May 2022 Monthly Headlines
Humanity Must Act Yesterday to Prevent an Unlivable World (AP, Boston Globe, Axios, NPR, CNBC, Reuters, The Guardian, USA Today)
The world must act swiftly and completely eliminate fossil fuels to prevent the worst of climate fueled disasters.
Even if fulfilled, pledges by the world’s governments will not limit warming below 1.5 degrees.
The report, released in early April is a ‘litany of broken climate promises… a file of shame’ said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Despite the stark findings, the report laid a guideline of action in which transitioning to renewable energy would only impact global GDP by a tenth of a percent; and that is before accounting for the damages from climate fueled disasters.
Additionally, plugging old gas wells, pipelines and stoves are very easy ways to eliminate huge swaths of fossil fuels.
Global Methane Emissions Trending in the Wrong Direction; Break Records Second Year Running (AP, Axios, CNBC)
Methane emissions increased by more than ever before in recorded history, breaking the previous record set in 2020.
While Carbon Dioxide emissions also saw a huge jump in 2021, Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas and traps eighty times more heat than Carbon Dioxide over an eight year period.
The World will Lose Five Soccer Fields Worth of Forest by the Time You Read this Headline (Thomas Reuters Foundation, CNN, Axios, NewScientist, BBC)
Nearly 30 million acres of tropical tree cover was lost in 2021, as well as another 16 million acres of Northern Boreal forest; that’s an astonishing rate of ten soccer fields per minute of forest loss.
This figure includes almost 10 million acres of primary, or old growth, forest which released 2.5 billion metric tons of CO2; equivalent to the emissions from India in the same time frame.
While much of this forest loss is caused by human deforestation, wildfires also play a part.
Biden Administration Calls for Higher Gas Mileage Requirements (Axios, AP, Reuters)
The new gas mileage requirements undo some of the rollbacks enacted during the Trump administration.
These new requirements require an average of 40 mpg from all new vehicles in 2026, rather than the previous number of 28 mpg.
Many environmental groups say this is not enough, since there are too many loopholes and don’t go far enough to reduce the industry’s overall emissions.
Huge Percentage of Americans Living in Regions with Poor Air Quality (State of the Air Report, NPR, The Hill)
The American Lung Association’s 22nd annual State of the Air report has found that more than 40% of people in the US live in regions with poor air quality.
Nearly half of those breathing polluted air live in counties with particulate matter pollution, a dangerous pollutant from fossil fuels and wildfires.
In addition, people of color are 60% more likely to live in an area with poor air quality than their white peers.
California Water Levels Continue to Drop (San Francisco Chronicle, CNN)
The end of winter snowpack in California is roughly a third of its usual amount, scientists announced last month.
Less precipitation fell in the first three months of 2022 in the state than ever recorded before, dating back to the mid 1800’s.
This could spell disaster for agricultural irrigation, aquatic wildlife and the state's hydropower, as well as providing an early start to the fire season.
Biden Administration begins Issuing New Land Leases for Oil Drilling (The Guardian, E&E News, The Hill)
Roughly 144,000 acres of public lands will be opened by the Biden administration for oil and gas drilling.
Despite putting a pause on the lease of public lands for drilling, the administration raised royalty rights by 50% in accordance with a court order and an attempt to slow rising gas prices.
This decision comes despite the IPCC report that shows even existing fossil fuel infrastructure must be stopped, nevermind the development of additional oil and gas wells.
California Power Grid gets Massive Boost from Solar and Wind (Desert Sun, Bloomberg)
For a brief moment in the afternoon this past Saturday, the California power grid was supplied by 99.87% renewable energy.
While there is still a long way to go, Saturday clearly demonstrates the viability of renewables to fuel massive energy markets effectively.
This was not an isolated incident; the state has broken its record for renewable generation multiple times over the past month.
Climate Denial Found Everywhere for Earth Day (The Verge, Gizmodo)
Corporate greenwashing was extra prevalent again this Earth Day as companies use manipulative or false marketing to highlight their ‘climate friendly’ agendas.
Greenwashing has been taking place for decades, but recently climate denial has been spreading like wildfire through social media platforms.
A recent study published by several environmental groups pins social media companies Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest for failing to address climate disinformation on their platforms.*
*Since this report has come out, several of these companies have addressed the issue with pathways to severely cut out climate denial and disinformation.