Going Faster in Both Directions


Going Faster in Both Directions

Once again it’s been a few weeks since I sent you my report on what’s going on.  Busy with grandsons and traveling. But the news and the message is pretty much the same.  

The climate gets hotter.  The weather gets worse.  Both, faster and faster and more quickly than the experts predicted.  

And progress towards transformation speeds up and is happening at a more rapid pace than was though possible or probable.  

Let’s start with the UN IPCC report.

IPCC: For climate goals, it’s ‘now or never’

The new report makes it clear: Reducing emissions swiftly enough to meet the Paris goals is a feat requiring a colossal, coordinated international effort.

Avatar of Chelsea Harvey


Seawater engulfs the church of Pariahan village north of Manila in the Philippines.

Seawater engulfs the church of Pariahan village north of Manila in the Philippines.Jes Aznar/Getty Images

GREENWIRE | For decades, the key to halting climate change has been clear: The world must reduce net greenhouse gas emissions down to zero. Now, a comprehensive new U.N. climate report summarizes years of studies from climate scientists, social scientists, economists, energy experts, policy specialists and others on how to make that happen.

Its findings are stark: Tackling climate change requires a fundamental overhaul of nearly all aspects of human life. Everything — from the ways societies produce their electricity and power their transportation to the ways they build their cities, manufacture their goods and grow their food — is part of the solution.

Meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords is still possible, the reportnotes. But it requires rapid, immediate and urgent action.

These conclusions were published today by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on climate research.

“The IPCC report before us today is powerful evidence that we have the great potential to mitigate climate change,” said Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, at a virtual presentation of the findings today. “We are at a crossroads. This is the time for action. We have the tools and know-how to limit warming and secure a livable future.”

Pretty stark warning.  But  you know all this.  The barrier is the will, worldwide, to make the changes necessary and of which we are capable.  The US needs to lead the way and show that the transformation can be done and that doing so is a win win for almost everyone.  The consequences of not doing this are so very frightening.  We’re seeing a hint of what is coming already.  Here are some early warning signals.


Ice Shelf Collapses in Previously Stable East Antarctica

The collapse, captured by satellite images, marked the first time in human history that the frigid region had an ice shelf collapse.




CLIMATEWIRE | An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica, an area long thought to be stable and not hit much by climate change, concerned scientists said Friday.

The collapse, captured by satellite images, marked the first time in human history that the frigid region had an ice shelf collapse. It happened at the beginning of a freakish warm spell last week when temperatures soared more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal in some spots of East Antarctica. Satellite photos show the area had been shrinking rapidly the last couple of years, and now scientists wonder if they have been overestimating East Antarctica’s stability and resistance to global warming that has been melting ice rapidly on the smaller western side and the vulnerable peninsula.

The ice shelf, about 460 square miles wide holding in the Conger and Glenzer glaciers from the warmer water, collapsed between March 14 and 16, said ice scientist Catherine Walker of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. She said scientists have never seen this happen in this part of the continent, making it worrisome.

“The Glenzer Conger ice shelf presumably had been there for thousands of years, and it’s not ever going to be there again,” said University of Minnesota ice scientist Peter Neff.

The issue isn’t the amount of ice lost in this collapse, Neff and Walker said. That is negligible. It’s more about where it happened.

Neff said he worries that previous assumptions about East Antarctica’s stability may not be correct. And that’s important because if the water frozen in East Antarctica melted — and that’s a millennia-long process if not longer — it would raise seas across the globe more than 160 feet. It’s more than five times the ice in the more vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet, where scientists have concentrated much of their research.

Civilians were largely left to rescue one another as a natural disaster struck Australia. It shows how the authorities are struggling to respond to climate-fueled calamities.

March 24, 2022

As climate change increases the frequency and size of natural disasters, governments around the world are struggling to scale up their responses to match. That has been especially apparent in Australia, which experienced catastrophic flooding over the past few weeks along its eastern coast, just two years after the country’s worst bush fire season ever.


Endless Summer: Little Snow Left in California, Officials Say

As of April 1, statewide snowpack stood at just 38 percent of the average for that date.




