CLIMATE CHANGE ROUND UP FOR THE WEEK ENDING: JULY 27, 2019

– Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

– Think the heatwave was bad? Climate already hitting key tipping points

– Mapping of Canadian coasts showing where climate change to hit hardest this century

– Many animals can’t adapt fast enough to climate change

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Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”?

Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges.

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030.

But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year.

The idea that 2020 is a firm deadline was eloquently addressed by one of the world’s top climate scientists, speaking back in 2017.

“The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and now director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute.

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With temperature records tumbling daily in last week’s European heatwave, a crowd in an east London bar seemed uniquely primed to appreciate his darkly humorous riffs on the existential threat posed by climate change.

That foretaste of a radically hotter world underscored what is at stake in a decisive phase of talks to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, a collective shot at avoiding climate breakdown.

With study-after-study showing climate impacts from extreme weather to polar melt and sea level rise outstripping initial forecasts, negotiators have a fast-closing window to try to turn the aspirations agreed in Paris into meaningful outcomes.

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A federal government geoscientist has developed fresh maps of coastlines showing where flooding and erosion caused by climate change are likely to inflict maximum damage this century.

The mapping effort led by Gavin Manson has taken into account factors like the disappearance of sea ice, rising waves and the makeup of the shoreline.

The latest version of the CanCoast map has combined six key factors to create visual ratings of “coastal sensitivity” on the three oceans.

Manson said in an interview Wednesday that when you start to consider how wave height rises due to a lack of sea ice or the slope of the shore, it can make a major difference in erosion and flooding.

“It includes a whole lot more information on factors that affect the physical sensitivity of Canada’s coasts,” he said from the Geological Survey of Canada office at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Halifax.

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Climate change has thrown our beautifully balanced planet into chaos. As oceans and forests transform and ecosystems go into shock, perhaps a million species teeter on the edge of extinction. But there may still be hope for these organisms. Some will change their behaviors in response to soaring global temperatures; they might, say, reproduce earlier in the year, when it’s cooler. Others may even evolve to cope—perhaps by shrinking, because smaller frames lose heat more quickly.

For the moment, though, scientists have little idea how these adaptations may be playing out. A new paper in Nature Communications, coauthored by more than 60 researchers, aims to bring a measure of clarity. By sifting through 10,000 previous studies, the researchers found that the climatic chaos we’ve sowed may just be too intense [Editor’s note: The researchers scanned 10,000 abstracts, but their analysis is based on data from 58 studies]. Some species seem to be adapting, yes, but they aren’t doing so fast enough. That spells, in a word, doom.Ars Technica

To determine how a species is adjusting to a climate gone mad, you typically look at two things: morphology and phenology. Morphology refers to physiological changes, like the aforementioned shrinking effect; phenology has to do with the timing of life events such as breeding and migration. The bulk of the existing research concerns phenology.

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