Climate Change

Climate & Environment
Arctic sea ice shrank to second smallest summer size ever recorded
Arctic sea ice shrank to second smallest summer size ever recorded
Credit: Paul Gierszewski (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven announced on Thursday that, since the satellite-based observations began in 1979, the sea ice around the North Pole shrank to its second smallest extent with only 2012 being on recording with less ice.

The ice cover on the Arctic Ocean is now only 3.8 million square kilometres.

Climate & Environment
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
Credit: Andreas Weith / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook report, zero of twenty goals that had been established in 2010 with the goal to preserve nature have been met fully.

Six of the 20 goals have been "partially achieved" namely preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information, and mobilizing resources.

The other targets only show slow progress or move in the opposite direction.

Politics • European • European Union
President of the European Commission proposes stricter EU climate goals
President of the European Commission proposes stricter EU climate goals
Credit: European Parliament from EU / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has proposed stricter climate goals for the European Union in her first State of the European Union address. Following her proposal, 55 percent of emissions should be cut until 2030, compared to 1990.

Politics • American • US
Biden calls Trump a "Climate Arsonist", after Trump rejects science
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires.
Orange sky over the San Francisco Bay Bridge due to the west coast wildfires. Credit: unsplash.com/MILKOVÍ

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called President Trump a "climate arsonist" after the president's California visit where he rejected science and blamed the wildfires ravaging the Pacific West on poor forest management and untamed vegetation, not on climate change.

"If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?" Biden asked. "How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"

Climate & Environment
Google says its carbon footprint is now zero

Google says it has wiped out its entire carbon footprint by investing in "high-quality carbon offsets". It became carbon-neutral in 2007 and says it has now compensated for all of the carbon it has ever created.

Climate & Environment
Half a million people flee Oregon to escape wildfires
Oregon Wildfires, 2018
Oregon Wildfires, 2018 Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20180811-FS-Rogue-KG-1068_(30465240178).jpg

Over half a million people – or 10+% of the state's population – are fleeing Oregon to escape the wildfires that have been raging across the Pacific Northwest.

Governor Kate Brown (D) told reporters that this most likely wasn't a "one-time event" and that the current situation was a "bellwether for the future" of "acute impacts of climate change." Brown has reported that at least four people have died, including a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother.

Climate & Environment
Two typhoons heading towards Korean Peninsula
Super Typhoon Maysak 2020, Okinawa (31Aug 0000Z - 1Sep 0600Z)
Super Typhoon Maysak 2020, Okinawa (31Aug 0000Z - 1Sep 0600Z) Credit: Tropical Cyclone Radar Loops by Brian McNoldy, Univ. of Miami, Rosenstiel School

Typhoon Maysak is projected to make landfall on the southern Korean Peninsula on Wednesday night. Maysak is currently a category 4 hurricane but should weaken to a category 2. Heavy rain and strong storms are expected for Wednesday and Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Haishen will most likely turn into a typhoon in the next 24 hours and strike parts of Japan over the weekend.

The Korean Peninsula is experiencing the wettest monsoon season in recent history and countries are preparing for the storms.

Climate & Environment
28 trillion tonnes of ice disappeared in the last 30 years, scientists find
Easton Glacier on Mount Baker in the North Cascades of Washington taken in 2003. It shows the terminus position of the glacier in 1985 as well.
Easton Glacier on Mount Baker in the North Cascades of Washington taken in 2003. It shows the terminus position of the glacier in 1985 as well. Credit: Mauri Pelto (talk · contribs) / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Scientists from universities in Leeds, Edinburg and London have analysed satellite images of the Earth's globes, glaciers and mountains and found that around 28 trillion tonnes of ice have disappeared since 1994. The "staggering" loss is due to rising greenhouse gas emission and global heating.

"In the past researchers have studied individual areas – such as the Antarctic or Greenland – where ice is melting. But this is the first time anyone has looked at all the ice that is disappearing from the entire planet. What we have found has stunned us," so Professor Andy Shepherd, director of Leeds University’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.

Their research further warns that sea levels could rise by a metre by the end of the century and the melting could reduce our planet's ability to reflect solar radiation back into space.

"To put that in context, every centimetre of sea level rise means about a million people will be displaced from their low-lying homelands," so Shepherd.

Climate & Environment
Climate activists state that "We don't have leaders who are treating this crisis as a crisis" after meeting Angela Merkel

The climate activists Greta Thunberg from Sweden, Anuna de Wever and Adélaïde Charliér from Belgium and Lisa Neubauer from Germany have met the German chancellor Angela Merkel for a 90-minute conversation.

According to Neubauer, they talked about international politics, CO2 pricing and trade agreements. She stated that "it became very clear that we are looking at the issue from different perspectives" and Thunberg said that "we have discussed some demands, but it is complicated".

De Wever stated that during the conversation there main request had been that "what we want are leaders" as "we don't have leaders who are treating this crisis as a crisis".

