GOOD
Jean-Christophe André

Save the whales, because the whales can save us.

A team of economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) waned to drive home how important whales are, so they put it in terms we could understand: money. A new analysis detailed in Finance & Development puts a price tag on exactly how much whales are worth to us, and why we should care about the world's whale population.

Whales absorb large amounts of carbon in their bodies. During the lifetime of the average whale, which is 60 years, it will sequester 33 tons of CO2. In comparison, a tree absorbs up to 48 pounds of CO2 each year. Whales also promote the growth of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton captures 40% of the world's CO2 and contributes at least 50% of oxygen to the atmosphere. "At a minimum, even a one percent increase in phytoplankton productivity thanks to whale activity would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of two billion mature trees," the study says.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via p199 / Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying report last year that said the world has 12 years to reduce its carbon output by 45% to avoid a climate catastrophe.

That was last year, so now we have 11 years to get our collective act together.

What will happen if we don't? Inside Climate News says it will result in "dangerous and costly disruptions to global societies and ecosystems, including longer, hotter heat waves and more frequent crop-killing droughts."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Vice and Twitter / Nathalie Gordo

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

As world leaders meet to discuss new ways to tackle climate change at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, they might miss one very big part of healing nature – nature. In a new short film, youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot, a writer for the Guardian, talked about how we need to use nature as a solution to climate change.

There's a huge push to curb emissions, but it's not the be all end all of handling climate change; we also need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. While we don't have technology to do that for us, there is another solution. "There is a magic machine that sucks carbon out of the air, costs very little, and builds itself. It's called a tree," Monboit says in the film. Researchers found that we could get rid of two-thirds of the carbon dioxide that we've emitted during the industrial era just by growing trees. That amounts to 205 billion tons of carbon. Right now, deforestation of tropical forests is responsible for 20% of current greenhouse emissions.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet