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The Arctic Is on Track to Warm Over 15 Degrees This Century Even If We Meet the Paris Agreement Pledges


A new report from the United Nations shows that it’s basically game over for the Arctic as we know it.

Even if carbon pollution magically stopped tomorrow, the region’s winters would still warm an astonishing 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by century’s end. Meeting the Paris Agreement pledges—which do not get us to the two degree warming goal—would lead to that level of warming by midcentury and up to 9 degrees Celsius (16.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, along the way unraveling one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and displacing people who have done very little to cause the disruption.

The report was released on Tuesday at a meeting of the United Nations Environment Program. The synthesis pulls together recent research and puts it all in one terrifying graphic-driven document. The litany of changes that have already occurred is unsettling, but the real shock is in what could come next.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, which translates to dramatic change. Sea ice extent, which has shrunk about 40 percent since regular satellite monitoring began in 1979, could reach zero percent in summer as early as the 2030s. Old, thick sea ice will likely be gone even sooner. Permafrost, frozen ground full of carbon, could thaw out and destroy a third of all the infrastructure in the Arctic (and also release deadly strains of anthrax). Rising temperatures could also unleash a host of other infectious diseases like Lyme disease, which is already on the rise in Canada.

“Insects like mosquitoes and ticks have the potential to connect the Arctic and tropics,” the authors write, which sounds like the sequel to Contagion.

The cruel irony of this is that like their small island counterparts, the 4 million people living the Arctic have contributed precious little to the carbon pollution causing those dramatic changes. In the case of permafrost, its thaw could also hasten climate change along by releasing methane and carbon dioxide in a vicious feedback loop.

And all these bleak findings don’t even get into other issues like plastic pollution, heavy metal contamination, or ocean acidification, all of which are and will continue to compound the region’s woes. The report concedes that the best way forward for the region with little sway on carbon pollution is adapting to whatever changes are coming its way.

“Challenges can no longer be managed in isolation: a holistic, ecosystem-based approach that considers multiple drivers and cumulative pressures is needed,” the report said. “In the years and decades to come, adaptation that integrates and respects local knowledge and Indigenous knowledge will be vital to help Arctic societies address the coming challenges.”

And there is sure to be no shortage of them.

The Climate Strike Movement Has Officially Gone Global


On Friday, students around the world woke up knowing that sometime between math, English, biology or some other rote class, they would stand up and walk out. From the tiny island of Vanuatu to Europe to the U.S., the climate strike movement is officially a global phenomenon. Up to a million students in 123 countries are expected to strike on Friday.

Their reasons for walking out are diverse, but the underlying theme is this: They are the first generation to grow up fully aware that they’ll suffer from climate change. And they refuse to accept inaction anymore.

“This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice,” the strike’s leaders wrote in the Guardian. “These strikes are happening today—from Washington DC to Moscow, Tromsø to Invercargill, Beirut to Jerusalem, and Shanghai to Mumbai—because politicians have failed us.”

Youth climate strikes have been spreading across Europe and Australia for months as students have coalesced behind Swedish teen Greta Thunbergwho began striking in front or parliament in August. But Friday marked a huge escalation with massive walkouts planned on every continent, including a solidarity strike in Antarctica.

The sun rose first on Pacific where students in Australia, New Zealand, and small island nations walked out of school. Since then, mass walkouts have spread from South Korea to India to Nigeria to major European capitals. In Stockholm, an estimated 10,000 students pressed against barricades like a rock concert to see Thunberg, a far cry from her solitary strike that began seven months ago. In Torino, thousands sang “We Will Rock You.” In Dakar, students gathered in the shade under the blistering sun. In Zurich, they huddled under umbrellas in the rain.

And as the sun comes up on North America, the movement is making landfall in the U.S. For months, solitary strikers around the country have followed Thunberg’s lead, but they’ve asked others to join them on Friday. More than 400 protests are planned in every state.

The strikes have attracted a wide range of support. Established environmental groups, upstarts like the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion, and scientists have backed the students. The latter is particularly notable since it’s not like scientists are known for being rabble rousers, but the reality is the students’ demands are very much in line with the best available science. More than 240 scientists signed a solidarity letter released on Thursday.

