Phoenix hits water limits; Climate negotiators pre-game in Bonn

This week and next is the important pre-meeting in Bonn, Germany, where staff meet to determine topics for COP28. And more than anything, money and financial responsibilities seem to be the key topics for this year.

Chart of the Week

NASA keeps a dashboard of climate indicators, and as of today, the globe is 1.1-degree Centigrade warmer than in pre-industrial times. Earth’s global temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record.

Bonn chance with COP28 negotiations!

While the next big climate Conference of the Parties (COP) is set for Dubai in the UAE in December, this week and next is the important pre-meeting in Bonn, Germany, where staff meet to determine topics for COP28. And more than anything, money and financial responsibilities seem to be the key topics for this year. Negotiator focus seems to be coming down on two areas in particular: Who is going to pay for poorer countries to go green and repair existing climate-related damage, and what exactly is a carbon credit and how much is it worth? Last year’s COP27 in Egypt concluded with an agreement to create a poor country climate reparations fund, but left unsettled how to fund it and criteria on who gets how much money under what circumstances. Meanwhile, multiple systems for managing carbon credits and their supposed value have sprung up across the globe, and some of the private systems for managing them have been challenged. It seems the UN is calling for a standardized, more regulated system.

Sources: Bloomberg / Guardian

U.N. agrees, carbon removal is urgent, let’s do it now

So here’s the set up: After a pandemic-era drop, carbon-dioxide levels this year had a near record surge. Things are getting worse, not better, so polluters, especially oil and gas companies, argue that to combat climate change, we should emphasize carbon removal, largely through large machines that will suck carbon out of the air, compress it, and then inject it into the ground, kinda like a reverse oil well. Originally cool to this idea, a U.N. panel signaled this week that they’re now on board with carbon sequestration, which is great, but we’re still far from deploying the technology at scale, since only a few dozen plants are operating, when what we need are thousands of the carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems running now, today, pronto. So, adding to our to do list: we need to reduce burning new carbon and then capture the stuff that’s already out there in order to halt global warming.

Sources: Guardian / Washington Post

Can the Colorado River rise like Phoenix?

Last month Arizona, Nevada, and California announced a plan to reduce their draws on the Colorado River to keep the river flowing. Earlier this week Arizona got more bad water news, as a state-sponsored study found there is not enough groundwater to support further population growth in the desert terrain of the Phoenix area. To legally build, developers must prove they have access to 100 years of steady water supplies, and currently about 80,000 planned suburban homes have those designations, but the state report puts the kibosh on future development, about $1 billion worth of homes, some developers claim. More homes could be built if they pay to pipe water in from distant sources, a task that costs tens of millions of dollars per development.

Sources: Washington Post / Inside Climate News

Other Things Happened

Here’s your end of the newsletter treat: A guy that uses AI to imagine celebrities as muppets. Make sure you scroll down to the one for Queen Elizabeth.

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