Tag Archives: Pollution

EU high official proposes new 2030 goal to cut back emissions


The European Fee president is proposing to cut back Europe’s complete greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, a lot larger than the present objective of 40%

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s high official on Wednesday proposed a extra formidable goal for reducing greenhouse emissions in Europe, setting a discount objective of 55% by 2030, considerably larger than the present goal of 40%.

Talking within the European Parliament, EU Fee President Ursula Von der Leyen stated the brand new goal will probably be “an excessive amount of for some and never sufficient for others,” however ought to assist the 27-nation bloc obtain local weather neutrality by 2050.

“Our financial system and business can handle this, they usually need it, too,” Von der Leyen stated as she set out her priorities for the yr forward in her first State of the Union deal with to EU lawmakers.

EU leaders agreed final yr to make the bloc’s financial system carbon impartial by the center of the century.

Von der Leyen added that she needs 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus restoration fund adopted by EU nations this summer time to be spent on environmental aims, and that 30% of the fund ought to be raised by “inexperienced” bonds, whose proceeds are supposed to have a optimistic affect on the setting.

The EU additionally plans to dedicate 1 / 4 of its price range to tackling local weather change and to work to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in funding towards making the EU’s financial system extra environmentally pleasant over the following 10 years.

Based on the EU, its greenhouse gasoline emissions already decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2018, with the financial system rising by 61% in that interval.

World leaders agreed 5 years in the past in Paris to maintain world warming beneath 3.6 levels Fahrenheit, ideally not more than 2.7 F by the tip of the century. Scientists say nations will miss each of these targets by a large margin except drastic steps are taken to start reducing greenhouse gasoline emissions.


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Trump calls for slashing funding for toxic Superfund cleanup


President Donald Trump is calling for slashing funding for the country’s Superfund hazardous waste clean-ups

President Donald Trump called Monday for slashing funding for the Superfund hazardous waste program, even as the backlog of clean-ups has grown around the country for lack of money.

The $113 million in Superfund clean-up cuts are part of Trump’s proposal for a $2.4 billion, or 26%, cut in overall funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s in line with the president’s vow as a candidate to cut all but “little tidbits” of the environmental agency in a push to cut regulations he sees as unnecessarily burdensome to business.

Monday marked the fourth year where Trump has called for cuts nearing one-third of the environmental agency’s budget. Republicans and Democrats in Congress annually have overridden his proposal, keeping funding for the agency’s environmental and public health oversight roughly even.

Other major cuts for the EPA in Trump’s latest proposal include eliminating $66 million in funding for the Energy Star program — a popular program that lets consumers compare the energy efficiency of appliances — and for voluntary climate programs.

“These programs are not essential to EPA’s core mission and can be implemented by the private sector,” the budget says.

Trump and his EPA administrators have stressed Superfund clean-ups as one of their top environmental priorities.

However, as The Associated Press reported in January, the Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund clean-up projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, agency figures show.

The four-decade-old Superfund program is meant to tackle some of the most heavily contaminated sites in the U.S., which threaten the residents, wildlife and habitat around the sites with dangerous industry pollutants.

Trump’s proposal says the cut reflects that his administration is running the Superfund program more efficiently, and “challenges the agency to optimize the use of settlement funds for the cleanup actions” at those Superfund sites where a responsible company has been found to pay for the work.


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BP oil spill cash rebuilds eroded Louisiana pelican island


A Louisiana island that provides critical nesting habitat for pelicans and other seabirds is being restored to nearly its former size after decades of erosion and a crippling 2010 oil spill

A Louisiana island that provides a crucial nesting ground for pelicans and other seabirds is being restored to nearly its former size after decades of coastal erosion and the devastating blow of an offshore oil spill 10 years ago.

About 6,500 brown pelicans and 3,000 smaller seabirds cram their nests every summer onto Queen Bess Island, which shrank from 45 acres (18 hectares) in 1956 to about 5 acres (2 hectares) by 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon spill fouled its beaches with oily gunk.

Though barely a blip of an island off the Gulf of Mexico in Barataria Bay, Queen Bess plays an outsize role as one of Louisiana’s largest rookeries for brown pelicans, supplying prime real estate for up to a fifth of the state’s nests. It’s also where the pelican, the Louisiana state bird, was reintroduced in the 1960s after pesticides had killed off the entire population.

Loss of coastal wetlands and other problems have crowded the big birds into far fewer colonies than they had two decades ago, according to Todd Baker, the biologist supervising restoration work for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The number of colonies has fallen 54 percent since 2010, he said.

The $18 million to restore Queen Bess Island and funds for future monitoring and upkeep flow from a $20 billion settlement that the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states reached with energy giant BP PLC for environmental damage from the 2010 spill.

The offshore explosion and fire that year on BP’s leased drilling rig killed 11 people. The well spewed more than 100 million gallons (378 million liters) of oil into the water over 87 days.

When the oil reached the island about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of New Orleans, brown pelicans and other birds could be seen struggling, their wings weighed down by the black muck. About 1,000 died.

“This is the first time we’ve done any really large-scale restoration specifically for birds. And I can’t wait to see the results” as birds arrive, Baker said.

Under the restoration project, contractors for Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority have dredged up Mississippi River sand and pumped it inside two rock outlines. Those outlines were nearly all that remained of failed attempts in the 1990s to rebuild the island using silt dredged nearby. This time around they’re using barges to bring in the more stable sand. The authority also has built a line of rock breakwaters 75 to 95 feet (23 to 29 meters) from shore to slow erosion and provide calm water for young birds.

