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flooding

$34B of US Real Estate May Be Fully or Partially Underwater by 2050

Rising waters due to climate change could engulf $34 billion in US real estate within the next 30 years.

According to a report from the nonprofit Climate Central, up to 650,000 properties will be underwater or partially below the tidal boundary level within 30 years. Thirty counties across the country will lose more than 10% of their useable land, and 100 counties will lose at least 2% of their usable land.

The states most affected will lose a sizable portion of their total dry landmass. These states include Louisiana (8%), Florida (1.8%), North Carolina (1.3%) and Texas (0.2%).

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Rising waters will likely make these locations less desirable to live and work in, causing property values to plummet. Property taxes are an integral part of a municipal’s budget. They pay for many community social services, including schools, fire protection, emergency services, transport and other governmental aids.

Taxes also fund disaster relief and the subsequent costs of rising sea levels. New infrastructure, building safeguards against rising tides and relocating entire communities cost money. The aftermath of a rise in waters will quickly deplete many localities of their necessary funding.

“Property taxes fund local government operations, which typically include services such as K-12 schooling, roads and other infrastructure, police and fire protection, water, waste management, sewers, public transit, parks and public housing. Quality public services at competitive tax rates are key to attracting and retaining residents and businesses, which in turn support local tax revenues. Diminished property values and a smaller tax base can lead to lower tax revenues and reduced public services–a potential downward spiral of disinvestment and population decline, reduced tax base and public services and so on.”

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Seas will rise 8 to 23 inches along the nation’s coasts by 2050. The East Coast, particularly the Southeast, will be hit the hardest. Due to the sediment that flows in from the Mississippi River and the drilling for oil and gas pipelines, the gulf coast will be hit even harder by rising water levels and sinking ground.

Mark Rupp, director of the adaptation program at Georgetown Climate Center, points out that insurance carriers are reluctant to serve the Florida market, have become insolvent or have pulled out from the state entirely.

“How many mortgage lenders want to be lending for mortgages in flood-prone areas if they don’t think they’re going to be paid back?”

Rupp emphasizes that it is essential that these communities can rely on their state and federal governments to pay attention, fund their communities and provide a plan.

According to NASA, the earth’s climate has changed at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years. The current rate of global warming is “occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age.” The carbon dioxide we release is “increasing about 250 times faster than it did from natural sources after the last Ice Age.”

glacier

Doomsday Glacier Could Melt Rapidly With’ Just a Small Kick,’ Scientists Say

A glacier the size of Florida could melt at a faster rate than previously anticipated. The Thwaites Glacier, located in Antarctica, has been dubbed the “doomsday” glacier because of its potential to markedly raise already rising sea levels.

The glacier could raise sea levels by 2 feet or more if melted. Its precarious location in contact with warm ocean currents makes it even more susceptible to collapse.

Scientists made the discovery after a team of researchers from the U.S., Sweden, and the United Kingdom conducted a study to determine the fastest rates the glacier has retreated in the past. Dr. Robert Larter, one of the study’s co-authors, noted the significance of the findings in the study’s release.

“Thwaites is really holding on today by its fingernails, and we should expect to see big changes over small timescales in the future — even from one year to the next — once the glacier retreats beyond a shallow ridge in its bed.”

The glacier is the widest on earth, sitting at 80 miles wide. It protects the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, acting as a buffer between the sheet and warming waters. The entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet could raise sea levels by up to 16 feet.

For the study, the researchers sent an autonomous vehicle to the glacier’s former grounding zone. The grounding zone of a glacier is where an attached ice shelf transitions into a floating ice shelf. The autonomous vehicle, named Rán, was equipped with two geophysical sensors and used to produce 3D scans of the underwater surface.

These scans allowed scientists to map the glacier’s movements throughout the last 200 years. Previously, scientists could only see its movements within the past 30 years because of satellite imagery limitations.

