Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Credit: Twentyfirstidentity (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The State Secretary Van Veldhoven of the Netherlands has announced that the country will ban disposable plastic such as cups and cutlery from July 3, 2021.

The ban is part of a directive by the European Union which requires all EU countries to put similar measures in place to reduce plastic waste. Germany had already announced similar measures.

Climate & Environment
Highest Arctic temperature recorded in Siberia
Temperature anomaly 2m Arctic Analysis, 20 June 2020
Temperature anomaly 2m Arctic Analysis, 20 June 2020 Credit: karstenhaustein.com/climate

The northeastern Siberian town Verkhoyansk has hit a new record temperature high at 38°C (100.4°F) in the Arctic Circle on Saturday. The town is located at 67.5 degrees north latitude and 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometres) east of Moscow with an average June temperature of 20°C (60°F).

The town with a population of 1,300 has a significant temperature range, with temperatures below -45°C (-50°F) during Winter. Saturday's data has not been verified by another entity yet but, as Sunday's temperature was recorded at 35.2°C (95.3°F), it does not seem likely that the Saturday reading was a mistake.

Climate & Environment
Côte d'Ivoire: Landslide killed 13, several missing
An aerial photograph of flooding on the Tana River, Kenya
An aerial photograph of flooding on the Tana River, Kenya Credit: SGT R.A. Ward, U.S. Marine Corps / Public domain

A landslide caused by heavy rain in Anyama, Côte d'Ivoire killed 13 people. Several people are still missing. Flooding risk still remains high as search for missing people continues.

Abidjan's Prefect Vincent Toh Bi: "The provisional death toll is 13 and searches are continuing. 20 houses were swept away."

Climate & Environment
2020 expected to be one of the warmest year on record globally
2020 expected to be one of the warmest year on record globally
Credit: unsplash.com/Luis Graterol

In an announcement on Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) reported that May 2020 was the warmest May recorded in history. NOOA has been keeping record since 1880 and, according to climatologist Karin Gleason, 2020 will "virtually certain" be among the five warmest years. The agency warns that 2020 could surpass 2016, the warmest year ever recorded.

Climate & Environment
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicholas Doherty

The Spanish Government has proposed a new energy plan to surpass the efforts made by the European Union. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas reductions by 20 percent compared to 1990, which would be six points higher than the requirement of the European Union. In addition, Spain aims to revoke all fracking permits after 2040, ban the registration for CO2-emitting vehicles by 2040 and in the same year abolish all subsidies for fossil fuel emissions.

Climate & Environment
Trump re-allows previously banned hunting methods

While the Obama administration had banned multiple hunting methods such as the use of doughnuts soaked in bacon grease to bait grizzly bears, the Trump administration has now reversed those bans. The new rules that are stated in the Federal Register and published by the National Park Service policy now state that the practices will be allowed again in 30 days.

Climate & Environment
Unilever announces it will invest one billion euros in climate change fund

Unilever Plc has announced that it plans to invest one billion euros over the course of ten years into a fund for climate change projects. The goal is to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions for the entire product offering to zero by 2039. The projects include reforestation and water preservation.

Climate & Environment
Pakistan's creative fight against continuing locust plague
Pakistan's creative fight against continuing locust plague
Credit: Binemarina (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The locust plagues that have been terrorising East Africa, India, and Pakistan in the past few months have still not disappeared. The unusual amounts of precipitation have caused the insects to reproduce 400 times faster than normal. Many fear the plagues to continue as the monsoons seasons are beginning in Pakistan and India.

Since the swarms have already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, farmers in Punjab, the most important agricultural region of Pakistan, received ten euro cents for every kilogram of locust. The collected insects were then turned into chicken feed. Since this solution helps both to compensate farmers for their lost income and to eradicate the plague, the Pakistani government is now planning to expand the programme to the entire country.

Climate & Environment
United Kingdom reaches longest period without coal energy since industrial revolution
Cottam Power Station, viewed from the north in July 2019 - months prior to official closure
Cottam Power Station, viewed from the north in July 2019 - months prior to official closure Credit: Ncary95 / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With a decreased electricity demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic of 15-20%, the United Kingdom has hit the milestone of two months without the need for coal based energy. In addition to the decreased demand renewable energy sources have generated and contributed more electricity than ever before.

