REPORTS & PAPERS 2021

2021 REPORTS AND PAPERS

REPORTS AND PAPERS

Already by the beginning of June, there were dozens of reports on subjects from air quality to conserving and restoring America’s lands and waters, from melting ice to gas emission inventories, from health consequences to economic consequences.
 
At the end of May, Michael Svoboda at Yale Climate Connections, published a piece outlining 12 reports “on what the U.S. may make possible on climate.”  Perhaps Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector released by the International Energy Agency, on May 1, is the one you should read first. It is both demanding and optimistic.
 
On August 9, a landmark U.N. report from the IPCC “issued its latest and most dire assessment about the state of the planet, detailing how humans have altered the environment at an “unprecedented” pace and cautioning that the world risks increasingly catastrophic impacts in the absence of rapid greenhouse gas reductions.” As reported in the Washington Post, “the landmark report, compiled by 234 authors relying on more than 14,000 studies from around the globe, bluntly lays out for policymakers and the public the most up-to-date understanding of the physical science on climate change. Released amid a summer of deadly fires, floods and heat waves, it arrives less than three months before a critical summit this November in Scotland, where world leaders face mounting pressure to move more urgently to slow the Earth’s warming.
 
Monday’s sprawling assessment states that there is no remaining scientific doubt that humans are fueling climate change. That much is “unequivocal.” The only real uncertainty that remains, its authors say, is whether the world can muster the will to stave off a darker future than the one it already has carved in stone.”

2021 REPORTS & PAPERS

New climate models reveal faster and larger increases in Arctic precipitation than previously projected

By Michelle R. McCrystall, Julienne Stroeve and Others 11/30/21
As the Arctic continues to warm faster than the rest of the planet, evidence mounts that the region is experiencing unprecedented environmental change. The hydrological cycle is projected to intensify throughout the twenty-first century, with increased evaporation from expanding open water areas and more precipitation.

Globally resolved surface temperatures since the Last Glacial Maximum

By Matthew B. Osman, Jessica E. Tierney and Others 11/10/21
Climate changes across the past 24,000 years provide key insights into Earth system responses to external forcing. Climate model simulations and proxy data have independently allowed for study of this crucial interval; however, they have at times yielded disparate conclusions. Here, we leverage both types of information using paleoclimate data assimilation to…

How ten fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial

11/02/21
It is the greatest crisis ever faced by our species. Through collective will, we can mitigate and avert the worst impacts of climate change. But, just as we’ve experienced recently with vaccine and COVID-19 disinformation, we continue to be up against vested interests with financial stakes, such as companies and…

Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages

11/01/21
Time is running out to address the impacts of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest scientific assessment makes the severity of the climate hazards we face very clear; even large-scale, high-impact events such as ice sheet collapse and abrupt ocean circulation changes cannot be ruled out.

Report On The Impact Of Climate Change On Migration

10/31/21
The climate crisis is reshaping our world, as the Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization. Defined by changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer, climate change includes changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, the frequency and…

State Of The Beach Report

10/31/21
Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Greta’s quote perfectly captures the gravity of the climate crisis and…

Unprecedented threats to cities from multi-century sea level rise

By Benjamin H. Strauss 10/11/21
A portion of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions will stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, raising temperatures and sea levels globally. Most nations' emissions-reduction policies and actions do not seem to reflect this long-term threat, as collectively they point toward widespread permanent inundation of many developed areas.

Lancet Countdown: Policy brief for the United States Of America

10/20/21
This fifth annual Policy Brief is supported by a diverse group of health experts from over 70 institutions, organizations, and centers who recognize that climate change is first and foremost a health crisis. It uses indicator data for the United States (U.S.) from the 2021 global Lancet Countdown report and…

The Sixth Status of Corals of the World

10/05/21
Coral reefs occur in more than 100 countries and territories and whilst they cover only 0.2% of the seafloor, they support at least 25% of marine species and underpin the safety, coastal protection, wellbeing, food and economic security of hundreds of millions of people.

