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World demands as Amazon burns

At the recent G7 summit of World leaders, talks were held and money offered to help Brazil change its deforestation policies of the Amazon tropical rain forests. The large number of fires started illegally are to clear and prepare land for crops, cattle and property speculation and has prompted the state of Amazonas to declare an emergency.

Giant smoke clouds have drifted across hundreds of miles and the crisis has raised global concerns about the destruction of a global carbon sink as these forests are responsible for acting as a sink for up to 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Guardian newspaper 24/08/2019

Impact of global heating on land poses threat to civilisation

‘The climate crisis is damaging the ability of the land to sustain humanity with cascading risks becoming increasingly severe as global temperatures rise’ according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Global heating is increasing droughts, soil erosion and wildfires while reducing crop yields in the tropics and thawing permafrost within the Polar regions. Moreover further heating will lead to unprecedented climate conditions at lower latitudes with potential growth in hunger, migration and conflicts and increased damage to the great northern forests.

And the scientists also concluded that ‘the burning of fossil fuels must end to avoid irreversible loss in land ecosystem services required for food, health and habitable settlements’
Guardian newspaper 09/08/2019

Switch fossil fuel subsidies to fund a clean energy revolution

Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unlock a very rapid transition to clean energy and significantly reduce carbon emissions driving the climate crisis. Coal, oil and gas receive more than $370 billion annually in support compared with $100 billion for renewable energy sources the International Institute for Sustainable Development has found.

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, attacked such subsidies saying ‘what we are doing is using taxpayers’ money to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers and to bleach coral reefs ….. to destroy the world’s biosystems’.

Guardian newspaper 02/08/2019

Planting billions of trees is best way to save planet

Planting billions of trees could be by far the greatest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis according to Swiss researchers as trees are able to absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon in their trunks. Their analysis indicates that there are 1.7 bn hectares of land without any trees upon which 1.2tn native tree saplings would grow naturally at an estimated cost of $300bn.

Guardian newspaper 05/07/2019

Climatic extremes will require resilience planning

Climatic extremes are increasing and are now occurring at the rate of one per week according to the UN’s Secretary General Special Representative in disaster risk reduction Mami Mitzutori.
Catastrophes like Cyclone Idai which hit the northern coast of Mozambique in March and the on going drought in areas of India are occurring much faster than predicted.

Many of the lower impact climate disasters could be prevented if people had early warning, better infrastructure like flood defences and access to water in drought stricken areas. This will require investment now in order to build resilience to a changing climate. Nature based solutions such as mangrove swamps, forests and wetlands that could form natural barriers should be a priority.

Guardian Newspaper 08/07/2019

Climate change has made heatwaves more likely

The month of June was the hottest since 1880 world wide. Such heatwaves are about 30C hotter than the June average in Europe a century ago and are occurring more frequently. In France the highest temperature was recorded near Nimes in the south of the country at 45.90C. Both observations and models show a strong trend towards stronger heat waves; however the observed trend is stronger model predict.

Guardian newspaper 03/07/2019

Antarctic sea ice is now rapidly receding

The vast expense of sea ice around Antarctica has undergone a significant decrease since 2014 and has fallen at a faster rate than seen in the Arctic reversing a 40 year trend. The cause of the sharp fall is not as yet known and only time will tell whether the ice continues to decline or recover.
Sea ice spreads over millions of square kilometres and has major impacts on the global climate system with losses in the Artic strongly linked to extreme weather conditions at lower latitudes such as heatwaves in Europe.

Guardian newspaper 02/07/2019

Hope is contagious

In a dialogue between Greta Thunberg (a young climate change activist) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (US Congress) published in the Guardian on 29 June they agreed that –

  • many people were unaware of the climate crisis
  • there was a need to act now
  • even small changes in energy usage by each person could make a difference

In response to the query why young people have been so powerful and persuasive on the issue of climate change, Greta simply replied “because our future is at risk – why should we study for a future that no longer exists”.
Alexandria considered hope in limiting climate change as “ something you create with your actions. Hope is something you have to manifest into the world and once one person has hope, it can be contagious and other people starting acting in a similar way. Greta replied “that I know so many people who feel hopeless and they ask me ‘what should I do’ and I reply ‘act - do something.’
No one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, London) 2019



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