Articles You Might Have Missed

Around the world, people are taking the initiative to mitigate climate change. Here is a monthly roundup compiled by the Climate Issues Team at the League of Wom- en Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom.

Short-Term Energy Outlook
Renewable energy is poised to reach a milestone as a new government report projects that wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed one-fourth of the country’s electricity generation for the first time in 2024. 

This is one of the many takeaways from the federal government’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, a monthly report whose new edition is the first to include a forecast for 2024. The report’s authors in the Energy Administration are expecting renewables to increase in market share, while gas and coal would decline.

Find the full Short-Term Energy Outlook for January 2023 here: News Media Contact: (202) 586-4940

“Rights of Nature”
Nearly two hundred countries approved a biodiversity accord that enshrines human rights and the “rights of nature” at the COP15, a 12-day conference convened in Montreal under the auspices of the U.N. Convention of Biological Diversity. The nonbinding agreement is the first recognition in an international treaty to state a growing understanding that future conservation efforts must promote the well-being of Indigenous peoples — and that forests, mountains and rivers have rights of their own.

Adopted on Dec. 19, 2022, the accord is being hailed by some environmentalists as a watershed moment. https://insideclimatenews.orgnews02012023cop15-biodiversity-agreement

Ozone Layer
The ozone layer is likely on the mend. Scientists are now optimistic that the hole in the ozone layer, caused by the proliferation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances, is on its way to healing. Estimates are that the ozone layer will be recovered over most of the world by 2040, except for the north and south poles, which will be recovered by 2045 and 2066 respectively. 

The ozone layer protects the earth from excessive ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Alarm about the increasing damage to the ozone layer led to an international agreement in 1989, called the Montreal Protocol. That agreement has led to a 99 percent decrease in substances harmful to the ozone.

David Fahey, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric scientist and a lead author of the new optimistic assessment, hails the Montreal agreement as “the most successful environmental treaty in history and offers encouragement that countries of the world can come together and decide an outcome and act on it.”

Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization said, “Ozone action sets a precedent for climate action. Our success in phasing out ozone-eating chemicals shows us what can and must be done as a matter of urgency to transition away from fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gases and so limit temperature increase.”

The Guardian — Jan 9, 2023 “Earth’s ozone layer on course to be healed within decades, UN report finds,”

One Women’s Climate Action
Cafe Juanita sits on Juanita Creek’s bank in Kirkland, Washington. A large bigleaf maple that had stood between the creek and the restaurant had blown down causing the creek to erode the bank. The chef/owner Holly Smith knew she needed to get the bank shored up.

Smith had spent 22 years looking for salmon going up Juanita Creek to spawn and had only seen one salmon. She decided to reach out to the King County Conservation District, a public, nonregulatory agency that partners with landowners on conservation projects. Their riparian zone stewardship coordinator worked with her to put together a plan. The price tag was $75,000. Smith was committed to this project despite the high price tag. Her sense of responsibility came from her parents who instilled in her “the ideal that we’re responsible for our actions in the natural world.”

She and her son got permission to plant some native dogwood and willow in the stream bed and later invasive plants were removed and hundreds more native plants were planted between the stream and the restaurant. The edge of the bank was reinforced with boulders and massive stumps with roots intact. These would help stop erosion, and also give migrating salmon places to rest and regain their strength.

Luckily she ended up getting help from the state conservation commission which had funding for salmon recovery projects. Adopt a Stream Alliance, a local nonprofit, helped with the actual work. And, with additional funding from the King County Conservation District, her out-of-pocket costs dropped to $34,000.

On the day the work was completed, Smith walked down to the stream with a local reporter. The water was clear and they counted 12 salmon in the 45 minutes they stood there. She was amazed! They watched the salmon rest and recover the energy to keep going upstream.

Holly Smith is a five-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s outstanding chef award, as well as earning other honors for her Cafe Juanita. But, she has said she would be happiest to be remembered as a conservationist who inspired others to act.

Christian Science Monitor weekly for January 16, 2023 —  


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