Arquivo da tag: Mudanças climáticas

How next-gen satellites are transforming our view of climate change (CNET)

cnet.com

Megan Wollerton – Jan. 18 2022


climate-change-maps.png
Robert Rodriguez/CNET
As more frequent and more severe storms erode coastlines, mapmakers must adapt quickly.

A shrinking swath of coastline in Washington state has a regrettable nickname: Washaway Beach. It’s named not for what’s there, but rather for what isn’t. Insatiable Pacific Ocean currents have taken greedy bites out of the land over the past century.

Washaway Beach’s disappearing shore isn’t measured in centimeters or inches. You can’t track the changes with a hardware store measuring stick. Residents of the area, roughly two and a half hours southwest of Seattle, are watching their homes and businesses get swallowed by the sea at an average rate of 100 feet per year; that’s about the height of a 10-story building. It’s the fastest-eroding place in the western United States.

Washaway Beach is an extreme case of erosion. Many factors contribute to its rapid decline. But the quickening march of climate change, including rising sea levels and more frequent and severe storms, poses a growing threat to coastal communities everywhere. 

I’ve never been to Washaway Beach. I’m hearing about it for the first time from Peter Doucette, the acting director for the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center at the US Geological Survey. Doucette is showing me over Zoom a colorful animated map of how the community changed between 1985 and 2017. The water eats away at the map’s multicolored patches. The brown beaches, red developed areas and light blue freshwater bogs evaporate in the Pacific’s 32-year sprint to wipe out the town. It’s jarring to watch how quickly the land dissolves into the deep blue as the ocean takes over. 

Watch Washaway Beach disappear. USGS

Scientists didn’t have the tech to visualize changes like this even five or 10 years ago, though they had the data. “This is the power of using the data from time; it’s taking advantage of the time dimension, which requires a lot of computing power … but we have that now,” Doucette explains. 

Faster satellites, sharper images taken in near real-time and advanced computing techniques are making it possible for mapmakers to redraw Washaway Beach as soon as coastal changes occur. Emerging technologies will help scientists predict what could happen to it in the future, just like a weather report. 

For coastal residents around the world, or anyone living in an area susceptible to extreme weather events, this type of mapping could save lives. Up-to-date maps can provide crucial information for first responders needing to traverse areas hit by natural disasters; residents and visitors need regular, ongoing updates to adapt to a changing landscape. 

For anyone living in areas less directly affected by the climate crisis, maps that show change over time provide a crucial bridge to understanding what’s really happening in other places, and how quickly. 

“By helping people visualize how the world is changing, maybe that will give them a better understanding of climate change as a whole,” says Tanya Harrison, director of science strategy at Planet, a private satellite imagery company. “How is your neighborhood being affected? How is your grandmother’s house being affected? Maybe she lives on the other side of the country or the other side of the world. In a way, that can kind of make this a little bit more personal.”

From clay tablets to satellites

Maps aren’t easy to define. They’re squishy things, molded by the minds of the people who create them. Imperfect representations of our world. One part art; one part science.

Still, they give us a baseline for decision-making, whether it’s finding the closest coffee shop, climbing a mountain or helping people understand something more serious, like climate change.

“[Maps are] such a great intuitive way to gather information and humans are really good at understanding spatial information presented in that way,” says Mike Tischler, director of the National Geospatial Program at the US Geological Survey. “You want to know what’s over the ridge, you want to know what’s around the bend, you want to know where things are.” That’s probably why maps have been around for thousands of years. 

A clay tablet known as the Babylonian Map of the World, or Imago Mundi, is the oldest known map of the world. It was discovered in Iraq and dates back to about 600 B.C.

404485001
The Babylonian Map of the World is the oldest map of the world. The Trustees of the British Museum

Modern mapmaking got its start in 1852, when French army officer Aimé Laussedat created the first maps with photographs. Laussedat also experimented with aerial photography, sticking cameras on kites and balloons. As air travel became more sophisticated, aerial photography transitioned from balloons to planes in World War I and World War II and, eventually, to satellites in the 1970s. 

Nowadays, aerial photography is more automated than it was when ground crews launched unsteady balloons into the air, hoping to get the right shots. Hundreds or thousands of images are taken automatically from planes and satellites to make maps. Now planes and satellites visit the same place regularly, reliably showing how land changes over time.

“Land change is really complex. … Tying it to climate, I’m not sure we’re there yet,” says Jesslyn Brown, research geographer for the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center at the US Geological Survey. You can’t identify patterns that could point to climate change without monitoring the same places at regular intervals.

“This might be a little controversial, but my opinion is that governments don’t find monitoring very sexy,” Brown says. “But it’s an absolute necessity because you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so we need to take these measurements in order to have the information to monitor the Earth and to monitor the effects of climate change.”

Chasing change 

In the US, Landsat is the best-known Earth-observing satellite for monitoring and mapping purposes. Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 circle the globe once every 99 minutes, traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. Each satellite covers the entire planet in 16 days. Together, they cover the Earth in eight days because they’re in reverse orbit. 

The satellites are “roughly the size of a small school bus,” says Doucette, the USGS director who showed me the map of Washaway Beach, and have a 30-meter resolution, “about the size of a baseball diamond per pixel.”

Generations of Landsat satellites have been doing this since 1972. That 50-year record makes it extremely valuable for tracking changes over time.

“[50 years of data] provides researchers the ability to go back through time and monitor what kinds of changes are going on on the land surface,” Doucette says. “That really wasn’t possible until just the last five to 10 years with the big data compute capabilities that have become available.”

l9-himalaya-hyperwall-rgb-nolabels
This image of the Himalayan Mountains is one of the first shots taken by Landsat 9.  NASA

NASA launched its newest satellite, Landsat 9, on Sept. 27. Soon, it will hand over control of Landsat 9 to the USGS. Then, Landsat 7, which has been orbiting the planet for 22 years, will be retired. Most old Landsat satellites go into “disposal orbits,” destined to circle the planet until they eventually reenter the atmosphere and burn up. Landsat 7 won’t have the same fate; it will be moved into a different orbit to help test NASA’s robotic refueling project, Doucette explains. 

Landsat is still the gold standard for satellite imagery, says Terry Sohl, acting branch chief for the Integrated Science and Applications Branch and research scientist at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center. “To be honest, I’m not sure that’s going to be the case in five years,” Sohl adds.

Private satellite companies are making it easier than ever to visualize changes worldwide almost as soon as they happen for much less money than Landsat. 

Smaller, faster, cheaper, sharper

“If you’ve got a satellite right now that covers the Earth every two weeks, you can have homes and cities destroyed in that time,” says Tischler, the USGS director of the National Geospatial Program. Private companies are sending larger numbers of tiny satellites into orbit that cost less to build, launch and operate, have very high-resolution cameras and cover more ground more quickly. 

One of the private companies, Planet, has two different types of satellites: Dove and Sky satellites. The 180 Dove satellites are the size of a loaf of bread; they orbit the globe every 90 minutes and have a three- to five-meter resolution, or about 10 to 16 feet. 

Fifteen of the Sky satellites orbit at the poles like the Dove satellites. The remaining six Sky satellites orbit at latitudes closer to where people live to capture images of cities. Combined, the Sky satellites orbit Earth 12 times per day. Sky satellites are about the size of a dishwasher and have a resolution of just 50 centimeters, or a little over a foot and a half. They capture details that Landsat’s baseball-diamond-size resolutions can’t. 

Planet satellites show the Milne Ice Shelf breaking apart in July 2020. Planet Labs PBC

Smaller satellites are cheaper, too. It costs about a billion dollars to design, build, test and deploy one Landsat satellite. One Planet satellite costs in the “low hundreds of thousands of dollars,” although the company wouldn’t say exactly how much. 

Having a lot of smaller satellites also makes it easier for the San Francisco-based team to build them locally and experiment with new technologies quickly. 

“If there’s something new that comes to the market that could lead to better image quality … we have the option to just switch that out in-house where we’re actually building the satellites in the basement of our headquarters in San Francisco and just say, ‘Hey, let’s put in a new sensor. Let’s launch that,'” says Harrison, Planet’s director of science strategy. 

That way, if they want to test something, they can try it on one satellite and see how it works, without having to update all 200 satellites in their fleet.

Its various satellites have observed many events related to the climate crisis all over the world. The most significant changes they’ve seen have taken place in the coldest regions.

In July 2020, Planet satellites captured the collapse of the last intact Arctic ice shelf. “That was obviously a big tragedy. It’s not the kind of thing that you want to see, but it’s something that we managed to capture,” Harrison says.

Seeing is believing

Newer satellites are giving us more data, more quickly. Advancements in computing are changing how mapmakers use that data to show how our planet is changing right now and how it could change in the future.

Doucette is showing me another map now, this time a projection of what the land near Lubbock, Texas, will look like decades from now. At some point, the Ogallala Aquifer, which supports cotton and other key crops in the region, is going to dry up. Scientists at the USGS worked with other government agencies to create forecasts of Lubbock between 2014 and the end of the century, drawing from Landsat data, socio-economic data and climate data.

The map shows the cotton crop disappearing in tandem with the Ogallala’s water. The projections will vary based on how water usage continues, so scientists create best, middle and worst case scenarios because of the uncertainty. 

“Climate is actually much more predictable than people. I don’t worry about the variability in a climate scenario; I worry about the variability of how people behave,” says Sohl, the USGS scientist. “There are all these things that happen that are just so totally unpredictable, like a new government policy that can have a huge impact on the landscape.”

ogallala-changes-620
What happens when the Ogallala Aquifer runs out of water? NOAA

Either way, the Ogallala’s water will disappear and it isn’t coming back.

Knowing this in advance gives people in Lubbock time to shift to other types of crops that don’t depend so heavily on water. Doucette suggests dryland wheat or returning the area to grassland.

“This is how we hope to use Landsat and other related Earth observation data so we can understand the causes of change in the past that kind of help us develop these models for projecting potential change going into the future,” Doucette says. 

Historic data from Landsat combined with sharper-resolution imagery from private satellite companies equips mapmakers to show climate change impacts now and model what could happen to the same areas decades or even centuries from now. “[Landsat and private satellite companies] really [are] a nice mix of where we’re going in the future,” says Sohl.

As Washaway Beach’s erosion cuts further into inland Washington state, the freshwater cranberry bogs the area is known for are increasingly threatened with contamination from salt water. But with these technologies, scientists can look at the models and make decisions before Washaway Beach, the Ogallala Aquifer and other places like them fall off the map. 

“Imagine being able to do this kind of projection … and doing it on a national scale or even a global scale,” Doucette adds. “That’s our hope; this is still kind of cutting-edge research.” 

A Project to Count Climate Crisis Deaths Has Surprising Results (WIRED)

wired.com

Matt Reynolds

01.18.2022 07:15 AM

Climate change is already killing people, but countries don’t have an easy way to count those deaths. A new project might change that.

Climate change can kill people in all kinds of ways. There are the obvious ones—wildfires, storms, and floods—yet rising temperatures may also lead to the increased spread of deadly diseases, make food harder to come by, and increase the risk of conflict.

Although we know about these wide-ranging but equally terrifying risks, attempts to pinpoint the number of deaths caused by climate change have been piecemeal. One recent study estimated that climate change was to blame for 37 percent of heat-related deaths over the past three decades. In 2021, Daniel Bressler, a PhD student at Columbia University in New York, estimated that every additional 4,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted will cause one heat-related death later this century. He called this number the “mortality cost of carbon.”

Putting a number on climate deaths isn’t just an academic exercise. People are already dying because of extreme temperature and weather events, and we can expect this to become more common as the planet continues to heat up. If governments want to put in place policies to prevent these deaths, they need a way of accurately measuring the deaths and ill health linked to warming. The search is on for the true mortality cost of carbon.

As part of this search, the UK government has made its first attempt at putting a number on climate change deaths. The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)—an independent government agency responsible for producing official data—has for the first time reported climate-related deaths and hospital admissions in England and Wales. The report covers the years 2001 to 2020, but future reports will be released annually, revealing for the first time detailed information about the impact that climate change is having on health in the two nations. (Statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland are recorded separately.)

The main finding from this investigation is counterintuitive. The report found that the number of deaths associated with warm or cold temperatures actually decreased between 2001 and 2020. On average, 27,755 fewer people were dying each year due to unusually warm or cold temperatures. In other words, climate change might have actually prevented over half a million deaths in England and Wales over this period. In 2001 there were 993 climate-related deaths per 100,000 people in England and Wales. By 2019 that figure had fallen to 771.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are a number of reasons why the net number of temperature-related deaths appeared to decline over this period, says Myer Glickman, head of the epidemiological, climate, and global health team at the ONS. For a start, statisticians took a relatively narrow definition of climate-related deaths. They only included deaths from conditions where scientists had previously found a clear link between temperature and disease outcome, and they also excluded any health condition where their own analysis showed no link between temperature and outcome. This means that the mortality data doesn’t include deaths from violence or natural forces (such as storms, landslides, or flooding).

The analysis also excluded deaths from air pollution, which Public Health England estimates is equivalent to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths each year in the UK. Glickman says that there is no accepted way to separate out the effect that temperature increases have on air pollution. Add all these caveats together and it’s likely that the ONS analysis is a little on the conservative side.

Then there is the big reason why climate change has not led to more deaths in England and Wales: the very mild climate. Although average temperatures in the UK have increased by 0.9 degrees compared to the period from 1961 to 1990, its residents are not some of the 3 billion people who face unlivable conditions if greenhouse gas emissions increase rapidly. And while deaths linked to cold weather were down in England and Wales, on warmer days there was a net increase in hospital admissions linked to warmer weather. This was particularly true when it comes to injuries, which may be because more people do outdoor activities when it’s warmer or might be linked to the increases in violence and mental health problems that are associated with warmer temperatures.

The lower rate of deaths might also be a sign that our attempts to fight back against cold weather are working. Widespread flu vaccinations, support for people to pay their heating bills, and increases in home insulation mean that the coldest days didn’t hit as hard as they might have without these mitigations in place, Glickman says. And warmer homes might be a good thing now, but as summers in the UK get hotter and air-conditioning remains rare, it may start to become a problem.

The ONS will now release this data on a yearly basis, but Glickman’s next project is to look more closely at how temperature changes affected different areas. “We’re going to drill down to a local level temperature,” he says. “That’s going to give us a lot more resolution on what’s happening and who it’s happening to.” The impact of climate change might depend on how wealthy an area is, for example, or whether its residents have easy access to health care or community support.

Glickman also wants to explore indirect impacts of climate on health. “What will be a big interest in the coming years is the lower-level health impacts of things like flooding,” he says. If someone’s home is flooded, it might increase their vulnerability to respiratory disease or worsen their mental health. Researchers from the UK have already found that people with mental illnesses are more at risk of death during hot weather. We don’t know why that is exactly, but researchers think it might be because people with mental illnesses are more likely to be socially isolated or already have poorer health, which makes them more vulnerable when temperatures rise.

The team behind the ONS report are also part of a wider effort to create a global system to count climate-related health impacts. “What we don’t have is a robust set of statistics to categorize the impact of climate on health,” says Bilal Mateen, a senior manager of digital technology at Wellcome Trust, the health charity funding the new climate change health impact initiative.

The first year of the project will be spent identifying countries to partner with before developing and testing different ways of measuring climate change deaths that work for specific countries, says Mateen. The idea is to use this data to help countries devise policies that lessen the health impact of climate change. “We can begin to tease out what works, what doesn’t, and what adaptation and mitigation interventions we should be supporting,” Mateen says.

If it’s true that warmer homes and flu vaccines helped reduce climate change deaths in England and Wales, it’s a sign that populations that are healthier on the whole might be better at surviving the ravages of a heating world. Other countries may want to take note. “All policies are health policies,” says Mateen. “There is a clear need to support job stability, to address fuel poverty and every other policy that’s outside of the mandate of the health minister, because we know that those social determinants of health have downstream impact.”

Your Medical History Might Someday Include ‘Climate Change’ (WIRED)

wired.com

Rose Eveleth

01.18.2022 07:00 AM

Last summer, a doctor wrote “climate change” in his patient’s chart. But is medicine really ready to address systemic health impacts?

Last June, a heat dome settled over British Columbia, shattering the region’s heat records for five consecutive days and hitting temperatures of over 120 degrees. The dome was responsible for at least 500 human deaths (and potentially a billion marine creature casualties) and stretched the health systems in the region to their breaking point.

And at one rural hospital in Nelson, British Columbia, doctor Kyle Merritt began to feel like there was more he should do than simply treat all the patients coming in with heat stroke and exhaustion. “I was upset with what I was seeing,” he says, “I felt like it should be documented in some way.” So when a 70-year-old woman arrived with heat stroke, he wrote “climate change” in her medical chart as the underlying reason she had to be admitted to the hospital.

It was the first and only time Merritt chose to include “climate change” as an underlying condition in a patient’s chart. “It was the first patient that I felt like it was really clear cut,” he says. Had the conditions outside not been so extreme, he might have been able to discharge her and let her recover at home. When we spoke, Merritt emphasized that it was a decision he made in the heat of the moment. He never expected it to become national news.

Months later, when speaking with the founders of a small organization called Doctors for Planetary Health, Merritt shared the story of his decision to write “climate change” in the patient’s chart. When they asked to use that story in a press release accompanying a planned climate rally, Merritt didn’t think anyone was going to read the press release about this little thing that happened.

But read it they did. Eventually, Merritt’s story was all over the news, often under erroneous headlines claiming he had “diagnosed” a patient with climate change (the phrase appears in her chart as an underlying cause, not a diagnosis). The story was covered by national publications like NBC News, The Hill, The Daily Mail, along with a host of right-wing news sites like GOP USA.

Some praised the decision for bringing necessary awareness to the connection between climate change and health. “When I saw this, I thought, ‘Yes, this is what we need. We need more attention to the social determinants of health,’” says Keisha Ray, an assistant professor at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at UTHealth. Others claimed this was “the latest example of team-left lunacy.” Some columnists argued, incorrectly, that the patient probably didn’t get proper treatment because her doctor “diagnosed her” with something incurable. (Merritt admitted the patient to the emergency room and she was treated for her condition.)

When I read the story, my question was less about Merritt and more about the patient herself. Did she know she was the center of this news blip? Had he talked to her about climate change, or the fact that he was writing it in her chart? Did she give permission to be in the press release? And what are the ethics of turning a patient into a public point?

Doctors use case studies all the time to communicate with one another, and with the press. And for good reason: People connect with and remember stories far better than generalized facts. But using a patient to explain a concept, or to help educate doctors on how to treat someone more effectively, is different from using a patient’s story to make this broader, public point about climate and health. Even Merritt admitted that writing “climate change” in this woman’s chart didn’t do much to help her or other patients suffering during the heat dome. “It’s not like some other doctor was going to look at it and make sure they were never exposed to climate change,” he says. “Practically speaking, it doesn’t really do that much.”

Medicine has a checkered history when it comes to using patient stories and protecting privacy. For decades, doctors paraded patients in front of the public without their consent. In 1906, for example, a famous doctor named Wilfred Grenfell published the story of a 9-year-old boy who had accidentally shot himself in the knee. Grenfell used the boy’s full name, image, and identity, telling the tale with gusto each time he spoke to the public and his colleagues—even distorting the facts of the case, turning “slight” bleeding in the original chart into “shocking” bleeding and a “heterogeneous mass of bloody rags”—in order to entertain donors, make himself seem more heroic, and maintain his status as a celebrity doctor. Fast forward to today, and issues of patient privacy are still very present. In 2012 the ABC show NY Med, which at the time starred celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, broadcast the death of a patient without his family’s consent. His widow won $2.2 million in a suit against the hospital.

Given that history, the question of how much to anonymize a patient in these tales is well-trod territory for medical ethicists. “As long as the physician doesn’t give any kind of identifying information, then it would be ethical. You want to always maintain the patient’s privacy,” says Ray. “But you also have to think about how minor information can be pieced together, where someone can figure out who this patient is.”

In Merritt’s case, the details provided to the press go like this: We know the patient’s age, her background medical conditions, the type of home she lives in, and that she was admitted in June. Kootenay Medical Center, where Merritt works, serves less than 4,000 patients. “That’s a lot of identifying information,” Ray said, when I told her the facts that had been publicly confirmed. “Small towns don’t tend to have a lot of physicians, so you could very well be one of three physicians.”

This feels increasingly important when a story is used in a way that might be construed as political —calling for action on something like racism or climate change. In a world where private citizens can be outed and harassed for being associated with a cause or a side, doctors who want to use a patient’s sickness to make an activist point might need to be a little more cautious. “I worry that the sensationalism of this story may encourage people like journalists to go seek this patient out,” says Ray. “And I also worry that because climate change is still very political and it still is considered a left-leaning idea, that it may encourage conservative media to go and find this person and pit them against each other.”

That hasn’t happened in this case. But Merritt says that if he were to do it over, he might have done things differently. As it unfolded, he didn’t tell the patient he was writing “climate change” in her chart. In fact, they didn’t discuss climate change at all. “If I had known when I had written that in the chart that it was something that I was doing to try and tell the story, I don’t know. I may have talked to the patient more about it and asked their permission,” he says. “But of course, at that time when I did it, I had no idea that it would ever become a story of any kind.” To this day, Merritt believes that the patient has no idea she is the one in the story.

