by:DamianCarrington   15

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.”

There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

The statement is published in the journal BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979. The statement was a collaboration of dozens of scientists and endorsed by further 11,000 from 153 nations. The scientists say the urgent changes needed include ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction and slashing meat eating.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange 
17 days ago by owenblacker
Climate crisis affects how majority will vote in UK election – poll
A majority of people in the UK say the climate crisis will influence how they vote in the looming general election, according to an opinion poll, with younger voters feeling particularly strongly about the issue.

Almost two-thirds of people agreed the climate emergency was the biggest issue facing humankind, with 7% disagreeing. The poll also asked if “fossil fuel companies, whose products contribute directly to climate change, should help pay for the tens of billions in damages from extreme weather events?” Two-thirds of people agreed, with 12% opposed.

In terms of action to tackle the climate emergency, 81% of people backed planting more trees, 63% supported a Green New Deal – a large-scale, long-term investment in green infrastructure and jobs – and more than half said it was important to ban fracking.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom  GreenNewDeal  GeneralElection2019 
23 days ago by owenblacker
World 'gravely' unprepared for effects of climate crisis – report
Trillion-dollar investment is needed to avert “climate apartheid”, where the rich escape the effects and the poor do not, but this investment is far smaller than the eventual cost of doing nothing.

The study says the greatest obstacle is not money but a lack of “political leadership that shakes people out of their collective slumber”. A “revolution” is needed in how the dangers of global heating are understood and planned for, and solutions are funded.
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The report says severe effects are now inevitable and estimates that unless precautions are taken, 100 million more people could be driven into poverty by 2030. It says the number of people short of water each year will jump by 1.4 billion to 5 billion, causing unprecedented competition for water, fuelling conflict and migration. On the coasts, rising sea levels and storms will drive hundreds of millions from their homes, with costs of $1tn (£810bn) a year by 2050.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange 
10 weeks ago by owenblacker
Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers
The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed.

Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease.

The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency”.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  AirPollution  health  urbanism  WorldHealthOrganisation 
july 2019 by owenblacker
‘Climate apartheid’: UN expert says human rights may not survive
Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law.

Alston is critical of the “patently inadequate” steps taken by the UN itself, countries, NGOs and businesses, saying they are “entirely disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat”. His report to the UN human rights council (HRC) concludes: “Human rights might not survive the coming upheaval.”

The report also condemns Donald Trump for “actively silencing” climate science, and criticises the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, for promising to open up the Amazon rainforest to mining. But Alston said there were also some positive developments, including legal cases against states and fossil fuel companies, the activism of Greta Thunberg and the worldwide school strikes, and Extinction Rebellion.

In May, Alston’s report on poverty in the UK compared Conservative party welfare policies to the creation of 19th-century workhouses. Ministers said his report gave a completely inaccurate picture, but Alston accused them of “total denial of a set of uncontested facts”.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  PhilipAlston  UnitedNations  ClimateChange  HumanRights  DonaldTrump  JavierBolsano  GretaThunberg 
june 2019 by owenblacker
‘This report will change your life’: what zero emissions means for UK
By 2050, petrol and diesel cars should be a distant memory, ideally banned from sale in favour of electric vehicles two decades earlier. “2030 would be my ideal switchover date, but we have said 2035 at the latest to be cautious,” said Chris Stark, the chief executive of the CCC. The current date is 2040, but switching sooner will save people money, he said, as electric cars are cheaper in the long run.

The cars will need a lot of electricity, meaning clean power generation must quadruple by 2050, the CCC said. That certainly means more offshore windfarms, but the cheapest option – onshore windfarms – are effectively banned in England. Big storage will also be needed, but battery costs are plummeting.

Homes heated by natural gas will also be long gone, with the CCC saying no new home should be connected to the gas grid after 2025. Electrified heating will be more common, but hydrogen could be an alternative to natural gas, if it can be produced cleanly at scale.
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The UK landscape will also significantly change by 2050, if emissions are stopped. A fifth of all farmland – 15% of land – will have been converted to tree planting and growing biofuel crops.

This is essential because some activities, like cattle rearing and aviation, will still emit greenhouses gases in 2050. The CCC target is for “net zero”, with these residual emissions cancelled out by taking carbon out of the air.

New trees are the simplest solution but tree planting must triple from today’s rate, the CCC said, meaning more than 107 hectares (267 acres) a day of new forests from now until 2050. That would be 1.5bn trees, according to Beccy Speight, the chief executive of the Woodland Trust, who said new woods would also help reverse huge losses of wildlife in the UK: “There is a potential win-win here.” Guy Smith, at the National Farmers Union, said it was working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 2040.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  environment  ClimateChange  geo:UnitedKingdom  police 
may 2019 by owenblacker
Why the Guardian is putting global CO₂ levels in the weather forecast | Environment | The Guardian
Today, the CO₂ level is the highest it has been for several million years. Back then, temperatures were 3–4 °C hotter, sea level was 15–20 metres higher and trees grew at the south pole. Worse, billions of tonnes of carbon pollution continues to pour into the air every year and at a rate 10 times faster than for 66m years.

At the dawn of the industrial revolution, CO₂ was at 280 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. By 1958, when the first measurements were made at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, it had reached 315ppm. It raced past 350ppm in 1986 and 400ppm in 2013.

The Guardian will now publish the Mauna Loa carbon count, the global benchmark, on the weather page of the paper every day.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  journalism 
april 2019 by owenblacker
Air pollution deaths are double previous estimates, finds research
The number of early deaths caused by air pollution is double previous estimates, according to new research, meaning toxic air is killing more people than tobacco smoking.

