#96: AJ, I got just five words for you

Look. Sometimes we get news that we can react quickly to. Call your Congressperson, etc. But sometimes there's serious gut-punch news that, to be honest, is taking a minute to deal with. Existential, "this is happening already" news.

This week that news is about sea-level rise and it's no bueno, folks. Not unexpected, but shocking in scope. I urge you to read it, and process it, and then hopefully double down your efforts to make serious change on November 6th. Because our current leadership has turned their back on science.

Our efforts are making a difference -- we've made tremendous progress in clean energy -- but we need so much more. 

Let's go.


This week's question was: what's the #1 thing you can do to affect climate change? Our guest was Peter Kalmus, climate scientist at JPL in Pasadena, California. We discuss his awesome book and also why Brian should get rid of his motorcycle. Tune in.

Subscribe now to get Tuesday's episode with Andres Jimenez at the Citizens Climate Lobby. Find out how your single phone call can become climate law. Exciting!



On to the news!

Climate Change 🔥🌊💨

Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade

"Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday.

The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.

The result also reinforces that nations have a short window — perhaps no more than a decade — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if they hope to avert some of the worst consequences of climate change."

+ The US-centric kicker, below.



West Antarctic ice melt poses unique threat to U.S.

"Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, says that as ice sheets melt, there's an elastic response from the Earth. "The Earth’s gravitational field changes because we’re redistributing mass around the planet,” he tells Axios.

When an ice sheet loses ice, it reduces its gravitational pull toward itself, which means the local sea level near the ice sheet — be it Greenland or Antarctica —is reduced.

It's the distant places that compensate for this loss in mass. “It’s totally flipped upside down for Antarctica," he says, as there is a "broad bullseye" around North America. “Sea level rise for the future, it’s not happening at the same rate in every part of the world… this gravity thing has a big impact,” DeConto says."

+ The US will pay a 25% penalty on West Antarctic sea level rise.

+ Timely: Like It Or Not, the Water Is Coming: Will the Bay Area Defend Against Rising Seas, or Embrace Them?

+ Too heavy? I get it. Consider talking to a professional about it

+ More climate:

      - Bill Gates and his billionaire friends are betting on energy storage

      - Controversial: Climate Change Can Be Stopped by Turning Air Into Gasoline

      - Researchers Argue Proposed EPA Changes Could Cause 80,000 More Deaths a Decade




Fuck Cancer, Volume XCVI 🖕

A serious new hurdle for CRISPR: Edited cells might cause cancer, two studies find

"Editing cells’ genomes with CRISPR-Cas9 might increase the risk that the altered cells, intended to treat disease, will trigger cancer, two studies published on Monday warn — a potential game-changer for the companies developing CRISPR-based therapies.

In the studies, published in Nature Medicine, scientists found that cells whose genomes are successfully edited by CRISPR-Cas9 have the potential to seed tumors inside a patient. That could make some CRISPR’d cells ticking time bombs, according to researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and, separately, Novartis."

+ Science is hard.




War 🚀🌎🔥

This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like

"If nuclear war is considered “unthinkable,” that is in no small part because of our refusal to think about it with any clarity or specificity. In the long run, the best deterrent to nuclear war may be to understand what a single nuclear bomb is capable of doing to, say, a city like New York — and to accept that the reality would be even worse than our fears."


+ More: The Nine Steps Required to Really Disarm North Korea



Clean Energy 💨☀️⚡️

Premature Birth Rates Drop in California After Coal and Oil Plants Shut Down

"Researchers scrutinized records of more than 57,000 births by mothers who lived close to eight coal- and oil-fired plants across California in the year before the facilities were shut down, and in the year after, when the air was cleaner.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the rate of premature births dropped from 7 to 5.1 percent after the plants were shuttered, between 2001 and 2011. The most significant declines came among African American and Asian women."

+ Related (no shit): Being Black in America Can Be Hazardous to Your Healt

+ More clean energy: 

      - New Jersey plans $3 billion in energy efficiency projects and 50,000 vehicle charging stations

      - Buying Into the Electric Vehicle Future? Maybe Try Leasing It

      - Wireless charging: the key to unlocking an electric vehicle revolution



The Final Frontier/Escape Hatch 🚀

An EPIC view of the Earth as an exoplanet

"Observing the Earth as an exoplanet is not a new idea – but DSCOVR has an advantage over many other Earth-observing missions in that the data span a long period of time. The authors analyse over two years’ worth of data from EPIC. By looking at how these images change with time, on periods from hours to years, they work out the kind of imaging we would need of distant exoplanets in order to deduce their rotation periods, seasonal changes, weather, and surface type."

+ Awesome sauce. Because our neighboring Alpha Centauri stars look friendly to life.



The Highlight Reel