This is our 10 in 2 report for the week of September 25th
10 news stories from the week that think are important, interesting, or infuriating, provided in about 2 minutes with links to the full stories found on our website.
...so here we go:
Global emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide remained static in 2016, a welcome sign that the world is making at least some progress in the battle against global warming by halting the long-term rising trend. All of the world’s biggest emitting nations, except India, saw falling or static carbon emissions due to less coal burning and increasing renewable energy. (The Guardian)
In what attorneys are calling a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit, a Denver lawyer and an environmental group are asking a judge to recognize the Colorado River as a person. If successful, it could upend environmental law, possibly allowing the redwood forests, the Rocky Mountains or the deserts of Nevada to sue individuals, corporations and governments over resource pollution or depletion. (New York Times)
Tropical forests have flipped from sponges to sources of carbon dioxide. Much of that carbon contribution is due to deforestation, but more than two-thirds comes a decline in the number and diversity of trees in remaining forests. These seemingly intact forests can be degraded or disturbed by selective logging, environmental change, wildfires or disease. (Science News)
Blockchain technology is quickly emerging as a vital tool in tackling critical environmental and social issues. Every financial transaction has consequences for the environment — whether positive or negative — but these impacts and their costs are hidden. A new nonprofit called Poseidon will uncover these carbon consequences by enabling a carbon value to be added directly into everyday products. (Sustainable Brands)
Grist set out to document the disaster unfolding in Puerto Rico right now. They talked with people living the realities of climate change. The important piece of journalism is full of quotes like “I’m no climate expert, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence there’s been so many bad hurricanes all at once.” and “How do you rebuild a whole island? I don’t even know what that means.” (Grist)
Relatedly, Inside Climate News writes about how the disaster is exacerbated by long standing environmental justice issues facing a poor, underrepresented minority population on an island where climate experts have long warned of the increasing risks of such a catastrophe.
While the (now former) Secretary of Health and Human Services is taking private planes to lunch, Tesla is quietly shipping hundreds of battery packs to be paired with solar panels to Puerto Rico. Tesla employees are currently installing the batteries and repairing solar systems, as well as coordinating efforts with local organizations. (Eco Watch)
Scientists have detected hundreds of Japanese marine species on US coasts, swept across the Pacific by the deadly 2011 tsunami. Mussels, starfish and dozens of other creatures travelled across the waters, often on pieces of plastic debris. Researchers were surprised that so many survived the long crossing, with new species still washing up in 2017. This is news because there is so much plastic debris in our oceans, and anything more biodegradable would have disintegrated before it reached the US this long after the original event. (BBC)
A new study carried out by researchers at Columbia University suggests that the United States could harvest 325 gigawatts of power — around 70 percent of the power it currently produces — by using evaporating water from U.S. lakes and reservoirs. To do this, they have developed a muscle like material that uses plastic bands strategically imbued with bacteria spores, which expand when they are exposed to moisture and contract when dried out. (Digital Trends)
On September 19, a bowhead whale carcass washed ashore the remote Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve off the Northern coast of Siberia. Nearly 1 percent of the world’s polar bears, (about 230) amassed beside it for a Siberian feast. (Gizmodo)