climate change tagged posts

World’s best last chance’ for action at COP26.

The planet, you’ve likely heard, isn’t doing so well. The latest report from the United Nations’ chief climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shows global temperatures are very likely to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels in the next few decades. Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are unequivocally the cause. 

Increasing temperatures, scientists have shown, will see more extreme weather events occurring more often — more hurricanes, more flooding, more fire, more drought — and result in a host of knock-on effects that threaten ecosystems, livelihoods and life as we know it. 

Unless nations take drastic action to wean themselves off fossil fuels in the coming decade.

That’s why November’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, is being ...

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Climate Change Is Devastating Coral Reefs Worldwide

Bleached coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas on Feb. 20, 2017.

The world lost about 14 percent of its coral reefs in the decade after 2009, mainly because of climate change, according to a sweeping international report on the state of the world’s corals. The report, issued late Monday, underscores the catastrophic consequences of global warming while also offering some hope that some coral reefs can be saved if humans move quickly to rein in greenhouse gases.

“Coral reefs are the canary in the coal mine telling us how quickly it can go wrong,” said David Obura, one of the report’s editors and chairman of the coral specialist group for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The 14 percent decline, he said, was cause for deep concern...

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Climate change: UN to reveal landmark IPCC report findings

The world’s largest ever report into climate change will be published later, setting out the stark reality of the state of the planet. The study is by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a UN group that looked at more than 14,000 scientific papers. It will be the most up-to-date assessment of how global warming will change the world in the coming decades.

Scientists say it will likely be bad news – but with “nuggets of optimism”.

And environmental experts have said it will be a “massive wake-up call” to governments to cut emissions.

The last time the IPCC looked at the science of global warming was in 2013 – and scientists believe...

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How the Great Barrier Reef, victim of climate change, can be a solution

The 2,300-km Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of its corals as a consequence of rising ocean temperatures due to global warming. The reef also suffered two mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Given the damage, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee had proposed that the Great Barrier Reef be put under ‘in danger’ category. However, the Australian government, on July 23, managed to avoid a downgrade of the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status after a concerted lobbying effort by Canberra.

Now, the Australian government will have to submit an updated progress report in 2022. It is being said that Australia didn’t want the ‘in danger’ status for the Great Barrier Reef—which draws a huge tourist turnout every year—as it might affect the post-pandemic visitors.

But tha...

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Biodiversity, climate change and the fate of coral reefs

An international group of researchers representing thousands of coral scientists across the globe is calling for new commitments and actions by the world’s policymakers to protect and restore coral reefs. In a paper presented July 20 at the International Coral Reef Symposium, the scientists said that the coming decade will likely offer the last chance for policymakers at all levels to prevent coral reefs “from heading towards world-wide collapse.”

The paper, developed by the International Coral Reef Society, pushes for three strategies to save the reefs: addressing climate change, improving local conditions and actively restoring coral.

“The model projections show that up to 30% of coral reefs will persist through this century if we limit global warming to 1...

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No northern escape route for Florida’s coral reefs

Warming seas are driving many species of marine life to shift their geographic ranges out of the tropics to higher latitudes where the water is cooler. Florida’s reefs will not be able to make that northward move, however, as they will be caught between intolerably hot tropical waters and increasingly frequent water-cooling cold snaps, according to new findings from Florida Institute of Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and several other institutions to be published June 22 in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Populations of the main species of reef-building corals are already in dire condition, to the extent that they are listed under the Endangered Species Act. With no where to go, the corals will decline even more drastically.

Corals are colonies of animals related to sea anemon...

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Declines in coral colonies throughout the world

We are seeing declines in coral colonies throughout the world, including reefs off Australia, Hawaii, the Florida Keys and in the Indo-Pacific region. The widespread decline is fueled in part by climate-driven heat waves that are warming the world’s oceans and leading to what’s known as coral bleaching, the breakdown of the mutually beneficial relationship between corals and resident algae. But other factors are contributing to the decline of coral reefs as well, including pollution and overfishing.

According to a new study, “Local conditions magnify coral loss after marine heat waves,” published in the journal Science, what’s key to coral reefs surviving climate-driven heat waves and subsequent bleaching is managing global climate change — and local conditions.

“We foun...

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World’s glaciers melting at a faster pace

The world’s glaciers are melting at an accelerating rate, according to a comprehensive new study. A French-led team assessed the behaviour of nearly all documented ice streams on the planet. The researchers found them to have lost almost 270 billion tonnes of ice a year over the opening two decades of the 21st Century. The meltwater produced now accounts for about a fifth of global sea-level risethe scientists tell Nature journal.

The numbers involved are quite hard to imagine, so team member Robert McNabb, from the universities of Ulster and Oslo, uses an analogy. 

“Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen that glaciers have lost about 267 gigatonnes (Gt) per year...

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Biden: A ‘decisive decade’ for tackling climate change

US President Joe Biden has told a major summit that we are in a “decisive decade” for tackling climate change.

The US has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target, which was unveiled at a virtual summit of 40 global leaders, essentially doubles their previous promise. But the leaders of India and China, two of the world’s biggest emitters, made no new commitments.

“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.

“We must try to keep the Earth’s temperature to an increase of 1.5C. The world beyond 1...

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Climate change: Net zero targets are ‘pie in the sky’

Sharp divisions between the major global emitters have emerged at a series of meetings designed to make progress on climate change. India lambasted the richer world’s carbon cutting plans, calling long term net zero targets, “pie in the sky.” Their energy minister said poor nations want to continue using fossil fuels and the rich countries “can’t stop it”. China meanwhile declined to attend a different climate event organised by the UK.

Trying to lead 197 countries forward on the critical global issue of climate change is not a job for the faint hearted, as the UK is currently finding out. 

As president of COP26, this year’s crucial climate meeting due to take place in Glasgow in November, Britain is charged with ensuring a successful summit of world leaders and their negotiators.

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