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New interactive flood-risk map shows that global vulnerability to sea level rise is worse than previously understood.

Eastern Daily Press 23rd Jan 2020, Huge swathes of the Broads, the Fens and even parts of Great Yarmouth and Norwich could be under water in 30 years unless drastic action is taken to halt global warming.

That is the shocking conclusion drawn from a new
interactive flood-risk map built by US-based researchers who claim that
global vulnerability to sea level rise is worse than previously understood.

January 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Doomsday clock now closest ever to midnight, due to climate and nuclear dangers

January 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Greta Thunberg says climate demands ‘completely ignored’ at Davos

January 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Wildfires – drastic climate effects in Australia, but Europe is copping it, too

Wildfires show us how the climate emergency is already affecting Europe, Guardian, Imogen West-Knights We look at the devastation of Australia’s bushfires and don’t believe it could happen here. But it already is, 22 Jan 2020  “………  what we’re seeing in Australia. Since the fire season began there, in the middle of last year, 29 people have died, along with more than a billion animals, and an area comparable in size to the whole of England has been ablaze. It’s a vicious reminder that, for all the sophistication of the modern world, something as primitive as fire can still bring us to our knees. As shocking as the scale of the destruction has been, though, it’s easy to see it on our computer screens here on the other side of the world, in the middle of a British winter, and feel disconnected from it. We accept that the climate emergency is now truly upon us yet still feel that it’s mostly happening to other people, elsewhere.wildfires are increasingly a problem for everyone, including in the UK. Last August, there were almost five times as many of them around the world as there had been the previous August. In the EU, the number of wildfires in the first half of 2019 was three times the annual average for the previous decade. And while they used to be a serious problem only in hotter, southern European countries such as Portugal and Spain, now northern Europe is in trouble too.

The Swedish fires of 2018 were by far the most severe in the country’s history, burning an area almost twice as large as the worst previous wildfire, in 2014. In the UK, 2018 and 2019 were the worst two years on record for wildfires, particularly on moors in the north-west of England and parts of Scotland. One fire last year, at Marsden Moor in Yorkshire, destroyed almost three square miles of land. The damage is on a very different scale to the almost 30,000 square miles that have burned in Australia, of course, but this is still a development we can’t afford to ignore.

Aside from all the more immediate effects – the threat to humans, livestock and wildlife – the recent increase in wildfires has been linked to severe air quality problems. People living up to 62 miles (100km) downwind of fires in the Pennines in 2018 were exposed to toxic fumes. And as there is no sign of cooler weather in the years ahead, it is reasonable to expect more fires in 2020. The EU has now established a fleet of firefighting planes, and the European Forest Institute has warned that unless we take steps to protect the countryside – for instance, by planting less-flammable species and creating barriers to the spread of flames – emergency services won’t be able to prevent the rapid spread and firestorms that have characterised the Australian crisis.

This isn’t all because of the climate crisis – changes to land use and increased urbanisation over several decades are also factors. Weather patterns are noisy data, and it’s difficult to attribute any single wildfire to the climate crisis. The scientific consensus, however, is that it is increasing the intensity and frequency of fire-conducive weather across the world.

Even those fires that are eventually linked to human error, like a still-lit disposable barbecue, are increasingly likely due to warming temperatures. Hotter summers mean more barbecues lit in the first place. The climate crisis is going to change the way we behave in every aspect of our lives. And with the probability of another summer of extreme weather coming, we will need to adapt to new dangers that won’t just be on the other side of the planet but, quite literally, in our own backyards.

It’s not at all clear that we’re ready for what might be coming. There is still a cognitive jump yet to be made when those of us in Europe read about the fires in Australia, from mourning the destruction there to recognising that we face some version of the same threat. When we look at Australia, we’re not looking at the future that might await Europe. That future is already here.

• Imogen West-Knights is a writer and freelance journalist


January 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Vulnerability of nuclear facilities to climate extremes – Australian wildfires as a warning

the task of civil society is to organize more strongly in order to increase awareness regarding the link between the climate crisis and the vulnerability of nuclear facilities so that public opinion may begin to be altered and political powers may be pressured to begin an exit from the innately dangerous nuclear path.

