THE BRIEF [Aug 9-15’21]

The inaugural brief and going paid!

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉

This is the very first “THE BRIEF” you’re receiving. Read on to understand more about this or if you just want to read the version you’ve always been reading just click this link.

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

Happy anniversary to The Weekly Climate!

Can you believe it? It’s been one full year of non-stop gathering the most important climate crisis news for you all. Thank you to each and everyone of my dear 696 readers for reading the newsletter every week (or almost exactly every other week according to my stats).

Here are the top 5 most read issues that you may have missed

  1. [Deep dive] Death to net-zero

  2. [Deep dive] Before the tractors…

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

In general it looks like my deep dives are getting a lot of reads, which I’m grateful for. The problem as you may have noticed is that I haven’t had the time to do as many as I was hoping for, which brings me to a small announcement.

You can now pay me if you want to

I’ve been doing this for a year. The newsletter is growing steadily. It’s time to go paid to ensure that I can keep it going for the next years. It is very time consuming to write this newsletter. I spend maybe 2 full work-days spread out over most evenings of the week to prepare, write and record it. I need to either expand or go home. But before I ask you to pay me I want to let you in on a few plans that are cooking and that I hope can come to fruition depending on how well received this will be of course:

  1. State-of-the-Climate 2021: Together with my researcher Knut we’ve been working on a presentation that sums up what has happened in climate for 2021. We have a database, a report format and are busily updating it. So be on the look out for this in early 2022.

  2. Local edition: As I’ve highlighted a couple of times. I’m only able to post english-speaking news (since that’s the language I understand). This means that whatever news I post from non-english speaking countries will have to be so newsworthy that they are posted in global media outlets. This is not good enough. So I’m working on a concept to do a local version of the Weekly Climate. But for this I need more support (and to begin with volunteers in non-english speaking countries).

  3. Podcast: I feel like the podcast as it is right now could do more. I haven’t yet found climate news podcast that I keep on being dependent on. I think there’s a hole there.

These are of course not set in stone and I can’t guarantee that I will do them, but these projects are whats in the works. But it’s also clear that I can’t do any of them without being able to get more people onboard. So that’s one of the primary motivations for going paid.

What will it mean for the newsletter that it will be paid?

  • You may already have noticed one change. This morning you received two newsletters: “The Brief” and one titled as I regularly title them (in the following referred to as “The Long One”)

  • The Brief contains only this intro section, “News you can’t miss” and a couple of important sections from the rest of the newsletter. It won’t be narrated but it will always be free.

  • The Long One is the one you’ve been receiving for free this whole time. It will be narrated as always.

  • Paid subscribers will also receive any deep dives that I manage to do. Paid subscribers will get both The Brief and The Long One.

  • All existing newsletters will remain free.

As for the price. If you don’t get 1.25$ worth of something from each newsletter, whether I’ve saved you time or you learned something, then I don’t think this newsletter is doing what it should do. Therefore, the starting price for paid members is 5$/month. You can choose to pay me more and if you do you will be mentioned on my about page along with a little sentence or link of your choosing (with my full right to change it if it’s abusive etc). More info on both memberships on the subscription page. Right now if you subscribe within the next two weeks you get a 20% discount.

If you have any questions regarding this don’t hesitate to ask (michael@weeklyclimate.com). Now all that’s left to ask is please consider to upgrade your subscription to paid if you enjoy this newsletter. To do that please click on the menu in the top right -> My Account -> And then there should be a big button up top that says “upgrade to paid”.

Thanks again for reading! 🙏


‼️News you can’t miss

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

🙀 The new IPCC report is “code red for humanity”

😻 Prescribed burns played an important role in containing the Bootleg fire.

😼 Humus (no not a typo, I’m not talking about hummus here) may not be as long lasting as we thought. If you don’t know why you should care, read this.

💩 Half-assed oil-spill clean-up in Trinidad must not go unpunished.


