Swiss citizens vote against crucial climate change policies (BBC)
By a small margin (51% to 49%), Swiss voters rejected a proposed government provision that would have placed a tax on buying car fuel and plane tickets. These proposed “carbon dioxide laws” were drafted to help Switzerland obtain the goals they committed themselves to in the Paris Agreement. A main reason for this rejection is voters’ fears of the economic devastation these taxes could incur on a nation already devastated by this past year’s COVID-19 pandemic. Other criticisms of the policies stemmed from the fact that Switzerland only accounts for a mere fraction (0.1%) of global carbon dioxide emissions in the first place.
The Earth is trapping double the heat it did 15 years ago (CNN)
A study by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed this change and warned of its potential effects, such as rising temperatures, further snow and ice melt, and rising sea levels. The phenomenon at hand is known as the Earth’s “energy imbalance,” and it refers to the difference between the amount of the sun’s energy absorbed by the Earth and the amount of energy it reflects back. The trending “positive” imbalance over the past 15 years will also, in addition to the consequences stated above, lead to more extreme weather events all around due to shifts in atmospheric patterns.
Some good news: America’s “green vortex” (The Atlantic)
Despite America’s failure to pass any impactful climate change legislation over the past decade, the nation is still decarbonizing. Just last year, American emissions were down by 21%, even more than was required for 2020 in President Obama’s failed Climate Action Plan. Why? Companies across the US, from car manufacturers to gas corporations, have been (both by choice and by legal force) working towards decarbonization. The “green vortex” thesis details how different aspects of society work together to increase decarbonization rates and bring down the cost of wind and solar energy.
Climate change predicted to hit Britain harder than expected (BBC)
A report by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) found that Britain is vastly underprepared to face the series of intense heat waves and prolonged periods of heavy rainfall that will hit them in the years to come. The authors of the report urged the British citizens to “climate proof” their homes and workplaces to prepare for the unprecedented heat and flooding that they may eventually experience.
Further reading: Learn more about climate proofing and how you can climate proof your home today!
Officials warn Californians of the upcoming wildfire season (CNN)
The US’s west coast has been experiencing record breaking temperatures and extreme weather this summer. Firefighters in Southern California are expecting another wildfire season due to the lack of moisture in vegetation, the ongoing drought, and rising temperatures due to climate change. The extreme heat also puts some of California’s hydroelectric power plants and electric grids at risk, threatening hundreds of thousands of homes’ ability to receive electricity.
How global banks are responding to climate change (Reuters)
Some of the world's largest central banks are pushing agendas that support the global fight against climate change. Banks have started to recognize the potential consequences climate change has on their country’s economies. Some banks, like the European Central Bank, are starting to crack down on banks’ role in financing and indirectly supporting major polluters.
Check it out: Click here to read about the Green Swan Conference: a conference opening discussions about the climate crisis between some of the world's top banks and policy makers.
Drying ecosystems: Climate change poses further threats to humans and land as desertification and droughts persist (UN News)
UN chief shared an address to the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought in which he declared that the land degradation due to climate change damages the security of 3.2 billion people. Supporting human activity and its growing population has led to the degradation of an expansive portion of the planet’s land. To protect the billions of people who’s well-beings are at risk due to drought and rising heat, humans must preserve land and take action.
Testing the West: States on the West Coast face summer heat before the season begins (NY Times)
Before Summer officially began, temperatures have sky-rocketed in Western states due to climate change. Temperatures in Arizona and Nevada went above 115 degrees, pushing doctors to warn that the burning hot asphalt could cause third-degree burns. Another effect of the climate crisis includes severe droughts. For example, Lake Mead, which provides water for 25 million people, is currently at its lowest point of water levels in its history.