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Post Carbon Landscape Architecture

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By Steve Austin

originally posted on Land8.com – click to see embedded links

Background

Here in early 2019, we find ourselves in a terrifying time. The evidence is astoundingly clear that the effects of climate change are worse than previously predicted and accelerating. If humanity is to avoid catastrophic, perhaps even unsurvivable climate change, we must end the use of fossil fuels as soon as possible.

However, if we were to do that, the resulting energy and civilizational transition would be the most dramatic ever undertaken by our species. Everything about our current way of life would change greatly.

But scientists are emphatic about the need to end using fossil fuels now. Prof David Reay, of the University of Edinburgh, says we must “act now or see the last chance for a safer climate future ebb away.”

The end of fossil fuels will usher in a “post carbon” era. It is “post carbon” because we can no longer do anything that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, especially through burning fossil fuels.

Landscape architects must accept this reality. Continue reading “Post Carbon Landscape Architecture”

Featured

This chart is the essence of this site – first timers start here

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We have 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe.  The chart above shows in stark relief exactly the world we must transition to if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This chart shows how we must essentially cease the use of fossil fuels and other climate changing activities. That in turn means the end of the industrial age.

Continue reading “”

Negative Emissions Won’t Rescue Us From Climate Change

By Andy Stone in Forbes 

“,..despite the major political barriers to dramatic near-term emissions cuts, a terrifying realization is that such action is, in fact, the most realistic option available to hold climate change in check. Of the climate action pathways modeled by the IPCC, the scenario that requires boldest action in the near term is the only one that doesn’t also require a leap of faith that a suite of uneconomic, logistically challenging, and ultimately unproven negative emissions technologies will in fact deliver us from our collective peril.

The gulf between the promise of these technologies (a multitude of variations on carbon capture and storage) and their real ability to offset a future of high carbon emissions appears unbridgeable, if not in terms technological viability, then almost surely in terms of magnitude and scale.

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….none of this is to say negative emissions aren’t possible or a worthwhile pursuit. It’s just that they’re only going to be a partial solution to the climate problem, akin to an insurance policy whose payout is likely to prove woefully inadequate when disaster strikes. We place our bets on the promise of negative emissions, and the dangerous political complacency that such faith engenders, at our global peril.”

The entire piece has a very detailed examination of the physical realities of negative emissions- read it all here

Uh oh: Global CO2 emissions hit record high in 2018

(remember: CO2 emissions don’t need to just decline. They need to go to zero….and yet here we are….)
Tuesday, 26 March 2019

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a record high last year as energy demand and coal use increased, mainly in Asia, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

Energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7 percent to 33.1 billion tonnes from the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2013, with the power sector accounting for almost two-thirds of this growth, according to IEA estimates.

The United States’ CO2 emissions grew by 3.1 percent in 2018, reversing a decline a year earlier, while China’s emissions rose by 2.5 percent and India’s by 4.5 percent.

Europe’s emissions fell by 1.3 percent and Japan’s fell for the fifth year running. Continue reading “Uh oh: Global CO2 emissions hit record high in 2018”

The deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes

Not climate related, but vital for us as designers and planners to understand.

From The Guardian:

Crash-test dummies based on the ‘average’ male are just one example of design that forgets about women – and puts lives at risk

Going back to the theory of Man the Hunter, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence. And these silences are everywhere. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics, the stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future, are all marked – disfigured – by a female-shaped “absent presence”.

Read more here

Climate study warns of vanishing safety window—here’s why

From National Geographic:

A NEW SCIENTIFIC analysis of millions of possible climate futures found only a narrow window to keeping global warming to levels the international community has deemed safe.

Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by 2100 of warming, the target set by the United Nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising seas to deadly heat waves.

 

Read more here

The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

Left top: A durian plantation in Raub, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Soaring demand for durians in China is being blamed

From Huffington Post:

A three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has grim implications for the future of humanity.

Nature is in freefall and the planet’s support systems are so stretched that we face widespread species extinctions and mass human migration unless urgent action is taken. That’s the warning hundreds of scientists are preparing to give, and it’s stark.

The study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), expected to run to over 8,000 pages, is being compiled by more than 500 experts in 50 countries. It is the greatest attempt yet to assess the state of life on Earth and will show how tens of thousands of species are at high risk of extinction, how countries are using nature at a rate that far exceeds its ability to renew itself, and how nature’s ability to contribute food and fresh water to a growing human population is being compromised in every region on earth.

Read more here