Newsdesk – May 4

Young protestors hold placards at the office of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell during a Green New Deal demonstration. Photograph: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The media is failing on climate change – here’s how they can do better ahead of 2020. The Guardian is joining forces with Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation to launch Covering Climate Change: a project aimed at dramatically improving US media coverage of the climate crisis. The project kicks off today with an event at Columbia Journalism School featuring CJR’s editor-in-chief, Kyle Pope, the Nation’s environment correspondent, Mark Hertsgaard, and the Guardian climate columnist Bill McKibben. Research indicates that major national newspapers are beginning to pay more attention to climate – but local publications and TV news haven’t kept up. The major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX – spent just 142 minutes on climate change last year, according to one calculation from the progressive group Media Matters. And about half of Americans hear about global warming in the media once a month or less, according to surveys by climate communications programs at Yale and George Mason universities. Edward Maibach, a George Mason climate communications scientist, said “most people are saying they rarely hear climate change news because most people pay attention to local news. Most climate news in America is not local news”. But even as there are signs that airtime for climate is beginning to increase, questions remain about the depth and quality of the coverage. More Americans than ever are worried about climate change. A poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa ranked climate change about on par with healthcare as the top issues – The Guardian

  • What to Cook in a Changing Climate – The New York Times 
  • Climate change poses mental health risks to children and teens – Science News for Students
  • After protests, Britain’s parliament declares climate change “emergency” – Reuters
  • Indonesia’s planning minister announces capital city move – BBC 
  • How Does Your Love for Wine Contribute to Climate Change – The New York Times 
  • Climate change tax for dining out? California restaurants add 1% fee to the bill – US Today
  • Central American farmers suffer major crop losses, need food aid – U.N. – Thomson Reuters Financial News 
Fatma Muzo gives the acceptance speech on behalf of Solar Sister for winning the grand prize of Rare’s Solution Search. Image by David Klinges for Mongabay.

Changing energy use in rural Africa with power from solar, clean stoves…and women. Solar Sister, a non-profit based in Tanzania and Nigeria recognized in a recent technology gathering on climate-related behavioral change, is well aware of some challenges. The group has built a model that targets both technological and social mobility issues by encouraging adoption of cheap solar-powered gear, such as portable lamps, fans, and phone chargers, in rural communities of several sub-Saharan African countries. Solar power for commercial and industrial use has been catching on across developed areas of the region, as reported by energy research firm Bloomberg NEF earlier this year. Paired with fresh innovation from young African tech entrepreneurs, services such as mobile and Internet connections are rapidly spreading in urban areas. Yet without any electric grid, many rural communities still lag behind.“If you want to spread information quickly, use women, that’s what we believe here,” Fatma Muso, Tanzania Country Director for Solar Sister, told Mongabay. “We are striving to ensure that women are considered and given priority in all climate and energy levels: at the family level, at the national level, and even at the international level” – Mongabay

How will climate change affect the lives of today’s young adults? How Climate Change Will Affect Real Lives — Now and in the Future? To better understand future climate projections, let’s look at how they may play out in the life of someone born in 2000. Let’s imagine the life of someone born in 2000 and, for the sake of specificity, say she lives in California, where scientists have done lots of climate-related modeling. To flesh this out, we need to consider two scenarios, one where significant but not stringent efforts are made to control carbon emissions, the other where little is done — the latter being the path we’re currently on. Much will depend on the actions humanity takes between now and the middle part of the century. Sea level will be up under either scenario, about eight inches with lower emissions and more than 10 inches with higher emissions.  Major droughts will be a bit more likely even in the lower-emissions scenario but will come twice as often with higher emissions. Average annual temperatures in California will also rise about 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit with lower emissions, or about 5.8 degrees with higher emissions. In the high-emissions scenario, things will have gotten much worse by 2100. Sea level in San Francisco will be up over four feet, which means much of the city on average will be under water (and even more so with high tides). Many of Southern California’s beaches will be gone.  While Los Angeles now has only about 18 90-degree days a year, by the end of the century, 2 out of 3 years will see 50 to 100 days like that. This translates to four to six times as many deaths from heat waves – The Revelator