In this week's Newsletter: Climate change, gravity and scary sea level rise, the death of coal, landfill legacies of NYC, and much more!
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Climate Change Now Affecting Earth's Gravity, and What Happens to NYC if All the Ice Melts?



A new report from the journal Science estimates that the amount of ice that has fallen into the ocean in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula since 2009 is huge- much huger than researchers previously imagined: The equivalent of 350,000 Empire State Buildings of ice. And it's actually changed the gravitational field of our Earth.

While gravity is a constant (as we all learned in Earth Science class), it can vary slightly depending on the density of the ground, rocks or in this case, ice that covers the Earth. And while we won't need anti-gravity boots anytime soon, or likely ever, it's still a major cause for concern.

From Science Daily:

"Using measurements of the elevation of the Antarctic ice sheet made by a suite of satellites, the researchers found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. Around 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year.

This makes the region the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and the ice loss shows no sign of waning."

So it looks like the future will be all about water- either too much or too little. To see how massive ice sheet melt might affect us here in NYC, check out these GIFs made earlier this year by urban planner and cartographer Jeffrey Linn. The final image shows what the NYC area would look like if all the ice of Greenland and Antarctica were to melt. In his projections, sea levels would rise an incredible 260 feet and the only land mass left would be a small island that was once the Palisades. We hope it doesn't come to that!

EPA's Clean Power Plan Could Mean the Death of Coal-Fired Power

The US Energy Information Administration has analysed the Environmnetal Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, and they estimate its adoption could speed up the process of ending coal generation by quite a lot, virtually eliminating the CO2-emitting technology by 2040.

The updated analysis from EIA shows power prices will rise about 4.9% under the federal government's plan to reduce carbon emissions. But the report also shows that the CPP does reduce emissions significantly: 2030 reductions range from 484 to 625 million metric tons, EIA said.

"The projected power sector emissions level in 2030 ranges from 1,553 to 1,727 million metric tons across the cases, reflecting a reduction of between 29% and 36% relative to the 2005 emissions level of 2,416 million metric tons," the report concluded.

About 40 GW of coal-fired capacity will retire by 2040 even if the new plan is not adopted, but if it is, that number could more than double to 90 GW.

You can read more from Ultility Dive here.

Landfills of New York

Pretty much from the moment Europeans set foot on Manhattan Island- or Manahatta, as it was called by the Lenape people who already lived here- we've been changing the topography and altering the coastline, mostly by filling in the marshland that naturally surrounded us with various kinds of trash and debris. 

One of the most famous sections of landfill is under Battery Park City, created during the original excavation of the World Trade Center site and used 1,200,000 cubic yards of recovered material. Stuyvesant Cove Park and the FDR Drive are built on landfill that came back from Europe on troop ships; it's made of the remains of the bombed English city of Coventry. Check out some cool maps of the changing shape of the island here.

Of course, landfill also refers to how we dispose of the vast majority of our solid waste. Even though the city's dumps were all closed by 2001, NYC garbage is shipped to landfills out of state. To learn more about how NYC deals with its garbage today, read this article from City Limits.
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Upcoming Events at Solar 1

5/30
Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Park Volunteer Day
Stuyvesant Cove Park, 10am-1pm
Pizza lunch provided by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association. RSVP to daisy@solar1.org.

6/6
Rewilding Stuyvesant Cove Park
Stuyvesant Cove Park, 20th Street and the East River, 5pm, free

Other Events

5/28-30
IDEAS CITY 2015 Festival - 100 Free Events
Various locations throughout the 5 boroughs, all day Friday-Sunday, some events are free

5/29-31
The Left Forum
John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street Room L63 bet 10th & 11th Aves, Manhattan, all day Friday-Sunday, various ticket prices from $15-$100

5/31
Lower East Side Ecology Center Summer Party

East River Park Fire Boat House, East River Promenade at Grand St, Manhattan, 5-8pm, $65

6/2
Passivhaus: Lessons from Europe
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street Suite 609 bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 9-10:30am, $10 general admission/$5 partner organizations

6/3
By the Light of Day: The Impact of Natural and Electric Light on Human Health
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street Suite 609 bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 9-10:30am, $10 general admission/$5 partner organizations

Sustainable Development Seminar Series: Geoengineering the Earth's Climate - Risks, Opportunities and Governance Challenges
Columbia University Morningside Campus Alfred J. Lerner Hall, Satow Room, Manhattan, 4-6pm, free

6/4
Health of the Hudson – A Panel Discussion
School of Visual Arts Theater, 333 West 23rd Street bet 8th & 9th Aves, Manhattan, 6:30-8:30pm, free
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