Saturday, July 20, 2019

Asia is Heating Up and the South May Soon be Uninhabitable

Asia is one of the world's hottest continents and it is also the most populated continent in the world with 60 percent of the total population of the Earth. Like many other places around the world many of the 50 countries in Asia are suffering from heatwaves in 2019. In the period between April and June of this year India was hit with protracted heatwaves as was neighboring Pakistan and a number of other Asian countries including Vietnam, Kuwait, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Vietnam was hit with a heatwave in April that included setting a record for the hottest day ever in the country. The Vietnam national weather service reported that Ha Tinh, a town about 320km south of Hanoi, recorded a high temperature of 43.4°C. This new national heat record breaks the record that was set just four years ago. What makes this particularly anomalous is the fact that the hottest months in Vietnam are usually in June and July.

By far the hottest place in Asia is Kuwait which recorded a temperature of 52.2°C in June. This temperature reading occurred in the region of Matraba in North Kuwait on June 9th. A recent study confirmed that Kuwait earns the unwanted distinction of Asia's hottest ever temperature with readings of 53.9°C. Pakistan came in second with a reading of 53.7°C in 2017.

More frequent and more intense heatwaves are part of a troubling global trend and countries in Asia are expected to be among the most adversely impacted.

According to research from MIT, in the worst case scenario temperature increases will soon breech the limits of survivability or come very close to it in most of South Asia. India's Chota Nagpur Plateau, in the northeast of the country, and Bangladesh are expected to be the worst hit. The Ganges River valley, India's northeast and eastern coast, northern Sri Lanka, and the Indus Valley of Pakistan may come close to surpassing these thresholds.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Deadly and Worsening Heatwaves in India

The recent heatwave in India killed one hundred people and on July 17th at least 100 more died due to monsoon flooding and mudslides. The pre-monsoon heatwave lasted for more than a month and it was compounded by severe drought that has caused major water shortages. At its worst temperatures exceeded 50°C.

In April, central and northwestern India were suffering from a heatwave that was 6°C above the average. At the beginning of June Delhi hit temperatures of 48°C, the highest temperature ever recorded in that city for that month. The temperatures in Churu, set a new Indian record as they climbed above 50°C and helped to precipitate water shortages. The 9 million residents in the city of Chennai also faced water shortages. Some villages went without water for days. Approximately 40 percent of India has endured drought conditions in 2019.

Droughts are becoming more frequent and they are commonly being followed by sudden storms and floods. There have been radical changes to rainfall patterns in India over the course of the last ten years.

The situation in India is dire and getting worse. This has prompted questions about whether some parts of India will soon be incapable of supporting life.

An CNN article by Shekhar Chandra, a Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that the worsening heat will cause a humanitarian crisis as "large parts of the country potentially become too hot to be inhabitable".

Even if we do what we must to reduce emissions and minimize the impact of global warming, parts of India may still be uninhabitable as a certain amount of warming is baked into the system.

"Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that even if the world succeeds in cutting carbon emissions, limiting the predicted rise in average global temperatures, parts of India will become so hot they will test the limits of human survivability," Chandra said.

The rate at which warming is increasing in India is troubling. Chandra reports that in 2010 there were 21 official heatwaves across India, in 2018 there were 484. This represents a 23 fold increase in less than a decade.

According to AK Sahai and Sushmita Joseph, of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the situation is destined to get worse as heatwaves are expected to engulf the whole of India.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Heat Waves and the Climate Crisis

The climate crisis is here and its hot. If you think things are bad today they will get a lot worse if we continue with business as usual. Heatwaves are being amplified by a rise in global temperatures. They are already becoming more frequent and severe and they will only get worse if we fail to act. We have amassed a vast store of data that proves conclusively that the world is getting warmer. Heatwaves are 4 degrees Celsius hotter than they were a century ago and the heatwaves hitting Europe are more frequent and more severe.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What is Causing Europe's Heatwaves?

The recent heatwave in Europe included the hottest day ever in France. The new hottest single day temperature in France is now 45.9C (114.6F). Germany, Poland and Czech Republic also set records at the end of June. Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Italy also experienced heat waves. Europe's intense heat waves and record setting temperatures are noteworthy because we can now say with a degree of confidence that this warming is at least five times more likely due to global warming. Europe's five hottest summers since 1500 have all been in this Century.