Beyond the specifics of Merritt and his patient, the story raises big questions about how medicine can and should handle systemic impacts on health.

Merritt wrote “climate change” in a bout of frustration, wanting to document what he was seeing in real time. Other doctors have taken different approaches. Nyasha Spears, a physician at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, takes nearly the opposite tack that Merritt did—rather than quietly writing in a chart to make a broader point, she talks to her patients constantly about climate change and the environment. “As a family doctor, my jam is habit change. This is what I do,” she says. “So my thought with climate change is, can I start peppering my conversations with patients all the time with an argument that habit change is good for them on a personal level, but also good for the environment?

In the case of Merritt’s patient, this talk might not have done much. There was nothing she could do about her conditions, no habit change she could make to avoid the scorching heat. Like many in her community, she likely couldn’t afford to install air-conditioning in her trailer, and beyond that there was little to be done. In cases like these, Ray says that maybe a climate change talk isn’t warranted. “They can feel helpless because there’s nothing that they can do,” she says. “They are literally living, and just living is making them sick.”

This reality can make things feel bleak for both doctors and patients. And to address these connections between health and structural conditions like climate change and racism, doctors will need to ask not simply what they can do for each individual patient, but also what they can change about medicine to account for and reckon with these links. Today, there is no diagnostic code for climate change, no way to link these cases up or track them in any way, but perhaps there should be.

“There’s all sorts of ICD-10 codes that are completely inane,” says Spears. “If you ever want to entertain yourself, you just start looking at ICD 10 codes. ‘Fall from a spacecraft’ is one. And so it would make perfect sense that there would be an ICD-10 code for climate change illness.” Being able to track these additional, systemic determinants of health could make it easier to prove the links, and do something about them.

Having more data doesn’t always mean making change—the impact that race and income have on health have been well proven for years, but still haven’t adequately been addressed. And Ray says that adding these codes shouldn’t stop with climate. “If you live in a poor area, then you are likely living with more environmental impacts. Are we going to start now having a code for low income? Is there going to be a code for: You don’t have enough money to live in a safe home and so you are experiencing environmental toxins? Is improper housing also going to be coded? So I just wonder how far we are willing to take it.”

This might be the silver lining in the story of Merritt’s patient. When we spoke, he told me he had recently gotten an email from Health Canada, asking to talk to him about creating a diagnostic code for climate change that doctors could use to track these impacts.

Writing “climate change” in one patient’s chart isn’t going to save the world, or even a single life—Merritt is the first to admit that—but it can start a conversation about how much the medical system is willing to adapt to the threats that its patients truly face. “I’ve learned a lot about how big of an impact a story can make,” he says.

Máximas passam de 40°C no RS em meio a onda de calor extremo (Folha de S.Paulo)

www1.folha.uol.com.br

Fernanda Canofre – 13 de janeiro de 2022


A onda de calor em meio a estiagem no Rio Grande do Sul tem levado os termômetros do estado a máximas acima dos 40°C desde a quarta-feira (12), segundo registros de estações do Inmet (Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia).

Em Quaraí, na fronteira com o Uruguai, temperatura máxima registrada foi de 41,5°C na quarta, segundo registro do instituto, a maior do estado em 2022 até o momento. Esta é também a maior temperatura já registrada na estação automática, desde que a mesma foi instalada, em 2007.

Nesta quinta-feira (13), o município voltou a registrar máxima acima de 40°C, chegando a 41,2°C. Em Uruguaiana, na região da Fronteira Oeste, onde a temperatura chegou a 41,1°C no dia anterior, a máxima foi de 41°C nesta quinta. Em Porto Alegre, ela chegou a 34,8°C.

A previsão no Rio Grande do Sul é de temperaturas ainda mais elevadas nos próximos dias, que podem levar a registros recordes.

O calor extremo é resultado de um bloqueio atmosférico, sistema de alta pressão —instalado na região que pega parte da Argentina, Paraguai, Uruguai e Brasil— que mantém o ar seco há vários dias consecutivos e impede a entrada de frentes frias, explica Daniela Freitas, meteorologista da empresa Climatempo.

“Funciona como se fosse uma tampa que impede que as frentes frias ou mesmo sistemas de baixa pressão consigam avançar. Como se fosse uma barreira. A gente sabe que para ter esse refresco na temperatura precisa ter chuva. O que está acontecendo é que estamos com ar muito seco instalado naquela região há vários dias, por isso vem ganhando força e a temperatura está subindo”, diz ela.

Depois do fim de semana, porém, a previsão é que haja uma quebra nesse padrão de bloqueio, trazendo assim chuvas a região já na próxima semana e fazendo com que o calor perca força.

Estael Sias, meteorologista da empresa MetSul, lembra que a temperatura mais alta registrada no estado em mais de cem anos de medições foi de 42,6°C. A marca foi registrada em Jaguarão, na fronteira com o Uruguai, em janeiro de 1943.

Termômetros batendo nos 40°C não são comuns no Rio Grande do Sul —a análise leva em consideração números das estações oficiais do Inmet.

“A gente está dentro de um período de estiagem severa no Rio Grande do Sul, longo, de baixa umidade no solo, na atmosfera, nível dos rios muito baixos, é normal ocorrer picos de calor, justamente pelo tempo mais firme, ainda mais no período de verão, em que temos muitas horas de luminosidade”, explica.

“Tudo isso favorece essas ondas de calor extremo. Pelos dados históricos, os anos mais quentes no RS, com temperaturas mais altas, 1917 e 1943, também tiveram estiagem severa”, completa.

Um cálculo da FecoAgro-RS (Federação das Cooperativas Agropecuárias do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul) aponta que as perdas financeiras aos produtores de milho e soja, devido à falta de chuvas, podem passar de R$ 19 bilhões.

Até o dia 7 de janeiro, 195 mil propriedades rurais já haviam sido atingidas com perdas devido à seca, segundo dados da Emater-RS. O levantamento aponta ainda 10,2 mil famílias sem acesso à água, 84,7 mil produtores de milho atingidos e 72 mil produtores de soja, além da queda de 1,6 milhão de litros de leite captados ao dia no estado.

Em Santa Catarina, o Epagri/Ciram emitiu aviso de forte calor no extremo oeste e oeste do estado, válido entre o meio-dia desta quinta e às 18h de sábado. A previsão fala em forte calor, com máximas acima de 35°C e umidade relativa do ar entre 30% e 40%.

Até esta quarta-feira, a máxima diária do estado em 2022 foi de 38,2°C, alcançada no dia 2 de janeiro, na cidade de Urussanga.

O recorde absoluto de máximas na região sul do país foi registrado em Santa Catarina, com a marca de 44,6°C registrada em Orleans, em 1963, segundo dados do Inmet.

Em meio ao calor extremo na região, áreas altas do estado, como São Joaquim, que costuma registrar as temperaturas mais baixas do país, chegaram a amanhecer com geada na última quarta-feira, de acordo com a MetSul. O fenômeno se dá pela baixa umidade do ar.

Painel S.A.: Influenciadora que fez vídeo do Bradesco para reduzir carne diz ter ficado frustrada com banco (Folha de S.Paulo)

www1.folha.uol.com.br

Grupo de três irmãs Verdes Marias afirma que conteúdo foi aprovado pela empresa

14.jan.2022 às 8h04 3-4 minutes


As influenciadoras que produziram o vídeo do Bradesco sugerindo redução no consumo de carne dizem que ficaram frustradas com a decisão do banco de remover o conteúdo da internet.

O material, divulgado nas redes sociais no mês passado para promover um aplicativo do banco que calcula pegadas de carbono, foi tirado do ar após irritar o agronegócio e levou o presidente do Bradesco a se retratar.

“Ficamos frustradas”, diz Mariana Prado Moraes, influenciadora que participou do vídeo. Para ela, os churrascos em frente às agências como forma de protesto ajudaram a manter o tema na pauta.

“Foi uma reação de ódio para o convite feito pela segunda-feira sem carne, mostrando como o tema incomoda alguns grupos, mas as mudanças climáticas precisam ser discutidas, independentemente do incômodo gerado”, diz Moraes, que representa o grupo de três irmãs Verdes Marias.

O trio, que tem cerca de 28 mil seguidores no Instagram, publica conteúdos nas redes socias para incentivar a vida sustentável por meio de pequenas mudanças no dia a dia, como reciclagem, consumo de alimentos orgânicos e uso de absorventes e fraldas de pano.

Moraes diz que a sugestão de citar a segunda-feira sem carne no vídeo partiu delas, mas o roteiro e a versão final foram validados e aprovados previamente pelo Bradesco.

“O tema da mudança de hábito em relação à alimentação precisa ser colocado na pauta, e isso aconteceu com o vídeo. O IPCC [Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas] deixou claro em seu último relatório que o clima da Terra está mudando e que o ser humano tem interferência nisso. Entre as ações trazidas, o impacto da pecuária é um deles”, diz.

Ela afirma que o Verdes Marias permanece em diálogo com o Bradesco. Mas, ainda em dezembro, o banco escreveu uma carta aberta ao agronegócio, em que tentou se desvincular do conteúdo. No documento, afirmou que tomaria ações administrativas internas por causa do ocorrido.

O Bradesco não comenta.

com Andressa Motter e Ana Paula Branco


www1.folha.uol.com.br

Bradesco se desculpa com agro por vídeo que defende reduzir consumo de carne

Influenciadoras associam produção pecuária a aplicativo que calcula pegada de carbono

Douglas Gavras – 29 de dezembro de2021


Um vídeo sobre consumo sustentável que circulou nas redes sociais na última semana levou o Bradesco a escrever uma carta aberta, se retratando com o agronegócio. No material, um aplicativo oferecido pelo banco —que permite que o cliente calcule sua pegada de carbono— é associado à redução do consumo de carne.

Ele começa com três influenciadoras dando dicas de como o consumidor pode tomar atitudes mais sustentáveis. “Duas atitudes simples que você pode tomar no seu dia a dia para reduzir o seu impacto”, diz uma delas.

Elas, então, dizem que a primeira atitude que o consumidor poderia tomar é reduzir o consumo de carne, optando por pratos vegetarianos uma vez por semana —movimento que ficou conhecido como “Segunda sem Carne”.

“A criação de gado contribui para a emissão dos gases de efeito estufa, então, que tal se a gente reduzir o nosso consumo de carne e escolher um prato vegetariano na segunda-feira?”

O vídeo segue sugerindo que o consumidor também pode começar a usar composteira para o lixo doméstico e que o usuário calcule a quantidade emitida de carbono e use a informação para pensar em outras maneiras de compensar suas emissões.

O vídeo despertou críticas de entidades e políticos ligados ao agronegócio ao longo da última semana. Em nota, o Imac (Instituto Mato-Grossense da Carne) criticou o material, dizendo que a pecuária brasileira, no contexto mundial, é a menos impactante na produção de carbono.

“No Brasil, a nossa pecuária é realizada de forma natural, utilizando-se da pastagem como o principal insumo alimentar (…) e os modelos de produção utilizam pastagens produtivas para a criação de bovinos contribuem positivamente para o balanço de carbono, sequestrando as emissões desse gás que a produção pecuária emite.”

Segundo a entidade, não é aceitável associar a responsabilidade integral pela emissão de gases de efeito estufa com a pecuária e a sugestão de se reduzir o consumo de carne bovina no Brasil não faz sentido.

Já a ABPA (Associação Brasileira de Proteína Animal) avalia que a carta pública divulgada pelo Bradesco foi importante, ao reconhecer a importância do agronegócio para o país. “Entretanto, o setor espera manifestações mais explícitas deste apoio, com alcance, no mínimo, equivalente à divulgação que gerou esta situação revoltante a que produz alimentos.”

A associação ressalta a importância que o setor tem em gerar segurança alimentar, empregos e segurança econômica para centenas de milhares de famílias.

Por meio de seu perfil no Twitter, o deputado federal José Medeiros (Pode-MT) também criticou a peça. “É isso mesmo @Bradesco? Vocês não pensaram em consultar Embrapa ou alguma instituição séria para saber se o pasto captura carbono na atmosfera e compensa os gases da pecuária?”, questionou.

No último dia 24, o Bradesco publicou uma carta aberta ao agronegócio, em que procurou se desvincular do conteúdo. O banco determinou a remoção do material de suas redes, disse que apoia o setor de “forma plena” e afirmou que tomaria ações administrativas internas severas por conta do ocorrido.

“Nos últimos dias lamentavelmente vimos uma posição descabida de influenciadores digitais em relação ao consumo de carne bovina, associadas à nossa marca. Importante dizer que tal posição não representa a visão desta casa em relação ao consumo da carne bovina“, diz a carta do banco.

Ainda de acordo com o banco, a instituição acredita e promove “direta e indiretamente a pecuária brasileira e por conseguinte o consumo de carne bovina”. Ainda segundo o Bradesco, o material foi retirado do ar no último dia 23. Procurada pela reportagem, a assessoria de imprensa do Bradesco informou que seu posicionamento está detalhado na carta aberta ao agronegócio brasileiro. Veja abaixo. ​

A seguir, a íntegra da carta aberta divulgada pelo banco:

CARTA ABERTA AO AGRONEGÓCIO BRASILEIRO

Ao longo de seus quase 79 anos de história o Bradesco apoiou de forma plena o segmento do agronegócio brasileiro, estabelecendo parcerias sólidas e produtivas. Tal opção é baseada em sua crença indelével nesse segmento enquanto vetor de desenvolvimento social e econômico do país.

Contudo, nos últimos dias lamentavelmente vimos uma posição descabida de influenciadores digitais em relação ao consumo de carne bovina, associadas à nossa marca.

Importante dizer que tal posição não representa a visão desta casa em relação ao consumo da carne bovina.

Pelo contrário.

O Bradesco acredita e promove direta e indiretamente a pecuária brasileira e por conseguinte o consumo de carne bovina.

Diante do ocorrido, medidas foram imediatamente tomadas incluindo a remoção do conteúdo de ambiente público, e, além disso, ações administrativas internas severas.

Dessa forma, reiteramos nossa lamenta pelo ocorrido e reforçamos mais uma vez nossa crença irrestrita na pecuária brasileira.

Past eight years: Warmest since modern recordkeeping began (Science Daily)

2021 tied for sixth warmest year in continued trend, analysis shows

Date: January 13, 2022

Source: NASA

Summary: Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and NOAA. Collectively, the past eight years are the warmest years since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.


Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, global temperatures in 2021 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 degrees Celsius) above the average for NASA’s baseline period, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. NASA uses the period from 1951-1980 as a baseline to see how global temperature changes over time.

Collectively, the past eight years are the warmest years since modern recordkeeping began in 1880. This annual temperature data makes up the global temperature record — which tells scientists the planet is warming.

According to NASA’s temperature record, Earth in 2021 was about 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than the late 19th century average, the start of the industrial revolution.

“Science leaves no room for doubt: Climate change is the existential threat of our time,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Eight of the top 10 warmest years on our planet occurred in the last decade, an indisputable fact that underscores the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country — and all of humanity. NASA’s scientific research about how Earth is changing and getting warmer will guide communities throughout the world, helping humanity confront climate and mitigate its devastating effects.”

This warming trend around the globe is due to human activities that have increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The planet is already seeing the effects of global warming: Arctic sea ice is declining, sea levels are rising, wildfires are becoming more severe and animal migration patterns are shifting. Understanding how the planet is changing — and how rapidly that change occurs — is crucial for humanity to prepare for and adapt to a warmer world.

Weather stations, ships, and ocean buoys around the globe record the temperature at Earth’s surface throughout the year. These ground-based measurements of surface temperature are validated with satellite data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Scientists analyze these measurements using computer algorithms to deal with uncertainties in the data and quality control to calculate the global average surface temperature difference for every year. NASA compares that global mean temperature to its baseline period of 1951-1980. That baseline includes climate patterns and unusually hot or cold years due to other factors, ensuring that it encompasses natural variations in Earth’s temperature.

Many factors affect the average temperature any given year, such as La Nina and El Nino climate patterns in the tropical Pacific. For example, 2021 was a La Nina year and NASA scientists estimate that it may have cooled global temperatures by about 0.06 degrees Fahrenheit (0.03 degrees Celsius) from what the average would have been.

A separate, independent analysis by NOAA also concluded that the global surface temperature for 2021 was the sixth highest since record keeping began in 1880. NOAA scientists use much of the same raw temperature data in their analysis and have a different baseline period (1901-2000) and methodology.

“The complexity of the various analyses doesn’t matter because the signals are so strong,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS, NASA’s leading center for climate modeling and climate change research. “The trends are all the same because the trends are so large.”

NASA’s full dataset of global surface temperatures for 2021, as well as details of how NASA scientists conducted the analysis, are publicly available from GISS (https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp).

GISS is a NASA laboratory managed by the Earth Sciences Division of the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.

For more information about NASA’s Earth science missions, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/earth


NASA. “Past eight years: Warmest since modern recordkeeping began: 2021 tied for sixth warmest year in continued trend, analysis shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2022. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220113230132.htm>.

Rich nations could see ‘double climate dividend’ by switching to plant-based foods (Carbon Brief)

carbonbrief.org

Ayesha Tandon

10.01.2022 | 4:00pm


Adopting a more plant-based diet could give rich countries a “double climate dividend” of lower emissions and more land for capturing carbon, a new study says.

Animal-based foods have higher carbon and land footprints than their plant-based alternatives, and are most commonly consumed in high-income countries. The study, published in Nature Food, investigates how the global food system would change if 54 high-income countries were to shift to a more plant-based diet.

High-income countries could cut their agricultural emissions by almost two-thirds through dietary change, the authors find. They add that moving away from animal-based foods could free up an area of land larger than the entire European Union.

If this land were all allowed to revert to its natural state, it would capture almost 100bn tonnes of carbon – equal to 14 years of global agricultural emissions – the authors note. They add that this level of carbon capture “could potentially fulfil high-income countries’ CO2 removal obligations needed to limit warming to 1.5C under equality sharing principles”.

The US, France, Australia and Germany would collectively see roughly half of the total carbon benefits, the study notes, because meat and dairy production and consumption are high in these countries.

‘Double climate dividend’

Feeding the world’s population of almost eight billion people is no small task. The global food system is responsible for around one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and half of the planet’s habitable land is used to produce food.

However, not all calories have an equal impact on the planet. On average, animal-based foods produce 10-50 times more emissions than plant-based foods. Meanwhile, livestock takes up nearly 80% of global agricultural land, despite producing less than 20% of the world’s supply of calories.

Individuals in high-income nations currently have the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through their dietary choices, because their diets are usually the most meat-orientated. Animal-derived products drive 70% of food-system emissions in high-income countries but only 22% in low–middle-income countries.

(In 2019, Carbon Brief produced a week-long series of articles on food systems, including a discussion of the climate impacts of meat and dairy, and expert views on how changing diets are expected to affect the climate.)

The study explores how the carbon footprint of food production could change if 54 high-income countries were to adopt the EAT-Lancet planetary health diet. This is a mainly plant-based diet that is “flexible by providing guidelines to ranges of different food groups that together constitute an optimal diet for human health and environmental sustainability”. 

Dr Paul Behrens from Leiden University, an author on the paper, tells Carbon Brief that the diet varies between countries to account for their “local production and food cultures”.

The study investigates the immediate reduction in emissions from adopting the EAT-Lancet diet using a dataset from the 2010 Food and Agriculture Organization’s statistical Database, linked at the national level to the Food and Agriculture Biomass Input–Output dataset (FABIO).

The authors also determine how much land could be spared by a shift in diet. They use global crop and pasture maps – combined with soil carbon and vegetation maps – to quantify how much extra carbon could be drawn down by soil and vegetation if this surplus land were allowed to revert to its natural state of mixed native grassland and forest. 

As well as investigating changes in the 54 high-income countries, the study follows the trade of food between nations to see how dietary shifts in one country can affect the food-related land and carbon footprints around the world.

The analysis is performed for the 54 high-income countries available in FABIO. For example, Chile is considered a high-income country, while India is not.

The map below shows the drop in greenhouse gas emissions from global agriculture if the 54 high-income countries were to shift to the EAT-Lancet planetary health diet. Dark red shading indicates the largest reductions. Changes in lower-income countries are due to knock-on impacts for food trade.

According to the study, high-income nations could reduce their agricultural emissions by 62% by shifting to a more plant-based diet. Dr Sonja Vermeulen is the lead global food scientist at WWF, and is not involved in the study. She helped to put this figure into perspective:

“To put this in perspective, it’s about the same positive impact as all countries signing up to and implementing the COP26 declaration on the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans globally by 2040.” 

Freeing up land

The study finds that moving away from animal-based foods could free an area of land larger than the entire European Union. If this area were allowed to revert to its natural state, it would capture around 100bn tonnes of carbon – equal to 14 years of global agricultural emissions from 2010 – by the end of the century, the authors find.  

The map below shows the potential carbon sequestration from surplus land if the 54 high-income countries were to shift to the EAT-Lancet planetary health diet, with dark green shading indicating the largest potential. Changes in lower-income countries are due to knock-on impacts for food trade. 

Approximately half of the carbon benefit from cutting emissions and increasing carbon sequestration could be seen collectively in the US, France, Australia and Germany, the study says.

