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In the summer of 2018, the Barr Foundation contracted with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to conduct a scan of highlights of climate resilience activities in the greater Boston area and to identify opportunities for ramping up those activities in coming years. The CBI team reviewed relevant technical reports and interviewed 36 individuals who work climate resilience.
The ideas described in this document are the research team's synthesis of the broad knowledge about resilience activities today from the expertise of those with whom the team spoke and corresponded. The team would like to thank all of them for their insights and wisdom.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
The 116th Congress is weighing potential policy mechanisms to reduce the impact of climate change and cap global warming to an internationally agreed upon target of no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, fossil fuel tax subsidies, as well as other mechanisms of support, have received additional scrutiny from lawmakers and the public regarding their current suitability, scale and effectiveness. Indeed, the subsidies undermine policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
The United States provides a number of tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as a means of encouraging domestic energy production. These include both direct subsidies to corporations, as well as other tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil. European Union subsidies are estimated to total 55 billion euros annually.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
This fact sheet focuses on employment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in the United States and around the world. According to the 2019 U.S. Energy Employment Report (USEER), 611,000 people worked in zero-emission technology industries, including renewables and nuclear in the United States. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recorded even higher renewable energy employment in the United States at 855,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2018. Jobs in energy efficiency experienced significant growth—the sector now employs more than 3 million people in the United States. IRENA reports that, globally, the renewable energy sector employed 11 million people in 2018, 700,000 more than in 2017.
British Ecological Society;
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are being implemented worldwide, yet there are few cases where managers make specific predictions of the response of previously harvested populations to MPA implementation.
Such predictions are needed to evaluate whether MPAs are working as expected, and if not, why. This evaluation is necessary to perform adaptive management, identifying whether and when adjustments to management might be necessary to achieve MPA goals.
Using monitoring data and population models, we quantified expected responses of targeted species to MPA implementation and compared them to monitoring data.
The model required two factors to explain observed responses in MPAs: (a) pre‐MPA harvest rates, which can vary at local spatial scales, and (b) recruitment variability before and after MPA establishment. Low recruitment years before MPA establishment in our study system drove deviations from expected equilibrium population size distributions and introduced an additional time lag to response detectability.
Synthesis and applications. We combined monitoring data and population models to show how (a) harvest rates prior to Marine Protected Area (MPA) implementation, (b) variability in recruitment, and (c) initial population size structure determine whether a response to MPA establishment is detectable. Pre‐MPA harvest rates across MPAs plays a large role in MPA response detectability, demonstrating the importance of measuring this poorly known parameter. While an intuitive expectation is for response detectability to depend on recruitment variability and stochasticity in population trajectories after MPA establishment, we address the overlooked role of recruitment variability before MPA establishment, which alters the size structure at the time of MPA establishment. These factors provide MPA practitioners with reasons whether or not MPAs may lead to responses of targeted species. Our overall approach provides a framework for a critical step of adaptive management.
Marine Ecology Progress Series;
Despite widespread climate-driven reductions of coral cover on tropical reefs, little attention has been paid to the possibility that changes in the geographic distribution of coral recruitment could facilitate beneficial responses to the changing climate through latitudinal range shifts. To address this possibility, we compiled a global database of normalized densities of coral recruits on settlement tiles (corals m-2) deployed from 1974 to 2012, and used the data therein to test for latitudinal range shifts in the distribution of coral recruits. In total, 92 studies provided 1253 records of coral recruitment, with 77% originating from settlement tiles immersed for 3-24 mo, herein defined as long-immersion tiles (LITs); the limited temporal and geographic coverage of data from short-immersion tiles (SITs; deployed for
The oceans are facing more threats now than at any time in history. Yet a nascent industry is ramping up to exert yet more pressure on marine life: deep sea mining. A handful of governments and companies have been granted licences to explore for deep sea mining in ecologically sensitive waters, and the industry is positioning its development as inevitable, but deep sea mining isn't happening anywhere in the global oceans – yet. Opening up a new industrial frontier in the largest ecosystem on Earth and undermining an important carbon sink carries significant environmental risks, especially in light of the biodiversity and climate crises facing the natural world and specifically our ocean. Rather, we need a strong Global Ocean Treaty that puts conservation, and not exploitation, at the heart of how governments approach the ocean.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
This essay charts the career of the entomologist and popular author Marston Bates (1906-1974) within the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) between 1935 and 1952. Today, Bates is best remembered as a science communicator. Publishing over a dozen books on natural history and the environment, he helped bring ecological ideas to broader public audiences during the 1950s and 1960s. Not simply a popularizer of contemporary scientific concepts, Bates stood out for his critical commentary on the environmental problems of economic development, conservation, and global population growth, as well as the need for more integrative, cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding humans in nature. Long before becoming a public intellectual, however, he worked for the RF as a mosquito specialist, serving as director of International Health Division malaria and yellow fever laboratories in Albania, Egypt, and Colombia during the 1930s and 1940s. Bates' mid-career shift from researching mosquito ecology to writing about human ecology may seem to be a sudden left turn. A closer look at the archival record reveals the pivotal role played by the Rockefeller Foundation in shaping Bates' career trajectory and ideas about the environment. Furthermore, placing Bates' work in the context of his time with the RF reveals connections between twentieth-century U.S. environmental thought and international health projects.