What Australia type fire may tell us about the possibility of nuclear disasters,   JANUARY 22, 2020  Australia is one of the countries that have experienced extreme weather events, especially in the last decade due to the effect of global warming. According to experts, system interactions triggered global warming, and extinguishing fires has become impossible due to reduced water resources as a result of excessive evaporation and mismanagement of these resources in the last decade in the country. It is estimated that nearly 1.25 billion animal species and at least 27 people have lost their lives, in addition to annihilation of forests and vegetation due to the fires which could not be controlled for almost four months; other species are threatened with extinction and 1800 houses have reportedly burned down.

Unfortunately, the impact of the events is not limited to the period of their occurrence – while four months of carbon emissions, as much as the annual carbon emission amount to the atmosphere, there are scientific studies indicating that there may be an increase in various diseases, especially asthma, especially among children, with the air quality rising to nearly 21 times the dangerous level. Things could have been much worse if the fires had reached the region where uranium mines are located in Australia, which supplies 12% of the uranium fuel used in nuclear power plants operating worldwide; Australia however, has no nuclear power plant of its own.

Even though the extraction of uranium which is used for nuclear power generation, requires high security standards worldwide, danger to these facilities is possible under all conditions, since in order to obtain 30 tonnes of uranium that is used in a 1200 MW capacity reactor in a year, 440 thousand tons of uranium rock must be extracted from the ground. However, heavy metals such as thorium, radium, radon gas, and nickel which are released in the waste and waste pools following the extraction and other processes, causing heavy substances such as arsenic and mercury getting mixed in the environment and groundwater.

Actually such health-related concerns are not limited to Australia since there are also uranium mines in India, the United States, primarily in Niger and Kazakhistan. For Australia, Ranger Uranium Mine, Olympic Dam and Beverly uranium mines have long been on the radar of environmental organizations. According to Dave Sweeney, a renowned anti-nuclear campaigner at the Australian Protection Foundation (ACF), uranium mining and the processing of the extracted material pose enormous risks to the environment and health. However, Sweeney underlines that there are families working in the uranium mines, who inadvertently carry home radioactive dust from the job site.

‘If the fire reached the mines, it would be a nightmare for the world’

A relatively new scientific study published on January 8, 2019, on this subject also points out the danger in uranium mines, especially for those working in the extraction, grinding and production of nuclear fuel and uranium oxide production. Accordingly, due to the regular exposure of employees to radon gas even at low doses every day, it is possible to develop lung cancer due to the cumulative dose accumulated at the end of 10 years. Sweeney argues that the spread of the fires to the uranium mining areas would have been a “ nightmare for the world” since it would have meant the spread of radioactive particles into the air. This would have been in addition to the already existing dangers posed by the uranium mines, such as, in the case of the Ranger uranium mine, whose license, although it has not expired and rehabilitation has not begun yet, there are mineral wastes stacked in waste pools at the production site.

A warning for the rest of the world

Australian fires can even be considered as a warning in many respects for the rest of the world for the factors which triggered the fires, including the mismanagement of water resources that may occur in other continents within five to ten years and lead to the occurrence of large-scale and non-extinguishable fires. Undoubtedly, any explosion at gas facilities, gas plants, chemical factories, cyanide pools, silver, gold, and copper mines would also have multi-dimensional impacts on the overall pollution levels, but it would be infinitely worse if we were to take the nuclear chain into consideration.

What if similar mega-fires were to break out in the US?

When we look at the issue in terms of the location of nuclear power plants and uranium mines, health, and environment-related risks should be remembered. Considering a note by Dr. Helen Caldicott, author of ‘Nuclear Energy No Solution’ – according to her, an average 1000 megawatts reactor produces 225 kilograms of plutonium annually, and the spread of 500 kilograms of plutonium into the atmosphere is enough to have everyone in the world get exposed to cancer. In this respect, if mega-fires were to break out in the US, it would mean that according to the data of October 2019, 98 commercial reactors and 4000 uranium mines will be at unprecedented risk. At this point, I would like to point out that I do not mean that there will certainly be fires happening at nuclear facilities but, in the case of a fire, nuclear disasters may occur.

