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5 Pentribution Club
Physics student, activist
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Climate & Environment
Study: Climate impact of aviation is much greater than previously estimated
Study: Climate impact of aviation is much greater than previously estimated
Credit: unsplash.com / Stefan Fluck

A new study by the EU's aviation regulator EASA has found that "aviation emissions are currently warming the climate at approximately three times the rate of that associated with aviation CO2 emissions alone."

This is due to non-CO2 emissions, which are harder to quantify and not well studied. The new study examined the impact of these emissions, including nitrogen oxide, water vapor, oxidized sulfur and soot particles.

About 2 percent of global CO2 emissions are caused by aviation, but that does not include the non-CO2 emissions listed above.

Climate & Environment
Top court: France has three months to show it's taking climate action
Top court: France has three months to show it's taking climate action
Credit: By Marie-Lan Nguyen - Own work / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

France's government was hauled before the Council of State by the coastal town Grande-Synthe and has now been given a three-month deadline to show that it's taking action to meet its commitments concerning climate change. While the country "has committed itself to reduce its emissions by 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, it has, in recent years, regularly exceeded the 'carbon budgets' it had set itself", as was noted by the Council.

This means that "policies must be more than nice commitments on paper," said Grande Synthe's lawyer Corinne Lepage, calling the decision "historic".

Climate & Environment
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
South Korea commits to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050
Credit: unsplash.com / Shawn Ang

Following a visit by Cop26 president-designate Alok Sharma, president Moon Jae-in has announced that South Korea will commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. “By replacing coal power generation with renewable energy, we will create new markets and industries and create jobs,” he said.

Earlier this year, Moon presented plans for a Green New Deal investing $37 billion in clean energy, green infrastructure and electric vehicles by 2025. A further $7 billion investment in carbon-cutting measures was announced last week.

Climate & Environment
Japan aims for zero emissions by 2050
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga
Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga Credit: 内閣官房内閣広報室 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Japan will aim to become carbon-neutral by 2050, said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in his first policy speech since taking office in September. The country emitted 1.24 billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018.

Environmental groups have criticized Japan in the past for its slow progress in cutting emissions. This new commitment was commented by Greenpeace as "precisely the kind of action the world needs" while cautioning that it must be met by the policy.

Climate & Environment
September 2020 was the hottest ever recorded
September 2020 was the hottest ever recorded
Credit: unsplash.com / niklas_hamann

Globally, September 2020 had the highest temperatures since the beginning of modern weather recording. It was 0.63°C above average, which is 0.05°C hotter than even September 2019, which previously held this record.

As of now, it is virtually certain that 2020 will be among the five hottest years on record, with a 98% propability.

2020 has been accompanied by many climate disasters. The rising global temperatures have brought record-setting wildfires in the U.S. West, one of the most active hurricane seasons on record in the Atlantic and the second-lowest Arctic sea ice levels ever recorded.

Climate & Environment
Most key habitats in Europe are in poor or bad condition
Most key habitats in Europe are in poor or bad condition
Credit: R Boed (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

80% of Europe's key habitats are found to be in bad or poor condition according to the State of Nature in the EU 2013-2018 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). About one-third of the 233 listed habitats is in an unfavourable condition and getting worse, while the condition is unfavourable but stable in about the same number of habitats.

At the same time, only a quarter of Europe's species are found to have good conservation status. Reptiles and vascular plants are faring best among species types. The situation is improving for mammals, while it's getting worse for birds and fish.

Urbanisation, pollution and lack of water are playing a role in the loss of habitats and biodiversity. But the biggest reason is intensive farming, which tends to be favoured by the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP). An upcoming CAP reform will be voted on in the European Parliament and EU council. But groupings on the political right are expected to reject most measures that would prioritise the environment. According to WWF's Jabier Ruiz, "the future of the CAP looks grim".

Climate & Environment
European Parliament about to decide over EU's Common Agricultural Policy
European Parliament about to decide over EU's Common Agricultural Policy
Credit: Tobias Nordhausen (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The European Parliament and the council of member states are about to decide over the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the years 2021-2027. With the animal farming industry in Europe emitting more CO2 than all EU cars and vans combined, this will be an important decision for the environment, biodiversity and small farms.

Until now, the CAP has mostly benefitted large agribusinesses while failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or the loss of biodiversity. Between 2005 and 2013, almost 3 million small to medium-sized had to close down. Existing ecologic measures implemented in the CAP have not proven to be effective.

In the current negotiations, a coalition of political groups in the European Parliament led by the right-wing EPP is trying to keep the CAP this way, while environmentalist groups are calling for a "greener" CAP that serves the environment, farmers and rural communities.

Climate & Environment
UN report: Fivefold increase in disasters related to climate change
UN report: Fivefold increase in disasters related to climate change
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Gallagher

Disasters related to weather, climate and water have increased fivefold over the past 50 years. In this time period, over 11000 disasters of these kinds have been recorded, connected to 2 million deaths and 3.6 trillion US-dollars in economic losses.

Climate & Environment
Study: Germany needs to stop CO2 emissions by 2035 to stay in line with Paris agreement
Study: Germany needs to stop CO2 emissions by 2035 to stay in line with Paris agreement
Credit: unsplash.com / Kurt Cotoaga

A new study by the Wuppertal Institute gives an overview of what has to be done if Germany wants to stay within its 1.5°C CO2-budget. The findings include the necessity to reach zero CO2 emissions by 2035 and to accelerate the expansion of renewable energies by a factor of at least 2.5.

More sector-specific findings can be read in the study. It was published today in a press conference together with activists of Fridays for Future, who had assigned the scientists with this study.