Categories
Climate Change

GoShares Funds Sustainable Projects for a Green New World

GoShares is a new kind of impact search engine that leverages the profits from search ads into a wide variety of sustainable projects around the world offered through Kiva. Each search that you conduct on the GoShares search engine generates advertising dollars and earns you shares. You’ll then be able to browse all of the sustainable projects we’ve chosen through Kiva and pick the clean energy initiatives and sustainable projects you want to invest your shares into!

A Share corresponds to points that you earn each time your search displays an advertisement. Clicking on ads generates revenue for GoShares, which is paid by our advertisers. GoShares allocates the revenue you generate in the form of Shares. Once you pick the sustainable project you want to donate your shares to, GoShares transforms them into real money and makes a donation to that project.

The Kiva projects are selected by the GoShares team in relation to the positive innovation they can create for the environment with our support. Every project is properly vetted by our team before they are added to our portfolio to guarantee quality and reliability to GoShare’s users.

By being in regular contact with our partners, GoShares can closely follow the progress and challenges of our sustainable projects. We have a close relationship with all partners to ensure we are always up to date

We are always on the lookout for teams and projects around the globe innovating to build a more sustainable planet. We appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you, simply drop us a line and send a link to [email protected] with some info about the sustainable project.

Categories
Green Tech

GoShares – The Search Engine to Save The Planet

Does Google have a monopoly in the search engine market?

Not quite. Within a multi-billion-dollar market, there is more than enough space for alternative mission-driven search engines. This is why we built GoShares, a search engine that redistributes income from Ads to fund sustainable projects around the globe.

Search for a greener tomorrow!

For many people today, they consider the ethics of their everyday activities, from the food they purchase to the clothes they buy. What many don’t know: You can also make an ethical choice when searching the web! With GoShares we launched a charity search engine that supports innovative projects that positively change the world

With GoShares we want to close the financing gap for an ever-growing number of social enterprises and nonprofits who often and share the inspiring stories of outstanding social entrepreneurs who take initiative and identify, build and scale bold, new solutions to combat climate challenges.

Google earns more than 100 billion dollars through its search engine every year. If we can redirect a small proportion of these funds with GoShares to combat climate change, we can affect real positive change.

Every search is a Step Towards a Better World

Our users know that they are making the world a little bit better with every search on the web. Each search generates advertising dollars and earns you shares. You choose the clean energy initiatives and sustainable projects you want to invest your shares into. GoShares is constantly looking for new innovative climate projects to offer to our users to donate their shares to.

We reach people where they are anyway: online. GoShares members know that they make the world a little better with every search, simply by redirecting a small portion of the worldwide search engine revenues to the fight against global warming. Switching to Goshares to make an impact is also much simpler than changing your electricity provider or food source. It just takes one or two clicks to set up GoShares as the default search engine for most common Internet browsers. Start searching and saving the planet with GoShares today!

Categories
Solar Power

How Solar Energy Can Change Your Life, And the World

One of the recent technology trends making waves on the globe right now is the significant use of solar energy systems to generate clean, non-polluting electricity and to also curb other issues that directly affect the environment. Due to different global warming concerns that are depleting the Earth’s resources, innovators have found a way to harness the sun’s energy towards creating sustainable solutions that they hope would eventually replace conventional sources of energy.

Solar is driven by rapid expansion particularly in developing countries as it is gradually gaining stance as the most desirable option for securing power. Clean energy investments in some of these countries rose 36% to $131bn with nations like Brazil, South Africa, and India showing impressive leads regarding the use of solar energy plants.

More news is rapidly gaining ground around solar energy. Recently, the United State’s energy department announced an additional $10 million to be used for National solar training programs. World Bank also provided a mega $750 million for rooftop solar PV in India. With a focus on private companies, Soltec, a leading supplier and installer of single-axis solar tracker equipment recognized the importance of solar towards birthing a new alternative to power and a recent development of a utility solar tracker innovated to meet extreme climate conditions.

The numbers have also been convincing as renewables recorded about 9.1% of the world’s electricity in 2014, nearly a percentage increase from the previous year. These numbers got investors wanting more than just lurking around, which has been evident in energy investments showing a 17% increase in 2014, compared to 2013.

How does this affect human beings and the environment at large?

Well, solar energy innovations have several impacts in our world today. Most importantly are their effects on our daily lives and on the environment.

