“The rise in sea level is accelerating”, expert warns ahead of IPCC oceans report
Jeck Deocampo • September 25, 2019 • 723
Scientists behind a landmark study of the links between oceans, glaciers, ice caps and the climate delivered a stark warning to the world on Wednesday (September 25): slash emissions or watch cities vanish under rising seas, rivers run dry and marine life collapse.
Days after millions of young people demanded an end to the fossil fuel era at protests around the globe, a new report by a U.N.-backed panel of experts found that radical action may yet avert some of the worst possible outcomes of global warming.
But the study was clear that allowing carbon emissions to continue their upward path would upset the balance of the great geophysical systems governing oceans and the frozen regions of the Earth so profoundly that nobody would escape untouched.
The report projects that sea levels could rise by one meter (3.3 ft) by 2100 — ten times the rate in the 20th century — if emissions keep climbing. Looking further forward, the rise could exceed five meters by 2300.
In the Himalayas, glaciers feeding ten rivers, including the Ganges and Yangtze, could shrink dramatically if emissions do not fall, hitting water supplies across a swathe of Asia.
Thawing permafrost in places such as Alaska and Siberia could release vast quantities of greenhouse gases, potentially unleashing feedback loops driving faster warming.
Carbon emissions, which hit a record high last year, are projected to inflict a devastating toll on oceans, which have so far buffered almost all the manmade warming generated by burning coal, oil and gas.
As the oceans get hotter, what are known as “marine heatwaves” are becoming more intense, turning coral reefs boneyard white — including much of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
As more carbon dioxide dissolves in the water, the oceans are also becoming more acidic, damaging ecosystems.
The rising temperatures are in turn starving the upper layers of the water of oxygen, suffocating marine life, creating growing dead zones, and disrupting the circulation of ocean currents, which then unleashes more disruptive weather on land.
The authors say that long lag times at work in oceans mean that some of these changes will inevitably intensify over centuries — even if the world stopped emitting all its greenhouses gases tomorrow.
But if emissions are allowed to continue rising then the impacts are likely to start accelerating so rapidly that they will overwhelm societies’ capacity to cope, with the poorest and most vulnerable communities and countries succumbing first. (REUTERS)
Climate change still remains as urgent as ever amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.
“It is like the COVID-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver,” Cimatu said on Wednesday (July 22).
The DENR also said climate change have a multiplier effect which would lead to other problems, from ecosystem stability to food production and human conflict.
“Deforestation disrupts weather patterns and the water cycle, contributes to climate change, and destroys the habitats of important species. Chemicals and waste are polluting the air, soil and water, killing millions each year,” the department said in a statement.
Cimatu said major environmental protection programs like solid waste management, reforestation and biodiversity conservation, must be consistent with the overall response to COVID-19, future pandemics and climate crisis.
“The government—through the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR—will prioritize actions and investments that will reduce long-term health impacts and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the coronavirus pandemic and climate change,” he said.
Huge swarms of locusts took over the skies of Northern and Central India on Monday (May 25) and Sunday (May 24), affecting agricultural lands.
The pests were mostly seen across large states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
On Sunday, actions were taken in the city of Mandsaur, in central India, to contain the swarm by spraying pesticides.
One of the deadliest pests for farms produce, locusts are known to destroy crops and vegetables, and whatever they find in their way, in search of food.
Animals also get affected by eating the same leaves as the locusts and can suffer from diarrhoea.
Locust swarms are not new in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. But climate scientists say erratic weather linked to climate change has created ideal conditions for the insects to surge in numbers not seen in a quarter of a century.
If allowed to breed unchecked in favourable conditions, locusts can form huge swarms that can strip trees and crops over vast areas. (Reuters)
(Production: ANI, Hanna Rantala, Gabriela Boccaccio)
Geneva – The average global temperature will rise 3.2C by the end of the century even if countries fulfill their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which sought to limit the increase to under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, according to the United Nations on Tuesday.
“The summary of the findings are bleak,” the UN Environment Programme said in the introduction to its annual Emission Gap Report, which analyses current climate change policies and how they diverge from the kind of measures that need to be adopted to curb global warming.
According to the report, there must be a collective effort to reduce emissions by 7.6 percent a year between 2020 and 2030 to keep global temperatures under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, a fivefold increase in the efforts initially set out by the Paris Agreement.
UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Anderson, said: “Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions – over 7 percent each year, if we break it down evenly over the next decade.”
“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020, then stronger Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to kick-start the major transformations of economies and societies. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”
According to the report, if current unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions are fully implemented, there was still only a 66 percent chance that warming would be limited to 3.2C by the end of the century.
It concluded that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases increased 1.5 percent annually in the last decade and reached historical levels of 55.3 gigatons of CO2 equivalent in 2018.
China was responsible for 13 of those gigatons but the Asian giant, the world’s second-largest economy, is not yet obliged to reduce its emissions in absolute terms as per the Paris Agreement due to its status as a developing country.
Second in regards to emissions was the United States with six gigatons. President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement in 2017.
Emissions must be curbed by 15 gigatons by 2030 to achieve the 2C goal or 32 gigatons to hit the 1.5C target, the report said.
UNEP said that if current trends continued, then global temperatures could rise by 3.9C, although pledges to reduce emissions, such as the European Union’s target to curb them by 40 percent by 2030, could limit it to 3.2C, which is still insufficient.
The UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”
Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special reports said there would be dire consequences of inaction if the global temperature rises are not held below the 1.5C target.
The UNEP report on the emissions gap will be used as a template for discussions at the upcoming COP25 meeting in Madrid, conducted under the presidency this year of Chile. EFE-EPA
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