18/06/2019

'Drier Than Millennium Drought': Satellite Shows Toll Of Big Dry

Canberra Times - Mike Foley

A failed Canola crop near Parkes, NSW in August, 2018. Photo by AAP / Dean Lewins.
It was drier in parts of NSW, Queensland, central South Australia, Tasmania and much of Western Australia in December last year than at the height of the Millennium drought.
That's according to scientists from the Australian National University, who developed software to analyse data from water-tracking satellites.
Dr Paul Tregoning headed the team which processed data captured by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission.
"Our preliminary results show already the drought last year appeared to be worse across a large area of Australia than late 2009," said Dr Tregoning from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences," Mr Tregoning said.
"The Millennium drought, which lasted from 2001 until 2009, is considered by some experts to be Australia's worst drought since European settlement, so to see the country in the grip of another bad drought less than a decade later points to more worrying times ahead."
"There was less water in the landscape in northern and northwestern NSW and southwestern Queensland in 2018 compared with 2009, but more water in the southern Murray-Darling Basin region and along the eastern coast."
With good timing, a new study by University of South Australia released on Thursday showed droughts in that state are becoming longer and more severe.
The study, led by Professor Simon Beecham, revealed a pattern of increasing drought that includes major river catchments and urban areas.
"We looked at data from 1960 to 2010 from every high-quality weather station in the state and there is a clear pattern, with drought increasing in the south of the State and over the Murray-Darling Basin, which is the food bowl of Australia," Mr Beecham said.
Significant long-term reductions in rainfall in autumn and winter were a particular concern, Mr Beecham said.
"This is when water systems should be recharging and flows should be building up again. When it is dry during this time, as it was earlier this year, it is a problem for the State's water supplies, as winter rain is soaked up by the dry environment and less ends up in reservoirs."
The GRACE Follow On satellite mission tracks changes in water across the earth by measuring the effect of changes in the gravitational pull of the Earth, caused by changes in groundwater, soil moisture, ocean tides and melting polar ice sheets, on two satellites separated by 200 kilometres.
Two satellites orbit the Earth 200km apart and tiny changes in the distance between the two, caused by changes in the gravitational field, are recorded.
The changes are around 1/10 of the thickness of a human hair, but contain information of movement of water on Earth and can be used to calculate how mass moves around the surface of the earth.
Dr Paul Tregoning and Rebecca McGirr from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
 Water is the dominant mobile mass on Earth and, by analysing the measurements, the ANU scientists calculated the amount of water was present in a given location, at a particular time.
The scientists measured total water storage across Australia, which includes aquifers, soil moisture and surface water, in grids of 200km by 200km. The measurement is accurate to around 2cm water height, which is fine enough to fit with hydrological models.
Two space gravity missions have been deployed. Grace circled the Earth between March 2002 and late 2017. GRACE Follow On launched in May 2018 and on May 22 NASA released the data it had captured to date. It is these data that the ANU researchers have used to estimate changes in water in the Australian landscape.
Satellite data also revealed the extent of ice loss in Antarctica over the past decade.
Dr Tregoning said the ice loss in the Totten Glacier region, east of Australia's Casey station in Antarctica amounted to around 1.4 billion tonnes of water.
"We could be watching the beginning of serious change to the ice sheet. This is very concerning, since a destabilisation of the ice sheet in that region could affect the global sea level by many metres," Mr Tregoning said.

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How Do You Hug A Climate Scientist? Follow These Simple Rules And Don't Make It Weird

The Guardian - First Dog On The Moon

If you think you’re miserable - imagine being one
of those long suffering mass extinction Cassandras!
Cartoon by First Dog on the Moon
LARGE IMAGE

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Australia's Emissions Reduction Fund Is Failing To Deliver, Government Data Shows

