Catastrophe Chronicle – 2021

Catastrophe Chronicle

June 30, 2021
Climate crimes: a new series investigating big oil’s role in the climate crisis
“As the impacts of the climate crisis multiply across the US, from intensified drought and wildfires in the west to stronger hurricanes in the east, a question is echoing ever louder: who should be held responsible? According to an unprecedented number of lawsuits filed by US cities and states that are currently making their way through the court system, the answer is fossil fuel companies.” – The Guardian

June 28, 2021
Glaciers All Over the World Are Shrinking Fast
“Advances in satellite technology reveal ice masses in Alaska and Asia have lost 4% of their volume in less than a decade. Glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska and in Asia’s High Mountain region are melting so fast that the changes can be seen from space, with the shrinkage now measured in years rather than decades. ” – Bloomberg

June 24, 2021
Rising greenhouse gases pose continued threat to Arctic ozone layer
“Summary:A new study shows that extremely low winter temperatures high in the atmosphere over the Arctic are becoming more frequent and more extreme because of climate patterns associated with global warming. The study also shows that those extreme low temperatures are causing reactions among chemicals humans pumped into the air decades ago, leading to greater ozone losses.” – ScienceDaily

June 23, 2021
After Covid-19, could next big killer be heatwaves? Draft UN report paints grim picture for world
“Worst hit will be burgeoning megacities in the developing world…. Research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reports just over 300,000 heat-related deaths worldwide from all causes in 2019. Some 37 per cent of heat-related deaths – just over 100,000 – can be blamed on global warming, according to researchers led by Antonio Gasparrini at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. South China Morning Post

June 22,2021
What if American Democracy Fails the Climate Crisis?
“Covid functioned, in some ways, as a test run for how our political systems would handle the disruptions of climate change. It was a crisis that experts had warned about for years and years. And we didn’t really prepare at all. And then it hit…. No matter what happens, there will be a class of people, all over the planet, who will have the money, the political connections, the insurance to move their houses inland or up the hill or whatever…. You know, who cares if there is a winnowing out of global humanity if Noah’s ark can be made available for the rich?” – The New York Times

June 18, 2021
An acceleration of coastal overtopping around the world
Low-lying coastal regions host nearly 10% of the world’s population…. ‘The frequency of overtopping is accelerating exponentially and will be clearly perceptible as early as 2050, regardless of the climate scenario. By the end of the century, the intensity of the acceleration will depend on the future trajectories of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore the rise in sea-level. In the case of a high emissions scenario, the number of overtopping hours globally could increase fifty-fold compared with current levels,’ Rafaël Almar warns. “As we go along the 21st century, more and more regions will be exposed to overtopping and consequent coastal flooding, especially in the tropics, north-western United States, Scandinavia, and the Far East of Russia.'” – ScienceDaily

June 17, 2021
Earth is trapping ‘unprecedented’ amount of heat, Nasa says
“The Earth is trapping nearly twice as much heat as it did in 2005, according to new research, described as an ‘unprecedented’ increase amid the climate crisis…. The increase was described as ‘alarming.’” – The Guardian

June 17, 2021
Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins
“Global warming has been fueling disasters in the region for years. Now, an early heat wave and severe drought are threatening lives and leaving water in perilously short supply…. And it’s not even summer yet.” – The New York Times

June 16, 2021
UK warned it is unprepared for climate chaos
“The UK is woefully unprepared to deal with changes occurring to the climate, government advisers say…. It warns of more severe heatwaves, especially in big cities, and more intense rainfall, with an increased flood risk across most of the UK. It says homes, infrastructure and services must be made resilient to floods, heat and humid nights. The authors of the report on adaptation, or “climate-proofing”, warn that global warming can cause damage running into tens of billions of pounds over short periods – and they say they’re frustrated at the lack of government action.” – BBC

June 14, 2021
Rocky mountain forests now burning more than any point in past 2,000 years
“Following 2020’s extreme fire season, high-elevation forests in the central Rocky Mountains now are burning more than at any point in the past 2,000 years, according to a new study.” – ScienceDaily

June 12, 2021
Ice Shelf Protecting Critical Glacier Is Rapidly Breaking Up
“That ice shelf has retreated by 12 miles (20 kilometers) between 2017 and 2020, according to a study in Friday’s Science Advances The crumbling shelf was caught on time-lapse video from a European satellite that takes pictures every six days. ‘You can see stuff just tearing apart,’ said study lead author Ian Joughin, a University of Washington glaciologist. “So it almost looks like the speed-up itself is weakening the glacier. … And so far we’ve lost maybe 20% of the main shelf.’ ‘These science results continue to highlight the vulnerability of Antarctica, a major reservoir for potential sea level rise,’ said Twila Moon, a National Snow and Ice Data scientist who wasn’t part of the research. “’gain and again, other research has confirmed how Antarctica evolves in the future will depend on human greenhouse gas emissions.’ – HuffPost

June 11, 2021
The West is the driest it’s been in 1,200 years — raising questions about a livable future
“Trees are dying. Riverbeds are empty. Lake Mead’s water level dropped to its lowest point in history, and Utah’s governor asked residents to pray for rain. Water is increasingly scarce in the Western U.S. — where 72 percent of the region is in ‘severe’ drought, 26 percent is in exceptional drought, and populations are booming…. It’s time to ask, ‘Is this a drought, or is it just the way the hydrology of the Colorado River is going to be?’ said John Entsminger, the general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.”– Yahoo!News

June 10, 2021
António Guterres on climate crisis: ‘We are coming to a point of no return’
“Guterres told the Guardian at the UN headquarters in New York… ‘It’s now clear we are coming to a point of no return…. To spend these trillions of dollars and not use this occasion to reverse the trends and massively invest in the green economy will be an unforgivable lost opportunity.’… But while the G7 countries have agreed to stop the international financing of coal, the world’s wealthiest nations are pouring billions of dollars into developing gas, another fossil fuel, in the global south at a rate four times that of finance supporting wind or solar projects.” – The Guardian

June 9, 2021
No major G7 stock index aligned with Paris climate goals
“New research from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)… reveals that none of the G7’s leading stock indexes are currently aligned with a 1.5°C or 2°C pathway…. In the lead up to the G7 Summit, the analysis shows that the G7 countries’ leading indexes are on an average temperature pathway of 2.95°C…. The report, prepared by CDP and the UN Global Compact on behalf of the SBTi, finds that four of the seven indexes are on dangerous temperature pathways of 3°C or above. Notably, fossil fuels are a key contributor to the emissions of all seven indexes, making up 70% of Canada’s SPTSX 60 3.1°C temperature rating and almost 50% of Italy’s FTSE MIB 2.7°C rating.” – Science Based Targets

June 8, 2021
Climate Change Has Central Americans Fleeing to the U.S.
“Close to one-third of the population of the Northern Triangle is experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. The so-called Northern Triangle is plagued by chronic violence, corrupt governments, and a lack of economic opportunities—factors that send a more than 300,000 El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans fleeing their countries each year, according to estimates by academics at the University of Texas at Austin. Farmers, who in some of these nations make up as much as 30% of the population, are battling another menace: extreme weather. Central America is among the most vulnerable regions on the planet to climate change, despite producing less than 1% of global carbon emissions, according to the World Bank.” – Bloomberg

June 8, 2021
CO₂ Reaches Its Highest Level in More Than 4 Million Years
CO2 level rise since 1958“Based on geological evidence collected over the six decades scientists have been tracking atmospheric CO₂, this year’s peak appears to be the highest in as long as 4.5 million years. This continued accumulation of greenhouse gas is driving dangerous global heating around the world.” – Bloomberg Green

