Carbon sequestration by soils: Our best shot at cooling the planet might be right under our feet | Global Development Professionals Network It’s getting hot out there. Every one of the past 14 months has broken the global temperature record. Ice cover in the Arctic sea just hit a new low, at 525,000 square miles less than normal. If we want to stay below the upper ceiling of 2 degrees, though, we still have a shot. How to make up the difference is one of the biggest questions of the 21st century. This leaves us in a bit of a bind. Soil is the second biggest reservoir of carbon on the planet, next to the oceans. As our soils degrade, they are losing their ability to hold carbon, releasing enormous plumes of CO2 [pdf] into the atmosphere. There is, however, a solution. The science on this is quite exciting. Yet despite having the evidence on their side, proponents of regenerative farming – like the international farmers’ association La Via Campesina – are fighting an uphill battle. Scientists are calling their bluff. The battle here is not just between two different methods. Ultimately, this is about more than just soil.
Heating up the Games: Why the British Isles could be the only viable Olympic hosts Only four Northern hemisphere cities are likely to be cool enough to host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games by 2100 – Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow Tropical Rio de Janeiro is in the middle of an Olympic-Paralympic Games festival of sport, with Tokyo primed to take over in 2020, and Paris, Los Angeles, and Budapest jostling over who gets to host the Games four years after that (Rome is also technically in the running but nobody expects its bid to survive much longer if the new mayor sticks to her election promises). But a warming climate suggests that sites for future Olympics will be significantly more restricted. Summary of all 645 northern hemisphere cities in 2085 capable of mounting the Summer Olympics.
Green-powered boat prepares for round-the-world voyage | Environment Dubbed the “Solar Impulse of the seas”, the first boat to be powered solely by renewable energies and hydrogen hopes to make its own historic trip around the world. A water-borne answer to the Solar Impulse – the plane that completed its round-the-globe trip using only solar energy in July – the Energy Observer will be powered by the sun, the wind and self-generated hydrogen when it sets sail in February as scheduled. The multi-hulled catamaran is in a shipyard at Saint Malo on France’s west coast, awaiting the installation of solar panels, wind turbines and electrolysis equipment, which breaks down water to produce its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. “We are going to be the first boat with an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” says Frenchman Victorien Erussard, who is behind the project – confidential until now – with compatriot Jacques Delafosse, a documentary filmmaker and professional scuba diver. The vessel itself has a storied past.
Ship found in Arctic 168 years after doomed Northwest Passage attempt | World news The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries. HMS Terror and Franklin’s flagship, HMS Erebus, were abandoned in heavy sea ice far to the north of the eventual wreck site in 1848, during the Royal Navy explorer’s doomed attempt to complete the Northwest Passage. All 129 men on the Franklin expedition died, in the worst disaster to hit Britain’s Royal Navy in its long history of polar exploration. Search parties continued to look for the ships for 11 years after they disappeared, but found no trace, and the fate of the missing men remained an enigma that tantalised generations of historians, archaeologists and adventurers. Now that mystery seems to have been solved by a combination of intrepid exploration – and an improbable tip from an Inuk crewmember.
Arctic Ocean shipping routes 'to open for months' Image copyright SPL Shipping routes across the Arctic are going to open up significantly this century even with a best-case reduction in CO2 emissions, a new study suggests. University of Reading, UK, researchers have investigated how the decline in sea-ice, driven by warmer temperatures, will make the region more accessible. They find that by 2050, opportunities to transit the Arctic will double for non ice-strengthened vessels. These open-water ships will even be going right over the top at times. And if CO2 emissions are not curtailed - if the aspirations of the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise "well below two degrees" are not implemented - then moderately ice-strengthened vessels could be routinely ploughing across the Arctic by late century for perhaps 10-12 months of the year. "The reduction in summer sea-ice, perhaps the most striking sign of climate change, may also provide economic opportunities," commented Reading's Dr Nathanael Melia. Image copyright NASA
UK must move now on carbon capture to save consumers billions, says report | Environment The UK must immediately kickstart an industry to capture and bury carbon emissions in order to save consumers billions a year from the cost of meeting climate change targets, according to a high-level advisory group appointed by ministers. This requires the setting up of a new state-backed company to create the network needed to pipe the emissions into exhausted oil and gas fields under the North Sea, the group said. With this government backing, carbon capture and storage (CCS) could deliver clean electricity at a lower cost than an expanded Hinkley Point nuclear power station and almost all renewables, the group’s report states. A CCS industry could also provide thousands of jobs, particularly in industrial heartlands such as Teesside and Grangemouth, and help reverse the fortunes of the declining North Sea fossil fuel industry. It could even tackle the major problem of cutting emissions from gas boilers, by enabling clean-burning hydrogen to be pumped into the grid.
Endangered glaciers: Alpine ice begins Antarctic voyage More than 400 pieces of Alpine ice have been moved to a giant freezer - a first step in their journey to Antarctica. The seemingly strange plan to send ice to the coldest place on Earth is part of a scientific mission to "rescue" some of the world's most endangered glacial ice. Bubbles in old, deep glacial ice are frozen records of our past atmosphere. Scientists say their purpose-built Antarctic ice bunker will keep these safe for future research. Image copyright Victoria Gill "What we know for sure is that the ice will not be here in 50 or 100 years time - any glacier below 3,500m altitude will be gone by the end of the century," explained Jerome Chappellaz from France's National Centre for Scientific Research, one of the leaders of the project. "[In the Alps], we're trying to recover ice cores from one of the glaciers that is in danger." That glacier is at Col du Dome - just below the peak of Mont Blanc. The team set up a high altitude research camp on the ice while they worked.
Above the Arctic Circle, climate change closes in on the remote town of Barrow BARROW, ALASKA — Here in the northernmost municipality of the United States, 320 miles above the Arctic Circle, people are facing the idea that they may soon be among the world’s first climate-change refugees. Warming air, melting permafrost and rising sea levels are threatening their coastline, and researchers predict that by midcentury, the homes, schools and land around Barrow and its eight surrounding villages will be underwater. This despite decades of erecting barriers, dredging soil and building berms to hold back the water. “The coastline is backing up at rates of [30 to 65 feet] per year,” says Robert Anderson, a University of Boulder geomorphologist who has studied Alaska’s landscape evolution since 1985 and who first noticed in the early 2000s how alarming the erosion was becoming. When the sea ice melts, the coast becomes exposed to waves, wind and storms that slam into the shore, causing erosion. [The remote Alaskan village that needs to be relocated due to climate change]
Shishmaref Climate Refugees Relocation - A sociological tipping point in Arctic Alaska What's happening in Alaska isn't just a preview of what's to come for to the rest of us if we don't take action. It's our wakeup call - President Obama In an historic move last week, residents of Shishmaref, Alaska voted to relocate their coastal village due to erosion, which is expected to worsen as a result of climate change. The four-mile long island is losing shoreline at a rate of 10 to 30 feet per year. To date, 19 homes and the National Guard Armory have moved as a result. With only 600 residents affected, their decision to relocate last week may not appear to be a logistical challenge but the cost of a full relocation of the entire village is estimated at 180 million U.S. dollars. Shishmaref is not the first Alaskan village to make such a heart-breaking decision. However, very little relocation has taken place - despite significant flood damage - in the interim. The U.S. Newtok and Shishmaref are only the tip of the iceberg. An assessment by the U.S. This Author:
Feds Direct $8 Million To Native Communities To Address Effects Of Climate Change | Huffington Post WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Interior is directing $8 million to helping Native American communities address the effects of climate change. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the funding on Tuesday while in Alaska, where she is visiting Kivalina, one of the Native villages that has been seeking to move because sea level rise and coastal erosion threaten their long-term safety. Native communities can apply for the pool of funds, known as the Tribal Climate Resilience Program, to help cover climate change adaptation, as well as ocean and coastal management planning. This builds on $2.3 million that Interior had set aside for tribal climate resilience last year, the agency said in an announcement. “No one is impacted by climate change more than Native communities in Alaska, but we have also seen serious problems developing for tribal communities across the West and on both coasts. Also on HuffPost: Landmarks That Climate Change Could Ruin Jamestown, Virginia Getty Images