Maximizing Solar Energy in our Daily Lives

One of the most remarkable reports about solar energy solutions is that it caters to basically all the energy needs in a home. From lighting to heating, this can be utilized by first identifying energy sources and installing the right equipment with solar energy resolutions. The use of equipment made with such solutions, help reduce a good percentage of your energy bill through solar panel installation projects on places like rooftops.

According to facts in a US independent report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory “2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings”, installing a metal roofing system ensures that homeowners save an average of 25% of their energy bill. Based on a strapping system of 4 inches between the plywood and the metal on top, homeowners can save up to 40% in home cooling costs in the summer, and 10-15% in home heating costs.
Even more interesting is the fact that some metal roofs can contain about 30-60% of recycled metal content and are 100% recyclable at the end of their service lives, without suffering material degradation. This ensures that most times, metal roofs will save the landfill space and help protect the environment in the process. By using such solar energy-related installations, home and office owners can be sure of maximize its benefits while saving costs.

Despite specific solar-related equipment, one of the solar power systems can be installed in an entire home or office to cater to all energy needs.

Environmental Benefits

Research has shown some of the deadly results of global warming emissions from sources such as human activities and electrical production, which steadily drive up the planet’s temperature. The rise of this blistering temperature creates significant and harmful impacts on the environment, health, and climate. With a focus on coal mining and natural gas drilling, they can pollute sources of drinking water contrary to fossil fuels.

However, in contrast to the above collisions, renewable energy sources are safer because they produce little to no global warming emissions. This means a reduction of air and water pollution and abundant renewable energy source directly from the sun. Therefore, increasing the supply of renewable energy will reduce global warming emissions to a significant level.

In addition, due to the health hazards (breathing problems, heart attacks, cancer, etc) linked with air and water pollution, generating electricity from renewable energy will offer significant health benefits. The use of wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems positively impact electricity and water resources which affect daily human lives.

Solar is rapidly becoming one of the desirable options for power across the globe, specifically in developing countries. With proper research and investments, renewable energy is on the verge to becoming a staple source of energy while reducing costs, as consumers continue to recognize the need for clean, renewable energy.

With GoShares search, you are able to freely accelerate the expansion of solar energy around our planet.

Categories
Solar Power

Fact: Solar Energy Keeps Getting More Affordable

Thomas Edison once said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

The sun keeps rising and the costs keep falling! According to the financial advisory firm Lazard, the cost to produce one megawatt-hour of solar fell an incredible 86 percent between 2009 and 2017. Better yet, that means the cost of solar in 2017 was less than half the price of coal the same year.

Bottom line? Solar is a technology, not a fuel. And as technology develops, it becomes cheaper – unlike finite fossil fuels.

And it’s important to remember that the market price of fossil fuels does not reflect the price we all pay as they’re burned. It doesn’t account for the medical costs to treat asthma, the tax dollars to rebuild after a flood, or the human cost of a hurricane strengthened by climate change. This tells Big Polluters that they can dump unlimited carbon pollution into the atmosphere without any consequences.

But when we use clean, renewable solar energy to power our homes and businesses, we protect our health and our climate.

This is why GoShares is focused largely on Solar Projects right now. With the cost of solar continuing to fall at a rapid pace, the shares you earn from your searches with GoShares will have a greater impact.

Categories
Solar Power

Making Home Solar Happen: Do Panels Make Sense For My Home?

Home solar power is more popular than ever in the United States. Buoyed by a dramatic drop in costs over the last decade, solar installations have enjoyed a 50 percent year-to-year average growth rate – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar currently produces enough electricity to power more than 12.3 million homes. In 2018, over 10,000 MW of solar was installed in the US – more than double the capacity installed just five years earlier.

Over 1.9 million US homes now feature solar installations, with that number expected to cross the 2 million mark this year. (For perspective, in three short years, home solar has nearly doubled in size – up from 1 million installations in 2016.) It’s expected to hit 4 million by 2023.

And thank goodness.

Solar now annually offsets more than 73 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. That’s equivalent to planting nearly 1.2 billion trees or taking 15.6 million vehicles off the road. Now, imagine what those numbers will look like when we reach those 4 million home installations in 2023.

The even better news is, we’re only scratching the surface. To get a broader sense of solar’s true potential, consider this: More energy from the sun strikes the Earth in one hour than all of humanity consumes in a year.

Has all this awesomeness got you – like so many people across the country and around the world – thinking about getting in on the action?

