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Happy Friday, everyone!
The planet saw its hottest day on record this week and the hottest month of June on record globally, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Global sea surface temperatures have been at a record high, accompanied by record low values for Antarctic sea ice. These extreme weather patterns developed at the onset of this year’s declared El Niño event, which is expected to continue these extreme heatwaves around the globe throughout the rest of the summer. Make sure to stay cool and hydrate wherever you may be!
In this week’s edition, we have pieces on the implications of this year’s El Niño event, the future of Joshua trees, and the true cost of water. We also have a data visualization piece on the national electric vehicle charging network and the infrastructure required to support the growing number of electric vehicles in the U.S. Check it out!
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Joshua Trees Are Dying; New Legislation Hopes to Tackle That
Joshua trees, the iconic spindly plants, are currently under threat from a variety of factors. After the trees were not listed as a protected species, the California Legislature voted on a new law to protect them. This new law requires a permit to cut down or relocate a Joshua tree. Lawmakers claim the law will benefit both environmentalists and developers. The permitting process for developers is now more streamlined than if the trees were listed as endangered, and the new law will also create a conservation fund for the Joshua tree and require the state to make a conservation plan. Read more here.
True Water Costs: Unlocking Sustainability and Efficiency
Water scarcity is a growing concern due to increasing demand and population growth. The true cost of water goes beyond utility bills and includes indirect costs like treatment, infrastructure, energy, and environmental damage. Companies must understand these costs to make informed decisions, reduce water consumption, and assess risks. Calculating the true cost also aligns with circular economy principles by promoting water conservation and efficiency. By integrating circularity into operations, companies can save money, reduce their environmental impact, and conserve water resources. Conducting a water audit is the first step to understanding water usage and estimating indirect costs. Embracing the true value of water benefits businesses, the environment, and future generations. Read more about the value of water here.
El Niño, Warmer Atlantic, and What That Means for Florida's Hurricane Season
Every two to seven years, an El Niño event occurs, bringing strong winds that are able to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic. With this year's declared event, however, researchers have predicted that the likelihood of hurricanes has increased as a result of a warmer climate and waters, as warm water acts as a breeding ground for hurricanes. While wetter conditions are expected, along with strong winds that typically would work to hinder Atlantic hurricanes, the high temperatures in the Atlantic dramatically increase the risk of an active hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This summer will be an interesting battle between El Niño and the warm Atlantic, and implications for the hurricane season remain to be seen. Read more here.
New record levels of heat on the planet are causing scientists to believe this year, 2023, could be the warmest on record. Following the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, the expectation is that there is more to come. North Atlantic waters are already hitting their annual peak, extremely low sea ice levels are occurring in Antarctica, and Monday was the hottest day ever recorded in the past 125,000 years! However, it is no surprise that this comes with the El Niño weather pattern which returned last year and brings surging heat, high levels of moisture, fast-forming storms, floods, droughts, and fires with it. It is a surprise however, effects such as these are coming this early, causing scientists to believe it is not solely from the weather pattern. Paying attention to the heat levels is vital for safety and hydration is always key. Read more here.
Seychelles Accesses IMF's Resilience and Sustainability Funds
The IMF reported yesterday that the Seychelles is the second African country to access their Resilience and Sustainability Funds in an effort to balance conservation and economic development efforts. Being an island nation, Seychelles is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change: coastal erosion from sea rise, saltwater intrusion into freshwater, and reduced fish stocks from changing ocean temperatures and currents all threaten the local economy. Seychelles’ Minister of Finance, National Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan, says “Climate change is an existential challenge for us—we believe that we must be creative and innovative in tackling it and are trying to tap all the opportunities we can.” Read more here.
Data Visualization of the Week
Study Builds Framework to Accommodate EV-Charging Infrastructure
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently published a study on the infrastructure needs for electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. by 2030. Data for the study was collected by evaluating the number, type and location of chargers needed to build an EV charging network that meets consumer needs. To accommodate 33 million EVs by 2030, 26.8 million privately accessible ports will be needed, in addition to over 1 million publicly accessible fast charging ports to accommodate private and ride-share long-distance travelers. Read more here.