% per year over the past two decades. And it’s mostly anonymous donors who’s doing it. Most of them are anonymous because the donor companies are structured in a way such as to hide who the owners are. 

[#fossilsponsors] — The Science Museum in London is about to open a big exhibition “on climate change” called Our Future Planet. And it is heavily focussed on carbon capture for some reason. Ahh. Shell is one of the sponsors ok I see. This article goes into the embarrassing details that let to the museum taking fossil fuel money to sponsor an exhibition on climate change. It’s like having the fossil fuel industry pay politicians to introduce … wait a minute… YOU 👏 DON’T 👏 TAKE 👏 MONEY 👏 FROM 👏 THE 👏 ORGS 👏 THAT 👏 ARE 👏 CAUSING 👏 THE 👏 PROBLEM!


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 👋