Climate & Environment
Kenya: Single-use plastic ban takes effect on Friday
Plastic bottle on beach
Plastic bottle on beach Credit: unsplash.com/Ishan @seefromthesky

Kenya forbids single-use plastics in the country's protected areas like national parks, forests and beaches. These include water bottles, straws and other single-use packaging. This ban was first announced three years ago and takes effect on June 6th, World Environment Day.

Climate & Environment
Report shows: Costs for solar energy have dropped 82% since 2010
Solar panels at the top of Mt Tripylos, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
Solar panels at the top of Mt Tripylos, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus Credit: Michal Klajban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has published a report called "Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019". The organization concludes that "Since 2010, the cost of energy has dropped by 82% for photovoltaic solar, by 47% for concentrated solar energy (CSP), by 39% for onshore wind and by 29% for wind offshore".

Climate & Environment
Northern Chile hit by 6.8 earthquake

Northern Chile has been hit with an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.8. The German research center for geosciences has stated that the epicenter was 62 km southwest of San Pedro de Atacama and close to several copper mines - none of which were damaged due to the earthquake.

Climate & Environment
Germany starts commercial operation of new coal-fired power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant Credit: Frank Vincentz (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The energy company Uniper has started operating the new Datteln 4 coal power plant despite ten different protests being registered with the police. The German government and the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia have stated that the new power plant won't add more emissions to the air, because older coal power plants will go out of operation until 2025. The so-called "coal commission" that advises the German government on the exit from coal energy has previously recommended finding different solutions to compensate the energy company in order to prevent Dattel 4 from going into operation.

Climate & Environment
Taiwan's Green Island introduces project for waste reduction
Sign for a water refill station
Sign for a water refill station Credit: unsplash.com/Meritt Thomas

Green Island, a small volcanic island and tourist attraction east of Taiwan, is introducing a plan to reduce plastic waste. To counteract the use of bottled water, the island will grant access to 33 potable water facilities in public locations where travellers can refill their own water bottles.

Climate & Environment
Hambacher Forst: Police handed over GPS data and photos to RWE

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior passed on a roughly 77-page document to the energy group RWE, which is contained a detailed list of tree houses and GPS data. The supposed reason to hand over the documents was to enable RWE to file conclusive eviction suits against the protesters.

Climate & Environment
Ashaninka indigenous people win lawsuit against illegal logging

With the lawsuit being handed in during the 1990s, the Ashaninka group has won a decades-long dispute against forestry companies that illegally cut down parts of the Amazon forest. The companies and their legal teams have agreed to $3 million in compensations and have stated publicly their acknowledgement of the "enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment".

Climate & Environment
Scientists estimate 17 per cent decline in carbon emissions due to Covid-19

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change states that following the movement restrictions, closure of workplaces and factories as well as the closure of borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists estimate that the daily carbon dioxide emissions have declined an estimated 17 per cent.

Climate & Environment
Increased usage of plastic during Covid-19 pandemic
Empty Plastic Bottles
Empty Plastic Bottles Credit: unsplash.com/tanvi sharma

Single-use plastics have seen massive restrictions over the last years in an effort to combat plastic pollution. Amid the pandemic, plastic products have seen increased usage due to hygiene and sanitary concerns. Recyclers are seeing a decreased demand in selling recycled plastic due to low oil prices and therefore cheaper production of new plastic.

Climate & Environment
Intel commits to cut waste and greenhouse gas emissions
Intel sticker on laptop computer
Intel sticker on laptop computer Credit: pexels.com/Jordan Harrison

Intel recently announced their environmental goals for 2030. The technology company aims to make the switch to 100% renewable energy and to recycle all its trash by the end of the decade. Currently, Intel does recycle over 90% of its trash and hazardous waste. Even though the company is decreasing its own emissions, they are not counting emission caused by companies and factories in their supply chain.