Once a mere strip of land, the island now covers 37 acres (15 hectares), providing much-needed space for the increasingly cramped birds. Most of the island is being restored as a pelican habitat, with 7 acres (2.8 hectares) for skimmers, terns and other birds that nest on rocks.

In recent years, Baker said, nests have been so jammed “you can’t hardly step on land without touching a nest.”

He said the crowding has made the island’s woody plants look like apartment houses, with nest above nest above nest: perhaps a laughing gull on the ground, an egret or roseate spoonbill in middle branches and a brown pelican nest at the top.

“It was cool to look at but not necessarily good for those birds,” Baker said.

In an assist to the birds, The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission designated the island a wildlife refuge in November. The commission is taking comments on rules that, among other things, forbid people from stepping on the island or fishing inside the breakwaters for eight months of the year.

Restoration work should be completed by a Feb. 15 deadline, Baker said. He added that remaining work includes creating ramps on which young birds that still can’t fly can walk in and out of the water.

Contractors also will plant about 24,000 woody plants for species such as night herons and egrets, as well as pelicans, to build their nests. Those are essentially 3-foot-high (1-meter-high) sticks, Baker said. He noted that while pelicans prefer nesting on scrub-shrubs, they can also build nests on grass or even bare ground. The ground-nesting terns, skimmers and gulls will probably use the expanses of bare sand between the plants as well as the rocky area created for them, he said.

Most important for Baker: Will pelicans return to the island where they built nests or were hatched? Five hundred were banded last year to help him and other conservationists answer that question.


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Lawsuit: EPA has dragged feet on oil spill dispersant rules


Environmental groups and women from Alaska and Louisiana are suing the Environmental Protection Agency, asking a federal court to make the agency set new rules for use of oil spill dispersants

Environmental groups and women from Alaska and Louisiana are asking a federal court to make the Environmental Protection Agency set new rules for use of oil spill dispersants, citing worries about the chemicals’ health and environmental effects.

“We want our foods to come to us. What’s going to happen to them if they come through these areas where dispersants are used?” said Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, who lives in a village on the Arctic Ocean, in a telephone interview. She’s a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in federal court in Washington, D.C.

An EPA spokeswoman in Washington, Maggie Sauerhage, said she was checking on the lawsuit.

Ahtuangaruak said people in her indigenous community depend on oily fish and fatty marine mammals for the energy they need to survive in an area where temperatures are often far below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius).

Ahtuangaruak said she began investigating dispersants after working as a health aide in Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow, following the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill. The hospital treated some people who had applied dispersant and blamed it for symptoms ranging from respiratory and skin disorders to fatigue and foggy thinking, she said.

The EPA’s current rules were last updated in 1994, five years after the tanker ran onto rocks in Prince William Sound. The agency made its proposed revisions public in January 2015 and received 81,000 comments, but has done little since then, according to the lawsuit.

“The EPA’s outdated response plan is increasingly dangerous as the Trump administration guts other rules aimed at preventing offshore oil spills,” Kristen Monsell, oceans program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a news release. “Deepwater Horizon was a wake-up call that current response methods only increase the destruction oil spills cause. The EPA’s delay in revising its rules, last updated in 1994, is increasing the harm to wildlife and public health.”

The center is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The introduction to the proposed rules says they are based on information learned from spills including the BP oil spill of 2010. It says they take into consideration “not only the efficacy but also the toxicity, long-term environmental impacts, endangered species protection, and human health concerns raised during responses to oil discharges, including the Deepwater Horizon blowout.”

That spill spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, starting in April 2010. Estimates of the amount varied widely; a judge set a figure of nearly 134 million gallons (507 million liters) for the purpose of levying penalties.

The Environmental Law Clinic at the University of California Berkeley is asking the court to rule that EPA violated federal law by dragging its heels, and to set a schedule for updating the rules. The clinic notified EPA in March and again in September that its clients would sue if rules were not completed within 60 days.

In addition, EPA has not provided any documents in response to a December 2018 freedom of information request for documents showing any progress since 2015, the suit states.

The current rules allow “open-ended” use of chemical dispersants in offshore oil spills, the lawsuit says. “However, overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that dispersants likely do more environmental harm than good, and generally exacerbate a spill’s ecological impact,” it alleges.

Terry C. Hazen, a professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a coauthor of “The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response” — a 364-page report published last year by the National Academy of Sciences — laughed when he heard that sentence.

“I guess everybody’s entitled to their opinion, especially if it’s in a lawsuit,” he said.

He said scientists who worked on the report generally considered that the dispersant used at the Deepwater Horizon wellhead and on the surface wasn’t harmful overall and “may have improved things.”

The Berkeley university law clinic represents Ahtuangaruak (ah-TOON-gah-rook), who lives in the Inupiat village of Nuiqsut (noo-IK-sut), Alaska; Kindra Arnesen of Buras (BYOO-ruhs), Louisiana; and several environmental groups. Those include Alaska Community Action on Toxics; Cook Inletkeeper, also from Alaska; and Earth Island Institute’s ALERT project, which is based in Berkeley. They have more recently been joined by the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson-based environmental nonprofit represented by one of its own lawyers.


