News briefs: Raise a beer to fight climate change

Plus, Bill Gates on climate leadership and climate stress tests for banks

UK snack food manufacturer Walkers, which holds more than half the British crisps market, has added a process it says will cut CO₂ emissions from its manufacturing process by 70%. The result, according to this story from the BBC, is that Brits’ “much-loved combination of beer and crisps is being harnessed for the first time to tackle climate change.” The technology will use CO₂ captured from brewery fermentation, mixed with potato waste and turned into fertilizer. It will then be spread on UK fields to feed the potato crops. The report notes that the process stops the emission of brewery CO₂ into the atmosphere and it decreases the CO₂ generated by the manufacture of fertilizer.

Gates calls for climate leadership, $35 billion in funding

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has released a broad new plan on how the U.S. could take the lead in the fight against climate change, TechCrunch reports. In his blog Gates Notes, he writes we “need to revolutionize the world’s physical economy — and that will take, among other things, a dramatic infusion of ingenuity, funding, and focus from the federal government. No one else has the resources to drive the research we need.” Gates also calls for a dramatic $25 billion boost in spending that would bring clean energy research spending to $35 billion a year (in line with medical spending from the government). Gates writes that this could lead to the creation of more than 370,000 jobs while boosting a clean-energy agenda. He also called for the creation of a network of “National Institutes of Energy Innovation.”

How a climate ‘stress test’ could predict bank failures

Governments around the world are gearing up to see how vulnerable financial systems are to climate shocks, reports Scientific American. Economists, environmentalists and advisers to President-elect Joe Biden warn that global warming could spur that next catastrophe and climate finance proponents among them argue that major lenders should be required to undergo climate-related stress testing before it’s too late. The report notes some experts believe regulators in the U.S. should take a stress-test approach to climate change, examining how physical risks and the transition to a low-carbon economy could affect banks’ loans to vulnerable businesses and sectors.

Climate change and cemeteries

In a report from Atmos headlined From Dust to Dust: Climate Change and Cemeteries, public historian Valerie Wade talks about what we can learn about America’s race and class divides from the impact of climate change on cemeteries. Since Hurricane Katrina, preservationists have noted the loss of physical and cultural history in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast, the report says. “For historians and culture workers, Katrina signaled the importance of climate and class in preservation efforts. Hurricanes Ike and Harvey further solidified the urgency of an analysis of class, climate change, and preservation. Communities across the Gulf Coast realized that Black American cemeteries were crumbling, and the continued displacement of poor Black Americans as a result of flooding was a hindrance to solving this problem.”

Great Barrier Reef has deteriorated to 'critical' level

ABC News reports the conservation status for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has declined from “significant concern” to “critical” due to increasing impacts associated with climate change, according to new research. The damage to the reef is a result of ocean warming, acidification and extreme weather, which has resulted in coral bleaching, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2020 World Heritage Outlook report, which tracks whether the conservation of the world’s 252 natural World Heritage sites is sufficient to protect them in the long term.