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global warming

Scientists Warn Of Multiple Tipping Points In Climate Change

A new scientific report has warned that the continued warming of the planet could trigger not only the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet, the single largest contributor to global sea levels rising, but also multiple environmental “tipping points” that will be irreversible.

planet

Young Europeans More Likely To Make Major Lifestyle Changes To Save Planet, New Survey Reveals

According to a survey taken across seven countries, younger people in Europe are more willing than older generations to make major lifestyle changes that would help combat climate change to help save the planet. 

The Guardian measured the data through the YouGov polling platform, which showed the general worldwide economic downturns in recent years have also dimmed their hopes for the future; more than half of those surveyed stated they were worried they’d be unable to own a home within the next ten years. 

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Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden participated in the survey back in August. The results showed that individuals between the ages of 18-to-24-year-olds felt like current economic conditions could also push them away from starting families. 

According to the Guardian’s report, “28% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 30% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they would be willing – or were already planning – to have fewer children than they would otherwise like.”

54% of individuals in that same age group said they would get rid of their car, or already have, and instead stick to walking, cycling, or public transportation, while only 45% of people over the age of 65 said they would do the same. 41% of the younger generation said they could switch to an electric car against 21% of the older generation. 

Both ends of the age spectrum offered a willingness to make lifestyle changes in order to do their part to combat climate change. The older age groups stated they would be more willing to create smaller adjustments such as refusing to buy single-use plastics, only buying seasonal produce, and creating more green spaces in their homes. 

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Younger generations are more likely to “support radical government measures in key policy areas than older cohorts, but were less favorable than their elders towards public policy moves that could be perceived as incremental.

A ban on the production and sale of petrol and diesel cars, for example, would have the support of 46% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 42% of 25- to 24-year-olds, against 28% of 55- to 64-year-olds and just 22% of respondents over the age of 65,” wrote Jon Henley and Michael Goodier of the Guardian. 

Both age brackets agreed on the general concern of climate change and its impact on our future. More than 70% of the total population surveyed said they were very or fairly worried. 

Additionally, the survey showed that regardless of their age, most Europeans believe that the European Union should be making decisions about how the world and its many nations can combat climate change at a larger level. 

Along with this line of thinking is the belief that a more collaborative effort among the union would lead to more success in the fight against climate change, rather than just letting individual countries make their own policies.

melting

Swiss Glaciers Have Lost 10% Of Their Volume In The Last Two Years

Swiss glaciers have lost 10% of their volume in two years, a report has found. The analysis from the Swiss Academy of Sciences have credited climate change as the reasoning behind the accelerated melting. 

The scientists have claimed that the burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of the unusually hot summers and winters with low snow levels that we’ve experienced in recent years. The overall hotter temperatures have led to glaciers all over the world experiencing accelerated melting. 

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According to the report, the volume lost in the Swiss glaciers between the summers of 2022 and 2023 equates to the volume lost between 1960 and 1990. 

The analysis also found that 4% of Switzerland’s total glacier volume disappeared last year, which marks the second biggest annual decline on record. The largest decline on record was in 2022 with a 6% drop. 

Experts have also stopped measuring certain glaciers and the amount of ice it’s lost due to the fact that their decline has been so rapid. Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (Glamos), which keeps track of 176 glaciers, just recently stopped recording data for the St. Annafirn glacier in the central Swiss canton of Uri due to the fact that it’s mostly melted at this point. 

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Matthias Huss, the head of Glamos, stated:

“We just had some dead ice left. It’s a combination of climate change that makes such extreme events more likely, and the very bad combination of meteorological extremes. If we continue at this rate … we will see every year such bad years.” 

Small glaciers are disappearing from ice loss, and in order to stop these glaciers from melting, carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels must be halted. However, Huss stated that even if the world managed to “keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels,” only one third of the glacier volume in Switzerland will remain. 

“All the small glaciers will be gone anyway, and the big glaciers will be much smaller. There will be some ice in the highest regions of the Alps and some glaciers that we can show to our grandchildren,” Huss stated.

Activist Author Mikaela Loach Stages Walkout At Edinburgh Book Festival Over Sponsor’s Fossil Fuel Links

Activist and author Mikaela Loach staged a protest walkout at the Edinburgh Book Festival over the event’s sponsor’s link to fossil fuel companies.

