Global Warming

How China Avoids Paying for Climate Damage

In 1992, the United Nations classified China as a developing country, as hundreds of millions of its citizens lived in poverty.

A lot has changed since then: China is now the world’s second-largest economy and the biggest annual emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gases. Average Chinese today are 34 times richer and nearly four times more polluting. But the classification has stayed the same for the past three decades, frustrating diplomats from developed nations who say it has allowed Beijing to avoid paying its fair share to help poor countries cope with the ravages of climate change.


Unabated Carbon Is Shrinking Earth’s Upper Atmosphere

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere could exacerbate efforts to clean up our increasingly cluttered shell of orbiting space junk.

According to two new studies, the greenhouse gas has significantly contributed to the contraction of the upper atmosphere. This contraction has been hypothesized for decades; now, for the first time, it’s been actually observed. Some of the observed shrinkage is normal, and will bounce back; but the contribution made by CO2 is, scientists say, probably permanent.

This means that defunct satellites and other bits of old technology in low Earth orbit is likely to remain in place longer due to the reduction of atmospheric drag, cluttering up the region and causing problems for newer satellites and space observations.


Huge Undeclared Gas Faring Emissions

Major oil companies are not declaring a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The BBC found millions of tonnes of undeclared emissions from gas flaring at oil fields where BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell work.

Flared gases emit a potent mix of carbon dioxide, methane and black soot which pollute the air and accelerate global warming.

The BBC has also found high levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals in Iraqi communities near oil fields where there is gas flaring. These fields have some of the highest levels of undeclared flaring in the world.

Global Warming

Red Sea Coral Reefs Defy Climate Change

The vast majority of the world’s coral reefs are likely to be severely damaged in the coming decades if the planet keeps warming at its current rate.

But the wildly colourful coral reefs in the waters outside the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, where the annual United Nations climate conference is taking place, are an anomaly: They can tolerate the heat, and perhaps even thrive in it, making them some of the only reefs in the world that have a chance of surviving climate change.

Global Warming

Top 3 Carbon Emitters

Central to the COP27 discussions in Egypt is a question: Who is responsible for climate change? The issue is complicated, but a few pieces of data about current and past emissions can begin to answer it.

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Blocking the Sun

Climate experts and activists have directed intense criticism at COP27 for being sponsored by the likes of Coca-Cola, the world’s leading plastic polluter.

On Oct. 13, the White House announced that it was funding a five-year-research plan into one of the most controversial proposals for fighting climate change out there: geoengineering, or the technologies and innovations that can be used to artificially modify the Earth’s climate including schemes to artificially block the Sun.

Climate experts have repeatedly warned against tampering with the Earth’s natural order to achieve short term, opportunistic climate goals. Such tampering is a sure road to extinction of all life on the planet.

Global Warming

Greenland Ice Loss

A new study finds that Greenland’s ice sheet is disappearing faster and sliding into the sea more quickly than earlier predicted, threatening greater sea level rises. “It’s not something that we expected,” said Danish glaciologist Shfaqat Abbas Khan. ”Greenland and Antarctica’s contributions to sea level rise in the next 80 years will be significantly larger than we have predicted until now.”

The main contributor to Greenland’s ice loss is the increasing flow of two fast-moving glaciers, which drain about 12% of the interior ice sheet into the sea.

Earth’s Thermostat

Earth appears to have a climate-stabilising process that keeps global temperatures within a habitable range over the long term. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at a process called “silicate weathering,” which over hundreds of thousands of years draws carbon dioxide out of the air and stores it in ocean floor sediment.

This helps explain how life on Earth has survived dramatic global temperature swings in the past. “On the one hand, it’s good because we know that today’s global warming will eventually be cancelled out through this stabilising feedback,” said study author Constantin Arnscheidt. “But on the other hand, it will take hundreds of thousands of years to happen, so not fast enough to solve our present-day issues.”

Emissions Rise Once Again

As leaders met in Egypt to find a way to curb carbon emissions, a comprehensive study finds that instead of declining, carbon emissions will reach yet another record high by the end of 2022. A report by the Global Carbon Project says there are no signs of the decline needed to meet the warming limit goal of 1.5 degrees C.