June 7, 2021
We are running out of time to reach deal to save natural world, says UN talks chair
“Negotiators are scheduled to meet in Kunming, China, in October for Cop15, the biggest biodiversity summit in a decade, to reach a hoped-for Paris-style agreement on preventing wildlife extinctions and the human-driven destruction of the planet’s ecosystems. The summit was meant to take place in October last year but has been delayed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.” – The Guardian

June 7, 2021
Climate crisis to shrink G7 economies twice as much as Covid-19, says research
“The G7 countries – the world’s biggest industrialised economies – will lose 8.5% of GDP a year, or nearly $5tn wiped off their economies, within 30 years if temperatures rise by 2.6C, as they are likely to on the basis of government pledges and policies around the world, according to research from Oxfam and the Swiss Re Institute.” – The Guardian

June 7, 2021
‘Dirty deals’ between UK banks and fossil fuel companies surged in 2020, data shows
British lenders Barclays and HSBC made dozens of deals with major fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron in 2020, according to data shared with The Independent that shows the value of transactions was more than in the previous year. Barclays, Europe’s largest fossil fuel financier, provided a total of $5.1 billion (£3.7bn) to ExxonMobil over a series of 13 deals and $1.2bn (£850m) to Shell over a series of six deals in 2020, according to data collated by Reclaim Finance, a group campaigning for an end to financial support for fossil fuels.” – Independent

June 7, 2021
A Million Years of Data Confirms: Monsoons Are Likely to Get Worse
“Scientists have known for years that climate change is disrupting monsoon seasonPast research based on computer models has suggested that the global heating caused by greenhouse gases, and the increased moisture in the warmed atmosphere, will result in rainier summer monsoon seasons and unpredictable, extreme rainfall events. The new paper, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, adds evidence for the theory by looking back over the past million years to give a sense of monsoons to come.” – The New York Times

June 5, 2021
Pollutants From Sri Lanka Shipwreck Likely to Stick Around for Years
“Plastics and chemicals that have washed up on local beaches could make their way into ocean currents, scientists warn. About 11 million metric tons of plastic find their way into oceans every year, causing damage to wildlife habitats, humans and animals, according to a report on ocean pollution last year. If no action is taken, plastic litter will almost triple by 2040 as humanity increases the use of hydrocarbon-based plastics, which don’t degrade naturally. The cumulative amount of plastic in the ocean could reach 600 million tons in 20 years’ time.” – Bloomberg Green

June 4, 2021
World leaders ‘ignoring’ role of destruction of nature in causing pandemics
“Ending the destruction of nature to stop outbreaks at source is more effective and cheaper than responding to them, scientists say….. The razing of forests and hunting of wildlife is increasingly bringing animals and the microbes they harbour into contact with people and livestock. About 70% of new infectious diseases have come from animals, including Covid-19, Sars, bird flu, Ebola and HIV. However, preventing this root cause of spillover is scarcely mentioned by leaders and authorities.” – The Guardian

June 3, 2021
Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite
“Behind closed doors, shipbuilders and miners can speak on behalf of governments while regulating an industry that pollutes as much as all of America’s coal plants…. ‘The I.M.O. is effectively a closed-door gathering of old male sailors,’ said Thom Woodroofe, an analyst who accompanied Mr. de Brum to London. ‘It’s surprising it doesn’t still allow smoking.'” – The New York Times

June 3, 2021
Tipping elements can destabilize each other, leading to climate domino effects
“Under global warming, tipping elements in the Earth system can destabilize each other and eventually lead to climate domino effects. The ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica are potential starting points for tipping cascades, a novel network analysis reveals. The Atlantic overturning circulation would then act as a transmitter, and eventually elements like the Amazon rainforest would be impacted. The consequences for people would reach from sea-level rise to biosphere degradation.” – ScienceDaily

June 3, 2021
Arctic sea ice thinning faster than expected
“Sea ice in the coastal regions of the Arctic may be thinning up to twice as fast as previously thought, according to a new modelling study led by UCL researchers.” – ScienceDaily

June 2, 2021
G7 nations committing billions more to fossil fuel than green energy
In spite of green rhetoric, money has piled into aviation and car industries since start of pandemic, report finds. – The Guardian

June 2, 2021
Record-breaking temperatures more likely in populated tropics
“New University of Arizona-led research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that more record-breaking temperatures will actually occur in the tropics, where there is a large and rapidly growing population. ‘People know tropical forests are important, but here we’re saying they’re even more important because suddenly we realized there are going to be more extreme events and weather over the Amazon rainforest,’ said lead study author Xubin Zeng, director of the UArizona Climate Dynamics and Hydrometeorology Center and a professor of atmospheric sciences. – ScienceDaily

June 1, 2021
If countries implement Paris pledges with cuts to aerosols, millions of lives can be saved
Aerosol reductions that would take place as countries meet climate goals could contribute to global cooling and prevent more than one million annual premature deaths over a decade, according to a new study. – ScienceDaily

May 28, 2021
Biden’s Fossil Fuel Moves Clash With Pledges on Climate Change
“In a paradox worthy of Kafka, ConocoPhillips plans to install ‘chillers’ into the permafrost — which is thawing fast because of climate change — to keep it solid enough to drill for oil, the burning of which will continue to worsen ice melt.” – The New York Times

May 28, 2021
World could hit 1.5C warming threshold in next five years, experts warn: ‘Yet another wake-up call’
“Rapidly rising temperatures mean greater ice melt, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and extreme weather, and greater impacts on food security.” – Independent

May 27, 2021
Brazil aerial photos show miners’ devastation of indigenous people’s land
“Rare and disturbing aerial photographs have laid bare the devastation being inflicted on Brazil’s largest reserve for indigenous people by thousands of wildcat goldminers whose illegal activities have accelerated under the country’s far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro. Activists believe as many as 20,000 garimpeiro prospectors are operating within the Yanomami reserve in northern Brazil using speedboats and light aircraft to penetrate the vast expanse of jungle near the border with Venezuela.” – The Guardian

May 27, 2021
‘Cataclysmic day’ for oil companies sparks climate hope
“A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered Shell to cut carbon emissions from its oil and gas by 45% by 2030. A tiny activist investor group simultaneously won two places on ExxonMobil’s board and Chevron’s management was defeated when investors voted in favour of forcing the group to cut its carbon emissions. Chevron is second on the list of fossil fuel firms with the biggest cumulative carbon emissions, ExxonMobil is third and Shell sixth.” – The Guardian

May 27, 2021
Shell forced to slash global emissions after landmark court ruling
“Activist groups hail ‘historic win’ as Dutch court orders multinational fossil fuel company to cut CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030…. A Shell spokesperson told The Independent the company will appeal against the court’s decision.” – Independent

May 27, 2021
Rapid heating of Indian Ocean worsening cyclones, say scientists
“Rising ocean temperatures caused by climate crisis increasing number of cyclones and intensity of storms, say experts.” – The Guardian

May 27, 2021
Miami’s chief heat officer calls for action on ‘silent killer’ in climate crisis
Heat is the deadliest of all the maladies spurred by the climate crisis, with more than 700 people on average now dying each year from its effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An independent study last year estimated this death toll is actually much higher, at about 5,600 fatalities a year. – The Guardian

