Climate news that has caught our attention.

Source: NASA Observatory

An iceberg the size of Chicago has finally split from the ice shelf. Several years ago, significant cracks growing across Antarctica’s Brunt Ice shelf were projected to release a large iceburg. NASA reports that the iceberg finally calved this month and concerns about the shelf’s stability continue to grow. “The break was first detected by GPS equipment on February 26, 2021, and then confirmed the next day with radar images from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A satellite. On March 1, clouds were sparse enough for the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 to acquire this natural-color image of the new iceberg … Scientists are waiting to see how the complex structure responds to the recent calving. ‘The Halloween Crack may or may not be the first to respond,’ Shuman said. ‘We’ll be closely watching that pinning point for changes to the larger Brunt Ice Shelf remnant.’ It also remains to be seen what will become of the new iceberg. Most likely, it will eventually get caught up in the Weddell Gyre—similar to the fate of A-68. But first it needs to be pushed offshore, and to date it does not appear to have moved very far.” 

Cancel all global coal projects. UN secretary-general António Gueterres called for all coal projects around the world to be canceled to end the “deadly addiction” to coal, according to a recent report in the Guardian. “Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to tackle the climate crisis, he said. Guterres’s call came at the opening of a summit of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), a group of governments and businesses committed to ending coal burning for power … ‘Today, I am calling on all governments, private companies, and local authorities to take three steps,’ said Guterres. ‘First, cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Second, end the international financing of coal plants and … third, jump-start a global effort to finally organize a just transition [for coal industry workers], going plant by plant if necessary.'”

Not Close to Averting Climate Chaos. From the New York Times, “The global scientific consensus is clear: Emissions of planet-warming gases must be cut by nearly half by 2030 if the world is to have a good shot at averting the worst climate catastrophes. The global political response has been underwhelming so far. New climate targets submitted by countries to the United Nations would reduce emissions by less than 1 percent, according to the latest tally, made public Friday by the world body. The head of the United Nations climate agency, Patricia Espinosa, said the figures compiled by her office showed that ‘current levels of climate ambition are very far from putting us on a pathway that will meet our Paris Agreement goals.'”


The impacts of COVID-19 and fossil CO2 emissions. A new study published in Nature found that, “Global fossil CO2 emissions have decreased by around 2.6 GtCO2 in 2020 to 34 GtCO2.” The study continues, “This projected decrease, caused largely by the measures implemented to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, is about 7% below 2019 levels, according to the analysis of the Global Carbon Project1 on the basis of multiple studies2,3,4 and recent monthly energy data. A 2.6 GtCO2 decrease in global annual emissions has never been observed before. Yet cuts of 1–2 GtCO2 per year are needed throughout the 2020s and beyond to avoid exceeding warming levels in the range 1.5 °C to well below 2 °C, the ambition of the Paris Agreement.” 

Fresh investing for Turntide Technologies Inc. From Bloomberg Green, “As much as half of the world’s electricity is consumed by motors. They power everything from fans to electric cars and pumps to industrial machinery. Making them more efficient could go a long way in reducing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. That’s the promise of California-based startup Turntide Technologies Inc., which has commercialized a new type of electric motor. The company said on Wednesday it has raised $80 million from investors including funds led by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr., and co-creator of the iPhone Tony Fadell.”

Shifts in U.S. policy are kicking into high gear. The U.S. energy industry is moving fast to reduce its carbon footprint as part of the United States’ new focus on climate and ESG investing. IHS Markit vice chairman Dan Yergin states, “The oil and gas industry is calibrating itself to what has become the new benchmark — net zero carbon by 2050. There’s a lot of variation in strategies and thinking about what will be the new map to get there,” said Yergin. “But the big cross-cutting themes that jump out this week are hydrogen, carbon capture,  innovation — and the need for large companies with engineering capabilities that can operate at scale — which is where the oil and gas industry happens to be.” Read more via CNBC.

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