Catastrophe Chronicle

Catastrophe Chronicle
HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD – In 2023, earth's surface temperature crushed the record held by 2016. The Copernicus Climate Chage Service determined that last year was a record 1.48 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average (1850-1900).

`”We are on the deathbed. Humanity cannot survive – the way it has been behaving with nature – for more than fifty years, sixty years, or, at the most, one hundred years, which is nothing. If the Third World War does not happen, then we will be committing a slow suicide. Within a hundred years, we will be gone. Not even a trace will be left.”1 Osho

See also: Osho, “Religion: The Crimes Against Nature and the Environment”

And: Priests & Politicians: The Mafia of the Soul

It is becoming increasingly clear that humanity just doesn’t have the consciousness to prevent the inexorable destruction of the only home it has.

The Unfolding Story – 2024 – Updated Regularly: 

Read 2023 Edition HERE

June 17, 2024
Global spending on nuclear weapons up 13% in record rise
States are on course to spend $100bn a year, driven by a sharp increase in US defence budgets
“All nine of the world’s nuclear armed nations are spending more, Ican added, with China judged to be the second largest spender with a budget of $11.9bn – though Beijing’s total is well below the $51.5bn attributed to the US. Russia is the third largest spender, at $8.3bn, followed by the UK ($8.1bn) and France ($6.1bn), although estimates for authoritarian states or the three countries with undeclared nuclear programmes (India, Pakistan and Israel) are all complicated by a lack of transparency.” – The Guardian

June 13, 2024
Ancient ocean slowdown warns of future climate chaos
Without this circulation system, the tropics would be much hotter and the poles much colder. Changes in this system are linked to significant and abrupt climate change. Furthermore, the oceans serve a critical role in removing anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere…. Sandra Kirtland Turner, vice-chair of UCR’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and first author of the studysaid. ‘If ocean circulation slows, absorption of carbon into the ocean may also slow, amplifying the amount of CO2 that stays in the atmosphere.’… Other studies provide the first evidence that deep ocean circulation, particularly in the North Atlantic, is already starting to slow.” – ScienceDaily

June 11, 2024
Significant increase in nitrous-oxide emissions from human activities, jeopardizing climate goals
The report reveals that nitrous-oxide emissions from human activities have increased by 40 per cent (3 million metric tons of N2O per year) in the past four decades, resulting in accelerating atmospheric accumulation of this potent greenhouse gas. Observed atmospheric growth rates over the past three years (2020-2022) have been higher than any previous observed year since 1980, when reliable measurements began. Like carbon-dioxide (CO2), nitrous-oxide is a long-lived greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.” – ScienceDaily

June 6, 2024
Secretive court system has awarded over $100bn public money to corporations, finds new analysis
Fossil fuel firms are biggest beneficiaries of investor-state dispute settlement courts which have awarded $114bn of public money
“More than $100bn of public money has been awarded to private investors in investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) courts, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet. The controversial arbitration system which allows corporations to sue governments for compensation over decisions they argue affect their profits is largely carried out behind closed doors, with some judgments kept secret. But, according to a global ISDS tracker which launches today, $114bn has so far been paid out of the public purse to investors – about as much as rich nations provided in climate aid in 2022.” – The Guardian

June 6, 2024
We’re Approaching 1.5 Degrees C of Warming, but There’s Still Time to Prevent Disaster
“A new report from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service warns that the last 11 months in a row have all seen global average temperatures above the 1.5 C threshold. And the last 12 have all been characterized by record-breaking monthly heat; temperatures last month hovered about 1.52 degrees above Earth’s preindustrial average. Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday that there’s an 80 percent chance at least one of the next five calendar years will exceed a 1.5 C average. Nearly a decade ago — in 2015 — that chance was nearly zero.” – Scientific American

June 4, 2024
Trump flunks another science test in ‘Fox & Friends’ interview
The former president’s claim that rising sea levels will lead to more “beachfront property” was just as cruel as it was ignorant.
“Donald Trump’s pseudoscientific ramblings have never failed to shock or horrify. Now — from the man who suggested injecting disinfectant to cure Covid-19 and suggested that global warming doesn’t exist because cold temperatures do — we have a new contribution to Trump’s book of fact-free claims.” – MSNBC

May 25, 2024
Big tech has distracted world from existential risk of AI, says top scientist
“Big tech has succeeded in distracting the world from the existential risk to humanity that artificial intelligence still poses, a leading scientist and AI campaigner has warned.” – The Guardian

