Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Brussels on Sunday to demand Belgium’s elected leaders and others from around the world finally dispense with proclamations, broken promises, and half-measures and instead “act” on the climate emergency.
When an apartment building collapsed just 25 minutes from his home, Ivory Artis was grappling with the potential loss of his own apartment in Miami. As sea levels rise, prime beach real estate has been losing its cachet. Developers have started looking inland, in marginalised communities like Ivory’s, to build luxury homes for the coastal elite.
Her warning comes as a new report from the Climate Council reveals Australia has fallen well behind the US, UK, Japan and New Zealand in its analysis of climate and security risks. We are unprepared and completely blind to the threats on the horizon and accelerating them by backing fossil fuels, Ms Durrant said. “Australia’s unwillingness to deal with climate change is already affecting our security, leading to a loss of geopolitical influence, particularly in the Pacific,” she said.
Extreme rainfall and flooding have left paths of destruction through communities around the world this summer. In New York City, remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded streets and subway lines as more than 3.15 inches of rain fell in an hour and more than 7 inches fell in all on Sept. 1-2, 2021. A week earlier in Tennessee, a record-shattering 17 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, turning creeks into rivers that flooded hundreds of homes and killed 20 people. A lot of people are asking: Was it climate change? Answering that question isn’t so simple.
Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., rushing from the Louisiana coast toward New Orleans and one of the nation’s most important industrial corridors. The Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph (230 kph) hit on the same date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier, coming ashore about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of where Category 3 Katrina first struck land.
Where’s the moral rejection, the shaming and the shunning, of the greed of its richest readers, a lust for money that will truncate the natural lives of most living souls, save only the geriatric few like Charles Koch? (Though I fervently wish him the opposite, Koch will probably die long before his sins can be visited on him. Live long, Charles Koch. I don’t trust the afterlife to serve you the treat you deserve.) It’s as if the Economist has decided to point out the soon-to-come wreck of the ship it’s sailing on, while neither getting off nor working its best to change course.
Based on the contributions of more than 530 scientists from over 60 countries and compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), State of the Climate in 2020 is the 31st installment of the leading annual evaluation of the global climate system. “The major indicators of climate change,” officials from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information pointed out in a statement, “continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet. Several markers such as sea level, ocean heat content, and permafrost once again broke records set just one year prior.” “Annual global surface temperatures were 0.97°–1.12°F (0.54°–0.62°C) above the 1981–2010 average” in 2020, said NOAA, making last year one of the three warmest on record “even with a cooling La Niña influence in the second half of the year.”
When Canada and north-western US roasted in temperatures approaching 50 degrees in late June, climate scientists from seven nations jumped on the case and within days were able to declare such extreme heat to be “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change”. The so-called rapid attribution analysis found the blistering maximums to be the equivalent of a once-in-a-millennium event, that would have been 150 times rarer without the extra greenhouse gases we have pumped into our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and clearing land.
Back in 2019, more than 11,000 scientists declared a global climate emergency. They established a comprehensive set of vital signs that impact or reflect the planet’s health, such as forest loss, fossil fuel subsidies, glacier thickness, ocean acidity and surface temperature. In a new paper published today, we show how these vital signs have changed since the original publication, including through the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, while we’ve seen lots of positive talk and commitments from some governments, our vital signs are mostly not trending in the right direction.
Summer isn’t even half over, and we’ve seen heat waves in the Pacific Northwest and Canada with temperatures that would be hot for Death Valley, enormous fires that have sent smoke across North America, and lethal floods of biblical proportions in Germany and China. Scientists have warned for over 50 years about increases in extreme events arising from subtle changes in average climate, but many people have been shocked by the ferocity of recent weather disasters.
Friday marked 100 days until the critical COP26 United Nations climate summit starts in Glasgow and the milestone was marked by renewed urgency in climate action. Alok Sharma, the Conservative UK cabinet minister who will be the formal host of the Glasgow talks, used it to write to relevant ministers around the world and call upon them to raise ambitions. “Although significant progress has been made, we must be honest that collectively we have not yet delivered at the scale and pace that science requires,” read his letter. “The world will be watching in Glasgow and it is our shared responsibility to rise to the challenge.”
Australia’s PM is caught between Biden and his Coalition partner while the country suffers. Watch the salesman promise what he can’t or wont deliver.
The importance of having a U.S. leader like Joe Biden, who has come to believe in the necessity of drastically cutting the emission of greenhouse gases, was demonstrated Wednesday when Japan announced that it was doubling its proposed cuts to carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. This according to Reuters.
Our burning of gasoline, coal and natural gas on a massive global scale, putting tens of billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually, is turning the earth into . . . well, a greenhouse. Greenhouses are closed up, keeping in heat and moisture. In a greenhouse, the moisture might form rivulets down the internal windows. On earth, the skies open to dump lakes worth of water down on people.
Alaska’s thawing permafrost is undermining the supports that hold up an elevated section of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, putting in danger the structural integrity of one of the world’s largest oil pipelines. In a worst-case scenario, a rupture of the pipeline would result in an oil spill in a delicate and remote landscape where it would be extremely difficult to clean up. “This is a wake-up call,” said Carl Weimer, of Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit pipeline watchdog group based in Bellingham, Washington. “The implications of this speak to the pipeline’s integrity and the effect climate change is having on pipeline safety in general.”
Gasoline demand in the U.S. rebounded vigorously in the week leading up to the 4th of July, to an average of 9.6 million barrels a day, the highest rate seen since September, 2019, well before the pandemic. This is bad. During the 2020 pandemic year, global carbon dioxide emissions plummeted from 36.6 billion metric tons to a mere 34 billion metric tons. It is the kind of 7% a year reduction we need if we are to avoid the worst effects of the climate emergency. The bad news is that as the post-pandemic economy rebounds, our carbon emissions are shooting right back up. In China, where the government used masking, lockdowns and social distancing to all but defeat the virus by late summer of 2020, carbon dioxide emissions were down less than 2%. As we blithely go back to our gas-guzzling ways, and as brain-dead state governments like that of North Dakota actively attempt to keep unprofitable coal plants in operation, the earth atmosphere on which we are inflicting our 36 billion metric tons of CO2 (sort of like blowing up myriads of atomic bombs up there) is taking revenge on us with rocketing temperatures.
There’s abundant evidence about the climate change problem. On July 7th, writing in the the New York Times Henry Fountain observed: “The extraordinary heat wave that scorched the Pacific Northwest last week would almost certainly not have occurred without global warming, an international team of climate researchers said Wednesday. Temperatures were so extreme — including readings of 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Ore., and a Canadian record of 121 in British Columbia — that the researchers had difficulty saying just how rare the heat wave was. But they estimated that in any given year there was only a 0.1 percent chance of such an intense heat wave occurring.”
The death toll from the record-breaking heatwave that struck the US Pacific north-west last week has risen to nearly 200, with health authorities reporting 116 deaths in Oregon and 78 in Washington state.
But sometimes an engineering solution just won’t be possible. “Some of the adaptation strategies could be that we just relocate the entire community, because for some reason we cannot defend them using in-place structures like sea walls,” says Shirzaei. This is known as managed retreat, and it’s already happening in some cities. San Francisco, for instance, is giving up part of a coastal highway by replacing two lanes with a trail so the land can better hold back rising waters.
June was an exceptionally hot month for several countries in the northern hemisphere. Since Friday June 25, at least 486 sudden deaths have been recorded in Canada’s British Columbia province as temperatures soared to nearly 50C (122F). In the United States, the ongoing heatwave has buckled highways and melted power lines. A so-called “heat dome”, where high pressure traps the heat, is being blamed for the excessively high temperatures.
Climate action advocates reiterated demands for urgent measures to rein in global heating after the World Meteorological Organization warned Thursday that there’s a 40% chance the planet will temporarily hit 1.5°C of warming in the next five years. The WMO, a United Nations agency, also said in its update that there’s a 90% chance at least one year between 2021 and 2025 will be the hottest on the books—a record currently held by 2016.
Over the past five decades, the Arctic has warmed three times faster than the world as a whole, leading to rapid and widespread melting of ice and other far-reaching consequences that are important not only to local communities and ecosystems but to the fate of life on planet Earth.
As thousands of homes remain underwater in what appears to be yet another historic flood event in New South Wales, insurance companies are being inundated with calls from worried customers. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Insurance Council of Australia has declared an insurance catastrophe following more than 5,000 claims over the weekend.
During Friday’s edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered, the panelists repeated a number of false claims about the ongoing blackouts in Texas, both in an attempt to cover up negligence by the state government and private power utilities and to deny the role of climate change in severe weather events. Fox has been waging a sustained propaganda campaign attempting to blame renewable energy sources for the state’s crisis. By contrast, local media outlets in Texas have done a much better job at explaining how the breakdowns across all energy sources — including from fossil fuels, which still normally provide a majority of the state’s electricity — are the result of the state’s failure to adequately winterize its infrastructure, even after prior blackout events. But these facts were entirely left out of the conversation on Outnumbered.
A new study from Australian and Chinese researchers adds weight to scientists’ warnings from recent United Nations reports about how sea levels are expected to rise dangerously in the coming decades because of human activity that’s driving global heating.
In Australia and internationally, climate lawmaking has been going on for more than a decade. The evidence is clear: well designed, binding climate laws do effectively tackle the climate crisis. Anything less may well turn out be an empty promise.
The flash flood in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has killed at least 12 people, with fears for 170 more.
A glacial flood that tore through a Himalayan valley, killing at least 12 people with fears for 170 more, has sharpened concerns about an acceleration in climate change disasters, as rescuers scramble through the hostile terrain to find survivors.
Ammonia does not produce greenhouse gas emissions when burned. Engineers are working on ensuring that it also does not produce nitrogen oxides, which are a pollutant that contributes to ozone. Ammonia can be used in coal-fired electricity plants instead of coal. It is also suitable as a fuel for, e.g., large ships.
Rooted in Germany’s metalworks industries, IG Metall is one of the world’s strongest trade unions. But the need for climate action is forcing it to take a more critical approach to the industries where its members work — and fight for a green transition that creates new kinds of high-paid, fulfilling jobs.
Joe Biden’s thumping victory in the US presidential election is also a thumping victory for the global climate. Biden campaigned unabashedly to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, to pledge net-zero emissions by 2050, and to spend AU$2.4 trillion on new climate initiatives. His election is a game-changer for global climate action.
This past summer, an outbreak occurred as far north as Connecticut, where the state health department issued a rare alert after five residents contracted the deadly V. vulnificus bacteria. Meanwhile, in the Carolinas, rising seas and intensifying storms are washing the virulent strains further inland. Since 2007, when the CDC required states to report Vibrio cases, South Carolina has seen a three-fold increase in its incidence rate and North Carolina’s reported rate soared 1.6 times. By 2019, according to more recent state data, the bacteria had sickened at least 550 people in both states.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction issued a report today concluding that natural disasters caused by the human impact on earth’s climate have doubled in the past twenty years. Human beings have put increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the past 40 years by driving gasoline cars and burning coal and natural gas for electricity and heating and cooling buildings. Using a comprehensive database, UNDRR found that from 2000 through 2019 there have been 7,348 huge disasters.
If you go back and look at the predictions of climate scientists about 2020, you’ll see that they gave a range, of best- and worst-case scenarios. In every instance, it is the worst case scenario that has come to pass. Even the most jaded and alarmed scientists in 2000 were not pessimistic enough. Mother Nature is trying to tell us something but we are not listening.
COVID and our response to it, as well as the new research, have stripped away the remaining excuses not to make this transition as rapidly as possible to flatten, and eventually squash, the