Australian islanders file landmark climate change complaint
A group of indigenous people from low-lying islands off the coast of Australia on Monday lodged an unprecedented complaint against the country’s government, accusing it of insufficient action on climate change.
The eight Torres Strait Islanders filed the complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, claiming that rising sea levels were having a devastating effect on their communities.
Around 4,500 people live on the Torres Strait Islands, a group of more than 270 islands lying between the north coast of Australia and Papua New Guinea. The complainants say their homes, burial grounds and cultural sites could disappear underwater in their lifetimes.
Global Warming Is Fueling Growth Spurts in Some of China’s Oldest Trees
Climate change is causing old trees in northern China’s permafrost forests to grow faster, likely thanks to warmer soil temperatures, according to recent research. Older larch trees grew more from 2005 to 2014 than in the preceding 40 years. And the oldest trees, often 400-plus years, grew more rapidly than at any time in the past three centuries.
But scientists warn that these growth spurts are a temporary boon: As the region’s permafrost continues to melt, the soil will become wetter and soggier, almost wetland-like. Larch trees are not able to survive in that type of landscape, which will cause the entire ecosystem to shift.