Using data from Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), the European satellite agency said the average temperatures on the continent at the end of June were more than 2C above normal. Temperatures were 6-10C above normal over most of France, Germany and northern Spain.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Record Breaking Heat in the Great White North

Image credit: The Weather Channel
We have seen heat records broken across Canada in the first half of 2019. Extreme heat has been present from the west coast to the east coast and the far north. The start of spring 2019 smashed 79 Canadian heat records including an all time record for Yoho Lake in the Northwest Territories. Environment Canada pointed to anomalies in the jet stream and said this kind of widespread heat in March hasn’t been seen in a quarter century.

In June Victoria shattered a 121-year-old heat record and Kelowna broke a 145-year-old temperature record in BC. All together Surging temperatures broke a total of 20 heat records in southern BC.

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Ocean / Climate Nexus

Our oceans provide two-thirds of the planet's atmospheric oxygen, absorb more than 90 percent of the Earth's excess heat energy and more than a quarter of the globe's anthropogenic carbon emissions. Warmer and more acidic oceans are decimating marine ecosystems, killing coral, kelp, shellfish starfish and plankton. Warmer oceans also have adverse implications for global weather including more intense storms.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Event - Clean Cities Renewable Energy Procurement

Clean Cities Renewable Energy Procurement will take place on July 24-25, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. This event answers the question, what does it take for cities to buy their own renewable energy? It will showcase the stories of pioneering cities who are developing and executing a successful game plan for renewable power procurement. Profit from their experience and learn the most sophisticated approaches to accomplishing your environmental goals.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Faith Leaders Called to Confront Climate Denial by Telling the Truth

On June 9th, the World Council of Churches issued a Pentecost message that reads as follows: "To prophesy is to tell the truth". Religious leaders have declared a climate emergencies and others are engaged in acts meant to raise awareness.

Friday, July 12, 2019

More Hot Data Contributes to Existential Concerns

The heat records being set around the globe foreshadow a world where new record setting high temperatures are commonplace. According to the EU‘s satellite agency, last month was the hottest June ever recorded.

Europe has been suffering through excruciating heat waves and countries including France have set all time heat records exceeding 45C. In parts of Asia including Kuwait and India temperatures are exceeding 50 Celsius.

While seasonal temperature spikes are not evidence of global warming, they are part of a clear and unmistakable trend. There have been a succession of hot months in 2019 including the Earth's fourth-hottest May, and the second-hottest April and March. February's global average temperature was the fifth hottest on record and January was the third hottest.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Companies in the UN Global Compact Outperform their Peers in Sustainability Assessments

A report released earlier this year found that companies committed to the UN Global Compact perform better across their supply chains than those who have not made such a commitment. Sustainability performance assessment themes included environment, labor and human rights, business ethics and sustainable procurement. The report assessed 20,000 companies and was conducted by EcoVadis, a provider of business sustainability ratings.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Christians Among those Declaring Climate Emergencies

All around the world governments and organizations including Christian communities are declaring climate emergencies. Thus far we have seen such declarations in more than 700 jurisdictions covering almost 150 million citizens. The declaration of a climate emergency is meant to mobilize immediate action as it draws attention to the fact that we are not doing what we must to avert a climate catastrophe. There are dozens of action groups that support the declaration of a climate emergency and the student strikes and organizations like the Extinction Rebellion have helped to take this movement mainstream.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

UN Global Compact: Sustainability Strategies for Business

The UN Global Compact is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative with 9,913 companies participating in 161 countries. This broad coalition of more than 20 businesses, civil society and UN leaders encourages companies to set more ambitious climate targets consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement which seeks to keep temperatures from increasing more than the prescribed upper temperature threshold limit of 1.5°C. They focus on three key areas, environment, social and governance issues. They help companies to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Despite Obstacles 100 Percent Renewable Energy is Possible

Research proves that 100 percent renewable energy is possible despite detractors who dismiss the idea and the failure of governments to provide adequate support. The need for renewable energy is being driven by mortal threats to both the biosphere and human health, specifically the need to combat both the climate crisis and air pollution. Renewable energy provides all of the power requirements in countries like Iceland and others like Cost Rica are on the verge of doing the same. The latter has operated for extended periods of time on nothing but clean power. Even major economies like those in Germany and the UK have been able to operate for short periods without relying on fossil fuels.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