Joling reported from Anchorage, Alaska.


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As wildfires get worse, smoke spreads, stokes health worries


PARADISE, Calif. —
First came the flames, a raging firestorm propelled by 50 mph (80 kph) wind gusts that incinerated Kelsey Norton’s house and killed 85 people in her community.

Then came the smoke — not just from the forest but also from some 14,000 houses and their contents that burned, generating a thick plume that enshrouded portions of Northern California for weeks and left Norton gasping.

And since the fire, more than a year now, it has been sickness: repeated respiratory infections that sap Norton’s strength, interfere with her work and leave the 30-year-old cardiac care nurse worried about future health problems.

“I don’t want to have cancer in my 50s because I inhaled smoke in my 30s,” she said.

The immediate toll of lives and property lost when a fire tore through the Sierra Nevada foothills town of Paradise, California in November 2018 is well documented. Still unknown is the long-term impact of the intense smoke exposure suffered by the tragedy’s survivors and the hundreds of thousands of people living in communities downwind of the blaze.

Increasingly intense wildfires are scorching forests from across the Western U.S. to Australia and stoking concern among residents and health professionals about long-term health impacts from smoke exposure.

The issue has far-reaching implications as climate change turns some regions of the globe drier and more prone to fires that send up smoke plumes that can travel thousands of miles and affect millions of people.

The unprecedented fires burning across Australia offer the most recent example as they blanket major cities with dangerous air pollution. Smoke from those fires, which started burning in September, by this week had spread across more than 7.7 million square miles (20 million square kilometers) and drifted across the Pacific Ocean to reach South America, according to the United Nation’s meteorological agency and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

Th e fires have torched more than 2,000 houses and killed at least 26 people. Authorities ordered new evacuations in New South Wales and the neighboring state of Victoria as rising temperatures and erratic winds on Friday threatened to fan dozens of blazes still burning out of control.

Both states issued hazardous air quality warnings for affected areas and said people with health problems should consider relocating until the smoke clears.

Compounding the danger, experts and firefighters say, is the proliferation of construction materials and household items made from petroleum-based plastics, ranging from plumbing pipes to exterior siding. Those burn hotter and generate smoke more toxic than wood does, exposing people to numerous hazardous chemicals.

Researchers and health officials are confident more people will get sick and many will die as regions such as the U.S. West see bigger, more intense wildfires.

An estimated 20,000 premature deaths now occur annually in the U.S. due to chronic wildfire smoke exposure. That’s expected to double by the end of the century, according to scientists funded by NASA, as tens of millions of people get exposed to massive “smoke waves” emanating from blazes in Western states.

But while those forecasts help illustrate the profound impacts of a warming climate, they can’t predict which fires will prove deadly and which individuals will develop lung ailments or other illnesses.

One of relatively few long-term studies on the issue is under way at the California National Primate Research Center. Fifty rhesus monkeys living in outdoor pens year-round were exposed to a prolonged period of wildfire smoke as infants in 2008. They’ve developed lungs 20% smaller than another group of monkeys born a year later, researchers found.

“It’s the closest animal model to replicate what happens with kids,” said Lisa Miller, the center’s associate director of research.

The difference first showed up when the animals were adolescents, and has continued as they’ve matured. It’s impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish the smoke-exposed monkeys from hundreds of others that share their pens, but Miller’s team next plans to investigate how the decreased lung function affects activity levels of the monkeys.

As the animals age, any diseases they develop and how they die would give clues into the fate of humans heavily exposed to smoke.

Studies of wildland firefighters also give insights into the risks of smoke inhalation. They’ve shown significantly higher rates of lung cancer and death from heart disease, said Michael Kleinman, who researches the health effects of air pollution and is a professor of environmental toxicology at the University of California, Irvine.

Firefighters get much higher and more frequent doses of smoke, but Kleinman said a proportional increase in illnesses could be expected among the general public exposed to wildfire smoke across California and the West.

“It’s safe to say there will probably more effects at the long-term level,” Kleinman said. “Especially if those events happened over a longer period of time or more repeatedly, there will be cumulative damage to the lung and heart which eventually will lead to chronic disease.”

As she fled with her boyfriend ahead of the fire that destroyed Paradise on the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, Norton said the smoke was so thick “it was like midnight.”

A few days later, she went back to work at a hospital in Chico, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) miles from Paradise. But smoke from the still-burning fire had made it inside the facility.

There weren’t enough face masks to go around so Norton said she went without one for several days.

Initially she felt just a bit wheezy, as she had during the last major fire in the area about a decade earlier. But two weeks later she came down with a respiratory infection that brought fever and severe congestion.

When that finally cleared, she got another, then another — eight or nine infections in all over the past year.

“I just want to break this cycle of sickness,” she said.

Norton says she never smoked, nor did her parents, and never had any respiratory issues prior to the fire. She missed so much work in the months after the fire that she got a warning from a supervisor.

To try to keep from getting sick, she rinses out her sinuses regularly and takes antihistamines to reduce inflammation in her airways. She also avoids large gatherings, including skipping office parties and two weddings, out of fear that she could pick up a virus. She tries to eat healthy and reduce stress by seeing a counselor.

Norton has been to a pulmonologist and two ear nose and throat doctors to little avail, and has been referred to a sinus specialist at Stanford University for further testing.