CLIMATEWIRE | Little snow remains in California, officials say — another sign the state could face a dry and dangerous summer.

The California Department of Water Resources announced Friday that the amount of statewide snowpack had fallen to just 38 percent of the average for that date.

As if to underscore the point, California officials stood on browning grass after a snow survey Friday in the South Lake Tahoe area. In that location, the only patch of snow available to measure was 2.5 inches deep, while the snowpack in a normal season should be about 5 feet deep, said Sean de Guzman, a California Department of Water Resources forecasting manager.

January through March were the driest months in more than 100 years of recorded history for the Sierra Nevada mountain range, he said.

Remember that this low level of snow pack not only has implications for fires but will have a devastating impact on farming.  California produces so much food and without the snowmelt the crop yields are going to suffer.  The other impact is that with spring coming earlier and being hotter, the snow that does melt is doing so earlier and not when the crops need the water.  

Nebraska and Colorado Are Fighting Over Water After 99 Years of Sharing Rights

Fearing development in Colorado, Nebraska plans canal to lay claim to water from South Platte River before its neighbor uses it up

A view of the South Platte River from the main bridge into Julesburg, Colo JOE BARRETT/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

By Joe Barrett

Mar. 21, 2022 


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced plans in January to build a canal into Colorado to drain water from the South Platte several miles upstream from Julesburg, which is allowed under a 1923 agreement between the states. The $500 million project, consisting of some 60 miles of canals and several reservoirs, would be one of the biggest nonfederal interstate water infrastructure projects in decades…

Western states have been fighting over water since at least the start of the 20th century, and those fights are only intensifying amid rising populations and as climate change reduces snow and rainfall, said Reed D. Benson, director of the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Because of its abundance of snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is a prime source of water in the West. It has signed nine compacts with other states over the years to define how much water it can use and how much it must let flow downstream to neighbors.


European Drought Intensified Faster Than Any Event Since 1766

A scorching drought that lasted from 2018 to 2020 was driven by heat related to human-caused climate change.



U.K. wheat harvest.

Wheat being harvested in Canterbury, England, amid historic drought conditions in 2020. The harvest was one of the smallest in 40 years. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

CLIMATEWIRE | A long-lasting drought that scorched much of Europe between 2018 and 2020 was one of the continent’s most remarkable climate events in more than two centuries, according to a new study.

Not only was it one of the most intense droughts the region has seen in recent history, but it intensified faster than any major drought in at least 250 years…

That’s a big threat to global food security, the study authors warn. Crop yields dropped dramatically across Europe during the recent drought. Maize production declined by anywhere from 20 to 40 percent in parts of Western Europe, the study notes. Wheat production fell by more than 17 percent in Germany. And barley dropped by around 10 percent across much of the continent.

It’s the continuation of a long-term pattern, other studies have warned. One recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters found that European crop losses, driven by droughts and heat waves, have tripled over the last 50 years.

This climate news is quite alarming especially since we’re only in the early stages of feeling the impacts of what we have done and are continuing to do to the atmosphere and thus the climate and weather.  And of course, we are not going to stop adding more and more climate altering gasses tomorrow which is only going to make matters worse.  

On the other hand, let me report below a few encouraging developments that provide some small ray of hope.

Central U.S. Grid Reaches 90% Renewables for First Time

The Arkansas-based Southwest Power Pool also set a record for renewable energy production this week.

BY: 03/31/2022 

Wind turbines near Ellsworth, Kan., are silhouetted against the sky.

Wind turbines near Ellsworth, Kan., are silhouetted against the sky.AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File

ENERGYWIRE | A regional U.S. grid operator announced a new milestone this week as it relied — for the first time — on renewables for more than 90 percent of the energy needed to serve electricity demand.

It happened at 2:42 a.m. local time Tuesday for the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which manages a 14-state territory in the central United States.

The 90.2 percent renewables penetration topped SPP’s previous record of 87.5 percent set on May 8, 2021, according to a news release.

