Monday, October 29, 2018

TerraCycle Recycles Millions Of Cigarette Butts Nationwide/RNN

Good follow up to our interview with Terra Cycle on this program.

Cigarette butts are the world’s most littered item with nearly 4.5 trillion being tossed each year and last year in the United States, it is estimated 1.69 billion pounds of butts ended up as toxic waste.
TerraCycle, the world’s leader in the collection and repurposing of complex waste streams works with cities and municipalities globally to recycle cigarette butts. Since 2012, when TerraCycle launched its first cigarette recycling program, it has collected hundreds of millions of butts around the world. In 2017, in the United States alone, TerraCycle collected tens of millions of cigarette butts from over 50 cities and six-months into 2018, is poised to exceed those numbers.
“TerraCycle develops innovative ways to recycle hard-to-recycle items,” said Tom Szaky, CEO, TerraCycle. “From diapers, to coffee pods, to cigarette butts, we are actively working to reduce the waste that goes to landfill. In the last six years our cigarette recycling program has grown tremendously and has contributed to cities across the country reducing their cigarette litter.”
A combination of organic material and cetyl acetate plastic traditionally render cigarette butts unrecyclable and destined for landfills. However, through the TerraCycle Cigarette Butt Recycling program, individuals and organizations can place the Cigarette Butt Receptacles in high traffic areas, collect the waste and ship it to TerraCycle for recycling into usable material for new products such as shipping pallets, ashtrays and plastic lumber.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Earth Challenge 2020 re-launched at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai

Another giant step forward--together.

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In recognition of this milestone Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Department of State are launching Earth Challenge 2020 as the world's largest coordinated citizen science campaign.
Earth Challenge 2020 will engage millions of global citizens to aggregate and collect more than one billion data points in areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health. Through Earth Challenge 2020, citizen science volunteers will learn about their local conditions, and leverage information to inspire collaborative action and influence policy decisions.
Want to get involved in the Earth Challenge 2020 movement?
  • Submit a research question. Right now, we invite you to help define the critical research questions that will shape Earth Challenge 2020. What essential question have you always wanted answered? What topic would you like to see researched by millions of potential citizen scientists? Tell us before November 22, 2018! Submit your question using the webform or on Twitter (@Earth_Challenge) using #EC2020.
  • Sign up for Earth Challenge 2020 updates. Join our mailing list to learn more about upcoming opportunities to support the challenge.
  • Partner with us. For Earth Challenge 2020 to succeed, we need the expertise and support of companies, organizations, and institutions around the world. Send an email to if you can connect us with resources and outreach to expand our impact. We'd love to work with you.
For more information, visit the Earth Challenge 2020 site or read the latest press release.
Earth Day Network

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Can Vodka Help to Save The Bees?/RNN

Dixie Vodka announced its most recent flavor innovation this week in a regional collaboration with Savannah Bee Company (SBC): Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka. Dixie’s newest product uses SBC’s Georgia Wildflower Honey infused in Dixie’s award-winning Dixie Southern Vodka, 6x distilled from non-GMO corn. The result is a delicious flavored vodka with a hint of sweetness, perfect on its own or in a variety of classic cocktails. A portion of proceeds from Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka benefits The Bee Cause Project, which works to support the health of honey bees in the Southeast by increasing the number of hives in the region and helping to educate the public on their importance.
“As the leading homegrown vodka in the region, it’s a key part of our mission that we work with flavors and ingredients that are core to the southeast,” said Matti Anttila, CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits and founder of Dixie Vodka. “We want to tell a story about where our ingredients are from and who our partners are. Beyond being a delicious, locally sourced ingredient, honey also tells a critical sustainability story for the region. Healthy bee populations are vital to our everyday lives and we hope we can do our part in working with Savannah Bee Company and The Bee Cause Project to help promote positive awareness for the challenges bees face.”
“Savannah Bee Company strives to live as bees live: symbiotically with nature and in a manner that contributes positively to the world around us,” said Ted Dennard, Founder of Savannah Bee Company and The Bee Cause Project. “Our Georgia Wildflower Honey is made from a variety of nectar sources depending on the whimsy of the bees. It’s the perfect all-around honey. Infused with Dixie Vodka it also makes for one fantastic spirit.”
Rolling out this month, Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka will initially be available in leading retailers, bars and restaurants in South CarolinaGeorgiaFloridaTennessee and Kentucky, before expanding across the region through the holidays.

