Climate change: Why it could be time to cut back on new gadgets and HD streams

We need to cut global emissions, and fast – and in doing so, tech businesses are both part of the the problem – and the solution. A new report from the UK’s Royal Society finds that as technologies keep growing at pace, the onus is on the digital sector not only to reduce its own carbon footprint, but also to come up with innovative ways to reverse climate change globally. 

While there is no exact figure that sums up the impact of digital technologies on the environment, the report estimates that the sector currently represents between 1.4% and 5.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the industry is projected to make huge strides in the coming years: for example, the total number of internet users is expected to reach 5.3 billion by 2023, up from less than four billion in 2018. 

All this extra connectivity comes at

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Bill Gates calls for creation of National Institutes of Energy Innovation to better address climate change

Wind power in Washington state. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

In the midst of one global disaster, Bill Gates is thinking about how to prevent the next. And while the world clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Microsoft co-founder thinks there is one solution that could help address climate change.

In a new GatesNotes blog post on Thursday, the Microsoft co-founder is calling for a better national way to evaluate and nurture great ideas around clean energy research. Specifically, Gates would like to see the federal government create the National Institutes of Energy Innovation.

“This the most important thing the U.S. can do to lead the world in innovations that will solve climate change,” Gates said.

Rather than having research and ideas spread across departments such as Energy, Transportation, Defense and even NASA, Gates said the idea would follow the successful model demonstrated by the National

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What will the climate be like when Earth’s next supercontinent forms? — ScienceDaily

Long ago, all the continents were crammed together into one large land mass called Pangea. Pangea broke apart about 200 million years ago, its pieces drifting away on the tectonic plates — but not permanently. The continents will reunite again in the deep future. And a new study, presented today during an online poster session at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union, suggests that the future arrangement of this supercontinent could dramatically impact the habitability and climate stability of Earth. The findings also have implications for searching for life on other planets.

The study, which has been submitted for publication, is the first to model the climate on a supercontinent in the deep future.

Scientists aren’t exactly sure what the next supercontinent will look like or where it will be located. One possibility is that, 200 million years from now, all the continents except Antarctica could join together around

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Our third decade of climate action: Realizing a carbon-free future

A few years ago flooding devastated Chennai, where I grew up. Seeing the images of the city—which had experienced extreme drought for so many years of my life—covered in flood waters, really made the impacts of climate change feel much closer to home. This year, the sky turned orange in Northern California as wildfires continued to rage up and down the West Coast. I know others in Australia and Brazil have experienced similar events, and sadly they won’t be the last.

The science is clear: The world must act now if we’re going to avert the worst consequences of climate change.

We are committed to doing our part. Sustainability has been a core value for us since Larry and Sergey founded Google two decades ago. We were the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007. We were the first major company to match our energy use with 100

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In an unusual move, Trump administration will protect a pine tree due to climate change

with Alexandra Ellerbeck

In an unexpected decision, the Trump administration announced that a lethal fungus, a rapacious beetle and even a changing climate jeopardize the survival of an iconic tree of the American West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to propose Wednesday listing the whitebark pine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

Granting federal protections to the tree is a “watershed decision,” said Diana Tomback, professor of integrative biology at the University of Colorado at Denver who has studied the tree for decades.

The whitebark pine’s habitat spans over 80 million acres across seven states and Canada. In its official filing, the agency acknowledged that rising temperatures are pushing the high-elevation tree’s habitat up to higher altitudes, hurting the chances of survival for a pine whose nutritious seeds provide sustenance for everything from red squirrels to black bears.



a man standing next to a tree: A dead whitebark pine tree in the mountains east of Jackson Hole, Wyo. (Mead Gruver/AP)


© Mead Gruver/AP
A dead whitebark pine

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Analysis of the climate protection effect of green hydrogen on heavy duty vehicles — ScienceDaily

A partial transition of German road transport to hydrogen energy is among the possibilities being discussed to help meet national climate targets. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has examined the hypothetical transition to a hydrogen-powered transport sector through several scenarios. Their conclusion: A shift towards hydrogen-powered mobility could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greatly improve air quality — in particular, heavy duty vehicles represent a low-hanging fruit for decarbonization of German road transport.

“Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer competitive advantages over battery electric vehicles regarding heavy loads, longer driving ranges and shorter fuelling times — making them particularly attractive to the heavy duty vehicle segment” explains lead author Lindsey Weger: “Moreover, transitioning heavy-duty vehicles to green hydrogen could already achieve a deep reduction in emissions — our results indicate a potential of -57 MtCO2eq annually, which translates to about a

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Climate change warms groundwater in Bavaria — ScienceDaily

Groundwater reservoirs in Bavaria have warmed considerably over the past few decades. A new study by researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) compares temperatures at 35 measuring stations, taken at different depths, with data from the 1990s. Water found at a depth of 20 metres was almost one degree warmer on average than 30 years ago. The findings were published in the journal “Frontiers in Earth Science.”

As the air warms, the ground also becomes warmer over time — ultimately resulting in warmer groundwater. Geologists call this thermal coupling. “Unlike the atmosphere, however, the earth’s sub-surface is very sluggish,” explains Professor Peter Bayer, a geoscientist at MLU and co-author of the study. Because the ground below the surface does not react to short-term temperature fluctuations and thus tends to reflect long-term trends, it is a good indicator of climate change.

“This ground warming effect has been known

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Investigators say humanity’s oldest sculptures may be linked to climate change, diet — ScienceDaily

One of world’s earliest examples of art, the enigmatic `Venus’ figurines carved some 30,000 years ago, have intrigued and puzzled scientists for nearly two centuries. Now a researcher from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus believes he’s gathered enough evidence to solve the mystery behind these curious totems.

The hand-held depictions of obese or pregnant women, which appear in most art history books, were long seen as symbols of fertility or beauty. But according to Richard Johnson, MD, lead author of the study published today in the journal, Obesity, the key to understanding the statues lays in climate change and diet.

“Some of the earliest art in the world are these mysterious figurines of overweight women from the time of hunter gatherers in Ice Age Europe where you would not expect to see obesity at all,” said Johnson, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

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Here’s how to fight back against anti-maskers, climate deniers and anti-vaxxers, according to scientists

Here's how to fight back against anti-maskers, climate deniers and anti-vaxxers, according to scientists
Teaching researchers and scientists communication skills — including social media proficiency — will help inform the public about new discoveries and research. Credit: Shutterstock

“If we cannot talk about sex, then we cannot talk about good sex,” proclaimed gynecologist Jennifer Gunter on a trailer for Jensplaining, her show on female reproductive health. Gunter is an example of a scientist using non-traditional platforms to communicate research.


The shift to online science communication from conventional news platforms has been going on for a while. There is a need for credible and accurate science reporting because the miscommunication of science in the media is causing lasting damage to the public’s understanding of science.

Misinformation has consequences, as seen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ignoring public health advice to wear masks and physically distance has cost thousands of lives and livelihoods in countries such as the United States, Brazil and Russia. Yet, resources

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Tech elites are making moves out of San Francisco as they rethink the area’s costs, political climate, and safety

Hello everyone! Welcome to this weekly roundup of Business Insider stories from co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

Read on for more on the future of Silicon Valley, a private-equity titan’s relationship with a Texas investor embroiled in a political scandal, and the rise and fall of the world’s oldest advertising agency.



map: Samantha Lee/Business Insider


© Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of shoes and clothes retailer Zappos, has died at age 46 following injuries sustained in a fire. 

Hsieh (pronounced shay) retired from Zappos in August after 20 years with the company, staying on long after he sold the company to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009. He was widely known for his efforts to regenerate the downtown Las Vegas area, and for his commitment to holacracy, a manager-free operating structure. 

Zappos’ current CEO,

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