Displaying items by tag: Climate change
There is more flash flooding, partly caused by climate change. Parts of London and the south of England were left under water and roads became impassable this week. Just 30cm of water is enough to move a car. Infrastructure and transport networks were damaged. London hospitals asked patients to stay away after they lost power. Urban areas experience ‘surface water’ flooding because they have a lot of hard surfaces - paved front gardens, car parks, roads and high streets. On 28 July several towns in Scotland were flooded, with more to come. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-57970845 Reading University says urban areas could benefit from permeable pavements and green roofs which can help rainwater to soak away rather than causing floods. Weather and flood forecasting has improved rapidly, and it is now possible to forecast surface water flooding events in advance.
250 deaths have been reported across the Pacific northwest. Unprecedented numbers have died in Canada from unbearable heat that has smashed temperature records. Vancouver police responded to over 130 sudden deaths. Casualties were mostly elderly or those with health conditions a contributing factor. British Columbia broke temperature records 3 days in a row (49.6C or 121.3F). A spontaneous wildfire forced the village of Lytton to evacuate on 1 July, a day after it recorded the country's highest-ever temperature. The fire spread through the village of 250 people in just 15 minutes. The USA also has record highs; fatalities will rise as some areas have yet to collate the numbers. Pray for those without air conditioning and the families of heatstroke victims. Pray for fire brigades working to prevent wildfires and for communities to help each other to stay cool. May relatives and neighbours recognise danger signs and ensure the vulnerable stay in the shade, wear a hat, and other things they may need reminding of.
As temperatures reached 106F (41C) in Montana and Arizona, animals scorched their paws on blistering asphalt. Texas residents must limit cooking and cleaning to preserve the power grid in one of the most excruciating heat waves to hit the USA this early in the year. 40 million people are experiencing 100F (38C) temperatures, and 50 million are under excessive heat warnings. Across the south-west wildfires have spread, with lightning and gusty winds threatening to spark more. The extreme heat and drought complicate firefighters’ efforts to contain the blazes. Arizona’s large aerial firefighting tankers couldn’t fly due to high temperatures and diminished water supplies. Cooling and hydration stations have opened across the American west and the hottest months of the year are yet to come. Scientists say, ‘Climate change is a human engineered change; fire suppression is a human thing too. It is a result of our activities and decisions.’
Leaders arrived at the summit with a global pandemic crisis raging around them, but the hard truth is that they left Cornwall having failed to take the real action needed to end the pandemic. G7 leaders said their commitments are just the beginning- a foundation on which they can build but there was little detail on how. UNICEF said, ‘This G7 commitment is the beginning of the action required to end this pandemic. However, the urgent need immediately to share more vaccines with the world remains.’ Pray for the richest countries, with the power to do something, to deliver vaccinations globally and quickly. These nations pledged to spend $100bn a year to help poor nations deal with cutting emissions and global warming, but only two nations came up with firm promises to stump up the cash. Pray for every nation which made the pledges on climate change to honour them.
The G7 leaders will meet in Cornwall from 11 to 13 June. Tearfund has said that since 2020 G7 has spent more on fossil fuels than on clean energy. As UK government funding kick-starts economies, there are unique opportunities to invest in decarbonising global energy systems and accelerating transition from fossil fuels. Although the UK announced green policies of petrol-car phase-out and ending overseas fossil fuels support, only 4% had ‘green strings’ attached. Tearfund feels that this reveals tensions between Government green ambitions and Treasury spending. Every day Tearfund witnesses worsening consequences of the climate crisis in communities around the world. Choices made now by G7 countries will either accelerate the transition towards a climate-safe future for all or jeopardise efforts to tackle the climate crisis. G7 nations represent only a tenth of world population but almost a quarter of CO² emissions. Their actions set the scene for success or failure of the Glasgow climate talks in November. Join with the World Prayer Centre in covering the G7 in prayer between 11th & 13th June - HERE.
Intense storms and violence forced 40.5 million people to become displaced within their countries last year, despite strict restrictions on movement globally to halt Covid spreading. Conflicts and natural disasters forced one person every second to flee within their own country in 2020, pushing up the number of people living in internal displacement camps. The number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) was more than double the 26 million people who fled across borders as refugees. Three-quarters of the people who fled were victims of extreme weather. Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly-exposed and densely-populated areas in Asia and the Pacific, while the Atlantic hurricane season ‘was the most active on record’. Extended rainy seasons across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa uprooted millions more. Experts say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of such extreme weather events. Norwegian Refugee Council chief Jan Egeland described the report’s findings as ‘shocking’.
COP26 will be held in Glasgow in November and countries must set ambitious goals for bold climate action. The G7 summit will be held in Cornwall in June. As host nation, the UK will have an important role in influencing the discussions of climate issues. This week the Government announced radical new commitments to cut carbon emissions by 78%, fifteen years earlier than the previous target. This would be a world-leading position. Covid-19 paused climate emissions - but they are rising again. Hitting targets requires more electric cars, low-carbon heating, renewable electricity and reducing meat and dairy consumption. Climate laws will extend to cover international aviation and shipping. Consequently, homes will need better insulation, people must drive less and walk and cycle more, and expect expensive aviation fees for frequent fliers. See also this week’s World article ‘Rising sea levels threatening my home.’
Those fighting to halt climate change call the Amazon rainforest the ‘lungs of Earth,’ and Brazil's current president has made his country a chain-smoker. A healthy Amazon is crucial for the fight against climate change. Human activity is pumping unsustainable amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, trapping enough heat to warm the planet and profoundly disrupt the climate. Trees, and the soils they grow in, store carbon that might otherwise reach the atmosphere, but cutting down or burning them releases more carbon into the air, making Amazon deforestation a problem for the entire planet. President Jair Bolsonaro has made matters much worse for the remaining 60% of Amazon tree cover. He deprived environmental protection agencies of funding and manpower, allowing farmers to cut and burn trees to open land for farms and cattle ranches. But now Joe Biden’s climate envoy is engaged in an international effort to raise $20 billion for Brazil's environmental protection agency, only to be given if deforestation is reduced.
New research raises the alarm for ecosystems and agriculture. Samples from 2015 to 2018 showed that summer droughts were the most severe Europe has seen in 2,110 years as climate change stokes punishing heat waves. Using data from tree rings in living and dead European oaks going back to the time of the Romans, scientists identified a long-term drying trend that suddenly intensified in 2015 beyond anything seen in two millennia. The researchers said that this cluster of abnormally dry summers was likely caused by human-driven climate warming and changes to the circulation of the jet stream. ‘Climate change does not mean that it will get drier everywhere. Some places may get wetter or colder, but extreme conditions will become more frequent, which could be devastating for agriculture, ecosystems and societies as a whole,’ said lead author Ulf Buntgen, professor of environmental systems analysis of Cambridge University.
With limited space and a lack of options for hydro-electricity and wind power, Singapore faces logistical challenges in the push towards renewable energy. Environmental advocacy groups have long accused the country of failing to do enough to address climate change, even as rising sea levels have become a growing threat. Climate Action Tracker said Singapore’s efforts to combat climate change have been weak. It is now investing in a huge floating solar farm at sea. Oceans are the ‘new frontier’ in electricity production, says Shawn Tan, the firm carrying out the project. The solar farm has 13,000 solar panels laid out at sea between Singapore and Malaysia, capable of producing up to five megawatts of electricity - enough energy to power 1,400 residential flats year-round. Meanwhile, Pentagon scientists are currently testing solar satellites to beam energy to anywhere on Earth.