Similarly, when we evaluate the map of Australia, where the fire density is seen, over the continent of Europe, we see that 128 reactors pose a risk that according to the map, this number increases to 164 with the addition of 36 reactors from Russia. On the other hand, the possibilities for experiencing such multiple disasters are not limited to fires alone. As experienced in the USA with the Harvey and Irma hurricanes in 2017, there is a danger for the whole world in terms of both, the reactors and the wastes accumulated in the facilities due to extreme weather events such as storm and hurricanes, and the melting of glaciers and rising water levels. Therefore, these reactors should be shut down as soon as possible since there will be a need to wait for 10 years to have used reactor fuel rods transported from nuclear power plant area in case sea level rises become dangerous for nuclear power plants plus the amount of unsolvable waste problem should not be increased. The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the radioactive solid wastes stacked in the open area which have since found their way into the sea with each storm can be considered as an example of the susceptibility of nuclear facilities/sites to extreme weather events. The risk and danger posed by these nuclear reactors and their radioactive wastes can be understood more clearly when one considers the fact that the half-life of the plutonium is 24 thousand years and the cancer-causing effects last at least 240 thousand years.

Moreover, according to their half-life, other radioactive isotopes (strontium 90, cesium 137…) extending to tens of millions of years are also spread into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, there are nearly 400 nuclear reactors worldwide, thousands of uranium mines as well as waste facilities in operation, which have the potential of Chernobyl and Fukushima-like disasters.

These grim scenarios are meant to underscore the fact that the reality of the climate crisis often hides within its folds the very real possibility of a multiplicity of disasters. If scientists, who predict that the climate crisis will cause climate migration in the near future, could also take into account the fact that the conditions of the climate crisis may trigger nuclear disasters, and in turn, lead to massive waves of migration, steps can be taken to demand urgent changes in this regard, or at the very least the weak and often demonised voices of opposition to nuclear energy and weapons worldwide may be strengthened.

In this regard, the task of civil society is to organize more strongly in order to increase awareness regarding the link between the climate crisis and the vulnerability of nuclear facilities so that public opinion may begin to be altered and political powers may be pressured to begin an exit from the innately dangerous nuclear path. ‘Children for nuclear-free life’ and the involvement of more well-meaning youth such as Greta Thunberg will go a long way into promoting an appreciation of this little understood and/or acknowledged threat to our environment and health – there is an urgent need to phase out polluting industries including nuclear mines and promote worldwide usage of renewable sources such as solar and wind energy.

The author is a Turkish activist and researcher. Earlier, we published her interview on our website. 


January 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

The global danger as insect species disappear

Call for action on decline of insects: ‘Without them we’d be in big trouble NZ Herald, By Karoline Tuckey for RNZ, 22 Jan 2020

Governments around the world are being warned more must be done to prevent declining insect numbers, or the consequences could be severe and wide-reaching.

More than 70 scientists from 21 countries have written an appeal for immediate steps to reduce threats to insect species, and a roadmap to recovery, which has been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

“There is now a strong scientific consensus that the decline of insects … and biodiversity as a whole, is a very real and serious threat that society must urgently address,” the group said.

Waikato University’s Dr Christina Painting contributed to the text, and said a decline in insects could mean “big trouble” for humans because they were crucial to agriculture and healthy ecosystems.

Insect pollinators were needed for growing crops, to keep our forests healthy, and insects were the main food source for many of our native fish and birds, she said.

The group have praised the German government for committing €100 million ($NZ168m) to the problem, which they say is a “clarion call to other nations”.

What do they say should be done?

Painting said there were smart and achievable steps that could be taken to make an immediate difference.

“They’re ideas we think scientists, policymakers, land managers and communities can all use together to help insect conservation.”

High on the list is for natural areas to be planned for within urban and “homogenous” environments, which could provide havens for insects, and support species diversity.