ABC NewsMichael Slezak

Emissions have increased again due to LNG and coal production. (ABC News: Michael Barnett)
Key points:
  • The program designed to sell contracts for emission reduction projects has received extra funding
  • But the Emissions Reduction Fund has not spent its existing budget and emission abatement has flatlined
  • Analysis of government data shows contracts terminations have meant nearly 20 per cent of expected emission reduction in some auctions did not happen
The central plank of the Morrison Government's climate policy involves pouring billions of extra dollars into an emissions reduction program that's not spending its existing funding, ABC analysis can reveal.The Emissions Reduction Fund also appears to be failing in its mission to lower emissions, Government data shows.
In 2014, the Abbott government allocated $2.55 billion to the newly established Emissions Reduction Fund, mostly to pay polluters to emit less greenhouse gas.
The Morrison Government has extended the program with an additional $2 billion and rebranded it the Climate Solutions Fund.
Twice a year, the Clean Energy Regulator holds reverse auctions, where companies bid to win the emissions reduction work.
The cheapest good-quality bids win and are awarded Emissions Reduction Fund contracts.
Those contracts are for a range of projects, including planting trees, stopping tree-clearing and installing energy efficient appliances.

Data shows flatlining of emissions reduction
The ABC examined figures from 10 different datasets published by the Government's Clean Energy Regulator — a series of auction results published in separate PDFs, as well as two spreadsheets containing information about the status of Emissions Reduction Fund contracts and projects.
The Great Barrier Reef has suffered from substantial bleaching. (Supplied: Australian Institute of Marine Science)
That analysis shows that since 2017, outcomes from the Emissions Reduction Fund appear to have all but flatlined.
The program has only increased its total of avoided emissions by a relatively meagre 4 million tonnes over four auction rounds, despite signing 123 contracts worth $372 million.
That growth has fallen by 97 per cent, compared to the number of avoided emissions claimed in the first two years of the program.
When total avoided emissions committed by the program are charted over time, after an initial sharp increase, they appear to record almost no rise overall.


Commenting on the ABC's analysis, climate and law expert Tim Baxter from the University of Melbourne said the fund did look like it had stalled.
"The cumulative abatement has stayed relatively static over the last couple of auctions," he said.
"It seems to be puttering out a little bit."
A significant contributor to the near-flatlining of the program is failing contracts — where companies that have pledged to avoid a certain amount of emissions find they are unable to do so.
So far, there have been eight reverse auction rounds in the ERF.
The ABC's analysis reveals in two of those rounds — November 2016 and April 2017 — contract terminations have meant between 17 and 19 per cent of the expected emissions reductions did not happen.
Those numbers are likely to rise, according to Dr Baxter, since it takes time for contracts to be cancelled. So far, none have been cancelled from the last three auctions.
Dr Baxter said it was not clear yet whether we would see the same level of contract failure in more recent auctions, or whether there was a large number of bad contracts signed in those early rounds.
"It could be that this is just the background extinction rate," Dr Baxter said. "That over a few years, we do lose 10 per cent or so."

Revoked contracts mean reductions are not delivered
In total, since the start of the Emissions Reduction Fund, 22 contracts have been cancelled.
Those contracts were supposed to avoid more than 13.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Climate change protests have been held around the world. (Reuters: Simon Dawson)

Assuming those contracts were awarded the average price per tonne of avoided emissions, that has meant nearly $145 million was earmarked for emissions reduction that did not occur.
Cancelled contracts could be a result of a number of things such as council permissions not being granted or weather stopping seedlings from growing, but the reason any particular contract is revoked is not made public.


Paris 2030: Will we make it?
In each case, however, revoked contracts do not deliver the promised emissions reductions.
Associate Professor Paul Burke, an energy economist from the Australian National University, said he was not surprised contracts were failing because this type of policy required the Government to manage a large number of individual projects.
"This was the experience with the Howard-era Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program (GGAP) also. History repeats," he said.
"Ideally, Australia would not rely on a process that involves government sponsorship and monitoring of individual projects."

Contract failures built into the system, regulator says
A spokesperson for the Clean Energy Regulator, which oversees the auctions, told the ABC the failure of contracts was part of the design of the system — it's a form of flexibility that allows more companies to take part.


Explained: The Paris Agreement
"The Emissions Reduction Fund is designed to encourage participation by allowing flexibility in some circumstances for contracts that are successful at auction," the regulator's spokesperson said.
"This means that not all projects will come to fruition so it is normal for some contracts to lapse or terminate.
"This flexibility has facilitated project registrations and ensured a high-level of participation under the scheme."
Contracts are only paid after the emissions reductions occur, so money which was earmarked but never actually spent returns to the fund.
Because of that, the amount of money sitting in the fund has stayed relatively stable for two years, currently at $226 million.

