Greenland melt could cover Florida, and Harry Reid wants 2020 focus on climate change over health care

0 0
Read Time3 Minute, 31 Second

Evidence of the increasing effects of climate change is building, as are the investing opportunities and changes in consumer habits linked to environmental concerns and resource use. Here are select dispatches about the companies responding to customer demands and climate risk, the ESG investors and their advisers, and the enterprising individuals and scientists preparing for tomorrow.

Greenland melt shows climate change is natural — just not to this degree. In a two-day period recently, so much ice melted on Greenland that you could cover the entire state of Florida with five inches of water. That’s a way for climate experts, and science writers, to drive home the significance of the changes in the far-off arctic to the rest of the world. There’s a complex trio of factors behind the shorthand, however, as Vice tackles in this feature: short-term weather events like the temperatures that cooked much of Europe; long-term climate trends; and natural circulation patterns in the atmosphere, known as North Atlantic Oscillation, which can work with or against global warming to counteract or compound Arctic ice melt.

Related: July was Earth’s hottest month on record

‘[T]he No. 1 priority is climate change. There’s nothing that affects my children, grandchildren and their children, right now, more than climate.’

Harry Reid

Harry Reid wants climate to dominate 2020 election. Tackle climate-change legislation first, even before health care, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says in a Daily Beast exclusive. The Democratic elder statesman feels so strongly about this agenda he’d even accept scrapping the filibuster rule that’s often attached to his name (as well as to Mitch McConnell) for a better chance at passage. But climate-change progress would likely hinge on Democrats retaking the White House, securing a Senate majority, and then 50 of those senators deciding they’re comfortable changing the rules of their chamber to get rid of the filibuster.

Opinion: Warren’s climate-change disclosure bill is politics-as-usual

Make the $30 trillion sustainable investing market simpler. Sustainable investing, once a niche practice, is now a $30 trillion market. With so much capital at stake, investors want quality data on how companies manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, and few think they get it, Sara Bernow and Conor Kehoe, from the consulting firm McKinsey, write in an opinion piece for CNBC. Among other changes, investors want stiffer regulation demanding companies report environmental and other risks and they want uniform standards within that reporting.

Climate clicks. In the early 2000s, Naomi Oreskes, now a Harvard professor of the history of science, observed that popular media covered man-made climate change as a “great debate,” an approach that puzzled the scientific community. To test her hypothesis — that no such academic debate existed — Oreskes analyzed 928 relevant abstracts published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, all containing the key words “climate change.” Results from her pool of abstracts showed that none of the studies disagreed with the consensus among climate researchers about the human role in climate change. Earlier this week, Oreskes’s 15-year-old study “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” surpassed a milestone: 1 million downloads, according to Mashable. Over time, interest in downloading the paper has not waned, as is the fate of many academic studies. Instead, the study has steadily accrued readers.

Skip the salmon? Mercury levels in the fish that people most like to eat — including tuna, salmon and swordfish — are rising. Climate change and overfishing may be to blame, a new study, reported by NBC, suggests. There are several reasons, but among the findings: that ocean temperatures are rising, and, with that, up goes the metabolism of big fish, which eat more, ingesting more of the mercury found in smaller fish. Overfishing, in turn, means that hungry fish have to expand their diets to include more mercury-filled species.

Read: Climate change and traditional farming risk creating a global food crisis, UN warns

Don’t miss: Rep. Cheri Bustos sees climate role for farmers, and business-minded scientist has no time for deniers

And: Water crisis for one-quarter of world’s population, and are tiny homes actually green?