Here’s your weekly update with what you need to know about global climate change and the steps B.C. The week of January 31 to February 6, 2022, is the week in which the B.C. is taking steps to address climate and ecological crises.
This week’s climate news:
- Metro Vancouver preserves 50 acres of Maple Ridge forest habitat
- The EU calls to a plastics crackdown
- Researchers at UBC create a way to make lithium for EV batteries
- Many clues can be found in Antarctic climate change via penguins
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned for years that wildfires, drought, severe weather, such as B.C.’s deadly heat dome in June, and flooding would become more frequent and more intense because of the climate crisis.
Every Saturday, we will bring you the latest news about climate and environmental issues. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the most recent B.C. news delivered to you by 7 a.m. here.
A glance at B.C.’s carbon numbers:
- B.C.’s gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019 (latest available data:) 68.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e.) This is an increase in 3.0 MtCO2e or 5% since 2007, the baseline year.
- B.C.’s net emissions in 2019: 67.2 MtCO2e, an increase of 1.5 MtCO2e, or two per cent, since 2007.
- B.C.’s 2030 target: 40 per cent reduction in net emissions below 2007 levels.
- B.C.’s 2040 target: 60 per cent reduction.
- B.C.’s 2050 target: 80 per cent reduction.
- Canada’s 2030 emissions target: Between 40 and 45 per cent reduction.
- Canada’s 2050 emissions target: Net-zero.
(Source: B.C. (Source: B.C.
Climate change quick facts:
- The Earth is now approximately 1.1 C warmer today than it was in 1800.
- Human activities have led to an increase in atmospheric CO concentrations2 Nearly 49 percent more than the pre-industrial levels in 1850.
- The world is not on track for meeting the Paris Agreement target to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 C above preindustrial levels. This is the upper limit to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
- 2015-2019 were the five most warm years on record, while 2010-2019 had the warmest decade.
- Based on the current carbon dioxide emissions trajectory, the temperature could rise by as much as 4.4% by the end century.
- In 2019, the concentrations of greenhouse gases reached new highs. The levels of carbon dioxide were only 148 percent of their preindustrial levels.
- To keep temperatures below 1.5 C, emissions must fall 7.6 percent per year between 2020 and 2030. Temperatures must also drop below 2 C per annum.
- 97% of climate scientists agree the climate is warming and believe that humans are to blame.
GUIDES AND LINKS
LATEST CLIMATE NEWS
EU environment chief: Plastics must be controlled if we are to fight climate change
Progressive reduction of fossil fuel-based plastics is crucial to tackling climate change, the EU’s top environmental official said, ahead of a United Nations meeting to launch talks on a world-first treaty to combat plastic pollution.
Plastics production is becoming as a key growth area for the oil industry as countries seek to shift away from polluting energy sources, but plastic waste is piling up in the world’s oceans and urban waterways and choking its wildlife.
Last month, nanoplastics were discovered in the polar regions by an analysis of ice cores.
“The biggest topic is, at the end of the day, oil use for plastic production,” said EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius amid preparations for the U.N. Environment Assembly summit in Nairobi will begin on February 28th.
“If we want to reach our decarbonisation goals for 2050, clearly we have to decrease steadily the use of fossil fuels, and one of the areas here as well is plastics,” he told Reuters in an interview.
It all began with a demonstration that used Tupperware containers purchased from a dollar store on campus.
A company was formed by University of British Columbia researchers to produce cost-effective lithium for electric vehicle batteries. This will help to address the supply crunch caused by the climate crisis, which has led to a rise in demand for EVs.
“We had a highly concentrated salt solution on one side and we were able to reduce that concentration through diffusion, using a separator in the Tupperware,” said David Wilkinson, who is also a professor and Canada research chair at UBC in the chemical and biological engineering department.
“It was a very crude start to getting things going and then after that we used our labs to work through the whole process.”
Wilkinson and Saad Dara, who co-founded Mangrove Lithium along with Alfred Lam and Arman Bonakdarpour, began experimenting with the advanced electrodialysis around eight years ago to figure out how to create value from the desalination of water (or brines) and waste streams.