May 26, 2021
Climate crisis inflicting huge ‘hidden costs’ on mental health
“The climate crisis is damaging the mental health of hundreds of millions of people around the world but the huge costs are hidden, scientists have warned. Heatwaves are increasing rates of suicide, extreme weather such as floods and wildfires are leaving victims traumatised, and loss of food security, homes and livelihoods is resulting in stress and depression. Anxiety about the future is also harming people’s mental health, especially the young, the scientists said in a report. Mental health conditions already affect a billion people and cost trillions of dollars a year.” – The Guardian

May 20, 2021
Climate disasters ‘caused more internal displacement than war’ in 2020
Intense storms and flooding triggered three times more displacements than violent conflicts did last year, as the number of people internally displaced worldwide hit the highest level on record. There were at least 55 million internally displaced people (IDPs) by the end of last year, according to figures published by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)…. About 20 million IDPs were children aged under 15 and 2.6 million were over 65. Most live in low- and middle-income countries. – The Guardian

May 18, 2021
Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns
“In a sweeping new report, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed road map of what it would take for the world’s nations to slash carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050. That would very likely keep the average global temperature from increasing 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage.” The New York Times

May 17, 2021
Big Agriculture Is Leading to Ecological Collapse
“As of this writing, animal agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions annually. It is also the source of 60 percent of all nitrous oxide and 50 percent of all methane emissions, which have 36 times and 298 times, respectively, the warming potential of carbon dioxide. As industrial animal agriculture has scaled up, agricultural emissions of methane and nitrous oxide have been going in one direction only: up.” – Foreign Policy

May 14, 2021
Climate change threatens one-third of global food production ScienceDaily

May 13, 2021
Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk
A new study that checked American women’s breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water…. PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging, clothing and carpeting water and stain resistant. They are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems.” – The Guardian

May 13, 2021
Antarctic ice sheet retreat could trigger chain reaction
“The Antarctic ice sheet was even more unstable in the past than previously thought, and at times possibly came close to collapse, new research suggests. The findings raise concerns that, in a warmer climate, exposing the land underneath the ice sheet as it retreats will increase rainfall on Antarctica, and this could trigger processes that accelerate further ice loss.” – ScienceDaily

May 10, 2021
The Climate Solution Actually Adding Millions of Tons of CO2 Into the Atmosphere
“New research shows that California’s climate policy created up to 39 million carbon credits that aren’t achieving real carbon savings. But companies can buy these forest offsets to justify polluting more anyway.” ProPublica

May 7, 2021
Brazil’s Amazon: Deforestation rises ahead of dry season
“Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil rose by 43% in April compared to the same month last year, government data has shown…. ‘The Amazon has become an open bar for land grabbers, illegal loggers and miners,’ says Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of Observatorio do Clima, a campaign group. ‘And several attempts are being made by the government and Congress to eliminate legal protection of forests, such as the amnesty for land grabbing and now the licensing bill.'” BBC

Carbon Footprint Misconceptions
Carbon Footprint Misconceptions

April 30, 2021
Satellites show world’s glaciers melting faster than ever
“Glaciers are melting faster, losing 31% more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years earlier, according to three-dimensional satellite measurements of all the world’s mountain glaciers. Scientists blame human-caused climate change. Using 20 years of recently declassified satellite data, scientists calculated that the world’s 220,000 mountain glaciers are losing more than 328 billion tons (298 billion metric tons) of ice and snow per year since 2015, according to a study in Wednesday’s journal Nature. That’s enough melt flowing into the world’s rising oceans to put Switzerland under almost 24 feet (7.2 meters) of water each year.” – APA

May 3, 2021
Brazil’s Amazon has ‘flipped’ and now emits more carbon pollution than it sinks
“An alarming new study found that between 2010 and 2019, the Amazon released 16.6billion tonnes of CO2, while sucking up 13.9bn tonnes….. The destruction of the rainforest has proliferated under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, whose government has weakened environmental protections and pushed development of mining, cattle-ranching and logging. Mr Bolsonaro has frequently played down the Amazon fires, calling evidence produced by his own government showing thousands of blazes a ‘lie.'” – Independent

April 29, 2021
Methane release rapidly increases in the wake of the melting ice sheets
“‘The present-day acceleration of Greenlands ice melt is an analogue to our model. We believe that the future release of methane from below and nearby these ice sheets is likely'” says researcher Pierre-Antoine Dessandier, who conducted this study…. Increasing methane emissions are a major contributor to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, and are responsible for up to one-third of near-term global heating.” ScienceDaily

April 25, 2021
Rapid retreat of world’s glaciers leading to ‘humanitarian crisis’, says top scientist
“”Melt of glaciers in the Himalayas and South America could threaten water supply of hundreds of millions of people,’ says leading glaciologist Prof Jemma Wadham.” – Independent

April 25, 2021
Climate has shifted the axis of the Earth, study finds
“Loss of water on land through ice melting and human-caused factors is changing the movement of the North and South poles…. ‘It tells you how strong this mass change is — it’s so big that it can change the axis of the Earth.’ said Humphrey,
a climate scientist at the University of Zurich who was not involved in this research…. Their analysis revealed large changes in water mass in areas like California, northern Texas, the region around Beijing and northern India, for example – all areas that have been pumping large amounts of groundwater for agricultural use. ‘The ground water contribution is also an important one,’ Humphrey said.” – ScienceDaily

April 20, 2021
As marine life flees to cooler waters due to global warming, history warns this could lead to mass extinction
“The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles. Ecologists have assumed this global pattern has remained stable over recent centuries – until now. Our recent study found the ocean around the equator has already become too hot for many species to survive, and that global warming is responsible. In other words, the global pattern is rapidly changing. And as species flee to cooler water towards the poles, it’s likely to have profound implications for marine ecosystems and human livelihoods. When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 per cent of all marine species died.” – South China Morning Post

April 19, 2021
‘A great deception’: oil giants taken to task over ‘greenwash’ ads
“Some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies have used advertising to ‘greenwash’ their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis, according to files published by the environmental lawyers ClientEarth. They describe the practice as ‘a great deception.’… We’re currently witnessing a great deception, where the companies most responsible for catastrophically heating the planet are spending millions on advertising campaigns about how their business plans are focused on sustainability,’ said Johnny White, one of ClientEarth’s lawyers. We need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but instead of leading a low-carbon transition these companies are putting out advertising which distracts the public and launders their image. – The Guardian

April 19, 2021
Could climate change force a billion people to move?
“Ever-more frequent extreme weather events have in recent years devastated rural regions in developing countries, with millions of people having to start from scratch after losing everything in storms, droughts and floods. Global temperatures could increase more in the next 50 years than in the previous 6,000, according to a study by scientists published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May 2020. It says extreme heat only common to regions such as the Sahara today could eventually blanket 19% of the world’s land by 2070, meaning “1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well”. And with the climate crisis already unfolding, millions of people across the world are already on the move. The UN’s International Organization for Migration estimates that environmental factors may factor into the migration of between 25 million and 1 billion people by 2050.” – Aljazeera

April 16, 2021
Plastic Is Falling From the Sky. But Where’s It Coming From?
“At any given time, 1,100 tons of microplastic are floating over the western US. New modeling shows the surprising sources of the nefarious pollutant. The amount of microplastics in the ocean has been skyrocketing. This new research shows there may now be more microplastic blowing out of the ocean at any given time than there is going into it. Put another way: So much has accumulated in the ocean that the land may now be a net importer of microplastic from the sea. These microplastics aren’t just washing ashore and accumulating on beaches. When waves crash and winds scour the ocean, they launch seawater droplets into the air. These obviously contain salt, but also organic matter and microplastics. “Then the water evaporates, and you’re left just with the aerosols,” or tiny floating bits of particulate matter, says Cornell University researcher Natalie Mahowald, who co-led the work with Brahney. “Classically, we atmospheric scientists have always known that there are sea salts coming in this way,” she continues. But last year, another group of researchers demonstrated this phenomenon with microplastics, showing that they turn up in sea breezes.” – Wired

April 14, 2021
This Glacier in Alaska Is Moving 100 Times Faster Than Normal
“The Muldrow Glacier, on the north side of Mount Denali in Alaska, is undergoing a rare surge. In the past few months the 39-mile-long river of ice has been moving as much as 90 feet a day, 100 times its usual speed.” – The New York Times

April 13, 2021
More floods, fires and cyclones — plan for domino effects on sustainability goals
“:The risk of such hazards increases as the planet warms, and these risks interact across many environmental and social systems. A heatwave can spark forest fires, which lead to air pollution, thus damaging public health. Drought-wrecked harvests can result in food-price volatility, which can increase social unrest or migration. Yet these domino effects are barely considered in most countries’ strategies for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.” – Nature

April 13, 2021
Sea levels are going to rise by at least 20ft. We can do something about it
“There could be two feet of sea level rise by 2040, three feet by 2050, and much more to come…. Two to three feet of sea level rise may not sound like much, but it will transform human societies the world over. In South Florida, where I live, residents will lose access to fresh water. Sewage treatment plants will fail, large areas will persistently flood, and Miami Beach and other barrier islands will be largely abandoned. In China, India, Egypt, and other countries with major river deltas, two to three feet of sea level rise will force the evacuation of tens of millions of people and the loss of vast agricultural lands…. Sea level rise of eight feet would be catastrophic. Absent extensive and very expensive adaptation measures, it would put much of New York and Washington DC, Shanghai and Bangkok, Lagos, Alexandria, and countless other coastal cities underwater. It would submerge South Florida…. there will come a point, sooner than many people realize, when civilization as we know it will greatly weaken or outright collapse. – The Guardian

April 9, 2021
Current Emissions Put the World on Track for Biodiversity Collapse
“A third of endemic species on land and half in the sea will become extinct if greenhouse gas emissions are not reined in…. ‘The risk for such species to be lost forever increases more than 10-fold if we miss the goals of the Paris Agreement,’ said Stella Manes, lead author and a researcher at Federal University.” – Bloomberg

April 9, 2021
Abrupt ice age climate changes behaved like cascading dominoes
“Throughout the last ice age, the climate changed repeatedly and rapidly during so-called Dansgaard-Oeschger events, where Greenland temperatures rose between 5 and 16 degrees Celsius in decades. When certain parts of the climate system changed, other parts of the climate system followed like a series of dominos toppling in succession. Today, sea-ice extent is being rapidly reduced, and it is uncertain whether this part of the climate system can trigger sudden future climate change.” – ScienceDaily

9 April, 2021
The rice of the sea: how a tiny grain could change the way humanity eats
“Ángel León made his name serving innovative seafood. But then he discovered something in the seagrass that could transform our understanding of the sea itself – as a vast garden…. Lab tests hinted at its tremendous potential: gluten-free, high in omega-6 and -9 fatty acids, and contains 50% more protein than rice per grain, according to Aponiente’s research. And all of it growing without freshwater or fertiliser…. The plant’s impact could stretch much further. Capable of capturing carbon 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and described by the WWF as an “incredible tool” in fighting the climate crisis, seagrass absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon annually despite covering just 0.2% of the seabed.” – The Guardian

8 April, 2021
Study calls for urgent climate change action to secure global food supply
“New Curtin University-led research has found climate change will have a substantial impact on global food production and health if no action is taken by consumers, food industries, government, and international bodies. Published in one of the highest-ranking public health journals, the Annual Review of Public Health, the researchers completed a comprehensive 12-month review of published literature on climate change, healthy diet and actions needed to improve nutrition and health around the world. Lead researcher John Curtin Distinguished Emeritus Professor Colin Binns, from the Curtin School of Population Health at Curtin University, said climate change has had a detrimental impact on health and food production for the past 50 years and far more needs to be done to overcome its adverse effects. ‘We estimate that by 2050 world food production will need to increase by 50 per cent to overcome present shortages and meet the needs of the growing population.'” – ScienceDaily

8 April, 2021
Climate Change, Food Supply, and Dietary Guidelines
“Food production is affected by climate change, and, in turn, food production is responsible for 20–30% of greenhouse gases. The food system must increase output as the population increases and must meet nutrition and health needs while simultaneously assisting in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” – Annual Review of Public Health

8 April, 2021
One-third of Antarctic ice shelf area at risk of collapse as planet warms
“More than a third of the Antarctic’s ice shelf area could be at risk of collapsing into the sea if global temperatures reach 4°C above pre-industrial levels, new research has shown…. Dr Ella Gilbert, a research scientist in the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology, said: ‘Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise. When they collapse, it’s like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea.'” –  ScienceDaily

1 April, 2021
Evidence of Antarctic glacier’s tipping point confirmed
Pine Island Glacier is a region of fast-flowing ice draining an area of West Antarctica approximately two thirds the size of the UK. The glacier is a particular cause for concern as it is losing more ice than any other glacier in Antarctica. Currently, Pine Island Glacier together with its neighbouring Thwaites glacier are responsible for about 10% of the ongoing increase in global sea level. Scientists have argued for some time that this region of Antarctica could reach a tipping point and undergo an irreversible retreat from which it could not recover. Such a retreat, once started, could lead to the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to raise global sea level by over three metres.” – ScienceDaily

31 March, 2021
We sampled tap water across the US – and found arsenic, lead and toxic chemicals
“Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, access to safe water for all Americans has been a US government goal. Yet millions of people continue to face serious water quality problems because of contamination, deteriorating infrastructure, and inadequate treatment at water plants. CR [Consumer Reports] and the Guardian selected 120 people from around the US, out of a pool of more than 6,000 volunteers, to test for arsenic, lead, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), and other contaminants. The samples came from water systems that together service more than 19 million people…. More than 35% of the samples had PFAS, potentially toxic “forever chemicals”, at levels above CR’s recommended maximum. About 8% of samples had arsenic, at levels above CR’s recommended maximum. In total, 118 out of 120 samples had detectable levels of lead.” – The Guardian

31 March, 2021
Tropical Forest Destruction Accelerated in 2020
Worldwide, loss of primary old-growth tropical forest, which plays a critical role in keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and in maintaining biodiversity, increased by 12 percent in 2020 from 2019, according to the World Resources Institute, a research group based in Washington that reports annually on the subject. Overall, more than 10 million acres of primary tropical forest was lost in 2020, an area roughly the size of Switzerland. The institute’s analysis said loss of that much forest added more than two and a half billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, or about twice as much as is spewed into the air by cars in the United States every year.” – The New York Times

31 March, 2021
Damage from invasive species ‘trebling every decade’
“Mosquitoes, rats, ragweeds and termites are among the species that have hitched a ride on globalised trade routes, bringing disease, crop destruction and damage to buildings. The scientists calculated the costs at $1.3tn (£944bn) since 1970, and said even this ‘staggering sum’ was likely to be a big underestimate as much damage is unreported. The rapidly growing costs show no sign of slowing down, the researchers said, and are more than 10 times higher than the funding for preventing or dealing with these biological invasions.” – The Guardian

