Climate Change

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You want to reduce the carbon footprint of your food? Focus on what you eat, not whether your food is local

Our World In Data

This is a very personal struggle with climate change I have: How much restraint do I impose on myself when I know that most emissions are caused by a few megacompanies, and when I see friends fly all over the globe? For one, there’s a moral imperative to do something. Also, changes in behaviour are contagious, and small changes add up. Then again, you want to be smart about your actions: Restrain yourself where it has the biggest effect. That might not always be where you think it is. This article gives a good overview of how food choices impact the climate – buying local doesn’t matter all that much, sometimes it’s even more harmful to the climate than buying imported food.

Published in Weekly Filet #287

A Live Climate Scoreboard for the World

Bloomberg

How many million tons of greenhouse gases is the world emitting? How many soccer pitches of forest were lost this hour? By how much is the planet warming? How much money is invested in renewable power worldwide? Bloomberg has created a dashboard with the most recent data on climate change indicators (our planet’s KPI, if you will). The dashboard is the centre piece of Bloomberg Green, a new product launched this week. Its mission: «Become an indispensable guide to anyone who wants to understand this great transition [to a sustainable economy]».

Published in Weekly Filet #286

Global Risks Report 2020

World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has released its latest report on global risks. For the first time in 15 years, one risk category occupies all five of the top spots in terms of likelihood: climate change. I’m linking to the preface which gives a nice overview, but the report is worth digging deeper, into specific topics and visualisations.

Published in Weekly Filet #285

The climate cost of war

Heated

The new year started with two major escalations. Raging, ever worsening wildfires in Australia that are the most recent reminder of the climate crisis we’re in. The killing of Qasem Soleimani that brought US and Iran to the brink of war. In her newsletter Heated, Emily Atkin makes the connection: How a war between the US and Iran could doom efforts to fight climate change. Not just because it would draw away attention and resources from climate action, but also because wars cause enormous amounts of CO2 emissions (in fact, and this was news to me, the U.S. military is the single biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world).

Published in Weekly Filet #284

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth

The Guardian

The very substance that much of the world as we know it is built with is a threat to the future of this planet. The Guardian has a long, in-depth profile of concrete, so packed with jaw-dropping facts that it’s hard to pick out a particular one. The piece is from early 2019, but obviously hasn’t lost any of its relevance.

Published in Weekly Filet #283

The consolations of rail travel

The New Statesman

An ode to train travel in the age of flight shame – and a reminder: Going by train should not be seen as a compromise or sacrifice, but as a genuinely rewarding experience in its own right. It ends with a call to train operators, employers and governments to make train travel even more attractive and accessible.

Published in Weekly Filet #282

How we know global warming is real

The Washington Post

A new piece from the Washington Post’s great «2°C: Beyond the limit» series. A history of weather stations and a visual explanation of their role in understanding climate change. The piece it centered around one station in Austria, and almost personifies it, as a devoted perfectionist who now faces an ironic fate.

Published in Weekly Filet #282

The Psychology of Climate Change Communication

CRED

Good stories are good, but the fact remains: The big picture isn’t great. Climate change remains the biggest challenge facing humanity and the results from the latest climate conference in Madrid are meager at best. It made me think of this paper from 2009 I read recently. Communicating climate change is hard, apparently, but there are proven strategies. This paper gives a good overview and offers concrete advice. Helpful to people who communicate professionally, but also to everyone else who has this one uncle who likes to explain to everyone how climate change isn’t real.

Published in Weekly Filet #281

It’s a Vast, Invisible Climate Menace. We Made It Visible.

The New York Times

This is what you get when you combine ace reporting and the power of visual storytelling. The New York Times discovered leaks at oil and gas sites that release immense amounts of methane, invisible to the eye. But not to this nice gadget: «The Times used a custom-built camera…that uses helium to cool down the sensor to the temperature of liquid nitrogen, around minus 200 degrees Celsius.»

Published in Weekly Filet #280

The great paradox of our time: everything is both better and worse than ever before

The Correspondent

To me, one of the best pieces on climate change in recent months, written by The Correspondent’s founding editor. I like how Wijnberg is both realistic («In the past two centuries, fossil capitalism has made us wealthier, healthier, safer and more informed than ever.»), optimistic («we can take heart from this fundamental truth about human nature: together we can.») and radical («The engine that drives our civilisation must be completely disassembled and replaced with a new model.»).

Published in Weekly Filet #279