May 25, 2024
Efforts to draft a pandemic treaty falter as countries disagree on how to respond to next emergency
“A global treaty to fight pandemics like COVID is going to have to wait: After more than two years of negotiations, rich and poor countries have failed — for now — to come up with a plan for how the world might respond to the next pandemic. After COVID-19 triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns, upended economies and killed millions, leaders at the World Health Organization and worldwide vowed to do better in the future. In 2021, member countries asked the U.N. health agency to oversee negotiations to figure out how the world might better share scarce resources and stop future viruses from spreading globally. On Friday, Roland Driece, co-chair of WHO’s negotiating board for the agreement, acknowledged that countries were unable to come up with a draft. WHO had hoped a final draft treaty could be agreed on at its yearly meeting of health ministers starting Monday in Geneva.” – APNews

May 23, 2024
Huge number of deaths linked to superbugs can be avoided, say experts
“Every year 750,000 deaths linked to drug-resistant superbugs could be prevented through better access to clean water and sanitation, infection control and childhood vaccinations, research suggests.” – The Guardian

May 22, 2024
Australian study proves ‘humans are planet’s most frightening predator’
Kangaroos and wallabies fear human ‘super predator’ more than dogs, devils or wolves
“These results greatly strengthen findings from similar studies by Zanette and her collaborators, and others, conducted in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, which show wildlife worldwide fear the human ‘super predator’ far more than lions, leopards, cougars, bears, wolves or dogs.” – Western News

May 22, 2024
We’ve underestimated the ‘Doomsday’ glacier – and the consequences could be devastating
The Thwaites Glacier, dubbed ‘Doomsday’, could trigger a two-foot rise in global sea levels if it melts completely
“A vast Antarctic glacier is more vulnerable to melting than previously thought, according to new research, with potentially devastating consequences for billions of people. The Thwaites Glacier — dubbed the “Doomsday” glacier because of the grave impacts for global sea level rise if it melts — is breaking down “much faster” than expected, according to a peer-reviewed study published Monday in the academic journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”The Guardian

May 17, 2024
Economic damage from climate change six times worse than thought – report
“’There will still be some economic growth happening but by the end of the century people may well be 50% poorer than they would’ve been if it wasn’t for climate change,’ said Adrien Bilal, an economist at Harvard who wrote the paper with Diego Känzig, an economist at Northwestern University…. Bilal said that purchasing power, which is how much people are able to buy with their money, would already be 37% higher than it is now without global heating seen over the past 50 years. This lost wealth will spiral if the climate crisis deepens, comparable to the sort of economic drain often seen during wartime.” – The Guardian

May 16, 2024
DeSantis signs bill wiping climate change references from Florida law
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) declared on X Wednesday that a bill he signed that removes climate change as a priority in state energy policy would restore ‘sanity’ and reject ‘the agenda of the radical green zealots.’ Why it matters: The bill that would also ban offshore wind turbines and bolster natural gas expansion after taking effect on July 1 comes as climate change’s effects are already impacting Florida — notably a dangerous heat wave threatening the state’s south this week that’s already broken temperature records.” – Axios

May 15, 2024
What keeps the world’s top climate scientists up at night?
Hundreds of climate experts expect global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5C (4.5F) above preindustrial levels by 2100. Damian Carrington reports
“They approached every contactable lead author or review editor of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports since 2018. Of the 843 scientists contacted, 380 replied….. Reading the responses, he could feel this ‘overwhelming feeling of frustration and despair and unhappiness at being ignored for so many years, and the difficulty they’re having of living with this information.’” – The Guardian

May 14, 2024
2023 was the hottest summer in two thousand years
“Researchers have found that 2023 was the hottest summer in the Northern Hemisphere in the past two thousand years, almost four degrees warmer than the coldest summer during the same period.” – ScienceDaily

May 13, 2024
Rise of drug-resistant superbugs could make Covid pandemic look ‘minor’, expert warns
Common infections will kill millions if drug resistance through misuse of antibiotics is not curbed, says England’s ex-chief medical officer.” – The Guardian

May 13, 2024
Today’s world: Fastest rate of carbon dioxide rise over the last 50,000 years
“Today’s rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is 10 times faster than at any other point in the past 50,000 years, researchers have found through a detailed chemical analysis of ancient Antarctic ice.”– ScienceDaily

May 11, 2024
Brutal heatwaves and submerged cities: what a 3C world would look like
“Climate scientists have told the Guardian they expect catastrophic levels of global heating. Here’s what that would mean for the planet.” – The Guardian

May 9, 2024
‘The stakes could not be higher’: world is on edge of climate abyss, UN warns
“The world is on the verge of a climate abyss, the UN has warned, in response to a Guardian survey that found that hundreds of the world’s foremost climate experts expect global heating to soar past the international target of 1.5C.” – The Guardian

May 9, 2024
Trump promised to scrap climate laws if US oil bosses donated $1bn – report
Trump promised to 20 executives at Mar-a-Lago dinner to increase oil drilling and reverse pollution rules among other pitches.
“Donald Trump dangled a brazen “deal” in front of some of the top US oil bosses last month, proposing that they give him $1bn for his White House re-election campaign and vowing that once back in office he would instantly tear up Joe Biden’s environmental regulations and prevent any new ones, according to a bombshell new report.” – The Guardian

