With soaring gas prices due to the Ukraine war and the EU’s push to cut emissions, European industries are increasingly switching to high-temperature, high-efficiency heat pumps. Combined with the boom in residential use, the EU is now hoping for a heat pump revolution.
The Wienerberger brickworks in Uttendorf, Austria, in the Tyrolean Alps, has always required a steady stream of 90 degree C (194 degree F) heat to dry its construction blocks. This process would have been an expensive proposition for the company after Russia cut gas exports to Europe, as it was for most of Europe’s energy-intensive construction industry. But four years ago, Wienerberger — the largest brick producer in the world — made an investment in the future that is now paying off: it replaced Uttendorf’s gas-fired boiler with an industrial-scale heat pump, which whittles the factory’s energy bill by around 425,00 euros a year. Continue reading
It is striking that in the same year that Tesla’s stock price dropped by about two-thirds, destroying more than $700 billion in market value, the global market for electric vehicles — which for so long the company seemed almost to embody — actually boomed. Continue reading
Any time we see even the slightest sign of meaningful change, it is worth pausing, noting it, and getting back to work:
Rogue emissions from China of ozone-depleting chemicals had threatened to delay recovery by a decade. But the emissions were stopped, according to a U.N.-backed report.
The protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere could be restored within several decades, scientists said Monday, as recent rogue emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals from China have been largely eliminated. Continue reading
Some Brazilian scientists fear that the Amazon may become a grassy savanna — with profound effects on the climate worldwide.
One of the first times Luciana Vanni Gatti tried to collect Amazonian air she got so woozy that she couldn’t even operate the controls. An atmospheric chemist, she wanted to measure the concentration of carbon high above the rainforest. To obtain her samples she had to train bush pilots at obscure air-taxi businesses. The discomfort began as she waited on the tarmac, holding one door open against the wind to keep the tiny cockpit from turning into an oven in the equatorial sun. When at last they took off, they rose precipitously, and every time they plunged into a cloud, the plane seemed to be, in Gatti’s words, sambando — dancing the samba. Then the air temperature dipped below freezing, and her sweat turned cold. Continue reading
If you are not (yet) concerned about climate change there is no time like the present:
Most people are focused on the present: today, tomorrow, maybe next year. Fixing your flat tire is more pressing than figuring out if you should use an electric car. Living by the beach is a lot more fun than figuring out when your house will be underwater because of sea level rise. Continue reading
To Indigenous leader Levi Sucre Romero, carbon credit markets have failed to respect Indigenous people and their key role in protecting their lands. In an e360 interview, he talks about how carbon brokers have taken advantage of local communities and why that must change.
In a world where carbon credit markets are taking advantage of Indigenous people and their forests, the United Nation is losing its leadership on combating climate change, says Indigenous leader Levi Sucre Romero.
In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Romero, who is from Costa Rica and is coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests, calls out the “carbon cowboys” — the brokers who he says are wrecking efforts to allow Indigenous communities to have ownership of the carbon credits generated on their land, and who, by acting unscrupulously and secretively, are undermining global hopes of using nature to mitigate climate change. Continue reading
I had no reason to bet against Tesla until now, but I did wonder whether it was good for anyone (other than its shareholders) for that one company to dominate its market over the longer term. Now, happily, it looks like the market will do what we need it to do, which is get robust:
Spurred by federal mandates and incentives, U.S. manufacturers are pushing forward with developing new battery technologies for electric vehicles. The holy grail is a battery that is safer, costs less, provides longer driving range, and doesn’t use imported “conflict” minerals.
Sixteen years have passed since engineer Martin Eberhard unveiled his futuristic custom-designed sports car before a crowd of investors, journalists, and potential buyers in a Santa Monica Airport hangar. Continue reading
We have no access to Mr. Fink’s motives or those of the firm he runs, or to how he and his colleagues make decisions–only to some of the actions they have taken. Our view on him and his firm may be simplistic, in that we respect their initial leadership on ESG but fault them now for not doing more. Even if they have only been virtue-signaling, and even if they fall short on true virtue, what they have done is obviously much better than those who are wrong on climate change:
Right-wing officials are attacking BlackRock for overstepping. Those on the left say the world’s biggest asset manager is not doing enough.
It was a clarion call to chief executives everywhere.
In 2018, Laurence D. Fink, the longtime chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, urged corporate leaders to assess the societal impact of their businesses, embrace diversity and consider how climate change could affect long-term growth.
“Companies,” Mr. Fink wrote in his annual letter to chief executives, “must ask themselves: What role do we play in the community? How are we managing our impact on the environment? Are we working to create a diverse work force? Are we adapting to technological change?” Continue reading
The Conversation is “a news organization dedicated to facts and evidence” and with the tag line “Academic rigor, journalistic flair”. Our kind of reading. The graph to the left illustrates this article’s point; the photo below to the right is too composed for rigor:
A panel of experts has spent more than a decade deliberating on how, and whether, to mark a momentous new epoch in geologic time: our own.
