WHENEVER A PLASTIC bag or bottle degrades, it breaks into ever smaller pieces that work their way into nooks in the environment. When you wash synthetic fabrics, tiny plastic fibers break loose and flow out to sea. When you drive, plastic bits fly off your tires and brakes. That’s why literally everywhere scientists look, they’re finding microplastics—specks of synthetic material that measure less than 5 millimeters long. They’re on the most remote mountaintops and in the deepest oceans. They’re blowing vast distances in the wind to sully once pristine regions like the Arctic. In 11 protected areas in the western US, the equivalent of 120 million ground-up plastic bottles are falling out of the sky each year. And now, microplastics are coming out of babies. In a pilot study published today, scientists describe sifting through infants’ dirty diapers and finding an average of 36,000 nanograms of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) per gram of feces, 10 times the amount they found in adult feces. They even found it in newborns' first feces. PET is an extremely common polymer that’s known as polyester when it’s used in clothing, and it is also used to make plastic bottles. The finding comes a year after another team of researchers calculated that preparing hot formula in plastic bottles severely erodes the material, which could dose babies with several million microplastic particles a day, and perhaps nearly a billion a year. - Wired
Lava flowing from Spain's Canary Islands' first volcanic eruption in 50 years has forced the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroyed around 100 houses but the streams were advancing slower than originally predicted, authorities said on Monday. The flow of molten rock will not reach the Atlantic Ocean on Monday evening as earlier estimated, an official said. Experts say that if and when it does, it could trigger more explosions and clouds of toxic gases. "The movement of lava is much slower than it was initially ... There has not been a large advance during the day," local emergency coordinator Miguel Angel Morcuende told a press briefing on Monday evening. He said the stream had made its way about halfway to the coast .This was just a few hours after Morcuende said that that the Carnarys were safe and that this was just a good show. - Reuters
Some people have claimed that variations in Earth’s magnetic field are contributing to current global warming and can cause catastrophic climate change. However, the science doesn’t support that argument. In this blog, we’ll examine a number of proposed hypotheses regarding the effects of changes in Earth’s magnetic field on climate. We’ll also discuss physics-based reasons why changes in the magnetic field can’t impact climate. - NASA
Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere that contribute to climate change are the highest ever recorded — and that's going back 800,000 years. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the concentration of carbon dioxide, one of the primary greenhouse gases, hit 412.5 parts per million in 2020. That's 2.5 parts per million higher than in 2019, and it's now the highest ever observed, the scientists said. Recording the data is done with modern instrumental methods as well as observing ice core records that date back 800,000 years. - NPR
The website Women for Natural Gas is a pink-tinged, fancy-cursive-drenched love letter to the oil and gas industry. A prominently featured promo video shows women in hard hats and on rig sites. “Who’s powering the world? We are!” enthuses the narrator. Viewers can click through to a “Herstory” timeline of women working in the oil sector. Another page, about the group’s grassroots network of supporters, announces, “We are women for natural gas,” and shows three professionally dressed ladies alongside their testimonials. There’s a Carey White gushing, “The abundance of oil and gas in Texas helps keep prices at the pump lower.” One Rebecca Washington raves, “Natural gas is a safe, reliable source of energy that provides countless numbers of jobs.” But there’s a catch: The women don’t exist. - Mother Jones
Three years ago the United Nations climate science body issued a landmark report warning that the planet was on track to blow past efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, a threshold that it warned would bring catastrophic and irreversible effects of climate change. But in that same report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized that many paths remained open for us to limit that damage—so long as we acted immediately. On Monday, the IPCC published a new document with a far less optimistic frame. In it, the group says that the pathway to limit warming to the 1.5°C mark has narrowed and lays out only one plausible scenario to meet that goal—one that would require an extraordinary level of action, and even then, would offer no guarantee. - Time
CNN found out why. Lilly Geisler goes to a lot of trouble to recycle. So she left CNN a voicemail asking: How much of my recycling actually gets recycled? John Sutter travels to Muncie, Indiana, to find out. See more from our "Let's Talk About the Climate Apocalypse" series. (A lot of your plastic isn't being recycled.) - CNN
I started a CGCC Facebook page in May of '20 to share geo-environmental news but had concerns about FB's issues with accuracy. This page, GeoNews, is a response and partial solution, sharing a few items from reliable sources each week.