To make Notes from a Dead Planet a living document, this is where we will add links to important new developments, to supplement the links in the book. You can add them as annotations to your copy of Notes from a Dead Planet. Feel free to alert me to developments you consider important, but in order not to overdo it, I'll only add the ones I consider most important.
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2/23/2022: China Plans to Feed 80M People With ‘Seawater Rice’. Chinese scientists have developed salt-tolerant strains of rice in a bid to ensure food security as sea levels rise from climate change.
"It is literally insane that the global fossil fuel phase-out is being actively sabotaged by antiquated treaties and corporate greed," said one critic.
3/3/2022: Just published… Carbon Brief’s in-depth Q&A about new IPCC report. 18 full chapters and seven “cross” chapters, plus the “summary for policymakers.”
3/3/2022: IPCC: Revealed – how rich and at-risk nations fought over science of climate impacts. Negotiations over the high-level “summary for policymakers” section of the IPCC’s latest report “were dogged by tense disagreements between rich polluters and at-risk nations.”
3/10/2022: Misinformation is blocking climate action, and the UN is finally calling it out. The latest IPCC report is the first to highlight “the ways in which fossil fuel companies, climate deniers and conspiracy theorists have sown doubt and confusion about climate change and made it harder for policymakers to act."
3/10/2022: Relocating farmland could turn back clock twenty years on carbon emissions, say scientists. Map shows where the world's major food crops should be grown to maximize yield and minimize environmental impact. This would capture large amounts of carbon, increase biodiversity, and cut agricultural use of freshwater to zero.
3/16/2022: Coal Mining Emits More Super-Polluting Methane Than Venting and Flaring From Gas and Oil Wells, a New Study Finds. So much methane is released from coal mining, the Global Energy Monitor says, that it exceeds the carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal at over 1,100 coal-fired power plants in China.
3/17/2022: Ban Ki-moon warns UK against fracking as world stands at ‘dangerous’ point. Former UN secretary general says countries face stark choices brought on by the war in Ukraine.
3/19/2022: Recent Megafire Smoke Columns Have Reached the Stratosphere, Threatening Earth’s Ozone Shield. New research warns that wildfire emissions could unravel progress made under the Montreal Protocol to shrink atmospheric ozone holes.
3/20/2022: Hot poles: Antarctica, Arctic 70 and 50 degrees above normal. “They are opposite seasons. You don’t see the north and the south (poles) both melting at the same time.”
3/26/2022: A birth control pill for men is finally within reach. The new drug doesn't affect testosterone.
3/28/2022: Impact of Climate Change on Global Food Production. Advanced modeling shows that crop yields could plummet, faster than expected.
3/30/2022: Global wind and solar growth on track to meet climate targets. Solar and wind power are on track to grow enough to limit global warming to 1.5C, if their 10-year average compound growth rate of 20% can be maintained to 2030.
4/06/2022: US and Europe behind vast majority of global ecological damage, says study. Groundbreaking report is first to assign responsibility for damage caused by 160 countries in past 50 years.
4/09/2022: IPCC Report's Analysis of Fossil Fuel Industry Excluded From Policymakers' Brief. The role of industry was removed from the climate report's initial release, which attracts the most media attention.
4/12/2022: Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report. A new IPCC climate change mitigation report confirms that population increase and economic growth are the main drivers of today’s historically high greenhouse gas emissions. But that information has been censored and removed from the Summary for Policymakers distributed to the world’s press and the public.
July 8, 2021: Climate Change Already Causes 5 Million Extra Deaths Per Year. By region, annual deaths related to abnormal temperatures were: Asia, 2.6 million; Africa, 1.2 million; China, 1.04 million; Europe, 835,000; United States, 173,600; South America, 141,000; India, 74,000; United Kingdom, 52,000, and Australia, 16,500. [compare to the horrors of Ukraine and change your perspective]
January 27, 2022: Deepened Climate Migration. 2021 closed with yet another year of record forcibly displaced persons and the climate crisis played a major role driving over 84 million people out of their homes. We already knew that in 2020, three times as many people - 30.7 million - were internally displaced by the climate crisis than by conflict or violence. Numbers over the last decade don’t fair any better either, where twice as much displacement was triggered by weather-related events than conflict or violence. [That’s 1% of human population per year. Compare to the tragedy of Ukraine and change your perspective]
4/26/2022: Human activity is leading to more disasters – UN report. A new UN reports says human activity is contributing to "350 and 500 medium-sized or large disasters a year occurring globally in the past two decades and more frequent events expected”.