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The study aimed to learn about the glacier’s past retreat rates to more accurately predict the rate at which it may continue to retreat. The scientists found that the glacier is capable of retreating more rapidly than previously thought. Sometime in the last 200 years, it had retreated at twice the rate it did between 2011 and 2019.

The leader of the mission, University of Florida’s Dr. Alastair Graham, warned that while the slower rate is seemingly positive, the findings confirm that the glacier is highly perceptible to changes in climate. Since the rate of the glacier retreating has pulsated, it is likely to happen again.

“Our results suggest that sustained pulses of rapid retreat have occurred at Thwaites Glacier in the past two centuries. Similar rapid retreat pulses are likely to occur in the near future when the grounding zone migrates back off stabilizing high points on the sea floor.”

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Dr. Graham said that once the glacier retreats beyond a certain point, it has the potential to shrink at an even greater rate. In fact, “just a small kick to Thwaites could lead to a big response,” Dr. Graham predicted.

These findings rebut the hope once held by scientists that the Antarctic ice sheets would be more resilient to climate change.

flood

As Floods Hit Pakistan, Millions Are In Search For Help

In over a decade, millions of Pakistanis are fighting for their lives and searching for aid as they are overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. 

Many authorities have claimed that this recent disaster and the scale of it could be considered a “serious climate catastrophe.”

With the recent flash flood on Friday, it destroyed at least 10 bridges, over a dozen buildings and killed nearly 75 people. 

“We’ve had to deploy the navy for the first time to operate in Indo-Pakistan, because much of it resembles a small ocean,” said Climate change minister Sherry Rehman.

The monsoon ended up affecting all four provinces of Pakistan. Almost a million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, numerous roads can no longer be traveled on and electricity outages are everywhere.

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These damages have affected at least 33 million people throughout the entire country. 

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), the fatalities of this disaster have also continued to increase since mid-June up to at least 1,061 people and the fear continues to rise as more death follows.

“By the time this is over, we could well have one quarter or one third of Pakistan under water,” said Rehman. 

According to CNN, Foreign Minister Bilawal Butto-Zardari stated this past Sunday that this year’s monsoons in Pakistan have been “absoultely devastating.”

“I haven’t seen any destruction or devastation of this scale. I find it very difficult to put into words the phraseologies that we are used to, whether it’s monsoon rains or flooding, doesn’t quite seem to encapsulate the ongoing devastation and disaster that we are still witnessing.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has joined in to help for relief efforts by dropping off supplies via helicopter in areas that have been hard to reach either by boat or on foot.

“Visiting flood affected areas and meeting people. The magnitude of the calamity is bigger than estimated. Times demand that we come together as one nation in support of our people facing this calamity. Let us rise above our differences and stand by our people who need us today,” Sharif recently tweeted.

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The International Rescue Committee profit group reached out on Monday and stated that more than 30 million people were in “urgent need” because of the monsoons. 

The United States and United Kingdom governments have stated that they will pledge around $1 million in emergency relief and that the first wave of foreign aid will start to come into Pakistan on Monday to help citizens find some relief from the disastrous floods.

electric car

Honda and LG Team Up To Build An EV Battery Plant In The United States

In a recent press release, Honda Motor and LG Energy Solution revealed that they are planning to invest $4.4 billion in order to build a new battery production plant for electric vehicles. 

The partners haven’t officially announced where the new production plant will be located, but they are hoping to start construction by early 2023 and prepare for mass production by the end of 2025. 

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“Honda and LG Energy Solution said they picked the US because local production and a “timely supply of batteries” would best position them to succeed in the growing North American electric vehicle market,” according to CNN.

There are ideas that the plant is likely to be built near Marysville, Ohio or Greenburg, Indiana where Honda has huge manufacturing factories located.

The plant is set to produce electric batteries that will be exclusively used for Honda vehicles that are assembled within North America.

“Our joint venture with Honda, which has significant brand reputation, is yet another milestone in our mid- to long-term strategy of promoting electrification in the fast-growing North American market”

Honda’s joint venture with LG is actually part of a larger trend of automakers following Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis and VinFast having announced plans for US battery plants. 

With a new US law to start producing more electric cars to cut back on gas, this gives the car manufacturers even more incentive to build the battery plants all across North America.

The new law also includes a tax credit for up to $7,500 that could be used to cover the cost of purchasing an electric car. But in order to receive that credit, the vehicle has to have a battery that was built within North America with 40% of the metals mined or recycled there. 

“Honda is working toward our target to realize carbon neutrality for all products and corporate activities the company is involved in by 2050,” said Honda Chief Executive Toshihiro Mibe.

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Currently, Honda doesn’t have an electric car in their catalog. They are planning on launching an SUV, titled “The Prologue”, in 2024.

By 2030, Japan-based Honda is hoping to have at least 30 electric vehicle models globally and sell exclusively in North America by 2040. 

“Aligned with our longstanding commitment to build products close to the customer, Honda is committed to the local procurement of EV batteries which is a critical component of EVs,” said Mibe. 

The demand for electric vehicles is expected to continuously grow not only in the US but also in other nations due to climate change, pollution and the price of gas continuing to rise.

flooding

Pakistan’s Largest City Experiences Torrential Rain And Major Flooding Due To Climate Crisis 

Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, is experiencing extreme torrential rain and flash flooding causing a multitude of public services and businesses to close down over safety concerns. Infrastructural damage and flooding has left at least 15 individuals dead since this weekend. 

This past Sunday, Karachi experienced 2.3 inches of rain, which is equivalent to the average of an entire month’s worth of rainfall for the area. Every summer Pakistan endures heavy monsoon rains, but more recently experts have been warning that climate change is accelerating and intensifying existing weather patterns. 

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate change minister, issued flash flood warnings for citizens in more than 14 cities and townships. 

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“Since the monsoon season began last month more than 300 people have been killed by heavy rains across Pakistan,” according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. 

The 16 million residents of Karachi have witnessed entire neighborhoods become partially submerged from flooding. Photos from the area show individuals knee-deep in muddy flood water with vehicles left completely stranded and submerged. 

“Infrastructure including bridges, highways and roads have been damaged, disrupting traffic and upending the lives of millions across the city. Many have stocked up on fuel for their generators in case of power outages,”  said Afia Salam, a climate change advocate in Karachi.

“Climate change is a threat. We are a coastal city. It’s happening so fast and we will bear the brunt. People need to see the situation beyond individual events like a bridge falling or a road getting flooded.”

“The rapidity of these events is increasing and our response is not keeping pace. We are being reactive to individual events. Strategies need to be put in place, the poorest and most vulnerable are on the front line of the crisis,” said Salam.

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“Karachi, the country’s financial capital, boasts luxury hotels, malls and upmarket gated communities. But disparities in wealth and development remain, and an estimated 50% of its residents are forced to live in informal settlements,” according to the World Bank.

“Karachi’s infrastructure is highly vulnerable to climate-related disasters,” according to the World Bank.

Experts are stating that the climate crisis in Pakistan is also being exacerbated by poor flood management and ineffective disaster response. 

Extreme weather events in South Asia are becoming more frequent due to climate change, with temperatures in parts of India and Pakistan reaching record highs during a heat wave in April and May. 

According to a 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they had “medium confidence that heat waves and humidity stress would become more intense and frequent, and annual and summer monsoon precipitation will increase.”

According to the IPCC India and Pakistan are among the countries that are expected to be the most affected by climate change.

heat wave

Record High Temperatures Hit Europe, Prompting Multiple Heat Warnings 

The UK and other parts of Europe are gearing up for one of the hottest summers to date. Multiple countries, including France and Britain, have issued extreme heat warnings and are working to combat the spreading of multiple wildfires.

British authorities have declared a national emergency and issued a “red extreme” heat warning for the first time in England’s history. Meteorological services in France have placed a majority of the country under the highest possible alert level for heat. 

Forecasters are predicting that Monday and Tuesday will see record-high temperatures in Britain, rising up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 Celsius); the current record is 101.7 degrees Fahrenheit (38.7 Celsius) which occurred in 2019. 

