Australia’s Election Results, Renewable Energy Report, New Climate Strike, CFCs, And More!

Hello and welcome to Ecocentric, I’m your
host, Jake Zaleski! We’ve got a lot of environmental news to
cover for this week, and if you’re watching this video for a specific story, you can check
the description for the timestamp. Let’s get started! First up, fossil fuel subsidies continue to
resist reform as other sectors adapt to climate change. Despite the growth of alternative energy and
a common sentiment that fossil fuel subsidies should be scaled back, more money is pouring
into the industry than ever before. Tax dollars continue to bolster its performance
in countries like the U.S. and U.K., and regulations have done little to limit the growth and emissions
of the multinational corporations receiving this money. Economists have become concerned with the
degree of support governments give to an industry with a clear expiration date and entities
like OPEC attached while putting comparatively little towards alternative energy that could
make short work of carbon emissions and reliance on the Middle East. Investments in alternative energy actually
dropped 2% in 2018, but fossil fuel investments have been consistently on the rise for years. Next up, some disappointing news from Australia. Australia’s first climate change election
has yielded unexpected and disappointing results for activists. Climate change was a defining issue in Australia’s
federal election, but the results certainly don’t show it. Aside from isolated victories against long-serving
conservative MPs like Tony Abbott, left-leaning candidates suffered as incumbent PM Scott
Morrison’s conservative coalition dominated the election. Australia is facing some of the most immediate
and devastating consequences of climate change, including a crisis of biodiversity, the impending
extinction of species like the koala and Tasmanian devil, extreme weather, and the rapid destruction
of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the oldest and most diverse ocean ecosystems on Earth. Despite their intimate connection to this
crisis, the majority of voters ultimately elected to maintain Australia’s relative inaction
in domestic and international climate efforts. Climate change will remain a polarizing issue
in Australian politics as outrage among activists and left-leaning voters soars, but the present
government is unlikely to even consider arguments from the opposition. Activists and concerned citizens are opting
not to have children in a new form of “climate strike.” With birth rates already declining in more
affluent nations, women are more often opting not to have children, citing climate change
as a major concern. Some women have organized to take this action
with the intent of demonstrating, but more people involved in this “strike” have simply
decided that they cannot guarantee the welfare of children in an uncertain future. This trend has gained momentum in the wake
of climate reports that put sobering dates on tipping points in climate change, and public
figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have started discussions about the dangers
of raising a new generation in a world that could be irreparably distorted by climate
change. Now some news that is obvious, but people
still need reminding about. A new study has found that not only is 100%
renewable energy by 2050 feasible (with our current technology!), but it will be less
expensive than the current energy system. The study, done by Energy Watch Group and
LUT University of Finland over the course of four and a half years, found that 100%
renewable energy by 2050 is feasible without nuclear power and carbon capture solutions. This is extremely exciting because, unlike
other studies, it doesn’t rely on technology increasing in the future. With our current technology, the system will
be cheaper and will create millions of new jobs. There’s simply no logical argument against
the goals of the Paris Accords. Now some good news about bad news. Scientists have now pinpointed the source
of new rogue emissions of CFC-11, a component that has a large impact on the destruction
of the ozone layer. For years, the emissions of CFC-11 had been
declining. Then, last year, it was discovered that the
emissions had recently began rising. This was quite alarming, as the problem with
the ozone layer was largely seen as an international victory and on the course to being solved. This recent uptick is also important because
CFC-11 is about 5,000 times as potent as carbon dioxide, so every bit released has a large
impact. According to a study published in Nature,
the culprit is eastern China, and they are responsible for around 60% of the emissions. China has responded, saying that they plan
on cracking down on the source of the emissions, and that they are dedicated to the Montreal
Protocol. It’s important to hold China accountable at
a time like this, and make sure that they follow their commitments. Finally, a bit of a reality check. Scientists have underestimated the extent
to which sea levels will rise in decades to come. Sea levels are expected to rise as much as
two meters by 2100, potentially displacing 200 million people and endangering coastal
communities around the world. This predicted sea level increase, based on
new and more reliable data, is more than double the prediction made in 2013 by U.N.-sponsored
researchers. Changes in sea levels are expected to be sudden
and drastic as large portions of the polar ice sheets become detached and subsequently
melt. This will leave little time for low elevation
and coastal cities to prepare. The situation will be especially dire for
Pacific and Southeast Asian communities that are already feeling the effects of melting
ice caps and lack the resources to protect their communities. That’s all for today, thanks for watching! If you liked this video, please like and subscribe–
it really helps out. You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter,
@weareecocentric, where we post daily about environmental news and education. Well, that’s all for me, and now it’s
your turn to save the world. See you next week.

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