A Race to Save Our Planet: Bloomberg Announces Multimillion-Dollar City Climate Challenge
One year after President Trump pulled out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, his administration shows no signs of progress, choosing instead to ignore climate science and boost the fossil fuel industry. So today, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the secretary general for the United Nations' Special Envoy for Climate Change, unveiled the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge—a $70 million competition to spur aggressive city-level climate programs.
"Cities across America are on the front lines of climate change—their residents are feeling the heat and watching the floodwaters rise around them," said Rhea Suh, president of NRDC, which, along with Delivery Associates, is one of the organizations that will lead numerous partners to support the selected cities. "This challenge will empower America's cities to pursue innovative policies and programs to cut their carbon pollution."
Through the groundbreaking contest, 20 forward-thinking cities will be chosen from a pool of the 100 most populous U.S. metropolises—which, together, could reduce 200 million megatons of carbon pollution by 2025, equivalent to 20 percent of the remaining Paris agreement goal. The focus will be on the highest-impact policies and programs most likely to lead the country forward on climate. Those selected will receive funding and support on factors such as implementation, innovation and community engagement.
Since President Trump's Paris withdrawal, cities, states, businesses and advocacy groups have all stepped up as climate leaders to continue working toward the country's Paris agreement goals. For mayors, climate change is an increasingly urgent threat for their communities. "Mayors don't look at climate change as an ideological issue. They look at it as an economic and public health issue," said Bloomberg. "Regardless of the decisions of the Trump administration, mayors are determined to continue making progress. The challenge will work with our country's most ambitious mayors to help them move further, faster toward achieving their climate goals."
"NRDC is eager to work with these cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and partner groups to help tackle the greatest environmental challenge of our generation," said Suh.
On the one-year anniversary of Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, 2,700+ leaders from citi… https://t.co/jsxbCKnJq7— Mike Bloomberg (@Mike Bloomberg)1527857720.0
The first round of applications will open June 18 and are due July 13. Winners will be announced in the fall. Visit www.bloomberg.org/climatechallenge for more details on timeline, eligibility, and partners.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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