Climate Change

Climate & Environment
Atmospheric ozone layer recovery is back on track
Atmospheric ozone layer recovery is back on track
Credit: unsplash.com / Clyde RS

Studies published in the Nature journal report that harmful emissions of CFC-11 chemicals to the atmosphere dropped significantly. Unlawful emissions from eastern China factories are no longer found. The ozone layer is expected to be fully recovered by 2060.

Law
Fossil fuel corporation sues Dutch government
Fossil fuel corporation sues Dutch government
Credit: Selbst / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

As the government of the Netherlands plans to end coal-based electricity, the German RWE corporation seeks to obtain compensation based on the controversial Energy Charter Treaty signed in 1994.

"This is not the first time a fossil fuel company tries to get tax payers to pick up the bill for bad business decisions and it won’t be the last if we fail to act," reacted the director of Climate Action Network Europe, Wendel Trio.

Regional News • Europe • France
Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Justice condemns French government for climate inaction
Credit: unsplash.com / Anthony DELANOIX

Following the complaint supported by millions of French citizens, the Paris administrative court concluded that the government's actions to combat global warming were insufficient and declared the French state guilty.

The 4 NGOs that initiated this lawsuit say it is "a first historic victory for climate" and a "victory for truth" as France has never acknowledged the "insufficiency of its climate policies" (President Macron has always boasted about his commitment to climate change).

Climate & Environment
NASA analysis: 2020 tied with 2016 for warmest year on record
This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK).
This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK). Credit: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt

According to an analysis by NASA, Earth's global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record. The average temperature in 2020 was 1.02 degrees Celsius (1.84 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer globally, compared to the baseline 1951-1980 mean.

“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important – the important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”

Climate & Environment
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Research: Chilli makes solar cells more effective
Credit: unsplash.com / Possessed Photography

The plant substance capsaicin makes chilies hot and it makes solar cells more effective, as scientists from Sweden and China have now discovered: capsaicin is said to minimize power loss and make solar cells more resistant to water. They have processed capsaicin in a perovskite solar cell.

This type of solar cell is seen as the hope for a new generation of photovoltaic systems. They are easy to manufacture with inexpensive materials. Adding the chili ingredient increased the solar cell's efficiency from 19.1 to nearly 22 percent.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces that United States will re-join the Paris climate agreement

Immediately after his inauguration, future U.S. President Joe Biden plans to implement about a dozen measures that also represent his promised departure from Donald Trump's course. Among other things, Biden will reverse Trump's entry ban on citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries on Wednesday and lead the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement, future White House chief of staff Ronald Klain said Saturday.

Climate & Environment
Germany: Hamburg introduces solar obligation for new buildings
Representative image of solar panels
Representative image of solar panels Credit: unsplash.com / MICHAEL WILSON

New electricity from Hamburg's roofs: Hamburg will be the first German state to introduce mandatory photovoltaics from 2023. Starting in two years, corresponding systems must be installed on new buildings or roofs that are being fundamentally renovated. The generated solar power is expected to save over 60,000 tons of CO2 by 2030.

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
UNO reports record high CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere
UNO reports record high CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere
Credit: unsplash.com / Ishan @seefromthesky

According to the annual greenhouse gas bulletin by the World Meteorological Organization directed to the UNO, the global average of 410 ppm carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) in the atmosphere has been reached for the first time in 2019 since the beginning of industrialisation in 1750.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taala stated that "The last time the Earth experienced similar CO 2 concentrations was three to five million years ago".

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".

Science • Nature
Coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia discovered
Coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia discovered
Credit: Great Barrier Reef Encounter / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

In the famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia, researchers of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) have discovered a new coral reef. It is the first new discovery after 120 years. The reef is 500 meters deep - and thus larger than the Empire State Building in New York City. The research team came across the reef by chance when they were making a 3D map of the seabed with the help of the underwater robot SuBastian.

Climate & Environment
Researchers report warmest October in Europe since 1979

According to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service the October 2020 has been the warmest since the service has started recording. The experts evaluated measurements since 1979.

Worldwide, it was the third warmest October, as the organization announced on Thursday in Reading, UK. Temperatures were well above the average from 1981 to 2010, especially over large parts of the Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau.

Climate & Environment
Putin aims to meet Paris climate goals
Putin aims to meet Paris climate goals
Credit: kremlin.ru / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a new decree, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to try to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

However, all measures need to ensure that Russia can show strong economic development. but stressed that any action must be balanced with the need to ensure strong economic development.

Climate & Environment
The U.S. formally withdraws from Paris agreement

After a three-year delay, the US has become the first nation in the world to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement formally. In the wake of the President Donald Trump announcement back in 2017, several states and businesses have pledged to continue cutting carbon and to try and make up for the Federal government's decision to walk away from the US commitment under Paris.

"The EU green deal and carbon neutrality commitments from China, Japan and South Korea point to the inevitability of our collective transition off fossil fuels," said Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the Paris agreement and now chief executive of the European Climate Foundation.

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
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
Southern Californian fires: Nearly 70,000 people under mandatory evacuation orders
Southern Californian fires: Nearly 70,000 people under mandatory evacuation orders
Credit: Pacific Southwest Forest Service, USDA from USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

As the wildfires in Southern California spread rapidly, nearly 70,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. The Silverado Fire and Blue Ridge Fire, fueled by high winds and low humidity, have been increasing since Monday and have grown to nearly 30,000 acres combined in the past 48 hours.

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
Research suggests Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals within three decades
Research suggests Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals within three decades
Credit: Robert Linsdell (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

According to findings by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the "number of small, medium and large corals on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by more than 50% since the 1990s".

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.