Arkansas-based SPP also set a new record for renewable energy production this week. More than 23,800 megawatts of renewable energy were produced across the operator’s territory at 9:25 p.m. local time Monday, beating a previous record by about 2,000 MW.

Bruce Rew, SPP’s senior vice president of operations, said in a statement that the record speaks to the grid operator’s progress on renewable energy deployment.

“In a decade’s time, our region has gone from thinking of 25% renewable-penetration levels as nearly unreachable to a point where we regularly exceed 75% without reliability concerns,” Rew said.

EV Interest Soars Despite Supply Chain Problems

Age, even more than income, is the most determining factor in support for electric vehicles, one survey found.

Avatar of Arianna Skibell


Tesla dealer.

A Tesla is displayed in a Manhattan dealership. Demand for electric cars is outpacing supply as gas prices soar. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

CLIMATEWIRE | Consumer interest in electric vehicles is rising.

A survey released today by the Zero Emission Transportation Association found that one in five voters who currently own or lease a vehicle would “definitely choose” an electric model for their next purchase or lease. And internet searches for electric vehicles reached a record high in March, according to Google Trends.

I’ve said many times before that the lithium ion battery will not ultimately be the technology that becomes what powers automotive products in the long run.  A different technology will be developed that will replace what is currently being used.  The new battery technology will be lighter (which means greater mileage because there won’t be the need to propel such a heavy vehicle), more compact (allowing for larger passenger and cargo areas and greater design flexibility), less expensive and quicker to charge.  This article describes this process and who is involved.  As in all things I have been describing, the time lines are likely to get shorter.

Just imagine with this will mean to how much more attractive EVs will be and how this will speed up adoptation.


Nissan, NASA Team Up for New Type of Electric Car Battery

The all-solid-state battery will replace the lithium-ion battery now in use for a 2028 product launch and a pilot plant launch in 2024, according to Nissan.


| 04/08/2022 01:43 PM EDT

GREENWIRE | Nissan Motor Co. is working with NASA on a new type of battery for electric vehicles that promises to charge more quickly and be lighter yet safe, the Japanese automaker said today.

The all-solid-state battery will replace the lithium-ion battery now in use for a 2028 product launch and a pilot plant launch in 2024, according to Nissan.

The all-solid-state battery is stable enough to be used in pacemakers. When finished, it will be about half the size of the current battery and fully charge in 15 minutes, instead of a few hours.

The collaboration with the U.S. space program, as well as the University of California, San Diego, involves the testing of various materials, Vice President Kazuhiro Doi told reporters.

“Both NASA and Nissan need the same kind of battery,” he said.

Nissan and NASA are using what’s called the “original material informatics platform,” a computerized database, to test various combinations to see what works best among hundreds of thousands of materials, Doi said.

The goal is to avoid the use of expensive materials like rare metals, which are needed for lithium-ion batteries.

And lastly, I’ll bet you never imagined that this could happen much less be happening NOW!

World’s Largest Electric Cruise Ship Sets Sail in China

At 100 meters long and around 16 meters wide, the Yangtze River Three Gorges 1 can carry up to 1,300 passengers.




ENERGYWIRE | The world’s largest electric cruise ship has made its maiden voyage, settling back into port in Yichang in China’s central Hubei province after cruising up and down the Yangtze River.

Powered by a massive 7,500 kilowatt-hour marine battery from the world’s No. 1 battery manufacturer for electric cars, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., the ship will go into commercial operations from next month, being used mainly for sightseeing trips.

At 100 meters long and around 16 meters wide, the Yangtze River Three Gorges 1 can carry up to 1,300 passengers. It can travel for around 100 kilometers on a single charge, saving around 530 metric tons of fuel.

Developer China Yangtze Power Co., a subsidiary of Three Gorges Corp. and Hubei Three Gorges Tourism Group, plans to use the ship as a starting point to expand China’s marine electric vehicle market, including building a network of charging points along the river, the Global Times reported in January.

“It felt almost like sliding on flat ground,” Cheng Lu, one passenger on board the ship, told China Daily yesterday.

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