The pulmonologist who initially treated her, Dinesh Verma, said he sees a “direct correlation” between Norton’s smoke exposure and her subsequent health struggles.

“The logical explanation definitely would be that intense smoke, basically chemical exposure, did damage the airways to the extent that they’re now more susceptible” to infection, Verma said.

Verma said virtually all of his hundreds of patients from Chico and Paradise had complications after the fire that required them to be hospitalized or treated.

Most had preexisting conditions such as asthma and needed only a trigger to send them into a downward spiral. Predicting what will happen with otherwise-healthy patients like Norton is more difficult, he said.

Norton is among about 9,000 people who responded to a health survey as part of a long-term health study of smoke exposure in Paradise and other California communities. The work is led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, who plan to track the lung health of a small number of those respondents in coming years by measuring their breathing capacity.

They’re also collaborating with Williams at the primate center to see if the decline seen in the rhesus monkeys has parallels for human infants.

Dr. Nicholas Kenyon, a pulmonologist involved in the effort, said determining the health effects of smoke is increasingly urgent given the region’s burgeoning population and more frequent fires due to climate change.

“We’ve got the population affected right now, but it’s not going to be isolated to us. This is going to be the entire West,” Kenyon said. “Nobody’s been really inhaling this kind of stuff from structures until now.”

Another participant in the UC Davis study, 64-year-old Elizabeth Watling, lives in Chico and remained there through the fire so she could look after her 94-year-old aunt. She recalls smoke so thick that it left a layer of ash all over town, gray and light as snow. The air remained heavily polluted until it rained more than two weeks later.

When she gardens or does other outdoor activities, Watling wears a mask because her throat has become so easily irritated by dust. She fiddles with it often, taking the mask on and off to talk, and wonders how effective it will be since she can fit her fingers through gaps along her cheeks.

The health issues Watling blames on the smoke are less severe than Norton’s — a scratchy throat that won’t go away, coughs that linger, shortness of breath.

She expected those to go away but they haven’t. Watling now figures that, given her age, she won’t ever fully recover and the smoke could shave years off her life.

“I don’t think the news is good for me,” she said.


Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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Traders get misplaced in Huge Oil’s carbon accounting maze


LONDON (Reuters) – Large variations in the best way oil corporations report their efforts to cut back carbon emissions make it troublesome to evaluate the danger of holding their shares because the world shifts away from fossil fuels, senior fund managers say.

FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks work at sundown close to Midland, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jessica Lutz/Recordsdata

Traders have poured cash into so-called sustainable funds, which take note of corporations’ environmental, social, authorized and different requirements, and funds are below strain from their clients and authorities to make these requirements sturdy.

Fund managers are additionally making use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards extra extensively in conventional investments to assist them decide how corporations will fare over the long run.

There’s a rising realization that some corporations’ income will shrink quicker than others as governments prioritize low-carbon vitality to satisfy the U.N.-backed Paris settlement’s objective of slicing emissions to “web zero” by the top of the century.

However oil and fuel corporations are among the many largest dividend payers, and main funds are reluctant to divest from them, arguing that by staying in they’re in a greater place to strain corporations to enhance.

“Do buyers have the information that we want? No, I don’t assume we’ve got the information that we want in any respect,” mentioned Nick Stansbury, funding strategist at British insurer Authorized & Common’s funding administration unit, Britain’s largest asset supervisor with round $1.three trillion below administration.

“Disclosure just isn’t essentially so we will search to vary the numbers, however so we will begin understanding and pricing the dangers,” Stansbury mentioned.


There are a lot of voluntary initiatives and frameworks to unify carbon accounting and goal setting; some overlap however none have been universally adopted. Additional tasks exist for different greenhouse gases reminiscent of methane.

The Greenhouse Fuel Protocol is one such set of requirements, established by non-governmental organizations and industrial teams within the 1990s.

Corporations can report their progress according to these requirements by way of non-profit CDP, previously often called the Carbon Disclosure Challenge, which then ranks them. Norway’s Equinor comes first in its listing of 24 oil main corporations, however not all of them report in yearly.

(GRAPHIC: Huge oil rating by the CDP – right here)

There’s additionally the Job Drive on Local weather associated Monetary Disclosures (TCFD), created by the G20’s Monetary Stability Board, in addition to business our bodies, in-house fashions at oil companies and banks and third-party verifiers and consultants.

“There are a thousand methods to Paris,” London-based BP’s Chief Govt Bob Dudley mentioned at a Chatham Home occasion earlier this yr referring to the 2015 accord aiming to maintain world warming properly beneath 2 levels.

BP Finance Chief Brian Gilvary advised Reuters BP would welcome extra consistency inside the sector to indicate what oil corporations are doing about emissions and that an business physique, the Oil and Fuel Local weather Initiative (OGCI), was discussing carbon accounting.

A plethora of third celebration ESG verifier corporations had been rising with various methods of measuring ESG metrics, he mentioned, including that some such companies would say to an oil firm, “We consider your rating is that this, and, by the best way, in case you spend $50,000 we’ll present you how one can enhance that rating.”

UBS, with $831 billion of invested property, has $2 billion in its Local weather Conscious passive fairness technique, which is partly primarily based on an organization’s emissions reporting.

In that technique “we tilt in the direction of corporations which are higher acting on a spread of local weather metrics and away from corporations that don’t carry out so properly on this respect,” Francis Condon, govt director for sustainable investing, mentioned.

“We don’t need to be accused of greenwashing or falling for it,” he mentioned, including that UBS commonly inspired corporations to organize for the local weather transition.

Utilizing a broad measure, world sustainable funding reached $30.1 trillion the world over’s 5 main markets on the finish of 2018, in keeping with the World Sustainable Funding Assessment. This equates to between 1 / 4 and half of all property below administration, as a consequence of various estimates of that determine.

Condon mentioned most buyers had been nonetheless extra centered on returns than wider sustainability standards however had been changing into involved that corporations could expose them to potential future climate-related monetary losses.

“There’s a very restricted urge for food for giving up efficiency for increased ESG. The query is extra: is administration taking over dangers it will possibly’t handle?”

To attempt to reply that query, the world’s largest monetary service suppliers are investing in corporations which offer ESG-related information.

This yr alone, Moody’s purchased Vigeo Eiris and 4 Twenty Seven, MSCI purchased Carbon Delta and the London Inventory Trade purchased Past Scores. S&P acquired Trucost in 2016.

Impartial local weather threat advisors Engaged Monitoring say they attracted two-thirds of their purchasers previously yr. All six corporations present information, assessments and consulting on the local weather publicity of corporations or bonds.


A central difficulty, mentioned at European oil majors’ shareholder conferences this yr, is how they cope with the emissions attributable to the merchandise they promote, reminiscent of gasoline or kerosene, that are often called Scope three emissions.

(GRAPHIC: Oil Majors’ Carbon emissions – right here)

Such emissions are usually round six occasions bigger than the mixed emissions from oil corporations’ direct operations and energy provide, also referred to as Scope 1 and a couple of emissions, in keeping with Reuters calculations.

Even when an organization publishes Scope three information, there are 15 completely different classes primarily based on the Greenhouse Fuel Protocol. These embrace use of bought merchandise reminiscent of gasoline alongside secondary elements reminiscent of enterprise journey or worker commuting.

Constantine Pretenteris at Engaged Monitoring mentioned some corporations achieved a excessive rating for comprehensiveness by disclosing information for a lot of the Scope three classes, however omitted the important thing ones, reminiscent of emissions from use of their gasoline.

“We’d like to see a basic commonplace which makes comparisons straightforward,” Sven Reinke of Moody’s mentioned. “It doesn’t totally exist as of late.”


The vast majority of climate-related targets are primarily based on depth measures, which suggests absolute emissions can rise with rising manufacturing, even when the headline depth metric falls.

Complete recorded Scope three emissions from the world’s high public oil corporations are nonetheless rising, largely as a consequence of rising oil and fuel output, in keeping with Reuters calculations primarily based on information carried on Refinitiv’s Eikon platform and firm web sites.

They confirmed mixed Scope three emissions recorded by BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips’, Chevron, Eni, Complete, Equinor and Repsol rose round 1.6% over 2018, after a 1% related rise the earlier yr.

Particular person figures differ in keeping with the metrics an organization chooses to incorporate. Conoco mentioned its Scope three emissions had fallen 5%, whereas the opposite corporations’ particular person recorded Scope three emissions both rose or stayed roughly the identical.

Requested for remark, BP and Chevron pointed to absolute targets associated to their very own operations. Complete pointed to progress it had made in the direction of decreasing emissions depth per unit produced. Shell and Repsol referred to their short-term intensity-based targets and Equinor mentioned it couldn’t take accountability for emissions it doesn’t management.

U.S. agency Exxon didn’t reply to a request for remark. Eni had no fast remark.

Prime oil corporations have boosted funding in renewable vitality and low-carbon know-how lately, notably in Europe, however a lot larger sums are nonetheless going into growing oil and fuel.

“We can not change the patterns of consumption world wide – we can not make individuals fly much less. We are able to cut back the carbon depth of the merchandise we promote,” Shell Chief Govt Ben van Beurden mentioned in June.

Mark Lewis from BNP Paribas and a member of TCFD, mentioned total cuts had been what would depend ultimately. Repsol is at present the one main oil firm to have set absolute discount targets for all its output.

“The Paris Settlement is all a few carbon price range and that’s an absolute quantity. It’s not an depth quantity,” Lewis mentioned. “The environment works by way of absolutes not depth.”

Within the meantime, some buyers are avoiding oil corporations which others say needs to be supported for going additional than a lot of their friends.

London-based funding administration agency Sarasin & Companions mentioned in June it was promoting down its stake in Shell as a result of its spending plans had been out of synch with worldwide local weather targets.

Requested for remark, Shell pointed to feedback from representatives of the pension funds of the Church of England and Britain’s authorities Surroundings company, which praised the corporate’s transparency and mentioned others ought to comply with its lead.

(GRAPHIC: European Carbon costs – right here)

Modifying by Philippa Fletcher

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.


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Massive Tech’s eco-pledges aren’t slowing its pursuit of Massive Oil


Worker activism and outdoors strain have pushed massive tech firms like Amazon, Microsoft and Google into promising to slash their carbon emissions. However there’s one other factor these tech giants aren’t slicing: Their rising enterprise ties to the oil and gasoline business.

When Microsoft held an all-staff assembly in September, an worker requested CEO Satya Nadella if it was moral for the corporate to be promoting its cloud computing companies to fossil gasoline firms, in response to two different Microsoft staff who described the trade on situation they not be named. Such partnerships, the employee instructed Nadella, have been accelerating the oil firms’ greenhouse gasoline emissions.

