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Back in 2019 NASA wrote an article, talking about planting trees as a way of doing part of the work for mitigating climate change. By looking at satellite images they looked at areas that were recently deforested, or areas which would be easily turned into forests. They came up with an incredible number of 900 million hectares (2.2 billion square acres). If all these areas were reforested with the right trees for each area. Apart from suddenly increasing the worlds forests, and giving breathing space for many species on the verge of extinction, the calculations suggest that these lands would take around half a trillion trees – it would increase forest cover by 25%.
Calculations suggest that the carbon that would be emitted would account for around 200 gigatons of carbon, or reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere by around 25%. Now alarmingly, this is only around 20 years of current emissions, so it is not the only thing that we would have to do.
Even planting half a trillion trees is not an end of climate change – this is how much emissions we have emitted – but it would be a fantastic start.
This 1.5 degree Celsius target has been talked about as increasingly impossible to meet. However, this target is essential – many of the worlds low level islands long-term survival leans on this.
Here, an expert is suggesting that we might survive. This is some positive belief that we have been in short supply of, in the last few years.
“Despite the scale of the challenges, I feel more optimistic than i felt two years ago” he added “Solar photovoltaic installations and electric vehicle sales are perfectly in line with what we said that they should be, to be on track to reach net zero by 2050, and thus stay within 1.5C. Clean energy investiment in the last two years have seen a staggering 40% increase”.
We are by not yet there, it is very much the case that we need to keep working hard.
The targets that he set, include a tripling of clean energy by 2030 and a 75% reduction in methane emissions by the same date, and a desire to see these targets come out of the COP28.
It was only 3 years ago that the government said from 2030 there would be no more combustion engine, yet his most recent decision rolls this back (though it should be noted that he is still aiming for 80% electric car sales by 2030) along with reducing the requirements landlords to insulate their homes so it is cheaper for their renters to heat their home.
The referendum on Yasuni reserve will benefit a huge range of species, along with several groups of uncontacted tribes of indigenous people. The vote was not close, with 90% of votes counted protection won by around 20%. It will also keep around 726 million barrels of oil in the ground. Given that one barrel is 158 litres, that is 114 billion liters of oil, and as each one emits at least 3 kg of carbon dioxide, this is going to save 350 billion kg of carbon dioxide released into the air. This is a huge win for the environment, but also for the wildlife of the Yasuni reserve.
While an increasingly large number of people are switching to electric cars, there is a growing concern that this change is not happening fast enough.
Currently the EU sells 10 times more electric cars than just 6 years ago, which is impressive, so what is the concern.
For many people, they believe that their next car will be electric, but a large portion of people are awaiting a big crash in prices. This forgets two things, firstly that with electric cars, much more of the cost comes at the beginning, so it may well be that electric cars are always slightly more expensive. One of the things being learnt is that it is not enough to incentivise electric cars, you also have to disincentivise combustion engine cars.
There are places where this is working well, such as central London, which has a congestion charge, but this is not charged on electric cars. It is true that this is going to end soon, but still should give a reduction for those driving electric cars. However, it means that in places like South Kensington, the number of electric cars is shooting up.
There are a variety of help across Europe, with Romania offering over 11,000 to help, or France having a scheme for poorer households to allow them to rent an electric car for only 100 euros a month.
The dramatic rise in electricity prices since the start of the invasion in Ukraine has also not helped, as if there is not cheap electricity at night, the saving are far lower than they used to be. Will Europe hit its targets? I think there is still work to be done, but it is certainly moving rapidly in the right direction. I look forwards to every motorway stop being like the all electric gridserve (look at the fullycharged episode below).
The expansion of 1.06 million hectares, or 2.62 million acres of protected land is in theory fantastic news. Unfortunately Cambodia has not shown that it is the best in protecting its land set aside for wildlife anyway.
Analysis suggests that much of this gained land appears to have come from nearby Biodiverse corridors, and many of these corridors are lived in and extremely degraded. As such, while it is a great move, it is just a first step. Instead Cambodia needs to be paying to move alll villages out of these corridors.
We will have to see what happens in the future. However what must be held in mind, is that changing the designation of land does nothing if action does not fallow – for an example look at Indonesia, where many parks are rapidly being transformed into palm oil plantations.
These two trucks look very similar but one will cost you far more than the other.
Below I am including a table (compiled by nextbigfuture), It compares the efficiency of all electric semi lorries that are currently hitting the market. Unfortunately any significant look at the table below can only lead to one conclusion – Tesla is currently way ahead of anyone ehlse
Currently, the majority of aircraft use their main engine while moving around on the ground. This can account for as much as 5% of the fuel that they use in their journey.
By running the taxiing on electricity, whether from batteries or a generator, either reduces the fuel burned by as much as 90% or more. This means that there is a saving of around 5% of fuel per flight.
With major airlines, the fuel used on a flight accounts for around 22% of the cost of the flight, which means that this 5% saving of fuel cuts overall costs by around 1%. In the cut-throat world of airlines, a 1% advantage over another airline can quickly become a significant issue. Put differently, it is thought, that each aircraft with an EGTS system installed will save around $250,000 a year. As such even an incredibly expensive EGTS system would quickly pay itself back and then some. It will also make airports far less noisy for much of the time.
In most countries, if a dam was to cause so much destruction to the last habitat of a species, the dam would likely not get permission to be built.
It is true that the dam will only take about 20% of the land in question, directly. It will also split the population in half.
Given that only around 800 Tapanuli Orangutans survive in the wild, the loss of just a handful is bad. A loss of 20% of the remaining population could quite rapidly push the population towards extinction, particularly as it will split the few remaining Orangutans into separate populations which cannot interbreed.
Norway has a huge sovereign fund, into which it pours the countries earnings from fossil fuel extraction. Perhaps recognizing that this has a shelf life which is not far from ending, Norway has made sure that for the most part its sovereign fund is good for the natural world (alongside giving good returns)
Generally rules on financing should have ruled this project out in the past, so it is good that this decision has been eventually made.
Will the dam still get built? We will have to wait and see.
Milk is an important part of the diet of many people in the west, alongside other dairy products. It has, in recent years been one of the problems: while many people have cut down on eating beef, far fewer has cut down on dairy – but now, if you do not eat beef, you can stop supporting dairy farmers all together.
This is not to say that dairy farmers are bad. Governments need to create different careers and paths for these people to take out of their current work.