Climate Change, It May Be Too Late/RNN

We’ve been hit recently with a crazy news cycle with headlines seemingly changing every hour, but, the big one, that is hitting all major news outlets is the one that is giving a “final warning” on the approach of climate change.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at or

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New Study Shows We’ve Got to Change What We Eat/Earth Day Network

Good follow up to yesterday's report:

With the human population now at 7.6 billion and heading for 9 or 10 billion by midcentury, a new report in the journal Nature asks, how are all these people going to eat?
Their conclusion: Any efforts to keep climate change at acceptable levels can't be successful without a huge reduction in meat consumption. We've got transform our food systems and radically change our dietary habits, and we've got to do it fast.

What will you do? Take our poll.

Current methods of producing, distributing and consuming food are simply not environmentally sustainable. We're damaging our planet and making it less hospitable for human existence.
The Washington Post summed it up this way: "Global warming has typically been linked to the burning of fossil fuels, but food production is a huge and underappreciated factor."
An area equal to North and South America combined is already devoted to livestock or growing feed for animals. That's half the earth's ice-free land. And food demand is increasing fast. Factors like rising income in China mean higher demand for animal protein. The Nature report contends that, without big changes, pressures on environmental systems will increase 50-90 percent by 2050 compared with 2010.
One obvious strategy is to change what we eat. Researchers say meat production, which includes growing livestock and growing food specifically to feed livestock, is an inefficient way to feed people. Moreover, ruminants such as cows are huge producers of methane – a potent greenhouse gas. The report says greenhouse-gas emissions from global food systems could be cut significantly if people reduced meat consumption and followed a diet built around fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
This information is not new. For years it has been reported that the emissions caused by the meat industry are a major cause of climate change. "The meat industry creates the same amount of greenhouses gases as all the vehicles in the world," stated the Independent in 2015.

What's different now is that this week's Nature report comes on the heels of the October 8 IPCC report showing just how little time we have to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. We must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions immediately and even more dramatically than we previously thought, because to avoid the worst damage from climate change we must reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Now that we know that meat eating has roughly the same climate impact as driving a dirty gas guzzler, and that if unchecked damage to the environment will most likely thrust humanity into existential crisis by 2050, what will you do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

On World Food Day, Take a Holistic Approach to Food Production/Food Bank

Taking a holistic approach to food production includes soil restoration, limited use of water, safer treatment of plants and cutting transportation miles from farm to plate.  And, of course, providing base nourishment for all.

You can help.  Your own diet can better serve your body and planet.

World Food Day is a call for action: how can the TEEBAgriFood framework for fixing the food system inspire you to take part?

Contributing Authors: Emily Payne and Katherine Walla 
October 16 is World Food Day. It can be a day of action, dedicated to tackling hunger and ensuring food security and nutrient-dense diets for everyone. Food should nourish and nurture people, society, and the planet, but in so many ways, the food system is broken.
“Not only have habits changed, but also foods. When was the last time you consumed a potato with the flavor, color, and smell of potatoes? We are not just losing food, we are losing food quality,” says agricultural engineer Dr. Walter Pengue.
Across the world, decreasing soil quality is stripping food of its nutrients: 33 percent of the Earth’s land surface is moderately to highly affected by some type of soil degradation. Food has also become the main driver of human health costs—while almost one-third of all people are undernourished and 815 million people still go to bed hungry, close to 30 percent of all people are overweight or obese and close to 10 percent of all people are actually obese.
And throughout the food system, businesses, farms, and consumers are losing perfectly edible food—approximately one-third of all food produced is thrown away. If food waste were a country, it would rank as the third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.
How do we start on the path towards a more sustainable food system? The answer is in the connections between all these systems.
“The current economic systems do not include or reward the value of social, human, and natural capital in agriculture and food systems. This often leads to the promotion of practices that are harmful to farming, the environment, and people,” says agricultural scientist Dr. Harpinder Sandhu, who helped develop and write a recent report by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture & Food, or TEEBAgriFood.
TEEBAgriFood’s new report presents a holistic new framework, which looks at the full range of impacts of the food value chain from a systems perspective—from farm to fork to disposal.
This evaluation framework can support policymakers, researchers, and businesses in making better-informed decisions—decisions that will improve public health, regenerate soils, and nurture people and the planet. TEEBAgriFood recently won the World Future Council’s 2018 Future Policy Award in Vision for this comprehensive framework.
“The only measure of success in current agriculture systems is higher productivity. But such a narrow focus on productivity has left our freshwaters more polluted as there are increases in surface run-offs from farms, loss of biodiversity, degradation of soil, and greenhouse gas emissions,” Dr. Harpinder continues. “This focus also leads to poor health for the farm workers, and consumers as well.”

