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New Climate and Clean Air Coalition expands to 13 members ...

New Climate and Clean Air Coalition expands to 13 members ... | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
This brings to 13 the number of partners who have joined, thus expanding the initial membership founded by Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the United States and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
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Climate & Clean Air Watch
The latest on what's happening to the climate and the issue of air pollution.
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PH to revise UN climate pledges to align with 1.5-degree target ("setting an example for others")

PH to revise UN climate pledges to align with 1.5-degree target ("setting an example for others") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Philippines current commitments include 70% carbon mitigation by 2030. All of these commitments, however, are conditional.

The Philippines announced on Wednesday, May 18, during the third day of climate negotiations that it will review and revise its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to align better with the 1.5-degree target. 

The Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, called for more radical action from other countries to ensure that the world does not warm higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, citing its efforts in revising its commitments as an example which other countries should follow. 

“We would like to submit a new NDC which is more substantive in terms of mitigation options, with more inputs from the major sectors like energy, transportation, industry, waste, agriculture, forestry, etc,” said Emmanuel de Guzman, lead negotiator for the Philippines and commissioner of the Climate Change Commission. 

He said that the revised commitments will remain ambitious and that this time, they are consulting local government units and local communities.

“Before it was only the sectors at the national level, but now we would like to consult also the LGUs, small and medium enterprises, private business in the communities because eventually they will have to be involved in climate action at the local level. So they have to be aware of the Paris agreement, the requirements of the agreement, and they will have to also revisit their business models and how they can support a low carbon development pathway,” he added.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Is the Philippines sending a good signal to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, being the chair? Let's be firm, whether there is foreign funding or not.

"The Philippines' current commitments include 70% carbon mitigation by 2030. All of these commitments are conditional, which means that it is hinged largely on finance that will be given by other countries. 
"Environmentalists have criticized this commitment, saying that the country must commit to mitigation whether or not financial assistance will be given."
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The global air pollution 'blindspot' affecting 1 billion people ("killing them softly w/ filthy air")

The global air pollution 'blindspot' affecting 1 billion people ("killing them softly w/ filthy air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

More than 100 of the world’s poorest and most poorly governed countries have no or limited monitoring of the polluted air their citizens are breathing.

More than 1 billion people live in countries that do not monitor the air they breathe, according to data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Guardian analysis has revealed a great air pollution blindspot stretching the length of Africa, across large parts of the former Soviet Union, south-east Asia and the Caribbean. In 92 countries the monitoring equipment and staff needed to measure one of the world’s most deadly pollutants - particulate matter (PM) - are simply not available. 

A further 33 countries, including Indonesia, Egypt and Russia monitor just one or two cities. 

Outdoor air pollution kills 3.3 million people each year and it is getting worse. Globally, pollution levels have risen by 8% in five years. But there are signs that it can be brought under control. According to the WHO, pollution is falling in many places where monitoring occurs, including a third of cities in low- and middle-income countries. 

Setting up stations to record pollution was the first step, said a WHO spokeswoman: “The cities which have invested in the capacity to regularly monitor and report the local air quality measurements have already demonstrated a commitment to starting to address air quality issues and public health.”

In those countries with no checks, citizens’ lungs remain the only place where pollution is recorded. People may be acutely aware of the corrupted air, but without the evidence that global or national standards have been breached, there is little imperative for governments to act.

Bert Guevara's insight:
It is not only in extreme weather that there is social inequality, but the social divide also exists in air pollution monitoring. 3.3M citizens are killed yearly by outdoor air pollution, most of them are poor.

"The WHO data, made public last week, showed air pollution was a hallmark of global inequality. Where it is monitored, denizens of poor cities are almost twice as likely as the rich to be breathing bad air."
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Spiraling global warming - ImaGeo ("the animation shows a glimpse of how hot the planet has become")

Spiraling global warming - ImaGeo ("the animation shows a glimpse of how hot the planet has become") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Clear, simple and compelling: a visualization of global warming like none other

I spotted this animated visualization over at the Washington Post’s awesome Capital Weather Gang site today, and I found it so compelling that I had to share it here at ImaGeo. Click on the graphic above to watch the animation on Twitter. 

Credit goes to Jason Samenow at WashPo for jumping on this. Check out his article here. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins posted the visualization itself to Twitter yesterday. 

We start in 1850, the beginning of the HadCRUT4 climate record used by Hawkins, with a circle representing how the Earth’s average surface temperature compared that year to the overall mean of 1850-1900. 

As the visualization progresses, one circle builds on another — each one a different color representing a single year. The expansion of the circles represents the warming of the Earth over time. But it doesn’t happen steadily. In some years, the circle contracts a bit, representing a bit of cooling. In others, the expansion is notably significant, representing an acceleration of warming. 

That’s particularly evident in where the visualization winds up: March of 2016. Trace the line back to July of last year. Notice how warming has taken off?

Bert Guevara's insight:
This animated graph will show you how hot the planet has become since 1850.
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Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities ("small victories, but global failure")

Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities ("small victories, but global failure") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Outdoor pollution has risen 8% in five years with fast-growing cities in the developing world worst affected, WHO data shows

According to the new WHO database, levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) are highest in India, which has 16 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. China, which has been plagued by air pollution, has improved its air quality since 2011 and now has only five cities in the top 30. Nine other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, have one city each in the worst 30.

