Climate Crisis

Climate & Environment
1.56b single-use face masks estimated to have entered oceans in 2020
1.56b single-use face masks estimated to have entered oceans in 2020
Credit: unsplash.com/Brian Yurasits

A study conducted by OceansAsia estimates that 1.56 billion of around 52 billion manufactured face masks in 2020 will have entered oceans this year, resulting in an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of marine plastic pollution.

“The 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our oceans in 2020 are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Director of Research for OceansAsia, and lead author of the report. “The 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of face masks are just a small fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic that enter our oceans each year.”

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU leaders agree on 55% climate target by the end of 2030
EU leaders agree on 55% climate target by the end of 2030
Credit: unsplash/Markus Spiske

European leaders agreed to increase the bloc's emission-reduction target to 55 percent by 203 following night-long discussions at their two-day summit in Brussels. The coal-reliant countries Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are finally supporting the goal after member states agreed that the new target should be delivered collectively.

Climate & Environment
IFRC report: Global response to climate change is failing those at risk
Logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Logo of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Credit: IFRC

The countries most affected by the consequences of climate change only receive a small fraction of the funding available for climate adaptation, according to the World Disasters Report 2020 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

What makes the failure to protect those most vulnerable, especially alarming, is the steadily increasing number of weather and climate-related disasters. There was an increase of almost 35 per cent per decade in the average number of weather and climate-related disasters since the 1990s.

83 per cent of all disasters were caused by climate and weather-related events such as storms, floods, and heatwaves in the past decade. More than 410,000 people were killed, and 1.7 billion people were affected by these disasters.

Climate & Environment
Report: 1% of farms operate 70% of the planet's farmland, researchers warn of land inequality
Report: 1% of farms operate 70% of the planet's farmland, researchers warn of land inequality
Credit: unsplas/Noah Buscher

A new report has shown that 70% of the world's crop fields, ranches and orchards are operated by one percent of the world's farms, resulting in rising land inequality due to global farmland being increasingly dominated by a few major companies, a new research led by the International Land Coalition, alongside a group of partners including Oxfam and the World Inequality Lab, found.

"In the past, these instruments were only of concern to the markets. They didn’t affect us individually. But now they touch every aspect of our lives because they are linked to the environmental crisis and the pandemic,” so Ward Anseeuw, senior technical specialist at the International Land Coalition.

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.

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.

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
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".

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
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Credit: Twentyfirstidentity (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The State Secretary Van Veldhoven of the Netherlands has announced that the country will ban disposable plastic such as cups and cutlery from July 3, 2021.

The ban is part of a directive by the European Union which requires all EU countries to put similar measures in place to reduce plastic waste. Germany had already announced similar measures.

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.

Climate & Environment
Kenya: Single-use plastic ban takes effect on Friday
Plastic bottle on beach
Plastic bottle on beach Credit: unsplash.com/Ishan @seefromthesky

Kenya forbids single-use plastics in the country's protected areas like national parks, forests and beaches. These include water bottles, straws and other single-use packaging. This ban was first announced three years ago and takes effect on June 6th, World Environment Day.

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
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
Intel commits to cut waste and greenhouse gas emissions
Intel sticker on laptop computer
Intel sticker on laptop computer Credit: pexels.com/Jordan Harrison

Intel recently announced their environmental goals for 2030. The technology company aims to make the switch to 100% renewable energy and to recycle all its trash by the end of the decade. Currently, Intel does recycle over 90% of its trash and hazardous waste. Even though the company is decreasing its own emissions, they are not counting emission caused by companies and factories in their supply chain.