Good! But first, you need to do your research. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.

WHAT IS HOME SOLAR?

When we talk about “home solar” what we’re talking about is distributed photovoltaic solar (or PV solar). The National Renewable Energy Laboratory explains the name comes “from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect.”

More specifically, PV panels do so “by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity,” according to Live Science.

In a nutshell, if you have solar on your roof, the panels create electricity and the system’s electrical panel sends power to your lights and appliances.

And there’s never been a better time to think about making the leap: “An average-sized residential system has dropped from a pre-incentive price of $40,000 in 2010 to roughly $18,000 today,” SEIA reports.

We’re with you that $18,000 is no small chunk of change, perhaps especially to a homeowner balancing a mortgage, car payment, and kids’ piano and karate lessons. But that number also doesn’t take into account the many incentives available to solar customers or the multiple new forms of solar financing that have emerged in recent years.

Many of these financing options allow customers to put solar on their rooftops at little or no cost up front. (More on that in the next blog in our series.)

To say nothing of the long-term energy savings and increased property value a home solar system offers.

So, it’s clear: Installing a home solar panel system is a fantastic, fiscally-smart clean energy option. But none of that matters all that much if your home itself just isn’t a good or effective fit for the panels themselves.

SO, WHAT MAKES A HOME A GOOD FIT FOR SOLAR PANELS?

The direction your roof faces.

The position of your house in relation to the sun will determine how much solar energy you can produce – and thus whether it’s a worthwhile investment for you.

In the US, “south-facing roofs are the most productive for solar, followed by west-facing and then east-facing roofs. North-facing roofs are the least desirable for solar, and many people rule them out,” according to the Washington Post.

Be mindful of the total amount of sunlight hours your home receives, in general. Even a south-facing roof will spend a fair amount of the late fall, wintertime, and very early spring in more darkness than light if it’s located in a high northern latitude (think Alaska and perhaps even the most northern parts of states like Minnesota or North Dakota).

And while solar panels do still produce power on cloudy days, obviously the more direct sun they receive the better. If your local weather patterns tend to be truly dominated by very cloudy skies, solar panels will not be as productive for you as they might be for someone in the Great Plains, Sunshine State, or the Nevada desert.

The size and angle of the surface.

The average home solar system is five kilowatts, requiring 20 normal panels. To accommodate a system of this size, you’ll need 500 square feet of space, or about 100 square feet of area per kilowatt of solar capacity.

As for the angle of your roof, 30 degrees is ideal – but solar panels will work on roofs ranging from flat (though they may need to be installed on tilted tracks) all the way up to 45 degrees.

The roof’s construction.

What we really mean here is “age and materials.” How old your roof is and what it’s made of are important to whether solar panels are a smart investment for a few reasons.

Keep in mind that solar panels are built to last – many come with warranties of 25 years or more. If your roof is older or you expect it will need to be fully replaced (versus more typical, piecemeal maintenance or repair) inside that window, adding panels to it now will mean additional expenses because you’ll need to remove them before demolition of the old roof. Later, you’ll have to reinstall the panels on the new one. Best to replace the roof first then install a solar system.

As for materials, asphalt shingles or corrugated metal roofing make for the easiest installation of solar panels.

How long will this be your home?

Like your home itself, a solar panel system should be looked at as an investment.

While you’ll begin to experience energy savings as soon as your panels are up and running, it may take some time for your solar panels to “pay for themselves,” so to speak (for your energy savings to cover the cost of the system).

EnergySage reports that the average American family spends a little over $1,335 a year on electricity. And how much your solar panels will save you annually in any given place is likely to vary substantially because utility electricity prices differ from state to state and can be volatile in nature.

Average sunlight in your region and the scale of the system you install are other factors that will impact the amount of electricity your system produces and your attendant annual energy savings.

The final cost of a system is also likely to vary from place to place based on your state and local incentives.

All of which is to say, the length of time it will take for you to see a return on your investment is highly variable. There’s no one answer as to when your system will have paid for itself in energy savings. It could be as little as six or eight years – the “typical solar payback period in the US.” It could be several more than that.

You should keep this in mind before investing in a home solar system. If you do not expect to remain in your home long enough to enjoy the savings solar can offer, you should think hard on whether it’s the best option for you at this time.

Regardless of whether you have solar panels installed on your home or not, you can partake in the green revolution for free by searching with GoShares and donating your share toward solar projects around the globe.

