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.

Hydrogen Electric Aviation from ZeroAvia

ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting 500-mile range in 10–20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, cargo, agriculture, and more. Based in the UK and USA, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operations in 2024. The company’s expanding UK operations are supported by grants from UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council.”  from  https://www.zeroavia.com/about-us.

Image from and courtesy of ZeroAvia at https://www.zeroavia.com/united-airlines

“As the company moves closer to commercialization of its hydrogen-electric technology, ZeroAvia has secured a new raise of $35 million to help develop its 2–5MW zero-emission powertrain system for regional aviation. As announced today, United Airlines has invested in ZeroAvia through this round, and our agreement with United anticipates an order for 50 ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option for 50 more. United joins an already announced new investor, Alaska Air Group, in this round, alongside existing investors Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, AP Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Summa Equity, and Shell Ventures. This brings the company’s total investment to date up to $115 million.” from https://www.zeroavia.com/united-airlines.

View the full original press release HERE.

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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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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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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Climate Change News Digest May 2021

Climate change good news question of the month: What country’s federal court was the latest to rule that their government has a responsibility to protect young people from harm and injury due to the climate crisis? Read on to find the answer in this month’s Climate Change News Digest prepared for followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance.

New studies have shown the urgency of drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) starting now and limiting temperature increases to avoid massive melting of ice on land and sea. Over the coming years scientists predict that the melting of land-based ice, like that in Antarctica and Greenland, will be responsible for about half of the predicted rise in sea-level. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that sea level rise by 2100 will be from 1 to 3 feet. Other scientists worry that an irreversible tipping point, like “ice cliff instability”, could be reached that accelerates Antarctica melting, resulting in rapid sea level rise of dozens if not hundreds of feet.

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Solutions to Avoid a Climate Disaster – Part 1

International members of the PLM Green Global Alliance (PGGA) met recently to discuss the timely new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need.” The panel discussion was moderated by PGGA co-founder Jos Voskuil with participants Klaus Brettschneider, Lionel Grealou, Patrick Hillberg, Ilan Madjar, and Richard McFall.

That author Bill Gates, who admits upfront in the book that he is an imperfect messenger, wrote what many of us often think about the climate crisis:

“It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of a problem as big as climate change. But you’re not powerless. And you don’t have to be a politician or a philanthropist to make a difference. You have influence as a citizen, a consumer, and an employee or employer.”

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Intersection of Product Lifecycle Management and Climate Change

Digital Engineering published the following commentary written by Robert Farrell on “The Intersection of Product Lifecycle Management and Climate Change” in the February 2021 issue which featured the PLM Green Global Alliance.

Until recently, initiatives to advance sustainability and combat climate change have primarily focused on improving product performance to minimize energy usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is enabling technologies and supporting software applications that are contributing to the greening of our global economy in many ways.

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Climate Change News Digest January 2021

This month’s Climate Change News Digest shared with followers of the PLM Green Global Alliance has much news (both good and not so good), research, and announcements from around the world. The featured image this month is a graph of the average global temperature produced by the U.S. NOAA at https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-temperature.

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How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change

Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change – From the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “Completing the Picture highlights the indispensable role that the circular economy plays in tackling the climate crisis. It aims to demonstrate how circular economy principles and strategies significantly reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.” Read this important paper HERE.

PLM Green Global Alliance

What is the PLM Green Global Alliance?

The PLM Green Global Alliance (PGGA) is an international community of professionals who work with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) enabling technologies and who are collaborating for a more sustainable decarbonized circular economy.

The mission of the PLM Green Global Alliance is to develop a global network and foster a coalition between professionals who use, develop, research, market, consult, teach, or support Product Lifecycle Management business strategies, technologies and software solutions that have value in sustainability by addressing the causes and consequences of climate change due to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

We are highly focused on PLM. We are Green due to our environmental concern for the planet to sustain both healthy industries and future generations, and not because of politics or party affiliation. We are Global because addressing sustainability and climate change requires international cooperation. And finally we are an informal Alliance to build community and communication between participants who share common interests.

What is our motivation?

We are excited by the professional opportunities and motivated by the technical challenges to create a sustainable circular economy and low-carbon future for all industries, communities, nations, and life forms on the planet Earth that depend on healthy ecosystems.

Climate scientists and policy experts warn that we have ten years left, basically the rest of this decade as illustrated in the countdown clock, to slow then reverse the rise of GHG emissions that will enable a net-zero global economy by 2050. After that, with unabated global warming, a series of irreversible tipping points on the planet may be breached which current practices and technologies cannot save us from experiencing.

This decade, this year, now and not some point in the future, is the time to take action in big and small ways alike. As illustrated on this website, the PLM profession is uniquely qualified to participate in and accelerate the rapid transformation of industries and decarbonization of economies that will be required.