4/25/2022: Incorporation of novel foods in European diets can reduce global warming potential, water use and land use by over 80%. Replacing animal-source foods with “novel” or “future” foods such as cultured milk, insect meal or mycoprotein.
2/26/2022: The night after Musk takeover, a congressional Twitter shake-up: GOP gains followers, Democrats lose them. 72% of Republican accounts gained Twitter followers in the 24-hour span from Monday mid-morning to Tuesday morning. Almost all Democratic lawmakers – 268 of 270 accounts – lost followers.
5/6/2022: Investor-state disputes threaten the global green energy transition. “Global action on climate change could generate upward of $340bn in legal claims from oil and gas investors”, according to a new policy forum piece. Governments should take steps to prevent fossil fuel investors from accessing investor-state dispute settlements.
"This is who Joe Manchin is," said one critic.
5/7/2022; An Unprecedented Heatwave in India and Pakistan Is Putting the Lives of More Than a Billion People at Risk. The temperature exceeded 120 degrees in Jacobabad. More than 25 people have suffered heat-related deaths in the state of Maharashtra in India.
5/7/2022; More Business as Usual: Biden’s Old-Growth Forest Plan. Plan will exacerbate the climate crisis; increase threats from wildfires; and open the door to new, extreme and unproven technologies to be unleashed on wild forests–all in the service of timber, oil and gas, mining, biotechnology and other industries.
5/10/2022: Climate limit of 1.5C close to being broken, scientists warn. The probability of one of the next five years surpassing the limit is now 50%, up from 20% in 2020.
5/10/2022: China's sea levels touched new high in 2021, government study shows. China’s coastal sea levels were “84mm (3.3 inches) higher in 2021 than the average over the period from 1993 to 2011”.
5/10/2022: California’s biggest reservoirs at ‘critically low levels’ before dry season. Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir, is at just 40% capacity, while Lake Oroville is at 55% capacity.
5/11/2022: Chomsky: To Tackle Climate, Our Morality Must Catch Up With Our Intelligence. It's within our power to end the hideous experiment we are so enthusiastically committed to, if we have the moral will.
5/12/2022: France’s unprecedented drought shows climate change is ‘spiralling out of control’. This is the first time France has endured what meteorologists call a “flash drought” – a phenomenon usually experienced by countries that are more hot and arid, with soil and crops drying up in just five days.
5/12/2022: US fracking boom could tip world to edge of climate disaster. 140B metric tons of planet-heating gases could be unleashed if fossil fuel extraction plans get green light, analysis shows.
5/12/2022: 'Carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown. Plans include “195 gigantic oil and gas projects that would emit >1B tonnes CO2 emissions each, 640B tonnes total, more than enough to breach 1.5C. US, Canada & Australia among the worst.
5/12/2022: Watchdog highlights 'precarious state' of environment. England’s Office for Environmental Protection says UK’s environment should receive the same urgency as efforts to reach net-zero.
5/15/2022: Physicists: 90% Chance of Human Society Collapsing Within Decades. Deforestation coupled with the rampant destruction of natural resources will soon have devastating effects on the future of society as we know it, according to two theoretical physicists who study complex systems and have concluded that greed has put us on a path to irreversible collapse within the next two to four decades.
5/16/2022: ‘Flash droughts’ are Midwest’s next big climate threat. New research shows that dry weather is coming on more quickly than before, with little advance warning.
5/18/2022: 1.5 degrees Paris climate target not ‘safe or appropriate’ given climate tipping point risks, ‘major rethink’ required: new report. Climate tipping points in the Antarctic, the Arctic and the Amazon are at risk of being reached before or at the current level of global warming.