May 8, 2024
World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target
‘Hopeless and broken’: why the world’s top climate scientists are in despair
“Hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists expect global temperatures to rise to at least 2.5C (4.5F) above preindustrial levels this century, blasting past internationally agreed targets and causing catastrophic consequences for humanity and the planet, an exclusive Guardian survey has revealed…. Many of the scientists envisage a “semi-dystopian” future, with famines, conflicts and mass migration, driven by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms of an intensity and frequency far beyond those that have already struck. Numerous experts said they had been left feeling hopeless, infuriated and scared by the failure of governments to act despite the clear scientific evidence provided.” – The Guardian

May 8, 2024
World Extends Run of Heat Records for 11th Straight Month
“April was the Earth’s 11th consecutive month of record-breaking heat, with warmer weather already sweeping across Asia and a hotter-than-usual summer expected in Europe. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said last month’s temperatures globally were 1.58C (2.8F) above historical averages and marked the hottest April on record.” – Bloomberg

May 3, 2024
Ice shelves fracture under weight of meltwater lakes
“Heavy pooling meltwater can fracture ice, potentially leading to ice shelf collapse.” – ScienceDaily

May 1, 2024
Big oil spent decades sowing doubt about fossil fuel dangers, experts testify
US Senate hearing reviewed report showing sector’s shift from climate denial to ‘deception, disinformation and doublespeak’
“’Big oil had to evolve from denial to duplicity,’ said Sheldon Whitehouse, the Rhode Island Democrat, who chairs the Senate committee. The revelations, based on hundreds of newly subpoenaed documents, illustrate how oil companies worked to greenwash their image while fighting climate policy behind the scenes. ‘Time and again, the biggest oil and gas corporations say one thing for the purposes of public consumption but do something completely different to protect their profits,’ Jamie Raskin, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, testified. ‘Company officials will admit the terrifying reality of their business model behind closed doors but say something entirely different, false and soothing to the public.’” – The Guardian

April 30, 2024
Spikes of flu virus in wastewater raise questions about spread of bird flu
“Spikes of influenza A virus seen in wastewater samples from 59 sewer systems across 18 different states this spring may point to the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus that is currently infecting dairy cattle, a new study suggests. So far, the US Department of Agriculture has reported more than 30 herds of dairy cows infected with H5N1 influenza across nine states…. In a news conference last week, USDA officials admitted that it’s been difficult to get milk producers to let them test for the infection. Recent tests of milk purchased at grocery stores found genetic material from the H5N1 virus in 1 out of 5 samples tested, though further testing showed the virus fragments detected in milk were not infectious.” – CNN

April 29, 2024
THE DROWNING SOUTH – WHERE SEAS ARE RISING AT ALARMING SPEED
“One of the most rapid sea level surges on Earth is besieging the American South, forcing a reckoning for coastal communities across eight U.S. states.” – The Washington Post

April 20, 2024
Carbon Dioxide Levels Have Passed a New Milestone
Currently, carbon dioxide levels are rising at near-record rates. According to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Laboratory earlier this month, last year had the fourth-highest annual rise in global carbon dioxide levels.” – The New York Times

April 19, 2024
UN livestock emissions report seriously distorted our work, say experts
“A flagship UN report on livestock emissions is facing calls for retraction from two key experts it cited who say that the paper “seriously distorted” their work. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) misused their research to underestimate the potential of reduced meat intake to cut agricultural emissions, according to a letter sent to the FAO by the two academics, which the Guardian has seen.” – The Guardian

April 17,  2024
38 trillion dollars in damages each year: World economy already committed to income reduction of 19 % due to climate change
“Even if CO2 emissions were to be drastically cut down starting today, the world economy is already committed to an income reduction of 19% until 2050 due to climate change, a new study finds. These damages are six times larger than the mitigation costs needed to limit global warming to two degrees.” – ScienceDaily

April 14, 2024
‘Grownup’ leaders are pushing us towards catastrophe, says former US climate chief
“Political leaders who present themselves as ‘grownups’ while slowing the pace of climate action are pushing the world towards deeper catastrophe, a former US climate chief has warned.” – The Guardian

April 10, 2024
The rise of eco-anxiety: scientists wake up to the mental-health toll of climate change
“Researchers want to unpick how climate change affects mental health around the world — from lives that are disrupted by catastrophic weather to people who are anxious about the future.” – Nature

April 9, 2o20
Methane from landfills is detectable from space – and driving the climate crisis
“Slashing methane is the most efficient way to slow global warming in our lifetimes. We have the chance – and the obligation – to do so….. But trash, organic waste decomposing in landfills, is the third largest source of human-caused methane pollution in the United States.” – The Guardian

April 9, 2024
Tiny plastic particles are found everywhere
“Microplastic particles can be found in the most remote ocean regions on earth. In Antarctica, pollution levels are even higher than previously assumed.” – ScienceDaily