The New Coal: Plastics and Climate Change

10/01/21
The New Coal: Plastics and Climate Change is a comprehensive account of the United States plastics industry’s significant, yet rarely acknowledged contributions to the climate crisis. Using coal-fired power plants as a benchmark, the report examines ten stages in the creation, usage, and disposal of plastics: fracking for plastics, transporting…

Global greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods

By Xiaoming Xu, Prateek Sharma and Others 09/30/21
Agriculture and land use are major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but previous estimates were either highly aggregate or provided spatial details for subsectors obtained via different methodologies. Using a model–data integration approach that ensures full consistency between subsectors, we provide spatially explicit estimates of production- and consumption-based GHG…

Four Days Of Texas-Sized Disinformation

09/16/21
The fossil fuel industry has spent millions over decades to sow doubt and prevent action on the climate crisis. This narrative campaign largely failed to sow doubt, as it is no longer credible to deny climate change entirely, and most Americans are demanding action on the issue. However, social media…

Linking Arctic variability and change with extreme winter weather in the United States

By Judah Cohen, Laurie Agel and Others 09/03/21
Despite the rapid warming that is the cardinal signature of global climate change, especially in the Arctic, where temperatures are rising much more than elsewhere in the world, the United States and other regions of the Northern Hemisphere have experienced a conspicuous and increasingly frequent number of episodes of extremely…

BGCI Launches the State of the World’s Trees Report

09/01/21
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has published a landmark State of the World’s Trees report. The report, compiling work led by the Global Tree Assessment (GTA), is the culmination of five years of research to identify major gaps in tree conservation efforts. It is one of the first assessments of…

Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis

08/09/21
The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report is the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.

Observation-based early-warning signals for a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

By Niklas Boers 08/05/21
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a major ocean current system transporting warm surface waters toward the northern Atlantic, has been suggested to exhibit two distinct modes of operation. A collapse from the currently attained strong to the weak mode would have severe impacts on the global climate system and…

State Of The Climate in 2020

By Jessica Blunden and Tim Boyer 08/01/21
Emissions from fossil fuel use in 2020 dropped by around 6% to 7% over 2019 due to decreased activity during the pandemic (section 2g1); however atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), still reached the highest levels in the modern climate record.

Reducing CO2 emissions by targeting the world’s hyper-polluting power plants

By Don Grant 08/04/21
As the Version of Record of this article is going to be / has been published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY 3.0 licence, this Accepted Manuscript is available for reuse under a CC BY 3.0 licence immediately.

Increasing probability of record-shattering climate extremes

By E. M. Fischer, S. Sippel and R. Knutti 07/26/21
Society has often been surprised by the magnitude by which recent climate extremes exceeded previous observed records, such as during the extreme rainfall of Hurricane Harvey1–3, the 2020 warm anomaly over Siberia4 or the 2003 European and 2010 Russian heatwaves5,6 that caused tens of thousands of heat-related fatalities6–8. Week-long temperature…
cdp

U.S. infrastructure projects in need of funding

07/23/21
The snapshot below presents infrastructure projects in cities around the nation pending public or private investment, most of which respond to years of deterioration and the need for enhanced climate and environmental resilience. Addressing these needs will also spur significant jobs creation across sectors, integrate the voices of historically marginalized…

Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change

By Luciana V.Gatti, Luana S.Basso and more 07/14/21
Amazonia hosts the Earth’s largest tropical forests and has been shown to be an important carbon sink over recent decades1–3. This carbon sink seems to be in decline, however, as a result of factors such as deforestation and climate change1–3. Here we investigate Amazonia’s carbon budget and the main drivers…

Widespread deoxygenation of temperate lakes

By Stephen F. Jane and Gretchen J. A. Hansen 06/02/21
The concentration of dissolved oxygen in aquatic systems helps to regulate biodiversity1,2, nutrient biogeochemistry3, greenhouse gas emissions4, and the quality of drinking water5. The long-term declines in dissolved oxygen concentrations in coastal and ocean waters have been linked to climate warming and human activity6,7, but little is known about the…

U.S. Climate Litigation in the Age of Trump: Full Term

By Korey Silverman-Roati 06/01/21
From beginning to end, the Trump administration pursued an agenda of climate deregulation. The administration aimed a portfolio of actions at weakening federal climate protections and promoting fossil fuels.1

The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change

By A. M. Vicedo-Cabrera, N. Scovronick and A. Gasparrini 05/31/21
Climate change affects human health; however, there have been no large-scale, systematic efforts to quantify the heat-related human health impacts that have already occurred due to climate change. Here, we use empirical data from 732 locations in 43 countries to estimate the mortality burdens associated with the additional heat exposure…

Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update

05/28/21
Executive Summary This update presents a summary of annual to decadal predictions from the WMO designated Global Producing Centres and other contributing centres for the period 2021-2025. Latest predictions suggest that:

Air quality – related health damages of food

By Nina G. G. Domingo, Srinidhi Balasubramanian and Others 05/15/21
Poor air quality is the largest environmental health risk in the United States and worldwide, and agriculture is a major source of air pollution. Nevertheless, air quality has been largely absent from discussions about the health and environmental impacts of food. We estimate the air quality–related health impacts of agriculture…

Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful 2021

05/11/21
A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force recommending a ten-year, locally led campaign to conserve and restore the lands and waters upon which we all depend, and that bind us together as Americans.

