Protests break out as world leaders meet in Glasgow (NPR)
As world leaders meet in Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference, thousands of people gather “to protest a lack of global action to combat climate change.” Activists hope that their efforts to fight for further action against climate change will ensure that global temperatures don’t surpass a temperature increase of 1.5ºC. In order to keep the average rise in global temperatures below 1.5ºC, the world will need to use new methods, including using land sustainably and protecting nature.
American fuel company greenwashing the public (BBC)
As global temperatures rise, many are beginning to question what efforts fossil fuel companies are taking to combat climate change and reduce their own emissions. While ExxonMobil, an American oil and gas company, has made claims saying that they are “committed to new energy solutions that don't contribute as much to global warming,” not everyone is convinced. A case in Massachusetts against the company could be the first to “successfully prosecute a fossil fuel company for greenwashing” if it wins.
Fake snow at the Beijing Winter Olympics could have considerable environmental costs (BBC)
The National Alpine Ski Centre in Yanqing, to be used in the upcoming Winter Olympics, has only had 2cm of snowfall last winter, worrying people about the amount of snowfall to come this winter. It’s projected that 49 million gallons of water will be needed to produce the necessary amount of fake snow for the winter olympics to occur in Beijing. Beijing’s rocky mountains are virtually snowless and artificial snow creation would be energy intensive and cause erosion and damage soil health in these mountains. While Beijing pledged to use renewable energy and recycle water in its bid to host the event, Beijing already has scarce water resources and the lack of snowfall in the upcoming Olympics could have a large impact on the surrounding environment.
Aquatic disasters on the rise: half of global population to be exposed to flooding, storms, and tsunamis by 2030 (UN News)
Within the past century, 58 tsunamis have killed over 260,000 people. The highest death toll was 227,000 people across 14 countries, during the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.
“Rising sea levels caused by the climate emergency will further exacerbate the destructive power of tsunamis”, UN chief António Guterres said. “We must limit warming to 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial averages and invest at scale in the resilience of coastal communities.”
This year’s World Tsunami Awareness Day will promote the “Sendai Seven Campaign” to specifically focus on ways to improve international cooperation in developing countries.
The Marmara Sea is declared a ‘special environmental protection zone’ (Daily Sabah)
Turkey’s president issued a presidential decree declaring the Marmara sea as an environmental protection zone in efforts to preserve Turkey’s only landlocked sea. The Marmara sea has suffered much pollution and as a result developed “sea snot” which “suffocated” the sea’s ecosystem for a while. This decree allows special regulations to be placed on activity in the sea in efforts to protect it from further pollution and damage. Since the decree was issued, there has been a notable increase in the oxygen levels, amount of fish, and biodiversity in the sea.
Koalas are dying, and climate change is making things worse (CNN)
Chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted virus, is sweeping through Australia’s koala population, currently infecting about 85% of them. The disease has led to infertility and even death in these koalas, and climate change is only making the species more susceptible to the disease. According to the Australian government, animals exposed to especially stressful environmental situations, including “hot weather, drought, habitat loss and fragmentation,” leads to a more rapid spread of chlamydia through their populations.
Bitcoin price at an all time high (Business Insider)
Bitcoin is now trading at record high prices of $60,000 to $65,000, a price increase which means that more and more people are digitally “mining” Bitcoin, a process which takes an incredible amount of energy. To put it into perspective, Bitcoin currently uses about as much electricity as the Netherlands, a shocking fact which the leaders at the COP26 are working to address. However, some argue that Bitcoin mining is a “green” industry, and the Bitcoin Mining Industry estimates approximately 58% of Bitcoin mining is powered through renewable and sustainable energy sources.
“Recycled” may not equate to “sustainable” (The Guardian)
While an increasing number of brands are using recycled fibers in their clothing, presenting items as more sustainable, experts fear that consumers believe their purchases have no environmental impact.
There is a climate cost of these fibers: fossil fuels are its raw material. Textile creation uses 1.35% of global oil production, contributing to the fashion industry’s massive climate footprint.
“It’s in the waistband of your jeans, your shoes, in practically everything you wear, because plastic is this miracle material,” Changing Markets Foundation campaigns advisor George Harding-Rolls said.
Companies are now swapping material for recycled versions of synthetic fibers, such as polyester.