A 1.5°C limit on average global warming is the long-term, “aspirational” goal in the Paris Agreement. But more and more research is showing that a 1.5 target is essential, not optional - and that it may not take unproven, potentially dangerous carbon capture techniques to get there.
Standard Climate Models May Understate GHGs from Permafrost Melt by 14%
Standard climate models may be underestimating greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost by missing one of the key pathways for carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, according to new research published earlier this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Climate Models for Upcoming UN Report Show ‘Incredibly Alarming’ Risk of Runaway Warming
The climate community and the general public are in for some “incredibly alarming” worst-case scenarios as modelling for the United Nations’ next major climate risk assessment takes shape, with about a quarter of the new research showing a sharp increase in the amount of global warming that would be expect if atmospheric carbon levels doubled from pre-industrial levels.
417.1 ppm: Atmospheric CO2 Levels Reach Three-Million-Year High
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a three-million-year high, at 417.1 parts per million (ppm), despite the 17% drop in daily emissions brought about by the coronavirus lockdown, according to annual measurements at the atmospheric research lab at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
Countries Are ‘Way Off Track’ from Meeting Climate Targets, Latest UN Assessment Warns
Ocean and surface temperatures last year were the highest on record, average global temperature was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, the Earth lost more ice than it gained for a 32nd year in a row, and sea levels hit an all-time high, prompting United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to declare humanity “way off track” from getting climate change under control in his foreword to the World Meteorological Organization’s latest annual climate assessment.
‘Rare, Happy News’ from Climatologists: Worst-Case Warming Now ‘Increasingly Implausible’
It doesn’t make the climate crisis any less urgent, but there’s a growing view among scientists that humanity’s decarbonization efforts so far have dodged the worst climate outcomes projected in the last global assessment report in 2014.
Researchers Predict Near-Record Annual Increase in Atmospheric CO2
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are on track for one of their largest annual increases since record-keeping began in 1958, driven in part by the bushfire calamity sweeping Australia, the UK Met Office reported last week.
WMO Declares 2010s the Warmest Decade on Record as Climate Impacts Accelerate
The 2010s are almost certain to take their place as the warmest decade on record, and 2015-2019 as the five-year span with the highest average temperatures ever, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports, in a dire provisional statement released Tuesday at the beginning of this year’s United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid.
Nine Climate Tipping Points Could Pose ‘Existential Threat to Civilization’, Scientists Warn
With this year’s United Nations climate conference set to kick off in Madrid Monday morning, the Earth is in danger of crossing as many as nine crucial climate “tipping points” that represent an “existential threat to civilization”, scientists warn in a commentary published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Record GHG Concentrations Prompt Call for Drastic Action to Reduce Emissions
A pair of alarming reports from United Nations agencies shows greenhouse gas emissions at record levels and rising at a faster annual rate, meaning that efforts to counter the climate crisis must increase three- to five-fold to avoid a world of 3.2°C average global warming in less than 100 years.
Warming Will Produce Rapid Sea Level Rise, Annual ‘100-Year’ Storms, Declining Fish Stocks, Shrinking Glaciers Without Fast Climate Action: IPCC
The world’s oceans will rise nearly one metre (three feet) by 2100, 100-year coastal storms and flooding will happen annually, fish stocks will see serious declines, snow and ice cover will diminish, and killer storms will get wetter and more powerful without fast action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, concludes the latest science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last week after a contentious negotiating session in Monaco.
‘Climate is Fast Outpacing Us’, Hitting ‘Sooner and Faster’ Than Expected, Agencies Warn UN Summit Delegates
The world’s leading international climate science agencies are predicting 2.9 to 3.4°C average global warming by 2100 based on governments’ current climate commitments, “a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe,” The Guardian reports.
New Models Put Warming at 6.5 °to 7.0°C by 2100 Without Fast Action to Cut Carbon
Average global warming could hit 6.5° to 7.0°C by 2100, up to two degrees higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest scenarios, if humanity doesn’t get its greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to new modelling by two leading research agencies in France.
The 12-Year Target: How a 2030 Goal Became a Proxy for Deeper Decarbonization (and More Detailed Science)
The oft-cited 2030 deadline to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45% is actually a stepping stone to the even more significant goal of total decarbonization by mid-century, InsideClimate News reports, in a review of the science behind a target date that has been cited frequently in the race for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
IPCC Land Report Paints Stark Picture for Food Supplies, Charts Course for Immediate Action
Global food supplies, species and ecosystem diversity, and the health and safety of populations are all in peril without immediate, wide-ranging shifts in land use, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in a landmark report released in Geneva last week.
Scientists Debate Whether Revised Temperature History Reduces Available Carbon Budget
A recent revision of sea surface temperature records from the mid-20th century to the present has scientists and policy-makers considering whether the carbon budget to keep average global warming to 1.5°C should be revised downwards by as much as a third—and questioning researchers whether the update is relevant to the climate impact communities actually experience on the front lines of the crisis.
Saudis Lead Fossil States to Block 1.5°C Report, Declare Island States a ‘Disposable Global Zone’
A landmark report on 1.5°C pathways was forever dropped from formal consideration in United Nations climate negotiations, and Climate Action Network-International scorched countries for their “weak political positions on responding to the climate crisis,” as mid-year negotiations to implement and push beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement wrapped up yesterday in Bonn.
Saudi Arabia Obstructs UN Adoption of IPCC’s 1.5°C Pathway Report
Countries participating in mid-year climate negotiations in Bonn this month are at risk of excluding the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways from their consideration of climate science, with alarmed health professionals calling out Saudi Arabia for its continuing refusal to accept the conclusions in the October, 2018 special report.
Massive Arctic Warming Can Still Be Averted by Rapid GHG Cuts, Carbon Brief Concludes
Climate analysts are taking a second look at a key paragraph in a widely-reported study, published last week by the UN Environment Program, that appears to have overstepped with the claim that Arctic warming between 5.0 and 9.0°C is locked in and inevitable by 2080.
Atmospheric Methane Increases Could ‘Negate or Reverse Progress’ on CO2 Cuts
Increases in atmospheric methane between 2014 and 2017 could put the targets in the Paris Agreement out of reach, and point to the “urgent need to reduce methane emissions, especially from the fossil fuel industry,” according to a new research article published last week by the American Geophysical Union.
Average Warming Could Temporarily Exceed 1.5°C in Next Five Years
Four major meteorological agencies have now confirmed that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, with the UK Met Office calculating a 10% chance that average global warming will temporarily exceed the critical 1.5°C threshold in at least one of the next five years.
The Hard Work Starts Now as COP Delivers Incomplete Rule Book, Low Ambition
After two weeks of marathon negotiations ended with a deeply equivocal, incremental response to the global climate crisis, COP 24 in Katowice, Poland ended where it began: with a wide spectrum of delegates and other climate specialists declaring that the hard work begins now.
COP Refuses to ‘Welcome’ 1.5°C Report as Major Negotiation Points Bog Down
As the first week of this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) drew to a close, debate ground down Saturday night on a decision that should have been easy—whether the world’s governments should actually “welcome” the landmark 1.5°C pathways report they commissioned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2015. With petro-states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, and the United States obstructing the decision, delegates were left to simply “note” the report’s arrival after chewing up valuable negotiating time on a matter of semantics.
CO2 Emissions in Richest Countries Set to Show First Increase in Five Years
Carbon dioxide emissions in the world’s richest countries are on track to increase slightly this year after five years of reductions, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) is pointing to oil and gas consumption as the main culprit.
Climate Emergency, Community Devastation ‘Redefine the Politics’ as COP 24 Begins
The annual United Nations climate change conference (COP 24) got under way yesterday in Katowice, Poland, amid urgent calls for action in response to a year of back-to-back climate emergencies and repeat warnings that the window of opportunity for pathways to 1.5°C average global warming is just a dozen years from closing.
Wider Emissions Gap Shows ‘Countries Are Not Doing Enough’, UN Agency Reports
The gap between countries’ greenhouse gas reduction plans and their promises under the Paris Agreement is even wider than previously believed, according to a major report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ahead of the annual UN climate conference opening next week in Katowice, Poland.
IEA Sees Signs of Energy Transition, But Backtracks on Paris-Compliant Modelling
An end to new fossil plant construction, a coal industry already past its production peak, a surge in natural gas use, and up to a billion electric vehicles on the road by 2040, with gasoline demand peaking in 2025, are among the key findings and projections in the annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) released this week by the International Energy Agency.
1.5°C Is Doable, but Just a Dozen Years Left to Get on a Low-Carbon Pathway
Humanity has a dozen years to hold off the accelerated risks of extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, drought, sea level rise, and extensive poverty that would result from 2.0°C average global warming by pursuing a tough but doable pathway to 1.5°C, according to a long-awaited science report released in Incheon, South Korea this morning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Reaction: IPCC Report Combines Urgency and Hope, but ‘Every 0.1° is a Choice Between Life or Death’
About 40 representatives of climate, energy, international development, and other groups affiliated with Climate Action Network-International were monitoring the negotiations in Incheon, South Korea. Here are some of their reactions to the IPCC’s 1.5°C report.
Abreu: ‘The Science Prevailed’ as IPCC Hands Governments a 2050 Deadline for Net Zero Emissions
Catherine Abreu is executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, and was Climate Action Network-International’s Head of Delegation for last week’s high-stakes meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Incheon, South Korea. In this in-depth interview with The Energy Mix, she talks about the alarming but extraordinary result that scientists, civil society advocates, and government negotiators are bringing home from IPCC 48, and how it came about.
Alarming Findings in IPCC Report Become ‘Thunderous Call to Action’
With representatives of more than 130 countries and about 50 scientists gathered in Incheon, South Korea to negotiate final details of the IPCC’s 1.5°C science report, the Washington Post headlined that they were “struggling to find the right words for very bad news.”
IPCC Special Report Could Drive Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts Through Talanoa Dialogue
With pressure and momentum building for countries to speed up their action on climate change in the crucial decade between 2020 and 2030, veteran climate negotiator Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) sees today’s IPCC report on 1.5°C as one of the building blocks for a significant “2020 moment” during COP 24 in December.
With Countries ‘Nowhere Near on Track’ to 1.5°C, IPCC Author Urges Massive Transformation
A massive transformation in the world’s energy production, transportation patterns, and food systems will be needed to limit average global warming to 1.5°C—and right now, countries are “nowhere near on track” to achieve that goal, according to an author of the forthcoming report on 1.5° scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
IPCC ‘Pulls Its Punches’ in Crucial Report on 1.5°C Warming
Reviewers watching over the production of a crucial special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are warning that its statements about the dangers of climate change are being watered down to accommodate some of the world’s heaviest carbon polluters.
IPCC Report on 1.5°C ‘Guardrail’ Draws Support from Some Climate Hawks, Alarm from Others
An upcoming report on ways to limit average global warming to 1.5°C has been generating a lot of discussion at this week’s climate negotiations in Bangkok, and in the weeks leading up to the meetings, with some climate policy advocates asking delegates to take the report seriously while others question its most basic scientific assumptions.
‘No Time to Lose’ as Atmospheric CO2 Hits 411.3 ppm Despite ‘Tiny Blip’ from COVID Lockdowns
Carbon pollution in the atmosphere reached another record high this year in spite of the “tiny blip” resulting from reduced emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest in a series of annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletins released Monday by the World Meteorological Organization.