“I think in New Zealand we’re pretty good and very proactive about trying to come up with restoration areas in both urban and in our conservation estate. But perhaps we haven’t really been thinking about what’s good for insects while we’ve been designing those programmes,” she said.

The group have also called for “aggressive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reversing agricultural intensification, including reduced [use of] synthetic pesticides and fertilisers and pursuing their replacement with agroecological measures.”

Phasing out pesticides could be one of the trickiest challenges, but it was important to start, Painting said.

“There are problems because they’re generally not that specific in the species they target – so if you put a broad-spectrum pesticide out it’s going to knock off not just the pest species you’re worried about for your crop, but also anything else that might be there. ……

more support was needed from the public and for government to recognise just how important insects ewre.

“We fund things that people value, and to date there has been a much lower appreciation of insects than other species, so it makes sense that we’ve seen less money put into insect conservation.”

More public education could lead to more appreciation for insects and the roles they play – and then should translate to more justification for policy-makers to commit funding to protect them, she said.

“Some of us think insects are gorgeous and very cute, but it’s crucial to understand that without them we’d be in big trouble – they’re just so incredible because it’s such an intricate system of interactions between different species and within communities – and we’re just in our infancy of understanding just how those pieces together.

“Those questions and the mystery around that alone, I think, is something we should really be excited about.”………

January 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change could unlock new microbes and increase heat-related deaths

Climate change could unlock new microbes and increase heat-related deaths, Science Daily, January 22, 2020, Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Scientists warn that global climate change is likely to unlock dangerous new microbes, as well as threaten humans’ ability to regulate body temperature…..
Ahima, director of Johns Hopkins’ Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, wrote in the journal that “global warming threatens human thermoregulation and survival.”  ……
Casadevall’s article explores “the specter of new infectious diseases” as a result of the changing climate.

“Given that microbes can adapt to higher temperatures,” writes the professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, and infectious diseases, at Johns Hopkins’ schools of medicine and public health, “there is concern that global warming will select for microbes with higher heat tolerance that can defeat our endothermy defenses and bring new infectious diseases.”

Endothermy allows humans and other warm-blooded mammals to maintain high temperatures that can protect against infectious diseases by inhibiting many types of microbes.

Casadevall cites a particular climate threat from the fungal kingdom.

“We have proposed that global warming will lead many fungal species to adapt to higher temperatures,” he writes, “and some with pathogenic potential for humans will break through the defensive barrier provided by endothermy.”….

In all four JCI “Viewpoint” articles, long-term strategies are urged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the trend of rising temperatures. ….

January 23, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Climate change afflicting the health of the world’s children

Warning: Climate change will bring major new health risks for kids

By Kathleen E. Bachynski, January 17, 2020  As we enter a new decade, headlines from across the world make all too clear that the effects of climate change are not just looming. They’re here, they’re now, and they’re devastating communities on every continent. For example, in Australia, unprecedented fires have emitted roughly 400 million tons of carbon, killed at least 25 people, and destroyed 2,000 homes. In Indonesia, terrible flooding has killed at least 67 people and caused 400,000 to abandon their homes. The loss of sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking access to food resources that numerous indigenous communities have depended on for generations.

But the health effects of climate change go beyond even the most immediate and obvious consequences of fires, floods, and melting ice. In November 2019, the medical journal The Lancet published a detailed report examining the effects that climate change will have on human health under two scenarios: one in which the world reins in emissions according to commitments laid out in the Paris agreement, and one in which the world does not. In both cases, children will be most vulnerable to the numerous health harms resulting from decisions made by their parents and grandparents. Children are particularly likely to suffer the effects of climate change for numerous reasons: Their immune and organ systems are still developing, they drink relatively more water and breathe in more air than do adults relative to their body weight, and they tend to spend more time outdoors. Understanding the full scope of the public health consequences of a changing climate, then, involves examining how the risks will affect the bodies of the youngest people.

According to the Lancet report, air pollution—specifically, exposure to fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5—represents the largest environmental risk factor for premature deaths across the globe. When people think of the public health effects of air pollution, they often imagine the worst-case scenarios. For example, the smoke from the fires in Australia is currently so severe that a day spent inhaling the air in east Sydney represents the equivalent of smoking 19 cigarettes.

