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JAN. 10, 2023. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear Friends:

We wrap up 2022 with climate change stories: year-end assessments, global tracking, newsworthy academic papers, technology breakthroughs, insight into the Anthropocene, biodiversity, EVs, extreme weather (how about atmospheric storms), among others. Note too the events coming up in January.

Belle, Victoria, and the Climate Team


Links to Articles

2022 Year-End Assessments

By Leah C. Stokes

Dr. Stokes is an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Huge legislation. Secret Amazon airstrips. Political shenanigans. Also a trash guessing game. Reporters and editors from The Times’s Climate Desk share pieces they particularly liked.

A team of more than 40 Opinion writers, photographers and editors spent five months canvassing the globe to illustrate the deadly consequences of our warming world.

A panel of experts has spent more than a decade deliberating on how, and whether, to mark a momentous new epoch in geologic time: our own.

Ten thousand years after our species began forming primitive agrarian societies, a panel of scientists on Saturday took a big step toward declaring a new interval of geologic time: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.


White House Climate Action

Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs to build a clean energy economy, lower energy costs, tackle climate change, and reduce harmful pollution.

By Jean Chemnick 

The work of turning the law’s money into a gigawatt of avoided carbon dioxide and myriad benefits for communities has already begun, according to a senior administration official. Former White House chief of staff and Obama climate consigliere John Podesta returned to the White House just after Labor Day to set up a “lean implementation team” to coordinate work on the law.


Science and Technology

Scientists made a huge breakthrough on the road to emissions-free power. Here’s what that means, and doesn’t mean.

Henry Fountain

As my colleague Ken Chang wrote, scientists working on a mammoth experiment at Livermore, in which lasers are used to fuse two forms of hydrogen into helium, reported that, for the first time, it had released more energy than the lasers put in. That’s a big deal. Scientists around the world have been trying to develop controllable fusion (as opposed to the out-of-control fusion of a hydrogen bomb) for the better part of a century. And the world needs to sharply cut emissions soon. To limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above 19th-century levels, the stricter of two limits that came out of the 2015 Paris climate talks, emissions need to reach nearly zero by 2050. So even if fusion power plants become a reality, it likely would not happen in time to help stave off the near-term worsening effects of climate change. It’s far better, many climate scientists and policymakers say, to focus on currently available renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power to help reach these emissions targets.

ECO-FRIENDLY SKIES

A new study reveals a realistic pathway to cleaning up our air travels.

New research from Arizona State University offers a glimmer of holiday hope: decarbonizing the U.S. air industry is a whole lot easier than we think.

Published Nov. 14 in the journal Nature Sustainability study found that we can drastically cut carbon emissions in airplanes by replacing conventional jet fuel with biofuels, which are made of renewable, biological matter like plants.

A panel of experts has spent more than a decade deliberating on how, and whether, to mark a momentous new epoch in geologic time: our own.

Ten thousand years after our species began forming primitive agrarian societies, a panel of scientists on Saturday took a big step toward declaring a new interval of geologic time: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.


Climate Impacts

By Nadja Popovich, Mira Rojanasakul and Brad Plumer, Dec. 13, 2022

New data shared with The New York Times reveals stark disparities in how different U.S. households contribute to climate change. Looking at America’s cities, a pattern emerges.

The maps show “consumption-based emissions,” a different way of looking at what’s driving global warming. Normally, scientists measure greenhouse gas emissions at the source: power plants burning natural gas or coal, cows belching methane or cars and trucks burning gasoline. But a consumption-based analysis assigns those emissions to the households that are ultimately responsible for them: the people who use electricity, drive cars, eat food and buy things.


Montreal – COP 15 Biological Diversity

Negotiators from around the world are meeting in Canada in an effort to halt, and reverse, staggering declines in wildlife. The meeting is known as COP15, because it’s the 15th conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ultimately, its goal is a new 10-year agreement that would enable the world to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. There’s no silver bullet for that, so negotiators are fiercely debating the details of roughly 20 targets that would collectively tackle the problem.


December 20, 2022

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) ended in Montreal, Canada on 19 December 2022 with a landmark agreement to guide global ...


By Michael Grunwald

Mr. Grunwald, a host of the “Climavores” podcast, is working on a book about how to feed the world without frying it.