‘No Vaccine for Climate Change’, Red Cross Warns, as Disasters Kill 410,000 in 10 Years
There’s “no vaccine for climate change” in a world that has seen more than 100 climate disasters since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and where 410,000 people have lost their lives to extreme weather and other climate impacts in the last decade, the International Red Cross warned in a report last week.
Climate Vulnerable Forum Push for Specifics as 151 Countries Promise Tougher Paris Targets
While more than 150 countries have confirmed their Paris Agreement commitments to introduce more ambitious climate plans by the end of this year, the Climate Vulnerable Forum is warning those promises may not be enough to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis in the countries it affects first and worst.
Sea Level Rise Requires ‘Equitable Retreat’ from Coastal Communities
As rising seas and fiercer storms make the coast an ever more tenuous place to live, policy-makers all over the world need to plan and fund a managed retreat to ensure that under-resourced populations are not forced to forfeit what little security and agency they possessed in their former homes.
Study Shows Sea Levels Rising 50% Faster than Latest IPCC Estimate
The rate of annual sea level rise is accelerating, with a new study pointing to a 10-year pace that is 50% higher than the long-term average embedded in the most recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014.
‘Complacency is Breathtaking’ as Nations Approve 10 Years of Rising Emissions from International Shipping
Governments attending a key meeting on international shipping have adopted what one observer calls a “disastrously weak” plan that will lead to a decade of increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a sector that already adds a billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere each year.
Doig: For 1.2 Billion People, Decarbonization is a Matter of Survival
I have sat in many long Zoom calls this year discussing climate ambition. Never once have I thought these were life or death discussions for me personally. But for 1.2 billion people across the globe, the collective decarbonization commitments put forward by all governments are a matter of survival. The tempest of our changing climate is right on their door and pushing hard.
Cape Town Approaches ‘Day Zero’ as World’s Dry Regions Face 100-Fold Increase in Drought Risk
If greenhouse gas emissions keep rising at their current pace, Cape Town faces the very real risk of seeing another “Day Zero”—a drought so serious that the taps run dry—by the year 2100. And other dry regions in Australia, Europe, South America, and California could well follow suit.
Typhoon Vamco Kills 67 in Philippines, Forces 468,000 to Evacuate in Vietnam
An estimated 67 people are dead, floodwaters in some places have reached two stories high, millions were without power, and rescuers were scrambling to keep up after Typhoon Vamco became the third typhoon and fifth tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines in a matter of weeks.
The devastating mudslide—courtesy of Tropical Storm Eta—that recently all but swallowed the Poqomchi’ Mayan village of Queja in Guatemala is just the latest tragedy in a country whose high level of impoverishment has put it at the mercy of natural disasters made worse by climate change.
Front-Line Nations Issue Urgent Call for Support as International Climate Finance Falls Short
Vulnerable nations on the front lines of the climate crisis are flagging the urgent need for support in the face of wild weather and rising seas, just as a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) quietly acknowledges that 74% of the climate finance flowing to developing countries in 2018 took the form of loans, not grants.
Lawsuit Calls for Duke Energy, Not North Carolina Ratepayers, to Fund Coal Ash Cleanup
North Carolina-based Duke Energy is pushing for permission from the state’s utility commission to impose rate increases to cover the US$9 billion it will need for coal ash cleanup. But the company will be seeing the state’s attorney general, along with local environmental groups, in supreme court.
50 Big Banks Pour $2.6 Trillion into Biodiversity Loss as ‘Era of Pandemics’ Looms
Fifty major banks poured US$2.6 trillion into industrial activities last year that drove species and ecosystems toward extinction, according to a report that coincides with warnings of an “era of pandemics” if humanity fails to protect nature and biodiversity.
California Wildfires Point to Perils of Forest Carbon Offsets
The devastating wildfires scorching California point to the perils of relying on tree planting for carbon offsets when there’s a risk that the investment will literally go up in smoke, Carbon Market Watch argues in an opinion piece published last month.
Volatile UK Weather Drives Lower Output in All Major Crops
The United Kingdom is reporting significantly lower output for all major crops this year, prompting the country’s National Farmers’ Union to urge more focused government action on drought, flooding, and soil protection.
#GM&FordKnew About Climate Impacts in Early 1960s, E&E News Investigation Reveals
Giant U.S. automakers General Motors and Ford “knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change,” but spent decades lobbying against international action to reduce emissions and U.S. regulations requiring cleaner vehicles, E&E News revealed last week in an exclusive report.
Polarstern Scientists Use Drones to Gather Key Data on Arctic Sea Ice Melt
The world is closer to understanding how fast the Earth’s Arctic sea ice will melt, thanks to two researchers with the Finnish Meteorological Institute who combined 21st-century science with some good old-fashioned math to fly a data-collecting drone at the top of the planet.
Regardless of Election Result, U.S. Will Still Depart the Paris Agreement November 4
Even if a Biden-Harris victory is confirmed and declared in the hours after the polls close in next week’s presidential election, the United States will still become the first and only country to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on November 4.
Vast Methane Deposits Beginning to Release in Warming Arctic
Methane hydrates frozen in Arctic Ocean sediments—called the “sleeping giant of the carbon cycle”—are beginning to stir off the East Siberian coast. That has alarmed scientists, who are warning that these new spikes in subsurface methane levels mark the triggering of a dangerous tipping point.
Air Pollution Killed 350,000 Infants in 2019, Global Report Concludes
Air pollution killed nearly 350,000 infants in their first month of life last year alone, and poor indoor air quality—such as that caused by open-fire cooking—was a lethal factor in two-thirds of these cases, says the latest State of Global Air report.
Indigenous Campaigners in India Dig In Against World’s Second-Biggest Coal Mine
A collection of 53 hamlets in Birbhum district of West Bengal has become an epicentre of the fight against what could become the world’s second-biggest coal mine, with Indigenous campaigners warning the project would likely lead to the eviction of 70,000 people, many of whom have been farming the area for generations.
Climate, Conflict, Poverty Displace Tens of Millions, Drive ‘Alarming Deterioration’ in Sahel
The climate crisis is one of the factors making the Sahel region of Africa one of the scariest places on the planet, becoming “a true epicentre of conflict and insecurity, weak governance, chronic underdevelopment and poverty, demographic pressures,” and climate change itself, the head of the United Nations humanitarian program warned in a recent online lecture.
Maui Files Lawsuit to Recover Climate Damages from 20 Fossil Companies
Maui County in Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against 20 oil and gas companies, including colossal fossils ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips, hoping to secure compensation for the rising costs the community faces due to climate change.
BREAKING: First Nations Fear ‘Losing Everything’ as Communities Face ‘Climate Exacerbated Food Poverty’
Indigenous people who live off the land are increasingly at risk of food insecurity and the health problems it causes thanks to federal policies that ignore the impacts of climate change on traditional foods, concludes an 18-month study released this morning.
Millions Face ‘Uninhabitable Hell’ if Emissions Aren’t Reduced, UN Agency Warns
A staggering increase in natural disasters over the last 20 years shows the risk of the Earth becoming an “uninhabitable hell for millions of people” if climate change isn’t brought under control, a United Nations agency warned in a report issued last week.
Tackling Plastic Waste Crisis Means Total System Overhaul, Not Bioplastics
Expensive to make and less versatile than their fossil-based cousins, bioplastic products are not the solution to the world’s plastic woes—and are by no means as biodegradable as consumers are led to think, a new study concludes.
Methane Emissions Rise 32% Despite Economic Slump as EU Considers Mandatory Import Standards
With global methane emissions rising sharply, by 32% so far this year despite the pandemic-driven recession, the European Union may consider mandatory emission standards for oil and gas imports that would push fossils to report and repair leaks of the climate-busting greenhouse gas.
Insurer Warns of Ecosystem Collapse in One-Fifth of Countries, Imperiling $42 Trillion in Global GDP
A new report from insurance giant Swiss Re Group warns that more than half of global GDP—totalling US$42 trillion—is in peril, as climate change brings biodiversity to a tipping point and puts 20% of the world’s countries at risk of ecosystem collapse.
Navajo Ranchers Endure in the Face of Relentless Drought
Navajo Nation ranchers in the southwestern United States are holding resolute in their work despite two decades of drought, centuries of abused or broken water rights, and, now, grief over loved ones lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tinder-Dry Canadian Peatlands Becoming a Ticking Carbon Bomb
Recent work by Canadian ecohydrologists on the devastating 2018 peatland fire near Parry Sound, Ontario has confirmed related findings from around the globe: the Earth’s peatlands are drying out as temperatures rise, creating carbon-bomb tinder boxes.
Hurricane Delta Hits Louisiana Just Six Weeks After Hurricane Laura’s Devastation
Hurricane Delta tore into a part of Louisiana that was still recovering from Hurricane Laura just six weeks earlier, landing as a Category 2 storm that flooded hundreds of buildings that had already been damaged by the previous Category 4 disaster.
Emissions of Super-Pollutant Nitrous Oxide Rising on ‘Worst-Case’ Trajectory
Global emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) are rising on a frightening scale, putting them on track to single-handedly push global warming far beyond the limits of the Paris Agreement, according to a new study.
Study: Hotter Days, No A/C Brings Lower Test Scores for Black, Latinx Students
A new study has correlated warmer air temperatures with lower test scores among Black and Latinx students in the United States, likely because they’re less likely than their white peers to have air conditioning in their homes or—most notably—their schools.
Wildfire Smoke Cuts Into California Solar Production
Severe smoke from the wildfires that have been sweeping parts of California reduced power output from the state’s utility-scale solar installations by 13% in the first two weeks of September, even after factoring in a significant gain in solar capacity compared to the previous year.
Deloitte Withdraws Study Suggesting Economic Benefits from ‘Fastest Warming Scenarios’
Global management consulting giant Deloitte has withdrawn a ludicrous report that concluded extreme climate change would deliver GDP gains to one-third of the world’s economies through the end of this century.
Global Survey Reveals Wide Support for an Equitable ‘New Normal’ Post-Pandemic
A global Ipsos survey conducted for the World Economic Forum this past summer reveals a deep, widely-shared desire that the world not return to its profoundly inequitable and unsustainable pre-COVID “normal”.
Suppressed Study Shows Polar Bears at Risk from Alaska Oil and Gas Drilling
A senior Trump administration official is delaying release of a science study that shows how Alaska oil and gas drilling would encroach on the territory of endangered polar bears, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.
Rapid Arctic, Antarctic Ice Loss Prompts Urgent Call for 1.5°C Action
Ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached its second-lowest level on record, and ice melt in Antarctica is on track to raise global sea levels 2.5 metres over the very long term, according to two separate studies released in the second half of September.
Multinational Companies’ Supply Chains Produce Nearly 20% of Global Emissions
The supply chains of big, multinational companies like Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Total SA account for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Scientists Compare Climate Pledges Without Action to COVID Plans Without Social Distancing
Carbon reduction pledges without action are like pandemic plans with no provision for social distancing, according to a group of University of Exeter scientists accusing governments of “climate hypocrisy” for supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement while subsidizing fossil fuels, clearcutting forests, and pursuing other policies that drive up greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
Killer Marine Heat Events Now 20 Times More Likely to Occur, Study Finds
The increasing incidence and severity of marine heat waves is directly linked to the climate crisis, says a groundbreaking report by environmental and climate physicists from Switzerland. Formerly occurring only once every thousand years, such killing surges of oceanic heat may soon come as often as once per decade.