What are our goals?

We seek to educate, advocate, and collaborate for greater recognition of the role and value of PLM technologies to help assess, reduce, mitigate, and adapt to (when necessary) climate change, which then contributes to sustainability.

There are many examples of how PLM-related technologies are doing just that, but very few focused platforms and open forums where professional resources and application case studies can be collected, researched, shared, discussed, and promoted for the common good.

Who are members of the alliance?

The PGGA is an informal non-commercial international group and as such there is no process or cost to participate. Our only requirement is that you have a sincere professional, educational, or personal interest in the intersection of PLM and one of our theme topics. These themes currently include: Climate Change, Sustainability, Green Energy, Circular Economy and Industry 4.0. If you do have interest and want to contribute, we invite you join our recently formed PLM Green Global Alliance LinkedIn Group where we now have over 300 members from around the world.

Just a note that this group is not a forum which will study or debate the environmental sciences of carbon emissions, global warming, or climate change. Nor are we a political or lobbying organization. These functions are already covered by many respectable science-based and public-policy global organizations. Their climate experts have concluded that human-generated climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions is happening now; the effects are already becoming severe and may become irreversible as well as devastating if current trends are not arrested.

What PLM technologies are relevant?

Members of our informal alliance are invited to share and collaborate across a global community of professionals working with PLM that can help transform our economies to be more energy efficient, carbon neutral, and sustainable. We affirm that PLM is not a single technology nor software product, but a business strategy that is enabled by many different technologies, supporting software solutions, and expert subject matter consultancies.

These technologies include but are not limited to: Product Data Management (PDM), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Digital Twins (DT), Digital Manufacturing (DMfg), Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing (AM/3DP), Product Portfolio Management (PPM), Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA),  Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Visualization (Viz), Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO), Multi-Physics Simulation (MPS), Product Cost Management (PCM), Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM), Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM), Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), High Performance Computing (HPC) and Enterprise Collaboration & Innovation Management (ECIM).

While there are dozens more, all together these segments comprise a dynamic global PLM ecosystem that attracts over $50B annually in investments. For descriptions and additional information about these underlying technologies visit the PLM Atlas website.

What are example applications?

In the PLM Green Global Alliance we invite working professionals, users, researchers, teachers, students, developers, marketers, and followers to share example case studies and thought leadership of how PLM-enabling technologies can be used to:

  • make products and processes more energy efficient and sustainable
  • find and develop new sources of renewable green energy
  • predict, monitor and track carbon footprints of products and processes
  • providing data, process, and platforms for performing Life Cycle Assessment
  • decarbonize entire industries and economies
  • store and transmit alternative energy supplies
  • reduce or sequester human-generated carbon emissions
  • capture naturally produced greenhouse and methane gasses
  • pioneer and deploy green manufacturing processes
  • design products and their lifecycles to be environmentally friendly
  • simulate and test global geoengineering technologies as solutions
  • recycle, reuse, or repurpose assets, materials, and natural resources
  • support and accelerate the transformation to a circular economy
  • minimize and mitigate the damage to infrastructures from global warming
  • monitor a warming planet, changing weather patterns, and impact of climate change
  • enhance the resiliency and sustainability of industries and communities

To support the above we have identified overarching “PLM Green Themes” along with sub-topics which we will use to help us prioritize our coverage of application examples.

What’s next?

During 2022, our second full year, we will be researching, collecting, and discussing examples of the above applications along with sharing thought leadership blogs, white papers, success stories, and other useful resources submitted to us from around the globe. We will also be interviewing solution providers to learn about their contributions to and solutions for sustainability. Look for these on PLM Green Examples and PLM Green Resources website pages. Send us your examples with a link to reference and credit to info@plmgreenalliance.org.

Participate in our discussion by joining the recnetly-formed PLM Green Global Alliance LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12304531/Register to receive our news by entering your email on the top right of any page on this website.

We very much welcome the contribution of your ideas, experience, topics, and help by contacting our founders Richard McFall in North America at richard@plmgreenalliance.com or Jos Voskuil in Europe at tacit@planet.nl. Or visit the PLM Green Conversation and Collaboration website page for specific opportunities to participate and contribute.

Regards – Mit freundlichen Grüßen – בברכה – Cordiali Saluti – नमस्ते – Namaste – Cordialement – 敬具- Saludos – Saudações – 好日子 – Met vriendelijke groet

Climate Change News Digest December 2020

This month’s Climate Change News Digest has much good news, research, and announcements to share from around the world.