For the larger, but slightly less dangerous PM10 particles, India has eight cities in the world’s top 30. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan each have two cities in the top 10. The true figure for the growth in global air pollution is likely to be worse because only a handful of African cities monitor their levels. 

The most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO data, is Onitsha, a fast-growing port and transit city in south-eastern Nigeria that recorded levels of nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s - around 30 times the WHO recommended level of 20 micrograms per cubic metre.

“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva. 

“The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying,” she said.


Bert Guevara's insight:
This air pollution development concerns us in the Philippines. Our people are being "killed slowly."

"While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels.
“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society,” said Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva. 
“The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying,” she said.
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NASA jet gets a sniff of pollution over South Korea ("another country's poison can be neighbor's air")

NASA jet gets a sniff of pollution over South Korea ("another country's poison can be neighbor's air") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Nature rides along on an international research mission to sample South Korean air quality.

In the spring, westerly winds from China drift over the peninsula, carrying not only pollution but also hazardous yellow dust kicked up from the deserts of Mongolia and Northern China. These dust particles are small enough to get into lungs and cause respiratory illnesses. Data from the state-run Korea Environment Corporation showed that in April, levels of PM10—a measure of small dust particles—in downtown Seoul exceeded safe levels of 80 micrograms (μg) per cubic metre on 20 days, peaking at more than 400 μg per cubic metre on 24 April.

A 2011 study commissioned by the city of Seoul concluded the problem comes roughly equally from local sources and countries upwind of South Korea, notably China. In Korea, many single out the contribution of Chinese industry, but environmental group Greenpeace has claimed that as much as 70% of some types of pollution originate locally. The NGO says South Korea’s government has in the past focused on China’s contribution to shift the blame from its own failing to tackle home-grown pollution sources.

Some in South Korea are also growing frustrated with the unreliability of national forecasts of particulate matter. Current forecasts are accurate only 60% of the time, You-Deog Hong of South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) in Incheon said at a 29 April press briefing at the US air base near Osan where the NASA plane is based for this project.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Air pollution cannot be contained within political boundaries. We breathe each other's air. So when China's polluted air spiked South Korean air pollution, concern mounted.
In the Philippines, we have been suffering from the "forest fire" haze coming from Indonesia for several years, and there is little we can do.

"In the spring, westerly winds from China drift over the peninsula, carrying not only pollution but also hazardous yellow dust kicked up from the deserts of Mongolia and Northern China. These dust particles are small enough to get into lungs and cause respiratory illnesses. Data from the state-run Korea Environment Corporation showed that in April, levels of PM10—a measure of small dust particles—in downtown Seoul exceeded safe levels of 80 micrograms (μg) per cubic metre on 20 days, peaking at more than 400 μg per cubic metre on 24 April."
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London Air Pollution Became a Major Issue in Its Mayoral Race ("voters wake up to dirty reality")

London Air Pollution Became a Major Issue in Its Mayoral Race ("voters wake up to dirty reality") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Air pollution has emerged as key issue in the race to elect the next London mayor

Air pollution—an environmental problem now more associated with the developing cities like New Delhi than the capitals of the West—has emerged as key issue in the race to elect the next London mayor, with all three leading candidates campaigning on their solutions and voters describing the problem as an important concern. 

The mayoral campaign comes on the heels of a series of recent reports blaming pollution—largely from the emissions of diesel vehicles—as a leading killer in the United Kingdom. Around 40,000 people deaths annually in the country are linked to air pollution, according to a recent Royal College of Physicians report. Another report, from King’s College London, suggests as many as 9,500 people die of that cause annually in London alone. 

Those figures—blasted across headlines and bandied about in campaign speeches—have been absorbed by the electorate. Nearly 70% of London parents say they’re worried about their children breathing dirty air and nearly two-thirds say the city should completely ban diesel trucks from the city center, according to recent polls from the London Evening Standard.

“We’ve got a real diesel problem in London and pretty awful streets,” says Simon Birkett, the founder of the NGO Clean Air in London. “In London, you can actually smell the pollution… Go down Oxford Street, you can literally smell it.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
While Philippine politics is beset with poverty and corruption issues, London politics has raised air pollution as the key political issue.

"But while diesel vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint, they emit around 20 times more nitrogen oxide than gasoline-powered cars, contributing to a slew of respiratory problems and worsening conditions like asthma. Nitrogen dioxide levels at Oxford Street—commonly thought to be the most polluted street in the country—averaged four times the legal limit in the year leading up to August 2015, according to a Policy Exchange report. In the first two weeks of 2016, the city exceeded the maximum days of high nitrogen dioxide pollution allowed for the entire year."
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Flirting with the 1.5°C Threshold ("reality overtakes COP signing; warming in february exceeds limit")

Flirting with the 1.5°C Threshold ("reality overtakes COP signing; warming in february exceeds limit") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet the 1.5°C COP goal.

Climate Central scientists and statisticians made these calculations based on an average of global temperature data reported by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But rather than using the baselines those agencies employ, Climate Central compared 2016’s temperature anomalies to an 1881-1910 average temperature baseline, the earliest date for which global temperature data are considered reliable. NASA reports global temperature change in reference to a 1951-1980 climate baseline, and NOAA reports the anomaly in reference to a 20th century average temperature. 

