The majority of the planet’s forests and deserts will likely undergo “major” transformations over the coming decades if climate change continues at its current, rapid pace, an international research team has warned. There is a “high risk” that most of the planet’s land based ecosystems – from forests and grasslands to deserts and tundra – will experience “ubiquitous and dramatic” change unless there is a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a newly published paper. Far-reaching consequences of climate change. Using fossil records of global vegetation change that occurred during a period of post-glacial warming, the researchers projected the magnitude of ecosystem transformations likely under a variety of scenarios. A “business as usual” emissions scenario, in which little is done to rein in heat-trapping greenhouse-gas emissions, will result in vegetation changes across the planet’s wild landscapes that are more far-reaching and disruptive than previous studies have suggested, the findings indicate.
The i Newspaper 31st Aug 2018 read more »
Until recently I thought I was a pretty eco-friendly human being. I don’t eat much meat, my flat is fuelled by green energy, I cycle to work and don’t own a car. I even wash and recycle baked bean cans for crying out loud. As far as I was concerned I had an LED-lit green halo circling my head. But then I did a carbon footprint calculator. It grilled me on my lifestyle, what I eat and what I buy, and it turns out my annual carbon emissions are 50 per cent higher than the recommended amount. The seven-tonne elephant in the room? Air travel. My results, formulated using WWF’s calculator, don’t take into account business trips but do include the four leisure trips I took over the last twelve months (three short-haul to Europe, one to the US). Those flights alone – totalling around 24 ho urs in the air – account for half of my annual carbon emissions. Half a year’s carbon output in one day. Whichever way I try to spin it, that doesn’t sound great. Actually there is one way to spin it. Compared to fellow Brits I’m not particularly excessive in the number of holidays I’m taking per year. According to ABTA the average number of holidays taken in 2017 was 3.8 per person. Hands up, I didn’t have to use up my 3.8 allowance with overseas trips, but when budget flights are often cheaper than domestic rail travel, and when there’s so much of Europe to see, a hop across to the Continent seems to be a perfectly acceptable option. I fear that my line of reasoning won’t fly in future decades, when the projections of global warming become a reality – something that we, and many countries around the world, received a sobering glimpse of this summer. In the way that we have woken up to the environmental impact of single-use plastic waste, diesel fumes, and the health impact of cigarettes, I wonder if my unborn grandchildren will look back in horror at the way we travelled in 2018.
Telegraph 30th Aug 2018 read more »
The prime minister of Samoa has called climate change an “existential threat … for all our Pacific family” and said that any world leader who denied climate change’s existence should be taken to a mental hospital. In a searing speech delivered on Thursday night during a visit to Sydney, Tuilaepa Sailele berated leaders who fail to take climate change seriously, singling out Australia, as well as India, China and the US, which he said were the “three countries that are responsible for all this disaster”.
Guardian 31st Aug 2018 read more »
The Earth is quickly heading for the “point of no return” unless we act immediately, climate scientists have warned. If governments don’t act decisively on global warming before 2035, it will be very unlikely that we will be able to limit global warming to under two degrees, according to a major new study. If warming reaches over that point, it is likely to trigger climate catastrophe that could make much of the world unliveable. The researchers also say that the deadline to stop global warming reaching 1.5C has already passed, unless we commit to radical action now. They hope that the strict deadline can become an important moment to commit to action on the climate. Without that action, Earth will fall past the point of no return and it will be impossible to stop global warming, they warn. And even those dramatic projects might be overly optimistic, they note.
Independent 30th Aug 2018 read more »
Global warming could mean crop losses from insect damage double in ‘breadbasket of Europe’ by 2050.
Independent 31st Aug 2018 read more »
Carbon Brief 30th Aug 2018 read more »