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THE BRIEF [Oct 30-Nov 5'23]
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉
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‼️News you can’t miss
Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.
😻 A nudging scheme for fine dining is being tested in London, kind of a fine dining offset
This week’s highlights
[#5years] — New estimates from climate scientists indicate that humans have about five years to limit carbon emissions before surpassing the most ambitious limit set by the Paris Agreement. The calculations suggest that current emission reduction efforts are insufficient to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. While the most promising paths to meet this target are no longer available, updated emissions data can still help governments work towards less ambitious climate goals. The risk of heat waves, floods, crop failures, species extinctions, and wildfires increases with each increment of warming, highlighting the importance of every tenth of a degree in temperature reduction.
[#plastic] — A new report by Beyond Plastics and the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) argues that chemical recycling is a "false solution" to the plastic pollution crisis. The report highlights the limited capacity and underperformance of chemical recycling facilities in the United States, as well as the environmental and social impacts of these operations. It calls for a nationwide moratorium on new chemical recycling facilities and stricter regulation. The report also draws parallels between chemical recycling and carbon capture and storage, emphasizing the need for policymakers to critically evaluate these solutions.
[#quittingcows] — Cattle contribute significantly to climate change, emitting nearly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. While efforts are being made to reduce emissions through technologies like biodigesters and gene-editing, completely eliminating cows from the food system is complex. Shifting towards plant-based alternatives can reduce an individual's carbon footprint, but the challenge lies in cultural shifts, meeting nutritional demands, and balancing the agricultural and industrial economy. A comprehensive approach is needed, including sustainable farming practices, reducing food waste, and exploring dietary shifts, to address the environmental impact of animal-based foods.
[#tradeoff] — As air quality improves due to regulations reducing harmful pollutants, scientists are discovering a trade-off: the reduction in particulate matter that was blocking solar radiation is contributing to global warming. Cleaner air has significant health benefits, but it also means less cooling effect on the climate. For example, regulations on sulfur dioxide in shipping fuel have reduced air pollution but also increased global temperatures. While the exact impact is not yet quantified, it is a contributing factor to the record high temperatures experienced. The solution lies in reducing fossil fuel burning, which would render the mitigating effect of particulate matter irrelevant.
That’s it for this week folks!
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See you all next week 👋