Climate & Environment
6.5 earthquake recorded in Nevada

An earthquake of the magnitude 6.5 struck near Tonopah, Nevada early Friday morning. The small town, three hours north of Las Vegas, recorded two additional aftershocks, both with a magnitude around 5.4. No injuries or damages have been reported so far. Today's earthquake has been the biggest in Nevada since 1954.

Climate & Environment
Study shows Covid-19 impact on global air quality
Shanghai, China covered in smog
Shanghai, China covered in smog Credit: unsplash.com/Holger Link

Two studies recently published in the American Geophysical Union's journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the Covid-19 lockdown measures have a significant impact on global air quality. Particulate matter pollution has decreased in China and the levels of nitrogen dioxide – a gas produced from emissions from vehicles and industrial activities - decreased in China, Western Europe and America. Researchers also found that the average ground level ozone concentration has increased since March, a gas emitted by certain household and industrial products.

Climate & Environment
Scientists warn of potential tsunami in Alaska
Barry Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound.
Barry Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound. Credit: Don Becker, U.S. Geological Survey. (Public Domain)

In a public letter, scientists warn of a potential tsunami in Alaska, triggered by a landslide in prince William Sound. As warming temperatures have caused a retreat of Barry Glacier in Barry Arm, an unstable, mile-long slope sitting above the glacier could slide into the ocean below. The landslide can be triggered by heavy rain, heat waves or an earthquake. If the slope should hit the water, it could lead to a 30-feet (approx. 9,5m) wave.

Climate & Environment
Toxic Gas Leak kills at least eight in India's LG Polymers plant

A gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, southern India, killed at least eight people, including three children, on Thursday morning. Around 1,000 more were rushed to hospitals, where around 100 are seriously ill, according to Tej Bharath, a senior Visakhapatnam district official. The leak occurred during the re-opening process of the plant and came from a storage tank.

Climate & Environment
US generated more renewable than coal energy for first month in history

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has announced that the United States have generated more energy from renewable energy sources than coal in April for the first time in history. The streak had already begun end of March and had continued for the whole April until at May 3.

Climate & Environment
Ozone hole three times the size of Greenland over Arctic has healed

The ozone hole had been three times as big as Greenland and been the biggest one since 2011. The UN World Meteorological Organization has now announced that the hole has healed and is closed now. According to the scientists, the lower air pollution due to the coronavirus had probably nothing to do with it.

Climate & Environment
Morgan Stanley won't finance "oil and gas exploration" in the Arctic anymore

Morgan Stanley has announced through their updated Environmental and Social Policy Statement that the investment bank won't finance "new oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic" anymore. Though this policy is only aimed at direct financing of these projects and does not prevent financing for companies that engage in these projects.

Climate & Environment
New inland ice buildup in Greenland and Antarctia, but massive ice losses along coastline
New inland ice buildup in Greenland and Antarctia, but massive ice losses along coastline
Credit: NASA Goddard

NASA's ICESat-2's satellite observation data shows the change of Greenland's and Antarctica's ice sheets between 2003 and 2019. The data reveals that the ice in both eastern Antarctica and central Greenland thickened slightly but showed a drastic thinning along the coastline and a severe thinning on Greenland's glaciers.

Climate & Environment
Pakistan creates over 63,600 jobs with goal to plant billions of trees

As part of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami program in Pakistan, the government has announced that it'll create over 63,600 "jungle workers" jobs with the goal of planting trees, setting up nurseries and protecting the planted and growing trees. Many of the jobs are specifically created in more rural areas in order to support women and unemployed daily workers that were hit by the Covid-19 recession.

Climate & Environment
The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic must be a "green recovery" - Germany, UK

Spokespeople from Germany and the United Kingdom said that instead of investing "in technologies of the past" the recovery should be a "green and resilient" one that "leaves no one behind". The German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze, said that "Unlike in the fight against the coronavirus, we already know the vaccines for the climate crisis".

Climate & Environment
Sweden's last coal plant to be closed two years early
Image of Coal Plant
Image of Coal Plant Credit: pexels.com/@pixabay

Sweden's last coal-fired power station, which was set to seize operation in 2022, has been closed prematurely. A statement on Stockholm Exergi's website read: “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan." Sweden is the next European country to go coal-free, following Austria and Belgium.