Sustainability Reads: March 21- April 3

Fiji, Palau, and the Marshall Islands are three Pacific islands that have already ratified the Paris climate change agreement. It’s still early though as many countries, including China and the U.S., are expected to follow suit and sign the agreement at the official signing ceremony April 22 in NYC (i.e. on Earth Day).

It’s great that the international community seems to be getting serious when it comes to climate change because, as reinforced by the Sustainability Reads this week, we need it.

Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise
A study released last week revealed that if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t abated, sea levels will rise almost twice as much as previously thought by 2100. More specifically, the previous models put potential sea-level rise at under a metre by 2100, but estimates underestimated the melting of the Antarctica ice sheet. This new study says that Antartica on its own has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100. Study by Robert M. DeConto  and David Pollard published in Nature

Induced Earthquakes Raise Chances of Damaging Shaking in 2016
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mapped hazards from natural earthquakes as well as manmade earthquakes caused by fracking. The six states most likely to see manmade earthquakes are: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas (listed in order from highest to lowest potential hazard). See image below to view specific areas affected and a comparison to California, which is known for the highest rate of natural earthquakes in the U.S.

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Coal plants use as much water as 1 billion people and consumption set to double: report
Research found that globally 44% of current coal plants, and 45% of planned coal power plants, were in areas that were in a state of water stress – where water use is already considered to be having significant ecosystem impacts. And about a quarter of the proposed new coal plants were planned in regions that were already running a freshwater deficit, where water is used faster than it is naturally replenishing. Report commissioned by Greenpeace, article by Michael Slezak at The Guardian

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