Sustainability Reads: November 4- November 10

“Bay Area Makes Big Commitment to Greenhouse Gas Reduction”
Voted unanimously by the Bay Air Quality Management District leaders, the agency has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission in the Bay Area by 80% (below 1990 levels) by 2050. By John Upton at Grist.org.

“Microsoft uses carbon fee for big Texas wind power purchase”
Last year, Microsoft implemented a carbon tax- type fee within the company itself, making its business centers pay for the carbon emitted. Now, a year later, the carbon tax not only helped Microsoft’s business divisions become more energy efficient, but the received revenues from the fee are also being used to fund a long-term power purchase agreement with a wind farm in Texas. All the power from the Keechi Wind Project will now be sent to the Texas grid that power’s Microsoft’s center in San Antonio.  This move is seen as a ‘significant milestone in [Microsoft’s] commitment to carbon neutrality’.  Just in the past year, Microsoft has doubled the amount of renewable energy its purchased. Posted on Greenbiz.com.

“‘Unburnable’ carbon fuels investment concerns”
After decades of high profits and returns on investment from coal and oil, investors are finally starting question the claim that fossil fuels prices will stay high and without risks into the future. With Al Gore’s recent warning of a “carbon bubble”, we have entered an era of a new paradigm, one in which investors are aware that there is “more carbon embedded in the reserves of the fossil fuel companies than the world can burn if we are going to keep below a 2-degree temperature rise”. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change has approached their oil and mining portfolio companies to address the risk of falling demand for oil and coal, to which the companies responded they are acting to avoid mitigate these risks. Article by Craig Mackenzie and Stephanie Pfeifer, in the Guardian.

“Super Typhoon Haiyan: A Hint of What’s to Come?”
The victims of Typoon Haiyan are in our thoughts and prayers. The fatalities and destruction are already tragic, and much has not yet even been accounted for. That said, is this what our future will look like with a changing climate? More disasters in the most vulnerable places?  In this article, Andrew Freedman emphasizes that there should be caution in contributing Haiyan to climate change, yet that these types of extreme and strong storms will be more frequent as our climate warms than what we have experienced in the past. The article provides a good basis for those confused with the science and what it means in terms of hurricanes and typhoons for the future. Piece by Andrew Freedman and published on Climate Central.

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