Microsoft and different tech giants have been competing with each other to strike profitable partnerships with ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and different vitality companies, in lots of circumstances supplying them not simply with distant information storage but in addition synthetic intelligence instruments for pinpointing higher drilling spots or dashing up refinery manufacturing.

The oil and gasoline business is spending roughly $20 billion every year on cloud companies, which accounts for about 10% of the whole cloud market, in response to Vivek Chidambaram, a managing director of Accenture’s vitality consultancy. It isn’t but clear whether or not the extraction business is getting its cash’s value, though specialists stay bullish concerning the utility of superior expertise to grease and gasoline exploration.

Nadella sought to assuage worker issues on the September 12 assembly, first by reiterating Microsoft’s inside efforts on environmental sustainability, in response to the employees, who requested for anonymity as a result of they feared retaliation for talking about an inside assembly. The staff mentioned Nadella additionally defended Microsoft’s vitality companions, stating their investments in researching and creating extra sustainable vitality manufacturing strategies.

“There is not any fossil gasoline CEO who sits there and says, ‘You realize, I am simply gonna deny local weather change,'” Nadella mentioned, in response to the staff’ transcript of his remarks. “If something, they’re all saying, ‘Allow us to have, in actual fact, the regulation, the pricing mechanisms that get us to this future.'”

Microsoft mentioned in an emailed assertion Tuesday that it’s “centered on serving to firms of all types develop into extra environment friendly, together with vitality firms.” It declined to touch upon Nadella’s remarks, which have been a part of a recurrently scheduled “all-hands” gathering wherein the CEO welcomes questions on a spread of matters.

Lower than every week after that trade and days earlier than a deliberate worldwide protest over local weather change , Microsoft introduced one more main deal for its Azure cloud computing platform — this time with Chevron and oilfield companies big Schlumberger. The timing of the announcement forward of the local weather protest and United Nations local weather motion conferences angered some environmentally-minded Microsoft staff and caught the eye of outsiders.

“It’s unconscionable that amid international local weather protests, tech giants like Microsoft are asserting main partnerships with Massive Oil,” mentioned Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, in a tweet that coincided with the September 20 international local weather strike . “We should maintain them accountable, demand they break ties with the fossil gasoline business, and transfer quickly to sustainable vitality.”

Echoing that message was a small group of Microsoft staff who carried cardboard indicators to a lunchtime protest that day exterior of Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. “No Azure For Oil,” mentioned one of many indicators.

After months of worker activism, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos mentioned he was pushing his firm to the forefront on sustainability, committing it to have 100% of its vitality use come from photo voltaic panels and different renewable vitality by 2030. However he additionally defended Amazon’s work with the oil and gasoline business , arguing that “we have to assist them as a substitute of vilify them.”

Some specialists say AI and cloud companies might truly play a job in curbing emissions.

Denying cloud computing companies to the oil and gasoline business would do little to handle the larger downside of the world’s ongoing dependence on fossil fuels, mentioned Aseem Prakash, director of the Heart for Environmental Politics on the College of Washington.

“We’d not wish to collapse the fossil gasoline business,” Prakash mentioned. “We’d desire a tender touchdown.”

If something, he mentioned, an oil firm’s shift to a different firm’s cloud platform could have some environmental advantages as a result of it’s extra environment friendly than working its digital operations by itself servers. Driving down prices might additionally assist open the door to investments in different, much less polluting strategies for producing vitality.

It is much less clear whether or not AI is mitigating air pollution or worsening it. Of their pitches to work with oil and gasoline firms, cloud suppliers resembling Amazon and Microsoft have boasted of superior machine-learning instruments that may sift by big troves of geologic and seismic information to assist make choices about the place to extract sources. IDC oil analyst Gaurav Verma mentioned AI is a important expertise for oil and gasoline firms that wish to study from that information to review oil reservoirs or predict when upkeep is required on a pipeline.

Earlier this 12 months, ExxonMobil struck a deal to faucet into Microsoft’s expertise to capitalize on the shale oil growth in Texas and New Mexico. Microsoft has mentioned that real-time information collected from a area spanning a whole bunch of miles would allow ExxonMobil “to make quicker and higher choices” on drilling and effectively completion and help manufacturing development by as a lot as 50,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day by 2025.

An unsigned assertion from Microsoft’s protesting staff mentioned they have been “made complicit” by the corporate’s position in warming the planet.

“Microsoft makes tens of millions of {dollars} in income by serving to fossil gasoline firms extract extra oil,” the assertion mentioned.

Nevertheless it’s not clear if tech giants are literally serving to that a lot — partly as a result of they could be overstating their very own position in remodeling Massive Oil with AI.

“The sundae they’re promoting is the cloud,” mentioned Chidambaram, the Accenture analyst. “The cherries they’re placing on it’s the analytics.”

Chidambaram mentioned that is as a result of oil industries are nonetheless cagey about sharing what they find out about underground reserves and don’t need third events analyzing that information.

Chidambaram mentioned in the long term, nonetheless, AI might truly assist meet local weather targets. For instance, machines that may seize higher information and shortly analyze it might additionally assist detect and cut back the leakage of methane from wells and pipelines, a major contributor to greenhouse gasoline emissions.