The authors also highlight that, according to past research, limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires the 54 high-income countries in this analysis to achieve cumulative CO2 removals of 85-531bn tonnes of CO2 by the end of the century. This range comes from uncertainty in the amount of CO2 removal required, and in the amount that should be allocated to each country.

Based on these numbers, the study concludes that the 100bn carbon sequestration “could potentially fulfil high-income countries’ CO2 removal obligations needed to limit warming to 1.5C under equality sharing principles”.

The study finds that many low and mid-income countries – such as Brazil, India and Botswana – would export less food to high-income nations if they consumed less meat. This would reduce their own agricultural emissions and free up land for drawing down carbon, despite no dietary changes in their own countries, the researchers say. (The study does not assess the economic impact of this reduced trade.)

Around two-thirds of the carbon sequestration potential from dietary changes in high-income countries is domestic, the study finds. Meanwhile, almost a quarter is located in other high-income countries and around an eighth is from low and middle income countries.

Dr Nynke Schulp is an associate professor of land use, lifestyle and ecosystem change at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and was not involved in the study. She tells Carbon Brief that existing studies “tend to work from the assumption that the whole world adopts a specific dietary change”, and so “this study’s focus on dietary change in high-income nations is an important nuance, both from a mitigation potential perspective and from a climate justice perspective”.

Capturing carbon

The study assumes that any land freed up by a change in diet would be allowed to revert to its natural state through a “natural climate solution” called passive restoration, in which land is allowed to revert to its past state. Behrens explains in a press release that this technique has a range of co-benefits, including “water quality, biodiversity, air pollution and access to nature, to name just a few”.

The study breaks down the carbon sequestration potential of passive restoration into three categories: aboveground biomass carbon (AGBC), belowground biomass carbon (BGBC) and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. These refer to carbon held in plant matter above the soil, plant matter below the soil, and the soil itself, respectively.

The plot below shows the total carbon sequestration (left) and emissions reductions (right) potentials from a range of different food types. The red lines on the left and right mark fixed values to make comparisons between the charts easier. Note that carbon sequestration is shown as a total over the 21st century, while the reduction in emissions is shown per year.

The plot shows that animal-based products – most notably beef – have high carbon and land footprints. The authors highlight that the US and Australia in particular would see benefits from reducing their beef intake, due to their high domestic production and consumption. 

Vermeulen tells Carbon Brief that changing diets in these countries could “transform” them:

“The term ‘food system transformation’ is perhaps often used too lightly – but there can be no doubt that the changes in these places would constitute total transformation of local economies, landscapes and cultures. Imagine the vast cattle ranches of the US and Australia replaced with equally vast rewilded or repurposed lands – would these be used for biomass and bioenergy, or conservation and biodiversity, and how would rural communities create new livelihoods for themselves?”

Dietary choices

High-income countries could see the largest per-capita carbon reductions by shifting to a planet-friendly diet, the study concludes. However, asking individuals to take charge of their personal carbon footprints can be a controversial area of discussion.

For example, the authors note that alcoholic beverages and “stimulants” including coffee, cocoa products and tea comprise 5.8% of dietary greenhouse gas emissions. These “luxury, low-nutrition crops” are predominantly consumed in high-income countries and present a “non-negligible” opportunity for cutting emissions and capturing carbon, according to the study. However, “sociological and policy complications” would make it difficult to reduce consumption of these products in practice, the authors say.

They also highlight that eating more offal – a co-product of meat production – could be a good way for individuals to reduce their meat-related carbon footprints. However, the authors say that offal is “not typically consumed in high-income nations due to convention and consumer preference”.

Dr Matthew Hayek is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at NYU arts and science, who was not involved in the study. He tells Carbon Brief how governments could incentivise individuals to eat more sustainably: 

“Folks in developed countries eat far more meat and dairy than the global average… Reducing emissions from food consumption in rich countries is critical. For consumers who have ample food choices, these choices play a sizable role in contributing to our climate goals. Our policies must reflect this by making healthy and sustainable food choices more prevalent, convenient, and inexpensive.”

And Behrens tells Carbon Brief that “the onus is on high-income nations to transform food systems”. In the press release, he adds:

“It will be vital that we redirect agricultural subsidies to farmers for biodiversity protection and carbon sequestration. We must look after farming communities to enable this in a just food transition. We don’t have to be purist about this, even just cutting animal intake would be helpful. Imagine if half of the public in richer regions cut half the animal products in their diets, you’re still talking about a massive opportunity in environmental outcomes and public health.”

Sun, Z. et al. (2022) Dietary change in high-income nations alone can lead to substantial double climate dividend, Nature Food, doi: 10.1038/s43016-021-00431-5

Last Year’s Overall Climate Was Shaped by Warming-Driven Heat Extremes Around the Globe (Inside Climate News)

insideclimatenews.org

A quarter of the world’s population experienced a record-warm year in 2021, research shows.

By Bob Berwyn – January 14, 2022


Earth’s annual average temperature checkup can mask a lot of the details of the climate record over the previous year, and 2021 showed that deadly heat-related climate extremes happen, even if it’s not a record-warm year.

Global average temperature isn’t always the most important measure, University of Michigan climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck said, after United States federal agencies released the Global State of the Climate report, ranking 2021 as the sixth-warmest year on record for the planet. 

“As with politics, it is often what happens locally that matters most, and 2021 was one of the most deadly and destructive years on record because of the unusually warm atmosphere that is becoming the norm,” he said. “Extreme heat waves were exceptional in 2021, including the deadly Pacific Northwest U.S. and Canada heatwave that killed hundreds and also set the stage for fires that wiped out a whole town.”

Last year, the climate “was metaphorically shouting to us to stop the warming, because if we don’t, the warming-related climate and weather extremes will just get worse and worse, deadlier and deadlier,” he said. “Even tornadoes are now thought to strengthen as a result of the warming, and this effect probably also was the reason we had tornadoes in 2021 that reached northward into parts of Minnesota for the first time ever in December.”

The Pacific Northwest heat wave was the most extreme hotspot in a series of heat extremes that together seemed to stretch across the entire northern hemisphere for much of the summer, said Chloe Brimicome, a climate scientist and heat expert at the University of Reading.

“What really stood out for me was this period in summer, in July,” she said. “Everywhere you looked, consecutive records in many countries for temperature were being broken, day on day on day. I don’t think we’d ever really seen that before, or at least we hadn’t heard about it in the same way before.”

July 2021 ended up being the single hottest month for Earth since measurements started, and on the ninth day of the month, a thermometer at Furnace Creek, in California’s Death Valley, recorded 54.4 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit) for the second year in a row, in what could stand as the highest reliably measured temperature on record. 

Near the end of July, a heat wave disrupted Tokyo Olympic Games scheduling, and less than two weeks later, on Aug. 11, a Syracuse, Sicily weather station measured Europe’s warmest-ever temperature, at 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 Fahrenheit), during Europe’s hottest summer on record. A few days after that, it rained at the summit of the two-mile thick Greenland Ice Sheet for the first time on record, yet another sign that pervasive warming is affecting the whole globe.

The year ended with a long and extreme autumn heat wave in the Western United States that contributed to Colorado’s costliest wildfire to date, and also with off-the-charts heat extremes in the European Alps, with above-freezing temperatures on the highest summits on Dec. 31

And to reinforce that global warming doesn’t stop as the calendar year ends, 2022 started as the previous year ended, with a grain-withering heat wave in the Southern Hemisphere centered over Argentina, while farther south in Patagonia, vast tracts of forest are on fire. On Jan. 13, meteorologists reported a preliminary reading of 50.7 degrees Celsius in Australia, tying the Southern Hemisphere record.

Brimicome said that, with last year’s heat extremes, it hit home that, “Oh dear, this has already started, it’s catching up with us, it’s here now.” 

She added, ”We’re going to see more and more of this sort of extreme heat and extreme weather. It wasn’t a shock because that’s what had been projected, but a surprise, because it had always kind of crept up on us.”

Ocean Heat Peaks Again

The reports released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show that increasing greenhouse gas pollution has driven Earth’s annual average temperature above the pre-fossil fuel era by 1.04 degrees Celsius (1.87 degrees Fahrenheit), as measured by an 1880 to 1900 baseline. And the long-term rate of warming has doubled in recent decades, from an early pace of about 0.08 degrees Celsius (0.14 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, to 0.18 degrees Celsius (0.32 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade since 1980.

Based on the most recent evaluations of greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations, especially of methane, which recently reached another record level, as well as studies of other important climate indicators, warming could speed up even more in the years ahead. By 2023, the global annual temperature could pass the 1.5 degree Celsius warming limit set by the Paris Agreement, climate scientist James Hansen wrote in his Jan. 11 monthly climate update.

A separate study, published last week, showed that, while the planet’s globally averaged surface temperature has wobbled the past six years, the world’s oceans continued to warm steadily during that time, setting a new record each year, including 2021. That matters a lot for the climate because more than 90 percent of the sun’s heat trapped by greenhouse gases is going into the oceans, said Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and a co-author of the study.

“The ocean is where most of it goes,” he said. “If you’re tracking that over time, we should be able to match that with measurements from satellites. That would be the best indicator of total energy imbalance for the planet.” 

By another measure, that energy imbalance is growing at a rate equivalent to the energy from about five Hiroshima-sized atom bombs exploding every second of every day of every year, all captured by the oceans. Manifesting as heat, the energy melts sea ice and ice shelves, raises sea levels and supercharges tropical storms. 

Rising ocean heat content is increasing the frequency and intensity of ocean heat waves that have killed huge areas of coral reefs across the world’s tropical oceans and shifted fish populations, threatening the food supplies of up to 3 billion people, mostly in developing countries in the global south.

And there is no doubt that ocean heat waves are linked with heat waves and drought over land. A 2020 study showed that heat waves and droughts starting over the ocean and moving over land are often longer lasting and more intense than purely land-born events. In another case, a team of researchers studied ecosystem details of how a 2011 ocean and land heat wave interacted over Australia.

Concerns about faster warming ahead are also heightened because warmer oceans are less able to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, oceans absorb about 25 percent to 30 percent of human carbon dioxide emissions, said Lijing Cheng, lead author of the new ocean heat paper and associate professor with the International Center for Climate and Environmental Sciences at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

That leads to ocean acidification and “reduces the efficiency of oceanic carbon uptake and leaves more carbon dioxide in the air,” which traps even more heat, he said. 

Cheng said the study showed that the pattern of ocean warming “is a result of human-related changes in atmospheric composition,” adding that warmer oceans create more powerful storms and hurricanes, “as well as increasing precipitation and flood risk.” 

Fully understanding ocean-atmosphere heat exchange is key to implementing and tracking climate mitigation goals, he added.

Co-author Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said the oceans will keep warming until net carbon emissions fall to zero. 

“Aside from causing coral bleaching and threatening sea life and fish populations we rely upon for roughly 25 percent of our protein intake globally,” Mann said, ocean warming “is destabilizing Antarctic ice shelves and threatens massive (meters) of sea level rise if we don’t act. So this finding really underscores the urgency of climate action now.”

Record Heat in 25 Countries 

Another global annual climate summary from a team of scientists with the Berkeley Earth laboratory showed that 1.8 billion people in 25 countries—about a quarter of the world’s population—experienced a record-warm annual average in 2021. 

“No one lives at the global average temperature,” said Berkeley Earth lead scientist Robert Rohde. “Most land areas will experience more warming than the global average, and countries must plan their responses to this.” 

Some of the world’s most populous countries experienced their hottest years on record, including China, South Korea and Nigeria, and many of them are countries that are already very hot, including Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. 

Overall, the Berkeley team’s data showed that the global warming caused by greenhouse gases is broadly distributed, as expected, because the pollutants are spread through the atmosphere. 

In 2021, 87 percent of Earth’s surface was significantly warmer compared to a 1951-1980 baseline, with 11 percent of the surface at a similar temperature, and only 2.6 percent significantly colder. An absence of cold extremes also illustrates the overall warming trend, as the team reported that no place on Earth recorded a record cold annual average. 

A building level of greenhouse gases from human activities “is the direct cause of recent global warming,” Rohde said. “If the Paris Agreement’s goal of no more than 2 degrees Celsius warming is to be reached, significant progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be made soon.”

Brimicome, who does research on extreme heat, said the spate of climate extremes in 2021 may mark a start of a widespread coming to terms with climate change.

“I think we’ve always had these rose-tinted glasses toward it, like yes, climate change is happening, but it’s not going to happen to me,” she said. “We need to take off those glasses and be realistic about what’s happening. Although part of our brain is telling us it can’t be true, it is completely in front of us. If we continue with this narrative, even like I did, that we’re surprised and shocked, it’s kind of like saying it’s not real. But it is real.”

The radical intervention that might save the “doomsday” glacier (MIT Technology Review)

technologyreview.com

Researchers are exploring whether building massive berms or unfurling underwater curtains could hold back the warm waters degrading ice sheets.

January 14, 2022

James Temple


In December, researchers reported that huge and growing cracks have formed in the eastern ice shelf of the Thwaites Glacier, a Florida-size mass of ice that stretches 75 miles across western Antarctica.

They warned that the floating tongue of the glacier—which acts as a brace to prop up the Thwaites—could snap off into the ocean in as little as five years. That could trigger a chain reaction as more and more towering cliffs of ice are exposed and then fracture and collapse.

A complete loss of the so-called doomsday glacier could raise ocean levels by two feet—or as much as 10 feet if the collapse drags down surrounding glaciers with it, according to scientists with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. Either way, it would flood coastal cities around the world, threatening tens of millions of people.

All of which raises an urgent question: Is there anything we could do to stop it?

Even if the world immediately halted the greenhouse-gas emissions driving climate change and warming the waters beneath the ice shelf, that wouldn’t do anything to thicken and restabilize the Thwaites’s critical buttress, says John Moore, a glaciologist and professor at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland in Finland.

“So the only way of preventing the collapse … is to physically stabilize the ice sheets,” he says.

That will require what is variously described as active conservation, radical adaptation, or glacier geoengineering.

Moore and others have laid out several ways that people could intervene to preserve key glaciers. Some of the schemes involve building artificial braces through polar megaprojects, or installing other structures that would nudge nature to restore existing ones. The basic idea is that a handful of engineering efforts at the source of the problem could significantly reduce the property damage and flooding dangers that basically every coastal city and low-lying island nation will face, as well as the costs of the adaptation projects required to minimize them.

If it works, it could potentially preserve crucial ice sheets for a few more centuries, buying time to cut emissions and stabilize the climate, the researchers say.

But there would be massive logistical, engineering, legal, and financial challenges. And it’s not yet clear how effective the interventions would be, or whether they could be done before some of the largest glaciers are lost.

Redirecting warming waters

In articles and papers published in 2018, Moore, Michael Wolovick of Princeton, and others laid out the possibility of preserving critical glaciers, including the Thwaites, through massive earth-moving projects. These would involve shipping in or dredging up large amounts of material to build up berms or artificial islands around or beneath key glaciers. The structures would support glaciers and ice shelves, block the warm, dense water layers at the bottom of the ocean that are melting them from below, or both.

More recently, they and researchers affiliated with the University of British Columbia have explored a more technical concept: constructing what they’ve dubbed “seabed anchored curtains.” These would be buoyant flexible sheets, made from geotextile material, that could hold back and redirect warm water.

The hope is that this proposal would be cheaper than the earlier ones, and that these curtains would stand up to iceberg collisions and could be removed if there were negative side effects. The researchers have modeled the use of these structures around three glaciers in Greenland, as well as the Thwaites and nearby Pine Island glaciers.

If the curtains redirected enough warm water, the eastern ice shelf of the Thwaites could begin to thicken again and firmly reattach itself to the underwater formations that have supported it for millennia, Moore says.

“The idea is to return the system to its state around the early 20th century, when we know that warm water could not access the ice shelf as much as today,” he wrote in an email.

They’ve explored the costs and effects of strategically placing these structures in key channels where most of the warm water flows in, and of establishing a wider curtain farther out in the bay. The latter approach would cost on the order of $50 billion. That’s a big number, but it’s not even half what one proposed seawall around New York City would cost.

Researchers have floated other potential approaches as well, including placing reflective or insulating material over portions of glaciers; building fencing to retain snow that would otherwise blow into the ocean; and applying various techniques to dry up the bed beneath glaciers, eliminating water that acts as lubricant and thus slowing the glaciers’ movement.

Will it work?

Some scientists have criticized these ideas. Seven researchers submitted a response in Nature to Moore’s 2018 proposals, arguing that the concepts would be partial solutions at best, could in some cases inadvertently accelerate ice loss, and could pull attention and resources from efforts to eliminate the root of the problem: greenhouse-gas emissions.

The lead author, Twila Moon, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says the efforts would be akin to plugging a couple of holes in a garden hose riddled with them.

And that’s if they worked at all. She argues that the field doesn’t  understand ice dynamics and other relevant factors well enough to be confident that these things will work, and the logistical challenges strike her as extreme given the difficulty of getting a single research vessel to Antarctica.

“Addressing the source of the problem means turning off that hose, and that is something that we understand,” she says. “We understand climate change; we understand the sources, and we understand how to reduce emissions.”

There would also be significant governance and legal obstacles, as Charles Corbett and Edward Parson, legal scholars at University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, noted in a forthcoming essay in Ecology Law Quarterly.

Notably, Antarctica is governed by a consortium of nations under the Antarctic Treaty System, and any one of the 29 voting members could veto such proposals. In addition, the Madrid Protocol strictly limits certain activities on and around Antarctica, including projects that would have major physical or environmental impacts.

Corbett and Parson stress that the obstacles aren’t insurmountable and that the issue could inspire needed updates to how these regions are governed amid the rising threat of climate change. But they also note: “It all raises the question of whether a country or coalition could drive the project forward with sufficient determination.”

Getting started

Moore and others have noted in earlier work that a “handful of ice streams and large glaciers” are expected to produce nearly all the sea-level rise over the next few centuries, so a few successful interventions could have a significant impact.

But Moore readily acknowledges that such efforts will face vast challenges. Much more work needs to be done to closely evaluate how the flow of warm water will be affected, how well the curtains will hold up over time, what sorts of environmental side effects could occur, and how the public will respond. And installing the curtains under the frigid, turbulent conditions near Antarctica would likely require high-powered icebreakers and the sorts of submersible equipment used for deep-sea oil and gas platforms.

As a next step, Moore hopes to begin conversations with communities in Greenland to seek their input on such ideas well ahead of any field research proposals. But the basic idea would be to start with small-scale tests in regions where it will be relatively easy to work, like Greenland or Alaska. The hope is the lessons and experience gained there would make it possible to move on to harder projects in harsher areas.

The Thwaites would be at the top rung of this “ladder of difficulty.” And the researchers have been operating on the assumption that it could take three decades to build the public support, raise the needed financing, sort out the governance challenges, and build up the skills necessary to undertake such a project there.

There’s a clear problem with that timeline, however: the latest research suggests that the critical eastern buttress may not even be there by the end of this decade.

Rainy days harm the economy (Science Daily)

Date: January 12, 2022

Source: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Summary: Economic growth goes down when the number of wet days and days with extreme rainfall go up, a team of scientists finds. The data analysis of more than 1,500 regions over the past 40 years shows a clear connection and suggests that intensified daily rainfall driven by climate-change from burning oil and coal will harm the global economy.


Economic growth goes down when the number of wet days and days with extreme rainfall go up, a team of Potsdam scientists finds. Rich countries are most severely affected and herein the manufacturing and service sectors, according to their study now published as cover story in the journal Nature. The data analysis of more than 1,500 regions over the past 40 years shows a clear connection and suggests that intensified daily rainfall driven by climate-change from burning oil and coal will harm the global economy.

“This is about prosperity, and ultimately about people’s jobs. Economies across the world are slowed down by more wet days and extreme daily rainfall — an important insight that adds to our growing understanding of the true costs of climate change,” says Leonie Wenz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) who led the study.

“Macro-economic assessments of climate impacts have so far focused mostly on temperature and considered — if at all — changes in rainfall only across longer time scales such as years or months, thus missing the complete picture,” explains Wenz. “While more annual rainfall is generally good for economies, especially agriculturally dependent ones, the question is also how the rain is distributed across the days of the year. Intensified daily rainfall turns out to be bad, especially for wealthy, industrialized countries like the US, Japan, or Germany.”

A first-of-its-kind global analysis of subnational rainfall effects

“We identify a number of distinct effects on economic production, yet the most important one really is from extreme daily rainfall,” says Maximilian Kotz, first author of the study and also at the Potsdam Institute. “This is because rainfall extremes are where we can already see the influence of climate change most clearly, and because they are intensifying almost everywhere across the world.”

The analysis statistically evaluates data of sub-national economic output for 1554 regions worldwide in the period 1979-2019, collected and made publicly available by MCC and PIK. The scientists combine these with high resolution rainfall data. The combination of ever increasing detail in climatic and economic data is of particular importance in the context of rain, a highly local phenomenon, and revealed the new insights.

“It’s the daily rainfall that poses the threat

By loading the Earth’s atmosphere with greenhouse gases from fossil power plants and cars, humanity is heating the planet. Warming air can hold more water vapour that eventually becomes rain. Although atmospheric dynamics make regional changes in annual averages more complicated, daily rainfall extremes are increasing globally due to this water vapour effect.

