Climate Letter #1099

A group of senior scientists from across Europe are not optimistic about the hoped-for deployment of “negative emissions” as a way of holding temperature increases within the limits set at Paris. “About 87 percent of science models that show a path to holding world temperature hikes to below 2 degrees Celsius rely on such technologies…..The problem is that much of the needed technology is still untested, not commercially viable, likely to lead to other risks or simply not possible at the scale needed.”  The only alternative, in their opinion, is to reduce emissions as rapidly as possible.
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Update on the Cape Town water shortage (NY Times).  “Day Zero” is scheduled to arrive in April.  This post has the full story, including the rapidity of change.  “Just a couple of years ago, the situation could not have looked more different here. In 2014, the dams stood full after years of good rain.”
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Alaska’s North Slope is not yet emitting much carbon from thawing of permafrost.  Scientists who have tested emissions from a large number of lakes in the region are able to distinguish the difference between “old” and “new” carbon and only about 10% is old.  They are interested in establishing a baseline for comparison in future tests as thawing proceeds. “When the bulk of that very old carbon is recycled and released, we will be looking at a massive net increase in emissions of the gases that worsen global warming.”
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China wants to be the Detroit of electric vehicles.  This post from Bloomberg describes all of the different ways they are going about realization of this goal, which are indeed impressive.  “Their ambitions are 100 percent global, and I believe they are going to be global competitors,” said the chairman of Toronto-based Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. “You have the Chinese government behind them, and you have some of the smartest people in the world working there.”
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From Yale e360, an analysis of the way the Trump administration has been cutting or distorting about sixty environmental rules, many of which affect climate change, that were put in place by previous administrations.  Significant changes require the prior performance of a cost/benefit analysis that demonstrates how society will be better off as a result.  The author, who is an environmental economist, finds much to criticize and believes vigorous court challenges will follow.  Republicans like to brag about how deregulation reduces costs for many corporations, which can lead to an increase in job creation and higher GDP growth (not to mention a stronger stock market), which must somehow prove to more than offset some very real damage.
Carl
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