NASA’s data alone showed a February temperature anomaly of 1.63°C above early industrial levels with March at 1.54°C. 

Calculating a baseline closer to the pre-industrial era provides a useful measure of global temperature for policymakers and the public to better track how successful the world’s efforts are in keeping global warming below agreed-upon thresholds. 

A similar adjustment can be applied to some of the temperature change projections in the most recent IPCC report. 

The IPCC AR5 Working Group 1 Report contains projections of future global surface temperature change according to several scenarios of future socio-economic development, most of which are presented using a baseline of 1986 to 2005. The IPCC chose this baseline in order to provide its readers a more immediate base of comparison, the climate of the present world, which people are familiar with. But these representations may suggest that the Paris goals are easier to reach than is true.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December. 
"February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C."
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This Solar Power Plant Can Run All Night ("mirrors and liquid salt provide better energy storage")

This Solar Power Plant Can Run All Night ("mirrors and liquid salt provide better energy storage") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Could it replace conventional energy sources?

Crescent Dunes looks and sounds a bit like an invention lifted from a science fiction novel. Deep in the Nevada desert more than 10,000 mirrors—each the size of a highway billboard—neatly encircle a giant 640-foot tower. It looks like it might be used to communicate with aliens in deep space. 

 But the engineers and financiers behind the facility, located in the desert about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, say the power plant’s promise is anything but fiction. The solar power facility built and operated by the company SolarReserve can power 75,000 homes. What sets it apart from other big solar projects is that this plant can store power for use when it is most needed, including cloudy days and after dark—a major advance for renewable energy technology.

“This is the first utility-scale facility in the world with this technology,” says SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith. “Our technology can truly replace conventional generation.” 

The Crescent Dunes plant, and others in the class known as concentrated solar, does not have that problem. The plant uses thousands of mirrors to reflect light into a central tower. Inside, concentrated sunlight heats up liquid salt to over 1,050°F (566°C). Salt is capable of retaining very high levels of heat, turning it into a kind of thermal battery. When the utility company needs electricity on the grid, plant operators use the stored heat in the molten salt to power a traditional steam turbine. Altogether the process emits a whopping total of zero tons of carbon.

Bert Guevara's insight:
A new approach to solar energy! Better storage technology.

"The plant uses thousands of mirrors to reflect light into a central tower. Inside, concentrated sunlight heats up liquid salt to over 1,050°F (566°C). Salt is capable of retaining very high levels of heat, turning it into a kind of thermal battery. When the utility company needs electricity on the grid, plant operators use the stored heat in the molten salt to power a traditional steam turbine. Altogether the process emits a whopping total of zero tons of carbon."
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Oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago ("greater sin of hiding truth")

Oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago ("greater sin of hiding truth") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Researchers warned American Petroleum Institute in 1968 that the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could lead to ‘worldwide environmental changes’

The oil industry’s knowledge of dangerous climate change stretches back to the 1960s, with unearthed documents showing that it was warned of “serious worldwide environmental changes” more than 45 years ago. The Stanford Research Institute presented a report to the American Petroleum Institute (API) in 1968 that warned the release of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels could carry an array of harmful consequences for the planet. The emergence of this stark advice follows a series of revelations that the fossil fuel industry was aware of climate change for decades, only to publicly deny its scientific basis. “Significant temperature changes are almost certain to occur by the year 2000 and these could bring about climatic change,” the 1968 Stanford report, found and republished by the Center for International Environmental Law, states. “If the Earth’s temperature increases significantly, a number of events might be expected to occur including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, a rise in sea levels, warming of the oceans and an increase in photosynthesis. “It is clear that we are unsure as to what our long-lived pollutants are doing to our environment; however, there seems to be no doubt that the potential damage to our environment could be severe.” The study, written by scientists Elmer Robinson and RC Robbins, adds that accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause “serious worldwide environmental changes”. The scientists estimated that CO2 in the atmosphere could reach 400 parts per million by 2000. In fact, CO2 levels broke that milestone last year, recording their largest leap on record.

Bert Guevara's insight:
What happens when a company puts company profits ahead of the people it was meant to serve? The interest of the company became more important than the interest of the people and the planet. 
What happened to ethics?

"Last year, it was revealed that ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, knew of climate change as early as 1981, only to spend millions of dollars over the following 27 years to promote climate denial. The exposure of this prior knowledge has been led by Inside Climate News."
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Analysis: Who killed the electric car (again) - Energydesk ("this confirms what we already know")

Analysis: Who killed the electric car (again) - Energydesk ("this confirms what we already know") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Who holds back the electric car? They do.

The oil industry and oil trade associations in California spent millions of dollars last year to kill off legislation that would have meant the significant take-up of electric vehicles in the state. Global brands – including BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron – local oil and gas companies and trade bodies, spent more than $22 million (£15 million) on lobbying in California last year – a record – according to official figures.

During that summer there was also a rather blatant campaign spreading fear-mongering rumours about what the law entailed for car users. In October 2015, SB 350 passed – but without the key clause calling for a 50% reduction in petroleum use by vehicles by 2030. This would have meant lift off for the electrification of the transport sector in California and would have been the equivalent of removing 36 million (non-electric) cars and trucks from the road. The lobbying comes as oil majors scramble to present a future in which electrification plays little or no role. In its most recent energy forecasts BP predicted almost nobody will drive an electric car even by 2035.