“Our study reveals that it’s precisely the fingerprint of global warming in daily rainfall which have hefty economic effects that have not yet been accounted for but are highly relevant,” says co-author Anders Levermann, Head of the Potsdam Institute’s Complexity Science domain, professor at Potsdam University and researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, New York. “Taking a closer look at short time scales instead of annual averages helps to understand what is going on: it’s the daily rainfall which poses the threat. It’s rather the climate shocks from weather extremes that threaten our way of life than the gradual changes. By destabilizing our climate we harm our economies. We have to make sure that our burning of fossil fuels does not destabilize our societies, too.”



Journal Reference:

  1. Maximilian Kotz, Anders Levermann, Leonie Wenz. The effect of rainfall changes on economic production. Nature, 2022; 601 (7892): 223 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04283-8

Another tool in the fight against climate change: storytelling (MIT Technology Review)

technologyreview.com

Stories may be the most overlooked climate solution of all. By

December 23, 2021

Devi Lockwood

There is a lot of shouting about climate change, especially in North America and Europe. This makes it easy for the rest of the world to fall into a kind of silence—for Westerners to assume that they have nothing to add and should let the so-called “experts” speak. But we all need to be talking about climate change and amplifying the voices of those suffering the most. 

Climate science is crucial, but by contextualizing that science with the stories of people actively experiencing climate change, we can begin to think more creatively about technological solutions.

This needs to happen not only at major international gatherings like COP26, but also in an everyday way. In any powerful rooms where decisions are made, there should be people who can speak firsthand about the climate crisis. Storytelling is an intervention into climate silence, an invitation to use the ancient human technology of connecting through language and narrative to counteract inaction. It is a way to get often powerless voices into powerful rooms. 

That’s what I attempted to do by documenting stories of people already experiencing the effects of a climate in crisis. 

In 2013, I was living in Boston during the marathon bombing. The city was put on lockdown, and when it lifted, all I wanted was to go outside: to walk and breathe and hear the sounds of other people. I needed to connect, to remind myself that not everyone is murderous. In a fit of inspiration, I cut open a broccoli box and wrote “Open call for stories” in Sharpie. 

I wore the cardboard sign around my neck. People mostly stared. But some approached me. Once I started listening to strangers, I didn’t want to stop. 

That summer, I rode my bicycle down the Mississippi River on a mission to listen to any stories that people had to share. I brought the sign with me. One story was so sticky that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months, and it ultimately set me off on a trip around the world.

“We fight for the protection of our levees. We fight for our marsh every time we have a hurricane. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” 

I met 57-year-old Franny Connetti 80 miles south of New Orleans, when I stopped in front of her office to check the air in my tires; she invited me in to get out of the afternoon sun. Franny shared her lunch of fried shrimp with me. Between bites she told me how Hurricane Isaac had washed away her home and her neighborhood in 2012. 

Despite that tragedy, she and her husband moved back to their plot of land, in a mobile home, just a few months after the storm.

“We fight for the protection of our levees. We fight for our marsh every time we have a hurricane,” she told me. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” 

Twenty miles ahead, I could see where the ocean lapped over the road at high tide. “Water on Road,” an orange sign read. Locals jokingly refer to the endpoint of Louisiana State Highway 23 as “The End of the World.” Imagining the road I had been biking underwater was chilling.

Devi with sign
The author at Monasavu Dam in Fiji in 2014.

Here was one front line of climate change, one story. What would it mean, I wondered, to put this in dialogue with stories from other parts of the world—from other front lines with localized impacts that were experienced through water? My goal became to listen to and amplify those stories.

Water is how most of the world will experience climate change. It’s not a human construct, like a degree Celsius. It’s something we acutely see and feel. When there’s not enough water, crops die, fires rage, and people thirst. When there’s too much, water becomes a destructive force, washing away homes and businesses and lives. It’s almost always easier to talk about water than to talk about climate change. But the two are deeply intertwined.

I also set out to address another problem: the language we use to discuss climate change is often abstract and inaccessible. We hear about feet of sea-level rise or parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but what does this really mean for people’s everyday lives? I thought storytelling might bridge this divide. 

One of the first stops on my journey was Tuvalu, a low-lying coral atoll nation in the South Pacific, 585 miles south of the equator. Home to around 10,000 people, Tuvalu is on track to become uninhabitable in my lifetime. 

In 2014 Tauala Katea, a meteorologist, opened his computer to show me an image of a recent flood on one island. Seawater had bubbled up under the ground near where we were sitting. “This is what climate change looks like,” he said. 

“In 2000, Tuvaluans living in the outer islands noticed that their taro and pulaka crops were suffering,” he said. “The root crops seemed rotten, and the size was getting smaller and smaller.” Taro and pulaka, two starchy staples of Tuvaluan cuisine, are grown in pits dug underground. 

Tauala and his team traveled to the outer islands to take soil samples. The culprit was saltwater intrusion linked to sea-level rise. The seas have been rising four millimeters per year since measurements began in the early 1990s. While that might sound like a small amount, this change has a dramatic impact on Tuvaluans’ access to drinking water. The highest point is only 13 feet above sea level.

A lot has changed in Tuvalu as a result. The freshwater lens, a layer of groundwater that floats above denser seawater, has become salty and contaminated. Thatched roofs and freshwater wells are now a thing of the past. Each home now has a water tank attached to a corrugated-­iron roof by a gutter. All the water for washing, cooking, and drinking now comes from the rain. This rainwater is boiled for drinking and used to wash clothes and dishes, as well as for bathing. The wells have been repurposed as trash heaps. 

At times, families have to make tough decisions about how to allocate water. Angelina, a mother of three, told me that during a drought  a few years ago, her middle daughter, Siulai, was only a few months old. She, her husband, and their oldest daughter could swim in the sea to wash themselves and their clothes. “We only saved water to drink and cook,” she said. But her newborn’s skin was too delicate to bathe in the ocean. The salt water would give her a horrible rash. That meant Angelina had to decide between having water to drink and to bathe her child.

The stories I heard about water and climate change in Tuvalu reflected a sharp division along generational lines. Tuvaluans my age—like Angelina—don’t see their future on the islands and are applying for visas to live in New Zealand. Older Tuvaluans see climate change as an act of God and told me they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else; they didn’t want to leave the bones of their ancestors, which were buried in their front yards. Some things just cannot be moved. 

Organizations like the United Nations Development Programme are working to address climate change in Tuvalu by building seawalls and community water tanks. Ultimately these adaptations seem to be prolonging the inevitable. It is likely that within my lifetime, many Tuvaluans will be forced to call somewhere else home. 

Tuvalu shows how climate change exacerbates both food and water insecurity—and how that insecurity drives migration. I saw this in many other places. Mess with the amount of water available in one location, and people will move.

In Thailand I met a modern dancer named Sun who moved to Bangkok from the rural north. He relocated to the city in part to practice his art, but also to take refuge from unpredictable rain patterns. Farming in Thailand is governed by the seasonal monsoons, which dump rain, fill river basins, and irrigate crops from roughly May to September. Or at least they used to. When we spoke in late May 2016, it was dry in Thailand. The rains were delayed. Water levels in the country’s biggest dams plummeted to less than 10% of their capacity—the worst drought in two decades.

“Right now it’s supposed to be the beginning of the rainy season, but there is no rain,” Sun told me. “How can I say it? I think the balance of the weather is changing. Some parts have a lot of rain, but some parts have none.” He leaned back in his chair, moving his hands like a fulcrum scale to express the imbalance. “That is the problem. The people who used to be farmers have to come to Bangkok because they want money and they want work,” he said. “There is no more work because of the weather.” 

family under sign in Nunavut
A family celebrates Nunavut Day near the waterfront in Igloolik, Nunavut, in 2018.

Migration to the city, in other words, is hastened by the rain. Any tech-driven climate solutions that fail to address climate migration—so central to the personal experience of Sun and many others in his generation around the world—will be at best incomplete, and at worst potentially dangerous. Solutions that address only one region, for example, could exacerbate migration pressures in another. 

I heard stories about climate-­driven food and water insecurity in the Arctic, too. Igloolik, Nunavut, 1,400 miles south of the North Pole, is a community of 1,700 people. Marie Airut, a 71-year-old elder, lives by the water. We spoke in her living room over cups of black tea.

“My husband died recently,” she told me. But when he was alive, they went hunting together in every season; it was their main source of food. “I’m not going to tell you what I don’t know. I’m going to tell you only the things that I have seen,” she said. In the 1970s and ’80s, the seal holes would open in late June, an ideal time for hunting baby seals. “But now if I try to go out hunting at the end of June, the holes are very big and the ice is really thin,” Marie told me. “The ice is melting too fast. It doesn’t melt from the top; it melts from the bottom.”

When the water is warmer, animals change their movement. Igloolik has always been known for its walrus hunting. But in recent years, hunters have had trouble reaching the animals. “I don’t think I can reach them anymore, unless you have 70 gallons of gas. They are that far now, because the ice is melting so fast,” Marie said. “It used to take us half a day to find walrus in the summer, but now if I go out with my boys, it would probably take us two days to get some walrus meat for the winter.” 

Marie and her family used to make fermented walrus every year, “but this year I told my sons we’re not going walrus hunting,” she said. “They are too far.”

Devi Lockwood is the Ideas editor at Rest of World and the author of 1,001 Voices on Climate Change.

The Water issue

This story was part of our January 2022 issue

Crise climática gera eco-ansiedade em jovens temerosos pelo futuro do planeta (Folha de S.Paulo)

www1.folha.uol.com.br

Isabella Menon – 9 de janeiro de 2022

Para especialista, fenômeno precisa ser visto com cautela para que medo não se transforme em negacionismo

Enquanto conversava com a reportagem por telefone, o advogado Leandro Luz, 29, confessa que está nervoso. A angústia em sua fala se refere ao tema da conversa que envolve um de seus maiores medos: a crise climática.

Ler, ouvir e falar sobre aumento da temperatura na Terra, queimadas na Amazônia, derretimento de geleiras e desastres ambientais cada vez mais frequentes deixam Luz nervoso. Quando se depara com o tema, ele sente taquicardia e suor frio nas palmas das mãos e costas.

Até pouco tempo, ele não entendia bem o que sentia, até que descobriu sofrer da chamada eco-ansiedade. O termo, que aparece em um relatório divulgado pela Associação Americana de Psicologia em 2017 e foi incluído no dicionário Oxford no final de outubro de 2021, é descrito como um medo crônico sobre a destruição ambiental acompanhado do sentimento de culpa por contribuições individuais e o impacto disso nas gerações futuras.

A primeira vez que Luz prestou atenção às questões climática foi após o tsunami em Fukushima, no Japão, quando ondas gigantes mataram 18 mil pessoas. Hoje, ele vive em Salvador, mas conta que pensa em se mudar para o interior. “Converso com a minha namorada de morar longe da costa, mas sei que esses locais também serão afetados”, diz ele que relata viver em um grande dilema.

“Não sei como me comportar nos próximos 30 anos, procuro evitar o consumo desenfreado e evito produzir muito lixo plástico, mas sei que são atitudes muito pontuais que, a grosso modo, não vão mudar a realidade”.

O advogado, porém, também critica o governo sobre sua postura diante da crise climática. Para ele, por exemplo, a prioridade de autoridades deveria estar na mudança da matriz energética brasileira. “Mas, estamos no caminho oposto, voltamos a discutir a implementação de usinas de carvão para produção de energia no Brasil, algo que é totalmente rudimentar”.

Assim como Leandro Luz, a aluna do ensino médio Mariana dos Santos, 16, se recorda de chorar copiosamente quando criança após assistir a reportagens sobre mudança climática. Hoje, ela diz que apesar de não desabar mais diante das notícias, a ansiedade vira e mexe ainda a abala.

Ela costuma temer, por exemplo, o aumento do nível da água dos oceanos. “Penso nas cidades que podem desaparecer e as consequências que isso pode acarretar. Isso se torna uma bola de neve. Sei que não dá para fazer muito e é isso que desencadeia o desespero”, diz.

A estudante de gestão ambiental Maria Antônia Luna, 20, também descobriu recentemente que o aperto no peito, sensação de falta de ar ao ler notícias sobre o incêndio que atingiu o Pantanal em 2020 se referem à eco-ansiedade.

“A sensação é de uma angústia de que nada vai melhorar”, define ela que agora busca uma terapia que a ajude a enfrentar aflições relacionadas às crises climáticas, tópico frequente em sua graduação.

Marina, Maria e Leandro não são casos isolados. Um estudo publicado no The Lancet Planetary Health, no início de setembro, analisou a ansiedade climática entre jovens de dez países, como Brasil, Estados Unidos, Índia, Filipinas, Finlândia e França.

O artigo, em preprint (não revisado por pares), ouviu 10 mil jovens de 16 a 25 anos e apontou que a maioria sente com medo, raiva, tristeza, desespero, culpa e vergonha diante de problemas ecológicos.

Ao todo, 58% consideram que seus governos traíram os jovens e as gerações futuras. Apenas franceses e finlandeses não concordam majoritariamente com a afirmação. Quando os números são destrinchados por países, a sensação de traição tanto por parte dos adultos quanto dos governantes é mais latente entre os brasileiros (77%), seguido por indianos (66%).

Para Alexandre Araújo Costa, físico e pesquisador de crises climáticas há 20 anos, a pesquisa aponta também para um olhar otimista, ou seja, o potencial de conscientização maior entre os mais jovens.

“Eles sentem que o Brasil não faz nada para evitar a atual situação e isso pode ser bom para mobilizar”, diz Costa. Segundo ele, não é possível hoje evitar que o assunto seja debatido. “A consequência relacionada à saúde mental é preocupante, mas não podemos manter nossas crianças e jovens em uma redoma dizendo que está tudo bem, quando corremos o risco de perder a Amazônia”, afirma.

O professor ainda analisa que a situação não deve ser vista apenas como um sofrimento individual, já que todos vão acabar impactados de uma forma com a crise ambiental. “É preciso que a gente troque esse governo que dá de ombros para o problema ou que é sequestrado por interesses econômicos que só visam lucro de curto prazo”, diz.

A bióloga Beatriz Ramos segue a linha de Costa. Para ela, o perigo da eco-ansiedade é a vontade de não saber o que está acontecendo. “Ao nos afastarmos dos fatos, podemos entrar em um processo de negação.’”

“É preciso falar o que vai acontecer, como podemos prevenir, quais são as possíveis soluções e explicar que vai acontecer um aumento de eventos extremos, mas existem formas de nos adaptarmos e ainda temos tempo de mitigar isso. Não dá para agir só com otimismo ou só com a sensação apocalíptica”, diz.

Depois de uma depressão profunda disparada pelo sentimento de degradação ambiental, a ecóloga Ana Lúcia Tourinho entendeu que a única forma de me sentir melhor seria se seguisse atuando na linha de frente. Esse foi um dos motivos que a levou a trabalhar em Sinop (MT), região que sofreu com queimadas e densas névoas de fumaça em 2020.

“Eu respiro fumaça de incêndio. É triste, mas é uma forma que encontrei de não me esconder. A sensação de impotência diminui, sinto que não estou parada assistindo à destruição”, diz ela que relata que nos piores momentos do ano passado presenciou cenas desesperadoras de animais agonizando vivos.

A angústia diante às crises climáticas parece cada vez mais latente e atinge, principalmente, os mais jovens. Em Portugal, de acordo com uma reportagem publicada pela Agência Lusa, o termo traz um novo desafio aos psicólogos. Já no Brasil, o uso do termo ainda é emergente, apontam especialistas.

O antropólogo Rodrigo Toniol, por exemplo, não acredita que esse diagnóstico vá emplacar. “Não acho que a gente vai chegar num consultório e será um diagnóstico à mão de todos os psiquiatras, mas eu acho que esse é um sintoma relevante que aponta para problemas ligados à falta de um pacto social”, diz ele.

Para o psicanalista e professor do Instituto de Psicologia da USP Christian Dunker diz que os efeitos da ansiedade causada pelo clima são colaterais. Dunker reflete que, na verdade, nota no consultório o crescente sentimento de injustiça quanto às situações que demandariam ações que não são sendo tomadas, como desigualdade social, racismo, homofobia e desigualdade de gênero.

“No bojo desta modificação da nossa indignação aparece a situação em que passamos a enxergar o planeta como alguém e não como algo”, analisa.

Latour: The pandemic is a warning: we must take care of the earth, our only home (BBC)

Bruno Latour

The climate crisis resembles a huge planetary lockdown, trapping humanity within an ever-deteriorating environment

river bank

‘The shallow layer of earth in which we live … has been transformed into a habitable milieu by the aeons-long labour of evolution.’ Photograph: Jon Helgason/Alamy

Fri 24 Dec 2021 14.00 GMT

There is a moment when a never-ending crisis turns into a way of life. This seems to be the case with the pandemic. If so, it’s wise to explore the permanent condition in which it has left us. One obvious lesson is that societies have to learn once again to live with pathogens, just as they learned to when microbes were first made visible by the discoveries of Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch.

These discoveries were concerned with only one aspect of microbial life. When you also consider the various sciences of the earth system, another aspect of viruses and bacteria comes to the fore. During the long geochemical history of the earth, microbes, together with fungi and plants, have been essential, and are still essential, to the very composition of the environment in which we humans live. The pandemic has shown us that we will never escape the invasive presence of these living beings, entangled as we are with them. They react to our actions; if they mutate, we have to mutate as well.

This is why the many national lockdowns, imposed on citizens to help them survive the virus, are a powerful analogy for the situation in which humanity finds itself detained for good. Lockdown was painful enough, and yet many ways have been found, thanks in part to vaccination, to allow people to resume a semblance of normal life. But there is no possibility of such a resumption if you consider that all living forms are locked down for good inside the limits of the earth. And by “earth” I don’t mean the planet as it can be seen from space, but its very superficial pellicle, the shallow layer of earth in which we live, and which has been transformed into a habitable milieu by the aeons-long labour of evolution.

This thin matrix is what geochemists call the “critical zone”, the only layer of earth where terrestrial life can flourish. It’s in this finite space where everything we care for and everything we have ever encountered exists.There is no way of escaping our earth-bound existence; as young climate activists shout: “There is no planet B.” Here is the connection between the Covid lockdowns we have experienced in the past two years, and the much larger but definitive state of lockdown that we find ourselves in: we are trapped in an environment that we have already altered irreversibly.

If we have been made aware of the agency of viruses in shaping our social relations, we must now reckon with the fact that they will also be moulded for ever by the climate crisis and the quick reactions of ecosystems to our actions. The feeling that we live in a new space appears again at the local as well as the global level. Why would all nations convene in Glasgow to keep global temperature rises below some agreed upon limit, if they did not have the sensation that a huge lid had been put over their territory? When you look up at the blue sky, are you not aware that you are now under some sort of dome inside which you are locked?

Gone is the infinite space; now you are responsible for the safety of this overbearing dome as much as you are for your own health and wealth. It weighs on you, body and soul. To survive under these new conditions we have to undergo a sort of metamorphosis.

This is where politics enters. It is very difficult for most people used to the industrialised way of life, with its dream of infinite space and its insistence on emancipation and relentless growth and development, to suddenly sense that it is instead enveloped, confined, tucked inside a closed space where their concerns have to be shared with new entities: other people of course, but also viruses, soils, coal, oil, water, and, worst of all, this damned, constantly shifting climate.

This disorienting shift is unprecedented, even cosmological, and it is already a source of deep political divisions. Although the sentence “you and I don’t live on the same planet” used to be a joking expression of dissent, it has become true of our present reality. We do live on different planets, with rich people employing private fire fighters and scouting for climate bunkers, while their poorer counterparts are forced to migrate, suffer and die amid the worst consequences of the crisis.

This is why it is important not to misconstrue the political conundrum of our present age. It is of the same magnitude as when, from the 17th century onward, westerners had to shift from the closed cosmos of the past to the infinite space of the modern period. As the cosmos seemed to open, political institutions had to be invented to work through the new and utopian possibilities offered by the Enlightenment. Now, in reverse, the same task falls to present generations: what new political institutions could they invent to cope with people so divided that they belong to different planets?

It would be a mistake to believe that the pandemic is a crisis that will end, instead of the perfect warning for what is coming, what I call the new climatic regime. It appears that all the resources of science, humanities and the arts will have to be mobilised once again to shift attention to our shared terrestrial condition.

  • Bruno Latour is a philosopher and anthropologist, the author of After Lockdown: A Metamorphosis and the winner of the 2013 Holberg prize

Winter is coming: Researchers uncover the surprising cause of the little ice age (Science Daily)

Cold era, lasting from early 15th to mid-19th centuries, triggered by unusually warm conditions

Date: December 15, 2021

Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Summary: New research provides a novel answer to one of the persistent questions in historical climatology, environmental history and the earth sciences: what caused the Little Ice Age? The answer, we now know, is a paradox: warming.


New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides a novel answer to one of the persistent questions in historical climatology, environmental history and the earth sciences: what caused the Little Ice Age? The answer, we now know, is a paradox: warming.

