India's e-waste recycling "markets" are toxic nightmares filled with child laborers

Millions of tons of e-waste -- much of it from rich countries like Australia -- are recycled in India, in "markets" with terrible, dangerous working conditions and equally awful environmental controls. Read the rest

Barefoot Engineers: rural women from Malawi, trained as solar engineers, who are electrifying their remote villages

Malawi's "barefoot engineers" are a group of eight local women who received solar engineering training in the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India and returned home to install solar systems for poor and/or rural women. Read the rest

How to think about climate change and "cost-benefit analysis"

Some climate deniers go beyond arguing that climate change isn't real; rather, they argue that adapting to climate change is cheaper than preventing it, and it's a fool's errand to spend money on a Green New Deal, when we could continue to burn fossil fuels and simply relocate everyone who gets flooded out, figure out how to grow crops in new places, come up with medicines to treat new epidemics, etc. Read the rest

Manhattan-sized hole opens up under Antarctic glacier

A massive cavity so large you could fit New York City inside of it has opened up under Thwaites glacier in Antarctica. Scientists say if it collapses, as it's likely to do within the next 50 to 100 years, it could cause a catastrophic rise in sea levels capable of flood coastal cities around the world. Read the rest

Any sincere theory of property rights would bankrupt the energy sector

If you believe in the sanctity of property rights, you believe that the law should entitle you to compensation if someone damages your property; the energy sector has knowingly, willfully destroyed some of the most valuable property on earth, in large coastal cities, and if libertarians and right-wingers were sincere in their belief in private property (as opposed to mere oligarchic consolidation of wealth and power), they would be baying for the liquidation of every energy company's fortunes to compensate the owners of all that property. After all, only 25 companies are responsible for more than half of the planet's emissions. Read the rest

A free book of science fiction from around the world about climate change, introduced by Kim Stanley Robinson

[Editor's note: I'm a volunteer advisor to Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, and Joey Eschrich is a colleague of mine there; I invited him to write up his latest project, an anthology of science fiction about climate change.] Read the rest

Peak indifference: "extreme weather events" drive record US acceptance of climate change as an immediate problem

Peak indifference is the moment at which a far-off problem becomes so obvious that the number of people alarmed about it begins to grow of its own accord; a new Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication survey finds that 46% of Americans believe that they are living through adverse effects from climate change right now (up 9% in a year) and 72% of Americans say climate change is '"extremely," "very," or "somewhat" important to them personally' (the highest figure ever recorded); 57% acknowledge the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change (also the highest level ever). Read the rest

Corporate America projects giant profits from climate disasters

Though firms may worry about profits now that Trump's decision to let the world boil in its own juices rather than offend the hydrocarbon lobby (Coke may run out of water, Disney may run out of themepark-goers), the latest report from UK nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project shows that companies are also privately exulting in the new possibilities opened up by climate catastrophes and the ensuing hidden misery. Read the rest

Facing unpaid overtime, cuts and austerity, French cops threaten to join Gilets Jaunes protesters

When French President (and ex-investment banker) Macron decided to cut taxes for the super-rich and make up the shortfall by taxing diesel fuel (widespread in poor rural areas) but not private jet fuel, he put the already-precarious French treasury into an even more precarious state. Read the rest

Congressional Democratic establishment wants to replace "Green New Deal" with a climate committee of oil money recipients

The Green New Deal -- championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Dems -- is one of the most popular Democratic policies in living memory, supported by 81% of registered voters (including 64% of Republicans and 57% of "conservative Republicans"), so of course the Democratic establishment is trying to kill it. Read the rest

Inside the funny accounting that lets the money-losing fracking industry claim to be profitable

Fracking is grossly unprofitable: the fracking industry is losing hundreds of millions of dollars, but it claims to be profitable and august publications like the Wall Street Journal and Reuters repeat these claims as though they were true. How can this be? Read the rest

Peak indifference has arrived: a majority of Republicans say climate change is real

Five years ago, I coined the term "peak indifference" to describe a moment when a public health problem -- like climate change, tobacco use, surveillance capitalism, or monopolism -- reaches a tipping point: the moment when the consequences of actions taken a long time ago and very far away start to be felt so widely that the number of people who believe there is a problem starts to grow of its own accord. It's not the moment when a majority of people agree that the problem is real, but it is the moment at which the denial of the realness of the problem reaches its peak, and begins a long, inevitable decline. Read the rest

Toronto 2033: science fiction writers imagine the city of the future

Toronto 2033 is a shared-world science fiction anthology edited by the incomparable and multi-talented Jim Munroe (previously), where authors like Zainab Amadahy, Madeline Ashby, Al Donato, Kristyn Dunnion, Elyse Friedman, Paul Hong, Elan Mastai, Mari Ramsawakh, Karl Schroeder and Peter Watts were challenged to imagine a future for the city. Read the rest

This month, the climate-denyingist red state AGs lost their jobs to Dems: time to sue the US government

Republican state AGs were in the majority...until this months election, when the majority flipped, with the most climate-denying AGs (in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada) losing their jobs to Dems who ran on strong environmental platforms. Read the rest

San Francisco Uber driver distributing filter masks to passengers

At times this week, wildfires made San Francisco's air the worst in the world, and the city's stores have largely sold out of the N95 filter masks that make the air barely breathable, leading to at least one enterprising Uber driver selling the masks out of his car (at a substantial markup: $5 each, compared with $1.30 each on Amazon in ten-packs); other drivers are giving the masks away for free. (via /.) Read the rest

Sense About Science awards go to research on coral bleaching and naturopathy

Sense About Science (previously) is a UK group that advocates for evidence-based policy; as part of that mission they give out the annual Maddox Prizes for people who brave political and social retaliation to infuse difficult public policy debates with factual evidence. Read the rest

Climate change will make beer much more expensive

Over the next century, higher temperatures and an increased number of droughts will hit the global barley supply, pushing beer prices way up. University of East Anglia economist Dabo Guan and his colleagues developed multiple scenarios based on several climate and economic models. Nature:

The researchers then simulated the effect of these droughts and heat waves on barley production by using software to model crop growth and yield on the basis of weather and other variables.

They found that, globally, this extreme weather would reduce barley yield by between 3% and 17%. Some countries fared better than others: tropical areas such as Central and South America were hit badly, but crop yields actually increased in certain temperate areas, including northern China and the United States. Some areas of those countries saw yield increases of up to 90% — but this was not enough to offset the global decrease.

Finally, Guan and his colleagues fed these changes in barley yield into an existing economic model that can account for changes in supply and demand in the global market. This enabled them to look at how reduced barley production would affect pricing and consumption of beer in countries, as well as trade between nations.

In the worst-case scenario, the reduced barley supply worldwide would result in a 16% decrease in global beer consumption in the years of extreme-weather events. Prices would, on average, double...

One goal of the research, Guan says, was to make tangible how "climate change will impact people’s lifestyle... Read the rest

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