Climate Change News Digest April 2022

The latest Climate Change News Digest for April 2022, prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance, summarizes in one place the most important monthly news from around the world about the changing climate and progress in decarbonizing the global economy. Our good news question of the month: what petroleum organization agreed that a price or tax on carbon was a good idea? Read on to find out and learn what you might have missed during a month with a lot of news, much of it good.

👍 In excellent news, for the first time ever wind and solar energy was reported to have generated more than 10% of total global electricity in 2021. Over 50 countries now get more than 10% of their electricity from solar and wind sources, which grew 23% and 14% respectively last year. Unfortunately, power from burning coal also rose last year by an alarming 9%. Continue reading

Climate Change News Digest March 2022

The latest Climate Change News Digest for March 2022, prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance, summarizes recent news about the changing climate and efforts to decarbonize the global economy. While GHG emissions and climate trends remain alarming, as evidenced in the latest IPCC assessment, there is encouraging progress being made in green technologies, public awareness, and most importantly the political will to act. Our good news question of the month: what political body agreed to impose cross-border carbon tariffs on trade? Read on to find out.

In the latest report from the UN, the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) warns that humanity has a brief and rapidly closing window to avoid an unbearably hotter and deadlier climate. The planet will face increasing floods, heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels, storms, melting glaciers and permafrost, wildfires, loss of biodiversity, population migrations, tropical illnesses, water conflicts, hunger, and human suffering. Huge portions of the globe may eventually become inhabitable. The good news is that we still have time to arrest the most catastrophic consequences if we move faster in transforming to a low-carbon economy.

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IPCC 6th Report Climate Change 2022

The IPCC has released the second part of the Sixth Assessment Report, “Climate Change 2022ImpactsAdaptation and Vulnerability” during the 12th Session of Working Group II and 55th Session of the IPCC.

A summary of important policy statements extracted from the report include the following:

“Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability. Some development and adaptation efforts have reduced vulnerability. Across sectors and regions the most vulnerable people and systems are observed to be disproportionately affected. The rise in weather and climate extremes has led to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt (high confidence).

Vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change differs substantially among and within regions (very high confidence), driven by patterns of intersecting socio-economic development, unsustainable ocean and land use, inequity, marginalization, historical and ongoing patterns of inequity such as colonialism, and governance (high confidence). Approximately 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in contexts that are highly vulnerable to climate change (high confidence). A high proportion of species is vulnerable to climate change (high confidence). Human and ecosystem vulnerability are interdependent (high confidence). Current unsustainable development patterns are increasing exposure of ecosystems and people to climate hazards (high confidence).

Global warming, reaching 1.5°C in the near-term, would cause unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans (very high confidence). The level of risk will depend on concurrent near-term trends in vulnerability, exposure, level of socioeconomic development and adaptation (high confidence). Near-term actions that limit global warming to close to 1.5°C would substantially reduce projected losses and damages related to climate change in human systems and ecosystems, compared to higher warming levels, but cannot eliminate them all (very high confidence).

Beyond 2040 and depending on the level of global warming, climate change will lead to numerous risks to natural and human systems (high confidence). For 127 identified key risks, assessed mid- and long- term impacts are up to multiple times higher than currently observed (high confidence). The magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions, and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages escalate with every increment of global warming (very high confidence).

Climate change impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. Multiple climate hazards will occur simultaneously, and multiple climatic and non-climatic risks will interact, resulting in compounding overall risk and risks cascading across sectors and regions. Some responses to climate change result in new impacts and risks (high confidence).

If global warming transiently exceeds 1.5°C in the coming decades or later (overshoot), then many human and natural systems will face additional severe risks, compared to remaining below 1.5°C (high confidence). Depending on the magnitude and duration of overshoot, some impacts will cause release of additional greenhouse gases (medium confidence) and some will be irreversible, even if global warming is reduced (high confidence).”

The full report may be downloaded from the IPCC website HERE.

Digital Technologies and the Environment from Diplo

A discussion on “Digital Technologies and the Environment: A Synergy for the Future” was held on February 17, 2022 that was promoted by the NGO event organizer Diplo, as:

“Digital technologies can amplify efforts to mitigate climate change and, as such, are becoming part of environmental and digital policies on the national and international levels. Most global policies from international bodies, the EU, the USA, and Germany substantially reflect on the issues related to the nexus of environmental and digital developments. In this discussion, we will look into current developments in the relevant fora, such as the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, and consider the possibilities to deepen cooperation and understanding between the USA, the EU, and Germany on issues related to environment and digital developments.”

Image Courtesy of Diplo at https://www.diplomacy.edu/

The presentation may be viewed at https://www.diplomacy.edu/event/digital-technologies-and-the-environment-a-synergy-for-the-future/.

A written report was also available that explores the application of digital technologies to address issues of greenhouse gas emissions, rare earths, and e-waste.