The Little Ice Age was one of the coldest periods of the past 10,000 years, a period of cooling that was particularly pronounced in the North Atlantic region. This cold spell, whose precise timeline scholars debate, but which seems to have set in around 600 years ago, was responsible for crop failures, famines and pandemics throughout Europe, resulting in misery and death for millions. To date, the mechanisms that led to this harsh climate state have remained inconclusive. However, a new paper published recently in Science Advances gives an up-to-date picture of the events that brought about the Little Ice Age. Surprisingly, the cooling appears to have been triggered by an unusually warm episode.

When lead author Francois Lapointe, postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in geosciences at UMass Amherst and Raymond Bradley, distinguished professor in geosciences at UMass Amherst began carefully examining their 3,000-year reconstruction of North Atlantic sea surface temperatures, results of which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020, they noticed something surprising: a sudden change from very warm conditions in the late 1300s to unprecedented cold conditions in the early 1400s, only 20 years later.

Using many detailed marine records, Lapointe and Bradley discovered that there was an abnormally strong northward transfer of warm water in the late 1300s which peaked around 1380. As a result, the waters south of Greenland and the Nordic Seas became much warmer than usual. “No one has recognized this before,” notes Lapointe.

Normally, there is always a transfer of warm water from the tropics to the Arctic. It’s a well-known process called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which is like a planetary conveyor belt. Typically, warm water from the tropics flows north along the coast of Northern Europe, and when it reaches higher latitudes and meets colder Arctic waters, it loses heat and becomes denser, causing the water to sink at the bottom of the ocean. This deep-water formation then flows south along the coast of North America and continues on to circulate around the world.

But in the late 1300s, AMOC strengthened significantly, which meant that far more warm water than usual was moving north, which in turn cause rapid Arctic ice loss. Over the course of a few decades in the late 1300s and 1400s, vast amounts of ice were flushed out into the North Atlantic, which not only cooled the North Atlantic waters, but also diluted their saltiness, ultimately causing AMOC to collapse. It is this collapse that then triggered a substantial cooling.

Fast-forward to our own time: between the 1960s and 1980s, we have also seen a rapid strengthening of AMOC, which has been linked with persistently high pressure in the atmosphere over Greenland. Lapointe and Bradley think the same atmospheric situation occurred just prior to the Little Ice Age — but what could have set off that persistent high-pressure event in the 1380s?

The answer, Lapointe discovered, is to be found in trees. Once the researchers compared their findings to a new record of solar activity revealed by radiocarbon isotopes preserved in tree rings, they discovered that unusually high solar activity was recorded in the late 1300s. Such solar activity tends to lead to high atmospheric pressure over Greenland.

At the same time, fewer volcanic eruptions were happening on earth, which means that there was less ash in the air. A “cleaner” atmosphere meant that the planet was more responsive to changes in solar output. “Hence the effect of high solar activity on the atmospheric circulation in the North-Atlantic was particularly strong,” said Lapointe.

Lapointe and Bradley have been wondering whether such an abrupt cooling event could happen again in our age of global climate change. They note that there is now much less Arctic sea ice due to global warming, so an event like that in the early 1400s, involving sea ice transport, is unlikely. “However, we do have to keep an eye on the build-up of freshwater in the Beaufort Sea (north of Alaska) which has increased by 40% in the past two decades. Its export to the subpolar North Atlantic could have a strong impact on oceanic circulation,” said Lapointe. “Also, persistent periods of high pressure over Greenland in summer have been much more frequent over the past decade and are linked with record-breaking ice melt. Climate models do not capture these events reliably and so we may be underestimating future ice loss from the ice sheet, with more freshwater entering the North Atlantic, potentially leading to a weakening or collapse of the AMOC.” The authors conclude that there is an urgent need to address these uncertainties.

This research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.



Journal Reference:

  1. Francois Lapointe, Raymond S. Bradley. Little Ice Age abruptly triggered by intrusion of Atlantic waters into the Nordic Seas. Science Advances, 2021; 7 (51) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abi8230

The new normal is already here. Get used to it (The Economist)

economist.com

The Economist


IS IT NEARLY over? In 2021 people have been yearning for something like stability. Even those who accepted that they would never get their old lives back hoped for a new normal. Yet as 2022 draws near, it is time to face the world’s predictable unpredictability. The pattern for the rest of the 2020s is not the familiar routine of the pre-covid years, but the turmoil and bewilderment of the pandemic era. The new normal is already here.

Remember how the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 began to transform air travel in waves. In the years that followed each fresh plot exposed an unforeseen weakness that required a new rule. First came locked cockpit doors, more armed air marshals and bans on sharp objects. Later, suspicion fell on bottles of liquid, shoes and laptops. Flying did not return to normal, nor did it establish a new routine. Instead, everything was permanently up for revision.

The world is similarly unpredictable today and the pandemic is part of the reason. For almost two years people have lived with shifting regimes of mask-wearing, tests, lockdowns, travel bans, vaccination certificates and other paperwork. As outbreaks of new cases and variants ebb and flow, so these regimes can also be expected to come and go. That is the price of living with a disease that has not yet settled into its endemic state.

And covid-19 may not be the only such infection. Although a century elapsed between the ravages of Spanish flu and the coronavirus, the next planet-conquering pathogen could strike much sooner. Germs thrive in an age of global travel and crowded cities. The proximity of people and animals will lead to the incubation of new human diseases. Such zoonoses, which tend to emerge every few years, used to be a minority interest. For the next decade, at least, you can expect each new outbreak to trigger paroxysms of precaution.

Covid has also helped bring about today’s unpredictable world indirectly, by accelerating change that was incipient. The pandemic has shown how industries can be suddenly upended by technological shifts. Remote shopping, working from home and the Zoom boom were once the future. In the time of covid they rapidly became as much of a chore as picking up the groceries or the daily commute.

Big technological shifts are nothing new. But instead of taking centuries or decades to spread around the world, as did the printing press and telegraph, new technologies become routine in a matter of years. Just 15 years ago, modern smartphones did not exist. Today more than half of the people on the planet carry one. Any boss who thinks their industry is immune to such wild dynamism is unlikely to last long.

The pandemic may also have ended the era of low global inflation that began in the 1990s and was ingrained by economic weakness after the financial crisis of 2007-09. Having failed to achieve a quick recovery then, governments spent nearly $11trn trying to ensure that the harm caused by the virus was transient.

They broadly succeeded, but fiscal stimulus and bunged-up supply chains have raised global inflation above 5%. The apparent potency of deficit spending will change how recessions are fought. As they raise interest rates to deal with inflation, central banks may find themselves in conflict with indebted governments. Amid a burst of innovation around cryptocoins, central-bank digital currencies and fintech, many outcomes are possible. A return to the comfortable macroeconomic orthodoxies of the 1990s is one of the least likely.

The pandemic has also soured relations between the world’s two great powers. America blames China’s secretive Communist Party for failing to contain the virus that emerged from Wuhan at the end of 2019. Some claim that it came from a Chinese laboratory there—an idea China has allowed to fester through its self-defeating resistance to open investigations. For its part, China, which has recorded fewer than 6,000 deaths, no longer bothers to hide its disdain for America, with its huge death toll. In mid-December this officially passed 800,000 (The Economist estimates the full total to be almost 1m). The contempt China and America feel for each other will heighten tensions over Taiwan, the South China Sea, human rights in Xinjiang and the control of strategic technologies.

In the case of climate change, the pandemic has served as an emblem of interdependence. Despite the best efforts to contain them, virus particles cross frontiers almost as easily as molecules of methane and carbon dioxide. Scientists from around the world showed how vaccines and medicines can save hundreds of millions of lives. However, hesitancy and the failure to share doses frustrated their plans. Likewise, in a world that is grappling with global warming, countries that have everything to gain from working together continually fall short. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the accumulation of long-lasting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere means that extreme and unprecedented weather of the kind seen during 2021 is here to stay.

The desire to return to a more stable, predictable world may help explain a 1990s revival. You can understand the appeal of going back to a decade in which superpower competition had abruptly ended, liberal democracy was triumphant, suits were oversized, work ended when people left the office, and the internet was not yet disrupting cosy, established industries or stoking the outrage machine that has supplanted public discourse.

Events, dear boy, events

That desire is too nostalgic. It is worth notching up some of the benefits that come with today’s predictable unpredictability. Many people like to work from home. Remote services can be cheaper and more accessible. The rapid dissemination of technology could bring unimagined advances in medicine and the mitigation of global warming.

Even so, beneath it lies the unsettling idea that once a system has crossed some threshold, every nudge tends to shift it further from the old equilibrium. Many of the institutions and attitudes that brought stability in the old world look ill-suited to the new. The pandemic is like a doorway. Once you pass through, there is no going back. ■

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “The new normal”

Geoengineering: Symmetric precaution (Science)

science.org

Edward A. Parson


As alarm about climate change and calls for action intensify, solar geoengineering (SG) is seeing increased attention and controversy. Views on whether it should or will ever be used diverge, but the evidentiary basis for these views is thin. On such a high-stakes, knowledge-limited issue, one might expect strong support for research, but even research has met opposition. Opponents’ objections are grounded in valid concerns but impossible to fully address, as they are framed in ways that make rejecting research an axiom, not a conclusion based on evidence.

Supporters of SG research argue that it can inform future decisions and prepare for likely future calls for deployment. A US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report earlier this year lent thoughtful support to this view. Opponents raise well-known concerns about SG such as its imperfect climate correction, its time-scale mismatch with greenhouse gases (GHGs), and the potential to over-rely on it or use it recklessly or unjustly. They oppose research based on the same concerns, arguing that usage can never be acceptable so research is superfluous; or that sociopolitical lock-in will drive research toward deployment even if unwarranted. Both support and opposition are often implicit, embedded in debates over additional governance of SG research beyond peer review, program management, and regulatory compliance.

At present, potential SG methods and claimed benefits and harms are hypothetical, not demonstrated. The strongest objections to research invoke potential consequences that are indirect, mediated by imprudent or unjust policy decisions. Because the paths from research to these bad outcomes involve political behavior, claims that these “could” happen cannot be fully refuted. Understanding and limiting these risks require the same research and governance-building activities that opponents reject as causing the risks.

To reject an activity based on harms that might follow is to apply extreme precaution. This can be warranted when there is risk of serious, unmitigable harm and the alternative is known to be acceptable. That is not the case here. Rejecting SG research means taking the alternative trajectory of uncertain but potentially severe climate impacts, reduced by whatever emissions cuts, GHG removals, and adaptation are achieved. But these other responses needed to meet prudent climate targets carry their own risks: of falling short and suffering more severe climate change, and of collateral environmental and socioeconomic harms from deployment at the required transformative, even revolutionary, scale.

Suppressing research on SG might reduce risks from its future use, but this is not assured: Rather than preventing use in some future crisis, blocking research might make such use less informed, cruder, and more dangerous. Even if these risks are reduced, this would shift increased risks onto climate change and crash pursuit of other responses. Total climate-related risk may well increase—and be more unjustly distributed, because the largest benefits of SG appear likely to flow to the most vulnerable people and communities.

Yet the concerns that motivate opposition to research are compelling. SG use would be an unprecedented step, affecting climate response, international governance, sustainability, and global justice. Major concerns—about reckless or rivalrous use, or over-reliance weakening emissions cuts—are essential to address, even if they cannot be avoided with certainty. A few directions show promise for doing so. Research should be in public programs, in jurisdictions with cultures of public benefit and research accountability. The NASEM call for a US federal program is sound. Other national programs should be established. Research governance should be somewhat stronger than for less controversial research, including scale limits on field experiments and periodic program reassessments. Exploration of governance needs for larger-scale interventions should begin well before these are considered. Research and governance should seek broad international cooperation—promptly, but not as a precondition to national programs. Broad citizen consultations are needed on overall climate response and the role of SG. These should link to national research and governance programs but not have veto power over specific activities.

Precaution is appropriate, even necessary. But precaution cannot selectively target risks from one climate response while ignoring its linkages to other responses and risks. Suppressing SG research is likely to make the harms and injustices that opponents fear more likely, not less.

Volume 374 • Issue 6569 • 12 November 2021

Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

Published online: 11 November 2021

What next? 22 emerging technologies to watch in 2022 (The Economist)

economist.com

[Solar radiation management is listed first. Calling it “controversial” is bad journalism. It is extremely dangerous and there is not a lot of controversy about this aspect of the thing.]

Nov 8th 2021


The astonishingly rapid development and rollout of coronavirus vaccines has been a reminder of the power of science and technology to change the world. Although vaccines based on new mRNA technology seemed to have been created almost instantly, they actually drew upon decades of research going back to the 1970s. As the saying goes in the technology industry, it takes years to create an overnight success. So what else might be about to burst into prominence? Here are 22 emerging technologies worth watching in 2022

Solar geoengineering

It sounds childishly simple. If the world is getting too hot, why not offer it some shade? The dust and ash released into the upper atmosphere by volcanoes is known to have a cooling effect: Mount Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 cooled the Earth by as much as 0.5°C for four years. Solar geoengineering, also known as solar radiation management, would do the same thing deliberately.

This is hugely controversial. Would it work? How would rainfall and weather patterns be affected? And wouldn’t it undermine efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions? Efforts to test the idea face fierce opposition from politicians and activists. In 2022, however, a group at Harvard University hopes to conduct a much-delayed experiment called SCoPEX. It involves launching a balloon into the stratosphere, with the aim of releasing 2kg of material (probably calcium carbonate), and then measuring how it dissipates, reacts and scatters solar energy.

Proponents argue that it is important to understand the technique, in case it is needed to buy the world more time to cut emissions. The Harvard group has established an independent advisory panel to consider the moral and political ramifications. Whether the test goes ahead or not, expect controversy.

Heat pumps

Keeping buildings warm in winter accounts for about a quarter of global energy consumption. Most heating relies on burning coal, gas or oil. If the world is to meet its climate-change targets, that will have to change. The most promising alternative is to use heat pumps—essentially, refrigerators that run in reverse.

Instead of pumping heat out of a space to cool it down, a heat pump forces heat in from the outside, warming it up. Because they merely move existing heat around, they can be highly efficient: for every kilowatt of electricity consumed, heat pumps can deliver 3kW of heat, making them cheaper to run than electric radiators. And running a heat pump backwards cools a home rather than heating it.

Gradient, based in San Francisco, is one of several companies offering a heat pump that can provide both heating and cooling. Its low-profile, saddle-bag shaped products can be mounted in windows, like existing air conditioners, and will go on sale in 2022.

Hydrogen-powered planes

Electrifying road transport is one thing. Aircraft are another matter. Batteries can only power small aircraft for short flights. But might electricity from hydrogen fuel cells, which excrete only water, do the trick? Passenger planes due to be test-flown with hydrogen fuel cells in 2022 include a two-seater being built at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. ZeroAvia, based in California, plans to complete trials of a 20-seat aircraft, and aims to have its hydrogen-propulsion system ready for certification by the end of the year. Universal Hydrogen, also of California, hopes its 40-seat plane will take off in September 2022.

Direct air capture

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes global warming. So why not suck it out using machines? Several startups are pursuing direct air capture (DAC), a technology that does just that. In 2022 Carbon Engineering, a Canadian firm, will start building the world’s biggest DAC facility in Texas, capable of capturing 1m tonnes of CO2 per year. ClimeWorks, a Swiss firm, opened a DAC plant in Iceland in 2021, which buries captured CO2 in mineral form at a rate of 4,000 tonnes a year. Global Thermostat, an American firm, has two pilot plants. DAC could be vital in the fight against climate change. The race is on to get costs down and scale the technology up.

Vertical farming

A new type of agriculture is growing. Vertical farms grow plants on trays stacked in a closed, controlled environment. Efficient LED lighting has made the process cheaper, though energy costs remain a burden. Vertical farms can be located close to customers, reducing transport costs and emissions. Water use is minimised and bugs are kept out, so no pesticides are needed.

In Britain, the Jones Food Company will open the world’s largest vertical farm, covering 13,750 square metres, in 2022. AeroFarms, an American firm, will open its largest vertical farm, in Daneville, Virginia. Other firms will be expanding, too. Nordic Harvest will enlarge its facility just outside Copenhagen and construct a new one in Stockholm. Plenty, based in California, will open a new indoor farm near Los Angeles. Vertical farms mostly grow high-value leafy greens and herbs, but some are venturing into tomatoes, peppers and berries. The challenge now is to make the economics stack up, too.

Container ships with sails

Ships produce 3% of greenhouse-gas emissions. Burning maritime bunker fuel, a dirty diesel sludge, also contributes to acid rain. None of this was a problem in the age of sail—which is why sails are making a comeback, in high-tech form, to cut costs and emissions.

In 2022 Michelin of France will equip a freighter with an inflatable sail that is expected to reduce fuel consumption by 20%. MOL, a Japanese shipping firm, plans to put a telescoping rigid sail on a ship in August 2022. Naos Design of Italy expects to equip eight ships with its pivoting and foldable hard “wing sails”. Other approaches include kites, “suction wings” that house fans, and giant, spinning cylinders called Flettner rotors. By the end of 2022 the number of big cargo ships with sails of some kind will have quadrupled to 40, according to the International Windship Association. If the European Union brings shipping into its carbon-trading scheme in 2022, as planned, that will give these unusual technologies a further push.

VR workouts

Most people do not do enough exercise. Many would like to, but lack motivation. Virtual reality (VR) headsets let people play games and burn calories in the process, as they punch or slice oncoming shapes, or squat and shimmy to dodge obstacles. VR workouts became more popular during the pandemic as lockdowns closed gyms and a powerful, low-cost headset, the Oculus Quest 2, was released. An improved model and new fitness features are coming in 2022. And Supernatural, a highly regarded VR workout app available only in North America, may be released in Europe. Could the killer app for virtual reality be physical fitness?

Vaccines for HIV and malaria

The impressive success of coronavirus vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) heralds a golden era of vaccine development. Moderna is developing an HIV vaccine based on the same mRNA technology used in its highly effective coronavirus vaccine. It entered early-stage clinical trials in 2021 and preliminary results are expected in 2022. BioNTech, joint-developer of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, is working on an mRNA vaccine for malaria, with clinical trials expected to start in 2022. Non-mRNA vaccines for HIV and malaria, developed at the University of Oxford, are also showing promise.

3D-printed bone implants

For years, researchers have been developing techniques to create artificial organs using 3D printing of biological materials. The ultimate goal is to take a few cells from a patient and create fully functional organs for transplantation, thus doing away with long waiting-lists, testing for matches and the risk of rejection.

That goal is still some way off for fleshy organs. But bones are less tricky. Two startups, Particle3D and ADAM, hope to have 3D-printed bones available for human implantation in 2022. Both firms use calcium-based minerals to print their bones, which are made to measure based on patients’ CT scans. Particle3D’s trials in pigs and mice found that bone marrow and blood vessels grew into its implants within eight weeks. ADAM says its 3D-printed implants stimulate natural bone growth and gradually biodegrade, eventually being replaced by the patient’s bone tissue. If all goes well, researchers say 3D-printed blood vessels and heart valves are next.

Flying electric taxis

Long seen as something of a fantasy, flying taxis, or electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, as the fledgling industry calls them, are getting serious. Several firms around the world will step up test flights in 2022 with the aim of getting their aircraft certified for commercial use in the following year or two. Joby Aviation, based in California, plans to build more than a dozen of its five-seater vehicles, which have a 150-mile range. Volocopter of Germany aims to provide an air-taxi service at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Other contenders include eHang, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace. Keep an eye on the skies.

Space tourism

After a stand-out year for space tourism in 2021, as a succession of billionaire-backed efforts shot civilians into the skies, hopes are high for 2022. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic just beat Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to the edge of space in July, with both billionaires riding in their own spacecraft on suborbital trips. In September Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, sent four passengers on a multi-day orbital cruise around the Earth.

All three firms hope to fly more tourists in 2022, which promises to be the first year in which more people go to space as paying passengers than as government employees. But Virgin Galactic is modifying its vehicle to make it stronger and safer, and it is not expected to fly again until the second half of 2022, with commercial service starting in the fourth quarter. Blue Origin plans more flights but has not said when or how many. For its part, SpaceX has done a deal to send tourists to the International Space Station. Next up? The Moon.

Delivery drones

They are taking longer than expected to get off the ground. But new rules, which came into effect in 2021, will help drone deliveries gain altitude in 2022. Manna, an Irish startup which has been delivering books, meals and medicine in County Galway, plans to expand its service in Ireland and into Britain. Wing, a sister company of Google, has been doing test deliveries in America, Australia and Finland and will expand its mall-to-home delivery service, launched in late 2021. Dronamics, a Bulgarian startup, will start using winged drones to shuttle cargo between 39 European airports. The question is: will the pace of drone deliveries pick up—or drop off?

Quieter supersonic aircraft

For half a century, scientists have wondered whether changes to the shape of a supersonic aircraft could reduce the intensity of its sonic boom. Only recently have computers become powerful enough to run the simulations needed to turn those noise-reduction theories into practice.

In 2022 NASA’s X-59 QueSST (short for “Quiet Supersonic Technology”) will make its first test flight. Crucially, that test will take place over land—specifically, Edwards Air Force Base in California. Concorde, the world’s first and only commercial supersonic airliner, was not allowed to travel faster than sound when flying over land. The X-59’s sonic boom is expected to be just one-eighth as loud as Concorde’s. At 75 perceived decibels, it will be equivalent to a distant thunderstorm—more of a sonic “thump”. If it works, NASA hopes that regulators could lift the ban on supersonic flights over land, ushering in a new era for commercial flight.

