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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


UK climate modelling predictions

The UK Meteorological Office has published the results of its climate change modelling in a report called Climate Prediction (CP18). This report conatins a set of predictions for various areas of the UK. In general there will likely be warmer, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters and this could affect the yield of agricultural crops if the moisture in the soil decreased significantly.

The other major prediction is that if the current rate of emissions of greenhouse gases is not reduced then the average temperature in Reading, UK could increase by 60C by 2070 whereas decreasing emissions to zero within the next 20 years could limit the average global temperature rise to 20C. UK CP 18 report can be downloaded from https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research

Droughts and floods leave 100 million people needing disaster relief

Two million people each week need humanitarian aid because the changing climate is leading to increasing numbers of extreme weather conditions including droughts, flooding and hurricanes.

According to a recent report by the Red Cross, this number of people could double in the next three decades as climate changes became more severe unless Governments acted collectively to reduce global carbon emissions as per the 2015 Paris agreement. Like the UN Secretary General’s comments, the report concluded that the cost of doing nothing was high it was the most vulnerable people who would suffer the most.

Timely adaptations to the likely impacts of climate change and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically could reduce the numbers of affected persons significantly. Many of the necessary measures were low cost including early warning systems, improved weather forecasts and restoring natural features like mangrove swamps and wet lands
Guardian newspaper 23/09/2019

Market funding 4C rise

Mark Carney, governor of the UK’s central bank has warned that the multibillion dollar capital markets were still financing carbon producing activities related to exploiting fossil fuel resources which could result in an increase in average global temperature rise of 4C. If however the Paris climate change agreement was carried through this could lead to stranded assets with sever financial implications for such firms and their investors.
Guardian newspaper 16/10/2019

 

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