Newsdesk – November 24

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Tribes Have Climate Wisdom – and Good Reason Not to Share It. The Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation stretches for 25 square miles along the United States’ border with Canada. this ecologically rich environment consists of more than 3,000 acres of wetlands along riverbanks, islands, and inlets. But the landscape can’t escape the encroachment of nearby pollution. Tribal members live downstream from several major industrial facilities, hydro dams, and aluminum smelters.  Pollutants from these places have leached into the Saint Regis Mohawk way of life, shifting the range of flora and fauna on which many of their traditional practices rely. These native communities are one of the groups most impacted by a changing climate — and many of the human activities that have precipitated it. They are also a necessary part of the solution, their lands encompassing 22% of Earth’s surface and 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. Disseminating these tribes’ traditions can help to address challenges, like climate change, but indigenous communities have no guarantee that their cultural values, secrets, and traditions will be respected if they offer it. Even when the government taps indigenous groups for input, many of the resulting collaborations don’t show respect for the tribal people or the accumulated knowledge they possess. Still, though, there are a lot of well-intentioned guidelines for asking indigenous groups to share their environmental knowledge with outsiders. The EPA, for instance, considers confidentiality concerns regarding information on sacred sites, cultural resources, and other traditional knowledge, as permitted by law. Despite this help, Amberdawn Lafrance, the Saint Regis Mohawk tribe’s environmental coordinators, thinks that “the EPA was trying to be considerate, but at the same time, it’s like they’re not considering all the implications of us letting that information go,” and “that some people were shocked.” “But some were proud of us for sticking to our guns — and knowing what’s important and who we are.” – Grist Magazine

  • Climate change: Report raises new optimism over industry – BBC
  • ‘It was a gem’: idyllic mobile home community scorched by wildfire – The Guardian
  • Local drivers of amplified Arctic warming – Space Daily
  • How Wildfires Are Making Some California Homes Uninsurable – NY Times
  • Extinction Rebellion eyes global climate campaign of non-violence – Climate Change News
  • Strong rules for Paris deal can spur global climate action – Climate Change News
  • Wildfire Smoke Could Shorten Californian Lifespans – New Republic
  • Australia dust storm: Health warning as skies change colour – BBC
  • Generation Climate: Can Young Evangelicals Change the Climate Debate? – Inside Climate News
  • An Evacuation in North Carolina, and the Danger of Climate Disasters for an Aging Population – New Yorker
A power station in Poland close to the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic. Photograph: Florian Gaertner/Photothek/Getty Images

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide and their emissions have all reached record levels, the UN’s meteorology experts have reported. Far above pre-industrial levels, they show no sign of a reversal of the upward trend. “The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago,” said the WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas. These levels of CO2 rose to a global average of 405.5 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2017 – almost 50% higher than before the industrial revolution. Levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 17% of global warming are now 2.5 times higher than pre-industrial times. And Nitrous oxide, which also warms the planet and destroys the Earth’s protective ozone layer, is now over 20% higher than during those times. The WMO also highlighted the discovery of illicit production of CFC-11, a banned chemical that also both warms the planet and destroys ozone. This chemical and emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to global warming of even 1.5C, having severe consequences for humanity – The Guardian

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Minnesota is on Track to Meet Its Renewable Energy Goals. Minnesota is on its way to hitting its renewable energy goals—and it won’t cost taxpayers any extra. This year, the state has already hit its renewable electricity standard goal of 25 percent by 2025 using wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. By 2050, in addition, Minnesota will be able to produce 70 percent of its power from solar and wind. Minnesota—an emerging leader in the fight to combat climate change—elected three Democrats to the U.S. House in the midterm election who all pledged to take stronger action for clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. State Sen. John Marty (D) said “I’m very excited and very pleased by [the report].” Josh Quinnell, senior research engineer at the Center for Energy and Environment, added that “We can say that there will be no impact to taxpayers due to generation cost when we hit these renewable goals.” – Scientific American