Friday, February 25, 2022

Changes in Global Vegetation Distribution and Carbon Fluxes in Response to Global Warming

If CO2-induced warming ever happens, both the the increased CO2 supply and the raised temperatures will promote plant growth -- including food crops


Terrestrial ecosystems are an important part of Earth systems, and they are undergoing remarkable changes in response to global warming. This study investigates the response of the terrestrial vegetation distribution and carbon fluxes to global warming by using the new dynamic global vegetation model in the second version of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Earth System Model (CAS-ESM2). We conducted two sets of simulations, a present-day simulation and a future simulation, which were forced by the present-day climate during 1981–2000 and the future climate during 2081–2100, respectively, as derived from RCP8.5 outputs in CMIP5. CO2 concentration is kept constant in all simulations to isolate CO2-fertilization effects. The results show an overall increase in vegetation coverage in response to global warming, which is the net result of the greening in the mid-high latitudes and the browning in the tropics. The results also show an enhancement in carbon fluxes in response to global warming, including gross primary productivity, net primary productivity, and autotrophic respiration. We found that the changes in vegetation coverage were significantly correlated with changes in surface air temperature, reflecting the dominant role of temperature, while the changes in carbon fluxes were caused by the combined effects of leaf area index, temperature, and precipitation. This study applies the CAS-ESM2 to investigate the response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate warming. Even though the interpretation of the results is limited by isolating CO2-fertilization effects, this application is still beneficial for adding to our understanding of vegetation processes and to further improve upon model parameterizations.


Tesla gets wrist slap from EPA for violating Clean Air Act

Tesla has agreed to pay a $275,000 fine in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the federal Clean Air Act at its electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.

The penalty is next to nothing for a company that generated a net income of $2.32 billion in the fourth quarter of last year alone.

The EPA found Tesla to be in violation of specific regulations known as National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks from October 2016 through September 2019, which could put people living in communities nearby at a health and environmental risk. Tesla’s facility applied coating materials containing such hazardous air pollutants as formaldehyde, ethylbenzene, naphthalene and xylene.

Based on several requests for information from Tesla, the EPA determined that Tesla either didn’t develop or implement a work practice plan to minimize hazardous air pollutant emissions from the storage and mixing of materials used to coat Tesla’s vehicles. The EPA also found that Tesla didn’t perform the required monthly emissions calculations to demonstrate compliance with federal standards, and it failed to collect and keep all required records associated with the calculation of pollutant emission rate for coating operations.

This isn’t the first time Tesla or its Fremont facility, also the site of alleged rampant sexual and racial discrimination, has been called out by the EPA. In 2019, Tesla agreed to pay a $31,000 penalty for failing to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks, failing to comply with management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes and failing to make an adequate hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated at the facility, according to the EPA. At the time, Tesla also had to purchase $55,000 in emergency response equipment for the City of Fremont Fire Department.

Tesla has had multiple fires in the paint shop of its Fremont factory, in large part because filters meant to clean and carry air into and out of the building were visibly coated in paint and clearcoat, Tesla employees told CNBC in 2018.

“Compliance monitoring is one of the key components EPA uses to ensure that the regulated community follows environmental laws and regulations,” wrote the EPA in a statement. “Today’s case is another example of the Agency’s years-long compliance oversight of this facility. Tesla has corrected the violations noted in both settlements and returned to compliance.”


UN-backed green investment fund on brink of failure months after UN summit launch

A UN-backed green investment fund is on the brink of failure three months after its launch during the Glasgow climate summit because institutions including big banks never delivered expected seed funding.

The MSCI Global Climate Select exchange traded fund was unveiled in early November. Trading under the ticker NTZO, it excludes fossil fuel companies and boosts holdings of companies with lower carbon emissions.

The fund has amassed less than $2mn and is likely to be wound down as soon as the end of March without further investment, said Ethan Powell, founder of Dallas-based Impact Shares, the fund manager. He said Impact Shares has been spending about $25,000 a month to manage the ETF.

The case illustrates how corporate organising to combat climate change can fall short when capital is needed. The ETF was created by Impact Shares and Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD), a group of 30 global companies that launched in October 2019 to help fund the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Bank of America, Citigroup and Santander, all GISD members, pledged to provide seed money to NTZO but have refused until other investors step up, said Jim Healy and Sudip Thakor, former Credit Suisse bankers who are involved with the fund.

“It is a classic case of everyone just going through the motions,” Thakor said. He said he invested $500,000 in the ETF, while Healy and his wife invested $1mn.

Bank of America and Citigroup pledged up to $50mn and $12.5mn for the ETF, respectively, but with the proviso that their investments could not account for more than 25 per cent of the fund, Healy and Thakor said. They said Santander, the Spanish bank, pledged $50mn but would not have more than 5 per cent.

Because of the ETF’s small size, the banks could not provide their maximum dollar commitments without exceeding the pledged percentages.

Bank of America said it “stood by ready to provide seed capital on the basis that the ETF would be able to gather sufficient volume from long-term institutional investors”.

Citigroup said it is willing “to provide seed capital for the NTZO ETF contingent on preset criteria and regulatory requirements”, adding that “any claim to the contrary is false”.

Santander said it “remains committed” to investing in the ETF “once the fund has been seeded and the information required to complete due diligence has been provided”.

The UN said it “continues to support innovative finance solutions” and will “support those efforts when called upon”. ....


Australia: BlueScope’s $1 billion blast furnace rebuild indicates ‘green steel’ isn’t coming anytime soon

BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL), the steel business carved out of BHP (ASX:BHP) two decades ago will press ahead with a study on a $1 billion furnace reline at the Port Kembla steelworks.

It is a surefire indication those in the know do not view the transition to so-called ‘green steel’ as a near-term shift.

The reline of the mothballed number 6 blast furnace will have a 20 year life and cost up to $300 million more than BlueScope initially planned, setting the firm up to maintain its domestic supply of steel from 2026, helping BlueScope through the energy transition ahead of its 2050 net zero target.

BlueScope’s position is the furnace reline will provide a “challenging but credible timeline” for the development of low emissions steelmaking technologies.

“The reline does not lock BlueScope in to blast furnace steelmaking for the full 20 years if technology is ready earlier,” the company said.

“However, achieving this will be dependent on several enablers including access to low cost green hydrogen, firmed and affordable renewable energy, the development of suitable raw material supply chains and appropriate policy settings.”

It follows comments last week from South32 (ASX:S32) CEO Graham Kerr, a supplier of metallurgical coal to BlueScope, that coal would have a use in the steelmaking process for at least 20 years given the infancy of low emissions technologies like green hydrogen.

BlueScope is well stocked to deploy capital at the moment after reporting record first half underlying profit of $1.57 billion, up 373% on the same period in 2021.




No comments: