How asteroid dust adds insight to solutions

Extraterrestrial events — black holes, a comet slamming into Jupiter — evoke wonder. But by and large, what happens in space stays in space. A study in Science Advances offered an exception. Researchers led by Birger Schmitz, a nuclear physicist, found that an ancient asteroid collision generated enough dust to cause an ice age on Earth. It lends new insight to efforts to address climate change. "Our study is the first time it has been shown that asteroid dust actually helps cool Earth," he said. In sufficient amounts, extraterrestrial dust can cool Earth by blocking solar radiation. Because the dust from the asteroid collision accumulated gradually, plant and animal species were able to adapt as sea levels dropped and temperatures declined by as much as 50 degrees.

Retirees may face high cost of climate change

The 2019 Global Retirement Index released by Natixis Investment Managers cites a trifecta of risks for retirees, policymakers and long-term global sustainability: low interest rates, longer life spans and the high costs of climate change. Severe weather that forces retirees to relocate, even temporarily, can be very disruptive for someone living on a fixed income, said Ed Farrington, executive vice president of Retirement Strategies at Natixis.

Fires fed by warming climate spew pollution

The wildfires that raged last year from Paradise to Malibu made for California's deadliest, most destructive fire season on record. But they were also one of the worst for the climate. A report, prepared by the independent consulting firm Beacon Economics for the Next 10, describes a vicious circle in which air pollution from fires, growing more destructive with the warming climate, threatens to undermine the state's progress in reducing emissions. If wildfires were listed alongside other pollution sources, their 2018 emissions would rank among the largest, spewing more than the state's commercial, residential or agricultural sectors in 2017 — the most recent year for which data are available — but less than transportation or industry electricity generation.

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