A major new research paper argues that setting “net zero by 2050” targets will fail to prompt urgent action on climate change, and won’t achieve the speed of emission reductions needed to avoid the worsening impacts of global warming. The paper, released by the Australian-based Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, says shorter-term emission reduction targets are needed to compel action to cut fossil fuel use, including setting a more ambitious target to reach zero emissions as early as 2030. “[Net zero by 2050] scenarios are based on models and carbon budgets generally associated with a 50 or 66 per cent chance of staying below the target, that is, a one-in-two, or one-in-three, chance of failure,” the paper says. “We would never accept those risks of failures in our own lives. Why accept them for impacts which may destroy civilisation as we know it?”
Renew Economy 4th Aug 2021 read more »
A sweltering heatwave in Greece, the country’s worst in 30 years, has forced residents to flee homes close to Athens. The temperatures were so high that officials were forced to close the Acropolis in the afternoon to tourists. It is usually open between 8am and 8pm, but will close between midday and 5pm during the heatwave. More than 300 firefighters with 35 vehicles and 10 aircraft battled a blaze in a densely vegetated area in the foothills of Parnitha mountain in the suburb of Varympompi, some 20 kilometres north of the capital. About 80 children had to leave the summer camp and villagers were ordered out of their homes.
Independent 3rd Aug 2021 read more »
Wildfires are sweeping Siberia, California and Oregon. Blazes in Turkey and Italy are forcing evacuations as property is left to burn so firefighters can focus on saving lives. More than 300 people have been killed by floods in China’s Henan province, with horrifying images of water rising in underground train carriages. The floods which swept through Belgium and Germany’s industrial heartland of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate last month claimed almost 200 lives. Amid scenes of such carnage and misery it can seem impossible to imagine any upside, and heartless to consider the possibility. Yet when it comes to the economy, natural disasters often bring a surreal boost, says economist Carsten Brzeski at ING. “The bitter irony of these kinds of natural disasters often is that the rebuilding of homes and infrastructure could have a positive impact on GDP growth going forward,” he says, on Germany’s floods. Buildings must be cleaned and repaired, cars towed away and replaced, possessions cleared out and bought afresh. This generates economic activity as workers are hired and shops make sales, then spend that money in turn. Hence the apparent boost. But to count this activity as a positive is to assume the money spent on repairs would have stayed under the mattress instead of being spent elsewhere. The unfortunate inhabitants of North Rhine-Westphalia’s towns and cities should have had that money to spend on something they wanted, rather than replacing that which they already had.
Telegraph 3rd Aug 2021 read more »
Just 20 months after warning the world that climate change threatens “untold suffering” for millions, a team of scientists has checked the data and issued an even more urgent warning: all the evidence is that the climate emergency will get worse as human demands soar. In 2019, more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries examined what they called the planet’s “vital signs” and warned that, without action, disaster threatened. Since then, another 2,800 researchers have signed their declaration and authorities in 34 nations have declared or recognised a climate emergency. And since then, 11 of those signatories have identified an “unprecedented surge in climate-related disasters”. Among these have been devastating floods in South America and south-east Asia, record-shattering heat waves and wildfires in Australia and the western United States, an extraordinary Atlantic hurricane season, and devastating cyclones in Africa, South Asia and the western Pacific. “There is also mounting evidence that we are nearing or have already crossed tipping points associated with critical parts of the Earth system, including the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, warm-water coral reefs, and the Amazon rainforest,” they warn in the journal Bioscience.
Climate News Network 4th Aug 2021 read more »