Climate Change

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.

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.

Climate & Environment
EU climate law approved with emission reduction now aimed at 60%
EU climate law approved with emission reduction now aimed at 60%
Credit: unsplash.com / Martin Sepion

The European Parliament has ratified the latest proposals regarding environmental protection. Greenhouse gas emissions are now targeted to be reduced by 60% compared to 1990 levels. Previously adopted goals for 2030 had aimed at a 40% reduction.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Credit: unsplash.com /

The Californian Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that by executive order new cars and light trucks that are powered by gasoline will be prohibited to be sold starting in 2035. This does not include cars that are already on the road at that time. Those will continue to be legal and can be resold.

Newsom stated that "this is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change".

Health
Oxfam research: Double of CO2 emissions caused by 1% World's richest compared to poorest 50%
Oxfam research: Double of CO2 emissions caused by 1% World's richest compared to poorest 50%
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcin Jozwiak

New research compiled in a report by Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute suggests that between 1990 and 2015 "The richest 10 percent accounted for over half (52 percent) of the emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015. The richest one percent were responsible for 15 percent of emissions during this time – more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7 percent)".

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.

Regional News • Europe • 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.