29 March, 2021
Nepal shuts all schools and colleges for 4 days over pollution
“Nepal’s Ministry of Education–during an emergency meeting on Monday–has decided to close all educational institutions till Friday owing to degrading air quality. Due to wildfire in more than 54 districts, the quality of air has deteriorated sharply for the past few days, with thick smog blanketing most of the country. Meteorologists say that it would take a few more days for the air to become clear and breathable. Nepal’s Ministry of Health earlier this week had requested people not to get outside with a sudden dip in Air Quality Index.” – The Free Press Journal

25 March, 2021
Greta Thunberg mocks climate change deniers by citing ‘penis shrinking’ research
“Greta Thunberg has mocked climate change deniers by citing research that claims human penises are getting smaller because of increased pollution…. Her sense of humour won her plaudits among social media users, with one writing: ‘Say goodbye to the climate movement being dominated by women.'” – Independent

25 March, 2021
Fossil fuel industry does U-turn on carbon pricing as Biden digs in on climate action
“The oil and gas industry, directly and indirectly, accounts for 42 per cent of global emissions driving the climate crisis…. Natalie Mebane, policy director with climate action group, said carbon pricing ‘is not a primary solution to the climate crisis…. The American Petroleum Institute and fossil fuel executives have knowingly lied and deceived the public about the devastating impacts that burning coal, oil, and gas has on our climate for decades. Now at the 11th hour, while our communities reel from climate impact after climate impact, they are endorsing a false solution. This is yet another greenwashing tactic wielded by the fossil fuel industry to distract from their disproportionate responsibility for the climate crisis,'” she said. – Independent

24 March, 2021
Deadly heat waves will be common in South Asia, even at 1.5 degrees of warming
“With almost one quarter of the world’s population living in South Asia, the new study underlines the urgency of addressing climate change…. Much of the population live in densely populated cities without regular access to air conditioning, and about 60% perform agricultural work and can’t escape the heat by staying indoors…. A wet bulb temperature of 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered to be the point when labor becomes unsafe, and 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) is the limit to human survivability – when the body can no longer cool itself.” – ScienceDaily

24 March, 2021
Big Banks Are ‘Fueling Climate Chaos’ By Pouring Trillions Into Oil, Gas And Coal
“The world’s 60 biggest banks have provided $3.8 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate agreement in 2016, according to a new report…. Banks provided more financing to oil, gas and coal companies in 2020 than they did in 2016, the year countries signed the Paris climate agreement and committed to rapidly reducing emissions to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius.” – HuffPost

24 March, 2021
Disease outbreaks more likely in deforestation areas, study finds
“Outbreaks of infectious diseases are more likely in areas of deforestation and monoculture plantations, according to a study that suggests epidemics are likely to increase as biodiversity declines…. ‘I was surprised by how clear the pattern was,’ said one of the authors, Serge Morand, of the French National Centre for Scientific Research…. A quarter of global forest loss is driven by the production of commodities such as beef, soy, palm oil and wood fibre. Mining adds to this problem by contaminating rivers and streams that are vital for a resilient ecosystem, carbon sequestration and soil quality…. As the author of a 2016 book called The Next Plague, he says it is only a matter of time until the next pandemic. ‘The risks are very high. It’s just a case of when and where. We need to prepare.'” – The Guardian

22 March, 2021
Arctic methane release due to melting ice is likely to happen again
“Beneath the cold, dark depths of the Arctic ocean sit vast reserves of methane…. The methane can get released into the water above and eventually make its way to the atmosphere. In its gaseous form, methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, warming the Earth about 30 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide.” – ScienceDaily

22 March, 2021
World Water Day: Polluted waters around the world
“About four billion people experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year, and around 1.6 billion people – almost a quarter of the world’s population – have problems accessing a clean, safe water supply, according to the United Nations. While the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals call for water and sanitation for all by 2030, the world body says water scarcity is increasing and more than half the world’s population will be living in water-stressed regions by 2050.” – Aljazeera

18 March, 2021
Six Charts Show How Hard It Is for India to Hit Net Zero by 2050
“The world’s third largest emitter will need to completely overhaul its economy. Top Indian government officials are debating whether to set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” – Bloomberg

17 March 2021
‘Net zero’ emissions not enough to save planet, says Environment Agency
“The UK has a current target to drive down its greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, which requires cutting emissions as much as possible and carrying out actions such as planting trees to offset the impact of any remaining pollution.” – Independent

17 March 2021,
The World’s Three Biggest Coal Users Get Ready to Burn Even More
“The world’s three biggest consumers of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, are getting ready to boost usage so much that it’ll almost be as if the pandemic-induced drop in emissions never happened. U.S. power plants are going to consume 16% more coal this year than in 2020, and then another 3% in 2022, the Energy Information Administration said last week. China and India, which together account for almost two-thirds of demand, have no plans to cut back in the near term.” – Bloomberg

17 March, 2021
Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds
“Dragging heavy nets across seabed disturbs marine sediments, world’s largest carbon sink, scientists report. Fishing boats that trawl the ocean floor release as much carbon dioxide as the entire aviation industry, according to a groundbreaking study. Bottom trawling, a widespread practice in which heavy nets are dragged along the seabed, pumps out 1 gigaton of carbon every year, says the study written by 26 marine biologists, climate experts and economists and published in Nature on Wednesday. – The Guardian

16 March 2021
‘Net zero’ emissions not enough to save planet, says Environment Agency
“The UK has a current target to drive down its greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, which requires cutting emissions as much as possible and carrying out actions such as planting trees to offset the impact of any remaining pollution.” – net zero by 2050

16 March, 2021
One Year Later, We Still Have No Plan to Prevent the Next Pandemic
“And yes, there could soon be another pandemic.” – New York Times

14 March, 2021
‘Inequalities will become even more entrenched’: Why climate change is a feminist issue
“Climate change is already here, and it’s having a disproportionate impact on women around the world…. Figures from the United Nations (UN) suggest that 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change worldwide are women. According to a review of 130 studies by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance in 2016, women are more likely to suffer food insecurity as a result of the climate crisis. Following extreme weather events, women are also more likely to experience mental illness and partner violence…. ‘Women and girls, particularly of colour, need to be at the forefront of decision-making on climate change at the local, regional, national and international level,’ Professor Julie Doyle of the University of Brighton, concludes.” Independent

14 March 2021,
Global Baby Drought of Covid-19 Crisis Risks Population Crunch
“’The longer and more severe the recession, the steeper the fall in birth rates, and the more likely it is that a fall in birth rates becomes a permanent change in family planning,’ said HSBC Holdings Plc economist James Pomeroy….’ Within two decades, 10% to 15% fewer adults may join the workforce, according to Pomeroy’s calculations. He reckons a recent projection by demographers at the Lancet journal for the world’s population to start shrinking in the 2060s already risks looking obsolete, with an inflection a decade sooner.” – Bloomberg

8 March, 2021
Global heating pushes tropical regions towards limits of human livability
A new study suggests that large swaths of the tropics will experience dangerous living and working conditions if global warming isn’t limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius…. That region, a band roughly 3,000 miles from north to south that encircles Earth at the Equator, includes much of South and East Asia, Central America, Central Africa. It is home to more than 3 billion people. Above a wet-bulb temperature of 35 Celsius, the body cannot cool down, as sweat on the skin can no longer evaporate. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can be fatal, even for healthy people. – The Guardian

4 March, 2021
‘Massive’ impact of food waste on climate with nearly a billion tons binned each year, finds UN report
“Around a fifth of all food produced worldwide was thrown away in 2019, study suggests…. That weight roughly equals that 23 million fully-loaded 40-ton trucks, enough bumper-to-bumper to circle the Earth seven times. Researchers said the combined impact of producing just the food that is thrown away, from the fertilisers to the diesel powering the tractors, accounted for around 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions…. Around 70 per cent of all the food wasted is linked to households, with 16 per cent coming from manufacturing, 11 per cent from restaurants, pubs and hotels, and just 3 per cent from supermarkets.” – Independent

About 690 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night
“World hunger is on the rise, affecting 8.9 percent of people globally. From 2018 to 2019, the number of undernourished people grew by 10 million, and there are nearly 60 million more undernourished people now than in 2014…. Conflict is a major driver of hunger: The UN estimates that 122 million of 144 million stunted children live in countries affected by conflict. An estimated 14 million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, yet only 25 percent of severely malnourished children have access to lifesaving treatment.” Action Against Hunger

February 28, 2021
Stark warning: Combating ecosystem collapse from the tropics to the Antarctic
“Professor Depledge CBE, Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter and former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Environment Agency of England and Wales, said:  ‘Our paper is a further wake-up call that shows ecosystems are in varying states of collapse from the tropics to Antarctica. These findings from Australia are a stark warning of what is happening everywhere, and will continue without urgent action. The implications for human health and wellbeing are serious.'” – ScienceDaily

February 25, 2021
Glaciers accelerate in the Getz region of West Antarctica
“Glaciers in West Antarctica are moving more quickly from land into the ocean, contributing to rising global sea levels. A 25-year record of satellite observations has been used to show widespread increases in ice speed across the Getz sector for the first time, with some ice accelerating into the ocean by nearly 50%.” – ScienceDaily

February 25, 2021
Banks And Investors Are Still Pouring Billions Into Coal Companies
“As of January 2021, institutional investors such as pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies around the world held investments worth more than $1 trillion in coal, with U.S. investors collectively holding 58% of the institutional investment in the global coal industry. Commercial banks, meanwhile, have increased their funding of coal companies since the 2016 signing of the Paris climate agreement…. The investment firm Vanguard is the largest institutional investor in coal… followed by BlackRock…. These two U.S.-based investors together are responsible for 17% of the total institutional investment in the world’s coal industry.” – HuffPost

February 25, 2021
Extreme melt on Antarctica’s George VI ice shelf
“Antarctica’s northern George VI Ice Shelf experienced record melting during the 2019-2020 summer season compared to 31 previous summers of dramatically lower melt, a new study found.” – ScienceDaily

February 25, 2021
Gulf Stream System at its weakest in over a millennium
“They found consistent evidence that its slowdown in the 20th century is unprecedented in the past millennium; it is likely linked to human-caused climate change…. The study results suggest that it has been relatively stable until the late 19th century. With the end of the little ice age in about 1850, the ocean currents began to decline, with a second, more drastic decline following since the mid-20th century…. If we continue to drive global warming, the Gulf Stream System will weaken further…. This could bring us dangerously close to the tipping point at which the flow becomes unstable.” – ScienceDaily

February 24, 2021
Cutting down forests: what are the drivers of deforestation? “Every year the world loses around 5 million hectares of forest. 95% of this occurs in the tropics. At least three-quarters of this is driven by agriculture – clearing forests to grow crops, raise livestock and produce products such as paper.1 Beef, soy and palm oil are responsible for 60% of tropical deforestation. If we add the third largest driver – forestry products, which is dominated by paper but also includes timber – then we cover almost three-quarters.” – Our World in DataTropical Deforestation Drivers

February 22, 2021
The Texas Crisis Shows (Again) There’s No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster “We can’t do anything to stop hazards from occurring, although we do seem to be able to make them worse, whether by causing earthquakes through fracking or environmental depredations that make storms more intense. Hazards do not automatically cause disasters. An earthquake in the middle of an uninhabited desert does no harm; a tsunami may affect plants and animals, but if there are no people or buildings on the coast that it hits, we wouldn’t call it a disaster. It’s the interaction between hazard and human settlement or activity that creates a catastrophe.” – Slate

February 20, 2021
Seagrass Is A Vital Weapon Against Climate Change, But We’re Killing It
“This elusive, tiny marine plant is at risk, threatened by human activities such as dredging, scarring from boat propellers and pollution…. Around the world, 58 species of seagrasses hug the coastline of every continent except Antarctica…. Seagrasses occupy less than 0.2% of the seafloor but represent up to 10% of the ocean’s capacity to store carbon, known as “blue carbon.” Although the amount they can store depends on the species and location, some seagrasses can store twice as much carbon as the world’s temperate and tropical forests. They also help keep the water clear by capturing sediments. They cycle nutrients and provide important habitats for fish, crustaceans and shellfish.” – HuffPost

February 19, 2021
The world has lost one-third of its forest, but an end of deforestation is possible “Shortly after the end of the last great ice age – 10,000 years ago – 57% of the world’s habitable land was covered by forest. In the millennia since then a growing demand for agricultural land means we’ve lost one-third of global forests – an area twice the size of the United States. Half of this loss occurred in the last century alone. But it’s possible to end our long history of deforestation: increased crop yields, improved livestock productivity, and technological innovations that allow us to shift away from land-intensive food products gives us the opportunity to bring deforestation to an end and restore some of the forest we have lost.” – Our World In Data

February 18, 2021
Human destruction of nature is ‘senseless and suicidal’, warns UN chief
“’The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses, and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth.’ the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, has said. ‘Making peace with nature, securing its health and building on the critical and undervalued benefits that it provides are key to a prosperous and sustainable future for all…. ‘This report… makes clear our war on nature has left the planet broken.'” – The Guardian

February 15, 2021
Corn belt farmland has lost a third of its carbon-rich soil
“More than one-third of the Corn Belt in the Midwest – nearly 100 million acres – has completely lost its carbon-rich topsoil, according to new research that indicates the U.S. Department of Agricultural has significantly underestimated the true magnitude of farmland erosion.” – ScienceDaily

February 10, 2021
Rapid ice retreat during last deglaciation parallels current melt rates
“Imagine an ice chunk the size of Hawaii disappearing, almost instantaneously, from an ice sheet. That is what happened in the Storfjorden Trough in the Arctic Ocean some 11,000 years ago…. This dramatic break off was preceded by quite a rapid melt of 2.5 kilometres of ice a year. This parallels the current melt rates in Antarctica and Greenland and worries the scientists behind the study…. ‘We see this happening in Antarctica today. The Larsen A (1995), B (2003) and C (2017) break-offs are examples of this process,’ says CAGE-professor and first author Tine Lander Rasmussen.” – ScienceDaily

February 9, 2021
Arctic permafrost releases more CO2 than once believed
“Rising global temperatures are causing frozen Arctic soil –  permafrost – in the northern hemisphere to thaw and release CO2 that has been stored within it for thousands of years. The amount of carbon stored in permafrost is estimated to be four times greater than the combined amount of CO2 emitted by modern humans.” – ScienceDaily

February 9, 2021
‘Invisible killer’: fossil fuels caused 8.7m deaths globally in 2018, research finds
“‘The 8.7m deaths in 2018 represent a “key contributor to the global burden of mortality and disease’, states the study, which is the result of collaboration between scientists at Harvard University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and University College London. The death toll exceeds the combined total of people who die globally each year from smoking tobacco plus those who die of malaria. Scientists have established links between pervasive air pollution from burning fossil fuels and cases of heart diseaserespiratory ailments and even the loss of eyesight. The new estimate of deaths, published in the journal Environmental Research, is higher than other previous attempts to quantify the mortal cost of fossil fuels. A major report by the Lancet in 2019, for example, found 4.2m annual deaths from air pollution coming from dust and wildfire smoke, as well as fossil fuel combustion.” – The Guardian

February 9, 2021
Big Oil Gets to Teach Climate Science in American Classrooms
“Fossil fuel companies are spending big money to make sure their message reaches kids. Science teachers are doing their best to make sure they learn the facts… In Ohio, children may complete a word search sponsored by the state’s oil and gas industry, with answers such as ‘lubricants’ and ‘carbon black,’ while in New Jersey students in grades three through six may receive a workbook titled ‘Natural Gas: Your Invisible Friend.’ The National Energy Education Development Project, backed by 100 oil and gas industry players, promotes lessons on fracking using Jell-O and other fun foods as teaching aids.” – Bloomberg Green

February 9, 2021
State-owned fossil fuel firms planning $1.9tn investments
“In the report, entitled Risky Bet: National Oil Companies in the Energy Transition, the authors made the dilemma clear: ‘Either the world does what’s necessary to limit global warming, or national oil companies can profit from these investments. Both are not possible.’ National oil companies (NOCs) produce about two-thirds of the world’s oil and gas and own about 90% of reserves. They are rarely scrutinised, however, as their state ownership means they can operate secretively, without publishing much detail on their finances or operations, as publicly listed oil companies such as Exxon, BP and Shell must.” – The Guardian

February 8, 2021
Before Himalayan Flood, India Ignored Warnings of Development Risks
“The Himalayas have been warming at an alarming rate for years, melting ice long trapped in glaciers, soil and rocks, elevating the risk of devastating floods and landslides, scientists warned…. But the Indian government overrode the objections of experts and the protests of local residents to blast rocks and build hydroelectric power projects…. Officials said Monday that bodies of 26 victims had been recovered while the search proceeded for nearly 200 missing people. On Sunday a surge of water and debris went roaring down the steep mountain valleys of the Rishiganga river, erasing everything in its path. Most of the victims were workers on the power projects…. The World Bank has warned that climate change could sharply diminish living conditions for up to 800 million people in South Asia. – The New York Times

February 7, 2021
A Virus Similar to COVID-19 was Present in Cambodia as Early as 2010

“The Covid-19 crisis taught the world that keeping immense numbers of small carnivores in captivity is a major health risk…. The data in the figure above indirectly support the hypothesis that the SARS-CoV-2 group actually originated in mainland Southeast Asia. Indeed, human populations in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam appear to be much less affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As pangolins and small carnivore species were frequently stored and sold together in wet markets, a “snowballing effect” due to interspecies viral transmission could be the last step in starting the human Covid-19 pandemic. – The National Interest

February 7, 2021
330,000 Chinese facing drinking water shortages as drought hits south
“Rainfall since October in regions south of Yangtze River down 50 to 80 per cent on normal levels, water ministry says. About 2.4 million people in Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian already affected, concerns growing in Guangxi, Hunan and Yunnan, it says.” – The South China Morning Post

February 6, 2021,
“Diseases that are passed from animals to humans are a ‘predictable consequence’ of damage to ecosystems, researchers said. Opting for a plant-based diet is the best thing we can do to prevent damage to global wildlife, is vital in battling climate change and will reduce the risk of future pandemics, according to a new report…. To stop the way we eat from damaging biodiversity, the three changes proposed were: a mass shift towards plant-based diets; setting aside more land for protected natural habitats; and adopting more sustainable farming methods.” – Independent

February 6, 2021
The Terrifying Warning Lurking in the Earth’s Ancient Rock Record
“Our planet is fickle. When the unseen tug of celestial bodies points Earth toward a new North Star, for instance, the shift in sunlight can dry up the Sahara, or fill it with hippopotamuses. A variation in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere of as little as 0.1% has meant the difference between sweltering Arctic rainforests and a half mile of ice atop Boston. That negligible wisp of the air is carbon dioxide.” – The Atlantic

February 5, 2021
Climate change may have driven the emergence of SARS-CoV-2

“A new study published today in the journal Science of the Total Environment provides the first evidence of a mechanism by which climate change could have played a direct role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.” – ScienceDaily

February 4, 2021
Cacophony of human noise is hurting all marine life, scientists warn
“The damage caused by noise is as harmful as overfishing, pollution and the climate crisis, the scientists said, but is being dangerously overlooked…. The most obvious impact is the link between military sonar and seismic survey detonations and deafness, mass strandings, and deaths of marine mammals…. ‘Underwater noise is a serious concern and it is growing,’ said Prof Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia in Canada, who was not part of the review team. ‘The level of noise marine mammals are exposed to is devastating…. Underwater sound waves are far more violent than sound waves in air.'” – The Guardian

February 4, 2021
‘Historic victory’: France found liable for climate inaction
“A French court on Wednesday held the state responsible for its failure to take sufficient measures to halt climate change, handing a victory to NGOs in a landmark case backed by more than two million citizens. The administrative court in Paris ruled that the government’s failure to convert its commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions into policy made it “responsible … for some of the ecological damage seen”.” – Aljazeera

February 3, 2021
U.S. Cities Are Vastly Undercounting Emissions
“When cities try to figure out the amount of greenhouse gases they emit, they tend to undercount — and not just by a little. The average error is nearly 20 percent, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers suggested that if that error was consistent across all American cities, the resulting annual missed emissions would be nearly one-quarter higher than those of the entire state of California. Nearly three-quarters of the carbon dioxide generated from fossil fuels comes from cities, the researchers said, and urban areas will continue to boom in coming years.” – The New York Times

February 2, 2021
Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade: How loopholes in China’s animal protection law risk new virus outbreaks
“’Apart from banning people in China from eating certain kinds of wild animals, the new regulations and amendments introduced last year still allow wildlife breeding and trading for other purposes including fur, medicine or entertainment,’ said Pei Su, the founder of ACTAsia. ‘Under the new law, frogs and snakes can still be consumed as food or be bred for commercial purposes,’ said Jay Fang from the Green Consumers’ Foundation in Taiwan. ‘The only difference before and after the coronavirus pandemic is that some species have disappeared from the market as a source of food.’” – Independent

February 2, 2021
Sea level will rise faster than previously thought
“There are two main elements to observe when assessing sea level rise. One is the loss of the ice on land and the other is that the sea will expand as it gets warmer. Researchers have constructed a new method of quantifying just how fast the sea will react to warming. Former predictions of sea level have been too conservative, so the sea will likely rise more and faster than previously believed.” – ScienceDaily

February 2, 2021
Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’
“New measures of success needed to avoid catastrophic breakdown, landmark review finds… The world is being put at “extreme risk” by the failure of economics to take account of the rapid depletion of the natural world and needs to find new measures of success to avoid a catastrophic breakdown, a landmark review has concluded.” – The Guardian

January 28, 2021
Marine heatwaves becoming more intense, more frequent
Thinning surface layer of ocean leaves waters more susceptible to extreme warming events
“When thick, the surface layer of the ocean acts as a buffer to extreme marine heating – but a new study shows this ‘mixed layer’ is becoming shallower each year. The thinner it becomes, the easier it is to warm. The new work could explain recent extreme marine heatwaves, and point at a future of more frequent and destructive ocean warming events as global temperatures continue to climb.” – ScienceDaily

