Climate Change

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.

Regional News • Europe • 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.

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
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
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
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
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
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.

Climate & Environment
Germany sets new record with 23% solar energy in week 15 of 2020

The head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems division for New Devices and Technologies, Dr. Bruno Burger, has announced that 23% of the German network capacity for electricity in week 15 of the year has been covered by solar energy. Germany has now used more solar than traditional energy for the fifth week in the row.

Climate & Environment
People in northern India report seeing the Himalayas for first time in "almost 30 years" as lockdown eases air pollution

As India has responded to the coronavirus by implementing a lockdown, the air pollution in the country has decreased. People from Jalandhar in northern India are now reporting that they can see the Himalayas for the first time "after 30 yrs" as the air quality has improved due to industries shutting downs, plans being grounded and cars staying off the road.

Climate & Environment
Germany reaches over 50% of renewable energy in first quarter of 2020 for the first time

The German ZSW and BDEW announced in a press release that their preliminary calculations have come to the conclusion that Germany has used renewable energy for around 52 percent of their gross inland electricity consumption. In the statement, this change was mainly attributed to the industrial slowdown due to the coronavirus and the priority for renewable energy over conventional energy in the electricity network.