It didn’t work, and the law got passed in California. But one of the WSPA’s astroturfing groups, the California Drivers Alliance, continued the push against emissions regulation, this time against SB 350 in the summer of 2015. The alliance re-dubbed SB 350 “The California Gas Restriction Act of 2015” and waged an information battle with leaflets, a social media campaign, billboards and media ads.

Bert Guevara's insight:
In the Philippines, we need to convince our legislators to continue giving incentives to electric vehicles. We realize, of course, that the other side (Big Oil) is against it.

"In October 2015, SB 350 passed – but without the key clause calling for a 50% reduction in petroleum use by vehicles by 2030. 
"This would have meant lift off for the electrification of the transport sector in California and would have been the equivalent of removing 36 million (non-electric) cars and trucks from the road."
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Another study says warming may be worse than experts think ("they forgot to factor in the clouds")

Another study says warming may be worse than experts think ("they forgot to factor in the clouds") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) — Most computer simulations of climate change are underestimating by at least one degree how warm the world will get this century, a new study suggests. It all comes down to clouds and how much heat they are trapping. According to the study published Thursday in the journal Science, computer model simulations say there is more ice and less liquid water in clouds than a decade of satellite observations show. The more water and less ice in clouds, the more heat is trapped and less the light is reflected, said study co-author Trude Storelvmo, a Yale atmospheric scientist. She said even though it tens of degrees below freezing, the clouds still have lots of liquid water because they don't have enough particles that helps the water turn to ice crystals. Because as the climate changes, there will be more clouds with far more liquid, and global warming will be higher than previously thought, Storelvmo said. How much warming is predicted for the next 80 or so years depends a lot on if society cuts back on carbon dioxide emissions. In the worst case scenario, with no carbon reduction, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sees temperatures rising by about 6.7 degrees by the end of the century and Storelvmo said the liquid cloud factor would add another degree or more on top of that. While the study is "well-reasoned" and "sobering," there are uncertainties with the satellite observations that raise questions for Chris Bretherton at the University of Washington, who wasn't part of the study. He said if the Yale team is right and there's a bigger cloud feedback, why hasn't warming so far been even higher? That's a legitimate question, Storelvmo said, but computer simulations may also be underestimating the cooling effect of aerosols that mask the warming but are diminishing in the atmosphere. This is just the latest in a series of studies that have found that mainstream science may be too conservative in estimating the pace and effects of warming, including melting ice sheets in Antarctica. "None of this is good news," Storelvmo said. "You always hope that climate isn't as sensitive to carbon dioxide as we fear, same with the ice sheets, but we're calling it as we see it. Several studies have come out and show that we've been too conservative up until now." Uncertainties in mainstream climate science are more "on the bad side" than on the side of less harm, said climate and glacier scientist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University, who wasn't part of the study. "Climate science thus is probably more open to criticism of being too conservative than being too alarmist."
Bert Guevara's insight:
When clouds disappear on a sunny day, check your thermometer!

"It all comes down to clouds and how much heat they are trapping. According to the study published Thursday in the journal Science, computer model simulations say there is more ice and less liquid water in clouds than a decade of satellite observations show. The more water and less ice in clouds, the more heat is trapped and less the light is reflected, said study co-author Trude Storelvmo, a Yale atmospheric scientist. She said even though it tens of degrees below freezing, the clouds still have lots of liquid water because they don't have enough particles that helps the water turn to ice crystals."
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There’s a reason some birds don’t seem to fly south for winter anymore ("warming changes migration")

There’s a reason some birds don’t seem to fly south for winter anymore ("warming changes migration") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Birds are on the move in Europe and the United States, as their habitats warm.

The study on the warming climate’s effect on common birds “is the first real demonstration that climate is having a similar, large-scale influence” on the animals around the world. It was undertaken by an international team of researchers led by the Durham University in England, with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, and published Thursday in the journal Science. “These findings represent a new climate impact indicator for biodiversity,” said Stephen Willis, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the university’s School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. “The same approach could also be applied to species such as bees, butterflies and dragonflies, which are well monitored and highly susceptible to changes in climate.”

Thursday’s study supports previous research commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that said warming temperatures are altering the habitat ranges of birds in every state, so much so that the mascot of Baltimore’s baseball team — the oriole — might no longer inhabit the Baltimore-Washington region 30 years from now. The same is true for eagles. As the area warms and dries, they would have to find other habitats, possibly fight other species for a place there, and quickly adapt or possibly perish, a study published two years ago by the National Audubon Society says. Of 588 species studied, about 125 were expected to be pushed from half their range and likely decline.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The changes in bird migration patterns affect ecosystems which we may be taking for granted now. But continued changes will not be so subtle.

"Various species of birds flocking from one range to another leaves more than just a void. It can do as much harm to a natural ecosystem as humans who abandon one city for another can hurt the economy of their place of origin. Birds eat pests and are prey for other animals that rely on them to survive. 
“Common species dominate ecosystems, and even small changes in their abundance can lead to large changes in ecosystem structure, function, and service provision,” the study said.
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Carbon Farming: Hope for a Hot Planet - Modern Farmer ("putting the carbon back to the soil")

Carbon Farming: Hope for a Hot Planet - Modern Farmer ("putting the carbon back to the soil") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Among the top climate-change culprits, agriculture finally attempts to address the issue, via a series of holistic methods called carbon farming.