April 6, 2024
Scientists confirm record highs for three most important heat-trapping gases
Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide climbed to unseen levels in 2023, underlining climate crisis
“The levels of the three most important heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere reached new record highs again last year, US scientists have confirmed, underlining the escalating challenge posed by the climate crisis.” – The Guardian

April 6, 2024
‘Simply mind-boggling’: world record temperature jump in Antarctic raises fears of catastrophe
These events have raised fears that the Antarctic, once thought to be too cold to experience the early impacts of global warming, is now succumbing dramatically and rapidly to the swelling levels of greenhouse gases that humans continue to pump into the atmosphere…. These dangers were highlighted by a team of scientists, led by Will Hobbs of the University of Tasmania, in a paper that was published last week in the Journal of Climate. After examining recent changes in sea ice coverage in Antarctica, the group concluded there had been an ‘abrupt critical transition’ in the continent’s climate that could have repercussions for both local Antarctic ecosystems and the global climate system. ‘The extreme lows in Antarctic sea ice have led researchers to suggest that a regime shift is under way in the Southern Ocean, and we found multiple lines of evidence that support such a shift to a new sea ice state,’ said Hobbs.” – The Guardian

April 5, 2024
Is Bird Flu Coming to People Next? Are We Ready?
“Bird flu outbreaks among dairy cows in multiple states, and at least one infection in farmworker in Texas, have incited fears that the virus may be the next infectious threat to people.” – The New York Times

April 3, 2024
Just 57 companies linked to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions since 2016
Analysis reveals many big producers increased output of fossil fuels and related emissions in seven years after Paris climate deal
“This powerful cohort of state-controlled corporations and shareholder-owned multinationals are the leading drivers of the climate crisis, according to the Carbon Majors Database, which is compiled by world-renowned researchers…. This expansion, which has continued since, runs contrary to a stark warningby the International Energy Agency that no new oil and gas fields can be opened if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating. Climate scientists say global temperatures are rapidly approaching the lower Paris target of 1.5C above the pre-industrial era, with potentially dire consequences for people and the rest of nature.” – The Guardian

March 31, 2024
‘My jaw dropped’: Annie Jacobsen on her scenario for nuclear war
Not long after, the world’s stockpile of nuclear warheads peaked and began to decline rapidly, from 70,000 to just over 12,000 currently, according to the Federation of American Scientists. That is still enough however to reduce the Earth to a radioactive desert, with some warheads left over to make it glow. Meanwhile, the global situation is arguably the most dangerous since the Cuban missile crisis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine grinding on mercilessly and China contemplating following Moscow’s example by making a grab for Taiwan. The danger of nuclear war is as immediate as ever but it has faded from public discourse, which is why Jacobsen, now a journalist and author, felt driven to write her new book, Nuclear War: A Scenario.” – The Guardian

March 29, 2024
International Court Issues First-Ever Decision Enforcing the Right to a Healthy Environment
“The landmark ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will have far reaching implications for communities affected by extreme pollution.” – Inside Climate News

March 27, 2024
Sinking Coastal Lands Will Exacerbate the Flooding from Sea Level Rise in 24 US Cities, New Research Shows
“In the affected cities, as many as 500,000 people and one in every 35 properties could be impacted by the flooding, and communities of color face disproportionate effects.” – Inside Climate News

March 27, 2024
Food matters: Healthy diets increase the economic and physical feasibility of 1.5°C
“A global shift to a healthier, more sustainable diet could be a huge lever to limit global warming to 1.5 C, researchers find. The resulting reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would increase the available carbon budget compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 C, and allow to achieve the same climate outcome with less carbon dioxide removal and less stringent CO2 emissions reductions in the energy system. This would also reduce emission prices, energy prices and food expenditures.” – ScienceDaily

March 26, 2024
Bird flu found in US milk for first time in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico
It marks the first known time avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu, has been found in livestock…. Officials with the Texas Animal Health Commission confirmed the flu virus is the type A H5N1 strain, known for decades to cause outbreaks in birds and to occasionally infect people…. It comes a week after officials in Minnesota announced that goats on a farm where there had been an outbreak of bird flu among poultry were diagnosed with the virus…. Bird flu previously has been reported in 48 different mammal species, Payne noted, adding: “It was probably only a matter of time before avian influenza made its way to ruminants.” – The Guardian

March 24, 2024
The Brutality of Sugar: Debt, Child Marriage and Hysterectomies
“This keeps sugar flowing to companies like Coke and Pepsi…. a New York Times and Fuller Project investigation has found that these brands have also profited from a brutal system of labor that exploits children and leads to the unnecessary sterilization of working-age women. Young girls are pushed into illegal child marriages so they can work alongside their husbands cutting and gathering sugar cane. Instead of receiving wages, they work to pay off advances from their employers — an arrangement that requires them to pay a fee for the privilege of missing work, even to see a doctor. An extreme yet common consequence of this financial entrapment is hysterectomies. Labor brokers loan money for the surgeries, even to resolve ailments as routine as heavy, painful periods. And the women — most of them uneducated — say they have little choice. Hysterectomies keep them working, undistracted by doctor visits or the hardship of menstruating in a field with no access to running water, toilets or shelter. – The New York Times

March 21, 2024
Fossil fuel firms could be tried in US for homicide over climate-related deaths, experts say
“Each year, extreme temperatures take 5 million lives, while 400,000 people die from climate-related hunger and disease and scores perish in floods and wildfires. Now, researchers are promoting a new legal theory that says fossil fuel companies – which, data show, are the leading contributors to planet-heating pollution – could be tried for homicide for climate-related deaths. The radical idea, first proposed last year by consumer advocacy non-profit Public Citizen, may sound far-fetched, but it’s gaining interest from experts and public officials.” – The Guardian

March 19, 2024
Florida Legislators Ban Local Heat Protections for Millions of Outdoor Workers
Advocates characterize the bill as “cruel and inhumane” as the global climate warms…. The state’s 2 million outdoor workers are poised to have less access to accommodations like water and shady rest breaks under a bill the Florida Legislature recently approved.

March 19, 2024
One Thing Most Countries Have in Common: Unsafe Air
“Only 10 countries and territories out of 134 achieved the World Health Organization’s standards for a pervasive form of air pollution last year, according to air quality data compiled by IQAir, a Swiss company.” – The New York Times

March 13, 2024
Drought, soil desiccation cracking, and carbon dioxide emissions: an overlooked feedback loop exacerbating climate change
“Soil stores 80 percent of carbon on earth, yet with increasing cycles of drought, that crucial reservoir is cracking and breaking down, releasing even more greenhouse gases creating an amplified feedback loop that could accelerate climate change.” – ScienceDaily

March 13, 2024
More Top Climate News
The International Monetary Fund estimates that fossil fuel subsidies worldwide totaled $7 trillion last year. Of course, in the IMF’s calculation, the largest subsidy of all… is the indirect subsidy the industry enjoys because the price of their products does not include the environmental and climate costs to society. To address that subsidy, it would require a carbon tax—even more of a political non-starter in the United States than the president’s budget request.” – Inside Climate News

March 13, 2024
THE VICUÑAS AND THE $9,000 SWEATER
“Thirty years of providing the world’s finest wool to the fashion house Loro Piana has done almost nothing for the Indigenous people of the Peruvian Andes.” – Bloomberg

March 12, 2024
The Take: Why is Mexico City running out of water?
“Experts say the city of 21 million could run out of water in a matter of months.” – Aljazeera

March 9, 2024
The Obscene Energy Demands of A.I.
“How can the world reach net zero if it keeps inventing new ways to consume energy? if Google were to integrate generative A.I. into every search, its electricity use would rise to something like twenty-nine billion kilowatt-hours per year. This is more than is consumed by many countries, including Kenya, Guatemala, and Croatia. ‘I think we still don’t appreciate the energy needs of this technology,’ Altman said at a public appearance in Davos. He didn’t see how these needs could be met, he went on, ‘without a breakthrough.’ He added, ‘We need fusion or we need, like, radically cheaper solar plus storage, or something, at massive scale—like, a scale that no one is really planning for.'” – The New Yorker

March 8, 2024
The SEC’s new climate rules were a missed opportunity to accelerate corporate action
“Unfortunately, the federal agency watered down the regulations amid intense lobbying from business interests, undermining their ultimate effectiveness—and missing the best shot the US may have for some time at forcing companies to reckon with the rising dangers of a warming world.” – MIT Technology Review

March 4, 2024
Fury after Exxon chief says public to blame for climate failures
“The real issue, Woods said, is that the clean-energy transition may prove too expensive for consumers’ liking. ‘The dirty secret nobody talks about is how much all this is going to cost and who’s willing to pay for it,’ he told Fortune last week. “’he people who are generating those emissions need to be aware of and pay the price for generating those emissions. That is ultimately how you solve the problem.’… Experts say Woods’s rhetoric is part of a larger attempt to skirt climate accountability. No new major oil and gas infrastructure can be built if the world is to avoid breaching agreed temperature limits but Exxon, along with other major oil companies currently basking in record profits, is pushing ahead with aggressive fossil-fuel expansion plans. ‘It’s like a drug lord blaming everyone but himself for drug problems,’ said Gernot Wagner, a climate economist at Columbia business school…. Troves of internal documents and analyses have over the past decade established that Exxon knew of the dangers of global heating as far back as the 1970s, but forcefully and successfully worked to sow doubt about the climate crisis and stymie action to clamp down on fossil fuel usage. The revelations have inspired litigation against Exxon across the US.” – The Guardian

March 1, 2024
More than a billion people obese worldwide, research suggests
“Global estimates published in The Lancet show: This includes about 880 million adults and 159 million children, according to 2022 data. The highest rates are in Tonga and American Samoa for women and American Samoa and Nauru for men, with some 70-80% of adults living with obesity. Out of some 190 countries, the UK ranks 55th highest for men and 87th for women.” – BBC

February 29, 2024
Texas wildfires cause chaos as largest blaze in state history scorches 1.2m acres
“Fueled by parched grasses, strong winds and abnormally warm temperatures, the fires have scorched more than 1.2 million acres since last Sunday, according to the Texas A&M forest service, leaving a desolate landscape of charred prairie, dead cattle and burned-out homes in their wake.” – The Guardian

February 26, 2024
New Research from Antarctica Affirms the Threat of the ‘Doomsday Glacier,’ but Funding to Keep Studying It Is Running Out
“In a worst case scenario, rising global temperatures and marine heatwaves could melt enough of the Thwaites Glacier and other Antarctic ice to raise sea levels 10 feet by the early 2100s.” – Inside Climate News

February 24, 2024
Barriers against Antarctic ice melt disappearing at the double
“Undersea anchors of ice that help prevent Antarctica’s land ice from slipping into the ocean are shrinking at more than twice the rate compared with 50 years ago, research shows. More than a third of these frozen moorings, known as pinning points, have decreased in size since the turn of the century, experts say. Further deterioration of pinning points, which hold in place the floating ice sheets that fortify Antarctica’s land ice, would accelerate the continent’s contribution to rising sea levels, scientists warn.” – ScienceDaily

February 22, 2024
Carbon emissions from the destruction of mangrove forests predicted to increase by 50,000% by the end of the century
“Mangroves in regions such as southern India, southeastern China, Singapore and eastern Australia are particularly affected…. Over the past 20 years, a substantial number of mangrove forests have been replaced by agriculture, aquaculture and urban land management, leading global mangrove carbon stocks to decline by 158.4 million tonnes — releasing the same level of carbon emissions as flying the entire US population from New York to London.” – ScienceDaily

February 22, 2024
Disasters Forced 2.5 Million Americans From Their Homes Last Year
“More than a third said they had experienced at least some food shortage in the first month after being displaced. More than half reported that they had interacted with someone who seemed to be trying to defraud them. And more than a third said they had been displaced for longer than a month. The United States experienced 28 disasters last year that each cost at least $1 billion. But until recently, the number of Americans displaced by those disasters has been hard to estimate because of the nation’s patchwork response system.” – The New York Times

February 18, 2024
World’s largest oil companies have made $281bn profit since invasion of Ukraine
“Global Witness says the five ‘super-majors’ are the ‘main winners of the war’ while many struggle to heat their homes. The world’s five largest listed oil companies have made profits of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to dramatic increases in energy prices and household bills.” – The Guardian

February 12, 2024
Revealed: the 1,200 big methane leaks from waste dumps trashing the planet
“The huge leaks of the potent greenhouse gas will doom climate targets, experts say, but stemming them would rapidly reduce global heating…. Landfills emit methane when organic waste such as food scraps, wood, card, paper and garden waste decompose in the absence of oxygen. Methane, also called natural gas, traps 86 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over 20 years, making it a critical target for climate action. Scientists have said emissions from unmanaged landfills could double by 2050 as urban populations grow, blowing the chance of avoiding climate catastrophe.” – Guardian

February 9, 2024
Atlantic Ocean circulation nearing ‘devastating’ tipping point, study finds
“Collapse in system of currents that helps regulate global climate would be at such speed that adaptation would be impossible…. They found Amoc is already on track towards an abrupt shift, which has not happened for more than 10,000 years and would have dire implications for large parts of the world.” – The Guardian

February 8, 2024
Ice cores provide first documentation of rapid Antarctic ice loss in the past
The first direct evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet shrunk suddenly and dramatically at the end of the Last Ice Age, around eight thousand years ago. The evidence, contained within an ice core, shows that in one location the ice sheet thinned by 450 metres — that’s more than the height of the Empire State Building — in just under 200 years. This is the first evidence anywhere in Antarctica for such a fast loss of ice. Scientists are worried that today’s rising temperatures might destabilize parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the future, potentially passing a tipping point and inducing a runaway collapse.” – ScienceDaily

January 30, 2024
‘Smoking gun proof’: fossil fuel industry knew of climate danger as early as 1954, documents show
“They contain smoking gun proof that by at least 1954, the fossil fuel industry was on notice about the potential for its products to disrupt Earth’s climate on a scale significant to human civilization,” said Geoffrey Supran, an expert in historic climate disinformation at the University of Miami. ‘These findings are a startling confirmation that big oil has had its finger on the pulse of academic climate science for 70 years – for twice my lifetime – and a reminder that it continues to do so to this day. They make a mockery of the oil industry’s denial of basic climate science decades later.’” – The Guardian

January 29, 2024
Move to sustainable food systems could bring $10tn benefits a year, study finds
“It found that existing food systems destroyed more value than they created due to hidden environmental and medical costs, in effect, borrowing from the future to take profits today. Food systems drive a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, putting the world on course for 2.7C of warming by the end of the century. This creates a vicious cycle, as higher temperatures bring more extreme weather and greater damage to harvests. Food insecurity also puts a burden on medical systems. The study predicted a business-as-usual approach would leave 640 million people underweight by 2050, while obesity would increase by 70%.” – The Guardian

January 28, 2024
With the World Stumbling Past 1.5 Degrees of Warming, Scientists Warn Climate Shocks Could Trigger Unrest and Authoritarian Backlash
“Most of the public seems unaware that global temperatures will soon push past the target to which the U.N. hoped to limit warming, but researchers see social and psychological crises brewing.” – Inside Climate News

January 25, 2024
Canada’s oil sands spew massive amounts of unmonitored polluting gases
“The sands release more of these pollution-causing gases than megacities such as Los Angeles, California, and about the same as the rest of Canada’s human-generated sources combined — including emissions from motor traffic and all other industries.” – Nature

January 24, 2024
Achieving sustainable urban growth on a global scale
“Urban areas contribute up to 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, urban areas globally will either double or triple, and the raw materials needed to build future cities is more than the world can sustainably provide…. ‘Our planet’s future is an urban future, and our systems of international administration must reflect that,’ the authors, Seto and co-authors Jessica Espey, Michael Keith, Susan Parnell, and Tim Schwanen, stated.” – ScienceDaily

January 24, 2024
Paper provides a clearer picture of severe hydro hazards
“Over the last two decades an estimated three billion people have been affected by water-related natural disasters such as droughts and floods. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of these hydro hazards, with some prognosticators estimating there will be upwards of $3.7 trillion in water-related damage over the next 30 years in the U.S. alone. Beyond damaging homes and infrastructure, severe wet and dry spells will also devastate crops and deplete water reservoirs.” – ScienceDaily

January 22, 2024
2025: A Civilizational Tipping Point
“There is a growing body of evidence that the 2024–2030 period will present us with a critical juncture, upending a centuries-long era of economic growth. No, it will have nothing to do with climate change or novel viruses: those two will come somewhat later. Missing entirely from mainstream discourse there is a greatly overlooked side of our predicament, which will set a nice little ‘game of musical chairs’ in motion most probably around 2025. Fasten your seat belts, while you can.” – Medium

January 22, 2024
Ancient zombie viruses in melting permafrost could cause new pandemic, scientists warn
“The effects of disturbing millennia-old viruses could be ‘calamitous’, scientists warn…. ‘At the moment, analyses of pandemic threats focus on diseases that might emerge in southern regions and then spread north,’ Prof Claverie, of Aix-Marseille University in France, told the paper. ‘By contrast, little attention has been given to an outbreak that might emerge in the far north and then travel south – and that is an oversight, I believe.’… “Huge mining operations are being planned, and are going to drive vast holes into the deep permafrost to extract oil and ores,’ he said. ‘Those operations will release vast amounts of pathogens that still thrive there. Miners will walk in and breathe the viruses. The effects could be calamitous.’” – Independent

January 17, 2024
Melting Greenland Has Lost 1 Trillion Tons More Ice Than Thought
“The Greenland ice sheet, an expanse of frozen water about three times the size of Texas, is disappearing much faster than previously thought, according to new research, and the difference may already be affecting the distribution of heat around the world. The mass of ice lost between 1985 and 2022 has been underestimated by as much as 20%, or more than 1,000 gigatons (1 trillion metric tons).” – Bloomberg

January 17, 2024
Climate change isn’t producing expected increase in atmospheric moisture over dry regions
“The findings are particularly puzzling because climate models have been predicting that the atmosphere will become more moist, even over dry regions. If the atmosphere is drier than anticipated, arid and semi-arid regions may be even more vulnerable to future wildfires and extreme heat than projected.” – ScienceDaily

January 14, 2024
PR giant Edelman worked with Koch network, despite climate pledges
Move by world’s largest public relations company, uncovered by tax records, alarms climate advocates…. The PR giant has made numerous climate declarations over the past decade, including making a pledge to eschew projects promoting climate denial. Partnering with a part of the Koch network, which has long worked to sow climate doubt, calls those pledges into question, said Duncan Meisel, the executive director of Clean Creatives, a non-profit pushing creative agencies to cut ties with fossil fuel polluters. ‘A relationship with the Koch network … puts them totally out of step with their stated climate commitments,’ said Meisel.”  The Guardian

January 12, 2024
Earth boiled in 2023 — will it happen again in 2024?
“The final numbers are in, and 2023 is officially the hottest year on record — shattering previous records, as well as the expectations of many climate scientists. And researchers say that 2024 could be even worse.” – Nature

January 12, 2024
MIT Technology Review: The big story – The Atlantic’s vital currents could collapse. Scientists are racing to understand the dangers.
“If that happened, it would likely be a climate disaster. It could freeze the far north of Europe, driving down average winter temperatures by more than 10 °C. It might cut crop production and incomes across the continent as much of the land becomes cooler and drier. Sea levels could rise as much as a foot on the Eastern Seaboard, flooding homes and businesses up and down the coast. And the summer monsoons over major parts of Africa and Asia might weaken, raising the odds of droughts and famines that could leave untold numbers without adequate food or water. It would be a ‘global catastrophe,’ says Stefan Rahmstorf at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.” – MIT Technology Review

January 11, 2024
2023 was the hottest in 125,000 years. But it won’t be the last
“However, with warming trends predicted, it may turn out to be merely an average year rather than an anomaly.” – South China Morning Post

January 11, 2024
Oceans break heat records five years in a row
“The heat stored in the world’s oceans increased by the greatest margin ever in 2023…. Cheng Lijing, an oceanographer at the IAP and the lead author of the paper, says that the findings reflect the growing amount of human-generated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ‘The oceans store 90% of the excess heat in the Earth’s system. As long as the level of greenhouse gases remains relatively high in the atmosphere, the oceans will keep absorbing energy, leading to the increase of the heat in the oceans.’  He calls ocean heat content a ‘particularly robust indicator’ of global climate change because it is much less affected by natural fluctuations in Earth’s system than are air temperatures and sea surface temperatures.” – Nature

January 11, 2024
Record heat in 2023 worsened global droughts, floods and wildfires
“Record heat across the world profoundly impacted the global water cycle in 2023, contributing to severe storms, floods, megadroughts and bushfires, new research shows.” – ScienceDaily

January 10, 2024
Bird flu confirmed among mass sub-Antarctic seal deaths as virus continues global spread
Marco Falchieri, a scientist in the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency’s (APHA) influenza and avian virology team said, ‘My worst fear is an adaptive mutation to mammals, which we are not seeing in these new samples, but we need to keep monitoring,’ he said. An adaptive mutation, he added, ‘could mean it becomes a mammalian-adapted virus, and consequently increases risk for humans too.'” – The Guardian

January 9, 2024
Emissions from Israel’s war in Gaza have ‘immense’ effect on climate catastrophe
“The planet-warming emissions generated during the first two months of the war in Gaza were greater than the annual carbon footprint of more than 20 of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations, new research reveals. The vast majority (99%) of the 281,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2 equivalent) estimated to have been generated in the first 60 days following the 7 October Hamas attack can be attributed to Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers in the UK and US.” – The Guardian

January 9, 2024
The climate costs of war and militaries can no longer be ignored
“More than 5% of global emissions are linked to conflict or militaries but countries continue to hide the true scale…. A proportion of those carbon costs come from military activities. For these, understanding is hampered by the longstanding culture of domestic environmental exceptionalism enjoyed by militaries, and how at the US’s insistence, this was translated into UN climate agreements.” – The Guardian

January 8, 2024
Global heating will pass 1.5C threshold this year, top ex-Nasa scientist says
“The internationally agreed threshold to prevent the Earth from spiraling into a new superheated era will be ‘passed for all practical purposes’ during 2024, the man known as the godfather of climate science has warned. James Hansen, the former Nasa scientist credited for alerting the world to the dangers of climate change in the 1980s, said that global heating caused by the burning of fossil fuels, amplified by the naturally reoccurring El Niño climatic event, will by May push temperatures to as much as 1.7C (3F) above the average experienced before industrialization.” – The Guardian

January 2, 2023
From NYC to DC and beyond, cities on the East Coast are sinking
“Major cities on the U.S. Atlantic coast are sinking, in some cases as much as 5 millimeters per year — a decline at the ocean’s edge that well outpaces global sea level rise, confirms new research. Particularly hard hit population centers such as New York City and Long Island, Baltimore, and Virginia Beach and Norfolk are seeing areas of rapid ‘subsidence,’ or sinking land, alongside more slowly sinking or relatively stable ground, increasing the risk to roadways, runways, building foundations, rail lines, and pipelines, according to a new study.” – ScienceDaily

January 2, 2023
Reducing Inequality Is Essential in Tackling Climate Crisis, Researchers Argue
“Promoting climate-friendly behaviors will be more successful in societies where everyone has the capacity: financially, physically, and time-wise, to make changes.” – ScienceDaily

January 1, 2023
Big five oil companies to reward shareholders with record payouts
“The world’s five largest listed oil companies are expected to reward their investors with record payouts of more than $100bn (£79bn) for 2023 against a backdrop of growing public outrage at fossil fuel profits.” – The Guardian

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