But air pollution need not reach such extreme levels to cause serious harm. Far more commonly, people are unaware of the daily pollution that they are breathing in due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. In fact, more than 90 percent of children are exposed to concentrations of PM 2.5 higher than the World Health Organization’s guidelines on outdoor air pollution. Over a lifetime, unhealthy air damages lungs and increases risks for a host of diseases, from asthma to pneumonia. And due to their small body size and the factors cited above, children absorb more of this pollution than do adults.

Similarly, The Lancet report notes that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat. Specifically, young children are at greater risk for experiencing electrolyte imbalance, fever, respiratory disease, and kidney disease during periods of extreme heat. Rates of heat-related deaths are four times higher among children younger than one year old as compared to people aged 1-to-44.   Changing temperature and precipitation patterns are also influencing the transmission of disease from insects to humans. In particular, malaria and dengue are spread by mosquitoes, and climate suitability for transmission of these diseases is increasing in numerous parts of the world. Because children tend to spend more time outdoors, they are more likely to contract these diseases. In 2017, children accounted for 61 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide, and climate change is putting more children at even greater risk.

Changing climate patterns, droughts, and fires also threaten to reduce crop yields and increase food insecurity. Moreover, rising carbon dioxide appears to diminish the nutrient quality of crucial staple foods such as wheat and rice. Combined, these trends are likely to exacerbate the already serious global health problem of malnutrition, which currently accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths and poor health globally.   The consequences of malnutrition are particularly severe among children. In 2018, 22 percent of children under five years of age were stunted, meaning they experienced impaired growth and development. Stunting is largely irreversible and includes serious consequences, from poorer cognition to increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases later in life.

Finally, The Lancet report observes that climate change has other health implications that are more challenging to quantify but crucial to address, such as mental health effects. Researchers have found that children are at high risk of mental health problems following the types of natural disasters that are likely to increase due to climate change. For example, one study found that 31 percent of a group of children who were evacuated during Hurricane Katrina reported clinically significant symptoms associated with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children are at particular risk for stress after a disaster because they often understand less about what is occurring, feel less able to control events, and have less experience coping with difficult situations.

Protecting children from air pollution, heat-related deaths, infectious diseases, malnutrition, and mental health effects associated with climate change will involve the mobilization of all sectors of society to drastically reduce emissions and invest in health systems and infrastructure. The Lancet report notes a few promising signs, such as increased public and political engagement, and increasing health adaptation spending to improve communities’ resilience to a changing climate. Unfortunately, however, current efforts are falling far short of what is needed to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions on the scale needed to address the threat posed to human health. According to a 2019 United Nations report, greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 percent this year in order to meet the most ambitious goals laid out in the 2015 Paris climate accord. But the world is nowhere near this goal, and many countries are heading in the opposite direction. Notably, in 2018, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.7 percent in the United States. The United Nations has warned that every year of delay “brings a need for faster cuts, which become increasingly expensive, unlikely, and impractical.”

Waiting until action becomes more difficult, or perhaps even impossible, has appalling moral consequences. The longer we fail to act to address the risks of climate change, the more human lives we place on the line. And the majority of those lives will belong to the most vulnerable among us. It is no wonder, then, that children across the world have taken the lead in advocating for urgent, necessary action. The public health stakes for them—and for all people—grow higher with each passing year. Our health is fundamentally tied to our planet’s health. We must all consider, then, what actions we need to take to protect our planet—and thereby our communities, our children, and our selves.


January 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Vast swarm of locusts ruining the livelihood of 1000s in East Africa

Locust swarm 37 miles long and 25 miles wide threatens crops across swathes of east Africa, ITV News, 17 Jan 2020, A swarm of locusts measured at 37 miles long and 25 miles wide has been tracked in Kenya – and the insects are now threatening to decimate crops across swatches of east Africa.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame.

Kenya’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development said: “A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

“Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them.

