Newsdesk – January 14

Four-year-olds wear face masks during California wildfires in 2003. (Getty Images/Sandy Huffaker)

Give Kids the Money From Carbon Taxes. It will make the policies more politically palatable. And it will help compensate kids for the heated world they’re inheriting. Whatever one’s view, it’s clear that the young are going to be a major part of the climate fight moving forward. There’s a compelling moral case for funneling carbon tax revenue to educational and child-benefiting programs. Children are going to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change. Reports estimate young children globally are going to suffer nearly 90 percent of the “disease burden” from climate change in terms of life-expectancy years lost, higher rates of disability, resurgence of previously dormant diseases, etc. The idea behind dedicating carbon revenues to children’s services such as child care and public education would be to increase the next generation’s resilience when asked to face the challenges of climate-caused chaos. There’s also a practical, political reason to insert children into carbon-pricing proposals. Children are the spoonful of proverbial sugar: They make any policy easier to message and easier for the public to accept.  For instance, amid the highly divisive debate over American health care policy, public support for national children’s health insurance is incredibly robust, with large majorities of all political persuasions backing it. Similarly, successful soda tax campaigns in states like Philadelphia, have gotten over the line by dedicating revenues to children’s services. The Canadian province of British Columbia, with a population slightly smaller than Colorado’s, instituted a straight tax instead of a cap-and-trade system, and it decided to return every dollar of revenues back to residents via a series of tax credits and breaks. Consider a hypothetical in which Colorado mirrors British Columbia. Twenty-five percent of British Columbia’s carbon tax receipts equals $300 million. That figure would nearly triple the funding level of Colorado’s state pre-K program—which can currently serve fewer than half of eligible children—while reserving hundreds of millions for reducing emissions – The New Republic

  • Indigenous artists from the Amazon use art for environmental advocacy – Mongabay
  • Climate change threatens Afghanistan’s crumbling heritage – The Penisula Qatar
  • How Ikea plans to be climate positive by 2030 – Fast Company
  • Scientists and Indigenous leaders team up on project to revive purebred bison population – The Globe And Mail
  • A quarter of the global pig population has been wiped out. Here’s why – The Washington Post 
  • Singapore’s climate change plan needs more ambition – ASEAN Today
  • Forest loss moves swiftly once 50% deforestation ‘tipping point’ reached – Montgabay
Netha Gideon, who worked for the Marshallese government, moved to Springdale a year ago. “We are scared of the rising sea,” she said.

The Cost Of Fleeing Climate Change. How an adoption racket in Arkansas offered a way off the Marshall Islands. Shelma Lamy, like many others, got on a plane with her daughter in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, and flew to northwest Arkansas. Life in the islands was getting too difficult. The unemployment rate in the Marshall Islands is nearly forty percent, and most of the available jobs for someone with little education are men’s jobs, such as construction. Shelma Lamy was born with a cataract in one eye, which severely restricts her vision. Her daughter was born with the same condition. When The United States took control of the Marshall Islands from Japan at the end of the Second World War, it quickly turned the region into a nuclear-weapons test site. Over the next 10 years or so, the U.S. military dropped sixty-seven atomic bombs in the islands severely contaminating the region with plutonium and other particles of radioactive fallout. There have since been high rates of thyroid cancer and birth defects, including congenital cataracts. The Republic of the Marshall Islands, situated between Hawaii and the Philippines, includes twenty-nine widely dispersed coral atolls and five volcanic islands, spread across thousands of square miles of the Pacific Ocean. The islands, which, on average, are six and a half feet above sea level, now face another existential threat: rising seas, shifting weather patterns, and high temperatures associated with climate change. In 2015, an unseasonal typhoon left Majuro Atoll “like a war zone,” as one Marshallese official put it.  In 2016, the Marshall Islands suffered a drought so severe that water was rationed to residents for a limit of four hours per week – The New Yorker

Climate change, inversions, and the rise of “super pollution” air events. Why the air was unsafe to breathe and reeked of “hospital waste” in Mon Valley community of Pennsylvania this Christmas?  Starting on December 21, the region’s air exceeded federal safety standards for daily levels of particulate matter—microscopic particles that penetrate the lungs and can trigger heart attacks and respiratory disease—for six consecutive days. Shiliang Wu is an atmospheric chemist and associate professor at Michigan Technological University. He co-authored a 2016 paper on long-term changes in extreme air pollution meteorology.  This is the first look at six decades of global meteorology data to learn how events like temperature inversions and heat waves have changed over time.  “For the last at least 60 years we have data for, we can clearly see a trend of increasing temperature inversions in midlatitude regions,” Shiliang Wu says. “I believe this trend will continue in the coming decades, which will likely lead to an increase in extreme air pollution episodes. He found that heat waves in the summer and temperature inversions in the winter—both of which can lead to extreme air pollution events—have increased by up to 50 percent in the last 60 years in most midlatitude regions.  In recent years,  extreme air pollution events like the one that recently plagued the Mon Valley, Pennsylvania, have also happened in Salt Lake City, Paris, London, and Beijing.   Many of them were the result of either heat waves or inversions, and some have occurred despite relatively decreased emissions. Heat waves often lead to higher ozone levels, while temperature inversions tend to have a stronger impact on particulate matter pollution. Like particulate matter pollution, ozone can also cause chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and airway inflammation, reduce lung function, and worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma – The Daily Climate