3D-printed houses

Architects often use 3D printing to create scale models of buildings. But the technology can be scaled up and used to build the real thing. Materials are squirted out of a nozzle as a foam that then hardens. Layer by layer, a house is printed—either on site, or as several pieces in a factory that are transported and assembled.

In 2022 Mighty Buildings, based in California, will complete a development of 15 eco-friendly 3D-printed homes at Rancho Mirage. And ICON, based in Texas, plans to start building a community of 100 3D-printed homes near Austin, which would be the largest development of its kind.

Sleep tech

It’s become a craze in Silicon Valley. Not content with maximising their productivity and performance during their waking hours, geeks are now optimising their sleep, too, using an array of technologies. These include rings and headbands that record and track sleep quality, soothing sound machines, devices to heat and cool mattresses, and smart alarm clocks to wake you at the perfect moment. Google launched a sleep-tracking nightstand tablet in 2021, and Amazon is expected to follow suit in 2022. It sounds crazy. But poor sleep is linked with maladies from heart disease to obesity. And what Silicon Valley does today, everyone else often ends up doing tomorrow.

Personalised nutrition

Diets don’t work. Evidence is growing that each person’s metabolism is unique, and food choices should be, too. Enter personalised nutrition: apps that tell you what to eat and when, using machine-learning algorithms, tests of your blood and gut microbiome, data on lifestyle factors such as exercise, and real-time tracking of blood-sugar levels using coin-sized devices attached to the skin. After successful launches in America, personalised-nutrition firms are eyeing other markets in 2022. Some will also seek regulatory approval as treatments for conditions such as diabetes and migraine.

Wearable health trackers

Remote medical consultations have become commonplace. That could transform the prospects for wearable health trackers such as the Fitbit or Apple Watch. They are currently used primarily as fitness trackers, measuring steps taken, running and swimming speeds, heart rates during workouts, and so forth. But the line between consumer and medical uses of such devices is now blurring, say analysts at Gartner, a consultancy.

Smart watches can already measure blood oxygenation, perform ECGs and detect atrial fibrillation. The next version of the Apple Watch, expected in 2022, may include new sensors capable of measuring levels of glucose and alcohol in the blood, along with blood pressure and body temperature. Rockley Photonics, the company supplying the sensor technology, calls its system a “clinic on the wrist”. Regulatory approval for such functions may take a while, but in the meantime doctors, not just users, will be paying more attention to data from wearables.

The metaverse

Coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snow Crash”, the word “metaverse” referred to a persistent virtual world, accessible via special goggles, where people could meet, flirt, play games, buy and sell things, and much more besides. In 2022 it refers to the fusion of video games, social networking and entertainment to create new, immersive experiences, like swimming inside your favourite song at an online concert. Games such as Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite are all stepping-stones to an emerging new medium. Facebook has renamed itself Meta to capitalise on the opportunity—and distract from its other woes.

Quantum computing

An idea that existed only on blackboards in the 1990s has grown into a multi-billion dollar contest between governments, tech giants and startups: harnessing the counter-intuitive properties of quantum physics to build a new kind of computer. For some kinds of mathematics a quantum computer could outperform any non-quantum machine that could ever be built, making quick work of calculations used in cryptography, chemistry and finance.

But when will such machines arrive? One measure of a quantum computer’s capability is its number of qubits. A Chinese team has built a computer with 66 qubits. IBM, an American firm, hopes to hit 433 qubits in 2022 and 1,000 by 2023. But existing machines have a fatal flaw: the delicate quantum states on which they depend last for just a fraction of a second. Fixing that will take years. But if existing machines can be made useful in the meantime, quantum computing could become a commercial reality much sooner than expected.

Virtual influencers

Unlike a human influencer, a virtual influencer will never be late to a photoshoot, get drunk at a party or get old. That is because virtual influencers are computer-generated characters who plug products on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

The best known is Miquela Sousa, or “Lil Miquela”, a fictitious Brazilian-American 19-year-old with 3m Instagram followers. With $15bn expected to be spent on influencer marketing in 2022, virtual influencers are proliferating. Aya Stellar—an interstellar traveller crafted by Cosmiq Universe, a marketing agency—will land on Earth in February. She has already released a song on YouTube.

Brain interfaces

In April 2021 the irrepressible entrepreneur Elon Musk excitedly tweeted that a macaque monkey was “literally playing a video game telepathically using a brain chip”. His company, Neuralink, had implanted two tiny sets of electrodes into the monkey’s brain. Signals from these electrodes, transmitted wirelessly and then decoded by a nearby computer, enabled the monkey to move the on-screen paddle in a game of Pong using thought alone.

In 2022 Neuralink hopes to test its device in humans, to enable people who are paralysed to operate a computer. Another firm, Synchron, has already received approval from American regulators to begin human trials of a similar device. Its “minimally invasive” neural prosthetic is inserted into the brain via blood vessels in the neck. As well as helping paralysed people, Synchron is also looking at other uses, such as diagnosing and treating nervous-system conditions including epilepsy, depression and hypertension.

Artificial meat and fish

Winston Churchill once mused about “the absurdity of growing a whole chicken to eat the breast or wing”. Nearly a century later, around 70 companies are “cultivating” meats in bioreactors. Cells taken from animals, without harming them, are nourished in soups rich in proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins and minerals. In 2020 Eat Just, an artificial-meat startup based in San Francisco, became the first company certified to sell its products, in Singapore.

It is expected to be joined by a handful of other firms in 2022. In the coming year an Israeli startup, SuperMeat, expects to win approval for commercial sales of cultivated chicken burgers, grown for $10 a pop—down from $2,500 in 2018, the company says. Finless Foods, based in California, hopes for approval to sell cultivated bluefin tuna, grown for $440 a kilogram—down from $660,000 in 2017. Bacon, turkey and other cultivated meats are in the pipeline. Eco-conscious meat-lovers will soon be able to have their steak—and eat it.

By the Science and technology correspondents of The Economist

This article appeared in the What next? section of the print edition of The World Ahead 2022 under the headline “What next?”

Agronegócio banca palestras que espalham mito de que aquecimento global pelo homem é fraude (BBC News Brasil)

bbc.com


Juliana Gragnani – @julianagragnani

Da BBC News Brasil em Londres

18 novembro 2021

As Comissões de Relações Exteriores e Defesa Nacional (CRE) de Meio Ambiente (CMA) realizam audiência pública conjunta para tratar sobre questões relacionadas às mudanças climáticas e ao aquecimento global. Foto tirada em 28 de maio de 2019
Legenda da foto, Luiz Carlos Molion, professor aposentado da Universidade Federal de Alagoas, disse em uma de suas palestras que aquecimento global “é uma farsa”

Uma sala repleta de estudantes de agronomia assiste a uma palestra sobre mudanças climáticas no Brasil. Estão em uma faculdade no Estado do Mato Grosso, maior produtor de soja do país, ouvindo falar um professor da Universidade de São Paulo. Mas o que escutam é o contrário do que acredita a esmagadora maioria da comunidade científica do mundo. Ali, a mensagem transmitida é de que não existe aquecimento global causado pelo homem.

“Os objetivos [de quem fala em mudanças climáticas] são congelar os países em desenvolvimento. O Brasil é o principal foco dessas operações que envolvem meio ambiente e clima. A ideia da mudança climática e dessas questões ambientais são para segurar o nosso desenvolvimento”, afirmou o palestrante, o meteorologista Ricardo Felicio, sem respaldo científico, em uma entrevista concedida após o evento que aconteceu em 2019.

Na realidade, segundo o último relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC), de agosto deste ano, o papel da influência humana no aquecimento do planeta é “inequívoco”. É para limitar as mudanças climáticas por meio da redução na emissão de gases de efeito estufa que líderes se reuniram nas últimas duas semanas na COP26 em Glasgow, no Reino Unido.

No Brasil, a maior causa de emissões de dióxido de carbono é o desmatamento feito para expansão da agricultura e da pecuária.

Mas, na contramão do que diz a ciência, associações do agronegócio — de fazendeiros de soja, passando por cafeicultores, sindicatos rurais, faculdades ligadas a agronomia e até uma empresa de fertilizantes — estão bancando palestras dos chamados “negacionistas climáticos”, pessoas que não acreditam que existam mudanças climáticas causadas pelo homem e que apresentam esse fato como uma fraude. As apresentações são direcionadas a outros fazendeiros, produtores rurais ou estudantes de agronomia.

A reportagem contou ao menos 20 palestras do tipo nesses ambientes nos últimos três anos feitas por Felicio e por outro professor. A citada no início desta reportagem aconteceu em 2019, e fez parte de um circuito universitário de um total de 11 palestras com o nome “Aquecimento global, mito ou realidade?” em nove faculdades e dois sindicatos no Mato Grosso. Todas elas foram bancadas pela Aprosoja Mato Grosso, a associação de produtores de soja e milho do Estado, maior produtor de soja do Brasil.

Ao mesmo tempo em que negam o aquecimento global antropogênico, as palestras pagas e vistas por ruralistas os absolvem de reconhecer seu papel nas mudanças climáticas. Elas seriam, de acordo com o conteúdo contrário ao consenso científico apresentado pelos professores, somente fruto de variações naturais, sem interferência alguma do homem.

Ao contrário desse setor “negacionista” do agronegócio, o presidente do conselho diretor da Associação Brasileira do Agronegócio, Marcello Brito, diz que a associação se pauta “pela melhor ciência” e que “jogar fora a ciência porque ela não nos traz só vantagens, mas também deveres, é no mínimo contraproducente, jogando contra a melhoria contínua”.

Palestras

Felicio, o professor do departamento de Geografia da USP contratado pela Aprosoja Mato Grosso em 2019, é conhecido por suas posições controversas — ultimamente, em relação à pandemia de covid-19. Em um vídeo publicado em agosto deste ano em seu canal do YouTube, chamou a pandemia de “fraudemia” e disse, sem base científica, que vacinas causam danos maiores que a covid-19. Em outro, afirmou que máscaras não são efetivas contra a covid-19. É também um notório negacionista das mudanças climáticas causadas pelo homem. Ficou conhecido em 2012, quando foi convidado ao Programa do Jô, da Globo, e, sem provas, negou o efeito estufa.

Ricardo Felicio (no canto esquerdo) e Luiz Carlos Molion (no canto direito) dão palestras pelo Brasil; na foto, eles participam de audiência pública no Senado. Crédito, Geraldo Magela/Agência Senado

Durante três semanas, a reportagem tentou falar com Felicio por telefonemas, mensagens de texto e e-mails, mas não obteve resposta. O vice-presidente da Aprosoja Mato Grosso, Lucas Beber, justificou o convite em entrevista à BBC News Brasil.

“A gente trouxe o Ricardo Felicio para fazer um contraponto com aquilo que é replicado na mídia hoje, que parece uma verdade absoluta. A gente não queria impor aquilo como uma verdade, mas sim trazer a um debate”, afirma. Para ele, as mudanças climáticas causadas pelo homem ainda são uma “incerteza” — embora já haja consenso científico em torno delas. Beber também disse não se lembrar quanto custou o ciclo de 11 palestras feitas por Felicio naquele ano.

Vice-presidente da Aprosoja Mato Grosso diz que convite a professor considerado negacionista se deu para promover ‘contraponto com o que é replicado na mídia’. Crédito, Getty Images

No ano passado, o meteorologista também foi convidado para falar no Tecno Safra Nortão 2020, uma feira para produtores rurais, lideranças, técnicos, pesquisadores e estudantes organizada pelo sindicato rural de Matupá, município no norte de Mato Grosso.

Segundo o vice-presidente do sindicato, Fernando Bertolin, ao menos cem pessoas, entre pequenos e grandes agricultores, pecuaristas e outras pessoas da cidade assistiram à palestra. Ele defende o convite, dizendo que, à época, Felicio estava “bem forte na mídia” e que sua palestra “foi um pedido dos produtores”. “A gente ouve todo mundo. Ele tem o embasamento teórico dele e a gente queria saber por que ele dizia aquilo.”

Bertolin diz não se recordar do valor da palestra de Felicio de cabeça, mas afirma que nenhuma das contratadas pela feira custou mais de R$ 15 mil.

Em 2018, Felicio concorreu, sem sucesso, ao cargo de deputado federal pelo PSL, antigo partido do presidente Jair Bolsonaro.

Um ano antes, o presidente tuitou um vídeo de uma entrevista em que Felicio nega a existência de mudanças climáticas causadas pelo homem. Bolsonaro escreveu: “Vale a pena conferir”. Consultada pela BBC News Brasil sobre esta recomendação feita por Bolsonaro, a assessoria da Presidência não respondeu.

O professor não foi aclamado apenas pelo presidente. Em 2019, Felicio foi convidado para dar uma palestra no Senado ao lado de outro acadêmico que não acredita no aquecimento global causado pelo homem, o professor aposentado da Universidade Federal de Alagoas (Ufal), meteorologista Luiz Carlos Molion.

O convite para que os professores falassem em uma audiência pública conjunta das comissões de Relações Exteriores e de Meio Ambiente do Senado sobre as mudanças climáticas partiu do senador do Acre Marcio Bittar (hoje PSL, mas, na época, do MDB), um ex-pecuarista que faz parte da bancada ruralista.

Ao lado de Felicio, Molion é considerado um dos principais representantes do negacionismo climático no Brasil e autor das outras palestras contabilizadas pela reportagem.

Nos últimos três anos, Molion fez diversas palestras promovidas por entidades como a Cooperativa Agrícola de Unaí, em Minas Gerais, a Associação Avícola de Pernambuco, a Associação de Engenheiros e Arquitetos de Itanhaém, com o patrocínio oficial do Conselho Regional de Engenharia e Agronomia de São Paulo, a Central Campo, uma empresa especializada na venda de insumos agrícolas, a Feira Agrotecnológica do Tocantins, do governo do Tocantins, a feira de Agronegócios da Cooabriel, uma cooperativa de café com atuação no Espírito Santo e na Bahia, e o sindicato rural de Canarana, no Mato Grosso.

Molion também foi convidado para falar em universidades: o Instituto de Ciências Agrárias da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) e a Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB). A BBC News Brasil procurou todas essas instituições para comentar sobre os convites que fizeram a Molion — leia as respostas abaixo e no fim desta reportagem.

A maior parte dessas palestras tem como tema as perspectivas climáticas para o ano seguinte e as “tendências para os próximos 10 anos”. Nas palestras — a maioria disponível no YouTube e vistas pela BBC News Brasil —, Molion de fato faz previsões para o ano seguinte, útil para que os produtores rurais se planejem para as próximas safras, mas reserva a última parte da palestra para falar sobre como o “aquecimento global é uma fraude” — novamente, uma afirmação sem embasamento científico.

Ele mostra um slide na parte final em sua apresentação de Powerpoint, com suas palavras finais. O texto da apresentação diz que o clima “varia por causas naturais”, e que “eventos extremos sempre ocorreram”. Afirma, também: “Aquecimento global é mito. CO2 não controla o clima, não é vilão (…) Redução de emissões: inútil!”

Segundo o último relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC), de agosto deste ano, o papel da influência humana no aquecimento do planeta é “inequívoco”; no Brasil, a maior causa de emissões de gases do efeito estufa é o desmatamento. Crédito, AFP

Na palestra promovida pela Secretaria de Agricultura, Pecuária e Aquicultura do governo do Tocantins em maio de 2020, por exemplo, Molion afirmou, contrariando a ciência, que o “aquecimento global é uma farsa, é um mito”. “Reduzir emissões como quer esse Acordo de Paris de 2015 é inútil, o Brasil tinha que pular fora porque reduzir emissões não vai causar nenhum benefício para o planeta, para o clima, porque o CO2 não controla o clima”, disse, indo contra a esmagadora maioria da produção científica dos últimos anos e aos esforço global de selar acordos para diminuir as emissões dos gases de efeito estufa.

A secretaria disse que o convidou, ao lado de outros palestrantes, para “alinhar o setor agropecuário quanto às diversas correntes existentes e auxiliá-los no seu planejamento e tomadas de decisão mais assertivas para seu empreendimento rural”.

Depois, em outubro de 2020, em um seminário virtual promovido pela Central Campo, uma empresa mineira especializada na venda de insumos agrícolas, Molion fez as mesmas afirmações sobre o CO2 e o Acordo de Paris.

O diretor da empresa, Artur Barros, disse por e-mail à BBC News Brasil que a empresa “sempre soube do posicionamento do professor Molion, que é muito pragmático quanto às questões climáticas” e “o profissional que tem maior assertividade nas previsões”. “A Central Campo, assim como grande parte dos produtores atendidos pela empresa, está muito alinhada ao posicionamento do professor Molion”.

À BBC News Brasil, Molion afirmou: “Procuro usar minhas palestras para o agronegócio, que não são poucas, para no terceiro bloco falar sobre as mudanças climáticas e a farsa do CO2 como controlador do clima global. Faço um diagnóstico local, previsão para safra e depois falo sobre a tendência do clima dos próximos dez, 15 anos, que é de resfriamento.”

Segundo Molion, ele dá 50 palestras por ano, “a grande maioria, 80%, 85% para o agronegócio”, cobrando R$ 4 mil por cada uma. Barros, da Central Campo, afirmou que foi este o valor que pagou pela palestra do professor.

O meteorologista diz que não se incomoda de ser chamado de “negacionista”, embora, ressalte, nunca tenha negado que houve aquecimento no planeta em um período específico no passado. “Eu levo o que acho que está correto, pode ser que daqui a alguns anos me provem que estou errado e vou reconhecer isto. Não sou paraquedista. Eu tenho visão muito crítica do clima local e global graças ao meu treinamento.”

Um dos seminários mais recentes de que participou teve também a presença de membros do governo Bolsonaro: o vice-presidente Hamilton Mourão e o ministro de Infraestrutura, Tarcisio Freitas. Foi um seminário virtual sobre a Amazônia em agosto deste ano organizado pelo Instituto General Villas Bôas, ONG do ex-comandante do Exército.

Contrariando o consenso da comunidade científica sobre as mudanças climáticas, Molion defendeu que o clima global varia naturalmente, sem influência da ação humana, e apresentou um slide em que dizia que o efeito-estufa, “como descrito pelo IPCC, é questionável”. Antes de passar a palavra para o ministro Freitas, afirmou: “CO2 não é vilão, quanto mais CO2 tiver na atmosfera, melhor”.

Vice-presidente Hamilton Mourão participou de seminário sobre a Amazônia que teve a participação do professor Luiz Carlos Molion; sua assessoria disse que ele se baseia em ‘dados científicos para emissão de suas ideias e opiniões’. Crédito, Adnilton Farias/Palácio do Planalto

A BBC News Brasil procurou a vice-presidência questionando por que Mourão aceitou participar de um seminário ao lado de um professor que nega que a ação do homem esteja contribuindo para o aquecimento global. Sua assessoria disse apenas que Mourão participou do evento a convite do Instituto General Villas Bôas e que “baseia-se em dados científicos para emissão de suas ideias e opiniões”.

A assessoria do ministro da Infraestrutura, Tarcísio Freitas, afirmou que ele participou do seminário após convite feito pelo próprio general Villas Boas. A ministra da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento, Tereza Cristina, foi inicialmente anunciada como um dos nomes de ministros que participariam do seminário, mas sua assessoria informou que ela não participaria do evento, sem responder por que desistiu.

Negacionismo climático no Brasil

A genealogia do negacionismo climático no Brasil começa nos anos 2000, quando a imprensa “dava pesos iguais para argumentos com pesos totalmente diferentes”, avalia o sociólogo Jean Miguel, pesquisador associado da Unifesp que estuda o tema. O debate sobre o assunto no Brasil se deu principalmente a partir do documentário americano Uma Verdade Inconveniente (2006), sobre a campanha do ex-vice-presidente americano Al Gore a respeito do aquecimento global.

Enquanto isso, um grupo pequeno de negacionistas na academia brasileira, incluindo Felicio e Molion, se pronunciavam publicamente sobre o tema. Para Miguel, eles são “verdadeiros mercadores da dúvida, trabalhando para destacar lacunas que toda ciência possui e amplificar incertezas”.

“[E quem os ouviu no Brasil] foi parte do agronegócio interessado na desregulamentação florestal”, responde Miguel.

Hoje, “as palestras fazem massagem no ego do produtor rural e criam a mentalidade de que esses grupos de agronegócio estão sendo injustiçados enquanto estão contribuindo para o PIB nacional”, diz o pesquisador.

Não significa que todos os produtores rurais sejam negacionistas. “A briga hoje é entre dois lados: o setor de agroexportação, que está mais em contato com compradores internacionais, portanto mais pressionado pela questão reputacional, e que faz investimentos a longo prazo, pensando na questão produtiva na próxima década, não na próxima safra”, diz Raoni Rajão, professor de gestão ambiental na Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG).

“Outro lado do setor são os produtores, mais politizados e fortes apoiadores de Bolsonaro e toda sua agenda. Eles de certa forma compram esse discurso que toda a narrativa de mudança climática é algo para poder impedir o desenvolvimento do Brasil.”