Union of Concerned Scientists;
This UCS analysis provides a detailed view of how extreme heat events caused by dangerous combinations of temperature and humidity are likely to become more frequent and widespread in the United States over this century. It also describes the implications for everyday life in different regions of the country.
We have analyzed where and how often in the contiguous United States the heat index—also known as the National Weather Service (NWS) "feels like" temperature—is expected to top 90°F, 100°F, or 105°F during future warm seasons (April through October). While there is no one standard definition of "extreme heat," in this report we refer to any individual days with conditions that exceed these thresholds as extreme heat days. We also analyzed the spread and frequency of heat conditions so extreme that the NWS formula cannot accurately calculate a corresponding heat index. The "feels like" temperatures in these cases are literally off the charts.
We have conducted this analysis for three global climate scenarios associated with different levels of global heattrapping emissions and future warming. These scenarios reflect different levels of action to reduce global emissions, from effectively no action to rapid action. Even the scenario of rapid action to reduce emissions does not spare our communities a future of substantially increased extreme heat. For the greatest odds of securing a safe climate future for ourselves and the ecosystems we all depend on, we would need to take even more aggressive action, in the US and globally, than outlined in any of the scenarios used here. Our challenge is great, but the threat of not meeting it is far greater.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF);
Humans and sharks have a relationship stretching back into ancient history. This is particularly clear in the Mediterranean, where sharks were traded and consumed more than 4,000 years ago in the Chalcolithic era and during the Bronze Age. Culturally they've been significant for thousands of years, and even appear in the schemes of the mythological Greek gods.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States;
While the physical dimensions of climate change are now routinely assessed through multimodel intercomparisons, projected impacts on the global ocean ecosystem generally rely on individual models with a specific set of assumptions. To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing. We derive average biomass trends and associated uncertainties across the marine food web. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (±4% SD) under low emissions and 17% (±11% SD) under high emissions by 2100, with an average 5% decline for every 1 °C of warming. Projected biomass declines were primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production, and were more pronounced at higher trophic levels, a process known as trophic amplification. Fishing did not substantially alter the effects of climate change. Considerable regional variation featured strong biomass increases at high latitudes and decreases at middle to low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to variations in marine ecosystem and Earth system models were similar. Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes. Our results indicate that global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change, and that these impacts are amplified at higher trophic levels. Next steps for model development include dynamic scenarios of fishing, cumulative human impacts, and the effects of management measures on future ocean biomass trends.
Plastic waste has been documented in nearly all types of marine environments and has been found in species spanning all levels of marine food webs. Within these marine environments, deep pelagic waters encompass the largest ecosystems on Earth. We lack a comprehensive understanding of the concentrations, cycling, and fate of plastic waste in sub-surface waters, constraining our ability to implement effective, large-scale policy and conservation strategies. We used remotely operated vehicles and engineered purpose-built samplers to collect and examine the distribution of microplastics in the Monterey Bay pelagic ecosystem at water column depths ranging from 5 to 1000 m. Laser Raman spectroscopy was used to identify microplastic particles collected from throughout the deep pelagic water column, with the highest concentrations present at depths between 200 and 600 m. Examination of two abundant particle feeders in this ecosystem, pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) and giant larvaceans (Bathochordaeus stygius), showed that microplastic particles readily flow from the environment into coupled water column and seafloor food webs. Our findings suggest that one of the largest and currently underappreciated reservoirs of marine microplastics may be contained within the water column and animal communities of the deep sea.
Uganda's Oil Industry has attracted huge foreign investment, but participation by SMEs has remained poor despite their importance in income generation, employment and poverty eradication. Although the Oil industry is highly specialised, it provides indirect investment opportunities for SMEs who make up 80 percent of Uganda's private sector. The opportunities available however have not been sufficiently usurped by SMEs due to the information gap on how to create business partnerships, requirements of the industry and actors in the industry.