“Knowledge can be utilized in some ways,” he mentioned. “It is about the way it’s getting used.”


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‘I desire a future’: International youth protests urge local weather motion


Younger folks afraid for his or her futures protested across the globe Friday to implore leaders to deal with local weather change, turning out by the tons of of hundreds to insist that the warming world cannot wait any longer.

Marches, rallies and demonstrations have been held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape City to New York. Greater than 100,000 turned out in Berlin.

Days earlier than a U.N. local weather summit of world leaders, the “International Local weather Strike” occasions have been as small as two dozen activists in Seoul utilizing LED flashlights to ship Morse code messages and as massive as mass demonstrations in Australia that organizers estimated have been the nation’s largest because the Iraq Conflict started in 2003.

“You might be main the best way within the pressing race towards the local weather disaster,” U.N. Secretary Normal António Guterres wrote in a message to the younger protesters on Twitter. “You might be on the best aspect of historical past. Hold pushing us to do the best factor.”

In New York, the place public colleges excused college students with parental permission, tens of hundreds of largely younger folks marched by decrease Manhattan, briefly shutting down some streets.

“Sorry I am unable to clear my room, I am busy saving the world,” one protester’s signal declared.

1000’s marched to the Capitol in Washington, together with 15-year-old highschool sophomore A.J. Conermann.

“Principally, our earth is dying, and if we do not do one thing about it, we die,” Conermann mentioned.

1000’s packed the streets round Seattle’s Metropolis Corridor, following a march the place tech staff from Amazon and Google joined college students demanding an finish to fossil gasoline use.

Demonstrations got here in smaller cities as effectively. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who lately deserted his climate-focused presidential run, addressed a rally in Spokane, and a crowd chanted contained in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.

“It is actually unbelievable and actually startling to know the way little time we’ve to reverse the harm,” mentioned Maris Maslow-Shields, a highschool scholar from Santa Rosa, California, who marched in San Francisco.

In Paris, youngsters and children as younger as 10 traded lecture rooms for the streets. Marie-Lou Sahai, 15, skipped college as a result of “the one solution to make folks hear is to protest.”

The demonstrations have been partly impressed by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly “Fridays for Future” demonstrations for a 12 months, urging world leaders to step up efforts towards local weather change.

“It is such a victory,” Thunberg advised The Related Press in an interview in New York. “I might by no means have predicted or believed that this was going to occur, and so quick — and solely in 15 months.”

Thunberg spoke at a rally later Friday and was anticipated to take part in a U.N. Youth Local weather Summit on Saturday and communicate on the U.N. Local weather Motion Summit with international leaders on Monday.

“They’ve this chance to do one thing, and they need to take that,” she mentioned. “And in any other case, they need to really feel ashamed.”

The world has warmed about 1 diploma Celsius (1.eight Fahrenheit) since earlier than the Industrial Revolution, and scientists have attributed greater than 90 % of the rise to emissions of heat-trapping gases from fuel-burning and different human exercise.

Scientists have warned that international warming will topic Earth to rising seas and extra warmth waves, droughts, storms and flooding, a few of which have already manifested themselves.

Local weather change has made record-breaking warmth twice as doubtless as record-setting chilly temperatures over the previous 20 years within the contiguous U.S., in keeping with Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration knowledge.

Nations around the globe recommitted at a 2015 summit in Paris to carry warming to lower than 2 levels Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) greater than pre-industrial-era ranges by the tip of this century, and so they added a extra formidable purpose of limiting the rise to 1.5 C (2.7F).

However U.S. President Donald Trump subsequently introduced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the settlement, which he mentioned benefited different nations on the expense of American companies and taxpayers.

Trump referred to as international warming a “hoax” earlier than changing into president. He has since mentioned he is “not denying local weather change” however is just not satisfied it is man-made or everlasting.

New York protester Pearl Seidman, 13, hoped the demonstration would inform the Trump administration “that if they cannot be adults, we will be adults. As a result of somebody must do it.” At the very least one Trump supporter waved a big “Trump 2020” flag because the demonstrators marched in Manhattan.

In Florida, highschool college students shouted “Miami is below assault” in Miami Seaside, the place some fearful about shedding their houses to rising water. On the West Coast, student-led protests drew in some Google and Amazon staff.

Amazon, which ships greater than 10 billion objects a 12 months, vowed Thursday to chop its use of fossil fuels, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai advised the Monetary Instances in a narrative printed Friday that eliminating the corporate’s carbon emissions by 2030 didn’t appear “unreasonable.”

Friday’s demonstrations began in Australia, the place organizers estimated 300,000 protesters marched in 110 cities and cities, together with Sydney and the nationwide capital, Canberra. Demonstrators referred to as for his or her nation, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid pure fuel, to take extra drastic motion to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions.

Performing Prime Minister Michael McCormack — filling in whereas Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on a state go to to the USA — mentioned Australia was already taking motion to chop emissions. McCormack referred to as the local weather rallies “a disruption” that ought to have been held on a weekend to keep away from inconveniences.

Many center colleges in largely coal-reliant Poland gave college students the break day so they might take part within the rallies in Warsaw and different cities. President Andrzej Duda joined college college students choosing up trash in a forest. German police mentioned greater than 100,000 folks gathered in entrance of Berlin’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, close to the place Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cupboard thrashed out the ultimate particulars of a 54 billion euro ($60 billion) plan to curb Germany’s greenhouse fuel emissions .