Apesar de não começar no governo Bolsonaro, o negacionismo “encontra terreno fértil para proliferar” em sua gestão, avalia Miguel, citando algumas ações do governo atual, como o fechamento da secretaria responsável por elaborar políticas públicas sobre as mudanças climáticas, no início da gestão Bolsonaro (ela foi reaberta em meio a críticas no ano seguinte) e a desistência em sediara COP-25 que ocorreria no Brasil em novembro de 2019. Em sua campanha, em 2018, Bolsonaro também prometeu acabar com o que chamava de “indústria das multas” ambientais.

O ex-ministro das Relações Exteriores Ernesto Araújo, que ficou no cargo do começo do governo Bolsonaro até março de 2021, chegou a colocar em dúvida que as mudanças climáticas seriam causadas pela ação humana, na contramão do consenso científico.

ara sociólogo, negacionismo climático no Brasil não começou no governo Bolsonaro, mas encontrou ‘terreno fértil para proliferar’ em sua gestão. Crédito, EPA/Joedson Alves

“Eles estão altamente informados pelo negacionismo climático. Mesmo que não digam que é uma fraude, de uma maneira interna vão criando as possibilidade de sabotar a ciência e as políticas climáticas nacionais, com formas práticas de negacionismo climático”, afirma Miguel.

Desmatamento

Mas ações práticas terão de ser adotadas para que o Brasil cumpra as metas anunciadas pelo governo durante a COP-26: zerar o desmatamento ilegal no país até 2028, reduzir as emissões de gases do efeito estufa em 50% até 2030 e atingir a neutralidade de carbono até 2050.

O desmatamento, causado pela expansão da agricultura e da pecuária, é responsável pela maior emissão de CO2 no Brasil.

Só entre agosto de 2019 e julho de 2020, uma área de 10.851 km2 — mais ou menos metade da área do Estado de Sergipe — foi desmatada na Amazônia Legal, segundo dados do sistema Prodes, do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). O valor representou um aumento de 7,13% em relação ao ano anterior.

Esse crescimento teve um claro reflexo nas emissões de gases poluentes pelo Brasil em 2020. Houve um aumento de 9,5%, segundo dados do Sistema de Estimativas de Emissões de Gases de Efeito Estufa (SEEG), do Observatório do Clima, principalmente por mudanças no uso da terra e floresta, que inclui o desmatamento, e a agropecuária. O aumento aconteceu na contramão do mundo que, parado por conta da pandemia de covid-19, diminuiu as emissões em 7%.

Só entre agosto de 2019 e julho de 2020, uma área de 10.851 km2 – mais ou menos metade da área do Estado de Sergipe – foi desmatada na Amazônia Legal. Crédito, Adriano Machado/Reuters

Para Tasso Azevedo, coordenador do SEEG, a boa notícia é que, se o Brasil conseguir controlar o desmatamento, “as emissões cairão muito rapidamente”. “Se controlarmos o desmatamento, não há país no mundo que vai ter emissões menores proporcionalmente do que temos no Brasil, então acho que é uma oportunidade. Teremos um resultado incrível para o Brasil e para o planeta.”

Apesar de pertencer ao setor responsável pela maior parte de emissões de gases do efeito estufa no Brasil, parte dos ruralistas diz acreditar ser injustamente acusada por ambientalistas.

As palestras do meteorologista Felicio no Mato Grosso, em 2019, “foram bem numa época em que era moda dizer que o agricultor era quem estava acabando com o mundo”, diz o produtor rural Artemio Antonini, presidente do sindicato rural de Nova Xavantina, no Mato Grosso. Também cético em relação às mudanças climáticas, Antonini ajudou a organizar a palestra de Felicio na região.

Na opinião de Rajão, da UFMG, “o agro como um todo toma as dores e se sente ofendido quando se fala de desmatamento”. “A reação é negar o desmatamento e a existência das mudanças climáticas.”

“Tomar as dores” porque, de fato, quem desmata primariamente não é produtor rural. Uma área desmatada começa com uma onda de especuladores – quem demarca a terra e serra dali a vegetação depois quem tenta regularizar a área -, em seguida vem o pecuarista e depois vem o agricultor, explica Rajão. “Por isso que quando dizem que não estão envolvidos com o desmatamento, é verdade, boa parte deles não está. Mas se beneficiam de um fornecimento de terra barata, que vem de todo o processo de desmatamento ilegal que às vezes aconteceu 10 anos antes.”

A ilegalidade é bastante concentrada. O estudo “As maçãs podres do agronegócio brasileiro”, de Rajão e outros pesquisadores, mostrou que mais de 90% dos produtores na Amazônia e no Cerrado não praticaram desmatamento ilegal após 2008. Além disso, apenas 2% das propriedades nessas regiões eram responsáveis por 62% de todo desmatamento potencialmente ilegal. O trabalho foi publicado na revista Science no ano passado.

‘Agrosuicídio’

O agricultor de soja Ilson Redivo também esteve na plateia em uma das palestras que o professor Ricardo Felicio deu em 2019, no município de Sinop, norte do Mato Grosso.

Redivo migrou do Paraná para Sinop em 1988, inicialmente trabalhando, como a maioria dos migrantes, no setor madeireiro. “Era um grande polo madeireiro, e era o que dava retorno na época”, diz. Hoje, ele possui uma fazenda de 4200 hectares de milho e soja na região, e é presidente do Sindicato Rural da cidade.

Ele diz ter gostado da palestra de Felicio. Como ele, o produtor rural também rejeita a ciência estabelecida sobre o aquecimento global. Ele diz que é uma “narrativa econômica”, não ambiental, criada para conter o desenvolvimento do Brasil.

“Eu estou há trinta anos aqui, foi desmatado um monte e o clima continua da mesma forma, tá certo? Não houve alteração climática”, diz Redivo à BBC News Brasil.

Ecoando argumentos já usados por Bolsonaro, o agricultor diz que o Brasil é “um exemplo para o mundo em preservação ambiental”. “O produtor brasileiro é o cara que mais preserva.”

O argumento é repetido por outros produtores rurais. “Ninguém fala que o agricultor está deixando 80% e só usando 20% da área para produzir”, reclama o produtor rural Antonini.

Durante a COP-26, em Glasgow, Brasil prometeu zerar o desmatamento ilegal no país até 2028. Crédito, Reuters

Eles se referem à Reserva Legal, um dispositivo criado no Código Florestal Brasileiro que obriga os proprietários de terras na Amazônia a preservar 80% da floresta nativa (no Cerrado, o valor é de 35%; em outros biomas, 20%), algo que beneficia o próprio agronegócio, por meio dos serviços ambientais prestados pela floresta. Muitos agricultores acham isso injusto. Mas, na prática, nem todos respeitam essa exigência.

A pesquisadora do Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia (Imazon) Ritaumaria Pereira conduziu entrevistas com 131 criadores de gado no Pará em 2013 e 2014 e descobriu que mais de 95% deles declararam preservar menos do que a quantidade exigida. Segundo ela, argumentam que, quando chegaram, a terra já estava nua, ou que no passado tinham o estímulo para desmatar, ou que não tinham recursos para regenerar 80%.

Para Pereira, da Imazon, para que o Brasil consiga cumprir as metas anunciadas durante a COP-26, será preciso investir em fiscalização na Amazônia, fortalecendo órgãos como o Ibama e o ICMBio.

Também será preciso combater o discurso do negacionismo climático. A mensagem transmitida a produtores rurais, diz ela, legitima o desmatamento, e “traz mais pessoas para esse pensamento, para que, num futuro próximo, validem assim tudo o que já desmataram”.

Para Rajão, da UFMG, é uma narrativa “que no curto prazo é confortante, mas no longo prazo contribui para o chamado ‘agrosuicídio'”.

Posicionamentos de empresas que convidaram professores para palestras

Cooperativa Agrícola de Unaí (Coagril)

A Cooperativa Agrícola de Unaí Ltda (Coagril) diz “ter contratado o professor Molion no intuito de obter informações acerca do regime de chuvas para a região de sua atuação, visando ao planejamento estratégico dos seus negócios e de seus cooperado”.

Associação Avícola de Pernambuco

“A AVIPE reforça seu caráter plural onde preza pela diversidade de ideias onde o debate de todos os pontos de vista precisa ser exaurido constantemente com o intuito da busca eterna de uma conclusão contingente sobre quaisquer assuntos. (…) Como associação, não nos cabe acreditar ou não se os fatos humanos causam mudanças climáticas, pois nosso papel não é de credo, mas sim de apoiar o debate científico por aqueles que se dedicam toda uma vida em pesquisa. Não condiz com nossos princípios, condutas e valores, selecionar uma parcela de opiniões do mundo científico para apoiar determinada conclusão com fins casuísticos ou individuais. Aspectos financeiros são reservados apenas aos nossos associados.”

Associação de Engenheiros e Arquitetos de Itanhaém, com o patrocínio oficial do Conselho Regional de Engenharia e Agronomia de São Paulo

A Associação de Engenheiros e Arquitetos de Itanhaém recebeu o pedido da BBC News Brasil por e-mail e WhatsApp, mas não respondeu.

O Crea-SP respondeu que “tem como missão legal o aperfeiçoamento técnico e cultural dos profissionais da área tecnológica, conforme a Lei 5.194”.

“Os eventos com essa finalidade, realizados pelas associações, são de responsabilidade de seus idealizadores e não necessariamente representam a posição do Crea-SP.

O Conselho reforça ainda que acredita em mudanças climáticas causadas pelas ações humanas e, como forma de apoiar medidas para combatê-las, é signatário dos 17 Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da ONU.”

Cooperativa de café Cooabriel

Recebeu o pedido da BBC News Brasil por e-mail, mas não respondeu.

Sindicato rural de Canarana

O presidente do sindicato, Alex Wisch, respondeu, por mensagem via WhatsApp: “Propomos que vocês indiquem um cientista de mesmo nível acadêmico do Prof. Molion para que todos possam ter conhecimento da verdade científica sobre esse tema. Podemos colaborar financeiramente com esse evento e inclusive sediar o evento.”

Instituto de Ciências Agrárias da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Por telefone, o vice-diretor do Instituto de Ciências Agrárias da UFMG, Helder Augusto, afirmou: “Na universidade, há diversidade de ideias e contrapontos. Não é um posicionamento da UFMG. É um ponto de vista dele, é uma fala relativa. A pessoa veio, fez palestra e pode falar o que bem entender porque é um ambiente público. A universidade não paga palestra para ninguém.”

Universidade Federal da Paraíba

“O evento foi realizado no auditório do Centro de Tecnologia da UFPB, organizado no âmbito do Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica, que aproveitou que o palestrante já estava em João Pessoa (PB) e o convidou para ministrar palestra na UFPB, portanto, neste caso em particular, sem ônus para a UFPB.

A iniciativa de convidar o pesquisador para ministrar palestra sobre seus estudos não se confunde com a visão, missão e valores da UFPB, entre os quais destaca-se o caráter público e autônomo da Universidade.

A UFPB defende o papel da academia e apoia a ciência e a pesquisa, o conhecimento gerado a partir de métodos científicos, no intuito de encontrar soluções para desafios em todas as áreas e geração de benefícios para a sociedade. Por meio da ciência, as teorias são constantemente testadas, visando sua comprovação ou substituição por outra teoria que resista à checagem. Não compete à Universidade aplicar censura prévia à ciência.”

Interview: Katharine Hayhoe on How to Talk About Climate Change (Undark)

undark.org

By Dan Falk 11.05.2021


For many years, Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, has been warning that our planet’s climate is changing, and speaking plainly about what needs to be done to slow and ultimately stop the human-caused warming trend.

Early in her career, however, her attention was focused elsewhere. “I was studying physics and astronomy at the University of Toronto,” she recalls. “I needed an extra class to finish my degree. And there was this new class that was being offered on climate change. And I thought, well, that looks interesting. Why not take it?”

The course changed her perspective in multiple ways. First, while she was aware of the perils of climate change even then — this was the mid-1990s — the course hammered home just how urgent the situation was. Second, she began to see just how unfair the harms caused by climate change were; how poor nations were suffering more than wealthy ones, for example. As an evangelical Christian, this troubled her deeply.

“Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” by Katharine Hayhoe (Atria/One Signal Publishers, 320 pages).

Hayhoe’s new book, “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” contains plenty of science — but she is well aware that inundating people with facts is not enough. Rather, she emphasizes honest, one-on-one communication. (That message was also front and center in her TED Talk, “The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk About It,” which has been viewed more than 4 million times.)

She admits that those conversations aren’t always easy. As she details in the book, we live in extraordinary polarized times, and some people, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, believe that climate change isn’t a big deal, or even that it’s a hoax. According to a group of researchers at Yale University who track people’s attitudes toward global warming, about 8 percent of Americans fall into the “dismissive” category, believing that global warming isn’t happening, or isn’t human-caused, or isn’t a threat; many in this group endorse conspiracy theories, for example, claiming that global warming is a lie. Still, the vast majority are willing to listen, Hayhoe maintains, especially to those they are close to. And in spite of our differences, she is convinced there is much more that unites us.

This week, she’s attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) currently underway in Glasgow, Scotland.

Our interview was conducted recently over Zoom and has been edited for length and clarity.

Undark: Scientists often emphasize that climate and weather are not synonyms. But as you point out in your book, the last few years have brought a string of unusually severe weather events, from hurricanes to heat waves to wildfires. Even The New York Times has described the past year’s weather as “unprecedented in modern times.” What can you say about the relationship between our planet’s unusual recent weather, and climate change?

Katharine Hayhoe: Ten years ago, if you interviewed a climate scientist and you said, “Could this current heat wave be attributed to climate change?” they would say: “Well, no single event can be attributed to the impacts of a changing climate. But we know that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves.” Well, fast-forward to today, and we can put a number on it. We can see that crazy heat wave they’ve had out West. It’s at least 150 times more likely because of climate change. We can look at Hurricane Harvey, and we can say 40 percent of the rain that fell during Hurricane Harvey would not have occurred if it weren’t for climate change.

UD: How politically charged are conversations about climate change in the U.S.?

KH: When you survey people and you ask them about all kinds of different issues like immigration, gun control, abortion, racial justice, Covid, climate change — climate change is at the top of the most politically polarized issues in the whole U.S. And it’s been that way since the Obama administration. The number one predictor of whether you agree with simple scientific facts we’ve known since the 1800s is not how smart you are, how educated you are, or how much science, you know — it is simply where you fall on the political spectrum.

UD: How did it become so political?

KH: Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides, “I’m going to reject 200 years of physics, the same physics that explains how airplanes fly and how stoves heat food.” What do people do? They wake up in the morning and they pick up their phone and they scroll through the social media feeds of people in their “tribe.” They listen to news programs of people who they agree with. They read blogs and listen to podcasts of people whose values they share, whose opinions they respect, and who they agree with.

So we are all “cognitive misers.” We don’t have the time to dig into every issue. So what we do is, we go to people whose values we share on issues that are near and dear to our hearts, and we say, “Well, I don’t really understand this other issue, but they say it’s not real, so it must not be real.”

UD: And yet, the people who actually deny the reality of climate change — in your book you call them the “dismissives” — make up only a small minority, right?

KH: Yeah. They are a tiny fraction of the population, yet they are very loud. They get a lot of air time. They’re in the comments section of every newspaper. They’re on Twitter every single day. And so we overestimate their numbers and their reach.

UD: So they’re a minority, and as you say in the book, they might be impossible to reach anyway. So who should we be reaching out to, to have conversations with?

KH: The most important people for each of us to speak with are people who we have something in common with. So it could be that we both live in the same place, or we’re both on the same Ultimate Frisbee team, or we both play hockey, or we both love birding or kayaking, or we both have kids that go to the same school, or we both go to the same type of church, or we don’t go to the same type of church. Whoever we have something in common with, that is the best place to start the conversation. Start, from the heart, with something we share.

And in the book, I talk about how I’ve started conversations about knitting and cooking. And I have stories about Renée, who’s a ski racer — she talks about skiing. And Don who works in a hospital — he talks about the pension fund that they all pay into. So have a conversation that starts with something that you have in common, then connect the dots to how climate change affects that, and to a solution that is consistent with your values, your priorities, and that issue that you both care about.

UD: It’s clear from your book that your Christian faith is important to you. How does your faith affect your approach to doing climate science?

KH: What really changed my life, and my perspective, was when I realized that climate change is profoundly unfair. It disproportionately affects the poorest and most marginalized people — the very people who’ve done the least to contribute to the problem. The statistics from Oxfam today are that the [3.1 billion] poorest people produce 7 percent of emissions, yet they are bearing the brunt of the impact. And that is absolutely not fair.

And so for me, my priorities, my values, are informed by my faith. And one of the core tenets of my faith is to love others and to care for others — and how loving or caring is it to just close our eyes and our ears to the suffering that rich countries are inflicting on those who don’t have the voice?

UD: What do you hope will come out of the U.N. climate summit in Scotland?

KH: Well, two things. First of all, we don’t have enough actions, policies, pledges, plans — enough independently determined national contributions. We don’t have enough on the table yet to meet the Paris goals. Countries have only promised to do enough to get us to a 66 percent chance of holding temperatures below 2.7 degrees [Celsius above pre-industrial levels] — and, of course, the Paris goal is 2 to 1.5.

So we need every country to step up and bring their proportional mitigation contribution to the table in terms of how they’re cutting their carbon emissions, consistent with their contribution to historical emissions.

But there’s a second half of the Paris agreement that we don’t often talk about in the United States and Canada and wealthy countries, and that’s the Green Climate Fund, the fact that, again, the poorest people in the world have contributed 7 percent of emissions, yet they’re bearing the brunt of the impacts. And so in Paris, all of the high-income, high-emitting countries promised to contribute to this fund, to help low income countries develop, mitigate their emissions, and adapt or prepare for the impact of climate change.

And there was just a stunning summary that came out in Nature. According to this, the U.S. has only given 20 percent of their fair contribution. Canada is at about 40 percent. Norway is the only country that’s given 100 percent [in grants alone]. So I would like to see those contributions. Because, again, climate change is not fair. It’s already increased the gap between the richest and poorest countries by 25 percent. We have literally benefited off the suffering of the low-income countries.

What spurs people to save the planet? Stories or facts? (Science Daily)

It depends on whether you’re Republican or Democrat

Date: April 26, 2021

Source: Johns Hopkins University

Summary: With climate change looming, what must people hear to convince them to change their ways to stop harming the environment? A new study finds stories to be significantly more motivating than scientific facts — at least for some people.


With climate change looming, what must people hear to convince them to change their ways to stop harming the environment? A new Johns Hopkins University study finds stories to be significantly more motivating than scientific facts — at least for some people.

After hearing a compelling pollution-related story in which a man died, the average person paid more for green products than after having heard scientific facts about water pollution. But the average person in the study was a Democrat. Republicans paid less after hearing the story rather than the simple facts.

The findings, published this week in the journal One Earth, suggest message framing makes a real difference in people’s actions toward the environment. It also suggests there is no monolithic best way to motivate people and policymakers must work harder to tailor messages for specific audiences.

“Our findings suggest the power of storytelling may be more like preaching to the choir,” said co-author Paul J. Ferraro, an evidence-based environmental policy expert and the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Human Behavior and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins.

“For those who are not already leaning toward environmental action, stories might actually make things worse.”

Scientists have little scientific evidence to guide them on how best to communicate with the public about environmental threats. Increasingly, scientists have been encouraged to leave their factual comfort zones and tell more stories that connect with people personally and emotionally. But scientists are reluctant to tell such stories because, for example, no one can point to a deadly flood or a forest fire and conclusively say that the deaths were caused by climate change.

The question researchers hoped to answer with this study: Does storytelling really work to change people’s behavior? And if so, for whom does it work best?

“We said let’s do a horserace between a story and a more typical science-based message and see what actually matters for purchasing behavior,” Ferraro said.

Researchers conducted a field experiment involving just over 1,200 people at an agricultural event in Delaware. Everyone surveyed had lawns or gardens and lived in watershed known to be polluted.

Through a random-price auction, researchers attempted to measure how much participants were willing to pay for products that reduce nutrient pollution. Before people could buy the products, they watched a video with either scientific facts or story about nutrient pollution.

In the story group, participants viewed a true story about a local man’s death that had plausible but tenuous connections to nutrient pollution: he died after eating contaminated shellfish. In the scientific facts group, participants viewed an evidence-based description of the impacts of nutrient pollution on ecosystems and surrounding communities.

After watching the videos, all participants had a chance to purchase products costing less than $10 that could reduce storm water runoff: fertilizer, soil test kits, biochar and soaker hoses.

People who heard the story were on average willing to pay more than those who heard the straight science. But the results skewed greatly when broken down by political party. The story made liberals 17 percent more willing to buy the products, while making conservatives want to spend 14 percent less.

The deep behavioral divide along party lines surprised Ferraro, who typically sees little difference in behavior between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to matters such as energy conservation.

“We hope this study stimulates more work about how to communicate the urgency of climate change and other global environmental challenges,” said lead author Hilary Byerly, a postdoctoral associate at the University of Colorado. “Should the messages come from scientists? And what is it about this type of story that provokes environmental action from Democrats but turns off Republicans?”