Jim Newman Newman Consulting Group

How We Can Fight Climate Change One Building at a Time | Jim Newman

There is irrefutable evidence that our planet is undergoing rapid climate change transcending all social, economic, political, and geographical boundaries. The repercussions could be catastrophic if society does not take decisive action. Jim Newman, Managing Partner of Newman Consulting Group, has dedicated his life to helping businesses become more sustainable and resilient to the effects of global warming.

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.

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.

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.”

1987 CFC Ban Prevented Global Temperatures From Increasing By 2.5 Degrees Celsius

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol banned the use of ozone-depleting chemicals across the globe. It came into effect on September 15th 1987, and remains the only UN treaty that has been ratified by every country in the world – 198 UN states. A new study has found that, if not outlawed, these chemicals would have caused a 2.5 degrees Celsius rise of extra global warming by 2100.

The landmark environmental agreement, named: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, regulates the production and use of approximately 100 man-made chemicals which are referred to as Ozone depleting substances (ODS). 

Those chemicals were identified as damaging to the stratospheric Ozone layer, which protects the globe and all of its organisms, due to harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, causing global temperatures to rise. 

The globe is already facing the catastrophic consequences of global rising temperatures, and governments, companies and individuals across the world are being urged to do more to cut carbon emissions and combat the current climate crisis. 

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An international team of scientists have found, however, that the continued use of chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), banned in the Montreal Protocol, would have contributed to temperatures rising by an additional 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.  

The researchers estimated that the use of CFCs could raise global temperatures to approximately 3.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. CFCs could be used in refrigerators, insulation foams and aerosols. The study found that the ongoing depletion of the ozone caused by CFCs and greenhouse gasses would have drastically compromised Earth’s ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. 

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the agreement was “perhaps the single most successful international agreement”.

The ozone layer shields the earth and its flora from damaging UV rays. Increasing a plant’s exposure to UV can damage its tissues, restricting growth and limiting its ability to photosynthesise. Photosynthesis allows vegetation to pull CO2 from the atmosphere. CO2 is a toxic planet heating greenhouse gas, and the damage to plants would have also released additional CO2 currently stored in healthy vegetation. 

Speaking to The Guardian, lead researcher in the study, Dr Paul Young, said: “a world where these chemicals increased and continued to strip away at our protective ozone layer would have been catastrophic for human health, but also for vegetation… with our research, we can see that the Montreal protocol’s successes extend beyond protecting humanity from increased UV to protecting the ability of plants and trees to absorb CO2.”

“Although we can hope that we never would have reached the catastrophic world as we simulated, it does remind us of the importance of continuing to protect the ozone layer… Entirely conceivable threats to it still exist, such as from unregulated use of CFCs.”

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Not only are CFCs damaging to the Ozone layer, they are also a greenhouse gas themselves. According to the BBC, “The scientists estimated there would be: 580 billion tonnes less carbon stored in forests, other vegetation and soils and an extra 165-215 parts per million (40-50%) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

The study doesn’t indicate that we have successfully beat climate change, just avoided further damage. There is still much more to be done when it comes to combating the climate crisis. 

The Earth has already warmed between 1.1 and 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit that warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and keep it well below 2 degrees Celsius – to prevent the cataclysmic impact and irreversible damage this increase would have on the world. To do this, governments across the world are urged to drastically cut their greenhouse gas emissions among other actions. 

A report from NASA, entitled Why Global Temperatures Matter, examined the IPCC special report on climate change, and detailed the chain of events that global warming has, from the impact on wildlife, ecosystems to human survival. It explained: ‘at 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, the report projects that climate-related risks to human health, livelihoods, food security, human security, water supply and economic growth will all increase, and will increase even more at 2 degrees warming.’

Lead researcher in the study Dr Paul Young, of the Lancaster Environment Centre said to BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science program:

“What we see in our ‘world-avoided experiment’ is an additional 2.5C warming above any warming that we would get from greenhouse-gas increases… The science was listened to and acted upon – we have not seen that to the same degree with climate change.”

However, he also noted “But I would be cautious of using it as a positive example for the climate negotiations… It’s not [directly] comparable – but it’s nice to have something positive to hold on to and to see that the world can come together.”