Edition for 24 January 2020

Top Stories

Big Business Says It Will Tackle Climate Change, but Not How or When (NY Times)

  • In Davos, business leaders were newly vocal about the risks of climate change, though they gave few details about how they would reform their business practices.
  • Business titans who for decades brushed off warnings about climate change arrived at the annual World Economic Forum this week ready to show their newfound enthusiasm for the cause.
  • The jury is out.” Following months of climate protests all over the world that drew millions of young people, a raft of companies said this week in Davos that they would aim to lower their emissions of planet-warming gases to net zero by 2050 or earlier.

AstraZeneca to spend $1B to become carbon negative by 2030 (Becker's Hospital Review)

  • AstraZeneca plans to have zero carbon emissions from its global operations by 2025 and be carbon negative by 2030, the drugmaker announced Jan. 22 at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
  • The drugmaker also plans to help its suppliers reduce emissions and figure out carbon removal options, since emissions from its partners are significantly larger than from its own operations.
  • AstraZeneca said it will invest as much as $1 billion to achieve "Ambition Zero Carbon."

Takeda to Outline Progress on Business Transformation and Priorities at the 38th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (Business Wire)

  • Recognizing that climate change poses a risk to human health, including the spread of infectious diseases, Takeda has made environmental efforts a priority.
  • Takeda intends to do this by eliminating all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations (Scopes 1 and 2), working with its suppliers to significantly reduce their emissions (Scope 3), and addressing remaining Scope 3 emissions through verified carbon offsets.

U.S. geoengineering research gets a lift with $4 million from Congress (Science)

  • The top climate change scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said he has received $4 million from Congress and permission from his agency to study two emergency—and controversial—methods to cool the Earth if the U.S. and other nations fail to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • David Fahey, director of the Chemical Sciences Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, told his staff yesterday that the federal government is ready to examine the science behind "geoengineering"—or what he dubbed a "Plan B" for climate change.
  • Research in both techniques, Fahey emphasized, are recommended in a forthcoming study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine titled "Climate Intervention Strategies that Reflect Sunlight to Cool Earth."

‘Blatant manipulation’: Trump administration exploited wildfire science to promote logging (Guardian)

  • Revealed: emails show Trump and appointees tried to craft a narrative that forest protection efforts are responsible for wildfires.
  • Political appointees at the interior department have sought to play up climate pollution from California wildfires while downplaying emissions from fossil fuels as a way of promoting more logging in the nation’s forests, internal emails obtained by the Guardian reveal.
  • The emails show officials seeking to estimate the carbon emissions from devastating 2018 fires in California so they could compare them to the carbon footprint of the state’s electricity sector and then publish statements encouraging cutting down trees.
  • The records offer a look behind the scenes at how Trump and his appointees have tried to craft a narrative that forest protection efforts are responsible for wildfires, including in California, even as science shows fires are becoming more intense largely because of climate change.

Lake Erie turns toxic every summer. Officials aren’t cracking down on the source. (PRI.org)

  • This story is part of a series by the Center for Public Integrity, Grist and The World about how our overuse of fertilizer harms the climate and endangers the public.
  • Even as toxic algae triggered no-drink orders in at least three more communities in 2018, data from the US Environmental Protection Agency shows just how much worse the problem could get: Nearly 150 public water systems in 33 states have reported spotting algae blooms near their intakes in reservoirs or other water sources since 2017, in many cases multiple times, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, Grist and The World.
  • And because nutrient pollution causes water bodies to emit more of a potent climate-warming gas — in part, it appears, because of the cyanobacteria themselves — there’s a dangerous vicious cycle at work.

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