Climate news that has caught our attention.

Walmart Sets Goal to Become Regenerative Company. Zero emissions by 2040. When the world’s largest retailer steps up and matches words with actions, maybe this is (another) inflection point. Here’s an excerpt from Walmart’s statement: “World’s largest retailer targets zero emissions by 2040 and aims to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030. Building on more than 15 years of sustainability leadership, Walmart today announced it is doubling down on addressing the growing climate crisis by targeting zero emissions across the company’s global operations by 2040. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are also committing to help protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030 to help combat the cascading loss of nature threatening the planet...”

power plants in sunset

Occupying Climate, Top 1% Pollute Twice As Much As Poorest 50%: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “The world’s richest 1% are burning through the planet’s carbon budget at a staggering rate, doubling the combined carbon emissions of the poorest half of humanity over the past 25 years, a new report said Monday. The research, compiled by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute, blamed rich people’s increasing penchant for frequent air travel and driving SUVs and other high-polluting cars for their exorbitant share of humanity’s carbon pollution. The wealthy’s responsibility for the 60% increase in global carbon pollution over the last 25 years is also stark — the richest 1% are responsible for three times as much of that increase as the poorest half of humanity. The report’s findings highlight the necessity of wide-ranging systemic and international efforts to combat both climate change and inequality, its authors said. Individuals voluntarily acting alone “will never add up. This has to be driven by governments,” Tim Gore, head of climate policy for anti-poverty charity Oxfam and lead author of the report, told Reuters.” (Reuters, The Guardian)

supreme court fountain

RPG’s Death Leaves Climate-Shaped Hole in the Supreme Court. Grist provides perspective: “…Appointed to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg often ruled in favor of stronger environmental protections. For many years, she was the closest thing the Supreme Court had to a climate hawk, especially compared to some of her fellow justices, like Republican appointees Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. Her many votes in favor of stricter environmental protections were a boon to green groups and blue states. Over her 27 years on the high court, a few of her most meaningful legal contributions were related to the greenhouse gas emissions fuel climate change — specifically, who between states, private companies, and the federal government, was responsible for regulating them. Looking at several opinions, Ginsburg seemed to have a clear point of view...”

File image: Duke University.

GE Plans to Stop Making Coal-Fired Power Plants. Nail, meet coffin. Here’s an excerpt from Reuters: “…GE has said in the past it would focus less on fossil fuels and more on renewable energy, reflecting a growing acceptance of clean power sources by utilities. “GE’s exit from building new coal-fired power — after decades as a leader in this space — is an acknowledgement that growth in the energy sector will no longer be in coal,” said Kathy Hipple, a financial analyst at Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “The market will ultimately reward GE for exiting new coal builds...”

White House Recommends Ryan Maue, Meteorologist and Critic of Dire Climate Predictions, for NOAA Chief Scientist. Capital Weather Gang explains: “…Maue serves as the developer of, a site that displays computer model information using eye-catching graphics to make their simulations accessible to professionals and hobbyists. He was previously an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that was involved in efforts to question the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change. Along with Patrick Michaels, a well-known climate change contrarian, Maue penned a 2018 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal challenging the climate change projections made in 1988 by noted former NASA scientist James Hansen, which other researchers, backed up by peer-reviewed studies, have found were prescient...”

Every Place Has It’s Own Climate Risks. What Is It Where You Live? It turns out semantics matter. Here’s an excerpt from an Op-Ed at The New York Times (paywall): “…The solution may be found in research showing that addressing climate change in emotional and personal terms is far more persuasive. “There is a lot of evidence behind the idea that personalizing climate change and helping people understand the local impacts are more important than talking about how it’s influencing melting glaciers or talking about wildfires when you live in Ohio,” said Jennifer Marlon, a research scientist and lecturer at Yale. The idea of a climate rebranding gained new attention this week after Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington told reporters: “These are not just wildfires. They are climate fires…”

Map credit: “Note: “Water stress” reflects the change in drought-like conditions as well as water demand. The methodology does not consider distant water supply, so in counties where that may play a larger role, we have selected the second-highest climate risk. Risk levels reflect climate impacts from today to 2040. The “wildfire” label applies to counties where at least part of the region contains the highest risk rating in Four Twenty Seven’s data. Other terms are assigned using the highest percentile scores among the remaining climate risks.Source: Four Twenty Seven.

Arctic Sea Ice. An update from Climate Central: “Arctic sea ice likely reached its minimum extent for the year, 1.44 million square miles, on September 15. The 2020 minimum is the second lowest in the nearly 42-year satellite record according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). That extent is about 46% of the area of the 48 contiguous states. A Siberian heat wave began this year’s Arctic sea ice melt season early, and with Arctic temperatures 14°F to 18°F warmer than average, the ice kept melting. Arctic ice loss is leading to a reinforcing heat spiral. When ice melts and exposes the open ocean, the darker ocean surface absorbs more heat, which then leads to more ice loss, continuing the feedback loop. This contributes to the Arctic regions warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet...”

Meet the Man Who Told Trump Climate Change is Real. Speaking truth to power? Here’s an excerpt from Science AAAS: “…Crowfoot, 47, runs California’s Natural Resources Agency and oversees 19,000 employees and multiple agencies. His decision to challenge Trump was spontaneous. “I didn’t plan to beforehand,” Crowfoot said an interview. “I don’t know if it was instinct, or just the intellectual curiosity of actually trying to have a conversation with him on it,” he added. There were multiple points to make on the fires, Crowfoot said, but he believed “the most important conversation to engage him in was climate change.” On the president’s response—regarding climate scientists not knowing about rising temperatures—Crowfoot said he felt “disappointed but perhaps not surprised.” The discussion marked a rare occasion on which Trump received pointed—and accurate—information about climate change...”

File photo of Baja California: NASA.

The Carbon Footprint Sham. When is a corporation’s motives and tactics appropriate and authentic vs. a well-oiled case of greenwashing? Here’s an excerpt from Mashable: “…Doyle concludes BP sought to explain what a carbon footprint is “in a way which assigns responsibility for climate impact to the individual, while BP registers its own concerns by appearing already to be doing something about it.” Yet in a society largely powered by fossil fuels, even someone without a car, home, or job will still carry a sizable carbon footprint. A few years after BP began promoting the “carbon footprint,” MIT researchers calculated the carbon emissions for “a homeless person who ate in soup kitchens and slept in homeless shelters” in the U.S. That destitute individual will still indirectly emit some 8.5 tons of carbon dioxide each year...”

Graphic credit: CO2 levels for the last 800,000 years courtesy of NASA.

Geoengineering is the Only Solution to Our Climate Calamities. God help us if it gets to this point, because really, what could possibly go wrong? Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at (paywall): “…The environmental “Manhattan Project” we need would also require pooling together the innovation and resources of Bill Gates, who has invested billions in concentrated solar power and fusion reactors, Elon Musk, who has nearly single-handedly created the supply and the demand for a commercially viable market for electric vehicles, and potentially Jeff Bezos, whose Earth Fund is directing at least $10 billion towards climate initiatives, as well as other tech visionaries and the research organizations they support. Hopefully, today’s climate protagonists are already working to launch a range of geoengineering schemes, even if they have to do so in secret, shielded from climate-change-denying politicians and interest groups masquerading in the name of democratic accountability. Governments and environmental advocates are right to demand that all organizations involved in geoengineering transparently disclose their funding, objectives, and results on sites such as Geoengineering Monitor...”

File image: NASA.

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