Caspian Sea levels decreasing, UN reports global temperature status, coral reef conservation & more

By Violet, Quincey & Rhea


The Clim8

12.20.20-12.26.20

Photo Credit: via Carnegie Science

Genome editing technology, CRISPR, may aid scientists in conserving coral reefs amidst climate crisis (Science Daily from Carnegie Science)

Coral reefs are valuable in protecting coastlines, providing services for communities, and supporting thousands of marine life species. To protect the coral in these important ecosystems, scientists may have found a way to prevent coral from dying under the heat stress of rising sea temperatures.

Photo Credit: Stocktrek Images/Getty Images via Science Alert

Eurasia’s Caspian Sea, the largest lake on earth, is rapidly losing its water (Science Alert)

Several international agreements have ignored the issue of declining lake water levels as a result of climate change. Scientists predict an emergence of “dead zones” - extremely hot areas where nothing can live - and a rearrangement of ecosystems, as biodiversity in the area shrinks and economies take a hit. At this point, emission limits will only help so much, and more intense measures must be taken in order to protect the sea.

Photo Credit: UNEP

United Nations awards Kenyan entrepreneur UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for 2020 for her machinery that recycles plastic into paving stones (UN News)

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) named seven innovators Young Champions of the Earth for 2020. Nzambi Matee, head of Gjenge Makers, developed a machine to both keep plastic out of landfill sites and create a cheaper alternative to construction materials.

Photo Credit: UNEP

United Nations weather agency declares this past decade the hottest on record (UN News)

2020 experienced extraordinary heat that is now affecting weather patterns, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO also recorded the past six years as being the hottest. Due to record levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the planet-warming trend is expected to continue. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images

US Congress passes clean energy provisions in stimulus relief bill (Inside Climate News)

Although the bill's main purpose was to provide relief to businesses and people struggling due to COVID-19, tax credits granted to renewable energy businesses proved an added bonus. The added energy provisions, included in the Energy Act of 2020, authorized spending on energy technology research.

Photo Credit: The Ocean Agency/WL Catlin Seaview via UN News

United Nations environment report alerts planet could lose all coral reefs by the end of the century (UN News)

Unless there are extreme reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, all coral reefs will bleach and disappear, according to UNEP. The loss of coral reefs will not only devastate marine life, but will present serious consequences for billions of people who benefit directly or indirectly from them.

Photo Credit: Daniel Grizelj/Getty Images via Wired

A Reflection on the Paris Agreement (WIRED)

Emissions are on the rise, fossil fuels are being burned at higher rates than ever, rapid deforestation is still occurring, and the global temperatures are ever-increasing. However, there has also been a renewable energy boom, electric vehicles are becoming more popular, and the world is determined to work towards “net zero.” As long as countries continue follow through on their long-term promises of achieving net zero emissions, the goals of the Paris Agreement just may be reached.


Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters via The Guardian

Cambridge, Massachusetts, becomes the first town in the US to warn drivers at gas stations (The Guardian)

The town, just outside of Boston, will post bright yellow stickers warning of the detrimental health and climate effects of driving gasoline-powered vehicles. Supporters hope these stickers will encourage people to open their minds to alternatives, such as using electric cars, bikes, public transportation, or walking.