This weeks highlights

[#ipcc] — ‘Code Red for humanity’. Those were the words of Antonio Gutierrez when he presented the new IPCC report last week. The rest of the climate science section will therefore be dedicated to that report, in fact the main part of the newsletter this week is dedicated to that report. There are a few other noteworthy news items, but this is really the most important one.

This is the final final final warming (yes we’ve had some over the years) and thus the report remains hopeful that if we act now we can still have some positive impact on the climate. There’s no room for excuses, to quote Gutierrez. The different between this and the 5th Assessment report is that the Science has gotten a lot clearer on many things especially around the attribution aspect.

As for the contents, the report cements with absolutely certainty that yes global warming exists and yes it’s us. This means that anybody, ANYBODY, telling you otherwise is misguided. And it’s your job to ignore them or help them. Here’s a few key climate stats from the report:

  • Global temperatures between 2011 and 2020 averaged 1.09C higher than 1850-1900.

  • The past 5 years has been the hottest since 1850.

  • Rate of sea-level rise has tripled compared to 1901-1970

  • Expected sea level rise 2m (2100) and 5m (2150) cannot be ruled out.

The report also states that we have already made changes to many ecosystems that can only be reversed on a decade or century scale. The oceans will continue to rise and glaciers will continue to melt for decades or centuries to come. There’s no stopping that now. We can only stop how chaotic it will get.

So what can we do? ”This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet” quoting Gutierrez again. We’re emitting ~40Gt of CO2 every year and we have 500Gt to go to have a 50/50 chance of staying below 1.5C (remember we’re at 1.1C now). There’s no longer any excuse for any politician anywhere to continue to drill fossil fuels out of the ground. It has to stop and it has to stop now.

Other take-aways from the report includes:

  • We need more “adaptech” to help the world adapt as extreme weather events become increasingly chaotic.

  • Food security around the world will suffer no matter what we do, with impacts already expected in the next couple of decades.

  • Methane emissions are just as important as carbon dioxide and needs just as much attention as carbon dioxide emissions.

  • The report should be a rallying cry to lawyers around the world as the new report puts forth the standards with about things like attribution science, which is needed in order to blame specific events on big carbon emitters.

  • If you want to dive into the very deep details of what the report is saying on extreme weather events I can recommend this Carbon Brief article.

  • This Grist article looks at the commentary from a wide variety of climate scientists.

  • A very interesting look at the differences between the “Summary for policy makers” part of the report for the past years. And related, Heated reports that once again it’s very odd that the summary for policymakers (which let’s face it, is the one that most people read if anything) doesn’t contain a single word on fossil fuels. Parts of the report did, but it’s not very damning as it should be.

Ok that’s it for the IPCC report.

[#humus] — This is a very interesting article that I don’t really know what to think about after reading it a couple of times. Basically, it highlights what appears to be a large group of researchers who believed they have debunked the myth of so-called long-lasting “humus” which is long-lasting carbon molecules embedded in the soil that are produced by plants. Although the existence of humus is unquestionable, the long lasting properties of it is. As the researchers have proved that these molecules are eaten by microbes in the soil. The problems is that not only are universities around the world still teaching about long-lasting humus but reports such as the IPCCs latest relies on it. That the soil does sequester carbon for a long time however, is not questioned by the researchers, we know it is. But we don’t understand how. And in a world where we depend on it this is a problem.

[#fightfirewithfire] — As the big Bootleg fire was thundering towards the Sycan Marsh Preserve in Oregon something amazing happened. The fire slowed down, which allowed the fire fighters to gain control of it. A similar thing happened in the Black Hills Ecosystem Restoration project. What does these two areas have in common? Both areas are being managed following traditional and tribal forest management principles, in which small prescribed burns are being done to remove fuel from the vegetation.


That’s it for this week folks!

This is a big day for me! I’m going paid! Thus it really puts the newsletter to the test. Does it provide you with 1.25$ worth of value every week? I believe it does. In fact I really hope that just the time alone I save you should easily cover those 1.25$. Remember that you can save 20% the first year by upgrading to paid today. Also ping me on michael@weeklyclimate.com or comment below with any feedback or comments regarding this.

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 👋