Categories
Climate Change

How Do We Know Humans Are Causing Climate Change

Yes, we know humans are responsible for the climate change we see today. But here’s the good news: Human-caused climate change can be human-solved climate change.

Put simply, here’s what we know for sure:

We know that carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.
And we know that humans are burning fossil fuels, releasing huge amounts of carbon pollution and trapping more and more heat in the atmosphere.

There’s only one conclusion: humans are the primary reason we see our climate changing today. That’s the short of it. But let’s dive into the details.

HOW DO GREENHOUSE GASES MAKE THE WORLD WARMER?

Without naturally-occurring greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, our planet would be downright freezing. That’s because greenhouse gases work like, well, a greenhouse. They let sunshine in and trap some of its heat in our atmosphere, making life on Earth possible today.

When the delicate balance of these GHGs is maintained between what we add and what plants absorb, the long-term average works out like Goldilocks and the Three Bears for life: Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right.

Another way to think of these gases is as a natural blanket — keeping the Earth about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30 degrees Celsius) warmer than it would be normally. So, what’s the problem? Sounds like greenhouse gases are great. Who’s anti-blanket, anyway?

Well, when humans burn fossil fuels, it’s as if we’re wrapping another, not-so-natural blanket around the Earth. That’s why things are heating up and the climate is changing.

HOW ARE GREENHOUSE GASES RELATED FOSSIL FUELS?

The above NASA video illustrates it well. Fossil fuels — like oil, natural gas, and coal — “contain carbon that’s been locked away from the natural cycle for eons.” When we burn these fossil fuels, the carbon combines with oxygen to make carbon dioxide. This extra carbon dioxide (and other GHGs like methane) traps more and more heat in our atmosphere.

Humans started harnessing fossil fuels on a massive scale during the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution began about 1760 and most historians mark its end sometime before the middle of the next century.

Basically, it was a time of profound transformation. Before the Industrial Revolution, about 80 percent of the world’s population were rural farmers. But the Industrial Revolution changed how the world lived and worked, bringing millions to urban centers to work in factories.

The revolution saw an incredible explosion in innovation. The coal-powered steam engine, internal-combustion engine, radio, automobile, and airplane were all born in or from technology developed in this period. Along with many other inventions we still see today.

This time period totally transformed our world and the way humans live, but it’s also had big consequences. Perhaps the biggest one has been the soaring consumption of dirty fossil fuel energy around the globe.

THAT’S HOW WE KNOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS HUMAN-CAUSED

As the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased since the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have also steadily increased. In other words, there’s a strong correlation between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures.

And while the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has gone up and down over time, all the coal, oil, and gas we’ve burned over two-plus centuries mean it hasn’t been this high for hundreds of thousands of years. We’re simply adding more carbon dioxide into our world than it can absorb.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a strong correlation with rising temperatures.

Warmer temperatures aren’t the only fingerprint humans have left on our changing planet. Our oceans have become more acidic. We’re seeing more extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires, and the world’s glaciers and sea ice are melting. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s clear that we need to make the switch to clean, reliable sources of renewable energy like solar and wind. Unlike fossil fuels, renewables don’t add greenhouse gases to our atmosphere. They’re better for our planet and our health.

While, humans may be the cause of climate change we can also be a part of the solution. When you search with GoShares we contribute the revenue from every search to sustainable projects around the globe.

Categories
Solar Power

How Solar Power Will Empower the World

Of all the renewable energy sources we have to choose from, solar power has by far the most potential to supply all our energy needs into the foreseeable future. That’s because it’s practically infinite. It comes from the Sun — the largest power source in the solar system — and the sun isn’t going anywhere for billions of years.

And even though we’ve had the ability to harness the power of the sun for over a century now, it hasn’t become efficient enough or cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels until very recently. Now we’re in the midst of a solar power revolution that promises to change the world in much the same way as computers have.

For the first time ever, the declining cost of solar power is putting it in direct competition with fossil fuels. In some parts of the world, solar power is even cheaper than oil. And it’s expected to keep dropping.
But the technology behind this energy revolution is not new.

In fact the first solar cell was created in 1883 — only a year after the first coal-fired power station was built by Thomas Edison. Just a few decades earlier, it had been observed that an electrical current could be generated in some materials when exposed to sunlight. This was the photovoltaic effect. If someone could harness this effect, electricity could be generated with no fuel whatsoever — wherever the sun was shining.