BSR Conference 2019: The New Climate for Business

The 27th annual BSR Conference 2019: The New Climate for Business will take place on November 12-14, 2019 in San Jose, California. This leading sustainable business conference is one of the longest-running and most prestigious sustainable business events. This is an even for collaboration and action. This year, they will explore the transformations that are creating a new climate for business and help to pave the way for companies, people, and planet to thrive in this era of rapid change.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Anglican and Other Faith Group's Green Advocacy on World Environment Day

Faith communities came together to celebrate the 45th World Environment Day (WED) on June 5th. There were thousands of faith-based environmental initiatives on WED.  As explained in a WED article published by the UN Environment, faith based communities have a crucial role to play and they are involved with a wide range of actions that include everything from tree planting to youth forums. The article explains how faith communities are called to be good environmental stewards and points to excerpts from the sacred texts of 11 traditions (Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Taoism).

Friday, July 5, 2019

More than 500 Companies have Adopted Science-Based Emissions Reduction Targets

Businesses are adopting science-based emissions reductions targets. These efforts Such efforts drive innovation, enhance competitiveness and manage risk. This is also an effective approach to meeting the objectives laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement. Hundreds of companies are aligning themselves with the Science-Based Targets (SBT) initiative which is a framework to help companies remain competitive while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

On the fourth of July 2019, Americans need to start preparing for new leadership and thinking seriously about declaring their independence from dirty sources of energy. Two hundred and forty three years ago, US colonies freed themselves from the injustice of British rule, now America needs to free itself from the tyranny of dangerously incompetent leadership.

The United States' Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. On that day, thirteen American colonies proclaimed their freedom from Great Britain.

The industrial revolution began shortly after the American revolution. These two revolutions fueled America's meteoric rise to global dominance. While, fossil fuels are the engine that drove this growth as a leading cause of both pollution and climate change, it is time for them to be replaced with cleaner alternatives.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Power of Procurement to Reduce Both Emissions and Costs

Leveraging action across supply chains is a critical part of efforts to address the climate crisis.  We are seeing tremendous growth in companies investing in sustainability and these corporations are helping to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy. Reports demonstrate that this is both an indispensable strategy to manage risk and an important part of cost cutting efforts. The financial and environmental benefits include energy and resource efficiency.

According to a 2019 CDP/Carbon Trust global supply chain report, over the last decade some of the world's biggest purchasers have leveraged their buying power and demanded transparency from their suppliers. In the process they have cut carbon emissions by 633 million metric tons and saved an average of almost $20 billion annually.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Climate in the Second Democratic Presidential Debate

In the first Democratic presidential debate climate was a major topic of discussion. This carried over into the second debate. At the beginning of the debate Savannah Guthrie made it clear that climate change was on the agenda, however, the debate on climate was confounded by the confusion of moderator Chuck Todd who did not seem to understand the difference between climate mitigation and climate action.

Although there were points of disagreement, all the Democratic presidential contenders appeared to agree that Donald Trump is a racist who panders to dictators. They also appeared unified in their desire to see him voted out of office. As Biden said, "it is important we restore the soul of this nation. This President has ripped it out." The record-setting television audience for the second debate suggests that many voters are interested in exploring alternatives to the current commander-and-chief.

Event - SRI30 Conference & Community Speakers List

SRI30 will take place on November 11 - 15, 2019 in Colorado Springs. A partial speakers has been announced for the 30th SRI Conference which is called #fromEVOLUTIONtoREVOLUTION! Here are 19 of those scheduled to present at SRI30.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy Canada Day?

When it comes to environmentally responsible governance Canada is both the best and the worst. On the one hand you have the Canadian federal Liberals who under the leadership of Justin Trudeau have passed the most progressive climate action plans the country has ever seen. However the same government has also bought a pipeline that will ferry some of the dirtiest, most carbon intensive energy in the world.  The policies of the ruling federal government are best described as an oxymoron.

Canada's energy picture is challenging to say the least. There are dramatic clean energy success stories alongside fossil fuel expansion efforts. In some respects Canada's Indigenous people are at the epicenter of Canada's energy confusion.