The scientists used new data to estimate that nearly 800,000 people die prematurely each year in Europe because of dirty air, and that each life is cut short by an average of more than two years. The health damage caused by air pollution in Europe is higher than the global average. Its dense population and poor air results in exposure that is among the highest in the world.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  AirPollution  environment  geo:Europe  health 
march 2019 by owenblacker
A third of Himalayan ice cap doomed, finds report
Even if carbon emissions are dramatically and rapidly cut and succeed in limiting global warming to 1.5C, 36% of the glaciers along in the Hindu Kush and Himalaya range will have gone by 2100. If emissions are not cut, the loss soars to two-thirds, the report found.

The glaciers are a critical water store for the 250 million people who live in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region, and 1.65 billion people rely on the great rivers that flow from the peaks into India, Pakistan, China and other nations.
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Since the 1970s, about 15% of the ice in the HKH region has disappeared as temperatures have risen. But the HKH range is 3,500km long and the impact of warming is variable. Some glaciers in Afghanistan and Pakistan are stable and a few are even gaining ice, most probably due to increased cloud cover that shields the sun and changed winds that bring more snow. But even these will start melting with future warming, Wester said.

The melting glaciers will increase river flows through to 2050 to 2060, he said, pushing up the risk of high-altitude lakes bursting their banks and engulfing communities. But from the 2060s, river flows will go into decline. The Indus and central Asian rivers will be most affected. “Those areas will be hard hit,” said Wester.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  geo:Himalaya  geo:China  geo:India  geo:Pakistan  geo:Nepal  geo:Afghanistan  geo:Tajikistan 
february 2019 by owenblacker
Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn | Environment | The Guardian
Ocean dead zones with zero oxygen have quadrupled in size since 1950, scientists have warned, while the number of very low oxygen sites near coasts have multiplied tenfold. Most sea creatures cannot survive in these zones and current trends would lead to mass extinction in the long run, risking dire consequences for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on the sea.

Climate change caused by fossil fuel burning is the cause of the large-scale deoxygenation, as warmer waters hold less oxygen. The coastal dead zones result from fertiliser and sewage running off the land and into the seas.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  environment 
january 2018 by owenblacker
Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts | Environment | The Guardian
The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

“A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in,” she told the Guardian. Fortunately, the meltwater did not reach the vault itself, the ice has been hacked out, and the precious seeds remain safe for now at the required storage temperature of −18C.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  geo:Norway  geo:Spitsbergen  GlobalSeedVault  HegeNjaaAschim  ÅsmundAsdal 
may 2017 by owenblacker
London breaches annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days
London has breached its annual air pollution limits just five days into 2017, a “shameful reminder of the severity of London’s air pollution”, according to campaigners.

By law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic metre more than 18 times in a whole year, but late on Thursday this limit was broken on Brixton Road in Lambeth.

Many other sites across the capital will go on to break the annual limit and Putney High Street exceeded the hourly limit over 1,100 times in 2016. Oxford Street, Kings Road in Chelsea and the Strand are other known pollution hotspots.

NO2 pollution, which is produced largely by diesel vehicles, causes 9,500 early deaths every year in London. Most air quality zones across the country break legal limits and the crisis was called a “public health emergency” by MPs in April. This week scientists said that one in 10 cases of Alzheimer’s in people living near busy roads could be linked to air pollution.
by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  environment  pollution  geo:London  BorisJohnson  SadiqKhan 
january 2017 by owenblacker
CO₂ turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough
The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted. Juerg Matter at the University of Southampton in the UK, who led the research, said the only thing holding back CCS was the lack of action from politicians, such as putting a price on carbon emissions: “The engineering and technology of CCS is ready to be deployed. So why do we not see hundreds of these projects? There is no incentive to do it.”
from:TheGuardian  ClimateChange  CarbonStorage  environment  geo:Iceland  JuergMatter  by:DamianCarrington 
june 2016 by owenblacker
Flood defences row: UK paying price for David Cameron’s broken promises
Cameron cannot say he was not warned: he has ignored red flag after red flag, right from the start of his premiership. In the first year of the coalition, he cut capital spending on flood defences by 27% yoy. That was despite the 2008 Pitt Review—a systematic analysis of major floods in 2007—concluding that much more funding was needed. Funding had risen quickly under the Labour government, only to be slashed by Cameron. ¶¶ In January 2012, the government’s own research showed increased flooding is the greatest threat posed by climate change in England. But when heavy flooding hit in the summer of 2012, the Guardian revealed that almost 300 proposed flood defences had not gone ahead as planned following the cuts. ¶ A £58m scheme in Leeds—one of the cities hit in the latest round of flooding—was one affected project, which would have saved many times its cost in avoided damages. Richard Lewis, a city councillor, said at the time: “The cuts are the economics of the madhouse.”
ClimateChange  environment  DavidCameron  flood  stupid  from:TheGuardian  by:DamianCarrington  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom  Conservatives  ClimateMigration 
december 2015 by owenblacker
G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF
Subsidies for fossil fuels amount to $1,000 (£640) a year for every citizen living in the G20 group of the world’s leading economies, despite the group’s pledge in 2009 to phase out support for coal, oil and gas. ¶¶ The UK, which is cutting renewable energy subsidies, permits $41bn a year in fossil fuel subsidies, which is $635 per person. In contrast, Mexico, India and Indonesia, where per capita subsidies average $250, have begun cutting fossil fuel support.
ClimateChange  IMF  by:DamianCarrington  from:TheGuardian  politics 
august 2015 by owenblacker

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