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is applying the framework to two different corn systems in the Mississippi Valley—one organic and one conventional—to detect the positive and negative environmental, biodiversity, and climate impacts of both those systems. How can TEEBAgriFood’s holistic framework support your work towards a more sustainable food system for all? Share your thoughts, questions, and feedback in the comments.


Now we will start to get people to pay attention to our fight to balance the environment and economy:

BEER DRINKERS MIGHT pay more and find less of their favorite beverage as climate change comes for barley. Scientists expect that extreme droughts and heat waves will become more frequent and intense in the regions that grow the grain.
Many farmers are already adapting to the slowly warming planet—with advanced plant breeding techniques to create more drought-resistant grains, for example, and by using more efficient irrigation systems to conserve water—but a new study out today in the journal Nature Plants says that many regions won’t be able to cope with the arid conditions of the future. The work was done by a group of researchers in China along with Steven J. Davis, an environmental scientist at the University of California Irvine.
The team looked at the areas around the world that grow barley, which is turned into malt for beer, and projected what will occur under five different climate warming scenarios by 2100. Using models of both economic activity and climate change, the group made predictions about what will happen to barley production, as well as beer price and consumption.
During the most severe climate events, the study predicts that global beer consumption would decline by 16 percent, an amount about equal to the total annual beer consumption of the United States in 2011. It also expects average beer prices to double. Each country would be affected differently. The price of a single pint of beer in Ireland, for example, will rise by $4.84, followed by $4.52 in Italy and $4.34 in Canada. American tipplers will see beer prices rise up to $1.94 under the extreme events, the study said, and barley farmers will export more to other nations.
Davis, who has published several papers on climate change and the Chinese economy, says many extreme drought and heat events will force farmers to feed barley to livestock instead of selling it to domestic breweries. “When we have these shortages, our models suggest people are going to feed the barley to the livestock before they make beer,” Davis said. “That makes sense. This is a luxury commodity and it’s more important to have food on the table.”
The effects of climate change are already being felt by craft brewers, says Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental responsibility at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 2014, the US barley-growing region—Montana, North Dakota and Idaho—was hit by an extremely wet and warm winter that caused crops to sprout early, rendering much of it useless. Farmers were forced to tap into reserves in storage.
In 2017 and again this past summer, the Pacific Northwest was hit by severe drought that affected production of hops that give unique flavors to craft brews. Wallace says that climate change is on the minds of all craft brewers as they plan for how to avoid future shortages of both barley and hops. “Its stressful,” Newman said. “We are seeing an increased level of vulnerability and some near escapes in some cases. All of these things have happened periodically, but the frequency is growing.”
The craft beer industry is already planning for the future, says Chris Swersey, a supply chain specialist at the Brewer’s Association, a trade group that represents 4,500 small breweries across the country. Swersey says he is skeptical of the paper’s findings, mainly because it assumes that the amount and location of barley production will stay the same as it is today. He says barley growing is already moving north to Canada, while researchers are hoping to expand barley's range with winter-hardy breeds.
“The industry is already aware that barley production is shifting,” Swersey says. “We need to be thinking ahead and be smart about what is our climate going to look like 50 or 100 years from now.”
It’s not just the little guys who are thinking of climate change. The king of US beer production remains Budweiser, which produces the number 1 (Bud Light) and number 3 (Budweiser) top-selling brands. Budweiser buys barley from a vast network of farmers in the northern US and is investing in new breeds of drought-resistant barley strains, according to Jessica Newman, director of agronomy for Budweiser. “It’s all about getting the right varieties, getting the right mix, and getting the right technology to our growers,” Newman says from her office in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
She says Budweiser’s crop science lab in Colorado is working on new barley strains dubbed Voyager, Merit 57 and Growler. “We are breeding for drought resistance and sprout resistance,” Newman said. “If we see rainfall coming earlier, or if it rains in the wrong time of year, the barley can sprout and it wouldn’t be used. We also want it to use less water and fewer agricultural chemicals.”
Climate scientist Davis says he and his colleagues wrote the study as a thought exercise to perhaps stoke conversation about how climate change affects our daily lives. “A paper on beer might seem a little bit frivolous when it's dealing with a topic that poses existential threats,” Davis said. “But some of us have a personal love of beer and thought this might be interesting.” Climate change won’t just alter the weather; it’ll also hit our grocery tabs and hobbies.