It projects fossil fuel CO2 emissions will rise another 1% worldwide this year, while China’s emissions are, in contrast, likely to drop by 1% in 2022. “If governments respond by turbocharging clean energy investments and planting, not cutting down, trees, global emissions could rapidly start to fall,” said Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, who was part of the study.

Global Warming

Climate Change – The Devastating Toll On Africa’s Animals

Climate change has produced a number of threats to wildlife. Over time, changing rainfall patterns have transformed habitats and forced animals to move. Increasing temperatures are causing mass die-off events during heat waves and making it hard for animals to find food.

Drought is recurring in parts of the continent. The increased frequency means there’s little or no time to recover before the next one occurs. The wildlife in some of these regions lives alongside people who are also struggling to survive and keep their livestock alive. This puts people and wildlife into conflict as they compete for diminishing sources of water and food.

Climate change can also strongly influence the physiology, behaviour and breeding success of animals. Over the past two decades, the Horn of Africa – specifically Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya – has experienced more intense and frequent droughts. Drought adds to the pressure on resources like water and pasture. This makes livestock and wildlife more susceptible to malnutrition, disease, mass mortalities and competition with each other over resources.

Gabon is home to some of the highest densities of forest elephants. Many of them live in Lopé National Park, a 5,000km² protected area. The condition of these elephants has declined by 11% since 2008 due to a massive collapse in tree-fruiting events.

For birds in arid zones, rising temperatures pose a significant problem. They usually breed in response to rainfall, which often occurs during the hottest time of the year. And birds are mostly active during the day, when they are exposed to the sun’s heat. This is when their vital processes for reproduction take place – such as territorial defence, courtship, finding food for their young and attending the nest.

Breeding attempts of the Kalahari Hornbill all failed when average daily maximum air temperatures exceeded 35.7°C. In the Kalahari, air temperatures have already risen more than 2°C in a few decades. At this rate, by 2027, these birds will not breed at all at this site. They will quickly become locally extinct.

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COP27 Climate Conference

Data shows that fossil fuel lobbyists outnumber almost every national delegation at COP27. Campaigners say that “Those perpetuating the world’s fossil fuel addiction should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference”.

UN chief António Guterres told those attending the COP27 climate summit in Egypt that the world must quickly cooperate to curb global heating or face “collective suicide.”

He also described the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) provisional 2022 State of the Global Climate report as a “chronicle of chaos” because it details the catastrophic speed of a changing climate that is devastating lives and livelihoods on every continent. Since little is being done to eliminate carbon emissions and reduce the likelihood of more climate disasters and extreme weather events around the world, Guterres says there must be a rush to develop early warning systems to prepare before they strike. “We must answer the planet’s distress signal with action — ambitious, credible climate action,” he urged.

Climate Refugees

Latin America’s first residents to be moved by the government due to rising sea levels will soon abandon Panama’s Gardi Sugdub Island as it is slowly engulfed by the Caribbean.

“When the tide goes up, the water enters some houses and the people have to move their belongings to higher ground,” said local teacher Pragnaben Mohan. Students and teachers on the tightly packed small island already have to wade through floodwaters with rubber boots at times. The move to modern homes in the new mainland community of La Barriada late next year has been planned for more than a decade, according to The Wall Street Journal. Three other nearby islands will also soon have to be evacuated

Global Warming

Past eight years eight hottest on record

The past eight years are on track to be the hottest ever recorded, a United Nations report has found, as UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that the planet was sending “a distress signal”.

Earth has warmed more than 1.1C since the late 19th century with roughly half of that increase occurring in the past 30 years, the report showed.

This year is on track to be the fifth or sixth warmest ever recorded despite the impact since 2020 of La Nina, a periodic and naturally occurring phenomenon in the Pacific that cools the atmosphere.

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Europe Warming at Twice Global Average

Europe has warmed at more than twice the global average over the past three decades and experienced a greater temperature rise than any other continent, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said.