January 27, 2021
Doomsday Clock Says World Remains ‘100 Seconds’ From Disaster
“The clock remains set at “100 seconds to midnight” — unchanged from last year, when its hands were moved as close as they had ever been to midnight…. This year, scientists pointed to the woeful response of world leaders to the coronavirus pandemic, the erosion of the public’s faith in science and government institutions, the acceleration of nuclear weapons programs, and the persistent threat of climate change. – The New York Times

January 27, 2021
Shark Populations Are Crashing, With a ‘Very Small Window’ to Avert Disaster

“In just the last half-century, humans have caused a staggering, worldwide drop in the number of sharks and rays that swim the open oceans, scientists have found in the first global assessment of its kind, published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Oceanic sharks and rays have declined by 71 percent since 1970, mainly because of overfishing…. The research offers the latest data point in what is a dismal trajectory for Earth’s biodiversity. From butterflies to elephants, wildlife populations have crashed in recent decades and as many as a million species of animals and plants are at risk of extinction.” – The New York Times

January 27, 2021
Nuclear weapons are finally outlawed, next step is disarmament

“More than 75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world’s first multilateral agreement banning nuclear weapons finally enters into force today…. What the treaty does not do, quite obviously, is magically eliminate the world’s current nuclear arsenal…. The world’s nine nuclear-armed states have more than 13,000 nuclear bombs, with command-and-control networks vulnerable to human error and cyberattacks.” – Aljazeera

January 27,, 2021
Teenagers Are the Most Convinced There’s a Climate Emergency
‘Globally, 69% of people under 18 years old believe climate change is an emergency, compared with 58% of those older than 60, according to a survey of 1.2 million people across 50 countries by the United Nations’ Development Program and the University of Oxford. The study doesn’t include China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.” – Bloomberg Green

January 25, 2021
Global Ice Melt Matches Worst-Case Climate Scenario

“The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” lead author Thomas Slater said in a statement. “Although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most.” Ice melt from sheets and glaciers contributes to global warming and indirectly influences sea level rise, which in turn increases the risk of flooding in coastal communities. Earth’s northern and southern poles are warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. In 2020, a year of record heat, Arctic sea ice extent hovered around the lowest ever for most of the year. ” – Bloomberg Green

January 21, 2021
The Ongoing Collapse of the World’s Aquifers

“When humans over-exploit underground water supplies, the ground collapses like a huge empty water bottle. It’s called subsidence, and it could affect 1.6 billion people by 2040…. The researchers found that, planet-wide, subsidence could threaten 4.6 million square miles of land in the next two decades. While that’s just 8 percent of Earth’s land, humanity tends to build big cities in coastal areas, which are prone to subsidence. So they estimate that, in the end, 1.6 billion people could be affected. ” – Wired

January 21, 2021
Climate change puts hundreds of coastal airports at risk of flooding
“Scientists have found that 269 airports are at risk of coastal flooding now. A temperature rise of 2C – consistent with the Paris Agreement – would lead to 100 airports being below mean sea level and 364 airports at risk of flooding. If global mean temperature rise exceeds this then as many as 572 airports will be at risk by 2100, leading to major disruptions without appropriate adaptation.” – ScienceDaily

January 20, 2021
Limiting air pollution ‘could prevent 50,000 deaths in Europe’
“Limiting air pollution to levels recommended by the World Health Organization could prevent more than 50,000 deaths in Europe annually, according to research. The WHO estimates air pollution kills more than 7 million people each year and is one of the leading causes of sickness and absence from work globally.” – The Guardian

January 14, 2021
‘Carbon-neutrality is a fairy tale’: how the race for renewables is burning Europe’s forests

“Wood pellets are sold as a clean alternative to coal…. In 2015, the Estonian government allowed what is known as clear-cuttinging some parts of the Haanja nature reserve. The practice involves stripping entire areas of mature forest and removing whole tree trunks…. Siim Kuresoo of the non-profit Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) doesn’t just blame the Estonian government. He says there is a direct connection between the subsidised growth in the biomass industry encouraged by EU renewable energy policies and the acceleration of unsustainable Baltic tree-felling.” – The Guardian

January 13, 2021
Earth to reach temperature tipping point in next 20 to 30 years, new study finds

“Earth’s ability to absorb nearly a third of human-caused carbon emissions through plants could be halved within the next two decades at the current rate of warming, according to a new study in Science Advances…. Using more than two decades of data from measurement towers in every major biome across the globe, the team identified a critical temperature tipping point beyond which plants’ ability to capture and store atmospheric carbon — a cumulative effect referred to as the “land carbon sink” — decreases as temperatures continue to rise.” – ScienceDaily

January 13, 2021
Top scientists warn of ‘ghastly future of mass extinction’ and climate disruption

“’The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms – including humanity – is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts,’ they write in a report in Frontiers in Conservation Sciencewhich references more than 150 studies detailing the world’s major environmental challenges…. The report warns that climate-induced mass migrations, more pandemics and conflicts over resources will be inevitable unless urgent action is taken.” – The Guardian

January 12, 2021
Insect apocalypse: Earth losing up to 2 per cent of its bugs every year, say scientists
‘Climate change, insecticides, herbicides, light pollution, invasive species and changes in agriculture and land use are causing massive insect decline…. Insects ‘are absolutely the fabric by which Mother Nature and the tree of life are built,’ said University of Connecticut entomologist David Wagner, lead author in the special package of 12 studies in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences written by 56 scientists from around the globe.” – South China Morning Post

January 11, 2021
Number of people suffering extreme droughts will double
“A global research effort offers the first worldwide view of how climate change could affect water availability and drought severity in the decades to come. By the late 21st century, global land area and population facing extreme droughts could more than double – increasing from 3% during 1976-2005 to 7%-8%, according to Yadu Pokhrel, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in MSU’s College of Engineering, and lead author of the research published in Nature Climate Change.” – ScienceDaily

January 8, 2021
22 disasters, 262 dead, $95bn in damages: US saw record year for climate-driven catastrophes
“The US was battered by a record number of weather and climate-driven disasters in 2020 as extensive wildfires scorched the west, hurricanes in quick succession pummeled the east and extreme heat swept across the heart of the country, a new federal government report has shown.” – The Guardian

January 8, 2021
Atmospheric Carbon Levels to Hit Unwelcome 2021 Milestone

“Global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will be 50% higher this year than before the start of the Industrial Revolution… The majority of the damage has been wrought in the last 30 years as the pace of deforestation and burning of fossil fuels picked up” – Bloomberg Green

January 7, 2021
U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change

“Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data, almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010.” – The New York Times

January 7, 2021
An international team quantified a dramatic biodiversity collapse of up to 95 per cent of native species in the Eastern Mediterranean
‘Most native species are going locally extinct, while introduced tropical species thrive…. Global warming has led to an increase in sea temperatures beyond those temperatures that Mediterranean species can sustain.” ScienceDaily 

January 6, 2021
‘Like bulldozing a national park’: Experts warn bottom-trawling fishing methods are destroying ecosystems

“A report reveals the destructive technique is taking place in 98 per cent of UK marine protected areas for thousands of hours a year…. Devastating ‘bottom-trawling’ fishing practices – which churn up the ocean floor, destroying ‘vital’ seabed ecosystems and releasing carbon deposits – are taking place in 98 per cent of the UK’s marine protected areas, a disturbing report has warned.” – Independent

January 4, 2021
Iran Increases Uranium Enrichment at Key Nuclear Facility
“Bringing it closer to developing the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon within six months.” – New York Times

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