But this early solar cell only converted about 1% of the sunlight falling on it into electricity, making it no match for Edison’s coal plants. For the rest of the 19th century and much of the 20th, the dream of solar power would remain just that — a dream — and fossil fuels would dominate our energy landscape. It wouldn’t be until the 1950s when solar cells finally became efficient enough to be a reliable power source.

Through their work developing the silicon transistor — which would lead to the electronics revolution — Bell Labs developed the first practical solar cell in 1954.

NASA became one the earliest consumers of these new and improved solar cells and solar panels soon became commonplace on satellites and spacecraft.
But the solar power boom we’re seeing today didn’t really take off until the oil crisis of the late 70s. The scarcity of fossil fuels and rising gas prices at the time motivated a whole new generation of entrepreneurs to envision a world where solar power could wean us off oil dependence.

Richard Swanson was one of these entrepreneurs. After researching solar cell technology at Stanford, Richard Swanson founded his solar power company, SunPower Corporation, in 1985. But he is most well known for the law that bears his name — Swanson’s Law. Swanson’s Law states that solar panel prices will decline by 20% every time the capacity of the solar industry doubles. Which basically means that the more solar panels we make, the cheaper they get. And that is exactly what is happening now.

In 1977, the price of a solar panel per watt was about $76. Today, in the US it hovers around 50 cents. Commercial costs, including all the setup and installation, is just below $2 and it’s expected to be under $1 by 2020. By comparison, the construction costs of a coal power plant — generally the least expensive power source — are a little over $2 per watt. Much of this price decrease has happened only in the last decade or so.
And it hasn’t just decreased in that time — it has plummeted.

Much like Moore’s Law — which projected the exponential growth of computer processing power — Swanson’s Law projects the exponential growth of solar cells. And the same exponential growth that put a computer in most of our pockets is giving us cheap, practically infinite energy.
The price of solar power has dropped so precipitously and the growth of manufacturing has risen so fast that the International Energy Agency has had to consistently revise its solar power estimates to keep up with the growth.

All this growth means solar power is reaching grid parity in many locations all around the world. Grid parity is the point at which the cost of an energy source becomes equal to or less than the localized cost of electricity. This figure varies from location to location because the cost of electricity varies.

Grid parity is an important benchmark because it’s the point where solar power becomes a financially feasible alternative to fossil fuels. Generally, if you live in a sunny place like southern California, solar power is now just as cheap as fossil fuels. And if we want to slow climate change, we have to start burning less fossil fuels.

In 2011, Germany became one of the first countries in the world to reach grid parity with solar power. This is pretty astounding because Germany isn’t necessarily renowned for its sunny weather. Heavy investment in solar power led to grid parity there but countries all over the world are reaching grid parity without any government subsidies.

Grid parity has been reached in about 30 countries so far — with more than half of all the photovoltaics deployed in the coming years expected to be in China and India.
Right now, 20 US states are currently at grid parity for solar power. 22 more are expected to reach that goal by 2020. That’s 42 states out of 50 that could start relying on solar power as much as fossil fuels.

Even the state I live in — Illinois — is expected to reach grid parity very soon. And I can tell you from experience, Illinois is not known for its sunshine. At this rate, solar power is expected to be the world’s number one energy source by 2050.

For one, although the power supply is free and limitless, it is not always available. It could be cloudy or it could be night. But large capacity batteries could store electricity for use during the dark times and we could always burn a little fossil fuel to fill in the gaps. Even with an intermittent electricity supply, widespread solar would help ease the use of fossil fuel by significant amounts.

Solar power requires no fuel (except photons and they are virtually limitless). It is carbon neutral. Even the carbon emitted in the manufacture of solar panels is offset by the carbon saved through the use of solar power over fossil fuels. And most solar photovoltaic systems have an estimated lifespan of 30 years or more. Solar not only changes where the bulk of our energy comes from, but it also has the potential to change how our energy is distributed.

No longer will electricity have to generate at massive central power stations as Thomas Edison envisioned. Solar panels can be set up right where the electricity is needed — on the roof of your home, or on the pavement of your roads. Individuals could own their own solar panels and generate electricity for themselves or even sell excess energy back to the grid.

Just as computers decentralized communication and information, solar power could decentralize power generation. This could be especially useful in disaster areas or regions of the world with deteriorating power grids or no grid at all — where people might have no other way of obtaining reliable electricity. It doesn’t require access to a mine or an oil field. After all, the Sun shines everywhere — regardless of national boundaries and geography.