Projected land ice contributions to twenty-first-century sea level rise

By Tamsin L. Edwards, Sophie Nowicki 05/05/21
The land ice contribution to global mean sea level rise has not yet been predicted1 using ice sheet and glacier models for the latest set of socio-economic scenarios, nor using coordinated exploration of uncertainties arising from the various computer models involved. Two recent international projects generated a large suite of projections…

Acting rapidly to deploy readily available methane mitigation measures by sector can immediately slow global warming

By Ilissa B Ocko1, Tianyi Sun 05/04/21
Methane mitigation is essential for addressing climate change, but the value of rapidly implementing available mitigation measures is not well understood. In this paper, we analyze the climate benefits of fast action to reduce methane emissions as compared to slower and delayed mitigation timelines. We find that the scale up…

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

05/03/21
The Earth's climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in…
IEA

Net Zero by 2050

05/01/21
The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow. But the pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and…

Climate change and the 1991-2020 U.S. Climate Normals

By Rebecca Lindsey 04/19/21
As soon as the 2021 New Year’s celebrations were over, the calls and questions started coming in from weather watchers: When will NOAA release the new U.S. Climate Normals? The Normals are 30-year averages of key climate observations made at weather stations and corrected for bad or missing values and…

Global Change Research Needs and Opportunities for 2022-2031

01/01/21
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the United States and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. Global Change Research Needs and Opportunities for 2022-2031 advises the USGCRP…
EPA

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks

04/09/21
EPA has prepared the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks since the early 1990s. This annual report provides a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the United States. The gases covered by the Inventory include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons,…

Fair Shares Nationally Determined Contribution: United States of America

By Oscar Reyes et al. 04/08/21
Today, environmental, environmental justice, and international development groups are releasing the “Fair Shares Nationally Determined Contribution” (“Fair Shares NDC”) laying out the measures the United States should commit to carrying out to do its “fair share” of the global effort to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, based on its…

Global Buying Green Report

04/01/21
The 2021 Buying Green Report is based on a survey of more than 15,000 end consumers across Europe, North America and South America. Within each region, the sample of respondents was representative of the overall population in terms of age, gender and income distribution. Survey questions explored participant behaviors related…

The Gassing Of Satartia

By Dan Zegart Photo: Hokyoung Kim 08/26/21
A CO2 pipeline in Mississippi ruptured last year, sickening dozens of people. What does it forecast for the massive proposed buildout of pipelines across the U.S.?

Global mortality from outdoor fine particle pollution generated by fossil fuel combustion: Results from GEOS-Chem

By Karn Vohraa , Alina Vodonos and others. 04/01/21
The burning of fossil fuels – especially coal, petrol, and diesel – is a major source of airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and a key contributor to the global burden of mortality and disease. Previous risk assessments have examined the health response to total PM2.5, not just PM2.5 from fossil…

Halfway to Zero: Progress Towards a Carbon-Free Power Sector

By Ryan H Wiser, Dev Millstein and Others. 04/01/21
Sharply reducing carbon emissions is imperative to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Yet even in the power sector—often viewed as the lynchpin to economy-wide decarbonization, and where low-carbon solutions are increasingly plentiful and cost-effective—the pace and scale of the required transformation can be daunting. A review of historical…

Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate

03/17/21
The ocean contains unique biodiversity, provides valuable food resources and is a major sink for anthropogenic carbon. Marine protected areas (MPAs)are an effective tool for restoring ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services1,2, but at present only 2.7% of the ocean is highly protected3. This low level of ocean protection is due…
EDF

Recapturing U.S. Leadership on Climate: Setting an Ambitious and Credible Nationally Determined Contribution

By Nathaniel Keohane et al. 03/03/21
The United States is officially back in the Paris Agreement, after four years of climate inaction and science denial. Now, to restore American leadership and meet the scale of the climate crisis, the Biden administration must put forward a bold new commitment to the Paris Agreement – a Nationally Determined…