In a meeting of world leaders on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate accord, and one month after the US officially left it, President-elect Joe Biden restated his pledge for the US to rejoin. Heads of state and government officials from over 70 countries, with the exception of the Trump administration, participated in the virtual event. Biden also called for a climate summit within his first 100 days in office. He then reaffirmed a campaign pledge of setting a target to cut US emissions to net zero no later than 2050. More than 200 countries have pledged to achieve net zero by 2050.

At the virtual event, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres once again asked world leaders to declare a world-wide climate emergency claiming that if we don’t change course the planet is headed to a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees Celsius. The good news is that carbon emissions are expected to drop by 7% this year so predicts the Global Carbon project. It reported that emissions dropped a impressive 12% in the US and 11% in Europe, but less than 2% in China. Of course, it was for all the wrong reasons, a global pandemic, that we hope is not repeated for that reason.

At the meeting China’s President Xi Jinping pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by over 65% in the next 10 years as part of a plan to produce a more sustainable, greener economy. China would do so, Xi said, by tripling wind and solar power capacity. This follows China’s previous announcement of its intentions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2060. China is the largest producer of GHG emissions and has recently taken the lead from the US left open by Trump in multinational leadership to address climate change.

Former Vice President Al Gore marked the 5th anniversary of the Paris Accord with an editorial testifying to where he finds hope during the middle of a pandemic crisis and worsening climate crisis. He cited that the cost of solar energy has fallen by nearly 90% in the past decade and the cost of wind turbines by almost 60%. 90% of all new electricity worldwide this year will come from clean energy. The reduced cost of green energy is driving the retirement of fossil fuel carbon emitting plants faster than had even been hoped. And country after country around the world is announcing their intent to be carbon net zero by mid-century.

Earlier in the month the UN Secretary said bluntly “the state of the planet is broken” and “humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal.”  His comments were made as part of the release of the annual U.N. State of Climate report. The UN stands by its “planetary emergency” declaration that we must reduce emissions by 6% annually through 2030 to have any chance at keep temperatures from rising above 1.5 degree Celsius. The EU responded by upping its goal of reducing total emissions by 55% in the next ten years.

The UN’s recently published annual Emissions Gap Report said that GHG emissions grew by an average of 1.4% from 2010 thru 2019. The report called for nations to use their COVID economic recovery wisely as part to combat climate change and meet their own goals. It also said that the wealthy among us need to reduce their carbon footprint by a factor of 30. The richest 1% of the world’s population are said to be responsible for more than double the emissions from the poorest 50%.  The carbon footprint of the average American was said to be nearly 18 tons of CO2 a year, nearly twice that of a European, and nearly 10 times of an average Indian. In 2019 total global emissions from all man-made sources were said to be 59 billion tons of CO2 equivalent.

European scientists from the Copernicus Climate Change Service said that November was the warmest November of record. They also reported that the extent of early winter Artic sea ice is the second lowest ever since satellites started measuring it. The year of 2020 overall is comparable to the hottest year so far which was 2016.

The European Commission launched a new program this month called the European Climate Pact to motivate climate action that will build a greener Europe.  A primary goal is to involve all Europeans in making more educated decisions about their everyday life choices. This follows as part of the action plan from the launching of the European Green Deal a year ago.

Young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was quoted in a recent New York Times interview saying “The majority of the world’s population won’t be able to adapt. This is being ignored to a degree that is pathetic.” And “We tend to overthink things. Sometimes the simple answer is, it is not sustainable to live like this.” How did a 17-year-old get to be this wise?

After formally winning the electoral college on Dec. 14, President-elect Biden declared later there was “literally no time to waste” on climate change. He then announced remaining members of his administration’s top environmental posts. John Kerry was previously announced as his international emissary on climate change and former EPA chief Gina McCarthy in a new White House Office of Climate Policy. They will be joined by Michael Regan, a Black American, to lead the EPA who unlike Trump’s EPA appointees including coal-industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, actually has relevant experience in protecting the environment and working on environmental  justice issues. Also nominated to head the Dept. of Interior will be Deb Haaland, a Native American, who is a critic of oil and gas leases on public lands and selling them into private hands. Former candidate Pete Buttigieg is to be nominated to head Transportation, making him the first openly gay American to become a cabinet member as well as one of the youngest. He had previously spoken of his support of restoring higher mileage standards, producing electric vehicles, and investing in more mass transit. What a refreshing change this is compared to the last four years as we will have an environmental climate team that actually cares about the environment and climate.

A new report in The Lancet by global health experts warns that climate change is a not a future public health risk, but one that is occurring now.  As example, the increasing frequency of heat waves has contributed to a 50% increase in heat-related deaths among people older than 65 over the past two decades. Additional dangers include the harm of smoke from wildfires and the increasing habitats of tropical infectious diseases.

