What a month … The California wildfires. The Iowa derecho. And now, Hurricane Laura. Back-to-back, high intensity natural disasters are exactly what we’ve been warned about and are harder to respond to due to the pandemic. Each is a sobering reminder why C-Change Conversations makes it a priority to understand and discuss climate change and demand more from our elected officials at all levels to address it.
To assist in that effort, we offer this month’s curated list of non-partisan articles that focus on important developments in the story of global warming.
You may be struck, as we are, by the sense that the issue of climate change is gathering velocity on all fronts. The stories shared below describe acceleration in the speed of planetary warming and in the impacts that warming is having on people, businesses, and ecosystems. At the same time, the stories also suggest acceleration in humanity’s response to those challenges — even amid the overshadowing immediacy of the COVID pandemic.
As we did last month, we’re offering you this collection in two groups: developments that inspire hope and those that cause concern. You will find an equal number of both — but we look forward to the day when the balance tips toward optimism.
We welcome your feedback and invite you to share this newsletter with others.
With gratitude for your support and interest,
The C-Change Conversations Team
“Don’t live in your own echo chamber. A lot of the polarization starts with us. And it’s because we’ve been afraid to engage with people with whom we don’t agree … I tell my students this all the time, ‘If you constantly find yourself in the company of people who say “amen” to whatever you say, find different company.'”
— Condoleezza Rice
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Faculty Member, Stanford University
News of Hope
A substantial majority of Americans think the government should do more about climate, according to a Pew Research Center report …
And a MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner makes a convincing case that the transition to a low carbon economy now could supercharge the economy for the future.
Fossil fuel companies wonder about exploring for new oil and whether even tapping known fields makes business sense.
And BP announced that it is radically cutting back its oil and gas business and basically rethinking its business model.
There’s good news in bad: COVID-19 hasn’t caused the financial sector to backpedal its climate focus. Instead, there’s evidence that the pandemic may be galvanizing money managers to be more proactive on the crisis. And …
One large investor group just launched the world’s first step-by-step plan to help pension funds and others align their portfolios to bring us to net zero emissions by 2050.
News of Concern
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a methane regulation rollback unpopular with fuel companies, climate scientists, Wall Street, and public opinion …
While at the same time, projections for planetary heating are getting worse.
As if on cue, California’s Death Valley hit an unfathomable 130 degrees earlier this month, and Baghdad’s temperatures were close to that a few weeks before. The descriptions and images of the Iraqi experience are breathtaking.
Some 19% of the world might face hot zones with similarly uninhabitable temperature peaks by 2070, fueling massive waves of human migrations that some say have already begun …
And experts believe even the Earth’s more temperate zones will be facing the overwhelming challenge of overlapping crises on an ongoing, rolling basis.
CHARTING PROGRESS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
To end on an optimistic note, the amount of solar energy generated around the world, led by Asia and the Pacific, has grown exponentially in the last 20 years. Wind generation shows a similarly sharp upward curve, with Europe and the United States generating a larger proportion.