“I’m a little irritated that students are the ones that feel like they have to do this,” Kate Marvel, a climate scientist who spearheaded a scientist solidarity letter, told Earther. “These are people who can’t vote yet. We can’t leave this to kids to solve. This is something grownups need to address.”

The movement isn’t about endorsing specific policies. It’s about imagining a better future and asking adults to do everything possible to keep global warming in check. 

“Our leaders and adults today are not going to be around when the worst of climate change is felt, but my generation is,” Kallan Benson, a striker in Annapolis, told Earther. “We are going to feel the effects. We are going to be the ones impacted. That’s why I’m striking. We are willing to disrupt our lives because this is the most important thing we can do to prepare for our future.”

Indeed, the breadth of the strikes lays bare the injustice of climate change. Adults have had decades to act to cut carbon emissions and reduce the risks of runaway climate change. Instead, emissions have climbed, hitting a new peak last year even as the impacts of climate change have become ever clearer.

Boeing 737-800 makes emergency landing in Russia after suspected engine failure


The plane, a variation on the 737 Max 8 model that was involved in a crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, landed in the city of Syktyvkar.

A total of 157 passengers and six crew are on board.

It is not yet known what caused the emergency landing, but it is being reported by officials on the ground that one of the plane’s engines stopped working mid-flight.

More than 300 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 passenger jets around the world have been taken out of service following two fatal crashes over the past five months in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed almost 350 people in all.

The causes of both crashes are still under investigation.

On Thursday the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will ground all Boeing MAX jets in service because of similarities.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX aircraft built at its factory near Seattle, but continues to produce the single-aisle version of the jet at full speed while dealing with the worldwide fleet’s grounding.

It has previously said it would roll out the software improvement “across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”

Tesla Model Y: Elon Musk’s second electric SUV is here


Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s mid-size electric SUV, the Model Y, Thursday night in Hawthorne, Calif.The most-affordable Model Y will have a base price of $39,000 and a 230-mile battery range, but customers will have to wait until at least 2021 to own one of the five-seater SUVs. Tesla will first sell more expensive versions of the Model Y — with prices starting from $47,000 to $60,000, and offering more battery range. Those will ship starting in 2020, according to the company.There are additional charges for Tesla’s autopilot software, a third row of seats and colors other than black. A panoramic glass roof comes standard.An enthusiastic Musk said on stage he expected Tesla to sell more Model Ys than Model 3s and Model Xs combined. Production of the SUV is supposed to begin next year.But many questions remain unanswered about the Model Y, including where it will be manufactured and how fast Tesla can scale production to meet demand. Tesla has said previously it will likely build the Model Y at its Gigafactory in Nevada.

Why the Model Y will be Tesla's most important car

Why the Model Y will be Tesla’s most important carIt took nearly three years after Tesla’s unveiling of the Model 3 before it sold for its promised price point of $35,000. Tesla’s timeline calls for a faster turnaround for the Model Y. The automaker has previously struggled to hit deadlines, and had a difficult time scaling Model 3 production.”2018 felt like aging five years in one,” Musk said. “Honestly it was really intense.”Musk devoted only five minutes of his 34-minute presentation to the new SUV. He spent the rest of the time recounting Tesla’s rise and recent history. Musk also joked about building supercharger stations in Kazakhstan, and said he expected a Tesla would be driving on Mars in 10 years.

Tesla’s new Model Y mid-sized SUV will begin shipping in 2020.Musk revealed that the Model Y had 66 cubic feet of cargo space, comparable to a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He said the Y would have the functionality of an SUV, but will ride like a sports car. Following Musk’s presentation, some attendees were given test drives in the Model Y.Tesla is unveiling the Model Y as it goes through a rocky period. The SEC has asked for Musk to be charged with contempt for tweeting “inaccurate and material” information about the company. Key executives have left the company. Consumers Reports stopped recommendingthe Model 3. Multiple government agencies are investigating the recent death of a Model 3 owner in Florida. The circumstances of the crash bear a similarity to the passing of Joshua Brown, who died while using Autopilot. Tesla has also been criticized for its use of the term “full self-driving.”But Musk spoke optimistically of Tesla’s autonomous driving software on Thursday, which will be available on the Model Y.”It will be able to do basically anything by the end of this year, just with software upgrades,” Musk said.