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Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution researcher in the UK, recently spoke to the media stating that climate change is making extreme heat events much more common, especially in the summer months. 

“The chances of seeing 40°C days in the U.K. could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence,” he said in a statement

Spain, Portugal, and France are evacuating thousands of their residents due to the threat of ongoing wildfires caused by the extreme temperatures. Authorities have also been warning of degrading air quality in these areas as well, especially in more heavily populated cities. The north of Italy is currently experiencing a state of emergency as well due to the heat and the droughts it’s causing. 

The hospitals in these countries are also becoming overwhelmed due to the additional services they need to provide to help combat the negative impacts of the heat. Additionally, rising Covid-19 cases are putting extra pressure on the hospitals and healthcare services in these nations. 

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Spain’s public Carlos III Health Institute estimate data showed that 350 people died in the country last week due to the heat. Over 800 heat-related deaths were reported by the institute in June, where temperatures reached levels between 104 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (40-43 Celsius). 

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level four heat alert, the highest possible level, which warns of illness and possible death even for the healthiest of individuals due to the heat. 

People throughout Europe who live in poorer areas are more likely to live in buildings without access to air conditioning or greener spaces which have trees to offer natural cooling through shade. Christian Huyghe, scientific director at France’s National Institute of Agricultural Research discussed that this is likely just the beginning of the damage the world will experience from climate change. 

“What we see now is just the very beginning of the potential impact of climate change.”

Emergency orders and evacuations will likely continue this week as temperatures remain high.

ICU

Severe Cases Of Covid-19 Linked To Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure

According to a study conducted in 2020 using healthcare data from 4,443 fatal cases of Covid-19, long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) correlated to an increased risk of severe/potentially fatal cases of Covid-19.

Climate Change

Climate Change Is One Of The Biggest Contributors To Inflation And Economic Failures

“Climatenomics” is a new book from Bob Keefe, a former White House reporter and director of Environmental Entrepreneurs. In the book, Keefe discusses how the climate crisis is changing international economies and driving prices up in almost all sectors of business.

Study Finds Climate Change And Fake Weather Could Make Winter Olympics Dangerous

As the world’s climate continues to shift, the historic winter competition could be at risk. According to a new study, climate change is making conditions much more dangerous for Winter Olympic athletes and participants.

The study — released Tuesday — was written by researchers from the Sport Ecology Group at Loughborough University in London and Protect Our Winters UK, an environmental group.

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Beijing, the host of this year’s games that are set to kick off in nine days, will be using over 100 snow generators and 300 snow guns. It will be the first Winter Olympics to on virtually 100% artificial snow, which the study showed is a significant issue.

“This is not only energy and water-intensive, frequently using chemicals to slow melt, but also delivers a surface that many competitors say is unpredictable and potentially dangerous.”

“Navigating erratic snow seasons and rapid melt of low level resorts are now the norm for many competitors,” the report somberly stated.

Scottish freestyle skier Laura Donaldson explained in the press release that if freestyle super pipes are formed in poor winter conditions from snow-making machines, the walls of the ice are composed of solid, vertical ice, as is the pipe floor. “This is dangerous for athletes, some have died,” she said.

Another study by the University of Waterloo found that climate change is threatening potential future Olympic Game hosts because their locations would be too warm. If the world’s emission rates continue their current course, only one of the previous 21 host cities by the 2080s — Sapporo, Japan — would have the right conditions to host again.

In a low emission future that’s consistent with a successful Paris Agreement, meanwhile, 13 of the 21 cities could host by the 2050s, and 12 by the 2080s. When it comes to “climate sustainability,” Chaminx is deemed “high-risk” along with venues in France, Norway and Austria, while Vancouver, Sochi, and Squaw Valley in the U.S. are “unreliable.”

The risks to athletes are extremely apparent. The study notes that injury rates are higher in winter versus summer Games, while the last three winter Games — PyeongChang, Sochi, and Vancouver — possessed the highest incidence rates recorded among alpine skiing, snowboarding, and freestyle athletes.