Friday, October 12, 2018

National Drive Electric Week Shatters Records 8th Year in Row/Sierra Cllub

Can we all drive EV's?  No. The current charging infrastructure does not support it.  But, we can commit to using a combination of EV's and hybrids for our driving needs. Here we see records shattered for National Electric Weeks.

NDEW event in Watts

In its eighth annual celebration, National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) broke every record, with more than 180,000 people attending 321 events in three nations and all 50 states.
The huge popularity of this year’s Drive Electric Week across the nation again proves that people from all communities are excited about zero-emission transportation. And why wouldn’t they be? Electric vehicles are fun to ride, easy to maintain and operate, more affordable than gas-powered vehicles, and far better for our climate. Electric-vehicle adoption is also a great way to resist the Trump administration’s rollback of our nation’s major climate protections.
Pastor Dozier talks to KTLA-TV at the NDEW event in Watts, California. Photo by Cory Burns.
"I came to Drive Electric Week last year, which inspired me to buy myself a Nissan LEAF. I am excited to come again to give others a ride in it and inspire them to make a cleaner, greener choice." – Ali K. of Houston, Texas
The biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions -- the main cause of climate change -- comes from transportation, mainly our cars, trucks, and buses. As more drivers, transit agencies, school districts, business leaders, and public officials have a chance to see for themselves the variety of zero-emission vehicles and the many rebates and incentives available, they make the switch to electric.
“I am a paraplegic and the BMW i3 has easy access for a disabled driver. My car is equipped with hand controls, which makes my car unique!” – Henry W. of Houston, Texas
NDEW events are getting bigger and better -- Vermont governor Phil Scott announced the state’s $2.4 million Electric Vehicle Charging Station Grant Program, funded by the Volkswagen settlement that resulted from the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. Governors Murphy of New Jersey and Sununu of New Hampshire also recognized Drive Electric Week in their states. Andrea Friedman from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection attended the event at Egg Harbor Township and shared information about the state’s new grant program that provides up to $6,000 for EV chargers at workplaces and multifamily dwellings. The governors of Washington State and Connecticut also issued proclamations declaring Sept 8-16 Drive Electric Week in their states.
Retailer L.L. Bean announced plans to host the largest number of charging stations in Maine at its flagship store, and California Governor Brown signed multiple bills to reinforce the state’s fight against climate change and boost the state’s electric vehicle market, particularly among low-income Californians.
In Pittsburgh (event pictured above), Duquesne Light announced at an event that it would be partnering with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to install eight new charging stations in downtown garages; and Utica, New York had its first event that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony at City Hall for a newly installed EV charging station. Public EV charging installations boost EV adoption because they make it easier for drivers to plug-in while on the go or running errands.
Dozens of mayors attended events in their towns, including San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Mammoth Lakes, CA; Erie, PA; West Hartford and Hamden, CT; Bellevue and Steilacoom, WA; and Annapolis, Hyattsville, and Poolesville in Maryland -- just to name a few.
“Electric vehicles are being built in 20 states, including Alabama, and the EV industry creates thousands of well-paying jobs in our state and country and reduces our dependence on oil,” said Mark Bentley, executive director of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, who attended the event in Birmingham.
Representatives from Juneau, Alaska, were excited to participate in Drive Electric Week this year as the city recently received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the purchase of an electric transit bus. The city also issued a National Drive Electric Week proclamation and displayed ones of Alaska’s first electric boats.
NDEW event in Santa Cruz
The NDEW event in Santa Cruz, California. Credit to Ecology Action.
The event in San Francisco on Pier 27 was the exclusive ride and drive event of the Global Climate Action Summit, where hundreds of summit delegates and members of the public test-drove several EV models and checked out an e-Lion electric school bus.
“The Hamden event was amazing. I am now convinced going electric is the only option for me. It was extremely informative to speak with actual owners. Their enthusiasm for their cars was tremendous, and they were so willing to share their experiences and advice, taking you out in their own cars to get a feel for the performance. I hope many people were convinced to go electric. I know I was. Thank you!" – Lisa M. in Connecticut
The event in Wilsonville, Oregon, focused on the affordability of electric vehicles, with a local dealership providing test drives on pre-owned vehicles like the Nissan LEAF, Kia Soul EV, and Chevy Spark. Mayor Tim Knapp addressed the crowd, which had a chance to attend a Q&A session on the state’s EV rebate program, including the Charge Ahead program for pre-owned vehicles. With state and federal incentives combined, Oregonians can save up to an impressive $12,500 on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle.

The Atlanta event was organized by community group EV Hybrid Noire, which is committed to increasing opportunities for engagement with and connecting diverse communities to EV adoption. Their event featured a proclamation of Drive Electric Week by Mayor Keisha Bottoms, and councilmember Michael Bond spoke to the crowd about the importance of zero-emission vehicle adoption among communities of color.
"We're glad to support Western New York Drive Electric's efforts to build awareness and excitement for electric vehicles. Switching to electric vehicles is a key part of a just and equitable transition to a 100 percent clean renewable energy future," said Sara Schultz, chair of Sierra Club Niagara Group at the Orchard Park event.
At a time when just about every environmental protection is under attack at the federal level, we can be inspired by the increasing momentum of the clean transportation movement across the nation. Powerful and exciting efforts are underway to bring zero-emission transportation to our communities at the state and local level -- from transit and school buses to motorcycles and light-duty personal vehicles. Eight years of successful Drive Electric Weeks have shown that the future is electric -- and that future is much closer than most people think.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Schnitzel off the menu as Germans are told to cut down on eating meat/The Guardian

Now we bring this issue to our collective diets and their impact on farming, food production and environmental conditions.  

Environment agency calls for return to prewar level 
 Diet 'should model that in Mediterranean nations'

For a nation that loves its bratwurst and schnitzel, the message is not a welcome one. Germans have been urged to rethink their meat-eating habits if they want to help the planet.
Germany's federal environment agency has issued a strong advisory for people to return to prewar norms of eating meat only on special occasions and otherwise to model their diet on that of Mediterranean countries.
Germans are among the highest meat consumers in Europe, obtaining around 39% of their total calorie intake from meat and meat products, compared with 25% in Italy.
"We must rethink our high meat consumption," said Andreas Troge, president of the UBA, the government's advisory body on environmental issues.
"I recommend people return to the Sunday roast and to an orientation of their eating habits around those of Mediterranean countries."
Speaking on the sidelines of Berlin's Grüne Woche (Green Week), one of the world's largest agricultural exhibitions, he said agriculture was responsible for around 15% of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions and meat production was the most energy-intensive form of farming. With that in mind, he suggested that reducing meat consumption was a logical step forward.
"It hardly means sacrificing quality of life," said Troge. "I don't believe that the Italians are particularly unhappier than us as a result [of eating less meat]."
Troge's comments were criticised by farming experts and politicians. Edmund Geisen, agricultural adviser to the liberal Free Democrats, accused Troge of effectively calling for a boycott of German products. "Andreas Troge should stop trying to damage the nation's appetite by discrediting agricultural production," he said, calling his attack on meat "populist and one-dimensional". "Our enlightened consumers should decide for themselves what they want to eat."
Hilmar Steppat, of Germany's vegetarian association, VeBu, welcomed the move, saying: "It's good to see politicians are finally waking up to the fact that the amount of meat we eat is unsustainable." He added that although the number of vegetarians had increased from 0.4% in 1983 to around 10% today, Germans were still very big consumers of meat.
"Unlike in Britain, though interest in it is growing, vegetarianism here is still not widely practised," said Steppat. "The economic upswing after the war meant that people ate meat because it was a luxury. Before and after the war, people only ate meat about once a week, and maybe boiled some bones. Now it's normal to eat meat every day."
Meatless dishes are frowned upon, he added, and meat products such as goose liver pâté and veal - which are increasingly being regarded as unethical elsewhere - are widely available.
Troge cautioned that not only is meat production energy intensive, the methane gas emitted by cattle and the nitrous oxide produced by their dung, which farmers often leave in the fields from where it enters the atmosphere, also harms the environment.
Findings by the World Wildlife Fund also supports the claim that meat production is environmentally damaging. In its recent Living Planet report it said that a single kilogramme of beef requires 16,000 litres of water, taking into account a three-year lifespan for a cow, the grain it eats in its lifetime, and the water it drinks.
According to Destatis, Germany's federal statistics agency, meat consumption in the country has fallen from an annual 64kg (141lb) a head in 1991 to 58.7kg today. Health concerns are the main reason for the drop, it said.
According to VeBu, young women are particularly motivated by environmental concerns to give up meat.
"It's harder to get German men to do it," said Steppat. "For too many, eating meat is too closely connected with manliness."

