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Climate Change & Conservation eNews

Communications

Solar
Robin Lubbock/WBUR

What you need to know about the new Mass. climate law

Listen to this short (7 min) news report by WBUR about the new Massachusetts climate law.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed a sweeping climate bill into law on Friday, signaling a new era in Massachusetts’ plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, build a greener economy and prioritize equity and environmental justice…

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pine cones
Judy Anderson

A climate mitigation opportunity in New England and New York

"WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A CLIMATE CRISIS. A steadily increasing excess of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, predominantly from fossil fuel use by humans, is driving rapid changes in the global climate system..."

This study quantifies the climate mitigation that could be achieved by avoiding deforestation in seven states across the northeastern US. Forest losses to development, agriculture and other land uses release carbon to the atmosphere, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and associated climate change.

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Deciduous Forest
Charles Krupa/AP

New England forests can help slow climate change. A new report shows exactly how much

If we are going to meet our climate goals, we need to support nature-based solutions, like forests and farms. That will mean finding ways to slow down climate change and get off fossil fuels so that forests and soils remain healthy.

The report by researchers at Clark University, called “Avoided Deforestation: A Climate Mitigation Opportunity in New England and New York,” provides hard numbers for officials trying to hit their climate goals — for instance, Massachusetts’ ambitious plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050…

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Solara
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

Agrivoltaics to protect crops from heavy rainfall

If agriculture is going to flourish in a changing climate, we need to think about how to support it given increasingly extreme weather, blights, and management challenges. With millions of dollars going to farm viability efforts in the U.S. every year, it's completely possible that we as a country would also start to channel some of those funds to support elevated solar. Solar and orchards is a new idea for me, but I could see it having a lot of benefits in areas dealing with hail and extreme weather.

BayWa r.e. and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have built a 258 kW agrivoltaic system that hosts apple cultivation under four different crop protection systems. The system utilizes agrivoltaic technology with permanent, light-permeable PV modules that block rain, and tracking PV module tech that blocks rain only if necessary…

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Trees
Judy Anderson

Five natural climate solutions to [help] mitigate climate change

Conserving land is important for a host of reasons: community identity, health, economic vitality, wildlife survival, clean water, cultural legacies, etc. Slowing down climate change is yet another. We have to be realistic that at least here in the U.S., natural climate solutions are likely becoming less effective — especially as these lands get increasingly stressed.

“The United States and other countries can immediately expand investment and support for natural climate solutions that provide the triple benefit of reducing emissions, taking carbon out of the atmosphere, and increasing the resiliency of the natural world…”

Here is something you can share with people who care about this — and let them know what is happening in your region and how it works in partnership with the shift to renewables.

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Mountains
John B Kalla

Rethinking forest carbon offsets

Conserving land is important for a host of reasons: community identity, health, economic vitality, wildlife survival, clean water, cultural legacies, etc. Slowing down climate change is yet another. We have to be realistic that at least here in the U.S., natural climate solutions are likely becoming less effective — especially as these lands get increasingly stressed.

Background: What is a forest carbon offset?

The net increase each year in the amount of carbon stored in the world’s forests and forest products is a critically important sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and offsets a meaningful portion of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions…

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Solar And Ag
Werner Slocum, NREL

The future of agriculture combined with renewable energy finds success at Jack’s Solar Garden

Across the world, and here in the U.S., those who care about farm and ranch viability, healthy soils, and water retention are realizing that elevated solar, and solar that works well with large animals and crops, is going to be an important piece in the conservation puzzle.

Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. The garden generates enough power for more than 300 homes from 3,276 solar panels (6 ft and 8 ft) that create a 1.2-MW community solar garden.

Audubon Rockies, a regional office of the bird protection society, established their largest Habitat Hero pollinator habitat in Colorado around the solar array, while a local nonprofit farming organization, Sprout City Farms, trains young farmers to cultivate crops under the solar panels…

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Are Natural Climate Vid

Stanford researchers discuss imperative to combine natural and industrial approaches to global decarbonization

Natural climate solutions are an important part of the puzzle — including soils — but unless we transition off fossil fuels in the near term, and conserve more energy, those natural climate solutions are increasingly at risk.

Protecting carbon sinks, such as forests and wetlands, is key to slowing climate change, but only part of the puzzle, Stanford researchers say. Reducing emissions is still essential for meeting global climate goals…

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Tundra
Pixabay

Pliocene warmth, polar amplification, and stepped pleistocene cooling recorded in NE Arctic Russia

Comparing our current atmosphere to that of the Pliocene period millions of years ago is pretty fascinating — and puts into perspective how historical this time we are living in now, is.

“The geologic record makes it clear that global temperatures are intimately linked to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Today’s CO2 levels are similar to Pliocene estimates (4.5 to 2.588 million years ago)…”

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Fossil
Creative Commons

Constraints on global mean sea level during Pliocene warmth

This scientific research refers back to the Pliocene period, and is relevant for what we understand about sea temperatures, today.

“Reconstructing the evolution of sea level during past warmer epochs such as the Pliocene provides insight into the response of sea level and ice sheets to prolonged warming. Although estimates of the global mean sea level (GMSL) during this time do exist, they vary by several tens of metres, hindering the assessment of past and future ice-sheet stability.”

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