News: March 17, 2019

  1. Green New Deal


The Green New Deal (GND) is focused beyond addressing our looming climate catastrophe.  It enables our whole society to participate in a single great national aim: the rapid transition to a forward-looking society of broad opportunity, equal justice, productive prosperity, and environmental sustainability.

New Consensus is currently organizing a research design meeting that will take place in March in Washington DC and developing educational materials covering the Green New Deal. 

The Green New Deal has five main goals:

  • Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
  • Create millions of good, high-wage jobs; and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
  • Invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
  • Secure clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all;
  • Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing the historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities.

The Green New Deal brings together into one coherent whole a multitude of interlocking, complementary, and critically necessary projects, including, among others:

  • Replacing or upgrading every U.S. building to achieve maximal energy efficiency …;
  • Meeting 100 percent of our power demand through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy … wind turbine and solar cell industries, among others …;
  • Making massive investments into U.S. manufacturing industries …;
  • Overhauling U.S. transportation systems

2. Insect Population Down

Source: The Guardian – Feb 10, 2019

An analysis published in the journal Biological Conservation found that more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

According to Francisco Sánchez-Bayo (University of Sydney, Australia), the coauthor of the analysis, the primary cause of the decline is “agricultural intensification”, the over-farming of land that eliminates surrounding shrubs and trees, and using damaging insecticides.

3. Animal Population Sharply Down

Source: The Guardian – Oct 29, 2018

A report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) concludes that we’ve wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens the survival of civilization. 

Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, warns “We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff.”

4. 18 Million Trees Die in California in 2018

Source: US News & World Report –  Feb 12, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service has reported that an additional 18 million trees, mostly conifers, have died in California since fall 2017. This brings the total tree mortality in the state to 147 million across 9.7 million acres of land since California’s drought began in 2010

.5. Trump’s Anti-Science Climate Panel

Source: Huffington Post – Feb 27, 2019

The Washington Post first reported on Feb 24 that the administration is recruiting scientists and researchers to challenge the scientific consensus that climate change is an immediate crisis driven by the world’s addiction to fossil fuels. At the top of the committee’s target list will be the National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report that scientists from 13 federal agencies released in November.

 6. New Tesla Model

Sources: The Verge – Mar 3, 2019 and Popular Mechanics – Mar 15, 2019

Elon Musk announced that he would reveal his next model to the world at an event at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles on March 14.  The Tesla Model Y will be a small crossover SUV to fill out the cheap(er) end of Tesla’s lineup. It will be vehicle number five in the Tesla lineup.

The Y will be a crossover built upon the Model 3 platform.  It will share about three-quarters of its parts with and be slightly larger and slightly more expensive than the Model 3 but with less range. 

7. Students March in Climate Strikes

Sources: The Guardian – March 15, 2019 and numerous others 

On Friday, March 15,  thousands of primary and high school students walked out of class across the country, protesting against the government’s inaction on climate change, and what they see as the destruction of their future. Organizers said there were more than 2,000 protests in 125 countries.

Many expressed hope for a green economy within 11 years, the timeframe experts at the United Nations believe is necessary to forestall catastrophic climate change.

The student movement was inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, now nominated for a Nobel Prize, who kicked off a global movement after she sat outside Swedish parliament every Friday beginning last August.

8. Cost of Doing Nothing

Source: Inside Climate News – Feb 15, 2019

Flooding in the City Dock neighborhood of Annapolis, Maryland, is so common, in fact—63 times in 2017 by one measure—that it’s beginning to have a noticeable impact on local businesses by driving away customers.

Miyuki Hino, a Ph.D. student at Stanford and lead author of the study published in the journal Science Advances, said coastal communities are beginning to wake up to the costs of increasingly frequent flooding driven by rising seas, “but we really didn’t have any hard numbers, any good measurement of what it really meant to those communities.”

9. Near-record Year for U.S. Weather and Climate Disasters

Source: Climate Central – Feb 6, 2019

The year-end climate reports from NOAA and NASA are out. As expected, 2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record globally, and another near-record year for U.S. weather and climate disasters. All of the years on record that were hotter or more disaster-filled came in the past decade.

With the five warmest years on record happening during the past five years — and the 20 warmest occurring over the past 22 — a consistent warming trend couldn’t be clearer.