Why all the hubbub? And, for that matter, what exactly is it about? Carbon farming is agriculture’s answer to climate change. Simply put, the goal is to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where the element causes global warming, and store it in the soil, where carbon aids the growth of plants. The principle is pretty straightforward—the practice, not so much. Most folks understand that burning fossil fuels puts carbon that was once buried deep beneath the earth into the atmosphere, turning the planet into one big greenhouse in the process. But in addition to petroleum underground, the soil on the surface of the earth contains a sizable store of carbon in the form of organic matter—the stuff that environmentally aware farmers and gardeners are always striving to maximize. Plants add organic matter to the soil when they decompose, and photosynthesis, by definition, removes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it through the roots of plants and into the soil.

At first glance, most carbon-farming techniques mirror age-old organic growing methods: Instead of relying on chemical crutches and pulverizing the soil with constant tillage, you enrich it with compost and rotate a diverse array of food and cover crops through the fields each season. (See “Five Tenets of Carbon Sequestration,” below.) But Brown and other practitioners of carbon farming—Virginia’s Joel Salatin and Zimbabwe’s Allan Savory are the best known among them—go to extraordinary lengths to keep carbon-producing organic matter in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Plowing is avoided like the plague. Instead of turning up the earth at the end of a given crop’s cycle, Brown sends his livestock—Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, hogs, and chickens—into the field to trample and eat the crop. He then uses a seed drill to plant the next crop among the decaying roots of the previous one.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"At first glance, most carbon-farming techniques mirror age-old organic growing methods: Instead of relying on chemical crutches and pulverizing the soil with constant tillage, you enrich it with compost and rotate a diverse array of food and cover crops through the fields each season. But Brown and other practitioners of carbon farming—Virginia’s Joel Salatin and Zimbabwe’s Allan Savory are the best known among them—go to extraordinary lengths to keep carbon-producing organic matter in the soil and out of the atmosphere. Plowing is avoided like the plague. Instead of turning up the earth at the end of a given crop’s cycle, Brown sends his livestock—Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, hogs, and chickens—into the field to trample and eat the crop. He then uses a seed drill to plant the next crop among the decaying roots of the previous one."
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Why Mexico City's bad air can't be ignored — or easily fixed ("cosmetic fixes no longer effective")

Why Mexico City's bad air can't be ignored — or easily fixed ("cosmetic fixes no longer effective") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Mexican capital worked hard to shed its image as one of the world's most polluted cities. Are those efforts now backsliding?

Since then, officials have pushed out big refineries, banned leaded gas, and built more public transportation. It all made a difference, for a while. But now things seem to be backsliding. By this time last year, 75 percent of the days had been considered bad air days. So far this year, it’s more than 80 percent.

Yet despite those improvements, Mexico City’s population continues to grow, up roughly 10 percent over the last decade, to more than 21 million. Most new residents live on the outskirts, and Alarcón says more sprawl, means “longer trips with more people driving cars.”

About 200,000 more cars are on the road every year here, according to the city. Many are new and cleaner (Mexico is a major car-making country and dealers offer consumers a raft of attractive financing options). But plenty of cars are still dirty, and smog checks can be avoided with bribes.

She says a lot of people agree on what’s needed: “The best bet is to increase the quality and quantity of public transportation,” she says.

However, where there is cleaner and better public transportation, people pack in to use it, and the system is overwhelmed. Yet plans for new buses and subways in Mexico City are lagging. For now, the city is doubling down on a program that takes cars off the road once a week. (The ban does not apply to certain vehicles, including electric and hybrid cars, of which there are still very few in Mexico). Alarcón says that plan, known as Hoy No Circula (“No Driving Today”) is just a Band-Aid, and what’s really needed is more money and stronger political leadership.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The old problem of dirty air returns to Mexico City as current cosmetic solutions are no longer working. Now is the time for long-term solutions.

"Grutter says ozone pollution can be very dangerous, but what he worries about most is something else: “The smaller particles, like benzene,” which can be carcinogenic, he says. Small particles, or particulates, are a complex group of air pollutants that share a key feature. “They are sufficiently small that they reach our lungs and can be inserted into the blood stream,” Grutter says. ...
"Long-term exposure to small particles can make asthma worse, hurt kids’ cognitive and emotional development, even cause premature death. But Grutter also says Mexico City’s new air pollution crisis has an upside. He has noticed that public consciousness is up."
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An Inconvenient Truth Then and Now: What’s Changed for Our Climate Since 2006? | Climate Reality