Scathing New Report Finds ‘Failure Across the Board’ in Colossal Fossils’ Climate Plans
Despite a flurry of announcements from colossal fossils claiming great plans to decarbonize their operations, the companies’ actual performance shows they can’t be counted on to manage their own decline, Oil Change International concludes in a scathing new report that finds “failure across the board” in the industry’s climate plans.
Systematic Disinformation Promoted Recycling, Maintained Plastics Status Quo
Amidst revelations that Big Oil has spent decades promoting an idea it knows to be false—that plastics can be easily recycled—the industry is once more doubling down on the perceived value of “the third R” and ignoring forecasts of decline as it prepares to ramp up plastics production.
Climate-Vulnerable Nations Urge Courage, Demand Action at UN General Assembly
As their homelands see more and more damage from the escalating chaos of the climate crisis, the national leaders of Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands called on the rest of the world for compassion, courage, solidarity, and action as the annual United Nations General Assembly convened this week.
‘No Return to Normal’: Smoke-Choked B.C. Cities Must Prepare for Worse to Come
British Columbians are being warned that this summer’s grim immersion in wildfire smoke is no anomaly, but instead a grim foreshadowing of the future in a destabilized climate that gathers ever more potential to devastate both the quality and the length of their lives.
Arctic in Permanent Shift to ‘Entirely Different Climate’, but 1.5°C Would Slow the Process
Adding to a wave of dire news about the Earth’s rapidly warming polar regions, a comprehensive new study is warning that the Arctic is beginning to change permanently to a new—and largely thawed—climate. But all is not yet lost: limiting warming to 1.5°C could substantially alter this outcome.
Countries Miss All 20 Targets Under UN Biodiversity Convention
A decade after adopting a set of biodiversity restoration goals under a United Nations treaty, countries have missed every single milestone in the effort to protect the world’s genetic diversity, food supply, health, and security, according to a report released by the UN this week.
Hurricane Sally Drenches U.S. Southeast as Climate Change Produces Slower, Lingering Storms
Hurricane Sally weakened to a tropical storm but still brought catastrophic flooding to parts of the U.S. Deep South this week, leaving at least one person dead, 500,000 homes and businesses without electricity, and rivers and streams overflowing their banks.
Exclusive: NDP Riding Presidents Push Singh, 150 MPs and Staffers Talk Green Recovery, as Throne Speech Looms
The federal New Democratic Party leadership is taking grassroot fire for failing to use its position in a minority parliament to press the Trudeau government for tougher green recovery measures in its hotly-anticipated Speech from the Throne September 23.
Sustainable City Investments Drive COVID-19 Recovery, Global Coalition Concludes
Municipalities are the cornerstone of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and low-carbon investments and infrastructure will deliver the jobs, resilience, and support for marginalized and vulnerable populations the Trudeau government is expected to emphasize in its Speech from the Throne next week, according to the lead author of a new report on greening the global recovery through cities.
‘Climate Arsonist’ Trump Addresses California Wildfires by Talking Down Climate Science
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden branded Donald Trump a “climate arsonist”, after the current occupant of the White House poured gasoline on his own, unique brand of firestorm Monday, during a visit to the wildfire-ravaged state of California.
Study Links One in Eight EU Deaths to Air and Water Pollution
One in eight deaths in the European Union owes to dangerous and ever-increasing levels of air and water pollution, according to a new analysis of the latest data, with water contamination tied to industrial agriculture practices and the growing presence of antibiotics in domestic water supplies.
Pandemic Brings Scant Reduction as Atmospheric GHGs Continue to Rise
The temporary greenhouse gas emission reductions during the COVID-19 lockdowns have done little to slow down the increase in atmospheric GHGs, and the world has a nearly one-in-four chance of temporarily hitting 1.5°C average global warming in the next five years, according to the new United in Science report issued this week by the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organization, and other global science groups.
Risk of Sudden Floods Widens as Increasing Meltwater Swells Glacial Lakes
Researchers have recorded explosive growth in glacial lakes across the world over the past three decades—with climate change as a key driver. And as meltwater continues to pour into these basins, downstream communities and critical infrastructure are put increasingly at risk.
Hurricane Laura Delivers Predictable, Preventable Damage to Marginalized Communities
As the residents of Louisiana’s industry-heavy coast begin the long work of recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Laura—and the highly toxic chemical fire it triggered—citizens are once again facing down one of the hard truths of a fossil economy: when a climate disaster strikes, marginalized communities get pummelled.
New Climate Migration Model Answers Looming Question: ‘Where Will Everyone Go?’
As the hallmarks of the climate crisis—heat, thirst, hunger, sea level rise, and conflict—send millions of frightened and desperate people into flight, migration experts are warning of an increasing reality for individuals and for nations: “Mobility is resilience.”
Naming Heat Waves Like Hurricanes Would Boost Awareness, Experts Say
As triple-digit heat becomes commonplace around the world, public health experts and climate scientists are asking policy-makers to take a page from the handbook of hurricane preparedness—and give names to extreme heat waves. They hope the personification will drive home the fact that high temperatures kill.
Ecological Disaster in the Making as Oil Slick Spreads Off Mauritius Coast
With a bulk carrier leaking tonnes of fuel off its southeast coast and rough weather at risk of tearing the Japanese-owned vessel apart, the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius declared an environmental emergency and local residents “stuffed fabric sacks with sugar cane leaves Saturday to create makeshift oil spill barriers,” The Associated Press reports.
Photo Essay on Global Heat Waves Documents ‘Inequity at the Boiling Point’
Athens. Houston. Nigeria. The Dry Corridor. Lucknow. New York. Just a few of the many places around the world where rising global temperatures are combining with the pre-existing cruelties of social inequity to malevolent effect.
A chorus of world leaders has declared we’re all in the same COVID-19 boat. In response, U.K. writer Damian Barr tweeted, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.”
Hundreds Dead, Millions Affected as Extended Bangladesh Monsoon Combines with Cyclone Recovery, Pandemic
Hundreds of people are dead and millions have been affected as Bangladesh faces its longest period of monsoon flooding in decades, while South Asia simultaneously scrambles to recover from a cyclone that itself arrived on the heels of the coronavirus pandemic.
Overheated U.S. Cities Face Misery as Pandemic Closes Summer Cooling Centres
Pandemic closures and fears are causing acute suffering for the millions of impoverished American households who, lacking air conditioning, typically escape summer heat in public buildings like libraries or cooling centres. Now, public health professionals and climate resilience experts are speaking up.
New Study Projects 2.6 to 3.9°C Warming if Humanity Lets Atmospheric CO2 Double
A new study has narrowed the range of likely answers to one of the oldest questions in climate science: how much average global warming to expect if humanity doubles the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It rules out both the high- and low-end estimates in past calculations, placing the “equilibrium climate sensitivity” window between 2.6 and 3.9°C.
Monsoon Flooding Displaces Nearly Four Million in Nepal, Northeast India
Flooding and mudslides triggered by pounding monsoon rains have sent nearly four million people in Nepal and India’s northeast regions fleeing for their lives. Nearly 200 have been killed so far with many more missing, and the level of threat remains high
Unchecked Emissions Would Mean No Polar Bears by 2100
If a business-as-usual approach to the climate crisis continued and global emissions kept rising beyond 2040, the polar bear would vanish from the Earth by 2100, unable in an overheating world to hunt the seals it needs to survive.
Sea Level Rise Drives ‘Extraordinary’ Flooding on U.S. Atlantic, Gulf Coasts
The Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States have seen an “extraordinary” increase in high-tide flooding since 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported earlier this week, a five-fold increase in frequency that is “damaging homes, imperiling the safety of drinking water, inundating roads, and otherwise hurting coastal communities,” the New York Times writes.
WMO Sees ‘Enormous Challenge’ to Hit Paris Targets as 1.5°C Warming Looms
There’s a one in five chance that average global warming will hit 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one of the next five years, and a 70% chance that at least one month will exceed that threshold, according to the latest in a series of annual climate updates released yesterday by the World Meteorological Organization.
South Pole Warms Three Times Faster than Global Average
The South Pole may be the coldest place on Earth, but it has been warming at three times to global rate over the last 30 years, according to new research published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Drought Forces Puerto Rico to Limit Water Access During Pandemic Response
Still far from recovered from its ravaging by Hurricane María in 2017, Puerto Rico is now struggling under drought conditions, with water woes made worse by financial straits that have prevented its state utility company, PREPA, from dredging critical reservoirs on schedule.
38°C Heat in Siberian Town Sets New Record Above Arctic Circle
The northeastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk is believed to have set an all-time high temperature record above the Arctic Circle Saturday when thermometers soared to 38°C/100.4°F. The town is located 4,800 kilometres north of Moscow, has been keeping temperature records since 1885, and normally sees an average June temperature of 20°C/68°F.
Climate and Conflict Could Displace One Billion by 2050
While data remains scarce on the multiple causes driving current and future migrants to flee their homes, a new report points to the frightening conjunction of climate, water resources, and conflict could find one billion people in search of safety by 2050.
Climate Impacts of Hurricane Harvey Pegged at $67 Billion
In a finding that could radically alter future calculations of the social cost of carbon, researchers say new methods of event attribution have now pegged the share of damages from Hurricane Harvey that were caused by global warming at 74.4% of the US$90-billion-plus total—much higher than previous estimates of 22%.
Early Hurricanes Kill 14 in El Salvador, Threaten Major Damage in Gulf of Mexico
Hurricane season in the East Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico is off to an early and deadly start this year, with 14 killed as Tropical Storm Amanda swept through El Salvador and forecasters keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Cristobal as it moves toward the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Ocean Warming Means ‘Escalating Threats’ to Marine Life through 2100
The climate in the world’s deep oceans could be changing seven times faster by mid-century, even if humanity manages a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study published late last month in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Locust-Driven Famine Threatens Millions as COVID-19 Rages
Experts are urging policy-makers in Africa and Asia to fight the escalating locust plague at the same time as they combat the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that famine will be a very real threat for millions without strong, pre-emptive action.
New Study Reveals Shrinking Snow Mass Across North America
Across all the non-alpine regions of North America, more than 46 billion tonnes of snow has “gone missing” this decade—and the same has happened every decade since 1980, according to the latest, best estimate from climate researchers, posing serious problems for regional administrators seeking to manage reservoir levels.
U.S. Braces for Above-Average Hurricane Season on Top of Pandemic
The United States is likely facing an above-average hurricane season, with the prospect of unprecedented challenges if storms make landfall while officials are still scrambling to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in its annual hurricane forecast released last week.
Cyclone Amphan Hits South Asia Communities Already Coping with Pandemic
After initially shaping up as the biggest cyclonic storm South Asia had seen in 20 years, Cyclone Amphan brought less death and damage than expected when it came ashore yesterday, after authorities in India and Bangladesh evacuated more than three million people from the storm’s path.
Doubling of Impacts by 2030 Points to Need for Flood Protection Investment
With the number of people around the world affected by flooding rivers, storm surges, and sea level rise set to double by 2030, aggressive investment in flood protection infrastructure could prove to be very cost-effective in the long term, the World Resources Institute (WRI) concludes in a recent blog post.