1000’s of schoolchildren and their grownup supporters demonstrated in London exterior the British Parliament. The British authorities mentioned it endorsed the protesters’ message however didn’t condone skipping college — a stance that didn’t sit effectively with a number of the younger protesters.

“If politicians have been taking the suitable motion we want and had been taking this motion a very long time in the past when it was acknowledged the world was altering in a unfavourable manner, then I might not need to be skipping college,” mentioned Jessica Ahmed, a 16-year-old London scholar.

In Helsinki, the Finnish capital, a person dressed as Santa Claus stood exterior parliament holding an indication: “My home is on hearth, my reindeer cannot swim.”

Smaller protests came about in Asia, together with in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and India. Within the Afghan capital of Kabul, an armored personnel service was deployed to guard about 100 younger folks as they marched, led by a gaggle of a number of younger ladies carrying a banner emblazoned with “Fridays for Future.”

“We all know warfare can kill a gaggle of individuals,” mentioned Fardeen Barakzai, one of many organizers. “The issue in Afghanistan is our leaders are combating for energy, however the true energy is in nature.”


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Examine finds air air pollution reaches placenta throughout being pregnant


A brand new research suggests when a pregnant lady breathes in air air pollution, it will probably journey past her lungs to the placenta that guards her fetus.

Air pollution composed of tiny particles from automobile exhaust, manufacturing unit smokestacks and different sources is harmful to everybody’s well being, and through being pregnant it has been linked to untimely births and low beginning weight. However scientists do not perceive why, one thing that might have an effect on care for girls in extremely polluted areas. One idea is that the particles lodge in mother’s lungs and set off doubtlessly dangerous irritation.

Tuesday, Belgian researchers reported one other chance, that any danger is likely to be extra direct.

A novel scanning approach noticed a kind of particle air pollution — sootlike black carbon — on placentas donated by 28 new moms, they reported in Nature Communications.

The placenta nourishes a growing fetus and tries to dam damaging substances within the mom’s bloodstream. The Hasselt College workforce discovered the particles amassed on the aspect of the placenta closest to the fetus, close to the place the umbilical wire emerges.

That is not proof the soot truly crossed the placenta to achieve the fetus — or that it is liable for any ailing results, cautioned Dr. Yoel Sadovsky of the College of Pittsburgh Medical Middle, a number one placenta professional who wasn’t concerned with the brand new analysis.

And it is a small research.

Nonetheless, “simply discovering it on the placenta is vital,” Sadovsky stated. “The following query can be how a lot of those black carbon particles must be there to trigger harm.”

Scientists already had some clues from animal research that particles might attain the placenta, however Tuesday’s research is a primary with human placentas. The Belgian researchers developed a approach to scan placenta samples utilizing ultra-short pulses from a laser that made the black carbon particles flash a brilliant white mild, so that they may very well be measured.

The researchers included placentas from 10 moms who lived in areas with excessive air pollution and 10 others from low areas. The upper the publicity to air pollution, the extra particles the researchers counted within the placentas.

“Because the fetal organs are below full improvement, this may need some well being dangers,” stated Hasselt atmosphere and public well being specialist Tim Nawrot, the research’s senior writer. He’s doing further analysis to attempt to inform.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely liable for all content material. 


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Digital actuality used to focus on uranium contamination


Activists are utilizing digital actuality expertise to give attention to areas of the Navajo Nation affected by uranium contamination.

The humanities collective Bombshelltoe has collected 360-degree footage of land close to Churchrock, New Mexico, to indicate how folks and the land have modified since a 1979 uranium mill spill, the Gallup Unbiased stories .

The movie, titled “Methods of Figuring out,” was directed by artist Kayla Briet.

The undertaking began 4 years in the past after Washington, D.C.-based nuclear coverage program supervisor Pretty Umayam met Navajo activist Sunny Dooley at an occasion in Santa Fe. Filmmaker Adriel Luis can also be a co-producer of the film.

“Sunny requested us throughout this assembly, ‘The place is your coronary heart?’ And it caught my – together with everybody else’s – consideration,” Umayam mentioned.

In 1979, a dam on the Navajo Nation close to Church Rock broke at a uranium mill’s evaporation pond, releasing 94 million gallons (356 million liters) of radioactive waste into the Puerco River.

It was the biggest unintended launch of radioactive materials in United States historical past and thrice the radiation launched on the Three Mile Island accident.

The radiation contaminated not solely water however the meals chain. Cattle in western New Mexico later confirmed greater ranges of radiation.

Dooley, who lives in Chi Chil Tah, New Mexico, mentioned she has felt the direct results of the massive spill that went down the Rio Puerco and contaminated the water and soil in her group.

Throughout a latest presentation of the digital actuality footage, Dooley talked about her day by day lifetime of not having the ability to have working water in her dwelling as a result of it’s contaminated. “I’ve to come back to Gallup to get my water and take it again dwelling,” she mentioned.

Umayam mentioned the group wished to make use of the brand new expertise of digital actuality with the tales to deliver a real expertise and present the affect of uranium mining.

She mentioned the undertaking is near being completed, however with each presentation they get extra info and make tweaks to the system.


This story has been up to date to say that the movie is titled “Methods of Figuring out” and was made by artist Kayla Briet. The story additionally has been revised to say that the footage is of land close to Churchrock, New Mexico.


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