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Weekly Headlines 9/24/21

Study Finds that all but One Nation are Falling Short on their Climate Pledges (Associated Press)

  • Only the tiny nation of The Gambia is on track to meet their Paris Agreement climate goals.

  • According to a report by the Climate Action Tracker, the United Kingdom is the only country that even comes close to meeting their goals and finance clean energy for poorer nations.

  • Among the countries called in the report for a lack of financing for poorer nations was the United States and many EU countries, whereas China and India have made little to no progress on achieving their goals.

Summer 2021 is the Hottest Summer on Record, Beating out the Dust Bowl Summer of 1936 (New York Times, CNN, The Hill)

  • According to a recent report by NOAA, June-August 2021 had a national average temperature of 74 degrees fahrenheit, which is 2.6 degrees higher than average summer temperatures.

  • 2021 now holds the record of hottest meteorological summer, beating the Dust Bowl summer of 1936 by less than .01 degree fahrenheit.

  • Almost 20% of the contiguous United States experienced record warm temperatures, with five states (California, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Oregon) experiencing their hottest summer on record.

China Pledges to Stop Building Coal Plants Abroad (NPR, NRDC, New York Times)

  • China’s president, Xi Jinping, announced that China will stop funding the construction of coal power plants abroad, adding pressure to other nations and creating momentum ahead of the COP 26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in November.

  • This is a big commitment, as China is currently funding about half the coal power plants worldwide, according to a report by E3G.

  • President XI Jinping did not specify if the announcement applied to both government and private projects, and did not give a set timeline on when funding would cease.

Harvard to Divest its Endowment from Fossil Fuels (Boston Globe, The Harvard Crimson, AP, NPR)

  • Following a decade of public pressure and student sit-ins, Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow announced that the university has essentially divested its entire endowment from fossil fuels.

  • In an email that did not contain the word divestment, Bacow noted that Harvard has ended any direct investment in fossil fields for its $41 billion endowment, save 2% in funds that will not be renewed once their contract runs out.

  • Harvard joins Cambridge, Oxford and the University of California school system as notable universities to divest.

Louisiana Home’s Rooftop Solar Array Survives Hurricane Ida to Keep Neighborhood Afloat (NOLA)

  • One family’s rooftop solar array survived what other energy infrastructure could not; hurricane Ida.

  • Able to continue using the solar array during the resulting blackout, the Hazlett family was able to cool their home with fans, distribute ice to the neighborhood and provide power for their neighbors oxygen machine.

  • Louisiana is home to 18,500 rooftop solar arrays and ranks 38th among solar friendly states in the country according to the SEIA.

Landmark Survey Reveals Psychological Damage of Climate Change on Young People (BBC, Nature, ABC News)

  • Scientists at Bath University surveyed 10,000 young people (ages 16-25) in ten different countries. The survey found that 59% of respondents were extremely worried about climate change, with 45% reporting that their feelings about climate change negatively impact their daily lives.

  • Researchers found correlations between climate anxiety and “perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal.” 65% of respondents believe that the governments are failing young people.

  • Researchers call the effects threats to health and wellbeing and “...could be construed as morally injurious and unjust.”

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