Arctic Ocean Study Documents Rapid, Unprecedented Change
From melting ice to spiking acidity, from stagnating thermoclines to troubled food chains, frighteningly rapid changes are under way in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, while a lack of long-term data leaves scientists and Indigenous peoples uncertain about how to respond.
Falling Short of Paris Targets Will Cost $600 Trillion by 2100, New Study Shows
The world’s governments will miss out on US$600 trillion in economic activity by the end of the century if they stay on their present path for carbon emission reductions, rather than setting and meeting tougher targets consistent with the 2015 Paris agreement, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
NOAA Reports Fastest Growth in Methane Concentrations Since 2014
Atmospheric methane levels increased at the fastest rate in five years between 2018 and 2019, according to preliminary data released last week by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists aren’t entirely sure why.
COVID-19 May Deliver ‘One-Two Punch’ to Flood, Wildfire Response
The potential for a one-two punch—natural disaster plus COVID-19—has emergency preparedness teams across Canada working feverishly to be ready for complex battles that could range from wildfire smoke increasing the risk of serious lung infections, to trying to sandbag flooded rivers while keeping the imperative of social distancing.
Air Pollution, Lack of Clean Water Increase Infection Risk for Poorer Communities
Chronic health problems—often owing to high levels of pollution—and poor access to clean water are putting poor, Indigenous, and non-white communities across the world at greater risk of infection and hospitalization in the face of COVID-19.
‘Remarkable’ Conservation Gains Show Oceans Could Be Fully Restored by 2050
A series of isolated but remarkable examples of biological resilience show that conservation efforts could fully restore the glory of the world’s oceans within 30 years if countries redouble their efforts to make it happen, according to a major international review published yesterday in the journal Nature.
AccuWeather Predicts Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season
Meteorologists at commercial weather service AccuWeather are forecasting the fifth straight above-average Atlantic hurricane season, with a projection of 14 to 18 tropical storms between June 1 and November 30, seven to nine of which will become hurricanes, and two to four of which will strengthen to major hurricanes.
Polar Ice Melt Sped Up Six-Fold from 1990s to 2010s
Polar ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, putting them on track with the worst-case scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to new analysis led by the University of Leeds and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and published last week.
COVID-19 Pandemic Rekindles Discussion on Climate Change, Infectious Disease
From shifting disease patterns in a warming world, to shrinking animal habitats, to the impact of air pollution in making people more vulnerable to infection, news stories over the last several days have rekindled discussion on the various connections between the climate crisis and the spread of infectious disease, including new pathogens like the coronavirus.
Tropical Forests Lose One-Third of Carbon Storage Ability, Could Soon Become Carbon Source
Tropical forests have lost much of their ability to pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and could begin turning into net carbon sources in the next 10 to 15 years, according to an alarming new study published last week in the journal Nature.
Bahamas Fights to Rebuild after Devastating Hurricanes
Six months after Hurricane Dorian came roaring ashore in the Bahamas, locals are still struggling to repair their own shattered lives, depending on each other and the ongoing commitment of international charities. Meanwhile, government efforts are focused on rebuilding the island nation’s tourist economy.
Above-Average Heat, Drought-Fueled Fire Risk On Tap for 2020
Despite the absence of El Niño conditions this year, many parts of the world will still see above-average temperatures through 2020—proof that climate change caused by human activity is now as powerful as El Niño itself, says the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Coastal Cities Must Fight or Flee as Global Waters Rise
With global sea levels expected to rise an average of one to four feet by 2100, cities like San Francisco, Manila, and Boston are set to become case studies in how urban planning decisions will create varying impacts across economic classes in an increasingly watery world.
Antarctic Island Loses 20% of Annual Snow Cover in Sudden Warming Event
New NASA satellite imagery released February 21 points to a startling, sudden warming event near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the part of the continent closest to South America, where high barometric pressure and changes in wind patterns drove dramatic melting on Eagle Island.
Study Shows Governments, Scientists Underestimating Fossils’ Methane Releases by 25-40%
Governments and scientists are underestimating methane leaks from oil and gas operations by 25 to 40%, meaning that tens of millions of tons of a greenhouse gas more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide may have gone unaccounted for, according to a contentious new study published Wednesday in the prestigious journal Nature.
Massive Study Links Gender-Based Violence to Climate Change, Environmental Degradation
Climate impacts and environmental degradation are driving an increase in violence against women and girls, while gender-based exploitation obstructs efforts to address the combined crisis, according to a massive study released late last month by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Antarctic Research Station Temperature Reading Hits Record High of 18.3°C
An Argentine research station in Antarctica logged an ominous new temperature record last Thursday with a reading of 18.3°C/65°C—warmer that day than Orlando, Florida, balmy enough to walk around in a t-shirt, and less than a month after a British endurance swimmer and oceans advocate swam a glacier in a Speedo bathing suit.
Australia ‘Megafires’ Hit Wildlife Harder than Regular Blazes
The unprecedented speed and ferocity of Australia’s “megafires” wiped out far more animals than a normal fire would, and those that survived face a perilous future within ecosystems that were already broken by drought before they were incinerated by flames.
Extreme Heat Drives North American, European Bumblebee Species Toward Extinction
Extreme heat waves brought on by climate change have already driven some North American and European bumblebee species to the edge of extinction, according to a new study published last week in the journal Science.
Warming Speeds Up Ocean Currents Far Sooner Than Climate Models Predicted
Just over three-quarters of the world’s oceans have sped up in the last decade, in what the Washington Post calls a “massive development that was not expected to occur until climate warming became much more advanced”.
Scientists Say World’s ‘Riskiest’ Glacier May Be Melting at Faster Rate
Scientists are becoming concerned that the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, considered the “most important” and “riskiest” glacier in the world and sometimes known as the “doomsday” glacier, may be melting at a faster rate, due to water at the base of the ice that is above the freezing point.
2015-16 Ocean Heat Wave Drove Mass Starvation, Death for a Million North Pacific Seabirds
An ocean heat wave in 2015-16 produced the biggest-ever mass mortality event for an avian species, disrupting food supplies for common murres in the North Pacific and killing as many as 1.2 million of them.
From Newfoundland Snowstorms to Australian Bushfires, Climate Means the ‘Exceptional Becoming Normalized’
From an epic snowstorm blanketing Newfoundland to devastating bushfires and flash floods in Australia, climate change is the common thread that is turning the exceptional into the “new normal”, a Calgary-based climatologist told CBC News this week.
Political Dysfunction, Economic Turmoil Exacerbate the Climate Crisis as Disease and Famine Spreads
Late 2019 saw the calamitous rise of both dengue fever in Honduras and hunger in Zimbabwe, events that demonstrated how government dysfunction, poverty, and political and economic turmoil leave both public officials and citizens unable to respond adequately to the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis.
Scientists Declare 2010s the Hottest Decade, 2019 the Second-Warmest Year on Record
NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have declared the 2010s the hottest 10 years on record, with 2019 the second-warmest ever, findings confirmed by climate-related devastation around the globe.
45 Million in Southern Africa Face ‘Critical Levels of Hunger’
Climate-induced drought and severe flooding, coupled with economic woes, have left 45 million people across Southern Africa facing critical levels of hunger and in desperate need of support from the international community, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warns.
Biggest-Ever Arctic Expedition Seeks to Understand Changing Ecosystem Before it Collapses
The world’s biggest-ever Arctic study expedition is being stunned, stymied, unnerved, and occasionally exhilarated, as a rotating team of more than 300 researchers operating from a German icebreaker scramble to understand the complex, changing ecosystem at the heart of the climate crisis before it collapses.
Canada, U.S. Report Rising Cost, Frequency of Climate-Fuelled Disasters
Canada and the United States are both beginning to count up the rising annual cost of climate-fuelled natural disasters, with Canada placing the tab at more than C$430 million and the U.S. reporting a doubling in the number of billion-dollar climate- and weather-related events in the last decade.
Canada Faces Similar Wildfire Risk to Australia, as Alberta Lays Off Specialist Firefighters
With heat waves and extended drought making Canada vulnerable to massive wildfires like the ones now sweeping Australia, Alberta has cut funding and jobs for about 63 specialized remote-region firefighters—and British Columbia is “poaching” some of them to join its own wildfire prevention and response team.
Climate-Driven Temperatures Will Kill More in 2100 than Infectious Diseases Today
Climate-driven temperature shifts will kill more people in 2100 that infectious diseases do today, making health and safety impacts an important factor in calculating the social cost of carbon, says University of Chicago economist Michael Greenstone, co-director of the university’s Climate Impact Lab.
24 Dead, Coal Seam Ignites as Terrified Evacuees Flee Australian Bushfires
Terrified Australians fled to the water from a beach where they had taken refuge from raging bushfires, authorities reported at least 24 people dead and several times as many missing, ecologists estimated that 480 million animals had been affected, and the 15 million acres burned so far exceeded the size of Switzerland, as the ravaged states of New South Wales and Victoria moved into the heart of annual wildfire season. Two new coal seam fires were travelling underground and expected to burn for months, and coal-friendly Prime Minister Scott Morrison was driven away by hecklers when he tried to visit a front-line community described by one evacuee as “hell on Earth”.
Melting Permafrost Turns Arctic into Net Source of Greenhouse Gases
As scientists grow ever more certain that the Arctic is becoming a net contributor to climate change as its carbon- and methane-heavy permafrost melts, the 35 million people who call the polar region home fear exposure to heavy metals and dangerous pathogens, while witnessing a collapsing food chain.
Climate Crisis Could Drive $20 Trillion in Losses, Trigger Global Financial Meltdown
Climate change is the next economic threat that could trigger a global financial meltdown by destroying up to US$20 trillion in market value, independent journalist Nick Cunningham writes for Oilprice.com.
Oceans Face Oxygen Loss, Acidification as Warming Challenges Ability to Absorb Carbon
With the Earth’s oceans rapidly and dangerously losing oxygen due to a combination of global warming and pollution, Greenpeace is urging countries to restore and protect the planet’s marine ecosystems, both for their own sake and because a healthy ocean is vital to fighting the climate emergency.
UPDATE: Climate Community Reacts After Business Journal Overstates Koala Extinction Risk
The massive bushfires sweeping New South Wales, Australia have experts debating whether koalas are now “functionally extinct”, after flames killed more than 1,000 of the animals and burned 80% of their habitat.
Doctors Urge Rapid Decarbonization to Avert Life-Long Health Impacts of Climate Change
The increase in extreme weather and air pollution due to climate change is seriously harming human health, and a world of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods, and extreme heat will produce life-long health risks for a child born today unless countries move swiftly to curb carbon pollution, according to the latest annual climate and health update published this week by the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet.
Venice Submerged by Second-Highest Tidal Floodwaters Ever
Eighteen months before Venice’s state-of-the-art flood barrier is scheduled to be complete and operational, the so-called “Floating City” is drowning, submerged this week under the second-highest climate change-driven tidal floodwaters on record.
Flames Reach Sydney Suburbs as Australians Face ‘Most Dangerous Bushfire Week Ever’
With 150 wildfires burning on the country’s east and west coasts and 85 raging across New South Wales, 46 of them out of control and 14 at an “emergency level”, the premier of Australia’s most populous state declared a seven-day state of emergency Monday and officials issued an unprecedented “catastrophic” fire warning for Sydney, where bushfires were breaking out in suburbs just a few kilometres from the city centre.