Gauging Economic Consensus on Climate Change

By Peter Howard and Derek Sylvan. 03/01/21
Thousands of economists have spent years or decades studying the interaction between climate change and the economic systems that underlie modern life. The views of these experts can help clarify how climate change will likely affect our society and economy, and how policymakers should approach greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts

U.S. Warns Climate Poses ‘Emerging Threat’ to Financial System

By Alan Rappeport and Christopher Flavelle Photo: Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times 10/21/21
A Financial Stability Oversight Council report could lead to more regulatory action and disclosure requirements for banks.

The economic costs of climate change: lessons learned from COVID-19

By Erik R. Peterson and Paul A. Laudicina. Photo: Niki Lewis Kearney / Alumnae 02/25/21
Three profound lessons can be drawn from the coronavirus pandemic for the ongoing climate crisis. First, the pandemic has thrown the spotlight on the capacity of the global population for behavioral change and adaptation in the face of severe exogenous shocks—as well as the limitations of that capacity.

New UNEP synthesis provides blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies and secure humanity’s future

02/18/21
Meeting ramped-up climate and biodiversity targets, cutting deadly pollution and achieving SDGs needs an all-society push for sustainability Shifting world views and putting nature at the heart of decision-making is key to achieving transformative change COVID-19 recovery plans are an unmissable opportunity to invest in nature and reach net zero…

‘Coastal county snapshots’ delivers new tools, data for climate resilience

By NOAA Photo: Coastal County Snapshots 01/18/22
A major update to a popular NOAA tool used to inform planning and decision-making in coastal communities is now online. Coastal County Snapshots, available on NOAA’s Digital Coast platform, turns complex data into easy-to-understand charts, graphics, and information.

The Cost of Climate: America’s Growing Flood Risk

02/22/21
New research from First Street Foundation analyzes the economic impact of underestimated flood risk to properties throughout the United States. Current understandings of expected flood risk and its potential damage continue to underestimate the full extent of flood risk in many parts of the country. This is problematic as these…

Climate Impacts of COVID‐19 Induced Emission Changes

By A. Gettelman and others 12/29/20
The COVID‐19 pandemic led to dramatic changes in economic activity in 2020. We use estimates of emission changes for 2020 in two Earth System Models (ESMs) to simulate the impacts of the COVID‐19 economic changes.

Under-reporting of greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. cities

By Kevin Robert Gurney 02/02/21
Cities dominate greenhouse gas emissions. Many have generated self-reported emission inventories, but their value to emissions mitigation depends on their accuracy, which remains untested. Here, we compare self-reported inventories from 48 US cities to independent estimates from the Vulcan carbon dioxide emissions data product, which is consistent with atmospheric measurements.

Opposition To Renewable Energy Facilities In The United States

02/01/21
Achieving lower carbon emissions in the United States will require developing a very large number of wind, solar, and other renewable energy facilities, as well as associated storage, distribution, and transmission, at an unprecedented scale and pace.

The public health implications of the Paris Agreement: a modelling study

By Ian Hamilton 02/01/21
nationally determined contributions (NDCs) serve to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement of staying “well below 2°C”, which could also yield substantial health co-benefits in the process. However, existing NDC commitments are inadequate to achieve this goal. Placing health as a key focus of the NDCs could present an…

New U.N. Report Highlights Need to Step Up Climate Change Adaptation

By Earth Institute Photo: UNDP 01/21/21
A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme finds that while almost three-quarters of countries have plans in place to adapt to climate change, financing and implementation are falling far short of what is needed. Cynthia Rosenzweig and Manishka De Mel at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research…

Near-real-time monitoring of global CO2 emissions reveals the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Zhu Liu, Philippe Ciais and more 01/14/21
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting human activities, and in turn energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Here we present daily estimates of country-level CO2 emissions for different sectors based on near-real-time activity data.

Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future

By Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Paul R. Ehrlich and more 01/19/21
We report three major and confronting environmental issues that have received little attention and require urgent action. First, we review the evidence that future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than currently believed.

Climate Policy Priorities for the New Administration and Congress

01/01/21
The start of a new Administration and a new Congress provides a vital opportunity to dramatically scale up the U.S. response to climate change. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has worked closely with leading companies to assess policy options for decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Drawing on these discussions,…