Climate & Environment
Study: ice loss in Greenland is irreversible
Study:  ice loss in Greenland is irreversible
Credit: Brocken Inaglory (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

According to a study by scientists from Ohio State University based on satellite observations from the past nearly 40 years Greenland's glaciers have shrunk to such an extent that even a theoretical halt to climate change could no longer save the island's ice cover in the Arctic Ocean.

"We looked at this satellite data to investigate how ice loss and growth have changed over time," said Michalea King, lead author of the study and a scientist at Ohio State University's Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. "We found that the ice that disappears into the ocean far outweighs the snow on the surface of the ice sheet in terms of mass."

Before 2000, the ice sheet had about the same chance of gaining or losing mass each year, the researchers say. Under current climate conditions, however, the ice sheet could statistically increase in mass in only one in 100 years.

Ian Howat, co-author of the study says that "even if the climate were to remain the same or even get slightly colder, the ice sheet would still lose mass".

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Apple announces commitment to become carbon-neutral for all products and supply chain by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com / American Public Power Association

Apple has announced the self-commitment to become a carbon-neutral company for all products it produces and its supply chain, stating that the company is already carbon neutral worldwide in regards to its corporate emissions.

The communicated date to hit the goals is 2030 and Apple aims to achieve this by reducing its emissions by 75 percent and in addition using technology to remove carbon from the environment. These "innovative carbon removal solutions" will be developed by Apple themselves with the aim to close the remaining 25 percent of carbons.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that "climate action can be the foundation for a new era of innovative potential, job creation, and durable economic growth. With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change".

Climate & Environment
Iraq experiences hottest day in recorded history at 51,8°C
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq Credit: Aziz1005 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With the previously hottest recorded temperature in Baghdad in June 2015 being 51°C, the country has now reported 51,8°C on Tuesday, and 51,1°C on Wednesday.

In other countries of the Middle East such as Lebanon temperature records of 45,4°C have been documented. The capital of Syria, Damascus has recorded 46°C - tying with the hottest previously recorded temperature.

Climate & Environment
Portugal adjusts plans to end energy from coal by 2021
Portugal adjusts plans to end energy from coal by 2021
Credit: Paulo Valdivieso from Lisboa, Portugal / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to the energy company EDP its Sines coal power plant will be shut down in 2021, accelerating the original 2023 shutdown plans. This will make Portugal the third country in the European Union to end the energy production from coal-fired power plants.

EDP has stated that they are "now evaluating the development of a green hydrogen production project in Sines" and are "committed to fulfill all labor obligations towards the 107 workers at the plant".

Climate & Environment
Over two million Indians have planted 250 million trees while socially distancing
Farm Fields of Munnar, India
Farm Fields of Munnar, India Credit: unsplash.com / Ravi Pinisetti

In order to work against climate change over two million people have gathered in northern India to plant 250 million trees. The government has initiated the project and officials in Uttar Pradesh have provided the saplings across the state.

According to Associated Press the volunteers, lawmakers and government officials that participated maintained social distance as the Covid-19 pandemic is still going on with India the country with the fourth most infections in the world.

Climate & Environment
Greenpeace puts a banner on Notre-Dame de Paris to denounce Emmanuel Macron's climate inaction
Greenpeace puts a banner on Notre-Dame de Paris to denounce Emmanuel Macron's climate inaction
Credit: Greenpeace France (Twitter Reproduction)

Some Greenpeace members climbed to a crane involved in the cathedral rebuilding and deployed a banner urging France president to turn talk into action regarding climate change.

Politics • European • France
French citizen council decides on climate tax, inland flight ban and other matters
French citizen council decides on climate tax, inland flight ban and other matters
Credit: unsplash.com / Dorian Hurst

The citizen council established by the French president Emmanuel Macron has decided on multiple climate change matters. Following their vote dividends from companies over €10 million should provide a 4% fee for climate purposes, inland flights should be banned from 2025 on, and highway speed limited to 100 kilometres per hour among other decisions. The council is composed of 150 randomly selected people with the aim to represent a miniature France through people that come from different parts of the society and are representative for the demographics of the French population. The decisions are non binding but president Macron has announced that he'll hold a referendum on the questions to amend the constitution to include the protection of the environment and the question if the "ecocide" should be made a criminal offence.

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
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.

Health
Post-lockdown surge in bicycle purchases
Post-lockdown surge in bicycle purchases
Credit: unsplash.com/Dovile Ramoskaite

Bicycle stores are experiencing accelerated sales post-lockdown. Houston Urban Bicycle Gallery owner Eric Attayi says he had to hire new employees as demand for bikes has reached a new high. By May he has sold more bikes than in all of 2019. The bicycle shop Higher Ground Bike Company in Tallahassee reports sales have tripled, going from 30-40 sales a month to 130.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland businesses have also seen an increase in e-bike purchases, with many family-owned shops working overtime to meet customer demand.