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Sidewalk Labs' new platform feeds real-time transit data to navigation apps

Coord, a cloud-based integration platform, will act as a "coordination layer" between mobility services, navigation tools and urban infrastructure.

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective – Sidewalk Labs' new platform feeds real-time transit data to navigation apps

San Francisco issues RFQ for citywide fiber network

Interim Mayor Mark Farrell said the project will "close the digital divide, ensure net neutrality, and create a truly fair and open internet in San Francisco."

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective – San Francisco issues RFQ for citywide fiber network

Polar bears lose weight as climate bites

To survive, polar bears need to gain weight, not lose it. With a longer summer and less sea ice, it’s a lot harder to do that.

LONDON, 2 February, 2018 – Polar bears may be having a harder time than anybody thought. Biologists who monitored the hunting habits of the Arctic’s iconic predator found that bears have a faster metabolism – that is, they need high-energy foods more often – and are likely to lose weight just when they should be getting fat and ready for the winter.

Ursus maritimus is famous for going without food for long periods and then making up for it when the going is good. And for a polar bear, the going only gets good when there is a lot of sea ice and rich pickings among the seal population.

But US Geological Survey scientists who fitted monitors and video cameras to nine female polar bears for periods of 8 to 11 days and then tracked them on the ice of the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, report that five of their “volunteers” had lost weight.

Four of them had lost 10% of their body mass: that is, they could not catch seals often enough to put on weight. One had even lost muscle tissue.

The study confirms that bears are vulnerable to climate change. Sea ice minimum levels are falling at the rate of 14% a decade in the Arctic, and polar bears have been feeling the loss.

“Polar bears actually have much higher energy demands than predicted. They need to be catching a lot of seals”

But because the bear is a sit-and-wait predator, hunting ringed seals or bearded seals for preference as they haul out onto the ice, biologists had assumed that a resting bear would have a low metabolic rate. Not so, according to a new study in the journal Science.

The bears are active about one third of the time and use energy swimming and walking. The tests and observations were made during the period from April to July when bears catch most of their prey to store up the body fat they need.

In fact the instrument readings and tests of urine and blood samples told the scientists that the metabolic rate of a bear was more than 50% above previous calculations.

So a female seal out on the ice in the polar spring would need to eat one adult ringed seal, or three subadults, or 19 newborn seal pups, every 10 or 12 days just to stay as she was, at the same bodyweight.

Fall explained

But to succeed and breed in the winter, a female would ideally need to consume so much seal blubber that her fat levels matched her lean body mass. In April on the Beaufort Sea between 2014 and 2016, the bears in the test study had no great luck.

“We found that polar bears actually have much higher energy demands than predicted. They need to be catching a lot of seals,” said Anthony Pagano, a doctoral researcher from the University of California Santa Cruz, and a wildlife biologist with the US Geological Survey, who led the research.

Bear population in the Beaufort Sea has fallen by about 40% in the last decade. Now, biologists are beginning to see why.

“We now have the technology to learn how they are moving on the ice, their activity patterns and their energy needs, so we can better understand the implications of these changes we are seeing on the sea ice,” he said. – Climate News Network

The post Polar bears lose weight as climate bites appeared first on Climate News Network.

Source: Climate News Network – Polar bears lose weight as climate bites

DBS is first Asian bank to launch climate policy—but it’s still funding coal

DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank, has quietly launched a climate policy, pledging to stop funding new coal-fired power stations-but only in developed countries.
Source: Eco-Business – DBS is first Asian bank to launch climate policy—but it’s still funding coal

Colourful makeover puts Mumbai slum on tourist map

Up to 37 million households in India’s urban population live in informal housing including slums because of an acute shortage of affordable housing, according to social consultancy FSG.
Source: Eco-Business – Colourful makeover puts Mumbai slum on tourist map

When will I shut up about climate change?

I recently woke up at my family’s cabin, hung-over, and got into a car with some friends to embark on our journey home. Somehow, I got talking about climate change.
Source: Eco Business – When will I shut up about climate change?

Missouri coalition to study St. Louis–Kansas City hyperloop feasibility

Engineering firm Black and Veatch is leading the study and donating $400,000 worth of its services as part of the effort.

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective – Missouri coalition to study St. Louis–Kansas City hyperloop feasibility

Study: Miami ranks least energy-efficient US city

The study, which analyzed 15 major U.S. cities, claims that the least energy-efficient cities are most at risk of feeling the effects of climate change,

Source: Sustainable Cities Collective – Study: Miami ranks least energy-efficient US city

Climate effects strike US military bases

Climate effects strike US military installations today, a Pentagon study finds, despite White House failure to recognise any threat.

LONDON, 1 February, 2018 – Once more, the administration of President Trump seems puzzled about how seriously – if at all – it should regard how climate effects strike US military abilities.

In December the president listed the global threats he reckoned the US was facing – and climate change didn’t get a mention. Now, though, the US Department of Defense says many of its bases are feeling the worrying impacts of – climate change.

Around half of US military bases worldwide are already experiencing those impacts, a Pentagon report says. A survey shows risks to military infrastructure related to climate and extreme weather are widespread, affecting nearly 50% of the 1,684 sites involved.

The survey, described as a vulnerability assessment, identifies several key categories of risk: flooding, both from storm surges and causes such as rain, snow, ice and river overflows; extreme heat and cold; wind; drought; and wildfire. The Pentagon says the risks are not confined to vulnerable coastal sites.

Worrying picture

The survey paints what the Center for Climate & Security (CCS), a US non-partisan policy institute composed of security and military experts, calls “a concerning picture of current climate change-related risks to military installations both at home and abroad”.

John Conger, a senior policy adviser at the CCS, is a former US deputy under-secretary of defense. He told the Climate News Network:

“This report represents the first survey of climate impacts across the Department of Defense’s installation enterprise, and while it does not detail specific impacts, the breadth of impacts it reports is significant.

“No region is immune from climate impacts. This work will form the foundation of vulnerability assessments and mitigation planning in the future.”

“What is potentially significant about this survey … is how widespread climate change-related risks to military assets already are”

As rapid climate change is projected to intensify most of these risks during this century, the CCS says, it is reasonable to expect that military sites will become more vulnerable unless significant resources are devoted to adaptation, or the rate and scale of climate change are reduced.

“What is potentially significant about this survey … is how widespread climate change-related risks to military assets already are”, it says.

The vulnerability statement insists that the Pentagon will do what it thinks necessary to protect its bases: “Our warfighters require bases from which to deploy, on which to train, or to live when they are not deployed.

“If extreme weather makes our critical facilities unusable or necessitates costly or manpower-intensive work-arounds, that is an unacceptable impact.”

Present danger

The CCS says the survey makes it clear that climate change is already affecting the US military’s ability to do its job, finding that many installations are “highly vulnerable to a variety of different types of extreme or severe weather events.  Scientists expect heat waves, flooding, drought and wildfires to all increase over the coming decades.”

On the president’s December failure to include climate change in his list of global security threats to the US, Mr Conger said: “While it is unfortunate that mention of climate was dropped from the strategy, it isn’t surprising.

“I expect the US military will continue to focus on mission assurance efforts and it clearly recognises climate change is one of the risks it must consider.  The omission won’t block the DoD from working on climate resilience, but its reduction in priority is likely to slow progress.” – Climate News Network

The post Climate effects strike US military bases appeared first on Climate News Network.

Source: Climate News Network – Climate effects strike US military bases