Low-cost projects have dried up
At the same time, it seems the Government is having a harder time finding low-cost emissions reductions, causing the average price to rise.
The cheapest projects — like avoiding land clearing or burning methane waste gas from landfill — have mostly been exhausted, and more expensive methods of reducing emissions increasingly are being used.
Since 2016, the price of those emissions reductions has soared.
The third auction paid the lowest amount per tonne, offering an average of just $10.26 per tonne of avoided emissions.
Since then, the average price paid to successful bidders has jumped by more than 35 per cent to $13.87 per tonne.


Dr Baxter said the figures seemed to show the Government was struggling to award new contracts.
"It might be that their reserve price has been set too low," he said, adding it was impossible to know for sure since details like that were kept secret.

'You will get less bang for your buck'
Dr Baxter said so long as the reserve price in the auction was set high enough, the Government would definitely be able to allocate its $2 billion over the next decade on emissions reductions because if you pay companies enough, they will reduce emissions.
"But you will get less bang for your buck," he said.
Dr Burke said the ABC's analysis showed people should not get excited by the promised abatement announced when auctions were completed.
"There is a long way from the auction to actual implementation of a project," he said.
The results of the ABC's analysis were put to the Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
In a statement, he said: "The small number of contracts that will not deliver abatement — currently representing a little over 5 per cent of contracted abatement — will be reinvested in new projects."
"Criteria for project registration is also set at a level to encourage participation and innovation.
"Once registered, some projects are revoked having failed to obtain, [for example], finance or third-party consent. These projects will not, however, have been awarded contracts or issued credits."
Mr Taylor said the ERF had been a great success.
"The $2.5 billion Emissions Reduction Fund has been highly successful in supporting Australian businesses, communities and landholders to reduce greenhouse gases, while improving the local environment and benefitting from new revenue opportunities."

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17/06/2019

Major Oil Companies Commit To Carbon Pricing At Vatican

AP - Nicole Winfield | Frank Jordans

Activists hold up signs outside the Vatican as Pope Francis meets with oil executives, Friday, June 14, 2019. The meeting marked the second year that Francis has invited oil and financial sector executives to the Vatican to impress upon them his concern that preserving God’s creation is one of the fundamental challenges facing humankind today. (Claudio Peri/ANSA via AP)
VATICAN CITY — Some of the world’s major oil producers pledged Friday to support “economically meaningful” carbon pricing regimes after a personal appeal from Pope Francis to avoid “perpetrating a brutal act of injustice” against the poor and future generations.
The companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Chevron and Eni, said in a joint statement at the end of a Vatican climate summit that governments should set such pricing regimes at a level that encourages business and investment, while “minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth.”
The CEOs, as well as leaders of major asset managers such as BlackRock and BNP Paribas, also called for companies to provide investors with clarity about the risks climate change poses to their businesses and how they plan to transition to cleaner energy sources.
The joint statement was issued at the end of a closed-door summit in the Vatican gardens, the second time the Holy See has convened the world’s petroleum leaders for private talks on climate change, scientific research and the moral imperative to save God’s creation.
Francis attended Friday’s session and told the gathering that a “radical energy transition” to clean, low-carbon power sources was needed and that if managed well, would “generate new jobs, reduce inequality and improve the quality of life for those affected by climate change.”
“Faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations,” he said.
He praised the executives in particular for taking on the core issue of carbon pricing, which he said was necessary for humanity to use the resources of creation wisely and not burden the poor and future generations with the debt incurred by the rich.
In their joint statement, the CEOs said “Reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing regimes, whether based on tax, trading mechanisms or other market-based measures, should be set by governments at a level that incentivizes business practices ... while minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth.”
The pledge comes ahead of a European Union summit next week at which leaders will discuss the bloc’s efforts to combat climate change including a proposal to stop adding carbon to the atmosphere by 2050. While the announcement refers to the 2015 Paris accord’s goal of “keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit)” by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, experts say capping the rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) would be safer.
The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a London-based group that examines the impact the shift away from fossil fuels has on financial markets, welcomed the Vatican announcement.
“It is important that many of the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas companies and many of the world’s largest investors have endorsed carbon pricing regimes,” the group’s executive director, Mark Campanale, said in a statement.
“Critically, asset owners with trillions of dollars under management are also calling for company disclosures of meaningful and material information on plans and investments in the energy transition,” he added.
Outside the summit, around half-a-dozen protesters held up signs urging the oil executives to listen to the pope.
Signs in Italian read "Don't steal our future", left, and "Climate emergency is not an opinion!", second from right. (Claudio Peri/ANSA via AP)
The meeting was held under unusual secrecy even by Vatican standards, with the program and guest list initially unpublished. A few executives confirmed their presence ahead of time, including the chief executives of BP and Eni, Bob Dudley and Claudio Descalzi.
On the BP blog, Dudley wrote this week that the meeting was coming at an urgent time, with BP’s own latest survey showing carbon emissions grew by 2% last year, even as experts say they have to dramatically decrease to meet standards set by the 2015 Paris climate accord.
Eni’s Descalzi said in a statement that four years after Paris, “it’s clear we have to change pace. Progress has been insufficient and the emissions continue to grow.”
The summit was co-organized by the University of Notre Dame, whose president, the Rev. John Jenkins, praised the commitment taken by the industry leaders.
The commitments taken “won’t solve the problem themselves,” he said. “But they’re extremely important first steps toward doing that.”
Francis has dedicated a major teaching document to the environment and is expected to press his case at a Vatican meeting of Amazon bishops later this year.