Solar power could not only empower the citizens of developed countries to take charge of their own energy generation, but it could also allow the millions of people on this planet who have never had electricity to finally have a cost-effective way of obtaining it. It’s hard to overstate the wide-ranging effects this solar power revolution could have. After all, we’re talking about the Sun here.

Even nuclear energy doesn’t hold the same potential energy reserves as our Sun. And the pursuit of nuclear fusion seems kind of redundant when you realize we already have a working fusion reactor right up in the sky, providing us with more energy than we will ever need.

While our energy future will always be powered by a variety of energy sources and fossil fuels won’t be eliminated entirely — not in the near term anyway — solar power is the only energy source we have at our disposal that promises to give us clean energy from an unlimited source.

This next technological revolution is already underway. It’s been underway for over a hundred years now, but for decades, solar power was stymied by high cost and poor efficiency. But both of those barriers are gone now. There is no reason to think that solar power couldn’t be as ubiquitous and as widely available as the sunlight that powers it. Whether it lives up to this potential depends solely on us.

The sun has been here for billions of years and it will continue to be here billions of years after we’re long gone. Our time on this planet is a finite resource. But the choices we make now will determine whether or not it is renewable. This is why we created GoShares, to make an everyday action into a force to save our planet.

Categories
Climate Change

Why Is 1.5 Degrees The Danger Line For Global Warming?

How a seemingly small change in average temperatures could trigger lasting changes for life as we know it.
Honestly, it’s a great question.

“Why is holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius such a big deal?”

Many people think of the hottest days of the summer where temperatures already hit 40 degrees (that’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit) where they live – or hotter. Another degree or two is a little bit more uncomfortable, sure, but hardly feels like the end of the world.

So how does global warming crossing the 1.5-degree line become – as one reader put it – “an extinction-level event”?

Spoiler alert: it’s not. At least not for humans. But it is right about the point that scientists project we’ll see some of the climate impacts we already see today begin to go from bad to outright terrifying. It’s about the point where we’ll likely see many natural systems begin to cross dangerous points of no return, triggering lasting changes and transforming life as we know it.
To put it another way, we want to do everything we can to keep warming below 1.5 degrees.

To understand why, read on.

GLOBAL WARMING IS ABOUT AVERAGE TEMPERATURES

When we talk about 1.5 degrees of warming, we’re talking about the increase in the Earth’s average temperature. We measure this increase from a baseline average temperature in the mid-to-late nineteenth century – when the Industrial Revolution swung into high gear and people began burning fossil fuels on an unprecedented level, jumpstarting climate change.

The important thing to understand is that global warming that comes from burning fossil fuels is not a uniform process. Due to a host of natural factors, some areas – like the poles – are warming much faster than others. So when we talk about preventing 1.5 degrees of global warming, we’re talking about preventing a 1.5 degree increase in the Earth’s average temperature. Some places have already crossed that line.

TEMPERATURES WILL GET MUCH HOTTER THAN 1.5 DEGREES

Global warming reaching 1.5 degrees doesn’t mean that average temperatures in some places won’t rise significantly beyond that number. Again – it’s just the global average.
Then there’s the fact that as average temperatures rise, spikes and heatwaves will go much, much higher than just 1.5 degrees.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – basically the gold standard for climate science – reported: “Several regional changes in climate are assessed to occur with global warming up to 1.5°C compared to pre- industrial levels, including warming of extreme temperatures in many regions.”
That’s rock-star-scientist-speak for: “If global warming reaches up to 1.5 degrees, the hottest of the hot temperatures will increase and many (more) places will get dangerously hot.”
We got a preview of what “extreme temperatures in many regions” looked like in 2018.
In Pakistan, a May heatwave took temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) and cost 65 lives in one city alone.

Europe also had a taste of the new normal last summer, with temperatures soaring above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) in Portugal. It wasn’t just Portugal either – the same heatwave roasted countries across the continent, breaking records and costing yet more lives.

All of which is to say, 1.5 degrees is not the limit of how much hotter things will get at some points throughout the year. Far from it.

