Sunday, May 19, 2019

Three Surprisingly Good News Stories on Tackling Climate Change

by Nomad

For good reason, climate change has been called “challenge of our generation.” Experts have been warning us that the possibility that a runaway warming of the planet will make vast areas of the planet uninhabitable is real. And the window of opportunity is slowly closing. The world needs US leadership on the issue. Unfortunately, the only thing America seems to have to offer is Donald Trump.
In the midst of this glum forecast, we can still find some positive signs.

A Whole Lot of Greening Going On
With eyes in the skies, NASA recently had some good news. According to their findings, the Earth is actually greener today than it was 20 years ago. And who or what do we have to thank for that?
China and India can take most of the credit where ambitious tree-planting programs and advances in their agricultural sector have been implemented.

For example, when it comes to re-forestation, in 2017 India broke all records by planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours. This year, that record was broken once again when 1.5 Million volunteers planted 66 million trees In 12 Hours.

From 2013 to 2018, China planted 338,000 square kilometers of forests at a cost of $82.88 billion (slightly more than what the US spent on incarceration.)Currently, 21.7 percent of China is covered by forests. China’s State Forestry Administration’s target is to increase this number to 23 percent by 2020.

Still, the global effort toward reforestation alone will not be enough to offset the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists have pointed out that current targets are not nearly as ambitious as they need to be.

Coal Power Grinding to a Halt

According to the International Energy Agency’s new world investment report released this month, funding for coal-fired power plants is slowly but surely grinding to a halt as investors begin to recalculate the long-term viability of coal dependence. 
While dependence on coal remains high, with coal-fired power plants currently fuelling around 38 per cent of global electricity, a new report indicates the demise of coal is already well underway.
Investment dollars are gradually being allocated to different areas, like green sources.
But that's not all the report found.
The rate that coal power plants are being moth-balled has surpassed new power plants coming online. Meaning, there was a net reduction in coal power being used globally over 2018, marking the first time there has been a reduction in coal-fired power capacity across the world since the industrial revolution.


Really, it's no wonder that investors are having second thoughts about coal. According to a report released by Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit think tank, two-fifths (42%) of global coal power stations are already operating at a loss due to high fuel costs and it makes economic sense to close them.

A New Leaf

Meanwhile, British startup Arborea will be launching a pilot project to test out its “BioSolar Leaf” technology. This project will use minuscule plants like diatoms, microalgae, and phytoplankton to create large platforms, similar to solar panels on buildings.

This, claims the CEO Julian Melchiorri, will purify air polluted with carbon dioxide and other chemicals 100 times faster than trees.


Melchiorri says:
"These Bionic leaves are very adaptable and we can apply them on land or even on rooftops of large industrial buildings or commercial buildings or also on facades of buildings."
And this innovation has another value. According to a statement, the system also produces a sustainable source of nutritious, edible food additives that can be harvested and used in plant-based products.


Clearly, every dollar invested today in tackling climate change- or at least, reducing its effects- is money well spent. With even a shift of a few degrees, the effects of climate change would include wildfires, rises in sea level, the loss of agricultural zones, heat waves, droughts, and floods. The indirect effects may include famine, social unrest and disease.

Despite the multitude of warnings, the leader of the most powerful country seems to be convinced that climate change is all a hoax and there's nothing to worry about.