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Reading Recommendations

July 2017

Renewable energy policy: Enumerating costs reduces support

Darrick Evensen

Renewable energy policies enjoy greater support compared to policies focused explicitly on climate change, and thus present a politically plausible path toward carbon emission reduction. However, new research shows that renewable energy policy support declines when people are informed about the policy costs for home energy bills.

Energy – Renewables – Policy

Nature Energy

West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat driven by Holocene warm water incursions

By  C.R. Poole+ et al.

During the early Holocene epoch—and since the 1940s—variations in Southern Hemisphere westerly winds controlled the upwelling of Circumpolar Deep Water and seemingly ice-sheet retreat in West Antarctica.

West Antarctic Ice retreat – Paleoclimate


Climate Change in the American Mind: May 2017

By Anthony Leiserowitz et. al.

Our most recent nationally representative survey finds that More than half of Americans (58%) believe climate change is mostly human caused. That’s the highest level measured since our surveys began in 2008. By contrast, only 30% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment, matching the lowest level measured in our November 2016 survey.

Yale Climate Communication

Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States

By Solomon Hsiang et. al.

Estimates of climate change damage are central to the design of climate policies. Here, we develop a flexible architecture for computing damages that integrates climate science, econometric analyses, and process models. We use this approach to construct spatially explicit, probabilistic, and empirically derived estimates of economic damage in the United States from climate change.


Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar

Christopher T. M Clack et. al.

Previous analyses have found that the most feasible route to a low-carbon energy future is one that adopts a diverse portfolio of technologies. In contrast, Jacobson et al. consider whether the future primary energy sources could be narrowed to almost exclusively wind, solar, and hydroelectric power and suggest that this can be done at “low-cost” in a way that supplies all power with a probability of loss of load “that exceeds electric-utility-industry standards for reliability”.


Satellites reveal contrasting responses of regional climate to the widespread greening of Earth

By Giovanni Forzieri et al.

Just as terrestrial plant biomass is growing in response to increasing atmospheric CO2, climate change, and other anthropogenic influences, so is climate affected by those variations in vegetation.


How temporal patterns in rainfall determine the geomorphology and carbon fluxes of tropical peatlands

Alexander R. Cobb et al.

A dataset from one of the last protected tropical peat swamps in Southeast Asia reveals how fluctuations in rainfall on yearly and shorter timescales affect the growth and subsidence of tropical peatlands over thousands of years.


Microbial fuel cells: Running on gas

Zhiyong Jason Ren

Methane is an abundant energy source that is used for power generation in thermal power plants via combustion, but direct conversion to electricity in fuel cells remains challenging. Now, a microbial fuel cell is demonstrated to efficiently convert methane directly to current by careful selection of a consortium of microorganisms.

Nature Energy

Can U.S. states and cities overcome Paris exit?

By Warren Cornwall

A new alliance of states, cities, and corporations has already vowed to help the United States meet the Paris reduction targets promised by former President Barack Obama, even without Trump’s help. But the numbers suggest that the best efforts of these smaller actors will likely fall short. Although the United States is expected to come close to its 2015 Paris summit pledge to reduce emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.


Research on chlorofluorocarbons designated a chemical landmark

By Linda Wang

Rowland and Molina’s groundbreaking discovery changed the way humans saw their impact on Earth


Scientists may have just found an unexpected new threat to the ozone layer

By Chelsea Harvey

Severe storms over the central United States may be posing bigger problems beyond bad weather. New research suggests that frequent summertime storms in the Great Plains region could be depleting the protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, putting humans at increased risk of unhealthy exposure to ultraviolet radiation. And some scientists believe that climate change could make the situation worse.

The Washington Post

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