18 Countries Easily Decreased CO2 Emission with Policy

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There’s now even more evidence that countries around the world can reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth. Carbon intensive industries often argue that regulations will destroy the economy and do little to protect the planet. They couldn’t be more wrong. A recent study looked at emissions and economic growth and found that countries can indeed reduce emissions and increase their GDP.

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

What the researchers found most encouraging about their study is that, for the two countries that were the control group, if you removed their economic growth, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions.

“Really, this study shows it’s not a mystery. We have the technology: you put the effort in place, you develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases,” Le Quéré said.

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How to Remove Plastic From Your Life

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We all know that plastics are bad for the earth and the oceans. Indeed, a study published last month found that plastic was found in the deepest ocean dwelling animals. Obviously that’s not good, but what we as individuals can do some good for the planet by removing plastics from our lives. It’s easier than you think. Over at Fast Company they have an easy guide to get you started on using less plastic.

No more packaged fruit: There’s no reason for produce to be packaged in plastic. (I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s.) Most groceries sell their fruit and vegetables by weight, so just buy your items piecemeal if you can. When you get home, you can give your produce a wash when you’re preparing it. Eco-friendly brand Full Circle has a very handy veggie scrubber ($5) I keep by the sink.
Stock up on reusable containers and wraps: Clear out your Ziploc and Saran wrap drawer, and fill it with reusable versions. I now pack my daughter’s snacks in reusable Lunchskin bags (starting at $5) or paper sandwich bags ($4). They come in cute patterns, which is an extra perk for the toddler set.

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Australia Won’t let a Coal Mine Open due to Climate Change

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Open-cut coal mining and Australia have a long history that is all about resource extraction in the hopes of short-term gain. The nation’s long history of reckless destruction seems to be coming to an end since a court recently ruled that a mining operation will not be allowed to open. The reasoning is that the coal industry is too carbon intensive and will actually worsen the planet through it’s emissions.

In his ruling, chief judge Brian Preston said the project should be refused because “the greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs) of the coal mine and its product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”
In January, Australia experienced its hottest month on record. Meanwhile, extreme weather events have caused major destruction in large parts of the country — fires have burned about 3% of Tasmania and northern Queensland has been inundated by rain, causing unprecedented flooding. Extreme weather events are forecast to become more frequent in many parts of the world as a result of climate change.

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Sea Turtles Benefit from Legal Protection

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When animals are put under the protection of the United States’ Endangered Species Act (ESA) the protected species tend to rebound. Recently a new study found that when sea turtle populations were put under protection that the population soared upwards by 980%. This follows the success of the Hawaiian humpback whales resurgence under the ESA from a low of 800 whales to roughly 10,000 today. This is further evidence that when we do act as a society to protect species (or the planet) that we can do so rather effectively. All that’s needed is political will.

A team of researchers looked at 31 marine populations and found that the populations of 78% of marine mammals and 75% of sea turtles rebounded after receiving protections under the law.

The median sea turtle population increased by 980% following the regulations established by the ESA, and the median increase for mammals was 115%.

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Climate Change Protest Groups Keep Growing

Across Europe students and teachers are standing up to negligent leaders who ignore climate change. Last week in Belgium students took to the streets and their movement forced the resignation of a minister while inspiring other students to act across the continent. This week, teachers and students protested in the UK calling for education reforms around climate change. You’ve probably heard of the Extinction Rebellion movement already, if not now’s your chance to get educated and start rising up faster than global water levels.

They are also unhappy that part of the curriculum appears to cast doubt on the evidence for man-made climate change, even though governments, the UN and the overwhelming majority of scientists accept that it is happening. Government guidelines for key stage 4 chemistry say pupils should be taught “evidence, and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change”.

“When we have had the evidence for decades, why does it amount to little more than a footnote in our national curriculum – a vague and marginal concern?” asks the letter. “If we keep this information out of the public domain – out of schools, for example – perhaps we might avoid some awkward conversations in the years to come … after all, who wants to tell a child that, unless we make unprecedented changes to how we live, we are heading for societal collapse, famine, war and the increasing likelihood of human extinction?”

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