An Inconvenient Truth Then and Now: What’s Changed for Our Climate Since 2006? | Climate Reality | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it
Carbon emissions account for between 65–76 percent of the greenhouse gases from human activity, causing the Earth's temperature to rise at its fastest rate in millions of years. While natural variance in the Earth’s carbon cycle leads to some fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, overall, we can see a clear connection between fossil fuels and these levels, which have increased about 40 percent since pre-industrial times. But what’s scary is that in the last 10 years alone, CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent, jumping from 382 parts-per-million (PPM) in July 2006 to 404 PPM in April 2016. Which means more heat trapped in our atmosphere.
It’s no secret that 14 of the 15 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2001. Last year was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is on pace to be even warmer. 
These record-breaking temperatures become crystal clear when they're displayed visually. The chart below shows how global surface temperatures have varied from the long-term averages since 1880. Look at the trend beginning around 1950 and you’ll see temperature changes steadily increasing throughout the second half of the twentieth century. And within the past decade alone, global temperatures have deviated from the long-term average by 0.63 degrees Celsius (33.14 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2006 to 0.87 degrees Celsius (33.57 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2015. All of this to say our planet is warming like never before in recent history – and it’s only getting hotter.
Bert Guevara's insight:
Carbon emissions account for between 65–76 percent of the greenhouse gases from human activity, causing the Earth's temperature to rise at its fastest rate in millions of years. While natural variance in the Earth’s carbon cycle leads to some fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, overall, we can see a clear connection between fossil fuels and these levels, which have increased about 40 percent since pre-industrial times. But what’s scary is that in the last 10 years alone, CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent, jumping from 382 parts-per-million (PPM) in July 2006 to 404 PPM in April 2016. Which means more heat trapped in our atmosphere.
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Climate pendulum is swinging rapidly from El Niño to La Niña ("this is example of weather extreme") 

Climate pendulum is swinging rapidly from El Niño to La Niña ("this is example of weather extreme")  | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Tropical Pacific Ocean waters are cooling rapidly after record warmth during much of 2015 and 2016 so far, signaling an impending shift.

La Niña conditions during the height of the hurricane season, from July through September, at 65 percent. 

La Niña was present during the deadly 2011 tornado season, when tornadoes killed 553 people, mostly in the south central states. 

Such events also tend to damper global average surface temperatures somewhat, and may put an end to the record-long string of warmest months on record. Through March, that stood at 11 months, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Bert Guevara's insight:
From destructive drought to destructive flooding, such is the expected shift in extreme weather in the Pacific region. The Philippines is part of the vulnerable countries.
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Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity

Germany had so much renewable energy on Sunday that it had to pay people to use electricity | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point around 1pm the country's solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%.

“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year,” said Christoph Podewils of Agora. “The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.” 

Critics have argued that because of the daily peaks and troughs of renewable energy—as the sun goes in and out and winds rise and fall—it will always have only a niche role in supplying power to major economies. But that’s looking less and less likely. Germany plans to hit 100% renewable energy by 2050, and Denmark’s wind turbines already at some points generate more electricity than the country consumes, exporting the surplus to Germany, Norway and Sweden. 

Germany’s power surplus on Sunday wasn’t all good news. The system is still too rigid for power suppliers and consumers to respond quickly to price signals. Though gas power plants were taken offline, nuclear and coal plants can’t be quickly shut down, so they went on running and had to pay to sell power into the grid for several hours, while industrial customers such as refineries and foundries earned money by consuming electricity.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is how renewable energy has gone a long way! 

"Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."
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Methane Leaks Are the Environmental Crisis No One's Talking About ("costly plugging needed")

Methane Leaks Are the Environmental Crisis No One's Talking About ("costly plugging needed") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The oil and natural gas industry is producing more methane than previously thought, according to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA's new numbers push cow farts out of first place as the top source of methane. The new data also shows an emissions increase of 1.6% between 2013-14 and an 11% increase between 2010-14, released mainly from natural gas production. While cleaner than coal when burned, the contained natural gas can leak methane throughout production and transportation. Luckily, energy experts claim there is an easy fix.

Plugging gas leaks is simple, but time consuming. New technologies to help find and more accurately assess methane leaks from underground natural gas lines and other infrastructures are also being developed, but stronger regulations are needed for real change. In one meaningful step, President Obama has proposed cutting methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas production up to 45% by 2025.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Natural gas production is now #1 methane emitter. Did you know?

"The EPA's new numbers push cow farts out of first place as the top source of methane. The new data also shows an emissions increase of 1.6% between 2013-14 and an 11% increase between 2010-14, released mainly from natural gas production. While cleaner than coal when burned, the contained natural gas can leak methane throughout production and transportation. Luckily, energy experts claim there is an easy fix."
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How Climate Deniers Try to Sow Confusion ("we are wasting time arguing; time to act")

How Climate Deniers Try to Sow Confusion ("we are wasting time arguing; time to act") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Climate change deniers use a handful of ploys to sow confusion

Failing that, it helps if you can continue the climate argument on your own by responding to things you wish the other side would say, but won’t. Take the business of climate change being settled science. 

For a long time, scientists have been telling the world that humans are a significant cause—likely the leading cause—of the dangerous deterioration in the climate that has played out over the past few decades. Unmoved, critics continued to howl that the whole thing was a hoax—something about One World Government or the Federal Reserve or who-knew what-all—and so finally, during his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama tried to move on, echoing something the scientists had been saying for a long time: 

“The debate is settled,” he said, “climate change is a fact.” 

You’d think it would be hard to argue with that, but pundits on the right showed a way. In a column shortly after Obama’s speech, The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer, conceding that he believes greenhouse emissions are indeed a serious threat, wrote, “I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.”

