We can Stop Climate Change Just by Ending Fossil Fuel Usage

wind turbine
It seems that every month we’re confronted with another study pointing out that climate change is happening faster and worse than projected. This constant news cycle can make people tone it out and ignore the defining issue of our day. Thankfully, we also get tons of suggestions to stop climate change. Today I share with you the simplest way to stop climate change: end fossil fuel use. We have the technology and we have the knowledge. All we need to do to avert a global catastrophe is stop burning dead dinosaur juice.

The study,?published in the journal Nature Communications, used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately. The lifespan for power plants was set at 40 years, cars an average of 15 years and planes 26 years. The work also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption, which is responsible for significant global emissions.

In this scenario, the models suggest carbon emissions would decline to zero over the next four decades and there would be a 66% chance of the global temperature rise remaining below 1.5C. If the phaseout does not begin until 2030, the chance is 33%.

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Reviving the “Dinosaur of Trees”

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Giant redwood trees are beautiful to look at and are great for the environment. We need them now more than ever before. The redwoods filter air, water while also removing tons of carbon due to their sheer size. These trees are so precious that scientists are trying to revive an ancestor of the modern redwoods.

Using saplings made from the basal sprouts of these super trees to plant new groves in temperate countries around the world means the growths have a better chance than most to become giants themselves. Their ancestors grew up to 400 ft (122 m) tall and to 35 ft in diameter, after all, larger than the largest living redwood today,?a giant sequoia?in California’s Sequoia National Park.
Already, super saplings from the project are thriving in groves in Canada, England, Wales, France, New Zealand, and Australia. None of these locales are places where coastal redwoods grow naturally, but they all have cool temperatures and sufficient fog for the redwoods, which?drink moisture from the air?in summer rather than relying on rain. Milarch calls this “assisted migration.”


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Ship Slowly for Greener Online Shopping

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It’s that time of year when people buy objects for others because of social obligations or religious practices. When purchasing goods we obviously need to think about the story behind the things being bought (who made it, where it comes from, etc.). If you’re buying stuff online then you should also think about shipping methods beyond the quickest. It turns out online shopping can be the greener option as long as you don’t use the fastest shipping option. Of course, like many environmental issues this one can also be solved by not buying useless stuff.

A 2013 study from MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics calculated that the carbon footprint of a traditional shopper purchasing a toy in a store is higher than that of someone who buys the same thing online with regular shipping (more about that later).

That’s because parcel carriers use a more efficient delivery system than you driving to the mall, and the carbon footprint of a website is smaller than that of a brick-and-mortar store.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Climate Change Deniers Just Need Motivation

Water

The COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland has opened with a direct call for immediate action on climate change. You’d think that 99% of scientists, years of evidence, weather records being broke every month, and even oil companies admitting climate is real would motivate people to care. However, it’s the very fact that there is so much evidence of the damage of climate change that people don’t care about acting on it. This ironic twist is thanks to the perceived mental workload one has to handle in order to feel motivated to buy fewer things.

“A big part isn’t the experience; it’s the motivation,” said Paul Thagard, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo’s Department of Philosophy, who specializes in cognitive science.

“Psychologists talk a lot about ‘motivated inference’ … when people have strong motivations, they’re very selective in the sort of evidence they look for.”

Even though there is consensus that climate change is occurring and that humans are exacerbating it, there are still people — including politicians — who refuse to acknowledge the evidence.

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How Individuals and Governments can Save Bees

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Butterflies and bees need our help. They’re currently dying off due to changes in their environments while also being sprayed with deadly pesticides. A bunch of countries have banned the bee-killing pesticides, but that’s not helpful in the short term for beers or farmers. The progress at the policy level is needed and is slowly being rolled out around the globe.

At the individual level there is already stuff we can do to help the bees and our farming friends. All you have to do is plant some native species that your local pollinators love. Oh, and that means lots of butterflies.

The essence of the technique is to devote one in every four cultivation strips to flowering crops, such as oil seeds and spices. In addition, she provides pollinators with cheap nesting support, such as old wood and beaten soil that ground nesting bees can burrow into. Sunflowers were also planted nearby as wind shelters.

“There is a very low barrier so anyone in even the poorest country can do this. There is no equipment, no technology and only a small investment in seeds. It is very easy. You can demonstrate how to do it with pictures sent on a cellphone.”

Compared with control fields of pure monocultures, “amazing” benefits for farmers and an increase in abundance and diversity of pollinators were found. Crops were pollinated more efficiently, there were fewer pests such as aphids and greenfly, and yields increased in quantity and quality.

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