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and IGAD warns that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.

The “extremely dangerous” outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed…….

January 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change, environment, Kenya | Leave a comment

Nuclear’s swansong?

Is This The Death Knell For Nuclear?  By Haley Zaremba – Jan 18, 2020 It’s nearly impossible to discuss climate change and the future of the energy industry without discussing nuclear energy.  Nuclear energy produces zero carbon emissions, [ ed.  not so!] it’s ultra-efficient, it’s already in widespread use, and could be scaled up to meet much more of our global energy needs with relative ease, but it is, and will likely always be, an extremely divisive solution.nuclear energy certainly has its fair share of drawbacks. It may not emit greenhouse gases, but what it does produce is deadly nuclear waste that remains radioactive for up to millions of years and we still don’t really know what to do with it other than hold onto it in ever-growing storage spaces. And then there are the horror stories that keep civilians and politicians alike wary if not outright antagonistic toward the technology. Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island loom large in our collective doomsday consciousness, and not without good reason.

We’re still dealing with the aftermath of these nuclear disasters. Japan is in many ways still reeling from 2011’s Fukushima nuclear disaster and recently even threatened to throw radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean or letting it evaporate into the air because they are running out of storage space for the wastewater they have been using to keep the damaged Fukushima reactors from overheating again. So yeah, nuclear isn’t perfect.

Because of all of these reasons, as well as financial burden, nuclear energy has been on the decline in much of the world (with some notable exceptions in the nuclear-friendly administrations in China and Russia). This is not new news. Now, however, Chatham House, the UK’s Royal Institution of International Affairs, has taken things a step further by taking the official stance that nuclear will never be a serious contender as a solution to catastrophic climate change. 

As paraphrased by environmental news site EcoWatch, the energy experts at Chatham House “agreed that despite continued enthusiasm from the industry, and from some politicians, the number of nuclear power stations under construction worldwide would not be enough to replace those closing down.” The consensus was that this is nuclear’s swan song, and we are now unequivocally entering the era of wind and solar power.

These conclusions were arrived at during a summit convened to discuss the findings of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2019, which concluded that “money spent on building and running nuclear power stations was diverting cash away from much better ways of tackling climate change.”

This echoes the sentiment of many other climate and energy experts, who have long been sounding the alarm bells that renewable energy is not being built up or invested in with nearly enough urgency. Last year the International Energy Agency announced that renewables growth has slumped, and that our current renewable growth rate of 18o GW of added renewable capacity per year is “only around 60 percent of the net additions needed each year to meet long-term climate goals”.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) did the math, calculating exactly how much renewable energy will need to be installed by 2030 if the world has any hope of meeting the goals set by the Paris climate agreement, and they found that “7.7TW of operational renewable capacity will be needed by 2030 if the world is to limit global warming to ‘well below’ 2C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement,” according to reporting by Wind Power Monthly. “However, at present, countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) amount to 3.2TW of renewable installations by 2030, up from 2.3TW currently deployed.”

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report succinctly sums up the situation while sounding the death knell for nuclear: “Stabilising the climate is urgent, nuclear power is slow. It meets no technical or operational need that these low-carbon competitors cannot meet better, cheaper, and faster.”

January 20, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change increases the risk of wildfires confirms new review

Climate change increases the risk of wildfires confirms new review, January 14, 2020, Source: University of East Anglia

Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, increasing their likelihood — according to a review of research on global climate change and wildfire risk.

In light of the Australian fires, scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Met Office Hadley Centre, University of Exeter and Imperial College London have conducted a Rapid Response Review of 57 peer-reviewed papers published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in 2013.

All the studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather — periods with a high fire risk due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds — though some note anomalies in a few regions.

Rising global temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and associated droughts in some regions increase the likelihood of wildfires by stimulating hot and dry conditions, promoting fire weather, which can be used as an overall measure of the impact of climate change on the risk of fires occurring Observational data shows that fire weather seasons have lengthened across approximately 25 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20 per cent increase in global mean length of the fire weather season.