Meat and heat

Meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates, though other experts believe that figure is too high.
In the UK food consumed by people accounts for nearly a fifth of national emissions, and meat and dairy products for just over half that, finds the Food Climate Research Network.
The high impact derives from the farmstock fodder grown with chemicals, transport fuels, and the potent greenhouse gas methane from belching cattle and sheep. The government estimates that, kilo-for-kilo, compared with bread, emissions linked to poultry farming are more than four times as high, to pork six times as high, and to beef and lamb 16 times. Besides this, tropical forest is cleared to allow feed-crops, also a source of emissions.
Compassion in World Farming says halving meat-eating would be more effective than halving transport use.

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More methane cuts needed to avoid further warming - study/NZ Herald

The world's press is hotly reporting on our pressing need to cut emissions.  Methane levels are, many times, left out of the conversation or misunderstood.  Here we get a clear warning on their impact on the environment.

Methane accounts for nearly half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory, and much of it is belched from sheep and cattle. Photo / File

Methane accounts for nearly half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory, and much of it is belched from sheep and cattle. Photo / File

Keeping New Zealand's methane emissions to today's levels won't be enough to prevent further global warming, new modelling has shown.

Research released today by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton comes amid debate around how - or whether - the greenhouse gas should be covered by the Government's proposed Zero Carbon Act.

The three options on the table are forcing carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) down to zero by 2050; doing this while also stabilising shorter-lived gases like methane; or requiring all gases to be reduced to net zero by the mid-century deadline.

But the new modelling, led by leading agricultural greenhouse gas expert Dr Andy Reisinger, suggested that simply holding the line on current livestock emissions wouldn't a"It shows that holding New Zealand's methane emissions steady at current levels would not be enough to avoid additional global warming," Upton said.

The work indicated that, to ensure methane from livestock contributed no additional warming beyond current levels, emissions would need to be cut by at least 10 to 22 per cent below 2016 levels by 2050, with further reductions of between 20 and 27 per cent by 2100.

It also found that "holding livestock methane steady at 2016 levels would cause additional warming of 10 to 20 per cent above current levels."

The research didn't show what would need to happen to methane flows if New Zealand wanted to hold global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, which was the aim of the Paris Agreement."

Methane - accounting for nearly half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas inventory - was a relatively short-lived gas and most of it broke down within a few decades.

Livestock methane - mostly belched from sheep and cattle - accounted for 85 per cent of New Zealand's methane emissions.

The remainder came from waste landfills and wastewater treatment (11 per cent), and extraction and use of fossil fuels for energy generation and industrial processes (3 per cent).

