Capital Region Climate News & Resources: March 23, 2020
As much of our public life is replaced by social distancing, we are deeply grateful to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in California. Thank you for tirelessly working to protect our health and the community. During these challenging times, the importance of community for resilience becomes ever more apparent, and neighborhood support groups and mutual aid groups are forming to support the elderly and vulnerable. The State of California is also compiling resources from a variety of agencies at a central clearinghouse, and California Department of Health is providing information about how to protect yourself and more.
On more positive news, our new member’s spotlight is showcasing GRID Alternatives North Valley (GRID), which champions energy equity by delivering no-cost clean energy technology solutions and pathways to clean energy careers in communities adversely impacted by social and environmental injustice. GRID Alternatives has been on the leading edge of creating access to clean energy technology and job training for low-income families and disadvantaged communities for more than a decade. Read more about the exciting work they do on our website.
Finally, we hope that all of you stay safe and take care of your health, both physical and mental, during these challenging times. The sea otter live cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium may bring a smile to your face.
Climate change has lessons for fighting the coronavirus
“Alarming levels of inaction.” That is what the World Health Organization said Wednesday about the global response to coronavirus. It is a familiar refrain to anyone who works on climate change, and it is why global efforts to slow down warming offer a cautionary tale for the effort to slow down the pandemic. “Both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Only in hindsight will we really understand what we gambled on and what we lost by not acting early enough.” (NYT)
Social distancing? You might be fighting climate change too
As the nation shifts abruptly into the fight against coronavirus, a question arises: could social isolation help reduce an individual’s production of GHGs and end up having unexpected consequences for climate change? (NYT)
What would happen if the world reacted to climate change like it’s reacting to the coronavirus?
In countries around the world, governments and citizens have been quick to change daily habits. The same hasn’t happened for the climate crisis. If the world was responding to climate change like it’s responding to the coronavirus—the level of urgency that the science says is necessary—things would look dramatically different. Governments would come up with the funds to build the infrastructure needed to fully roll out renewable energy. (Fast Company)
Why the coronavirus outbreak is terrible news for climate change
It would be a mistake to assume that the rapidly spreading virus, which has already killed thousands and forced millions into quarantine, will meaningfully reduce the dangers of climate change. The fear is that the highly contagious virus could complicate the challenges of climate change – which presents serious, if longer-term, threats of its own – at a point when it was crucial to make rapid strides. There are several ways this could happen. (MIT)
How Kaiser Permanente prepares for disasters
In 2017, as the Tubbs Fire made its dramatic and rapid assault on Santa Rosa, California, our doctors, nurses, and support staff faced the unimaginable task of evacuating the hospital. It was a job that many, if not most, of them never imagined doing in their careers. And yet, again this fall, wildfire threatened the facility. Both times we safely evacuated more than 120 patients and ensured care continuity under extreme duress. While it’s practice we wish we never had, these two emergencies have helped us build and prepare a resilient emergency response operation and this year’s evacuation demonstrated significant improvements; we were able to evacuate more efficiently and calmly. Here’s how we’ve refined these practices in two emergencies. (HBR)
Even fake snow failed in a record-warm winter linked to polar vortex and climate change
In New York’s Central Park, cherry trees put out their pale pink blooms in January — months ahead of schedule. Temperatures in Sweden were so high ski resorts couldn’t make artificial snow for their slopes. Snowplow operators in New Jersey had to go looking for landscaping work instead. And after one of the hottest, driest Februarys in state history, parched California is already ablaze. Across much of the Northern Hemisphere this year, winter was a shadow of its former self — and climate change is partly to blame. The season was the second-warmest on record for the globe as a whole — putting 2020 on track to be one of Earth’s top-10 hottest years. (Washington Post)
Heat Stress May Affect More Than 1.2 Billion People Annually by 2100
Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity will annually affect areas now home to 1.2 billion people by 2100, assuming current GHG emissions, according to a Rutgers study. That’s more than four times the number of people affected today, and more than 12 times the number who would have been affected without industrial-era global warming. Most climate studies on projected heat stress have focused on heat extremes but not considered the role of humidity, another key driver. “Every bit of global warming makes hot, humid days more frequent and intense. In New York City, for example, the hottest, most humid day in a typical year already occurs about 11 times more frequently than it would have in the 19th century,” said lead author Dawei Li. (Rutgers)
Want to stop climate change? Educate more girls
A growing body of evidence suggests that educating girls could have profound effects on containing climate change. When girls get an education, they make more money, which helps them guard against disaster, and have fewer children, which helps curb consumption, and therefore, pollution. Education also opens doors to science and government, institutions where women are desperately needed to help solve climate change. (Clean Technica)