The literature review was carried out using the new online platform, set up by UEA and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. ScienceBrief is written by scientists and aims to share scientific insights with the world and keep up with science, by making sense of peer-reviewed publications in a rapid and transparent way.

Dr Matthew Jones, Senior Research Associate at UEA’s Tyndall Centre and lead author of the review, said: “Overall, the 57 papers reviewed clearly show human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire.

“This has been seen in many regions, including the western US and Canada, southern Europe, Scandinavia and Amazonia. Human-induced warming is also increasing fire risks in other regions, including Siberia and Australia.

“However, there is also evidence that humans have significant potential to control how this fire risk translates into fire activity, in particular through land management decisions and ignition sources.”

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression. In contrast, burned area has increased in closed-canopy forests, likely in response to the dual pressures of climate change and forest degradation.

Co-author Professor Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter, said: “Fire weather does occur naturally but is becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change. Limiting global warming to well below 2?C would help avoid further increases in the risk of extreme fire weather.”

Professor Iain Colin Prentice, Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, Imperial College London, added: “Wildfires can’t be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people. Land planning should take the increasing risk in fire weather into account.”

Further information:

January 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The oceans are getting hot

January 14, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Britons want real action on climate change, but Boris Johnson’s govt missing in action on this

January 14, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

‘Error of judgement’: UK police recall guide which listed Extinction Rebellion among extremist groups 

‘Error of judgement’: UK police recall guide which listed Extinction Rebellion among extremist groups

Climate justice group Extinction Rebellion was listed as an extremist ideology by counter-terrorism police in England, in a document officers have since recalled. BY ANTOINETTE RADFORD, 12 Jan 2020

Counter-terrorism police in South-East England say they made an ‘error of judgement’ in adding climate Justice group Extinction Rebellion to a list of extremist ideologies.

The Guardian revealed the group was included in a 12-page guide named ‘Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism’.

The document was designed to help educate people working with youth to “recognise when young people or adults may be vulnerable to extreme or violent ideologies”,

The guide advises people to look out for young people who “neglect to attend school” or “participate in planned school walkouts” – an apparent reference to the global School Strike for climate movement started by Greta Thunberg this year.

It also suggests that young people who engage in non-violent direct action such as writing environmentally-themed graffiti, sit-down protests or banner drops are potentially at risk of radicalisation.

The environmental group featured alongside Neo-Nazi terror operations and a pro-terrorist Islam outfit.

In a statement to The Guardian, Counter Terrorism Policing South East boss Kath Barnes said the guide is being recalled.

“The document was designed for a very specific audience who understand the complexities of the safeguarding environment we work within and who have statutory duties under Prevent. We are in the process of confirming who it has been shared with and recalling it.”

Extinction Rebellion was founded in October 2018 and the group maintains a welcoming, non-violent culture is at the core of its beliefs.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion’s Sydney arm, AJ Tennant, says it was a shock to hear the international movement had made it onto the list in the first place.

“It’s very distressing that a peaceful, environmental organisation that’s trying to advocate for the protection of humanity would be treated with such disdain.”

He says he understands that people may find the extinction rebellion movement confronting, and even frustrating at times, but argues the movement has always been focused on non-violent methods of drawing attention to the climate debate.

“The first word that applies to everything that XR does is non-violent. We talk about being peaceful, we talk about having love in the movement, we talk about apologising to people for any inconvenience we caused, so while we are disruptive, we are always, always peaceful.

London-based human rights lawyer and media commentator Shoaib Khan has taken to Twitter to condemn the actions of British authorities.

Tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets on Friday to demand stronger action on climate, with some in the large crowds carrying the Extinction Rebellion network’s recognisable logo and flag. 

January 13, 2020 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Climate protests in London, Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm target Australian government

Climate action protesters angry over Australia’s bushfires rally across Europe      BY EUROPE CORRESPONDENT BRIDGET BRENNAN AND ROSCOE WHALAN IN LONDON

Thousands of people have taken part in demonstrations across Europe, taking aim at what they say is the Australian Government’s lack of action on climate change during the bushfire crisis.

  • Demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion were held in London, Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm
  • The protesters called for stronger action on climate change in response to the Australian bushfires
  • Protesters in London rallied outside Australia House, while protesters chanted outside the Australian embassy in Berlin

Protesters stopped traffic in London and turned out at rallies in Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm to show their support for victims of the disasters.

At the Strand in London, hundreds gathered outside Australia House, where the High Commission of Australia is located, calling for stronger action on climate change as part of a protest organised by Extinction Rebellion.

Anne Coates travelled from Sheffield, north of London, to attend the rally.

She began to cry when she spoke about watching the effect of the disaster on people who had lost relatives and homes.

“It’s just too much for your heart. You just can’t live with it. It just gets worse and worse every day,” she said.”Absolutely devastating to watch it. It’s like hell. And it seems like governments around the world are in a race to drag us down to hell.”

She said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was “a laughing stock around the world”.

“We’re absolutely furious with him. And I don’t know what’s it going to take. Governments should be listening,” she said.

Many people wore koala hats to represent the massive loss of wildlife in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Fi Radford from Bristol carried a sign which said “koalas not coal”.

“We’re here to say to the Australian people, challenge your Government on the evidence they’re giving you,” she said.

“Australia, you are custodians of precious species that exist nowhere else in the world. Overturn your Government, they’re leading you to destruction.”
Among the protesters were some of the tens of thousands of Australians living in London.
Harley McDonald-Eckersall from Melbourne said she had been watching on in horror at what has been unfolding in Australia.

“It’s been so horrible being away … Australians are extraordinarily resilient — like our First Nations people who have survived genocide and are still caring for the environment,” she said.

Australian Dylan Berthier said he believed the catastrophic conditions in Australia were a wake-up call for the world.

“I think a crisis of this magnitude is a global crisis. I think world leaders have a responsibility to call on the Australian Government to enact new policy that will actually prevent this from happening in the future,” he said.

In Germany, protesters chanted outside the Australian embassy in Berlin.

One man carried a sign which read “Aloha from Berlin” in reference to Mr Morrison’s maligned trip to Hawaii when the bushfires were burning in December.

The climate action group Extinction Rebellion organised the protests across Europe.

They followed rallies around most capital cities of Australia on Friday, with thousands of protesters criticising Mr Morrison’s handling of the fire emergencies in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Bushfires ‘a warning to the whole world’: UK politicians

The bushfire emergency has been front-page news in the UK for weeks — and has forced Tourism Australia to temporarily pull its new $15 million advertising campaign, fronted by Kylie Minogue.

When the UK Parliament returned earlier this week, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said what had been happening in Australia should act as a “wake-up call for the world”.

Last year, the Conservative Government in the United Kingdom passed legislation to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — one of the most ambitious targets set by a major economy.

But many environmental groups have said 2050 is not soon enough.

Labour leadership contender Clive Lewis told the House of Commons: “So as Australia burns, as millions in African states face climate-driven famine, and floods have swept the north of England, will this Government give a damn about this existential threat and act, not posture?”

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who is vying to become the new opposition leader, has criticised the Morrison Government.

“I hope that the horrendous wildfires in Australia, brought on by record temperatures, with such devastating impacts for the human and animal populations in New South Wales, will not just wake up Scott Morrison’s Government to its wilful inaction over climate change, but serve as a warning to the whole world,” she said.

Earlier this week, outspoken British television presenter Piers Morgan cut short an interview with Liberal MP Craig Kelly on Good Morning Britain.

Climate change and global warming are real and Australia is right now showing the entire world just how devastating it is,” he said.

“And for senior politicians in Australia to still pretend there’s no protection is absolutely disgraceful.”

In an address to Vatican diplomats this week, Pope Francis also criticised climate inaction.

“Many young people have become active in calling the attention of political leaders to the issue of climate change. Care for our common home ought to be a concern of everyone,” he said.

“Sadly, the urgency of this ecological conversion seems not to have been grasped by international politics, where the response to the problems raised by global issues such as climate change remains very weak and a source of grave concern.”

January 13, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment