In our monthly feature, Then and Now, we reveal some of the ways that planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world. The shrinking sea-ice in the Arctic is not only a sign of climate change, it is causing the planet to warm more quickly. This is because more sunlight is being absorbed by the darker ocean, rather than being reflected back into space.
BBC 3rd July 2021 read more »
Climate scientists have said nowhere is safe from the kind of extreme heat events that have hit the western US and Canada in recent days and urged governments to dramatically ramp up their efforts to tackle the escalating climate emergency. The devastating “heat dome” has caused temperatures to rise to almost 50C in Canada and has been linked to hundreds of deaths, melted power lines, buckled roads and wildfires. Experts say that as the climate crisis pushes global temperatures higher, all societies – from northern Siberia to Europe, Asia to Australia – must prepare for more extreme weather events.
Guardian 1st July 2021 read more »
If you were drawing up a list of possible locations for hell on Earth before this week, the small mountain village of Lytton in Canada would probably not have entered your mind. Few people outside British Columbia had heard of this community of 250 people. Those who had were more likely to think of it as bucolic. Nestled by a confluence of rivers in the forested foothills of the Lillooet and Botanie mountain ranges, the municipal website boasts: “Lytton is the ideal location for nature lovers to connect with incredible natural beauty and fresh air freedom.” Over the past seven days, however, the village has made headlines around the world for a freakishly prolonged and intense temperature spike that turned the idyll into an inferno.
Guardian 2nd July 2021 read more »
The death toll from a historic heatwave in the US northwest and Canada is expected to increase as temperatures reach 121F degrees, wildfires engulf villages, and people drown attempting to cool down. Hundreds of deaths have so far been linked to the heatwave. Canada’s British Colombia reported 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” over five days, a 195 per cent increase, while at least 63 deaths were reported in Oregon. Washington state said more than 20 deaths were caused by heat. Several bodies were recovered in lakes, rivers and beaches across the Pacific Northwest. Families search for loved ones separated in the chaos of wildfires as entire villages, like Lytton in British Colombia, are being evacuated.
Independent 2nd July 2021 read more »
As early as 1958, the oil industry was hiring scientists and engineers to research the role that burning fossil fuels plays in global warming. The goal at the time was to help the major oil conglomerates understand how changes in the Earth’s atmosphere may affect the industry – and their bottom line. But what top executives gained was an early preview of the climate crisis, decades before the issue reached public consciousness. What those scientists discovered – and what the oil companies did with that information – is at the heart of two dozen lawsuits attempting to hold the fossil fuel industry responsible for their role in climate change. Many of those cases hinge on the industry’s own internal documents that show how, 40 years ago, researchers predicted the rising global temperatures with stunning accuracy. But looking back, many of those same scientists say they were hardly whistleblowers out to take down big oil.
Guardian 2nd July 2021 read more »
In June 1988, Nasa scientist James Hansen told the US Senate, and the world, that human-induced climate change was real and already large enough to increase the chance of extreme weather. Some realised the danger. Speaking to the United Nations the following year, then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, said: “The environmental challenge that confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no-one can opt out.” However, since then, far too many countries have done just that and those that have acted, including the UK, have not done enough. And while the Scottish Government has made much of its pledge to reduce carbon emissions faster than the UK – aiming to reach net-zero by 2045, rather than 2050 – it has now missed its annual targets for a third year in a row.
Scotsman 3rd July 2021 read more »
SO, are we scared yet? As we watch a large swathe of Canada and the American north-west suffer an unprecedented heatwave, are we ready to admit that, yes, climate change is a problem and not just for the Third World? The people of Lytton in British Columbia were told to evacuate late on Wednesday as wildfire engulfed the village. The fire came after the temperature in Lytton hit 47.9C on Monday, the kind of temperature you’d normally find in the Sahara. And hotter than Las Vegas, some 1,300 miles south, has ever recorded. This in a normally temperate part of the world. On Tuesday, the temperature in Lytton rose to 49.6C. The province’s chief coroner has said that more than 300 deaths could be attributed to the extreme heat.
Herald 2nd July 2021 read more »