5/19/2022: Pollution responsible for one in six deaths across planet, scientists warn. Toxic air, water and soil are ‘existential threat to human and planetary health’, says global review.
5/22/2022: Crop Land ‘Deteriorating’ in Canada as Excess Rain Hinders Planting. Manitoba too wet to plant while Alberta struggles with drought.
5/22/2022: Population stabilization, not growth, is the key to America’s future. The same year Roe v. Wade arrived at the Supreme Court, the U.S. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future concluded: “No substantial benefits will result from further growth of America’s population. Stabilization of population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to America’s ability to solve its problems.”
5/22/2022: Winter ticks wiped out nearly 90% of the moose calves scientists tracked in part of Maine last year. Maine is home to the largest moose population in the lower 48 states. But the iconic species is being challenged by ticks and climate change.
5/22/2022: Shut down fossil fuel production sites early to avoid climate chaos, says study. Nearly half existing facilities will need to close prematurely to limit heating to 1.5C, scientists say.
5/29/2022: Physicists predict Earth will become a chaotic world, with dire consequences. "If the Earth System gets into the region of chaotic behavior, we will lose all hope of somehow fixing the problem."
5/30/2022: Climate change ravages Iraq as palm trees make way for desert. Basra was known for farming, but rising temperatures, increased water salinity, and desertification, have changed that.
6/1/2022: Driving down the costs of hydrogen fuel: Prototype achieves 99% yield 8 times faster than conventional batch reactors. Researchers have developed a new technique for extracting hydrogen gas from liquid carriers that is faster, less expensive and more energy efficient than previous approaches.
6/1/2022: World’s first zero emissions cement. Combining steel and cement recycling in a single process powered by renewable electricity could secure the supply of the basic materials of construction for a zero emissions world.
6/1/2022: Giant Deep Ocean Turbine Trial Offers Hope of Endless Green Power. Tested in one of the world’s strongest ocean currents, a prototype generator could herald the start of a new stream of renewable energy.
6/1/2022: UN: Population growth driving drought. Report foresees future droughts affecting >3/4 of the world’s population. Climate change and population growth are identified as key drivers.
6/1/2022: Fjords emit as much methane as all the deep oceans. Heavy storms cause a spike in methane emissions from fjords to the atmosphere, as great as from all the deep oceans combined.
6/6/2022: Scientists show that at least 44 percent of Earth's land requires conservation to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services. New research reveals that 44 percent of Earth's land area -- some 64 million square kilometers (24.7 million square miles) requires conservation to safeguard biodiversity.
6/6/2022: 'Racing at Top Speed Towards Global Catastrophe': NOAA Says CO2 Levels Highest in Human History. "We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it," said one NOAA researcher. "What's it going to take for us to wake up?"
6/6/2022: Drought-stricken US warned of looming 'dead pool'. NASA, which monitors changing water levels, is warning that the western United States is now entering one of the worst droughts ever seen.
6/17/2022: 'Off the Scale': Warmer Arctic Ocean Fueling Climate Feedback Loop Faster Than Previously Known. "One of the scariest reports I have ever seen," said one climate scientist .
6/17/2022: Loggers close in on one of the world’s oldest biosphere reserves. Area in DRC is a wildlife corridor and a haven for chimpanzees, pangolins and an endangered tree species.
6/18/2022: Extreme Ethiopia drought sees hungry monkeys attack children. Nomadic communities are at ‘brink of starvation’, says charity report.
6/18/2022: UN climate talks end in stalemate and ‘hypocrisy’ allegation. Adviser says European nations are sourcing fossil fuels abroad but failing to help developing countries.
6/20/2022: Climate change is turning more of Central Asia into desert. The rapid expansion will have significant impacts on ecosystems and the people and animals who rely on them.
6/23/2022: In 2020, the weight of human stuff on the Earth, which is doubling every 20 years, surpassed the total weight of biomass on the planet. This horrific milestone was barely noticed by most. In 2040, the weight of human stuff will be DOUBLE the weight of biomass.
6/23/2022: Climate Action Should Target 'Carbon Bombs,' Says New Study. China, Russia, the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia are the countries with the most fossil fuel megaprojects.