THE CLIMATE CRISIS DOESN’T START AT 1.5 DEGREES – IT’S ALREADY HERE

Another critical thing to understand about global warming is that it’s not the case that everything up to 1.49999 degrees is rainbows and unicorns and free ice cream for everyone. (But once we cross the 1.5 degrees-line, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse polish off their martinis, look at each other, and say, “It’s go time.”)
That’s because the climate crisis is already here. Today. Higher temperatures are already dragging out droughts and wiping out crops. Himalayan glaciers that provide water to some 240 million people are already melting. Storms like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie are already getting stronger and more devastating thanks to climate change. The list goes on.

All of these impacts (and so many more) involve complex systems. Some overlap. Some don’t. But what they all have in common is heat. Heat is the factor that throws natural systems with their delicate checks and balances out of whack.

The (over)simple version is that the more heat added to the Earth’s climate system, the more out of balance natural systems get. The more out of balance natural systems get the more destruction and suffering we see. And it’s almost always poor families and people of color who suffer the most.

So where does the 1.5-degree number fit in?

Well, at about 1.5 degrees of global warming is right about where there’s enough heat to push many of the natural systems that sustain us past a dangerous turning point.
Think of 1.5 degrees not as an absolute line in the sand, but as a general indicator of where many climate impacts – on balance – go from destructive to catastrophic. It’s the sign on the door that leads to somewhere very dark indeed, somewhere no one wants to go.

THE BAD NEWS: THINGS GET WORSE ABOVE 1.5 DEGREES

So here’s the bad news: Back in the fall, the IPCC (remember, our team of global rock star scientists) released a report comparing best projections for what global warming looks like at 1.5 degrees versus 2 degrees. And at 2 degrees, we start getting into scenarios that make most dystopian horror movies look like children’s coloring books.

The IPCC projects that going from 1.5 degrees of global warming to 2 degrees could mean:
1.7 billion more people experience severe heatwaves at least once every five years.
Seas rise – on average – another 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches),.
Up to several hundred million more people become exposed to climate-related risks and poverty.
The coral reefs that support marine environments around the world could decline as much as 99 percent.
Global fishery catches could decline by another 1.5 million tonnes.

Bottom line: Going above 1.5 degrees of warming puts millions more at risk of potentially life-threatening heatwaves and poverty. It all but wipes out coral reefs that entire ecosystems rely on worldwide. Seas swallow even more of our cities. And that’s just for starters.

THE GOOD NEWS: HOW MUCH THE PLANET WARMS IS UP TO US

The same IPCC report also noted that human activities (i.e. burning fossil fuels, for the most part) have already caused about 1 degree of global warming and that with all the greenhouse gases we’ve already put in the air, average temperatures will keep rising.

But, as the report goes on, “these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C (medium confidence).” Which is to say, we still have a shot at holding the line at 1.5 degrees and keep what is already a climate crisis affecting millions from becoming a climate catastrophe.

But we have to act and – according to the IPCC – basically cut fossil fuel emissions in half by 2030 to do it. Which means moving very, very quickly to leave oil, coal, and gas behind and accelerate the just transition to clean energy underway around the world.
It’s a big ask and a lot to accomplish in less than 12 years. But nothing less than the future of the Earth is at stake. As teenage activist (and inspiration for the school strikes for climate spreading around the world) Greta Thunberg said, “Our house is on fire.” We know what we have to do to put it out.

There is such a thing as moving too slowly. With GoShares, we can all do our part speed thing things up with our searches.

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Climate Change

7 Effects Of Climate Change You’re Already Seeing

Climate change isn’t something that’s happening in 10 or 20 years. It’s happening now. Here are seven effects of climate change you’ve already seen.

It’s coming for your wine, your coffee beans, and your veggies… as well as for your health and safety.

Here are seven effects of climate change you’ve already seen.

1) LONGER, MORE INTENSE ALLERGY SEASONS.

If you’ve been feeling seasonal allergies for the first time, or more intensely in recent years, it’s not just you.

Warming temperatures in some areas, like the northern United States, are extending the periods when plants release pollen. This affects not only people who already have allergies, but those who don’t.

This means that people who have pollen allergies might experience more intense symptoms, and people who don’t normally have allergies might begin to experience them. Fun.

And if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase through the end of this century, the oak pollen season, in particular, could extend by up to eight days in some areas.

This pollen, which can induce allergic asthma, could increase the number of associated hospital emergency room visits for asthma by 10 percent in the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast.

2) FOODS YOU LOVE ARE BECOMING LESS NUTRITIOUS AND COST MORE AT THE GROCERY STORE.