“Digital technologies in general collect, process, and analyze large quantities of data to identify issues and possible solutions, provide modelling of future developments, streamline processes, making them less resource dependent – whether on natural resources, human efforts, or finances. Some of the digital technologies are already widely implemented in environmental protection. This is the case in big data analysis and use of artificial intelligence to find sustainable solutions for environmental issues, use of augmented and virtual reality for modelling and education, IoT for smart cities, smart grids, and in traffic regulation. Additionally, decades of experience in space technology are now used in the renewable energy sector. Others, like blockchain, nanotechnology or quantum computing are just starting to be studied on their possible implementation in environmental protection.”

The report can also be downloaded at https://www.diplomacy.edu/event/digital-technologies-and-the-environment-a-synergy-for-the-future/.

Did Engineers Cause the Climate Crisis?

In this provocative article from Digital Engineering “Engineers Caused the Climate Emergency – Only We Can Save the World From It” the author Stephen Ferguson writes:

“If we are going to avoid, or even mitigate, the devastating effects of anthropological climate change, then, in the next twenty to thirty years, we’re going to have to almost completely wean ourselves off our reliance on fossil fuels. That means reducing 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero while providing an acceptable standard of living for 10 billion people. This is the greatest engineering challenge that our species has ever faced and essentially means re-solving every difficult engineering problem that we have overcome in the 250 years since the Industrial Revolution.”

“In the title of this article, I blamed engineers for the climate emergency. After all, Savery, Newcomen and Watt’s inventions unintentionally prised the lid off of the Pandora’s Box of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a deliberately provocative (and rather trite) argument. The Industrial Revolution (like the Neolithic Revolution before it) was an inevitable consequence of human population growth and would have happened eventually, irrespective of the individuals involved.  Like most modern engineers, like you and I, they were just trying to improve the world that they lived in.”

Read the full article HERE as well as other articles about the Jan/Feb 2022 sustainability focused theme issue of Digital Engineering.

Climate Change News Digest January 2022

The latest Climate Change News Digest for January 2022, prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance, summarizes recent news about the changing climate, including preliminary data from calendar year 2021. While many of the atmospheric climate trends are still negative, it does not diminish the recent progress in business, social, and political trends where the imperative to address sustainability, climate change, and decarbonization continue to gain momentum. I find much hope in this, as well as recently reading Jane Goodall’s new book “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” written with Douglas Abrams.

Cover Image Courtesy of Celadon Books at https://celadonbooks.com

The UK-based Climate Brief organization and website issued their climate data for 2021. It confirmed another year of record ocean heat content, rising surface temperatures, extreme weather events, sea level rise, declining sea ice, and rising levels of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere.

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Speed & Scale Climate Action Plan – Book Discussion

The PLM Green Global Alliance invites current and future followers to participate in a review and discussion of the new book from esteemed venture capitalist John Doerr, “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.” Learn more about this very timely book and what others have to say about it at https://speedandscale.com/.

In the book’s opening pages the author warns that the world is not doing nearly enough to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. He is not hesitant to say it is indeed time to panic if that’s what it takes to speed up investments in innovative technologies that can scale to help decarbonize the global economy of over 50 gigatons of emissions each year.

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Climate Change News Digest November 2021

The latest Climate Change News Digest, prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance, summarizes considerable good news from the UN COP26 conference on the growing urgency of world leaders and business leader to move faster to decarbonize the global economy. The  good news question of the month: how many countries have now joined the global pledge to reduce methane emissions? Read on to find out.

👍 As part of COP26 UN Climate Summit, more than three dozen countries announced they would phase out the use of coal for power generation. Nearly two dozen nations added their names with new pledges. Unfortunately, the largest coal users and exporters, China, US, and Australia, were not part of the agreement. Scientists warn that to limit global warming, industrialized countries would need to replace nearly all of their coal, oil, and natural gas power plants with renewables by 2035.

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Climate Change News Digest for October 2021

The latest Climate Change News Digest prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance summarizes a significant number of news items from October 2021 on the climate crisis and the growing movement to decarbonize the global economy. The good news question of the month: which country announced its intent that all electricity generation will be fossil fuel free by 2035?  Read on to find out.

👍 A global trio of climate research scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Physics this year. The most notable is Dr. Syukuro Manabe who as far back as 1967 developed a model of the link between CO2 in the atmosphere and warming. Yes, we have now had over 50 years of warning from scientists that we failed to take seriously.

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Science Based Targets Initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) drives ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling companies to set science-based emissions reduction. Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly-defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

The PLM Green Global Alliance recommends the SBTi website at https://sciencebasedtargets.org/ as an excellent resource for companies that wish to demonstrate leadership in their industry by moving toward a net-zero carbon emissions economy. We celebrate the more than 1,000 businesses around the world that have already done so.

Dassault Systemes Announces Climate Commitment

Leading PLM solution provider Dassault Systemes has announced its commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint at https://www.3ds.com/sustainability/compass.

The company endorses the Science-based Targets initiative and Net Zero Emissions Timeline to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and support the global response to the threat of climate change to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

The Role of PLM in Tracking Carbon Footprint

In Part 1 of this series of posts from the PLM Green Global Alliance on the Role of PLM in Slowing Climate Change we identified four primary opportunities to employ Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in reducing, mitigating, or adapting to climate change from human-generated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, most importantly CO2. These four areas for using PLM strategies and solutions are in: developing Green Products, generating Green Energy, reducing Carbon Footprints, and adapting to Climate Change.