That would indeed be propaganda, but as I mentioned at the time, it is very explicitly not what the scientists say. They concede that predicting the exact state of the climate at any one point in time is impossible, and there’s barely a journal paper printed anywhere that doesn’t include a section at the end headed, “Limitations and Questions” that spells out the work that still needs to be done—climate papers among them. But the scientists are very clear about where the trend lines are pointing, and they’re not good.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"That, ultimately, is the thing about science—you can’t argue it or pundit it into submission. Climate change is a deadly serious business. Period. There are more than enough debates about the best way to deal with it without playing games about what we know—or about what the people on the other side are saying."
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Climate change: Is the 1.5ºC target a mirage? ("agreement only sets minimum effort; need more")

Climate change: Is the 1.5ºC target a mirage? ("agreement only sets minimum effort; need more") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The Paris Agreement to try to cap global warming at 1.5ºC was a stunning political victory for poor countries threatened by climate change – but scientists tasked with explaining how to get there are less than thrilled

The Paris Agreement to try to cap global warming at 1.5ºC was a stunning political victory for poor countries threatened by climate change. 

But scientists tasked with explaining how to get there are less than thrilled. 

The UN's climate science panel announced last week it would deliver – at the request of governments – a "special report" in 2018 on the risks and impacts associated with a 1.5ºC (2.7ºF) target. 

But even as 3/4 of the 195 nations which sealed the historic deal in December gather Friday, April 22, for a formal signing ceremony at the UN, experts warn that marshalling thousands of scientists to map a pathway to 1.5ºC may be Mission Impossible. 

Some bridle against politicians meddling with the scientific agenda. Others insist the goal just can't be reached. 

"1.5ºC is almost certainly not feasible without an overshoot," said Peter Frumhoff, chief scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, expressing a view shared – if not frequently articulated – by climate experts. 

The global economy simply cannot be weaned off fossil fuels quickly enough, they argue. 

Joeri Rogelj, a climate modeller at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria agreed: "It will be very hard – if not impossible – to keep warming below 1.5ºC during the entire 21st century." 

Even under optimistic scenarios, he told Agence France-Presse, greenhouse-gas emissions may push Earth past the 1.5ºC threshold by 2050, perhaps sooner.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The future consequences from PAST carbon levels is not included in the Paris Agreement efforts. Reducing future carbon emissions is only a minimum effort target.
Sorry guys, I am still not smiling.

"The question then becomes whether this is a one-way ticket or whether we can return," 
Rogelj said. "And that depends on whether we can remove large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere." 
The technology for sucking CO2 out of the air is well beyond our reach on anything approaching a global scale, scientists agree, yet virtually all scenarios for a 2ºC world – much less a 1.5ºC cap – depend on it."
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From Paris to New York, climate pact to cross next hurdle ("we cannot fail to execute this agreement")

From Paris to New York, climate pact to cross next hurdle ("we cannot fail to execute this agreement") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

More than 160 nations gather in New York on April 22 to ink the pact whose execution demands a radical overhaul of the global economy

Four months after settling on a plan to stave off calamitous global warming, more than 160 nations gather in New York Friday, April 22, to ink the pact whose execution demands a radical overhaul of the global economy. 

After the Champagne moment when the world community sealed the hard-fought agreement in Paris on December 12, signing the document is an important step. 

The next, and final, procedural phase will be ratification by individual governments. Only when 55 countries responsible for 55% of global greenhouse gases have done so can the agreement enter into force.

"First and foremost, it (Friday's signing) will serve a strong symbolic function," said Pascal Canfin, with green group WWF. 

"But it also creates the political space to accelerate action and build on the dynamism" of the Paris conference, which concluded years of tough and complicated negotiations. 

A total of 163 countries have said they will attend the high-level signing ceremony hosted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

With so many countries present, "we should set a record for the signing of an international accord," French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, who presides over the climate forum, predicted before departing for New York. 

"It is clear that decision-makers have taken the urgency of the climate threat to heart. It is a very good sign.

" Countries which do not sign the document on Friday can do so in the year that follows.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Aside from nations agreeing to reduce FUTURE global carbon emissions, the problem of PAST emissions is still creating havoc on our weather patterns.

"The agreement sets out broad lines of attack against climate change. 
"It defines the goal of limiting global warming to "well below" 2ºC (3.6ºF) – 1.5ºC if possible. ....
"We are far from the 2ºC goal," said France's top climate negotiator Laurence Tubiana, reiterating the need to "accelerate reform towards a low-carbon economy.
" On current trends, scientists say, the world will warm by 4ºC over benchmark pre-Industrial Revolution levels – or 3ºC if countries live up to their pledges."
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Carbon dioxide is rising at its fastest rate in 66 million years ("no historical precedent of CC")

Carbon dioxide is rising at its fastest rate in 66 million years ("no historical precedent of CC") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

Planet-warming carbon dioxide is now increasing at the fastest rate of anytime in 66 million years.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, comes about a week after news broke that the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere spiked by the largest amount on record in 2015, and on the heels of the hottest year and mildest first two months of 2016 on record.

There has been a long-running debate in the scientific community about just what caused the massive climate change and sizable species extinctions at the PETM boundary, and how quickly carbon was released into the atmosphere, thereby warming the air and seas while also acidifying the oceans. While mass extinctions of marine creatures occurred during the PETM, there was not widespread species loss on land, according to study co-author Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During the PETM, the total amount of carbon released was about equal to all the fossil fuels thought to be currently left on Earth. This period likely saw the largest carbon release in at least the past 66 million years, according to the study.

