Warming temperatures are slowing the ocean currents, creating disastrous effects (CNN)
In addition to the threat of melting ice, the deceleration of ocean circulation is causing sea levels to rise, and, in turn, coastal cities are more vulnerable to flooding. Proper ocean circulation is especially important because it transfers heat and nutrients across the planet, therefore, tying in with weather patterns. As ocean circulation slows, warmer water moves towards the coast, increasing the rate of heat waves and making them hotter. As well, ocean currents take part in the process of absorbing carbon dioxide, and NASA states the rate of carbon dioxide intake could decrease with the slowing currents.
Research study shows that food waste contributes to climate change (UN News)
Over 930 million tonnes of food sold in 2019 were thrown in waste bins, according to the Food Waste Index Report 2021 published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and WRAP. 17% of all household, shop and restaurant food is discarded, contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions of which eight to ten percent of total emissions is linked with wasted food. Ultimately, the issue of food waste becomes one of choice. Each consumer has the autonomy to choose whether or not to waste food, and it’s clear that they must choose wisely to protect the planet.
As Western temperatures rise, hundreds of butterfly species are vanishing (The Washington Post)
Insects hold a crucial role in the pollination process of both crops and wild plants, and warmer temperatures are pushing a wide range of species towards extinction as the regions become drier. The severe loss in butterfly populations indicates the likelihood of a universal die-off of insect species, creating a threat for ecosystems everywhere. Climate change is pushing the population declines, and as temperatures are warming across the globe, the issue of a loss of both butterfly and insect species is a worldwide concern.
UN Secretary General calls for action to protect our forests and their wildlife on World Wildlife Day (EuroNews)
The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, occurring on March 3rd, was “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres urged global action towards increasing forest conservation efforts and cited regulating our climate as a benefit of forest protection. Some countries have already started to take action: Belgium has begun a process called ReforestAction which aims to expand forest coverage in the country. Although planting trees may seem like a simple solution, finding areas to plant can be difficult, especially when large parts of forest land are owned by private companies and individuals.
China’s new economic blueprint could lead to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions (The Guardian)
The five year plan, published on Friday, disappointed many when the plan failed to elaborate on what steps China would be taking to reach net zero emissions by 2060. This plan is especially concerning because China is currently one of the world’s biggest emitters.Economists expected China’s 14th five year plan to reflect ambitious efforts to combat climate change, especially after the Paris Climate Agreement, but the reality did not meet expectations. The targets that were discussed in the plan reflect current trends in emission reduction efforts and will likely still lead to yearly increases in emissions.
Multiple sclerosis patient sues the Austrian Government for climate changes’ effect on his health (AP News)
An Austrian man with a “temperature-dependent form” of MS is being funded and backed by the environmental group Fridays for Future in his case against the Austrian government. European governments have been under fire in the past few weeks for their lack of climate action; six young Portuguese activists have argued that governments across Europe were inadequate in their efforts to reduce emissions, causing a European court to force 33 of these governments to prove they are acting accordingly with the Paris climate accord.
Russian methane emissions increase during pandemic (Climate Home News)
Methane released from Russian pipelines increased by 40% over 2020. Analysts believe this surge is due to a drop in oil and gas prices and weak maintenance of Russia’s gas pipelines over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia is already the world’s greatest emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas with an ecological impact 84 times than that of carbon dioxide (over a 20 year period), and if it does not decrease its emission rate soon, the consequences will be felt around the globe.
Extreme Atlantic hurricanes caused by human activity (CBS News)
Researchers find that mass, human-caused carbon emissions are responsible for the recent irregular Atlantic hurricane seasons. Prior to this finding, scientists believed that it was a natural fluctuation, coined the “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” or AMO, which led to some hurricane seasons being more active than others. Thus, the rapidly growing number of drastic hurricanes each year, are due to humans, and not nature as was previously assumed.