In this new Part 2 we will begin to examine one of those in more detail; the use of PLM-enabling technologies to collect, calculate, track, report, and most importantly reduce the carbon footprint of products and processes. This capability then enables a full and accurate accounting for the carbon footprint of individual companies, entire industries, and national economies that supply, produce or consume these products or services. It may very well prove to be the most important contribution of PLM by helping to lower emissions and slow climate change for the benefit of future generations to come.

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Climate Change News Digest September 2021

This month’s Climate Change News Digest prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance summarizes the latest news not just about the changing climate but the growing momentum to decarbonize the global economy. Our good news question of the month: how many international companies have now joined The Carbon Pledge to reduce their GHG emissions to net-zero by 2040? Read on to find out.

The emissions of another powerful greenhouse gas, methane, is getting more visibility from space. Interactive maps made from satellite images clearly show where most of the methane emissions are coming from, especially in Asia and China. The composition of methane in the atmosphere is rising rapidly, but unlike CO2 emissions, its sources have historically been more difficult to identify.

👍 The Biden Administration continues to raise the importance of combating climate change with the announcement of a new pledge to reduce methane gases. In cooperation with the EU the US will work to lower methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade.

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GHGSat Methane Emissions Monitoring

A new generation of orbiting satellites is producing remote sensing data to help visualize and identify sources of Greenhouse Emissions emissions, like those from methane. This example image from a recent BBC article is produced by GHGSat’s Pulse interactive mapping solution

Methane is a more powerful GHG, compared to carbon dioxide, whose composition in the atmosphere is also growing at an alarming rate.

Climate Change News Digest August 2021

The month’s Climate Change News Digest prepared for busy followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance summarizes the latest news from the end of summer while many of us were out on vacation. It was not a good month for the planet due to the record heat, droughts, and wildfires along with other new research findings. Yet, there was hopeful progress as more nations, communities, NGOs, and industries around the world agree that climate change is happening now and must be dealt with a greater sense of urgency. Our good news question of the month: what country reported that in 2020 it produced more energy from all types of renewable sources than from coal? Bonus question: what is the difference between green hydrogen and blue hydrogen? Read on to find out.

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IPCC 6th Assessment Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.

In the IPCC 6th Assessment on Climate Change, “the thirteen chapters of the Working Group I report on “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” have just been published and provide an assessment of the current evidence on the physical science of climate change, knowledge evaluation gained from observations, reanalyses, paleoclimate archives and climate model simulations, as well as physical, chemical and biological climate processes.”

“The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) provides a high-level summary of the understanding of the current state of the climate, including how it is changing and the role of human influence, and the state of knowledge about possible climate futures, climate information relevant to regions and sectors, and limiting human-induced climate change.”

The full AR6 WG Report on “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis” may be downloaded from the IPCC website HERE.

Climate Change News Digest July 2021

Climate Change Digest good news question of the month: Along what country’s coast is the world’s largest tidal energy turbine being installed? Read on to find the answer in the latest Climate Change News Digest prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance.

The previous month of June 2021 had now been deemed to be the hottest June on record for the United States. Numerous all-time records for any month and date were set at several locations. Temperatures were an astonishing 4.2 degrees F above their 20th century average.

The extreme temperatures in the Pacific Northwest of the US last month were so far off the charts that scientists suggested global warming may be triggering non-linear climate responses. An estimated 800 people died as a result of the heat that reached as high as 121 degrees F in Lytton, Canada.

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Carbon Capture From Climeworks and Accenture

Climeworks https://climeworks.com/ and Accenture http://www.accenture.com/ are collaborating to use new digital technologies to develop a carbon direct air capture and storage plant in Iceland. The carbon removed from the atmosphere will be sequestered underground where in two years it will turn to stone.

This can certainly help as one component of a larger decarbonization strategy, but how big can carbon capture and storage facilities scale when we are putting 50 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year? As example, it would take 10 million of this size plant that captures 4,000 tons of CO2 per year, to do the job. Read more HERE to understand the role of this technology in decarbonizing the economy to meet the 2050 net-zero GHG emissions.

The Role of PLM in Slowing Climate Change – Part 1

This new series of posts by Klaus Brettschneider and Richard McFall, contributing members of the PLM Green Global Alliance (PGGA), will explore how Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) can be used to slow climate change by reducing human-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide and methane are the two most damaging GHG which are commonly reported on as CO2 equivalents, or CO2e, and are measured in billions of tons or gigatons. Carbon continues to build in the atmosphere due to human activities on the ground where it has now surpassed 410 ppm, nearly double that prior to the start of the industrial age. Since CO2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, a consensus is urgently building among climate scientists, elected officials, and NGOs like the International Energy Agency that the global economy must attain net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. This starts with a very challenging reduction of 50% by 2030, less than ten years away.

Image credit of NOAA at https://research.noaa.gov/

We begin our series by outlining the different roles and use cases that PLM can have in minimizing the carbon footprint – or “decarbonizing” – products, businesses, industries, and even entire economies. But first a brief level set on what PLM is and is not.

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