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Trump Official Goes Rogue, Says Climate Change May Cause Next Financial Crisis

Vanity Fair - 

One guess as to how the president will respond.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images.
Since taking the oath of office in 2017, Donald Trump has made it clear that he cares about the environment about as much as freedom of the press and sounding lucid on Twitter.
In the past 29 months, he’s:
The administration has muzzled science that contradicts its official stance that climate change is nothing to worry about—or is even a thing that exists—and, to that end, hired a guy who has said carbon dioxide is being demonized “just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” whose primary job is to discredit the conclusions of last year’s National Climate Assessment, a report written by 13 federal agencies that predicted harrowing consequences for not taking action on climate change.
At this point, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to learn that government employees caught even uttering the words “climate change” and “not good” around the water cooler gets cattle prodded by Aunt Lydia. Which makes it all the more shocking that a top regulator has gone “rogue” and defied Trump to speak out about the issue.
Rostin Behnam, who sits on the powerful five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, told the New York Times in an interview Monday that the financial risks from climate change are akin to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that caused the 2008 financial crisis.
“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products—mortgages, home insurance, pensions—cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” Behnam said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”
If you’re wondering how it came to pass that Trump appointed a guy who actually believes climate change is real, well, he didn’t exactly have a choice.
Behnam’s seat, by law, had to be filled by a Democrat; legal experts told Times reporter Coral Davenport that it would be difficult, but not impossible, for Trump to fire or even demote Behnam. (The CFTC, like the Federal Reserve, is meant to operate more independently from the West Wing than other federal agencies, presumably to the president’s explosive chagrin.)
“I have a unique bully pulpit,” said Behnam.
While people in Behnam’s position have occasionally pushed back against presidential policies in private, government affairs experts told the Times that his initiative is unusual. “Rarely do you see a commissioner go rogue and public,” said James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.
And if Trump is unhappy about Behnam’s comments, he presumably won’t be thrilled with what’s coming next!
On Wednesday, Mr. Behnam plans to detail the formation of a panel of experts at the trading commission assigned to produce a report on how global warming could affect the financial sector, potentially impacting food costs, insurance markets, the mortgage industry and other economic pillars.Because the report, expected late this year or early next, would be a product of the federal government, it would most likely put Mr. Behnam in direct conflict with the policies of the Trump administration.
The report, which Mr. Behnam said he expected would focus in particular on potential harm to the nation’s agriculture sector, is likely to emerge at a moment when Mr. Trump will be making the case to farm states, which have already been hurt by his crop tariffs, to reelect him in 2020.
His interest in the financial effects of climate change, he said, stems from six years working for Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He left the agriculture committee in 2017 to join the trading commission. Earlier, he had worked as a financial trader and a corporate lawyer in New York.
In January, California electricity provider PG&E was forced to file for bankruptcy on account of billions of dollars in liability stemming from the deadly wildfires (for which Trump blamed the victims, which analysts believe is a taste of what’s to come re: the economic damage from climate change.
Thirty-nine central banks, including those of England, Canada, China, Japan, and the European Union have formed a working group to study the effects of climate change on the financial markets, a project the United States has naturally declined to take part in.
“We understand that climate change causes a big systemic risk,” said Stefano Giglio, a professor of finance at Yale University, told the Times. “But right now, we don’t have enough information, and we don’t have the right financial products to insure this risk. The CFTC can help give that information and help lay out a global marker for what we need to do.”
Given the difficulty Trump would face in trying to get rid of Behnam, it’s likely the regulator is in for the sort of unhinged attacks that Fed chairman Jerome Powell has been subjected to.
 Of course, you’d think the CEO president who ran for office on the claim that his head for business was just what the country needed might care about preventing another global financial crisis.
Then you’d remember who we’re dealing with and pray the planet fares better than the Trump Taj Mahal.