Climate Change Makes the Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes 330% More Frequent
The United States faces the most destructive hurricanes more than three times as often as it did a century ago, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that blames the shift “unequivocally” on climate change.
Climate Crisis Will Bring ‘Untold Suffering’ Without Major Societal Shifts, 11,000 Scientists Warn
Major shifts in global society will be needed to avoid “untold suffering due to the climate crisis,” according to a statement endorsed by more than 11,000 scientists from 153 nations and published this week in the journal BioScience.
Sea Level Rise Could Put Three Times More People at Risk World-Wide
Deploying a far more accurate method than has been used to date to predict future sea level rise, researchers say three times more people than previously thought will face inundation by 2050, with some of the world’s greatest cities at risk of going under the waves.
‘Unprecedented’ Antarctic Warming Spells Trouble for Emperor Penguins
With Antarctica warming at “unprecedented” rates, British researchers are calling for much stronger efforts to protect the emperor penguin, as the sea ice upon which the birds depend for their breeding and molting cycles grows ever more uncertain in depth and duration.
Central Bank Office in San Francisco Traces Financial Risks of a Destabilized Climate
A destabilized climate could lead to a precipitous decline in property values, cutting communities off from the tax base they need to fund climate adaptation while banks stop lending in areas that experience repeated floods, according to an analysis released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Thawing Arctic Tundra Emits 600 Megatonnes More Carbon Per Year Than It Absorbs
Thawing Arctic permafrost is now emitting 600 million tonnes more carbon each year than its resident plants like lichen and wild blueberry can absorb in summer, according to research just published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Climate Change Puts 100% of Arctic Bird Species at Risk, But Fast Action Can Stem the Impact
Should humanity fail to keep average global warming below 2.0°C, 100% of all Arctic bird species and 98% of those that make their homes in the northern boreal forest will be at high risk of extinction.
Warming Could Drive Up Risk of Ebola Epidemics in Africa
The risk of Ebola epidemics in Africa—especially in less-developed countries with high birth rates—will increase significantly if the world does not act aggressively to rein in global warming, according to a new paper in the journal Nature Communications.
Watt-Cloutier: Protecting the Arctic from Runaway Warming is ‘the Test of Our Time’
Protecting the Arctic from rapid warming is one of the essential steps in averting runaway climate change for the entire planet, Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier states in an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail.
Mont Blanc Glacier at Risk of Collapse Triggers Evacuations, Road Closures
With a glacier on Mont Blanc, Italy’s highest mountain, at risk of collapse, authorities closed roads and evacuated Alpine hamlets late last month, while Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called for action on climate change.
Explainer: Arctic Warming Affects Northern Communities, Reshapes Global Weather Patterns
Rapid ice loss is already having a devastating impact in the world’s Arctic and Antarctic regions. And in an explainer on the implications of an ice-free Arctic, CBC stresses that what happens in the polar region doesn’t stay there.
Five Dead in Southeast Texas as Tropical Depression Imelda Dumps Up to 43 Inches of Rain
At least five people are dead in southeast Texas after Tropical Depression Imelda dropped up to 43 inches (1.1 metres) of rain on the region, becoming the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.
New Analysis Shows ‘Enormous Area’ of the Earth Above 2.0°C
Some of the planet’s hot spots are already above the temperature agreed by scientists and politicians as the maximum allowable to prevent a disastrous climate crisis, Climate News Network reports, in a summary of a detailed and evocative analysis from a team led by Washington Post climate specialist Chris Mooney.
Extreme Weather Displaces a Record Seven Million People in First Six Months of 2019
A record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather in the first half of this year, marking 2019 as “one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades” before Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas or the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season got under way, the New York Times reports.
Adaptation Efforts Need $1.8 Trillion by 2030 to Avert ‘Climate Apartheid’
Countries must invest US$1.8 trillion in climate adaptation funding by 2030 to prevent a world of “climate apartheid”, in which the wealthiest pay to protect themselves from sea level rise and mounting food shortages while everyone else suffers.
Bahamas Devastated, Coastal North Carolina Swamped as Hurricane Dorian Passes Through Atlantic Canada
Recovery efforts are under way in Atlantic Canada after a weakened but still-punishing Hurricane Dorian swept through the region as a Category 2 storm that toppled trees and a giant construction crane, brought down power lines, sent at least one roof airborne, and left about 80% of Nova Scotia without power.
Whales, Salmon, Sea Lions at Risk in West Coast Ocean Heat Wave
Whales, salmon, and sea lions are at risk as an ocean heat wave takes shape off the west coast of North America, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned in a recent blog post.
Australian Agency Downgrades Great Barrier Reef Status from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’
An Australian government agency has downgraded its outlook for the Great Barrier Reef to “very poor” for the first time, shining a light on what the Financial Times describes as a “fierce battle between environmental campaigners and the government over the country’s approach to climate change”.
Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Dorian as Storm Shifts to Florida Coast
After stalling for 36 hours over parts of the Bahamas and leaving mind-boggling destruction and devastation in its wake, Hurricane Dorian is on the move as a Category 2 storm and began hitting Florida’s east coast with 110-mile/177-kilometre-per-hour winds Tuesday evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Rising Seas, Catastrophic Storms to Deliver ‘Misery on a Global Scale’ by 2100 Unless Climate Action Accelerates
Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280 million people from the world’s coastlines and produce “misery on a global scale” unless countries speed up their efforts to control the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis, according to a draft United Nations report obtained last week by Agence France-Presse.
Financial Risk of Climate Change Has Economists, Ratings Agencies Worried
The potentially devastating economic and financial impact of unrestrained climate change has been coming into focus in several recent news stories, with global GDP on track to fall as much as 7.2% by 2100, accountants and ratings agencies taking note, and an economic historian warning the United States Federal Reserve to take action against a risk that could trigger the next global economic crash.
Increased Emissions May Drive Atmospheric Warming Farther, Faster Than Scientists Thought
Increased greenhouse gas emissions may drive up atmospheric temperatures by as much as 35% more than climate scientists previously believed, according to more than a half-dozen of the new climate models that will inform the next major assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Water Shortages in 17 Countries Put One-Quarter of Global Population at Risk
From India to Iran to Botswana, the New York Times is out with text and graphics that illustrate the 17 countries, home to one-quarter of the world’s population, that are at increasingly urgent risk of running out of water, according to new data from the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Massive Arctic Heat Wave Produces Record Ice Melt in Greenland, Wildfires in Siberia
Caught up in the harrowing fallout from the planet’s hottest July—and June—on record, Greenland shed a mind-boggling 10 billion tonnes of ice in a single day, while Siberia lost a Belgium-sized section of its boreal forests to monster wildfires that have sent emissions soaring.
July Likely to Be Hottest Month Since Record-Keeping Began in 1880
With another week still go to in the month, dozens of climate experts are already predicting that heat waves covering North America, Europe, and the Arctic will make July 2019 the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880.
Babies with Congenital Heart Disease More Likely Near Active Oil and Gas Sites
Mothers living near active oil and gas sites in Colorado are 40 to 70% are more likely to give birth to babies with congenital heart defects (CHDs) compared to their counterparts in areas with less intensive fossil development, researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health conclude in a study published last week in the journal Environment International.
2.0°C Would Bring ‘Profound Climate Shifts’ to Every City in the World
Virtually 100% of all global cities will experience profound shifts in climate by 2050 if average global warming reaches 2.0°C, with 77% on track to experience the temperature and rainfall patterns now associated with equatorial regions and 22% projected to suffer conditions never before seen in any city on Earth, says a new study.
Two Million People Lose Access to Water as Drought, Dam Management Problems Hit Harare
Only about half of the 4.5 million people living in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare and four satellite towns have access to municipal water supplies, with some suburbs going weeks without water and reported cases of typhoid beginning to emerge, Climate Home News reports.
Record Arctic Heat Produces Wildfires, Health Alerts in Alaska and Beyond
A record heat wave across Alaska and much of the Arctic is thawing tundra and sucking moisture out of circumpolar forests and peat bogs, triggering wildfires and choking, black smoke that are starting earlier, burning hotter, and spreading farther north than they have before.
Ocean Acidification Could Drive Mass Extinction Without Rapid Drop in CO2 Emissions
Ocean acidification driven by ever-increasing carbon dioxide levels could take on a life of its own and begin driving a sudden, mass extinction if emissions are not brought under control by the year 2100, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
UN Stresses Adaptation Funding as Frequency of Global Climate Disasters Hits One Per Week
The frequency of major climate disasters has reached one per week around the world, a top United Nations official warns, in a new report that calls for developing countries to prepare now for the “profound impact” they will continue to face.
Scientists Scramble to Understand Sudden Drop in Antarctic Sea Ice
Researchers startled by a sudden nosedive in Antarctic sea ice since 2014—at a rate that makes current Arctic melting look slow by comparison—are pointing to the likelihood of further accelerated melting at both poles as yet another reason to limit average global warming to 1.5ºC.
Climate-Driven Heat Stress Could Put 80 Million Jobs at Risk by 2030, UN Agency Warns
Heat stress caused by climate change could put the equivalent of 80 million jobs at risk by 2030, with poor countries facing the most serious impacts, according to an International Labour Organization (ILO) report released Monday.
Poorest Will Face ‘Climate Apartheid’ if Crisis Deepens, Rule of Law Crumbles
Near-universal failure to acknowledge the magnitude of the climate crisis risks setting the stage for an era of “climate apartheid,” in which private wealth becomes the only guarantor of (relative) well-being and positive social forces like democracy and the rule of law crumble, warns a recent United Nations report.
Europe Bakes as Early Summer Heat Wave Drive Temperatures Above 40°C
With nighttime temperatures exceeding 30°C in Madrid and weekend day temperatures expected to soar far above normal for June in many cities across their continent, Europeans are struggling to keep hydrated and cool, while officials work to staff hospitals and warn of “extreme” forest fire risk
Permafrost in Remote Canadian Arctic Thawing 70 Years Earlier Than Predicted
Permafrost in the remotest parts of the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, providing further evidence that the global climate crisis is accelerating and drawing the planet ever closer to dangerous feedback loops.
Dengue Risk to Hit Two Billion More People in 2080 Unless Carbon Emissions Are Curtailed
Based on a warming scenario “roughly representative of the world’s current emissions trajectory,” more than two billion additional people will be at risk of dengue fever by 2080, within its current geographic range and well beyond, according to a study just published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
Oceans Could Lose 17% of Biomass by 2100 Unless GHG Emissions Are Brought Under Control
The world’s oceans could lose 17% of their biomass by 2100 if humanity fails to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, representing a devastating blow to biodiversity and a terrifying reduction in a resource base upon which much of humanity ultimately depends.
India Bakes Under Stifling Heat Wave as Data Show Warming Trend
Much of the Indian subcontinent was blanketed in a stifling heat wave last week, with five of the 15 hottest places on the planet located in India or Pakistan and the northern town of Churu hitting a high of 50°C (122°F) on Monday.
Study Predicts End of Civilization by 2050 if Global Warming Hits 3.0°C
An alarming new study by Australia’s Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration is pointing to the “high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end” by 2050—with the all-important caveat that that’s the outcome to expect if humanity fails to take action on the climate emergency and get greenhouse gas emissions under control.