The study also used computer model simulations of Earth’s climate and carbon cycle in order to estimate rates of change from the record without needing precise knowledge of the precise ages of each sediment layer in the record. The global temperature increase during the PETM is thought to be between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius, or 7.2 to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Scott Wing, a paleobiologist and curator at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, who did not contribute to the new study.


Bert Guevara's insight:
Humans are releasing planet-warming carbon dioxide at about 10 times faster than the most rapid event of anytime in at least the past 66 million years. This leaves us without a historical analogue to guide predictions for how climate change will affect the world in coming years, a new study has found.
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Climate Change is Altering How the Poles Drift ("unprecedented issue for science; drastic results")

Climate Change is Altering How the Poles Drift ("unprecedented issue for science; drastic results") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

New research sheds light on how ice loss driven by climate change is affecting Earth's spin axis.

And while that cycle isn’t going away, climate change is messing with the axis upon which our fair planet spins. Ice melting has caused a drift in polar motion, a somewhat esoteric term that tells scientists a lot about past and future climate and is crucial in GPS calculations and satellite communication.

Polar motion refers to the periodic wobble and drift of the poles. It’s been observed for more than 130 years, but the process has been going on for eons driven by mass shifts inside the earth as well as ones on the surface. For decades, the north pole had been slowly drifting toward Canada, but there was a shift in the drift about 15 years ago. Now it’s headed almost directly down the Greenwich Meridian (sorry Canada no pole for you, eh). Like many other natural processes large and small, from sea levels to wildfires, climate change is also playing a role in this shift. “Since about 2000, there has been a dramatic shift in this general direction,” Surendra Adhikari, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said. “It is due to climate change without a doubt. It’s related to ice sheets, in particular the Greenland ice sheet.” That ice sheet has seen its ice loss speed up and has lost an average of 278 gigatons of ice a year since 2000 as temperatures warm. The Antarctic has lost 92 gigatons a year over that time while other stashes of ice from Alaska to Patagonia are also melting and sending water to the oceans, redistributing the weight of the planet.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Ice loss explains most but not all of the shift. The rest can mostly be chalked up to droughts and heavy rains in certain parts of the globe. Adhikari said this knowledge could be used to help scientists analyze past instances of polar motion shifts and rainfall patterns as well as answer questions about future hydrological cycle changes. 
"Ice is expected to continue melting and with it, polar motion is expected to continue changing as well.
“What I can tell you is we anticipate a big loss of mass from West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and that will mean that the general direction of the pole won’t go back to Canada for sure,” Adhikari said.
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Longannet power station closes ending coal power use in Scotland ("weaning world from coal is real")

Longannet power station closes ending coal power use in Scotland ("weaning world from coal is real") | Climate & Clean Air Watch | Scoop.it

The biggest plant of its kind in Britain has been generating electricity for 46 years, with closure marking ‘end of an era’ for coal power in Scotland

Scotland will on Thursday witness an end to the coal age which fired its industrial revolution with the closure of Longannet power station. The symbolic switch off is an important step towards a lower carbon Britain but is another blow to energy security. The Fife-based plant – the biggest of its kind in Britain – has been generating electricity for a quarter of Scottish homes for almost half a century but has bowed to a mixture of old age, rising transmission costs and higher taxes on carbon. Over 230 direct jobs and an estimated 1,000 indirect ones could be hit by the decision from Spanish-owned utility, Scottish Power, to switch off the last generator at the 2,400 mega watt capacity plant. “Coal has long been the dominant force in Scotland’s electricity generation fleet, but the closure of Longannet signals the end of an era,” said Hugh Finlay, generation director at ScottishPower.

No decisions have been taken on the future of the site, but Scottish Power expects to outline its plans before the end of the year. Longannet is the largest coal-fired plant in Britain as rival Drax is firing as much wood as coal these days. When built Longannet was the largest of its kind in Europe.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is the desired trend for the planet - switching to clean energy sources, and away from coal. But unforutnately, the Philippines has approved the building of more coal-powered plants to solve short-term power supply problems.

“The closure of Longannet marks an historic and inevitable step in our energy transition as Scotland becomes one of the first nations to end its use of coal for power. 
“While the power station has served the nation for many years, the world is moving forward to cleaner, cheaper forms of renewable energy generation.”
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Ice and the Sky / La Glace et le ciel (2015) - Trailer - (another case of "i told you so ...")

Directed by : Luc Jacquet Produced by : Eskwad Genre: Documentary - Runtime: 1 h 30 min French release: 21/10/2015 Production year: 2014 Ice and The Sk

In 1956, glaciologist Claude Lorius left on his first trip to Antarctica, where he would spend the winter gathering previously undocumented meteorological and geophysical data. Three decades and 22 expeditions later, Lorius unveiled his groundbreaking findings: the irrefutable link between greenhouse gasses and climate, gleaned from glacial ice cores providing snapshots of the environment up to 800,000 years into the past. His key contribution? Realizing that air bubbles trapped in the cores could provide precise atmospheric snapshots of the past. Such a long view, extending over eight ice age cycles, allowed Lorius to look far beyond temporary or cyclic fluctuations, and the implications were clear: "Over the last 100 years, the CO2 produced by man is behind an unprecedented rise in temperatures on Earth."

Bert Guevara's insight:
This movie trailer sends a powerful message. I hope I can access the full movie.
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