Most of the warming caused by methane emissions occurred during the first few decades, though some warming lingered for centuries after the emissions themselves had disappeared.vert more warming.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Global warming is killing the Great Barrier Reef, study says

Good follow up to our last story.

Global warming is killing the Great Barrier Reef, study says


  • Marine heat waves caused massive coral die-off in two years, research finds
  • Failure to curb global warming will be detrimental for the Great Barrier Reef
(CNN)Marine heat waves caused by global warming are killing off the corals of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef system, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.)

The Great Barrier Reef experienced an extended marine heat wave in 2016 that caused massive coral bleaching and die-off. Most of the impact was along 500 miles of the northern Great Barrier Reef, its most pristine region.
The reef endured coral bleaching in 1998 and 2002, but the northern region sustained only minor damage then. Global heat and coral bleaching began to increase in 2014 and continued through 2017; this event meant that marine heat waves causing bleaching struck three-quarters of the world's coral reefs and that the heat waves that cause corals to die struck almost a third, the researchers said.

The 2016 marine heat wave caused the most severe and catastrophic coral bleaching event the Great Barrier Reef has ever experienced, the study found. Overall, these events have affected every part of the reef.
Great Barrier Reef 'cooking and dying' as seas heat up, warn scientists
Great Barrier Reef 'cooking and dying' as seas heat up, warn scientists 
"We lost 30 percent of the corals in the nine month period between March and November 2016," Terry Hughes, study author and director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said in a statement.
To add insult to injury, another marine heat wave hit the Reef in 2017, with severe heat stress and bleaching striking the central region.
"We've seen half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef killed by climate change in just two years," Mark Eakin, study author and coordinator for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch, wrote in an email. "This study shows that the coral reefs that have been least affected by heat stress in the past are more sensitive to heat stress than we realized. It also shows climate change threatens the diversity that is the hallmark of coral reefs."
The Great Barrier Reef is literally in hot water
The Great Barrier Reef is literally in hot water 
Eakin said the increase in marine heat waves is clearly driven by rising temperatures from increasing carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere due to human activity.

The 2016 event compromised 30% of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes 3,863 reefs spanning 1,429 miles of the Queensland coastline.
Eakin said it was surprising how little heat stress was needed to cause the complete collapse of coral reef ecosystems in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Those reefs lost most of their corals at stress levels half of what the researchers would have expected, he said.
This was compounded by the 2017 event, which killed off half of the corals.

"That's like losing half of the trees in the Appalachian or Rocky Mountains in just two years," Eakin said.
It's also incredibly difficult for the coral to recover.

"Under the best conditions, the fastest-growing corals take 10-15 years to come back," Eakin wrote. "Unfortunately, our recent paper in Science showed that severe coral bleaching events are now happening every six years, on average, across the world's coral reefs. Unless we reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increasing marine heatwaves will return far too frequently for reefs to recover."
Although some of the coral has proved resistant to heat waves, those few species won't be able to maintain the diversity that is essential to coral reefs -- a hallmark of the Great Barrier Reef and the vast diversity of marine life it sustains.

"The coral die-off has caused radical changes in the mix of coral species on hundreds of individual reefs, where mature and diverse reef communities are being transformed into more degraded systems, with just a few tough species remaining," Andrew Baird, study co-author at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said in a statement.
Some of the researchers said it's imperative to help the surviving coral. 
"That still leaves a billion or so corals alive, and on average, they are tougher than the ones that died," Hughes said. "We need to focus urgently on protecting the glass that's still half full, by helping these survivors to recover."
The Great Barrier Reef is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is the largest living structure on the planet. It's even visible from space.

It garners 2 million visitors a year, supports 64,000 jobs and has contributed an estimated $6.4 billion to the Australian economy on an annual basis, according to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Although it might seem that damage to the Great Barrier Reef mostly affects Australia, this die-off could affect the entire globe.
"Almost a billion people around the world rely on coral reefs as their main source of food protein," Eakin said. "Coral reefs provide tens of billions of dollars to economies and protect shorelines and infrastructures around the world."
Failure to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels spells doom for the Great Barrier Reef, the researchers said.
"Unless humans get climate change under control, the increase in the frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves will destroy most of the coral reefs around the world," Eakin said.