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Climate Change: Arctic Permafrost Now Melting At Levels Not Expected Until 2090

The Independent  - Alessio Perrone

Series of 'anomalously warm summers' caused ground to thaw, researchers say


'Mothers Rise Up' protesters gather in May to demand action on climate change

Permafrost hs begun thawing in the Canadian Arctic more than 70 years early because of climate change, according to new research.
A "series of anomalously warm summers” has dramatically accelerated melting rates at three sites despite average annual ground temperatures remaining low. Ponds and hillocks have formed as a result.
It had been thought that the permafrost - ground that remains frozen for at least two years - would remain until at least 2090.
But the study found thawing levels were above 150 to 240 per cent above historic levels.
Researchers called this a “truly remarkable amount".
Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island was the worst-affected site, according to the study, published on the journal Geophysical Research Letters.  
There, permafrost thawing levels were 240 per cent higher than historic levels and the ground sank 90cm over the course of the study which ran for over 12 years, between 2003 and 2016.
Researchers also recorded thawing at depths not expected until air temperatures rose to levels that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted it would reach in 2090.
Along with Mould Bay, researchers observed thermokarsts - a type of land surface that occurs when the ice melts in permafrost, characterised by uneven ground with low rounded hills and small ponds - at three siites along the 430 mile section of the high Arctic in Canada they were monitoring.
When permafrost thaws, it releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases stored in or beneath it into the atmosphere.
There in turn, cause temperatures to rise and create a perpetual cycle where more permafrost melts.

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16/06/2019

This Is A $15 Trillion Opportunity For Farmers To Fight Climate Change

CNBCLori Ioannou



Indigo Agriculture, the Boston-based start-up that uses natural microbiology to revolutionize the way farmers grow crops, has unveiled a first-of-a-kind program to tackle climate change worldwide.
The company launched the Terraton Initiative on Wednesday to accelerate carbon sequestration from agricultural soil on a massive scale.
The goal: to capture 1 trillion metric tons (a teraton) of carbon dioxide worldwide from 3.6 billion acres of farmland through a marketplace that gives farmers incentives to implement regenerative farming practices.
Capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide from agricultural soil is a way to restore soil health while returning carbon levels to those prior to the Industrial Revolution, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Today many environmental experts say agricultural farming emits 25% to 35% of all CO2 into the atmosphere — more than all modes of transportation combined. The trend has contributed to extreme changes in weather that are reducing crop yields and making livestock more vulnerable to disease.
All this threatens the global food supply as demand from a booming global population grows.
“The potential for agricultural soils to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide is the most hopeful solution I know of to address climate change,” said David Perry, Indigo’s CEO. “The technology and know-how for regenerative farming already exists, so we can begin to make a difference right now.”
“And this can be done on a massive scale,” says the company’s co-founder and chief innovation officer, Geoffrey von Maltzahn.
These practices include minimal tillage of the soil, cover cropping, crop rotations, using fewer chemicals and fertilizers, and incorporating livestock grazing. These are all ways to increase soil’s carbon content and water retention so less CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
As Maltzahn explains, soils play a key role in the carbon cycle by soaking up carbon from dead plant matter. Plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and pass carbon to the ground when dead roots and leaves decompose. But it can cause carbon to be released from the soil at a faster rate than it is replaced. This net release of carbon to the atmosphere contributes to global warming.

