Limiting global warming to 2°C (as compared to 1.5°C) is projected to:

Double the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

Image: Refugees dig for water in a dried-up watering hole in Jamam camp in South Sudan; Credit: Jared Ferrie/IPS

Source: IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming: Summary for Urban Policymakers; https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/SPM-for-cities.pdf

Even with dramatic reductions in GHG emissions, negative emission technologies will likely be necessary to limit future global warming, but permanently storing CO2 is challenging. A research team has now developed a new technique to efficiently turn carbon dioxide back into solid coal, a breakthrough that could transform the approach to carbon capture and storage.

To convert CO2, the researchers designed a liquid metal catalyst with specific surface properties that made it extremely efficient at conducting electricity while chemically activating the surface. The carbon dioxide is dissolved in a beaker filled with an electrolyte liquid and a small amount of the liquid metal, which is then charged with an electrical current. The CO2 slowly converts into solid flakes of carbon, which are naturally detached from the liquid metal surface, allowing the continuous production of carbonaceous solid.

Source: Nature Communications, Phys.org

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08824-8

The Arctic region is experiencing its warmest century in over 115,000 years. Climate change is revealing Arctic landscapes that haven’t been seen in over 40,000 years.

Source: Climate Action, Nature Communications, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08307-w.pdf

A meal that’s healthy for people and for the planet should consist by volume of approximately half a plate of vegetables and fruits; the other half should consist of primarily whole grains, plant protein sources, unsaturated plant oils, and (optionally) modest amounts of animal sources of protein.

The table shows scientific targets for a planetary healthy diet, with possible ranges, for an intake of 2500 kcal/day.

Although the planetary health diet, which is based on health considerations, is consistent with many traditional eating patterns, it does not imply that the global population should eat exactly the same food, nor does it prescribe an exact diet. Instead, the planetary health diet outlines empirical food groups and ranges of food intakes, which combined in a diet, would optimize human health. Local interpretation and adaptation of the universally-applicable planetary health diet is necessary and should reflect the culture, geography and demography of the population and individuals.

Source: EAT Lancet Commission

https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/01/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf

A new UN study finds the world’s food supply is at risk due to loss of biodiversity. Plant diversity in farmers’ fields is decreasing. Out of 6,000 plant species cultivated for food, fewer than 200 contribute significantly to global food supply, and only 9 account for 66% of total crop production. Less biodiversity makes plants and animals more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Of the nearly 8,000 breeds of livestock, 26% are at risk of extinction.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Climate Action, http://www.fao.org/3/CA3129EN/CA3129EN.pdf

Paleoclimatology is the study of past climates. Proxy records – chemical, geological, and biological indicators of climatic conditions – provide long time series of particular climatic elements before instrumental observations became available. Examples of proxies include the chemistry of deep ice cores, tree rings, borehole temperatures, coral growth rings, paleoglacial features, and lake and ocean sediments containing pollen and microfossils.

Image: cross-sections of an ocean sediment core drilled in the Mediterranean Sea; sediment layers can be formed from dust, volcanic ash, river sediments, underwater mudslides, plant and animal skeletons, precipitated calcium carbonate, or salts left behind by an evaporated sea.

Source: Essentials of the Earth’s Climate System, Roger G. Barry & Eileen A. Hall-McKim, University of Colorado at Boulder, Cambridge University Press

Image: NASA and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Climate history: The Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It is thought that water was supplied by numerous cometary impacts, and by 4.2 billion years ago there were oceans. The young sun was about 25% fainter between 3.8 and 2.5 billion years ago than it is now (its luminosity increases about 6% per billion years) and it is probable that high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere prevented water from freezing on Earth.

Source: Essentials of the Earth’s Climate System, Roger G. Barry & Eileen A. Hall-McKim, University of Colorado at Boulder, Cambridge University Press

The Bramble Cay Melomys, a small brown rat, which lived on a small island in the Great Barrier Reef off northern Australia, has been declared the world’s first mammal to become extinct due to human-induced climate change. The cause of extinction was ocean inundation from sea level rise over the last decade, which led to dramatic habitat loss.

Source: Threatened Species Unit, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland & University of Queensland https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/documents/bramble-cay-melomys-survey-report.pdf

The Federal Government in Germany has announced plans to phase out coal by 2038 and agreed to invest 40 billion euros in states affected by the phase out. In 2018, the production of coal accounted for 38% of Germany’s energy generation.

Source: Climate Action http://bit.ly/2Xb2wGm

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