More Countries Put Up Barriers as Migrants Flee Climate Chaos
With many governments still dragging their feet on climate action, many are also actively preparing—via militarized borders and regressive immigration policies—for one of its most dire and tragic consequences: refugees fleeing climate-driven conflict, desertification, and sea level rise.
Unchecked Warming Could Drive Two Metres of Sea Level Rise by 2100, Experts Say
Coastal communities around the world should gear their climate resilience planning for a “catastrophic” two metres (6.5 feet) of sea level rise by 2100, more than double the likely outcome most recently projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if nothing is done to reverse the greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate emergency, according to a survey of expert judgement published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Bank of Canada Review Declares Climate Risk to Financial System, Wider Economy
The Bank of Canada cites climate change as a risk “to both the economy and the financial system” in its 2019 Financial System Review (FSR), the first in the annual series to examine the climate crisis as a threat to the country’s financial stability.
Rapid Warming Devastates Alaska Ecosystems, Destroys Ways of Life
Record-high sea surface temperatures, record-low Bering Sea ice, and the early disappearance of river ice in Alaska this winter are among the red flags of a rapidly warming climate that is devastating Arctic ecosystems, destroying traditional ways of life—and killing people outright.
Losing Up to a Million Species Will Create ‘Danger Zone’ for Humanity: UN Commission
The Earth is on track to lose up to a million species, many of them within decades, a rate of extinction that represents a danger zone for humanity, according to a leaked draft of a global biodiversity assessment due to be released today.
Epic Eastern Canadian Floods Drive Adaptation Discussion as GHG Reductions Lag
With record, devastating flooding in parts of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario, thousands of people evacuated with their homes underwater, 2,000 Canadian Forces troops providing assistance, and everyone from students to inmates volunteering to fill sandbags or lend a hand, experts and commentators are calling for a more serious approach to climate change preparations and adaptation.
But it remains to be seen whether the latest round of climate-fuelled natural disasters will be enough to shift the national debate on greenhouse gas reductions.
Permafrost Loss Could Produce $70 Trillion in Long-Term Costs, and Abrupt Thawing May Make It Worse
Just a week after researchers placed the cost of Arctic ice and permafrost melt as high as US$70 trillion, albeit over a span of nearly three centuries, a commentary in the journal Nature concludes that sudden permafrost collapse could double the warming from greenhouse gases released from northern tundra.
Studies Show Accelerating Ice Loss in Greenland, New Threat to Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf
The rate of ice loss in Greenland has sped up massively, from 51 billion tons in the 1980s to 286 billion tons between 2010 and 2018, according to a study based on nearly a half-century of data published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Independent Data Confirms Warming Trend, as Models Suggest Worse May Be Ahead
A recent review of satellite data is confirming that the Earth is already warming, possibly somewhat faster in the highest latitudes than previously believed, while new modelling suggests a warming surge may be on the horizon.
Continued fossil industry development came under increased pressure from investors over the last week, with a major fund manager concluding that climate targets could undercut global oil demand by the mid-2020s and one of the world’s biggest investment advisors warning of trouble ahead if global climate goals are missed.
Two New Studies Trace Massive Glacier Loss Linked to Climate Change
North America accounts for more than half of the 369 billion tons of snow and ice the world’s glaciers are losing each year, and the Alps are on track to see two-thirds of their glacier ice melt by 2100, according to two different studies released this week.
Mass Bleaching Drives Down Replenishment of Great Barrier Reef Corals by 89%
The replenishment of new corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef crashed 89% in a mass bleaching “event” in 2016 and 2017 triggered by climate change, and also produced a shift in the coral species on the reef, according to a new study in the journal Nature.
Climate-Induced Warming Harms Food Chains by Leaving Insects ‘No Place to Hide’
Overheating is just as hazardous to insects in shaded woodlands as it is in open grasslands, meaning they receive no respite from climate-induced warming, according to a new study from the UK that points to possible impacts on food chains that depend on the smaller creatures.
Midwestern U.S. Loses Hundreds of Miles of Levees After ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Flooding
Severe flooding across midwestern U.S. states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri has taken out hundreds of miles of levees, leaving officials to compare the failed system to Swiss cheese, on the heels of mid-March “bomb cyclone” storm conditions that inundated more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) of farmland.
Australian Farmers Face Suicide Risk as Multi-Year Drought Turns from ‘Crisis’ to ‘Marathon’
A brutal, multi-year drought brought on by climate change is taking its toll on the mental health of Australia’s farmers, just as it has in India, leading to higher suicide rates as farm incomes and the communities that depend on them suffer.
‘Ecological Turmoil’ of Ocean Heat Wave Produces Six-Year Drop in Australian Dolphin Population
A single, extreme heat wave in Shark Bay, Australia spanning two months in 2011 drove down the local bottlenose dolphin population by 12% over the six years that followed, leading to a decline in dolphin calf births and suggesting “that the ecological consequences of extreme weather events may be too sudden or disruptive for even highly adaptable animals to respond,” concludes a new study in the journal Current Biology.
Extreme Weather Displaced Two Million, Affected 62 Million in 2018, WMO Reports
Extreme weather affected 62 million people in 2018 and displaced two million as of September that year, according to the latest in an annual series of State of the Climate reports released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
738 Dead, 1.8 Million in Urgent Need, Cholera Cases Hit 271 as Cyclone Impacts Wrack Mozambique
Half a month after Cyclone Idai ripped through parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, destroying 90% of the port city of Beira, the numbers that trace the devastation are continuing to mount: At least 738 dead with many more missing, an estimated three million people affected and 1.8 million in urgent need, 136,000 displaced and 50,000 homes destroyed in Mozambique alone, and deadly disease spreading quickly to people with no choice but to drink contaminated water.
Svalbard’s ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault in Trouble Due to Rapid Arctic Warming
The Global Seed Vault in Norway, intended as “the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” is now threatened by rapid warming in Longyearbyen, the town on the island of Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost community with 1,000 or more residents.
Climate Disaster Losses Could Undermine Financial System Stability, U.S. Federal Bank Exec Warns
Economic losses from natural disasters and other climate impacts could produce enough risk to undermine the security of the financial system, according to a research letter released Monday by Glenn D. Rudebusch, a senior policy advisor and executive vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Pine Ridge Reservation in Crisis, 13 Million People at Risk, as Experts Say Midwestern U.S. Flooding Could Continue for Months
The record-breaking floods that hit parts of the midwestern United States last week are shaping up as a long-term, slow-moving disaster, with residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation stranded for nearly two weeks with limited food and water, at least 50 levees across the region breached or overtopped, experts predicting months of flooding, and nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states facing elevated risk through May.
Rising Premiums Due to Severe Weather Could ‘Threaten Social Order’, Insurers Warn
The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is warning that climate change may soon turn rising insurance costs into a pressing social issue, as more frequent, severe weather puts rates beyond the reach of most households.
Humanitarian Disaster in Mozambique Points to ‘Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change’
With thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi still in need of rescue in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and nearly three million affected, meteorologist and Grist climate writer Eric Holthaus is pointing to the massive natural and humanitarian disaster as an example of the “fundamental injustice of climate change”.
Up to 1,000 Feared Dead in Mozambique, Making Tropical Cyclone Idai Africa’s Worst Ever
More than 1,000 people are believed dead, 90% of the port city of Beira has been destroyed, and 1.5 million people have been affected after Tropical Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique late last week with wind speeds of 175 kilometres (110 miles) per hour, before pushing inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Air Pollution Causes 8.8 Million Early Deaths Per Year, More Than Tobacco Smoking
Air pollution, most of it from fossil fuel burning, led to 8.8 million premature deaths world-wide and nearly 800,000 in Europe in 2015, almost double the previous estimate of 4.5 million and even more than the seven million per year caused by tobacco smoking.
Resource Extraction Drives 53% of Carbon Emissions, 80% of Biodiversity Loss, UN Reports
Resource extraction, from fossil fuels and mining to food and biofuels, is responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of biodiversity loss, according to a Global Resource Outlook released last week at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.
Oceans ‘Spiking a Fever’ as Heatwaves Become More Frequent and Severe
A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change says ocean heatwaves act like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest” and are becoming much more frequent, killing off kelp, seagrass, and coral and imperiling an ecosystem humanity relies on for oxygen, food, storm protection, and atmospheric carbon removal.
411.66 PPM: Scientists Alarmed by Early Rise in Atmospheric CO2
Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are raising the alarm that the atmosphere has just hit a new peak in average carbon dioxide levels, at 411.66 part per million—not even because it’s a record, but because it was recorded three months before the time of year when CO2 concentrations normally reach their annual high.
Ocean Warming Leads to Declining Fish Stocks, with Developing Regions Hardest Hit
Ocean warming has delivered a significant decline in sustainable fish catches over the last century, but holding average global warming to 1.5°C would help protect future catches worth billions of dollars per year, according to two new studies.
Another Century of Fossil Use Could Eliminate Cloud Cover, Trigger 8.0°C of Additional Warming
A startling new study in the journal Nature Geoscience concludes that another century of burning fossil fuels at today’s levels could trigger the total loss of the world’s stratocumulus clouds and trigger another 8.0°C/14.0°F of global warming.
Report Links Climate Change to Majority of 2018’s Under-Reported Humanitarian Disasters
Climate change caused the majority of the world’s under-reported humanitarian disasters last year, and nine of the top 10 occurred in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, according to an analysis of more than a million online news stories released last week by CARE International.
Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080
Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Insect Collapse Over Next Century Could Trigger ‘Catastrophic Ecosystem Collapse’
The world’s insect populations could disappear in the next century, triggering a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to a first-ever global scientific review that points to climate change as one of the main threats to species that are a foundation of the Earth’s food chains and ecosystems.
Lake Warming Above 1.5°C Means Less Winter Ice, More Summer Algae
The number of lakes throughout the Northern Hemisphere likely to remain ice-free in winter, and correspondingly clogged with algal blooms in summer, would more than double at 2.0°C average global warming and quadruple at 3.0°C, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
‘Terrifying Assessment’ Shows Himalayas Losing One-Third of Ice by 2100 in Best-Case GHG Scenario
The Mount Everest area will lose more than half of its ice by 2100 in even the most optimistic greenhouse gas reduction scenario, and the Himalayan region as a whole will lose more than one-third, according to a 627-page regional assessment released this week by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
Record Flood Hits Queensland, Australia While Tasmania Burns
Hundreds of people in northern Australia were forced to evacuate their homes and about 18,000 lost power after the coastal city of Townville, in Queensland, received nearly four feet (120 centimetres) of rain between January 26 and February 4.
Insurance Giant Aon Places Extreme Weather Costs at $653 Billion Over 2017-2018
A US$653-billion global price tag made 2017-2018 the most expensive two-year period ever for extreme weather, according to a report issued last month by UK-based Aon, the world’s biggest insurance broker based on revenue.
Thunberg Addresses World Economic Forum: ‘Our House is On Fire’
16-year-old climate strike leader Greta Thunberg of Stockholm brought her message to 3,000 CEOs attending the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, after travelling 32 hours by train to get to the Swiss mountain resort.
Climate Deaths by 2030 Could Exceed UN Agency’s Estimate of 250,000 Per Year
The World Health Organization may have been too “conservative” with its prediction that climate change will kill 250,000 people per year between 2030 and 2050, according to a new analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Study Shows Antarctic Ice Loss Speeding Up Six-Fold Since 1979
An influx of warm ocean water has boosted the rate of Antarctic ice loss six-fold over the last 40 years, in what the Washington Post calls a “startling new finding” that “could mean sea levels are poised to rise more quickly than predicted in coming decades.”
Oceans Warming Faster Than IPCC Estimate, China-U.S. Study Concludes
The world’s oceans are up to 50% warmer than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in its most recent report, and the rate of warming is still accelerating, a team of Chinese and U.S. scientists concludes in a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Chile Foresees More Wildfires Due to High Winds, Low Humidity, Plantation Forests
Chile’s government expects the area burned by wildfires to double this year, the country’s agriculture minister said last Tuesday morning, as flames continued to rage through the heart of the country amid a heat wave.
Climate Health Impacts Kill 2.1 Million World-Wide, 7,142 in Canada in 2017
Chronic exposure to the air pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions kills 2.1 million people world-wide and 7,142 in Canada per year, according to the second edition of an annual countdown on climate change and health produced by The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.
Regions Could Face Up to Six Climate Threats at Once by 2100
The risks and hazards associated with climate change are already coming in combination, and some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related threats at once by the end of this century, warns a paper published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
California’s Camp Fire Finally Contained: 17 Days, 85 Dead, 249 Missing, 14,000 Homes Lost
After 17 days, 85 dead, another 249 still missing, 14,000 homes destroyed, and flames that took out an area the size of Chicago, California fire officials declared yesterday that the Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history, has been contained.
Climate Change Brings Severe Drought, Soaring Temperatures to War-Torn Iraq
After years of being devastated by war, Iraq faces increased climate stress in a hotter, drier future, according to a stark report released recently by the Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks.
Researchers Acknowledge Errors in Study Methods, But Oceans Are Still Warming
The authors of a startling new study on ocean warming have filed a correction with the journal that originally published it and acknowledged “inadvertent errors that made their conclusions seem more certain than they actually are,” the Washington Post reports.
‘Startling’ Warming Study Shows Oceans Absorbing 60% More Heat Than Scientists Thought
Global warming is farther advanced than scientists believed, with the world’s oceans absorbing 60% more heat per year over the last quarter-century than previously research had shown, according to a startling new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Migrant Caravan to U.S. Driven Primarily by Climate-Induced Drought
With Donald Trump sending 5,000 troops to his country’s southern border—and surprising the Pentagon yesterday by threatening a force of up to 15,000—in his latest attempt to head off hordes of Democratic voters in next Tuesday’s midterm elections, the United Nations and at least one aid agency are pointing to climate change as the main driver of the migrant caravan wending its way through Mexico to the United States.
Storms, Flooding Kill Six Across Northern Italy, Flood 70% of Historic Venice
About 70% of Venice was flooded earlier this week by the highest tides in at least a decade, with a regional weather system driving waters above 1.6 metres (63 inches) that even swamped the elevated sidewalks the city installed to accommodate rising waters.
Habitat Loss, Over-Exploitation Drive Loss of 60% of World’s Wildlife in 44 Years
Habitat loss and over-exploitation, followed by climate change, are among the key factors that have led to the loss of 60% of the world’s wildlife population between 1970 and 2014, according to the latest edition of World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report published Monday.
A 4.5-hectare Hawaiian island was literally wiped off the map forever when Hurricane Walaka swept through the region earlier this month, just a couple of weeks before Super Typhoon Yutu brought 290-kilometre-per-hour winds to the Northern Mariana Islands in the worst storm to hit United States territory since 1935.
Flash Flood in Jordan Kills 18, Mostly Children and Teachers
A flash flood near Jordan’s Dead Sea yesterday killed 18 people, mostly children and teachers on a school trip, producing what rescuers and hospital workers described as one of the country’s worst disasters in years.
Climate Change Already Making Local, International Conflicts Worse: Red Cross
Humanitarian organizations are already coping with the on-the-ground reality that climate change is making domestic and international conflicts worse, according to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
‘Clarion Call’ Study Points to ‘Hyper-Alarming’ Decline in Insect Populations
A “hyper-alarming” population decline in insects and the animals that feed on them extends across the Americas and is more serious than scientists previously believed, and climate change is the cause, according to a new study last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Search and Rescue Continues, Poorest Among the Hardest-Hit as Hurricane Michael Recedes
Poor communities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have been hit first and worst by Hurricane Michael, with some shellshocked evacuees returning home and realizing the storm has sent them “back to frontier days”.
Super-Heated Ocean Boosts Hurricane Michael into 250-Kilometre-Per-Hour ‘Monster’
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle Wednesday as the most powerful storm to hit the continental United States in nearly 50 years, packing winds of up to 155 miles (250 kilometres) per hour, killing six people so far, and triggering immediate analysis that connected the new strength of recent hurricanes to ocean warming caused by climate change.
Species Diversity Determines Forests’ Resilience Against Drought
Species diversity is one of the key factors that determine a forest’s resilience against drought, according to new research on 40 temperate and boreal forests published last month in the journal Nature.
Rising Carbon Levels Reduce Ocean Oxygen Levels, Subjecting North Atlantic Species to ‘Slow Suffocation’
Atlantic wolffish and cod and Greenland halibut are at risk of slow suffocation as climate change drives oxygen depletion in the cold waters off eastern Canada, one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, a team of oceanographers reports in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Permafrost Melt Closes In on Critical Climate Tipping Point
Melting permafrost is closing in on a critical tipping point where it will release large volumes of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, driving atmospheric warming above the maximum 2.0°C target in the Paris Agreement much sooner than scientists hoped, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Major Mental Health Crisis Hits Puerto Rico as Year-Long Hurricane Recovery Lags
A year after Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed much of the infrastructure on the island of Puerto Rico, the country is facing a major mental health crisis, as the grinding, day-to-day reality of living with the aftermath of a US$139-billion catastrophe steadily overwhelms the survivors.
Poor and Rural North Carolinians Are Hardest Hit as Aerial Photos Show ‘Overwhelming’ Devastation
Aerial photos showed “overwhelming” devastation, an 1,870-megawatt nuclear plant had to be shut down, and poor and rural residents of the Carolinas were hit hardest as tropical depression Florence continued to drop rain on a waterlogged region.
‘It’s All About the Water’ as ‘Slow-Moving Natural Disaster’ Turns Carolinas Into an Archipelago
Meteorologists may have downgraded it from a hurricane to a mere tropical storm, but the “storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas,” as rivers and streams overflow their banks and the waters continue to rise, the Washington Post reports.
Typhoon Mangkhut Kills 64 in Philippines Before Hitting Southern China, Hong Kong
At least 64 people are dead after 550-mile-wide Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, uprooting trees and setting off landslides and floods. But officials were at least tentatively relieved that the impact wasn’t even worse after the region sustained the world’s most powerful storm so far this year.
UN Agencies Urge Greater Resilience as Droughts, Floods Drive Global Hunger to 10-Year High
Climate shocks like droughts and flood have helped drive global hunger up to levels last seen a decade ago, leaving one out of nine people around the world undernourished, concludes the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report issued earlier this week by five United Nations agencies.
Climate Action in Cities Could Create 13.7 Million Jobs, Prevent 1.3 Million Premature Deaths
Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,” according to a report released over the weekend by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute.
Extreme River Flows More Likely at 2.0 Than at 1.5°C
Extreme river flows considered once-in-century events can be expected more frequently if average global warming is kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, but even more so in many regions at 2.0°C, according to an international study of major river systems around the world.
Sweltering Summer Leaves 72% of Britons Concerned About Climate
A recent poll conducted by British pollster Opinium as the sweltering summer of 2018 drew to a close found concern about climate change amongst Britons “at the highest level in almost a decade,” The Independent reports.
2.0°C ‘Guardrail’ Won’t Hold Off Severe Climate Impacts
A target of 2.0°C average global warming is no longer the “guardrail” that will hold off many the worst effects of climate change, according to a series of papers published this week in Philosophical Transactions A, a scientific journal of the British Royal Society.
1.5°C Target Holds Far Better Future Than 2.0° for Arctic Ice
The difference between the Paris agreement’s 2.0°C top-line target for average global warming and its more ambitious 1.5°C goal could have a massive impact on the frequency of ice-free Arctic summers by the end of the century, according to two new studies in the journal Nature Climate Change.
1.5°C Target Could Prevent 153 Million Premature Deaths by 2100
The air quality improvements associated with a global effort to keep average global warming at 1.5°C would prevent up to 153 million premature deaths per year by 2100, with improvements on every inhabited continent and the greatest gains in Asia and Africa, according to a Duke University study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The Best Climate Models Predict 15% Higher Future Temperatures
A comparison of the reliability of climate models—based on their ability to replicate present-day conditions on Earth—finds that the most accurate also imply the bleakest forecast for humanity and most other living creatures, an article in the journal Nature reports.
In Conversation: A Better Climate Accountability Bill Serves Everyone’s Interests, Croome and Andrews Say
Julia Croome and Alan Andrews are staff lawyers at Ecojustice, where they’ve been leading much of the climate community’s research and analysis leading up to the release of Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, last week. In this feature interview, they explain the essential difference between an accountability bill and a climate plan, the gaps in the current legislation, and why every party in Parliament should want C-12 strengthened.
GM Abandons Support for Trump’s Fuel Economy Rollback
Giant automaker General Motors is stepping away from its support for Donald Trump’s efforts to strip California of its ability to set tougher fuel economy standards for vehicles, a move that some observers see as an early sign of U.S. industry embracing the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration when it takes office January 20.
Opinion: An Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable Electricity Future for Atlantic Canada is Renewable
Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity on Earth, far cheaper than coal, nuclear, or natural gas. When paired with energy storage technologies and regional hydropower networks, they can deliver reliable power while reducing utility bills for ratepayers who most need the savings, say the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the Ecology Action Centre.
Manufacturer Shuts 3,400 MW of Capacity as Coal Becomes ‘Litmus Test’ for China’s Carbon Neutral Pledge
The world’s biggest aluminum and textile producer has shuttered 3,400 MW of coal-fired generating capacity in China’s Shandong province, even as the country weighs the more than US$300 billion in stranded asset risk it could face if it doesn’t begin restricting construction of new coal plants.
Kerry Named White House Climate ‘Czar’ as Analysis Shows U.S. Could Cut Emissions 38-54% by 2030
Paris Agreement architect John Kerry was appointed White House climate “czar”, a half-dozen other senior appointments signalled stability and continuity, and a few glass ceilings were shattered as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced nominees for senior administration positions Monday.
Climate-Focused Green Banks Could Spur Sustainable Cities, Just Recovery
In an effort to help cities balance climate action with pandemic recovery, C40 Cities has released a guide to establishing local green banks as an equitable, resilient, and sustainable path to achieving both goals.
China’s Carbon Neutral Plan Could Push Belt and Road Initiative Toward ‘Cleaner Growth’
China’s landmark commitment to domestic carbon neutrality could help jump-start a “cleaner growth pathway” for countries participating in the country’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, international climate advocate Han Chen writes in a recent post for China Dialogue.
