EcoBuzz – The Economic Costs of Climate Change & Carbon Capture


ECO TIP – Save $17.50 and 200 lbs CO2e by installing a faucet aerator

Faucet aerators are an easy, inexpensive way to save water and energy. Installing an aerator on your faucet will cut down water flow by about 25%. You’ll save money every time the water runs, and you probably won’t notice a difference. You can order aerators online or find them in most hardware stores. Learn more and find similar activities.


THE BUZZ…

The economic costs of climate change…

A recent study published in Nature estimates that curbing climate change could save the US $20 trillion in damages. This is the most recent iteration in a round of studies that have consistently found that it will be much cheaper to spend money on trying to curb emissions than to pay for the impact of  climate change. In a similar vein, a recent Stanford study found that failure to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord will cost the U.S. economy several trillion dollars in the coming decades — and cost the world economy tens of trillions of dollars. Finally, many scientists agree that the world is dangerously low-balling the potential economic costs of climate change.

Although the numbers vary slightly across studies, scientists overwhelmingly agree that failing to take action to mitigate climate change now will end up costing us heavily. And these costs are already being felt today, which is evidenced by this group of families that are suing the EU over direct financial and personal losses they’ve experienced from climate change caused by emissions in EU territory.

The EU moves to outlaw single-use plastic…

The EU proposed a total ban on many single-use plastic products, including silverware, straws, and drinking cups. The EU projects that the ban will save consumers a projected 6.5 billion euros per year as of 2025, and 3 to 4 million tons of CO2e.

This week’s political drama…

In recent news regarding the sleazy daytime soap opera called ‘Washington DC,’ the EPAs own science advisors say the agency is ignoring its own research when moving to relax vehicle emissions requirements, and a judge ruled that Pruitt must disclose the data and research behind his public opinions on climate change (and lack of humans’ role in it).

Renewable energy news…

We can always count on renewables to be a bright spot (literally and metaphorically) in otherwise dim news… Here are some highlights:

  • Amazon has installed 17 rooftop solar projects in 14 months as part of their effort to eventually power 100% of their global operations with renewable energy.
  • MidAmerican Energy (Iowa) is undertaking a wind turbine project that will allow it to provide 100% renewable energy to all its customers.
  • The continual debate about whether it’s feasible to have a power grid that relies on 100% renewable energy often misses the point that a number of countries and regions are already doing just this. Here’s a shout-out to the countries that are leading the way for the rest of us: Iceland (100%), Paraguay (100%), Costa Rica (99%), Norway (98.5%), Austria (80%), Brazil (75%), and Denmark (69.4%).

UPDATED EYE ON CARBON CAPTURE

In our last EcoBuzz, we covered carbon capture, which is the act of sucking CO2 out of the air, and repurposing it for use in things like carbonated beverages and greenhouses. The conundrum surrounding the practice is that it hasn’t seemed economically feasible to perform carbon capture on a large scale, yet it may be necessary in order to buy us time to transition to renewable energy sources.

Recently, scientists determined that carbon capture may be much cheaper than they originally thought, which means it’s inching closer to being commercially-viable, and looking less like an overpriced last-ditch effort to slow climate change.

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