Bulletin: Russia’s war has chilling effect on climate science as Arctic temperatures soar

Earlier in March, temperatures around the North Pole approached the melting point, right around the time of year that Arctic sea ice is usually most extensive. In some places, the Arctic was more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average. It’s part of an alarming trend; over the past 30 years the region has warmed four times faster than the rest of the globe. The shift is transforming the Arctic land- and seascape, causing sea ice to melt, glaciers and ice sheets to retreat, and permafrost to thaw. And while the Arctic is particularly vulnerable to climate change, it also has an outsized potential to contribute to global warming, as melting permafrost releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

And yet, just when the climate scientists and governments across the eight Arctic states should be working together to understand and address the climate crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine has forced the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental group of Arctic states and Arctic Indigenous Peoples, to suspend their joint activities in protest of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.

“It’s so crucial for us to not lose sight of accelerating climate change, and to be making as much progress as possible,” Marisol Maddox, a senior arctic analyst at the Polar Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, said. “And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is creating serious challenges to that within the Arctic context, because of the way that that’s manifested with the pause of the Arctic Council, and all of its subsidiary bodies.”

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This article was republished by Undark as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Bulletin: Reinventing meat to stave off climate crisis—and the next pandemic

Are we eating our way into climate crisis?

The global food system is responsible for between 21 and 37 percent of annual emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Roughly half of the world’s land surface is used for agriculture, and 96 percent of the world’s mammalian biomass is either human or livestock, chiefly pigs and cattle. And the global appetite for meat is only predicted to grow.

Bruce Friedrich believes that there is a better way to make and eat meat. He founded the Good Food Institute to advance the future of alternative meats, including plant-based meat made from—duh—plants (like pea protein and coconut oil), and cultivated meats, which are grown from animal cells.

In this interview with Bulletin associate editor Jessica McKenzie, Friedrich elaborates on Good Food Institute’s theory of change, why it is working with—not against—meat companies, how alternative meats could help prevent the next pandemic, and how they can achieve taste, texture, and price parity with meat. He also responds to criticisms that alternative meats are nothing more than corporate greenwashing.

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Bulletin: Russian military surrounds Europe’s largest nuclear power plant as Ukrainians block access roads

Russian military forces have taken control of the territory around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, which contains six of country’s 15 nuclear reactors, heightening concerns that the safety of the plant and its workers could be at risk.

“The situation in Ukraine is unprecedented and I continue to be gravely concerned,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, told the organization in an emergency meeting on Wednesday. “It is the first time a military conflict is happening amidst the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program.”

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Bulletin: Against backdrop of war, major climate report calls for adaptation and mitigation now

The world must invest much more in climate adaptation in addition to slashing greenhouse emissions if the worst effects of the escalating climate crisis are to be avoided, the 270 authors of the latest United Nations climate report warn. And it has to happen soon.

“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal,” their report concludes. “Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

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