*****Climate change mitigation: UK launches ‘world first’ research programme into negative emissions The public money will fund projects exploring the real-world potential of “negative emissions” technologies (NETs), including soil carbon management, afforestation, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), enhanced weathering and direct capture of methane from the air. NETs will “almost certainly be needed” to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, one of the researchers tells Carbon Brief. Yet there is huge uncertainty over whether it will be possible to deploy them quickly – and at scale – without causing knock-on environmental and social problems.
*****Adaptation: These floating islands could fight the rise of sea levels Could small islands threatened by sea level rise find a new future afloat? By Sebastien Malo NEW YORK, March 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When former Google software engineer Patri Friedman came up with the idea of building floating islands, he had in mind an unusual buyer: Libertarians, seeking freedom to live beyond the reach of governments. But his futuristic plan has now found a new, motivated and very different audience - small islands halfway around the world that are slowly being submerged by sea level rise. *****Cost of climate change / risk register: Leading insurers tell G20 to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020 Three of the world’s biggest insurers have called on G20 leaders to implement a timeframe for ending fossil fuel subsidies when they meet in China this week. The G20 has already committed to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” over the “medium term”. In May, the G7 nations pledged to achieve this by 2025.
Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters The Irish Pub near Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk doesn’t have any locks on the doors as it is open 24 hours a day. So when Hurricane Sandy crunched into what was once known as the Las Vegas of the east coast in 2012, some improvisation was needed. Regular drinkers helped slot a cork board through the frame of the door, wedging it shut and keeping out the surging seawater. The wild night, which severely damaged more than 320 homes and caused a week-long power blackout, was seen out by those taking shelter with the help of several bottles of Jameson. But Sandy was just the headline act among increasingly common flooding events that are gnawing away at the thin island upon which the city sits. “Sandy, as devastating as it was, isn’t the greatest barometer because we have flash floods,” said Cathy Burke, who has run the Irish Pub since 1973.
*****Future - Miami’s fight against rising seas (climate change adaptation) The first time my father’s basement flooded, it was shortly after he moved in. The building was an ocean-front high-rise in a small city north of Miami called Sunny Isles Beach. The marble lobby had a waterfall that never stopped running; crisp-shirted valets parked your car for you.
*****Assessing threat from sea level rise: UNEP app helps coastal communities adapt to climate change - Daily Planet The United Nations Environment Programmme(UNEP) has launched a web app and infographic to support people living and working on coasts in making decisions on how to adapt to a changing climate. Rising populations and climate change are increasing sea level, storm intensity and rainfall. The Coastal Hazard Wheel can be used to consider how different coastlines should respond. The web app opens up access to scientific background material and coastal classification data, in order to aid decision-making and standardise its communication worldwide. An infographic assists in areas with less data by helping users classify their location using things like local geology, tides and hazards like flooding and erosion. It gives 24 different options for coastal management, including wetland restoration and cliff stabilisation.
Climate stabilization: Planting trees cannot replace cutting carbon dioxide emissions Growing plants and then storing the CO2 they have taken up from the atmosphere is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows. The plantations would need to be so large, they would eliminate most natural ecosystems or reduce food production if implemented as a late-regret option in the case of substantial failure to reduce emissions. However, growing biomass soon in well-selected places with increased irrigation or fertilization could support climate policies of rapid and strong emission cuts to achieve climate stabilization below 2 degrees Celsius. Three scenarios: Business as usual, Paris pledges, or ambitious CO2 reductions If CO2 emissions reductions are moderately reduced in line with current national pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement, biomass plantations implemented by mid-century to extract remaining excess CO2 from the air still would have to be enormous.
Negative emissions tech: can more trees, carbon capture or biochar solve our CO2 problem? In the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 195 nations committed to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels. But some, like Eelco Rohling, professor of ocean and climate change at the Australian National University’s research school of earth sciences, now argue that this target cannot be achieved unless ways to remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are found, and emissions are slashed. This is where negative emissions technologies come in. The term covers everything from reforestation projects to seeding the stratosphere with sulphates or fertilising the ocean with iron fillings. It’s controversial – not least because of the chequered history of geoengineering-type projects, but also because of concerns it will grant governments and industry a licence to continue with business as usual. But many argue we no longer have a choice.
Negative Emissions Key to Meeting 2°C Threshold Humans will have to not only stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2085, but also develop technology that will result in negative emissions — the removal of 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century — in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), according to a new study. Human greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, have already warmed the globe more than 1°C (1.8°F) compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement negotiated last year seeks to cap warming to below 2°C, while at the same time pursuing an even more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C. Pollution from a coal-fired power plan. Credit: ribarnica/flickr But according to a new National Center for Atmospheric Research study, just cutting emissions under the Paris agreement may not be enough to keep global warming from blasting past 2°C, said Benjamin Sanderson, the study’s lead author.
*****Aerosol mitigation: US scientists launch world's biggest solar geoengineering study US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming. The $20m (£16m) Harvard University project will launch within weeks and aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption, if a last ditch bid to halt climate change is one day needed. Scientists hope to complete two small-scale dispersals of first water and then calcium carbonate particles by 2022.
East Side Coastal Resiliency The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project is a coastal protection initiative, jointly funded by the City of New York and the federal government, aimed at reducing flood risk due to coastal storms and sea level rise on Manhattan's East Side from East 25th Street to Montgomery Street. The ESCR Project is a priority of the City of New York as outlined in the 2015 One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City and by the innovative Rebuild by Design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).