Newsdesk – December 1

Climate change driving entire planet to dangerous ‘tipping point‘. Scientists “don’t think people realize how little time we have left,” to stop irreversible and disastrous changes to Earth’s climate systems. The slow collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, appears to be in progress. The latest data show that the same thing might be happening to part of the East Antarctic ice sheet. “It’s a nasty shock that tipping points we thought might happen well into the future are already underway,” says Tim Lenton, a climate scientist at University of Exeter in Southwest England. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay there. The amplifying regional warming in the Arctic leads to an increase of thawing of the arctic permafrost, in turn releasing more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, adding to global warming. A hotter Arctic has already triggered large-scale insect disturbances and an increase in fires, leading to a dieback of North American boreal forests. Those forests now may be releasing more carbon then they absorb. The loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Amazon rainforest, or extensive thawing of permafrost, as well as other key components of the climate system, are considered “tipping points” because they can cross critical thresholds, and then abruptly and irreversibly change. Meanwhile, a recent UN report revealed that the United States, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, Australia and other countries plan to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030. Those same governments agreed to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees C under the Paris climate agreement, but appear to be more worried about their economic growth. There is a bright side, however. Global decarbonization has accelerated since 2010 and may be on course to keep global warming to 2 degrees C, says a new report to be published in Environmental Research Letters in the beginning of December. While overall carbon emissions have increased, the decarbonization has kept the increase low and is ready to push emissions into a decline – The National Geographic

  • Scientist’s theory of climate’s Titanic moment the ‘tip of a mathematical iceberg’ – The Guardian
  • Brazil’s president accuses actor DiCaprio of financing Amazon fires, offers no evidence – CNBC
  • John Kerry Launches Star-Studded Climate Coalition – The New York Times
  • More reasons air pollution will send you to the hospital – CNN
  • Climate change activism ‘reducing mental health symptoms among young people’ – Independent
  • Climate Change Is Brutal for Everyone, but Worse for Women – Wired
  • Poll: Young Republicans Break With Party on Climate Change – U.S. News
  • Picking Up the Bones – Hakai Magazine
Tomer Appelbaum

Is It Tuna, or Fly Larvae? How Climate Change Is Revolutionizing What We Eat. Innovative Israeli farmers and tech companies are rising to the challenges of producing more food on less land with less energy and less water, which is also nutritious. The food revolution has already arrived. The food innovations are flooding the market, and people are increasingly coming to terms with one overriding fact: The climate crisis demands radical changes in the food we consume and in the way it’s produced. By mid-century it is estimated that the planet will have another two to three billion mouths to feed (today, there are an estimated 7.7 billion). The challenge posed by these developments is clear: how to feed more mouths while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a time of worsening environmental conditions (rising temperatures, decreased precipitation, etc.)? The Seakura farm in Israel, adjacent to Moshav Mikhmoret, north of Netanya, cultivates seaweed in containers filled with purified seawater. At first glance, it looks like regular seaweed, but in fact it is a special species that was developed over the course of 15 years and contains as much as 30 percent more protein than a serving of chicken breast. “Everything originated from seaweed,” says Yossi Karta, owner and founder of Seakura. “It was the food consumed by the first fish, from which all forms of life on Earth developed. It is the base of the food pyramid, and for hundreds of years it nourished humans who lived on the coasts. The global seaweed market is already worth $6 billion. Imagining seaweed as a staple of one’s daily diet is not easy, but it’s even harder to get used to the thought of eating insects and small flying creatures. Insects are consumed as a matter of course today in Africa and East Asia, but there’s still a psychological barrier preventing that in the West. Flying SpArk, one of the companies in Israel manufactures protein from the larvae of the Mediterranean fruit fly. The larva emerges from the egg laid by the fly, starts to eat, and within a week increases its mass by 250 times. Each female lays about 300 eggs, so there is a tremendous potential for protein.” “They can be bred in large quantities in a small space. We can manufacture 300 to 400 kilos [660-880 pounds] of meat a month, on an area of one square meter. In an era when food-growing land is scarce, that is a tremendous advantage,” Eran Gronich, Flying SpaArk’s founder-owner says. When the larvae are cooked and ground up, the protein is separated and dried, and finally it is ground into a tasteless, odorless white powder – Haaretz

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Why it’s time to redesign the old air conditioner. The current technology is unsustainable. The cooling of our air is responsible for 10% of the planet’s electricity consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. And as the world heats, demand for air conditioners will only grow, especially in developing countries. The air conditioner is nearly 100 years old, and yet it hasn’t evolved much — the technology is essentially the same as it was the day it was invented. The first home air conditioner was brought to market in 1926 by Willis Carrier, who’s long since dead. “If we brought him back to life and showed him today’s air conditioning product, not only would he know what it is, he could tell you how it works,” said Iain Campbell, managing director America’s Rocky Mountain Institute. A new coalition — led by India’s government and America’s Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit environmental research organization — has launched the Global Cooling Prize, a $1-million competition to design the next generation of air cooling systems. The Global Cooling Prize sets specific guidelines for participants, who were tasked with designing a cooling solution with five times less climate impact than those popular today. The competition attracted over 2,100 participants from 95 countries. From a long-list of 139 teams, eight finalists were awarded $200,000 to develop prototypes and ship them to India for testing in the summer of 2020. Three of the eight finalists are from India, three are from the US and one each from the UK and China. The overall winner, announced in November 2020, will be awarded $1 million in prize money. The main challenge is to convince people to buy an air conditioner based on its performance and climate impact, rather than just its price. “This change in consumer perception could be also aided by phasing out the sale of environmentally unsustainable designs,” According to Xavier Moya from Barocal and the University of Cambridge – CNN