Newsdesk – January 5

An Environmentalist Is Iceland’s New Prime Minister. Katrin Jakobsdottir, 41, chairwoman of the Left-Green Movement, will lead the government of the North Atlantic island of 340,000 residents after elections in October that were blighted by scandal and voter mistrust. A democratic socialist, Katrín is viewed as a bridge-building leader that may lead the country towards positive, incremental change. “She is the party leader who can best unite voters from the left and right,” said Eva H. Onnudottir, a political scientist at the University of Iceland, according to the New York Times.  Ms. Jakobsdottir will govern in coalition with parties of very different creeds: the conservative Independence Party and the center-right Progressive Party.  Ms. Jakobsdottir, a former education minister, is often cited by opinion polls as being one of the most trusted and well-liked politicians in Iceland. She had campaigned on pledges to restore welfare benefits and to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040 – Inhabitat

  • The Next Climate Frontier: Predicting a Complex Domino Effect – Scientific American 
  • Oslo starts 2019 as Europe’s eco capital – Deutsche Welle – Made for Minds 
  • One-Third of New Car Sales in Norway Are All-Electric Vehicles – Yale Environment 360
  • Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent –
  • Nearly 75% Of Coastal States Aren’t Prepared For Sea Level Rise – Forbes
  • ‘It’s a free-for-all’: shutdown brings turmoil to beloved US national parks – The Guardian
  • The polar vortex is about to split into 3 pieces – Axios
Tyler Varsell

An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Help the Earth by Consuming Less.
New Year’s resolutions often mean doing more, like working out more or saving more for retirement. But one common thread we found was that if you want to lower your climate footprint, you can find some success in simply consuming less. And it will save you money, too.  Hang onto your phone. Take, for example, your cellphone. Most of us hold onto them for only two years, but producing a common smartphone released the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, about as much as running a modern refrigerator for a year. That is one of the biggest reasons that the global carbon footprint of smartphones is projected to increase by 730 percent this decade. The other simple New Year’s resolution include buying less clothing and reducing food waste – The New York Times 

Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica acts as a massive, frozen cork that holds back other glacial masses. If it collapses sea levels could rise. In 2019 ground measurements could reveal just how close the glacier is to collapse.
Credit: NASA/James Yungel

These 7 Expeditions Could Reveal Some of Earth’s Biggest Secrets in 2019.
This past year brought tons of fascinating new information about our planet. But as scientists gaze into their crystal balls, they can see that this year is also sure to contain exciting surprises. Here we take a look at the seven most highly anticipated geophysics and Earth science expeditions, missions and meetings of 2019:   Inspecting Thwaites Glacier for cracks, Creating amazing new ice maps, Drilling into the cause of an earthquake, Measuring the forest and the trees, Exploring a buried Antarctic lake, learning the history of coral reefs, and Exploring the deep biosphere – LiveScience

SACHUEST, MIDDLETOWN, RHODE ISLAND, UNITED STATES – 2018/10/21: Scenic coastal town of Middletown. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A Surge of Climate Lawsuits Targets Human Rights, Damage from Fossil Fuels.
Cities, states and the fishing industry want courts to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for global warming. Others argue government inaction violates rights. The past year saw a surge in new lawsuits filed against fossil fuel companies, and major developments in cases pressing governments for action in the United States and abroad. In Colombia and the Netherlands, citizens won rulings in 2018 ordering their governments to cut emissions and protect forests. There are currently a couple of dozen significant lawsuits around the world that are asking courts to order actions by governments or the fossil fuel industry in response to climate change. Michael Gerrard, faculty director at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School said, “Lawsuits, even if unsuccessful, can help shape public opinion.   Mr. Scopes lost the monkey trial, but it led to a lot more awareness about the issue of teaching evolution” – Inside Climate News