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There are other impacts beyond the athletes’ health at play, as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) notes. The water used for snow making has been reportedly taken away from local residents and farmers, while the artificial snow can cause erosion, landslides, and harm vegetation, adding onto the longer-term impact of building ski slopes in natural landscapes.

Biologists also raised concerns after planned ski runs were going to run through Songshan Nature Reserve, a protect forest ecosystem in Beijing. Damage could continue to be done if the venues are used long after the games finish.

The country has made some moves to produce sustainability. The games will have natural CO2 refrigeration systems in most of Beijing’s ice venues in an effort to decrease carbon footprints.

Organizers have also tried to ensure that water demand will have minimal effect on supply, and that the water needed for the Yanqing zone — where alpine skiing and sliding will occur — will account for just 1.6% of the water used in the area.

New Climate Data Shows Last 7 Years Have Been Warmest On Record For Earth

According to a new analysis from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the last seven years have been the warmest on record for planet Earth. The Climate Change Service tracks global temperature changes and other climate change indicators as well. 

The analysis also found that Earth’s temperature is continuing to rise due to heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions, and 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record. 

Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at Copernicus, said that while global temperatures are always expected to fluctuate due to large-scale weather and ocean patterns, – such as El Niño and La Niña – the larger issue of climate change and its impact on annual temperature changes is not to be taken lightly. 

“The really important thing is to not get hung up on the ranking of one particular year but rather kind of see the bigger picture of ever-warming temperatures, and that ever-warming doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the next. But that was what we’ve seen so far with every decade warmer than the next — and this is quite likely to continue.”

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Copernicus reported that Earth’s average temperature is currently 1.1 degrees Celsius above average pre-industrial levels. Scientists have warned that Earth will feel the worst impacts of climate change if that threshold hits the 1.5 degree Celsius mark.

Kim Cobb, director of the Global Change Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said a “warming of 1.1 degrees Celsius is a conservative estimate.”

“It is very fair to say that 1.1 degrees Celsius is conservative, because the last half of the last decade has been warmer than the first half,” Cobb explained. 

Back in 2015 world leaders agreed that Earth’s temperature must remain under 2 degrees Celsius when compared to pre-industrial levels, with a preferred goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees. While that level of temperature change may seem small, NASA scientists explained it’s similar to how a 1 or 2 degree increase in our internal body temperature can cause a fever.

Cobb explained that even though “we’ve just barely crossed the 1 degree threshold for warming, we are still reeling from a near-constant series of weather and climate extremes. With rare exceptions, these extremes can now be definitively linked to human-caused warming. Going forward, we should expect the frequency and severity of such extremes to increase, exacting an enormous toll on societies around the world.”

Copernicus also reported how almost every “corner” of the world felt the effects of climate change in 2021. Rain fell for at the summit of Greenland for the first time ever on record, and droughts throughout the Western US have caused a multitude of wildfires and water shortages. Several regions of the world also experienced above average temperatures last year. 

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Last summer in Europe was the warmest on record, and the continent also experienced its share of natural disasters such as flooding in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as wildfires. 

Experts have continued to warn the world about global greenhouse gas emissions, as it’s currently expected that by 2030 emissions will be roughly twice as high as what’s necessary to prevent the planet from warming to that 1.5 degree mark. 

In 2021, emissions from methane, a greenhouse gas that’s about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, rose substantially. 

Vamborg stated that the report should serve as a reminder to the world that the rise in greenhouse gas emissions is “what fuels the planet’s rapid warming. The global temperature curve will continue to grow as we continue to emit greenhouse gases.”

Cobb explained how humanity still can stop the planet from crossing the 1.5 degree mark. “Choosing to limit fossil fuel emissions to that point could potentially cool the planet in the second half of this century.” 

“The idea that we might live to see a reversal of global warming is inspiring, as generations that have witnessed decade after decade of warming. It’s a future worth fighting for, and bringing to life, one energy choice at a time.”