Researchers See Carbon Reduction Potential in Producing Bioenergy from Switchgrass
The right approach to bioenergy production using the right kind of feedstock can play a role in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change, a cross-border research team concludes in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ørsted, U.S. Building Trades Union Form Training Partnership for Offshore Wind
Offshore wind giant Ørsted and North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU) have arrived at a deal to train a construction work force for the new projects the Danish company expects to build along the East Coast of the United States.
UBC Climate Hub: Finding Hope, Joy, and Community in the Climate Movement
You don’t have to look far to find dispiriting news about climate change these days, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by anxiety and grief. So how can we continue educating ourselves and taking action on climate when the planet’s outlook often looks so bleak? According to some inspiring young climate leaders, one answer is community.
Front-Line Communities Are Driving Force for Biden’s Climate Transformation, Salazar and Goloff Say
Adrien Salazar is Senior Campaign Strategist for Climate Equity at Dēmos, a U.S. racial and economic justice policy organization. Ben Goloff is Senior Climate Campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. In this feature interview, they talk about what the Biden-Harris administration can get done on climate, energy, and environmental justice, and how front-line communities across the United States put them in a position to make a difference.
Vancouver Passes $500-Million Climate Emergency Action Plan
If Vancouver’s newly-minted Climate Emergency Action Plan goes well, 2030 will find 80% of all trips within city limits occurring by foot, bike, or transit, embodied emissions in new buildings reduced by 40%, and 50% of all kilometres driven on city roads emitting zero greenhouse gases.
U.S. GHG Emissions on Track for ‘Biggest Drop on Record’
The United States is on track to exceed the emissions pathway targeted by the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, thanks to green(er) transformations in the country’s power sector coupled with pandemic-driven declines in transportation. It’s a deep enough drop in emissions to put the country’s Paris Agreement targets back within reach, according to new analysis by BloombergNEF.
Midwestern U.S. Mayors Launch $60-Billion Energy Transition Blueprint
Mayors in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia recently unveiled a US$60-billion Marshall Plan for Middle America, intended to accelerate a compassionate, equitable, just, and sustainable transition away from fossil fuels.
Explainer: Bloomberg Analysis Highlights Inefficiency of Fossil Fuels
The argument that overhauling the energy system is too daunting is easily undercut by the fact electrification can offer efficiencies in excess of 100%—a figure that makes fossil fuel combustion look spectacularly inefficient. And throwing more light on this under-reported comparison could make the carbon-free transition a whole lot more saleable, says a UK-based energy analyst.
Ørsted, BP to Launch Hydrogen Partnership with 50-MW Electrolyzer in Germany
Offshore wind giant Ørsted and colossal fossil BP have sealed a deal to build a 50-megawatt electrolyzer in northern Germany, in what the two companies see as a first step in a broader partnership to produce green hydrogen.
Quebec to Announce 2035 Phaseout for Internal Combustion Vehicle Sales
Quebec is planning to ban sales of new internal combustion cars, from compact vehicles to pick-up trucks and SUVs, as of 2035, Environment Minister Benoit Charette revealed over the weekend, in what CBC is framing as the “flagship measure” in the province’s five-year, C$6.7-billion green economy and climate plan.
Vertical-Axis Wind Design Could Replace Diesel on Island Grids, Offer Quieter Turbine for Cities
A designer in South Korea has come up with a prototype for a new, 12-storey vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) that could be located in urban areas and deliver up to four times as much power as a standard, ground-mounted wind machine.
IEA Sees Global Solar and Wind Capacity Doubling, Outstripping Gas and Coal by 2025
Global solar and wind capacity is on track to double over the next five years and outstrip both coal and gas, after continuing to surge in spite of the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports in its annual renewable energy update issued this week.
TD Bank Sets Net-Zero Target, Limits Fossil Divestment to Arctic Oil and Gas
The Toronto-Dominion Bank is coming in for a mix of kudos and mockery after announcing a 2050 net-zero target and declaring that it will no longer finance some oil and gas-related activities in the Arctic, but failing to issue a broader statement on fossil fuel divestment, as a growing number of European financial institutions are doing.
Youth campaigners kicked off their Mock COP 26 this week with a demand for “real action” on the climate crisis, taking up the calendar slot that was supposed to be filled by the regular UN climate event before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global Food System Could Drive Emissions Past Paris Agreement Targets
Emissions from farming and food production are enough on their own to drive atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations beyond the targets in the Paris Agreement, according to a new study in the journal Science.
Supreme Court Decision on Northern Quebec Uranium Mine Reinforces Social Licence, Indigenous Authority
The Supreme Court of Canada’s refusal to hear a case revolving around a proposed uranium mine near the Cree community of Mistissini reinforces Indigenous communities’ authority over natural resource development in their territories and underscores the importance of social licence for resource projects, the Grand Council of the Crees said late last month.
Colorado Utility to Retire Coal-Fired Power Plant 16 Years Early, Cut Emissions 90% by 2030
The Platte River Power Authority in Colorado faces accusations that it is watering down its carbon reduction plan after moving to close a coal-fired power plant 16 years early and cut its emissions 90% from 2005 levels by 2030—because an earlier commitment called for a 100% carbon reduction.
No Need to ‘Live Through Darkness’: Award Honoree Fights for Energy Equity
Driven by her personal experience with energy poverty, a recent Energy News Network 40 Under 40 honoree is working hard as a senior policy associate at a U.S. community solar developer to ensure that ethnicity, language barriers, and income do not bar homeowners from accessing renewable energy.
Duelling Futures: Seba Sees All-Renewable Grid in a Decade, While Bloomberg NEF Projects Slower Shift
Stanford University futurist Tony Seba is laying out a path for most of the world’s electricity systems to switch to solar, wind, and energy storage over the next decade, just as BloombergNEF’s New Energy Outlook predicts US$11 trillion in green power investment by 2050.
Woynillowicz: EV Job Creation Can Match Internal Combustion as Canada Moves to Ramp Up Production
It took just a month for Canada to move past its former status as “a speck on the global EV manufacturing map”, after Unifor negotiated separate contracts with Ford Canada and Fiat Chrysler totalling C$3.5 billion in new investment in electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturing, cleantech analyst Dan Woynillowicz writes in a recent opinion piece for Electric Autonomy.
Biden Presidency Could Trigger Lower Oil Prices by Easing Sanctions on Iran
Beyond Joe Biden’s declaration during the final U.S. presidential debate that he understands the need for a transition off oil, there’s something else for fossils to worry about in the event that Biden wins the White House.
Major Investors Dump BP and Shell, Pressure Others for Transparency on Stranded Asset Risk
Colossal fossil BP has been blacklisted by two major investment houses in London, UK worried that its attempt to decarbonize its product lines will “cripple profits and dividends”—and apparently, because they don’t think the company is being transparent about stranded asset risk in its oilfields.
Another Lloyd’s of London Insurer Refuses to Back Adani Coal Mine
350.org is declaring a win after Apollo, an insurance provider that belongs to Lloyd’s of London, declared it will not renew the coverage it currently provides for the controversial and climate-busting Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia.
U.S. Can’t Decarbonize Transport without Driving Less, New Analysis Warns
Transportation programs that emphasize electric vehicle use without also limiting the distances people have to drive won’t be enough to achieve rapid decarbonization, Transportation for America and Smart Growth America warn in a report issued earlier this month.
Democrats Explore How Biden Climate Plan Would Navigate a Hostile U.S. Senate
With a bitter presidential campaign in the United States winding down to its last 100 or so hours, and Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris holding a steady lead in opinion polls, U.S. analysts are starting to ponder how much the new administration will be able to get done on climate policy once it takes office—and how they’ll go about it.
Quick Shift to 100% Renewables Could Slash U.S. Emissions, Save Households $2,500 Per Year
An aggressive shift to 100% renewable energy could produce up to US$321 billion for American ratepayers, or an average $2,500 per household per year, while slashing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis by Rewiring America.
New Solar, Wind Now Cheaper than Existing U.S. Coal and Gas Plants, Analysis Shows
Utility-scale solar and wind now deliver the cheapest electricity in the United States, even undercutting the cost of running an existing coal or gas plant, concludes the latest in a series of annual assessments by finance and asset management firm Lazard.
Swiss Researchers Develop New Material for Wearable Solar Collector
Swiss researchers are getting excited about a polymer that could allow them to incorporate a “flexible solar concentrator” in textile fibres, making it possible to charge personal electronic devices from the clothes their owners wear.
Hastings-Simon: Alberta Government Must Wake up to ‘Spectacular’ Drop in Solar Power Costs
Solar’s recent coronation by the International Energy Agency as the “king” of global electricity markets is a literal power shift that bodes ill for Alberta’s oilpatch, says one of the province’s top energy policy experts.
Global Hydrogen Race Will Be Only Won by Cleanest Producers, Smith and Petrevan Predict
As Canada moves to stake its claim in the burgeoning hydrogen fuel market—a claim that includes Alberta’s recent bet on “blue hydrogen”—policy experts are warning that it will be only the cleanest hydrogen that takes the prize in a zero-carbon world.
Ottawa City Plan Sets Sights on Zero Emissions, 4.4 GW of New Renewables by 2050
The City of Ottawa has released a long-awaited energy transition plan that has it eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out all fossil fuel use, shifting all heating and transportation to electricity or other zero-emission options, and adding 4.4 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity by 2050.
‘Rewilding’ Could Help Avert 70% of Predicted Extinctions, Create Carbon Sinks
Targeted restoration of 30% of the world’s agricultural lands to their original wild state coupled with equally focused conservation efforts could prevent 70% of predicted extinctions and sequester the equivalent of 50% of the CO2 emissions humanity has generated since the Industrial Revolution—all without compromising food security.
Inventor Combines Physics with Ancient Knowledge to Create Fuel-Free Cooling System
A fundamental law of physics coupled with 21st-century nanotechnology has yielded a product that could significantly reduce the emissions generated by the world’s 3.5 billion-plus air conditioners and refrigerators—at low cost.
Small Island States Speed Up the Shift from Imported Fossils to Local Solar, Wind
Small island states are working to accelerate the shift from imported fossil fuels to their own renewable energy resources, both to protect themselves from unpredictable global prices for oil and gas and to take a lead in addressing a climate crisis that is already endangering their safety—and in some cases, their very existence as countries.
New IMF Climate Action Blueprint Maintains GDP, Factors in Human Health
Rejecting the oft-cited dictum that growth must be sacrificed to cut emissions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a “blueprint” for getting to net-zero by 2050 without economic pain—and with a healthier global population.
International Investor Bloc Pledges to Align $5T in Portfolios with Paris Agreement
Thirty investor giants that manage a combined US$5 trillion in assets have committed to lowering the carbon emissions in their portfolios by as much as 29% by 2025—a pledge that will align them with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
New York Looks to Replace Six Gas Peaker Plants, Brings Environmental Justice Groups Into the Process
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is considering replacing six gas-fired peak power plants in the New York City area with battery storage and other advanced energy options, and promised last week to plan the transition in partnership with environmental justice groups.
Western Australia Greets 26-GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub as Job Creator, ‘Major Contributor’ to Carbon Reductions
The state government in Western Australia has issued planning approvals for the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a vast solar, wind, and green hydrogen production complex whose backers have increased their long-term production target to 26 gigawatts.