Earth is in the midst of the worst mass extinction since an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago — and this time, the asteroid is us. Human beings are displacing the planet’s other species at an unprecedented rate, a disaster that the landmark U.N. Biodiversity Conference known as COP15 is focused on this week in Montreal. We’re a unique menace, but we at least have a unique ability to recognize it and do something about it.


David Wallace-Wells


Global Climate Crises

By Roger Cohen, Photographs by Mauricio Lima

Roger Cohen, the Paris bureau chief, and Mauricio Lima spent almost two weeks in India, traveling between New Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai, to write and photograph this piece.


Private Sector Investment in Clean Energy

The charity will award $6 million to five entrepreneurs from around the globe working on breakthrough climate solutions.


Climate Legislation December 2022

A bill to help farmers measure and verify greenhouse gas reductions was included in an omnibus spending package released early Tuesday morning.

House Republican aides said the agreement on the “Growing Climate Solutions Act” takes into account the demands of the incoming chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania, who’d sought what he called a more farmer-friendly approach to the measure’s proposed network of third-party conservation vendors.

By Sara Schonhardt, Nick Sobczyk

The $1.7 trillion fiscal 2023 federal spending bill lawmakers passed this week contains just $1 billion to help developing countries respond to climate change.

That hardly puts a down payment on President Joe Biden’s pledge to deliver $11.4 billion annually in international climate finance by 2024. And it bodes poorly for future funding, particularly after the United States and other developed countries agreed at the latest round of U.N. climate talks, known as COP 27, to back a new pot of money for the losses and damages poorer nations face from increasingly severe droughts, storms, heat and rising seas.


Electric Vehicles and Metals

Electric Cars are Taking Off But When Will Batteries Recycling Follow (see attachment)

Battery Recycling: Reusing lithium-ion batteries could lower costs for electrical cars in the future, but achieving that goal seems far away.

Solving a Shortage: A lithium mine in northern Quebec may hold the key to bringing down the price of electric vehicles.

Ocean Riches: Mining in the Pacific was meant to benefit poor countries, but a Canadian company was given access to sites with crucial metals.

Tesla’s Ambitions: A mine in the South Pacific is a key testing ground for the electric vehicle maker’s efforts to sustainably source minerals.

Global Rivalries: The competition for cobalt, a key ingredient in electric cars, has set off a power struggle between China and the U.S. in Congo.


In a win for the Biden administration, the United States Postal Service said it would spend nearly $10 billion to create one of the largest electric truck fleets in the nation.


Extreme Weather

The deadly freeze that swept the United States was extraordinary, but while scientists know that global warming can intensify extreme weather, the effects on winter storms are tricky to untangle.


California

By Elena Shao, Dec. 20, 2022

California has seen larger, hotter and more intense wildfires in recent years, driven by extended drought and climate change. The five largest wildfires recorded in the state have all occurred since 2018. But California’s wildfire record is punctuated with both “good” and “bad” fire years — a result of short-term, natural weather variability.


EVENTS


Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00 pm for a very timely national Jewish Earth Alliance webinar on “A Roadmap for Jewish Climate Advocacy in the 118th Congress.” Learn what Jews can do to advocate for climate solutions. Speakers include climate champion Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), David Roberts, editor of Volts, and Rabbi Saxe-Taller. The webinar will take the place of this month’s Bay Area JEA meeting.


Friday, January 20, 9:00-11:00 am

Marin Conservation League welcomes Representative Jared Huffman to discuss Climate Change Action. Register here.


Monday, January 30 at 6:00 pm

“Hope,” a special Zoom event hosted by Green Change

The keynote speaker is writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the acclaimed “Ministry for the Future” science-fiction novel about how we could solve climate change in just a few decades. Other speakers, climate activist and performer Alma Soongi Beck, who will talk about how she inspires joyful action to end the climate crisis and promotes the power of community in her work at ClimateHope.us and Climate Reality Bay Area. Young climate activist and artist Harita Kalvai will tell us how she engages her generation to create a more sustainable world with fellow high school students at MarinSEL and with Youth Action Through Art, organizers of "The Future We Create" art exhibit. Sign up here.

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