The Blue Files | Episode 5

[As Featured in Episode 5]

Fierce fires

It’s a record no one wants, but california seems to be the reigning champ.

Wildfires have scorched tens of thousands of acres in parts of the state. The ravaged area is so massive it measures over four times the total area of San Francisco. This is becoming an alarming new norm when you consider that just one year ago, 2018, was the state’s worst wildfire season on record. what’s more – 2017, the year prior, was also declared the worst wildfire season up to that point.

Scientists say it’s a signature of climate change. Records dating back over a century indicate that southern California has warmed by almost 5.5 degrees celsius. not only is it warmer, it is significantly more dry. Scientists at the university of California institute for water resources in Oakland, say the typical rain that falls in autumn used to arrive by halloween, but now that rain is delayed until November or December. 

The combination of heat, droughts and strong winds are extending the fire season by over 100 days. since 2017, wildfires have cost the state of california almost $27 billion.

Peak Performance

Here’s some good news!  

Athens, Venice, and Lisbon are some of the latest cities that have hit their “peak” greenhouse gas emissions, but for a change that is a great thing! These cities are part of a global network of 94 cities, all working to address climate change. 

183 nations and the european union have ratified the paris agreement, with the goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees celsius. When a city or country has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10 per cent for five years or more, they are described as having “peaked”.  So far, 30 of the world’s largest cities have reached this milestone, representing areas home to more than 58 million people.

On the flip side, the trump administration in the united states has begun the process of withdrawing from the agreement.  The entire  procedure will take a full year before the withdrawal can be enacted . This means the U.S. cannot finally and officially be out of the Paris agreement until Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the us presidential election. Yes, that also means pending the outcome of the election – a new administration could decide to move in a different direction.

(lets hope so)

Munching Microbes 

What do you get when you mix hungry microbes with toxic chemicals leached into the earth? A team at the university of Toronto hope their potent mix will actually clean the soil.

The group is field-testing microbes that feast on toxins contaminating soil. The bacteria is designed to break down a list of industrial pollutants like benzene and toluene that are commonly left over from crude oil refineries and even old gas stations. Ideally, the enriched bugs will speed up the natural process to rid the dirt of the toxins, establishing a new and cost effective method of cleaning up poisoned soil.

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