Climate change is reported to be a contributing factor to more drownings from people falling through ice on bodies of water that in previous years were frozen solid. Thin ice has become more of a threat to the indigenous populations of Canada and Alaska where temperatures are rising much faster than the rest of the planet; as much as 6 degrees F warmer than 73 years ago.

The annual Arctic Report Card by scientists from NOAA and 15 other countries said the region was warming at nearly three times the rate of the rest of the world.  The average temperature of the last year was said to be 3.4 degrees F above its average of the previous three decades. A record-high 100.4 degrees F was set in a Russian artic village this year. The report on the state of health of the Arctic documents alarming changes in the not-so-frozen north that are clearly transforming it in our life time. Record heat is being experienced, permafrost continues to thaw releasing methane into the atmosphere, sea ice is diminishing, ocean and land wildlife are being impacted, wildfires are burning from dried-out vegetation, glaciers are melting, there is more open water and rain, less sunlight is being reflected back into space because of shrinking ice and snow covers, and the coastline villages of indigenous people are eroding. It is clear when looking at the Arctic that climate change is real and happening now, and not some distant time in the future.

Denmark has become the first large oil-producing country, and the largest of the EU, to declare an end of state-supported oil exploration in the North Sea. They hope to phase out of all extraction by 2050. The decision is that much more notable because Denmark’s government, economy, and social benefits have been dependent on oil revenue for decades.

Auto manufacturer General Motors has reversed its support of Trump-era efforts to fight California’s tougher fuel efficiency standards.  It has now shown support for the climate policies of the incoming Biden administration that promote electric cars. CEO Mary Barra urged other car companies to do the same.

Hundreds of fisheries, marine societies, and aquatic scientists have said that urgent action is needed to save the world’s oceans and their ecosystems. They cited thousands of studies that confirmed severe effects on aquatic systems are already being experienced and will become irreversible on the current trajectory. This included floods, storms, marine heatwaves, droughts, melting glaciers, thawing wetlands, clean water availability, snowmelts, destabilization of ice sheets, shifting ocean currents, rising sea levels, acidification, deoxygenation, coral bleaching, loss of biodiversity, changing seasonal migration patterns, declining marine life, and rapidly changing sustainable species habitats.

One of the largest pension funds in the US, the state of New York, joins the growing list of over 1,000 institutional investors that are reducing or divesting themselves of fossil-fuel stocks. This follows oil giant Exxon Mobile writing down its assets by almost $20 billion last month after losing $2.4 billion last year. This month the company, which was recently removed from the Dow Jones, finally announced a plan to reduce its carbon footprint, although many call it too little to late from a company that cannot be trusted, citing their role in financing climate deniers.

The Federal Reserve central bank of the US formally joined the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System. The Fed was only one of two major central banks that had not yet done so. Last month the bank had begun including the risks of climate change into its analysis.

All-time snowfall records were set in Japan this month when portions of the country experienced extreme snowfalls of over 5-7 feet. It was due to an ocean-effect winter storm that carried huge amounts of moisture in it. As the climate and oceans warm scientists warn of more extreme precipitation weather events. Another example is climate change affecting patterns of the northern hemisphere’s winter jet stream, such as a polar vortex bring colder weather further south into northern latitudes.

Despite commitments from countries around the world to go carbon-neutral by 2050, some scientists believe that may not be enough. They argue that global-size geoengineering initiatives will be required to head off a planetary calamity. Blocking or reflecting sunlight back into space, creating more clouds, sucking carbon out of the air, and helping oceans uptake carbon are only a few of the worrisome ideas.

Others like the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance are advocating that we work with nature’s own processes, and not manipulate them in ways that are likely to have unknown or unintended consequences. These solutions include harnessing the capacity of forests, grasslands, peatlands, wetlands, and soil to uptake and sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

Hydrogen as a more efficient and cleaner fuel is finally getting more publicity in America as it has in Europe for the past few years. The Bloomberg Green Report claims it is the hottest thing going in alternative energy and that investments worldwide will soon be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And like the early days of solar energy, hydrogen power is attracting a lot of DIY hobbyists and entrepreneurs across the USA. However, there are big obstacles such as avoiding the production of “gray” hydrogen, which requires a lot of electricity, from energy sources that themselves are not green.

In the closing days of a US Congress that got very little done during the last year of the Trump term, both Democrats and Republicans came together to fund $35B on new green energy initiatives as well as limit the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants which are said to have 1,000 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon. New legislation passed by both houses will now require the US to follow the 2016 Kigali Agreement to phase out use of HFC. The Trump administration had previously refused to ratify the agreement, despite197 other countries that were signatories.

Here’s wishing for a greener and more sustainable next decade that is our last chance to reverse the trajectory we are on before irreversible tipping points are crossed.