Newsdesk – October 13

Steak and a healthy vegetarian meal with pulses. Composite: Getty Images

Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown. The new research, published in the journal Nature, is the most thorough to date and combined data from every country to assess the impact of food production on the global environment. It then looked at what could be done to stop the looming food crisis. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. The enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades. Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution. The Researchers found a global shift to a “flexitarian” diet is needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds. Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” said Prof Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was part of the research team. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today” – The Guardian

  • Making coral grow 50 times faster than nature – Made for minds 
  • Majority of top U.S. newspapers failed to feature bombshell climate report on homepage – Think Progress
  • The Worst Thing About Environmentalists – Outside
  • How climate change will affect your health – CNN
  • Is climate change making hurricanes worse? – The Guardian
  • What climate change is actually expected to do – The Washington Post
  • These companies are leading the fight against climate change – CNN
  • Why We Keep Ignoring Even the Most Dire Climate Change Warnings – Time

The newest Nobel laureate is optimistic about beating climate change. The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to two economists who found ways of integrating innovation and sustainability into mainstream macroeconomic models. Both Nordhaus and Romer are distinguished academics with access to the same information about the world. Why do they appear to have such different outlooks on our ability to deal with climate change?  William Nordhaus of Yale University is considered the father of climate-change economics. One of the clearest messages that emerges from his work is that a global carbon tax is the most efficient way to contain climate change. But Nordhaus himself isn’t optimistic about it, given how reluctant governments are to impose a price on carbon emissions. Paul Romer of New York University is more optimistic about fighting climate change. His work focuses on understanding how technological innovation and the spread of ideas boosts economic growth. When asked by reporters about his thoughts on the climate-change report and whether it is too late to do anything, Robert said, “It’s entirely possible for humans to produce less carbon.” “There will be some tradeoffs, but once we begin to produce [fewer] carbon emissions we’ll be surprised that it wasn’t as hard as it was anticipated” – Quartz

Accelerating Renewables Is Our Most Effective Climate Solution. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report sends a clear message – No climate solution without renewables. IPCC report calls for a large-scale transformation of the global energy system. With the UN Climate Conference in Katowice (COP24) only weeks away, the IPCC has released the much-awaited Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C. Commenting on this, Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) welcomed the report’s focus on the critical role of renewable energy in tackling climate change and urged the global community to accelerate its deployment. “The world of energy is witnessing rapid and disruptive changes. Renewables already account for around a quarter of global electricity generation. In the last six years, renewable power capacity additions outpaced additions from fossil fuels and nuclear power combined. However, if we are to meet our climate goals, renewables deployment must accelerate six times faster than today” – Modern Diplomacy 

Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal. The Earth has already warmed 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 19th century. Now, a major new United Nations report has looked at the consequences of jumping to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. Half a degree may not sound like much. But as the report details, even that much warming could expose tens of millions more people worldwide to life-threatening heat waves, water shortages and coastal flooding. Half a degree may mean the difference between a world with coral reefs and Arctic summer sea ice and a world without them. It could mean greater habitat losses for polar bears, whales, seals and sea birds. This half-degree of warming could be significant for small island nations, which are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and other climate change impacts. Global crop yields are expected to be lower especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, compiled by hundreds of scientists from around the world, warns that these dangers are no longer remote or hypothetical. At current rates of warming, the world will likely cross the 1.5 degree threshold between 2030 and 2052, well within the lifetime of most adults and children alive today – The New York Times