6/23/2022; Ocean Oil Slick Map Reveals Enough Greasy Patches to Cover France--Twice. An algorithm-aided analysis of satellite images reveals the size, distribution and sources of oil slicks at sea.
6/23/2022: Once-Common California Bumble Bees Have Gone Missing. Search turned up just 17 of the 25 bumble bee species historically known to reside in the state.
6/26/2022: Climate change fueling fires faster than predicted. Federal officials say climate change is intensifying droughts, leading to wildfires far worse than experts or models have predicted.
7/6/2022: How Climate Change Is Leaving Some Species with 'Nowhere Left to Go'. From the depths of the ocean to the peaks of mountains, species are moving out of their historical homes in search of cooler conditions.
7/6/2022: U.S. Retreats from Pledge to End Gas Investments. The energy crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine is testing Western leaders’ promises to phase out natural gas financing abroad. [crime against humanity]
7/18/2022: Atlantic plankton all but wiped out in catastrophic loss of life. The scientists warn there are only a few years left before the consequences become catastrophically clear when fish, whales and dolphins become extinct.
7/30/2022: 100% Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) All-Sector Energy Roadmaps and Grid Studies for 145 Countries. Low-Cost Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Insecurity. [extremely important report. There is no excuse not to implement it immediately]
7/30/2022: The future of global catastrophic risk events from climate change. Increasing risks posed by climate change are causing rare extreme events that can kill more than 10 million people or lead to damages of $10 trillion-plus, posing threats of total societal collapse, a U.N. report finds.
7/31/2022: No miracle tech needed: How to switch to renewables now and lower costs doing it. The overall upfront cost to replace all energy in the 145 countries, which emit 99.7 percent of world carbon dioxide, is about $62 trillion. However, due to the $11 trillion annual energy cost savings, the payback time for the new system is less than six years.
7/31/2022: ‘Soon it will be unrecognisable’: total climate meltdown cannot be stopped, says expert. “A child born in 2020 will face a far more hostile world that its grandparents did.” Most other climate experts still maintain we have time left, although not very much.
7/31/2022: Is the Methane Catastrophe Happening Right Now? Here’s the feedback loop: global warming is driving wildfires, those fires are releasing carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, that carbon monoxide is cannibalizing the hydroxyl radicals that would normally oxidize methane, the methane in the atmosphere is lasting longer than before, longer lasting methane means a spike in global methane, exactly as NOAA is reporting, and finally, the spike in methane is increasing the heating of the planet, driving more global warming.
7/31/2022: Act now on water or face emergency queues on the streets, UK warned. Hosepipe ban and compulsory water metering needed, say advisers, as nation braces for drought.
8/12/2022: Extinction Risk May Be Much Worse Than Current Estimates. A machine-learning algorithm predicts that more than half of the thousands of species whose conservation status has yet to be assessed are probably in danger of disappearing for good.
8/12/2022: Carbon-Reduction Plans Rely on Tech That Doesn't Exist. Instead of scaling up renewable energy, researchers promote unproved ideas.
8/26/2022: Arctic Ocean started getting warmer decades earlier than we thought. The Arctic Ocean has been getting warmer since the beginning of the 20th century.
8/29/2022: Few realistic scenarios left to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Of the over 400 climate scenarios assessed in the 1.5°C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, only around 20 make realistic assumptions on mitigation options, without significant overshoot.
8/29/2022: Climate change to cause mass human migration in coming years. Up to 63 million people could be displaced in South Asia as a result of climate change by 2050.
8/29/2022: Permafrost Thaw in Siberia Creates a Ticking ‘Methane Bomb’ of Greenhouse Gases, Scientists Warn. In 2020, temperatures in the region rose nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, causing the limestone to release ancient methane deposits
9/17/2022: Arctic storms speed up release of methane plumes. Researchers found the permafrost that usually sat beneath the sea bed was unfrozen, allowing around 500 kilograms of methane to bubble out of every square kilometre of the sea bed each day. Bubbling seeps of methane were found along the entire coastline of their survey area, over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.