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UN warns unprecedented cuts in emissions needed

Countries must make increased efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade to avoid climate chaos reports the UN Environmental Programme. Their report concludes that “to stay within the 1.5C limit, global emissions must fall by 7.6% each and every year from now until 2030”. “postponing action is no longer an option and without large scale intervention, the world’s fate would be sealed in the next few years as carbon would rise to such a level as to make dangerous levels of heating inevitable”.

Violent storms cross France, Italy and Greece

Violent storms causing severe damage crossed these 3 countries over weekend of 23/24 November. This resulted in flash floods and landslides and deaths of at least 7 people. In one region of France 3 months’ worth of rain had fallen in less than 48 hours.
[Guardian newspaper 26/11/2019]

Venice suffers its worst floods in 50 years

Most of Venice is 1.1m to 1.4m above sea level and yet on 12 November flooding hit 1.87m resulting the second highest tide ever recorded. More than 85% of the city was flooded with St Marks Square under more than 1 metre of water.

Flooding in UK

Severe flooding has also been recorded in the north of Britain primarily in South Yorkshire. Nearly 70 flood warnings were in place at any one time with a further 140 weather alert warnings that flooding was possible. The Metereological Office warned that there was also a danger to life in large parts of the Midlands, Nottingham and Lincolnshire. These events coincide with predictions of climate models that severe weather events are much more likely to occur in future.

Fossil link acidification of oceans to mass extinctions

The oceans along with the atmosphere are a major absorber (sink) for carbon emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels. This will result in the seas getting more acidic so affecting species in the food chain.

Researchers at a German research institute have analysed small seashells in sediment laid down just after a giant meteorite hit the earth 66 million years ago. This resulted in the oceans becoming more acidic resulting in the dissolution of the chalky shells of many animals and led to an ecological collapse.

Current modelling predicts a decrease in pH of the oceans by 0.4 pH units if carbon emissions are not stopped and 0.15 if the average global temperature rise is limited to 20C. The researchers concluded that if a decrease of 0.25 pH units was enough to precipitate a mass extinction then it will be vital to limit emissions of greenhouse gases as soon as possible.
Guardian newspaper dated 22/10/2019



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