This research was supported by contributions from the Penn Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Science Foundation.



Journal Reference:

  1. Hilary Byerly, Paul J. Ferraro, Tongzhe Li, Kent D. Messer, Collin Weigel. A story induces greater environmental contributions than scientific information among liberals but not conservatives. One Earth, 2021; 4 (4): 545 DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.03.004

Pressão por ‘ambição climática’ pauta COP-26: entenda em gráficos (O Globo)

Conheça o desafio de esfriar o planeta e saiba como o sucesso da conferência do clima pode ser medido

Rafael Garcia 31/10/2021 – 04:30 / Atualizado em 31/10/2021 – 09:10

Artigo original

Cientistas dão como certo que o planeta já vai estourar o "orçamento do carbono", mas é importante que não estoure muito, pois cada décimo de grau representa um clima mais prejudicial no futuro. Foto: Felipe Nadaes
Cientistas dão como certo que o planeta já vai estourar o “orçamento do carbono”, mas é importante que não estoure muito, pois cada décimo de grau representa um clima mais prejudicial no futuro. Foto: Felipe Nadaes

SÃO PAULO – A COP-26, a 26ª conferência das partes da Convenção do Clima da ONU (UNFCCC), será marcada por um ambiente de pressão acentuada para que os países aumentem suas promessas de corte de emissão de gases do efeito estufa. Na discussão sobre vários aspectos da implementação do Acordo de Paris contra o aquecimento global, um deles é central, resumido pela palavra “ambição”.

Este é o termo que diplomatas do clima usam para cobrar de seus pares a adesão a objetivos mais ambiciosos de redução das emissões. Cada país traduz a sua ambição (ou a falta dela) em sua contribuição nacionalmente determinada, ou NDC, documento onde suas metas são anunciadas.

A “ambição climática” atual de todos os países, somada, ainda é insuficiente para honrar os compromissos de Paris. O tratado clama para que se detenha um acréscimo de temperatura acima de 2°C no planeta, e que se faça o máximo de esforço possível para esse número não ir muito além do 1,5°C.

Segundo dados do Pnuma, o programa da ONU para o meio ambiente, as promessas atuais retiram o planeta da atual trajetória de acréscimo de 4°C e levam a um aumento de 2,7°C. Nesse cenário, a Terra ainda sofreria muito com eventos climáticos extremos, ondas de calor, elevação do nível do mar e outras consequências do aquecimento global.

Em outras palavras, a conta do Acordo de Paris não fecha, e a tentativa de adequar a ambição à realidade pouco avançou em relação às promessas de 2015, ano em que o tratado foi assinado.

Abaixo, explicamos em números o tamanho do desafio que o combate à mudança climática representa e mostramos como o sucesso da conferência poderá ser medido no futuro. Ativistas climáticos protestam antes da COP-26 para pressionar meta de reduzir em 1,5° C a temperatura global 1 de 12

Ativistas da Rebelião Oceânica se reúnem na frente do local da COP-26 em Glasgow, antes do início da cúpula do clima Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP - 29/10/2021
Ativistas da Rebelião Oceânica se reúnem na frente do local da COP-26 em Glasgow, antes do início da cúpula do clima Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP – 29/10/2021
Ativistas despejam óleo falso na frente do local onde a COP-26 será realizada em Glasgow para protestar contra as faltas de ações mais firmes para evitar uma catástrofe climática no mundo Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Ativistas despejam óleo falso na frente do local onde a COP-26 será realizada em Glasgow para protestar contra as faltas de ações mais firmes para evitar uma catástrofe climática no mundo Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Ativista da Rebelião Oceânica, Rob Higgs, protesta contra o arrasto de fundo durante uma manifestação antes da cúpula da COP26, em Glasgow, Escócia Foto: DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS
Ativista da Rebelião Oceânica, Rob Higgs, protesta contra o arrasto de fundo durante uma manifestação antes da cúpula da COP26, em Glasgow, Escócia Foto: DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS
Evento reunirá neste domingo, na Grã-Bretanha, mais de 120 líderes mundiais para discutir compromissos de combate ao aquecimento global Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Evento reunirá neste domingo, na Grã-Bretanha, mais de 120 líderes mundiais para discutir compromissos de combate ao aquecimento global Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Ativistas da Rebelião Oceânica protestam contra a pesca de arrasto de fundo perto do Scottish Event Centre, local da COP-26 Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Ativistas da Rebelião Oceânica protestam contra a pesca de arrasto de fundo perto do Scottish Event Centre, local da COP-26 Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

PUBLICIDADE

Ativistas protestam em Glasgow antes da COP-26, que começa hoje: Meta de 1,5° C segue distante Foto: RUSSELL CHEYNE / REUTERS
Ativistas protestam em Glasgow antes da COP-26, que começa hoje: Meta de 1,5° C segue distante Foto: RUSSELL CHEYNE / REUTERS
A ativista climática Greta Thunberg é escoltada ao chegar à Estação Central de Glasgow para participar da Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Mudança Climática, a COP-26 Foto: DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS
A ativista climática Greta Thunberg é escoltada ao chegar à Estação Central de Glasgow para participar da Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Mudança Climática, a COP-26 Foto: DYLAN MARTINEZ / REUTERS
Conferência da ONU sobre o clima que começa neste domingo em Glasgow, na Escócia Foto: BEN STANSALL / AFP
Conferência da ONU sobre o clima que começa neste domingo em Glasgow, na Escócia Foto: BEN STANSALL / AFP
Ativistas protestam em Glasgow antes da COP-26 Foto: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS
Ativistas protestam em Glasgow antes da COP-26 Foto: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS
Artistas climáticos chegam para uma "Procissão de Peregrinos", uma cerimônia de abertura para uma série de ações em Glasgow Foto: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
Artistas climáticos chegam para uma “Procissão de Peregrinos”, uma cerimônia de abertura para uma série de ações em Glasgow Foto: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

PUBLICIDADE

A COP acontece todos os anos, mas a edição de 2021 tem uma importância central. Países deverão revisar pela primeira vez as metas de redução das emissões de gases causadores de efeito estufa assumidas no Acordo de Paris Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
A COP acontece todos os anos, mas a edição de 2021 tem uma importância central. Países deverão revisar pela primeira vez as metas de redução das emissões de gases causadores de efeito estufa assumidas no Acordo de Paris Foto: ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP
Ativistas da mudança climática pintam mensagens durante um protesto fora da sede da empresa de investimento BlackRock, antes da COP-26, em San Francisco, Califórnia, EUA Foto: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS
Ativistas da mudança climática pintam mensagens durante um protesto fora da sede da empresa de investimento BlackRock, antes da COP-26, em San Francisco, Califórnia, EUA Foto: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS

O labirinto do clima

Desde o início da Revolução Industrial, quando o planeta começou a usar petróleo e carvão em grandes proporções, os humanos emitiram 1,5 trilhão de toneladas de CO2 pela queima desses combustíveis fósseis, pelo desmatamento, pela agricultura e outras atividades.

O CO2 emitido desde então ainda está todo no ar, porque a capacidade do planeta de processar e reabsorver esse gás é limitada. Como isso provocou o efeito estufa, essas emissões já fizeram a temperatura média do planeta subir 1,1 °C.

Isso deixa os cientistas preocupados, porque mesmo esse pequeno aumento médio bagunça o sistema climático do planeta. Após se convencerem do problema, países assinaram em 2015 o Acordo de Paris, que busca tentar reduzir as emissões para que o planeta não ultrapasse um aquecimento de 1,5°C antes do final deste século.PUBLICIDADE

Para impedir que o aquecimento chegue a esse ponto até o fim do século, os cientistas fazem contas periódicas de quanto CO2 ainda resta para o mundo emitir. Se os humanos produziram até agora um total de 1,5 trilhão de toneladas de CO2, nos restam apenas 0,4 trilhão de toneladas de CO2 para emitir antes que nós cheguemos a esse patamar dos 1,5°C a mais. Este é o chamado “orçamento de carbono”, tal qual foi calculado pelo IPCC (painel de cientistas do clima da ONU).

Um total de 0,4 trilhão parece muito, mas o patamar atual de cerca de 55 bilhões de toneladas de CO2/ano consumiria esse orçamento em 7 anos, mesmo que emissões parem de subir e se estabilizem. Cientistas dão como certo que o planeta vai estourar o orçamento do 1,5°C, mas  é importante que não estoure muito, pois cada décimo de grau representa um clima mais prejudicial no futuro.

Um segundo horizonte no Acordo de Paris é deter um aumento de 2°C, o que abre um orçamento maior, de 1,15 trilhão de toneladas de CO2. Nesse caso, o orçamento se esgotaria em duas décadas num cenário de estabilização de emissões. Por isso, o tratado pede que países aumentem periodicamente suas NDCs (contribuições nacionalmente determinadas), o compromisso de quanto pretendem cortar do carbono.

Hoje, aquilo que está prometido ainda é insuficiente para frear os 2°C, e levaria o planeta 2,7°C. Por isso a Convenção do Clima da ONU (UNFCCC) pressiona os governos para que aumentem as suas ambições de corte de gases de efeito estufa para adequá-las aos 2°C ou, se possível, ao 1,5°C.PUBLICIDADE

Um ponto central da COP-26 é convencer países a adotarem NDCs mais “ambiciosas”, ou seja, cortes mais profundos de emissão. Segundo cientistas, é preciso ser rápido. O planeta precisa derrubar as emissões dos atuais quase 60 bilhões de toneladas de CO2/ano para 25 bilhões em dez anos. Mesmo nesse cenário otimista, o planeta ultrapassaria um pouco o 1,5° C, chegando a 1,7°C, depois recuaria de novo até o fim do século.

Impedir o aquecimento de 2°C, o segundo horizonte no Acordo de Paris, também requer um esforço tremendo, um corte de um terço nas emissões (para 41 bilhões de toneladas de CO2) até 2030. As promessas atuais dos países, porém, são suficientes apenas para frear o aumento de emissões nesta década, mas não para reduzi-las, projetando um planeta emissor de 52 bilhões de toneladas por ano em 2030.

O sucesso da COP-26 que começa em Glasgow neste domingo pode ser medido em quanto essa cifra vai ser reduzida caso países anunciem promessas mais ambiciosas. Se o termômetro do futuro ficar razoavelmente abaixo do aquecimento projetado de 2,7 °C, significa que o planeta está indo no rumo certo. Nenhum país, porém, tem ainda metas consonantes com a trajetória dos 2°C ou menos.

Opinião – Reinaldo José Lopes: Periódico científico da USP dá palco para negacionista da crise climática (Folha de S.Paulo)

www1.folha.uol.com.br

Não existe multipartidarismo sobre a lei da gravidade ou pluralismo ideológico acerca da teoria da evolução

30.out.2021 às 7h00

O veterano meteorologista Luiz Carlos Molion é uma espécie de pregador itinerante do evangelho da pseudociência. Alguns anos atrás, andou rodando o interiorzão do país, a soldo de uma concessionária de tratores, oferecendo sua bênção pontifícia às 12 tribos do agro. Em suas palestras, garantia às tropas de choque da fronteira agrícola brasileira que desmatar não interfere nas chuvas (errado), que as emissões de gás carbônico não esquentam a Terra (errado) e que, na verdade, estamos caminhando para uma fase de resfriamento global (errado).

Existem formas menos esquálidas de terminar uma carreira que se supunha científica, mas parece que Molion realmente acredita no que fala. O que realmente me parece inacreditável, no entanto, é que um periódico científico editado pela maior universidade da América Latina abra suas portas para as invectivas de um ex-pesquisador como ele.

Foi o que aconteceu na última edição da revista Khronos, editada pelo Centro Interunidade de História da Ciência da USP. Numa seção intitulada “Debates”, Molion publicou o artigo “Aquecimento global antropogênico: uma história controversa”. Nele, Molion requenta (perdoai, Senhor, a volúpia dos trocadilhos) sua mofada marmita de negacionista, atacando a suposta incapacidade do IPCC, o painel do clima da ONU, de prever com acurácia o clima futuro deste planetinha usando modelos computacionais (errado).

O desplante era tamanho que provocou protestos formais de diversos pesquisadores de prestígio da universidade, membros do conselho do centro uspiano. Na carta assinada por eles e outros colegas, lembram que Molion não tem quaisquer publicações relevantes em revistas científicas sobre o tema das mudanças climáticas há décadas e que, para cúmulo da sandice, o artigo nem faz referência… à história da ciência, que é o tema da publicação, para começo de conversa.

A resposta do editor do periódico Khronos e diretor do centro, Gildo Magalhães, não poderia ser mais desanimadora. Diante do protesto dos professores, eis o que ele disse: “Não cabe no ambiente acadêmico fazer censura a ideias. Na universidade não deveria haver partido único. Quem acompanha os debates nos congressos climatológicos internacionais sabe que fora da grande mídia o aquecimento global antropogênico é matéria cientificamente controversa. Igualar sumariamente uma opinião diversa da ortodoxa com o reles negacionismo científico, como foi o caso no Brasil com a vacina contra a Covid, prejudica o entendimento e em nada ajuda o diálogo”.

Não sei se Magalhães está mentindo deliberadamente ou é apenas muito mal informado, mas a afirmação de que o aquecimento causado pelo homem é matéria controversa nos congressos da área é falsa. O acompanhamento dos periódicos científicos mostra de forma inequívoca que questionamentos como os de Molion não são levados a sério por praticamente ninguém. A controvérsia citada por Magalhães inexiste.

É meio constrangedor ter de explicar isso para um professor da USP, mas as referências a debate de “ideias” e “partido único” não têm lugar na ciência. Se as suas ideias não são baseadas em experimentos e observações feitos com rigor e submetidos ao crivo de outros membros da comunidade científica, elas não deveriam ter lugar num periódico acadêmico. Não existe multipartidarismo sobre a lei da gravidade ou pluralismo ideológico acerca da teoria da evolução. Negar isso é abrir a porteira para retrocessos históricos.

Organization Sends Warning Ahead of COP26 (The Maritime Executive)

maritime-executive.com

Published Oct 26, 2021 9:24 PM by The Maritime Executive


tanker ice warming
Public domain / Pixabay

As the world gathers in Glasgow, Scotland for the next United Nations climate change conference (COP26), the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned the world is “way off track” in slowing down GHG emissions.  

This is because the abundance of heat-trapping GHG in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year, with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average. Notably, the economic slowdown from COVID-19 did not have any discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of GHG emissions and their growth rates, although there was a temporary decline in new emissions.

WMO GHG Bulletin shows that concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most important GHG, reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 – nearly 150 percent of the pre-industrial level. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 30-60 feet higher than today. 

The concentration of methane (CH4) – a far more powerful greenhouse gas – has reached 262 percent of the levels seen in 1750, when human industry started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium. 

“The GHG Bulletin contains a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP26. At the current rate of increase in GHG concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” said Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General.

This cautionary message comes as world leaders, civil society and media are set to assemble in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss progress on the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Concerns over rising temperatures have prompted many countries to set detailed timetables for decarbonization, and it is hoped that COP26 will see an increase in commitments. 

WMO notes that as long as emissions continue, global temperature will continue to rise. In fact, given the long life of CO2, the temperature level already observed will persist even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero. Alongside rising temperatures, this means more weather extremes, including intense heat and rainfall, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, accompanied by far-reaching socioeconomic impacts.

Roughly half of the CO2 emitted by human activities today remains in the atmosphere with the other half taken up by oceans and land ecosystems. Concerns are mounting that the ability of land ecosystems and oceans to act as “sinks” may become less effective in the future, thus reducing their ability to absorb CO2 and act as a buffer against larger temperature increases.

Mudanças climáticas desafiam modelo atual de grandes monoculturas (Folha de S.Paulo)

NÁDIA PONTES – 22 de outubro de 2021

SÃO JOSÉ DOS CAMPOS, SP (FOLHAPRESS) – Entre os 364 produtores do assentamento Santo Angelo, Ivo Bernardo da Silva está ilhado. Dono de um sítio em Mogi das Cruzes, cinturão verde que abastece a maior cidade da América Latina, São Paulo, ele diz ser o único que cultiva alimentos sem agrotóxicos.

São 37 variedades, incluindo hortaliças e condimentos, que crescem em quatro mil metros quadrados cuidados por Silva, 67, e a namorada. Só dos vários tipos de alface, eles colhem 18 mil pés por ano.

“A gente cuida da natureza e ela devolve assim, com comida de qualidade”, afirma.

Recursos usados no cultivo vêm do próprio sítio: a água da chuva armazenada ou do poço artesiano irriga as plantas; o adubo é resultado da compostagem, feita ali mesmo.

A rotina de trabalho é um meio de oferecer à população acesso a alimentos saudáveis, cultivados de forma sustentável, diz Silva. “Acredito nos pequenos, na agricultura familiar”, afirma o produtor, que vende o que colhe diretamente aos consumidores.

O modo adotado por Silva é um dos caminhos apontados pela ciência para garantir segurança alimentar num mundo que precisa passar por uma transição rápida de modelo.

“As mudanças climáticas estão ocorrendo. A grande agricultura de impacto ambiental muito forte precisa mudar. Todo mundo já entendeu isso, de consumidores a produtores”, diz Gustavo Chianca, representante no Brasil da FAO (Organização das Nações Unidas para a Alimentação e Agricultura).

O custo real desse impacto para a saúde do planeta e de seus habitantes quase não aparece nos preços finais dos alimentos. É o que mostra um projeto das universidades de Greifswald e Augsburg, na Alemanha, em conjunto com uma rede de supermercados.

Ao calcularem custos ecológicos e sociais de vários alimentos, os pesquisadores constataram grande diferença entre os preços nas gôndolas e os valores reais.

“Os produtos de origem animal têm um desempenho particularmente ruim”, dizem os cientistas. A carne moída, por exemplo, teria que custar o triplo se fossem consideradas emissões de gases de efeito estufa, mudanças no uso do solo e consumo de energia no processo de produção. Já os alimentos orgânicos de origem vegetal são os que têm preços mais “reais”, por respeitarem mais o ambiente.

“Uma internalização desses custos resultaria na correção dos preços de mercado, e o comportamento de compra seria ajustado de acordo com a sustentabilidade”, escreveu sobre os resultados a pesquisadora Amelie Michalke.

Independentemente do tamanho da propriedade ou da cadeia produtiva, fatores urgentes precisam entrar em definitivo para a equação, alerta Leandro Giatti, pesquisador que integra a recém-criada Cátedra Josué de Castro de Sistemas Alimentares Saudáveis e Sustentáveis, da Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP (Universidade de São Paulo).

“A produção de alimentos é avaliada pela produtividade e o lucro. Não dá mais para fazer isso. É preciso fazer o balanço da disponibilidade de energia, e o custo que essa energia vai gerar em outras regiões. O mesmo vale para a água”, diz Giatti.

Com o padrão vigente, não seria possível oferecer alimentos a uma população crescente e cuidar do meio ambiente ao mesmo tempo, avalia Manuela Santos, pesquisadora da FGV (Fundação Getúlio Vargas).

“Esse modelo de cultivo em larga escala, de monocultura, altamente dependente de insumos de fora da propriedade, não é a resposta que precisamos”, diz.

Uma alternativa seria o incentivo a produções sustentáveis em pequena escala que, organizadas em cooperativas, conseguem abastecer grandes mercados, sugere Santos.

“As cadeias de abastecimento são longas, os pequenos produtores ficam à margem. Se não se organizam, se não têm capacidade de chegar ao consumidor final, fica mais difícil”, afirma Santos, ressaltando que mais transparência nesse processo traria um grande impacto positivo.

Pelos critérios definidos por lei, são produtores familiares os que têm até quatro módulos fiscais (medida de área que sofre variação conforme o município), usam mão de obra da família e têm renda vinculada ao estabelecimento.

A agricultura familiar corresponde a 77% das propriedades rurais do país, mas ocupa 23% da área total de estabelecimentos contabilizados no último Censo Agropecuário. Ela produz parte considerável do que vai para a mesa brasileira, como leite, mandioca, abacaxi, alface, feijão.

“A agricultura familiar garante muitas vezes o alimento que é consumido no dia a dia da população, mas também está envolvida no agronegócio exportador. É ligada à diversidade de alimentos, tem a tendência de ser mais sustentável, mas é preciso aprofundar, também na agricultura familiar, o conceito de produzir e de preservar”, argumenta Chianca.

Essa é a missão de Veridiana Vieira, da Repoama, Rede de Produção Orgânica da Amazônia Mato-Grossense.

Em sua tentativa de ampliar os agricultores adeptos dessa prática, ela encontra resistência. “A primeira coisa que ouvimos é que eles não vão conseguir produzir sem veneno. Nosso trabalho é mostrar que é possível, e mais vantajoso”.

O primeiro benefício, explica Veridiana Vieira, é a economia de insumos agrícolas. O grupo troca sementes, esterco e experiências. E faz compras coletivas, o que deixa tudo mais barato.

“São muitos benefícios, mas o principal é a preservação. Ao não usar agrotóxico, você melhora a qualidade da água, do solo, atrai mais polinizadores”, acrescenta.

“Existem outras coisas que não dá pra contar em dinheiro, como o aumento do bem-estar, da saúde, a redução de alergias nas crianças”, cita ela, resumindo experiências contadas por integrantes da rede.