Australia Pro Cycling Race Connections to Fossil Fuel Money Under Scrutiny
A professional cycling race in Australia is under attack for its connections to a major oil and gas producer, the Guardian reports.
Santos, an Australia-based oil and gas company is the title sponsor of the Tour Down Under, a prestigious stage race held each January at the beginning of the professional cycling calendar.
Race organizers were forced to shorten or modify stages of in 2017, 2018, and 2019 due to extreme heat and in 2020 the peloton rode through areas hit by bushfires.
Organizers with Fossil Free South Australia criticized the hypocrisy of the event, so directly affected by climate change, for accepting sponsorship from an oil and gas company.
The interplay of professional cycling and climate change are myriad, if ironic.
Though cycling is promoted the world over as a form of low-carbon transportation, multiple World Tour teams are sponsored by fossil fuel companies and Middle Eastern petro-states, and the carbon footprint of the infrastructure around the professional peloton — from international air travel between races to the caravans of cars and motorbikes that follow the peloton on the road — is enormous.
Yet professional riders feel global warming's impacts acutely. One stage of last year's Tour de France saw temperatures above 40°C (104°F) with temperatures on the road, directly above the scorching pavement, as much as 20°C (68°F) hotter.
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Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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