Aug 23, 2017

Alaska's warming permafrost may be turning into a carbon source

Al Grillo / AP

By 2050 a lot of Alaska's permafrost, a storehouse of carbon over time, could be gone, the NYT reports.

  • Per University of Alaska, Fairbanks researcher Vladimir Ramonovsky, permafrost temperatures have already risen by 3 degrees Celsius at depths of 65 feet "over decades" and temperatures closer to the surface have climbed by as much as 5 degrees Celsius at one location.
  • Researchers debate the extent to which the permafrost will thaw, when it will happen, and how much carbon dioxide is trapped in it, but the warming trend is already being tied to rising carbon emissions in the Alaskan tundra, indicating it may be "shifting from a sink, or storehouse, of carbon, to a net source," the NYT's Henry Fountain writes.
  • Why it matters: Those emissions could contribute to heat being trapped in the atmosphere and compound warming. Plus, thawing could cost Alaska's infrastructure — think buckling roads, shifting construction, and slumping land.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health