SFU study reveals direct link between mental illness and climate-related disasters
SFU researchers have found that climate-related disasters such as last summer’s heat dome contributed to rising anxiety about climate change.
In a study Published in the Journal of Climate Change and HealthResearchers with the Mental Health and Climate Change AllianceSignificantly higher climate change anxiety after the heat dome.
This is the first study of its kind to establish direct links between mental health concerns, climate change-related weather events, and mental health.
Some of the findings include that B.C. residents are more concerned about climate change than others. residents jumped by about 13 per cent after the heat dome, and that nearly 60 per cent said they were either very or somewhat worried about climate change.
The study also found that the number of people who thought it was very likely that their region would be destroyed due to climate change increased from 17.5 to 29.8% before the heat dome, to 29.8 to 3.
Metro Vancouver protects 50 acres Maple Ridge forest land
Metro Vancouver reported this week that 20 hectares (50 acres), of forested land has been added to the north. Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge.
Metro staff state that the land purchase will protect a large area of scenic and ecologically-sensitive land with a healthy, mature ecosystem.
John McEwen, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee, said this large forested area is an important refuge for people and wildlife, especially because of the impacts of climate change.
“This property is unique because it helps maintain the water quality of McFadden and Kanaka creeks, and it preserves the scenic backdrop for an existing popular trail,” McEwen said, in a prepared statement released by Metro Vancouver.
The park is located between 116th Avenue & Dewdney Trunk Road. It stretches 13 kilometres along Kanaka Creek, from the base Blue Mountain to the Fraser River.
The $2.68-million purchase was financed through the Metro Vancouver Regional Park Land Acquisition Fund, which aims to protect the region’s natural areas in the face of escalating land prices and development pressures.
ABOARD THE MV ARCTIC SUNRISE — P eering through binoculars from an inflatable motorboat bobbing in frigid waters, polar ecology researchers Michael Wethington and Alex Borowicz scan a rocky outcrop on Antarctica’s Andersson Island for splatterings of red-brown guano that might signal a colony of penguins nearby.
The birds have become far more than an iconic symbol of the earth’s frozen south. Scientists now use them as key indicators for understanding climate change near the South Pole – with certain western regions like the Antarctic Peninsula having undergone rapid warming, while East Antarctica remains cold and capped in ice.
“We are counting penguin nests to understand how many penguins are in a colony, producing chicks every year, and whether that number is going up or down with the environmental conditions,” said Borowicz, of Stony Brook University in New York.
Climate researchers know that it is difficult to find information in Antarctica’s remote and icy reaches. Penguins are easier than other species to track because they nest on land, and their black feathers can be seen against the white expanse.
“We can use penguins as a bioindicator to see how the rest of the ecosystem is operating,” said Wethington, also of Stony Brook.
Satellites map massive methane plumes originating from oil and gas: Carbon Mapper report
Global methane plumes have been mapped using satellites to map large quantities of oil and gas fields. Carbon Mapper reports,An international team of scientists that monitors emissions.
The report stated that ultra-emitting facilities account for 10% of global oil and gas methane emissions, but are currently not included in most inventories.
The team analysed thousands of images taken daily by Sentinel-5P, a European Space Agency satellite mission. This allowed them to estimate the amount methane released into atmosphere by oil- and gas production activities.
Over a two-year period, they detected 1,200 “ultra-emitters” attributed to oil and gas facilities and along major transmission pipelines that sporadically release greater than 25 tons of methane per hour over most of the largest oil and gas basins worldwide.
“This work confirms what we have only glimpsed in previous studies of individual facilities and regions: that intermittent, large releases of methane from oil and gas operations are common globally and are mostly unreported,” said Riley Duren, CEO of Carbon Mapper, in a statement.
“In this critical decade for climate action, this underscores the urgent need for persistent global observing systems that can detect, pinpoint and quantify methane emissions at scales relevant to decision making.”