The Oil Industry's Greatest Threat
- At a company meeting this week, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo criticized youth climate activists and stated that their campaigns may be the oil industry's "greatest threat." Barkindo also said that the declining global reputation of oil was "beginning to… dictate policies and corporate decisions, including investment in the industry."
- Greta Thunberg responded thank you, next.
- UK, France, and Canada have all declared national climate emergencies and New York City is suing oil companies.
- OPEC plans to expand global production, but it continues to receive backlash from not only youth protestors, climate scientists, and groups like Extinction Rebellion, but also insurance companies and governments.
- Insurance companies have the most at risk from increases in extreme weather events and have pulled investments from the fossil fuel sector. Also this week, the largest commercial insurance company in the US announced it will no longer cover or invest in the coal industry.
- The London Stock Exchange reclassified oil and gas companies into a new non-renewable energy category to make it easier for investors to distinguish between clean and dirty energy companies. Norway's sovereign wealth fund will use the new classification system to help it divest from $13 billion worth of investments in oil and coal companies.
A Soil Conundrum
- Conventional agriculture has destroyed half of all the topsoil on the planet in the past 150 years, with its toxic brew of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and intensive tilling.
- At our current rate, we could be completely out of topsoil within 60 years, according to Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
- In the US, cropland is eroding 10 times faster than we can replenish it — establishing new topsoil can take a very long time (i.e. hundreds of years).
- Topsoil loss isn't as sexy as other environmental issues — but you need it to grow food, and according to current projections there will be 9 billion people to feed globally in 2050.
- Wide-scale adoption of regenerative agricultural techniques could counteract topsoil loss — in addition to maintaining our ability to grow crops, it can help fight climate change as well!
Houston, We Have A Problem
- Last Tuesday Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer announced a resolution to Congress declaring a "national climate emergency."
- The resolution calls for “a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive scale to halt, reverse, mitigate, and prepare for the consequences of the climate emergency.”
- While the resolution doesn't have any legal weight on US energy or climate policy, and it's not expected to be adopted by Congress (since Republicans control the Senate), the goal of the resolution is to create a society-wide paradigm shift, something to shift us into "emergency mode."
- In a time where one climate disaster is happening every week, this resolution draws attention to the conversation we need to be having about the climate emergency and puts pressure on 2020 Presidential candidates to continue talking about it.
Can I Get A Little Sun
- China is the world's current leader in solar panel construction, as they attempt to reduce their reliance on coal.
- But here's a catch-22 — the air pollution caused by coal in China is so bad that it's significantly reducing the effectiveness of solar panels.
- According to a new study, China's potential solar output has decreased 13% overall compared to 1960 levels, and up to 28% in industrial areas.
- The researchers predicted that if China can get back to the air quality of 1960, the gains in solar power could be worth $6 billion per year.
The climate change policy with the most potential is the most neglected.
The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea.
One-fifth of Americans are responsible for half the country's food-based emissions.
Viking history is melting away in Greenland.
Researchers discover how to purify water and produce electricity from one sun-powered device.
UN Environment and NASA reach agreement on new global learning initiative.
Tropical depression Barry mostly spares New Orleans, but flood risk remains high.