climate change

Development impacts of disasters revealing longer-term effects on regional growth

Since 1980, billion-dollar climate disasters in the United States have increased an astonishing 749%, from averaging 3.3 throughout the 1980s to 28 in 2023 alone. These data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information include floods, wildfires, droughts, severe storms, tropical cyclones, and winter storms. The finding is consistent with the Fifth National Climate Assessment, released last year, that concluded the rise is due to a combination of increased exposure (i.e., more assets at risk), vulnerability (i.e., how much damage a hazard of given intensity—wind speed, or flood depth, for example—causes at a location), and the fact that climate change is increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters. Because climate change will only get worse given its current trajectory, it is reasonable to expect the number and severity of disaster events will continue to grow. Research shows TBED, systems-based planning, and conventional economic development have roles to play in mitigating future risk.

Geo-targeting could be the answer to a greener America

Countries participating in the COP28 climate summit agreed this week to call for "transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems…”  Earlier this year, researchers at Nature Communications said a full transition from fossil fuels could displace 1.7 million fossil fuel workers in the United States and an even greater number on the global scale.

CT establishes a Green Job Corps Program

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law a bill that establishes a green jobs corps program. This program will identify a talent development strategy for communities to address the impacts of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. The bill includes several provisions to accomplish those goals and a plan to market and recruit these jobs to individuals, especially from underrepresented populations. The bill’s goal is to ensure the development of CT's green technology industry and workforce by implementing green job work-based learning, certification, and degree programs that target green industries facing workforce shortages. These programs will be offered at career schools and institutions of higher education.

$2.6 billion allocated to protect coastal communities and restore marine resources

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its plans to invest $2.6 billion in coastal resilience funded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These funds will support communities on the frontlines of climate change, restore marine resources, improve weather and climate data and services, strengthen NOAA's research airplane and ship fleet, invest in critical infrastructure, and more. Of particular interest to Digest readers will be funding for ocean-based climate resilience accelerators and climate-ready workforce.

Commentary: When hope is all you have left in dealing with climate change

The press release for the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) opens in what has become a tradition for environmental reporting: a dire statistic intended to inspire a desire for action. This time, it’s that average global greenhouse gas emissions for the 2010-2019 decade were the highest levels in human history. The strategy has worked on the world’s young people and the small handful of people out of 100 who vote for and contribute to environmental change each year (less than 4% of American charitable giving went to environmental/animal welfare organizations in 2021). Unfortunately, these crowds are both powerless and too small.

China set to dominate renewable energy manufacturing

A recently released International Energy Agency (IEA) report states that renewables are set to account for over 90% of global electricity expansion over the next five years, with China retaining a 75-90% share in global renewable manufacturing capacity. China has released its 14th 5-year plan and is expected to account for almost half of the new global renewable power capacity additions over the 2022-2027 period. Meanwhile, the US Inflation Reduction Act has provided new support and long-term visibility for the expansion of renewables in the United States.

Arkansas, Indiana and California form international agreements on tech innovation, climate change and manufacturing

Three states — Indiana, California and Arkansas — have recently participated in international diplomacy, creating strategic connections and developing agreements to address climate change and trade barriers with the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. These recent agreements may suggest a shift toward innovation-focused diplomacy at the state level with nations across the globe.

IPCC report urges swift action to address climate change

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contains strong warnings that failure to prevent global warming from increasing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius will result in inevitable increases in climate hazards. The Working Group II report is the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report. It assesses the impacts, adaptation capabilities, and vulnerabilities of socioeconomic and natural systems in response to climate change and highlights with increasing alarm the need to address risks resulting from human-induced climate change and the importance of understanding the intersectionality of these risks.

US National Climate Assessment underway, input sought

Since 1990, the United States has produced its own national climate assessment report to, in the words of the project’s director Allison Crimmins, “provide Americans with information on the accelerating impacts, vulnerabilities and responses to the climate crisis.” Work on the fifth assessment is well underway and NOAA has made available for public comment annotated outlines of each of the 32 chapters included in the draft report.  In addition to the public comments on the report, there are a series of open workshops daily over the next several weeks to allow the public to engage more actively in the process. The list of topics and schedule of times are available here.

23 global cities, 58 million people to benefit from $2B UrbanShift program

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and its partners announced that they will provide at least $1.8 billion in funding and financing to 23 more cities across nine countries to implement integrated development approaches to improve efficiency, inclusivity and resilience against climate change. 

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