The same CO2 accumulating in our atmosphere thanks to fossil fuels is actually changing the composition of fruits and vegetables that we eat, making them less nutritious. Extra CO2 is speeding up photosynthesis and causing plants to grow with more sugar and less calcium, protein, zinc, and important vitamins.

Not only is food becoming less nutritious, but it could soon cost more too. Beginning in 2006, drought in major wheat-producing countries was a key factor in a dramatic spike in food prices around the globe. And as the world keeps getting hotter, we can expect to see this kind of drought more and more often.

Wheat isn’t the only crop to feel the heat either. Let’s start with your morning coffee, which could soon be more expensive too. Brazil is the biggest coffee producer in the world, but as the globe warms up and more frequent rainstorms hit the region, most of its main coffee-growing areas will be less suitable for growing the crop.

Sadly, the story doesn’t end there. Scientists project that peaches, coffee, corn, cacao, and other delicious – and important crops – will also become scarcer because of climate change.

3) MORE COMMON, MORE SEVERE, AND MORE LONG-LASTING HEATWAVES.

Extreme heat and heatwaves have happened since the beginning of time. But across the board, climate change is making heatwaves more common, severe, and long-lasting.

Heatwaves can become so intense that our roads actually melt. We’ve seen this happen on the tarmac at Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport in 2012, during India’s deadly 2015 heatwaves, and most recently, in Australia, where car tires were covered in asphalt nearly three inches thick.

4) WILDFIRES CAUSING DAMAGE TO OUR LANDSCAPES AND OUR COMMUNITIES – AS WELL AS OUR HEALTH.

Wildfires are devastating communities around the world. From the billion-dollar destruction they cause to the costs of lost plant, animal, and even human life, these devastating natural disasters are scarring our landscapes.

But beyond even the tragic injuries and fatalities that can result directly from major forest fires, these climate-driven events can damage infrastructure, which can:

Jeopardize access to lifesaving care for extended periods of time
Threaten water quality and food supplies
Dramatically diminish the quality of the air we breathe.
In 2018 alone, wildfires were pervasive across central and northern Europe, from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden to Malta, Poland, and Germany. They’re even coming where you might least expect it – the boreal forests that encircle the globe in the Arctic North, for example, have in recent years “experienced wildfires at a rate and scale not seen in at least 10,000 years.”

5) HURRICANES ARE BECOMING MORE LIKELY AND MORE DANGEROUS.

Around the world, average sea surface temperatures are rising. As seas get warmer, they add more water vapor and heat energy into the atmosphere. This extra heat and water, just happens to be the perfect fuel for hurricanes and in the right conditions, can make dangerous storms even more powerful.

This can happen very quickly too. So a once-relatively weak tropical storm can cross the right stretch of (warm) water and become a major hurricane in a matter of hours.

This can lead to many people, even those who spend their lives in hurricane-prone regions, being under-prepared for the intensity of the actual hurricane that makes landfall, resulting in greater damage, injury, and even loss of life. Which is exactly what happened with Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey.

6) MORE CLIMATE-RELATED MASS MIGRATION.

Climate change is already prompting an increase in migration, with people being forced to leave their homes because of drought, flooding, and other climate-related disasters.

In 2007, for example, water scarcity, crop failures and livestock deaths stemming in part from climate-related drought drove an estimated 1.5 million people to the cities from rural areas in Syria, helping spark the horrifying civil war that displaced millions more.

And since 2013, nearly 15 million people have been displaced by typhoons and storms in the Philippines.

A 2018 World Bank Group report estimated that the impacts of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America could lead to more than 140 million people leaving their homes before 2050.

7) DISEASES ARE SPREADING MORE EASILY.

What thrives with warmer-than-average temperatures, extreme heatwaves, and heavy rains? You guessed it: disease-carrying insects.

These vectors live longer lives in extended periods of warm weather. Fly into new areas that were previously too cold. And reproduce in water deposits left by the rain.

Climate change is also creating ideal conditions for waterborne pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, which flourish in warmer waters.

For example, a recent CDC report found the number of cases of illnesses transmitted by ticks more than doubled between 2004 and 2016 in the US – particularly in Lyme Disease cases.

SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

We know a lot about the climate crisis and we know how to fix it – by switching to cleaner sources of energy and reducing carbon emissions.

That’s why we’ve built GoShares so everyday people like you can make a difference and together we can save our planet. Start searching with GoShares today to turn an everyday activity into a force for social good.