The official timeline of Earth’s history — from the oldest rocks to the dinosaurs to the rise of primates, from the Paleozoic to the Jurassic and all points before and since — could soon include the age of nuclear weapons, human-caused climate change and the proliferation of plastics, garbage and concrete across the planet. Continue reading
Our hats off to Japan’s largest city for this requirement:
Tokyo is mandating that all new homes in the city be built with rooftop solar panels starting in 2025. Continue reading
A long-forgotten report sheds light on a high-stakes liability question.
Carroll Muffett began wondering in 2008 when the world’s biggest oil companies had first understood the science of climate change and their product’s role in causing it. Continue reading
This story has a familiar ring to it, if you are familiar with the history of Costa Rica going back to colonial times. Never a particularly “important” part of the empire, it thereby avoided many pitfalls typical of other countries in Latin America, and evolved into a stable democracy with progressive ideas and goals and achievements. We wish this little country in the Pacific comparable success by thinking outside the box, as its president says:
It wants a top international court to weigh in on whether nations are legally bound to protect against climate risks.
Nikenike Vurobaravu presides over a tiny country with a large hand in climate diplomacy.
Rising sea levels threaten the very existence of his Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu and its population of just over 300,000 people. Its best defense, he says, it to raise its voice creatively in international diplomatic talks. Continue reading
Cruise ship tourism is unfortunately not disappearing as we might have hoped. Are the ships evolving to be more environmentally and socially responsible? Our thanks to Maria Cramer for asking and attempting to answer the question:
As cruise companies head into their busiest season, they say they have ambitious plans to curb greenhouse emissions and find cleaner sources of fuel. But critics say the progress is too slow.
In the Caribbean, many cruise companies have bought islands and turned them into private resorts for the exclusive use of cruise passengers who cavort in enormous wave pools, rush down 135-foot water slides with names like Daredevil’s Peak, and zip-line across wide beaches. Continue reading
Most of us do not spend much time thinking about what is happening there, but Antarctica’s future is now very much entwined with the future of the rest of the planet. All of us. So, thanks to David W. Brown for this travelogue:
Thwaites could reshape the world’s coastlines. But how do you study one of the world’s most inaccessible places?
I first saw our icebreaker, the RV Araon, when we were due to leave for Antarctica. The largest icebreakers are more than five hundred feet long, but the Araon was only the length of a football field; I wondered how it would handle the waves of the Southern Ocean, and how it would fare against the thick sea ice that guards the last wilderness on Earth. Continue reading
We had no clue how much forest area that region has, nor how much capacity to absorb carbon that would translate to:
Study, led by Harvard ecologist, lays out five policies to boost levels of absorption as six states lower emissions
A major new report suggests that with a handful of strategies New England’s 32 million acres of forests, which cover about three-quarters of the region, could eventually come close to absorbing 100 percent of all the carbon produced by the six states. Continue reading
We can only hope the answer is yes:
With his return as Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is promising to reverse the alarming rate of deforestation in the Amazon. But as he heads to key UN climate talks, his ambitious plans to achieve “zero deforestation” will need to find international support.
The month before Brazil’s October 30 presidential election was the most brutal of Jair Bolsonaro’s term as president. Landowners rushed to illegally clear forest while they could rely on the impunity that had been a characteristic of the Bolsonaro era. From my home in Altamira, I could see flames on the other side of the Xingu River from a blaze large enough to generate its own lightning. Most other days in September and October, my asthmatic lungs tightened and the horizon was shrouded in haze as a consequence of the rushed burn-off. Continue reading
An effort decades in the making is showing results in Nepal, a rare success story in a world of cascading climate disasters and despair
KANKALI COMMUNITY FOREST, Nepal — The old man moved gingerly, hill after hill, cutting dry shrubs until he was surrounded by trees that had grown from seedlings he had planted two decades ago. He pointed to a row of low peaks above the Kathmandu valley that were covered with dense foliage. Continue reading
We thank Laura Paddison for this underwater news, published in the Guardian, that has implication for climate change mitigation:
New study, carried out using tiger sharks in the Bahamas, extends total known global seagrass coverage by more than 40%
Tiger sharks are notoriously fierce. The huge animals, which can grow to more than 16ft, are ruthless predators and scared of absolutely nothing – recent research found that while other shark species fled coastal waters during strong storms, tiger sharks “didn’t even flinch”.
But recently they have a new role that could help burnish their reputations: marine scientists. Continue reading
Left or right, physics doesn’t much care about your wishful thinking
I spent the weekend in Reno, Nevada with, among other people, my old friend Rebecca Solnit. We were there to rally voters and knock on doors in one of the nastiest elections in the country—and at such times Solnit’s powerful reflections on hope are a balm and a spur. Continue reading