This Week on Earth

Week In Review – June 17th

June 13, 2016 – A tiny island in the eastern Torres Strait on the Great Barrier Reef was the only location a small rodent called the mosaic-tailed rat lived. This low-lying island was severely impacted by extreme weather brought about by climate change. This is the first known animal to have been wiped out by climate change. June 14, 2016 – There are 9.1 million trees lining California’s streets that store carbon, remove air pollutants, and save people on their heating and cooling bills. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, for every $1 spent on planting or maintaining a street tree, that tree returns $5.82 in benefits totaling over 1 billion dollars. 061716-01 June 14, 2016 – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has recently created a $1 billion fund to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and water pollution. The bleaching of the reef was severely exacerbated by the strong El Nino that heated up ocean temperatures. While this is progress, Turnbull has yet to deliver the robust climate change actions that many have hoped for. June 14, 2016 – Despite the effects climate change has had on many ecosystems, many coral reefs that are managed by humans are thriving. Contrary to popular belief, the healthiest coral reefs are used by people who rely on the corals for fish. The preliminary analyses suggest that policy-makers might serve reefs best by helping people live with them sustainably, whether by instilling systems like property rights or getting people more invested in their local reefs. 061716-02 June 15, 2016 – The President of France François Hollande ratified the Paris climate accord, making France the first industrialized country to do so. Besides France, only 17 other states are primarily small island and low-lying coastal countries that are especially vulnerable to the sea-level rise have ratified the deal. June 15, 2016 – According to NASA, May was the hottest month, which follows the trend of 2016 being the hottest year. NOAA will soon release its global temperature data and if it also rates May as a record, it will be the 13th month in a row to reach that mark. June 16, 2016 – The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis has the goal of creating fuels using only sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. Transforming sunlight into fuel would enable solar energy captured during the day to be stored, transported, and used when the sun’s not shining. The problem lies in new technologies and infrastructures and that converting carbon dioxide to complete the photosynthesis process is very, very hard. photosynth3x1400