Average temperatures in the European region have risen by 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) each decade since 1991, according to the joint report by World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service released on Wednesday.

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Battle of the Alps – Water Woes

A battle is brewing around Europe’s rooftop over the planet’s most precious resource.

The crystal-clear waters from the Alps could become increasingly contested as the effects of climate change and glacier melt become more apparent. Italy wants them for crop irrigation in the spring and summer. Swiss authorities want to hold up flows to help hydroelectric plants rev up, when needed.

For the first time in four years, government envoys from eight Alpine countries — big, small and tiny — were meeting under a grouping known as the Alpine Convention, which was set up 30 years ago to help coordinate life, leisure and the limited resources from Europe’s most celebrated peaks to discuss shrinking water supplies.

96% of humans feel global warming

Whether they realized it or not, some 7.6 billion people – 96 percent of humanity – felt global warming’s impact on temperatures over the last 12 months, researchers have said.

People in tropical regions and on small islands surrounded by heat-absorbing oceans were disproportionately impacted by human-induced temperature increases to which they barely contributed.

Among the 1,021 cities analyzed between September 2021 and October 2022, the capitals of Samoa and Palau in the South Pacific have been experiencing the most discernible climate fingerprints, the researchers said in the report. Lagos, Mexico City and Singapore were among the most highly exposed major cities, with human-induced heat increasing health risks to millions.

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CO2 and methane in our atmosphere reach record levels

Atmospheric levels of the three main greenhouse gases warming our planet – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide- all reached new record highs in 2021, according to a new report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

CO2 concentrations last year reached 415.7 parts per million (ppm), methane 1908 ppm, and nitrous oxide 334.5 ppm. These values constitute, respectively, 149 per cent, 262 per cent and 124 per cent of pre-industrial levels before human activities started disrupting the natural balance of these gases in the atmosphere.

After COVID-related lockdowns in 2020, global CO2 emissions have rebounded, primarily from fossil fuel and cement production.

Of the total emissions from human activities during the 2011–2020 period, about 48 per cent accumulated in the atmosphere, 26 per cent in the ocean and 29% on land.

Experts warn that there is concern that the ability of land ecosystems and oceans to act as sinks may become less effective in future, thus reducing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and act as a buffer against larger temperature increases. In some parts of the world, previously carbon-absorbing land has started to emit the gas back to the atmosphere.

Global Warming

Earth on Track to Warm Above 2C Despite Climate Action

Government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions aren’t enough to avoid catastrophic global warming, with the planet on track to heat up between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, according to a new report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Despite some progress in the last year, governments need to do more by 2030 to ensure that the global temperature increase is below 2C and ideally closer to 1.5C — the goal set in the Paris Agreement reached in 2015. The UNFCCC reached its conclusions by analyzing all national climate plans, also known as nationally-determined contributions or NDCs, submitted since 2015.

Global Warming

Ozone Hole Grows for 3rd Year in a Row

The ozone hole that forms yearly over Antarctica has grown for the third year in a row. At nearly 10 million square miles (26.4 million square kilometers), the ozone hole is the largest it’s been since 2015.

But despite that growth, scientists say that the hole’s size is still on a downward trend overall. “All the data says that ozone is on the mend,” Paul Newman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s chief Earth scientist, told the Associated Press(opens in new tab).

Global Warming

Global Warming Impacts Wheat Production

A recent study published in Nature Food has shown that global warming in the Indian Ocean has given rise to a drier climate in Australia. A dry climate is not suitable for wheat production. As a result, wheat production has fallen in Australia. If global warming continues to take place at a similar rate, wheat producers are likely to experience more challenges in wheat cultivation.

The study has found that the change in the climatic pattern due to global warming is known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). If IOD is in a positive phase, there won’t be enough rainfall to produce wheat. A normal weather condition suitable for wheat cultivation can produce up to 2.5 tonnes of wheat per hectare in a year. However, a dry climate driven by positive IOD events could bring down wheat cultivation to 1.5 tonnes per hectare.