CLIMATE CHANGE ROUND UP FOR THE WEEK ENDING: AUGUST 17, 2019

Greenland’s ice is melting at the rate scientists thought would be our worst-case scenario in 2070

Why Your Brain Can’t Process Climate Change

Canadian Paediatric Society says climate change could expose children to more health risks

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Greenland’s ice is melting at the rate scientists thought would be our worst-case scenario in 2070

55 billion tons of water in 5 days

Greenland is known for its glaciers, but in the past month, the island has shed ice and taken on fire.

Scientists didn’t expect to see Greenland melt at this rate for another 50 years: By the last week of July, the melting had reached levels that climate models projected for 2070 in the most pessimistic scenario.

On August 1, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 12.5 billions tons of ice, more than any day since researchers started recording ice loss in 1950, The Washington Post reported.

The dramatic melt suggests that Greenland’s ice sheet is approaching a tipping point that could set it on an irreversible course towards disappearing entirely. If that happens, catastrophic sea-level rise would swallow coastal cities across the globe. As ice melt continues to outpace scientists’ expectations, some fear that could happen more quickly than they thought.

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Why Your Brain Can’t Process Climate Change

Last week saw the latest in a series of increasingly dire reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This past July was the hottest month on record, punctuated by intense heat waves throughout Europe and the Arctic, leading to a record-breaking 12.5 billion tons of ice melting on Greenland on Aug. 1. Yet despite the bad news rising with the mercury, on the whole the world is doing little to slow the pace of climate change, with carbon dioxide emissions reaching an all-time high in 2018. We know—at least those of us not in the grips of outright climate denial—how bad it is. But we can’t seem to act to save the future.

There are many reasons why this is, ranging from political polarization to the disinformation campaigns of major energy companies to the sheer technical difficulty of replacing carbon-based fossil fuels. But the biggest reason is found within our own minds.

When you think about yourself while inside the narrow metal tube of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, a certain part of your brain, called the medial prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, will light up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. If you think about a family member, the MPFC will still light up, though less robustly. And if you think about other people whom you feel no connection to—like, say, the inhabitants of the South Asian island nation of the Maldives, which will likely one day be erased by climate-change-driven sea level rise—the MPFC will light up even less.

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Canadian Paediatric Society says climate change could expose children to more health risks

Canadian children face serious risks as a result of climate change and health-care providers must adopt new practices to mitigate the effects, says a guidance document from a national group of pediatricians.

Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to heat sickness, reduced air quality due to pollution and wildfires, infection from insects, ticks and rodents, and other hazards that are expected to pose greater risks as a result of climate change, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society’s document, published Wednesday.

“There is a change in children’s health issues within Canada and pediatricians are going to be dealing with conditions that they didn’t expect in their region or their area,” Irena Buka, lead author of the guidance and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

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