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Reducing fossil fuel consumption

The most recent report by the International Energy Agency concludes that the majority of fossil fuel resources must stay in the ground and not be consumed in order to limit the amount of greenhouse gases entering the upper atmosphere and inducing global warming. However many energy producers believe that they can still continue to export their products to meet consumer demand.

The solutions to this dilemma are two fold – that is continuing to increase the efficiency of energy consuming products and switching to renewable energy sources which are non polluting.

The IEA report concludes that oil exploration should therefore cease as soon as possible and funding diverted to producing solar energy which the oil producing regions have in abundance.
[IEA: Net zero by 2050 – a road map for the global energy sector, 2021]

Ice sheet melting

Studies of the ice sheet covering Greenland show that the ice sheet is melting at a faster rate than at any time in the past 12,000 years. It is possible that a tipping point could be reached where the ice sheet continues to melt even if the rise in global temperature were to cease. Melt water enters the ocean and causes the sea level to rise while the mixing of cold and warm water could alter the circulation of ocean currents.
[Guardian 21/8/21]

Loss of wild tree species threatens biodiversity

Biodiversity is the web of life which connects the smallest bacteria to the tallest tree and the whale, the largest species in the ocean. It is the variety of life forms that we see around us and comprises the whole range of species from mammals, plants, birds to insects. These species reside in ecosystems within habitats and changing a habitat will often affect the diversity of species contained therein.

The importance of biodiversity is that our planet’s essential goods and services depend upon the variety of genes, species, populations and ecosystems. Biological resources feed and clothe us and also provide materials for housing and medicines and spiritual nourishment.

Trees form part of the natural habitat of many species and forest clearance for farming poses the greatest threat to extinction of wild tree species. The species loss could be as high as 50% and has become a global problem according to the State of the World’s Trees report. Clearly this trend has to be reversed as soon as possible in order to preserve such an important habitat.

Britain has initiated a new campaign called the Queen’s Green Canopy to celebrate the 70 years of the Queens reign. Individuals, schools and groups are being urged to create a new network of trees and some 70 species specially selected ancient trees have been identified as suitable for planting. [Botanic Gardens Conservation International: State of the World’s Trees, 2021;]

Children most at risk from climate change

UNICEF, the UN’s Agency for Child Health and Welfare, has concluded in its most recent report that the health of half the world’s children are at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of climate change and pollution. In addition that almost every child is at risk from one or other impact including heat waves, drought, floods, cyclones, disease and air pollution.

The authors observe that children are more vulnerable than adults as they require more food and water per unit of body weight and so are less able to survive extreme weather events. UNICEF concludes that there is still time to act to avoid even more extremes in weather provided that actions are prioritised to protect children from such impacts while accelerating projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
[UNICEF The Climate Crisis is a child rights crisis, 2021]



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