A marketplace to capture CO2
To catalyze the initiative, Indigo is creating the Indigo Carbon marketplace. Growers who join Indigo Carbon for the 2019 crop season are eligible to receive $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide sequestered.
In partnership with the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and other organizations, such as The Rodale Institute and the Soil Health Institute, Indigo will use its digital agronomy capabilities and software imagery analysis to measure and verify soil carbon sequestration and on-farm emission levels.



At the same time, Indigo is partnering initially with the Soil Health Institute, the Rodale Institute, and a network of grower partners to launch the largest longitudinal study of soil carbon on record. The goal of the study, which will include tens of thousands of farms followed for a decade or more, is to quantify farming practices that maximize soil carbon sequestration and understand the impact of these practices on farm profitability and crop nutrition.
The results of this study will form the blueprint for maximizing soil carbon sequestration. Indigo intends to make the data from this study available to other research institutions.
We are willing to put our balance sheet at risk for the first year, because we have a high degree of confidence we will have buyers and other partners to help cover the costs.
David Perry
Indigo Agriculture CEO
Initially, Indigo will market the initiative to its 10,000 grower customers worldwide through its account managers and agronomists. They will be testing soil samples to determine carbon and nutrient concentrations. But the exchange is open to everyone.
To encourage innovation and participation in the effort, Indigo is launching several open calls to action. This includes the Carbon Cup, a nationwide sequestration competition to spark on-farm innovation. Broken down on a region-by-region basis, first-place growers competing in the Carbon Cup will receive recognition and a monetary prize for their efforts.
Additionally, Indigo is launching a series of challenges, calling on innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technologies for maximizing soil carbon sequestration rates, improving soil carbon measurements and reducing the need for chemical and fertilizer inputs. Winning innovations will be awarded $1 million contracts by Indigo.

Source: Mauna Loa Observatory
The hope is that this effort will encourage more innovation in sustainable farming practices worldwide and encourage all parties in the food chain — from food companies and packaged goods companies to retailers — to align business practices toward this goal. Many companies are seeking ways to be carbon neutral, and many investors, insurance companies and nonprofits are eager to support such endeavors.
One of the first companies on board is Anheuser-Busch. It has agreed to buy 2.2 billion of Indigo sustainable rice that is grown with specific environmental attributes. Growers contracting with Indigo to produce rice for Anheuser-Busch will reduce water and nitrogen use by 10% and achieve at least 10% savings in greenhouse-gas emissions compared to state benchmarks.
Sparking a revolution in farming
The effort sounds like a cool idea from a company that snared the top spot for its innovations on CNBC’s 2019 Disruptor 50 list in May. But it may be challenging to scale up. The investment costs are high.
But Perry says it has a coffer of capital for these payouts to jump-start the initiative, and investors are supportive of the idea that could be a game changer in the fight against global warming. Currently, the company has a valuation of $3.5 billion and $650 million in VC funding, PitchBook reports.
“We are committed to this project, and all of our investors are on board,” Perry said. “We are willing to put our balance sheet at risk for the first year, because we have a high degree of confidence we will have buyers and other partners to help cover the costs.”
Then there is the issue of igniting a paradigm shift toward regenerative farming.
According to Indigo’s Maltzahn, “there is a group of regenerative growers who are remarkable entrepreneurs that gave Indigo the inspiration to do this. Many have been commissioned by Indigo to be consultants and teach methods to other farmers to spur adoption.”
Among them is Russell Hedrick, a fireman-turned-grain farmer in Hickory, North Carolina.
 Hedrick used regenerative practices taught by leading conservationists that has helped him grow the 30-acre farm he started in 2012 into a 1,000-acre farm and a 100-acre parcel for cattle and sheep grazing.
“A lot of these practices were used hundreds of years ago by farmers in the U.S.,” he says. “I think this is a way for farmers who are struggling to change their practices and boost profitability.”

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Lethal Heating is a citizens' initiative