How the Climate Crisis Could Spark the Next Pandemic

As the U.S. COVID death toll approaches 1 million, we turn now to look at how the climate emergency could spark the next pandemic. A new study published in Nature shows the climate crisis and urban sprawl is forcing many wild mammals to relocate to new habitats where they interact with new species, including humans, leading to more viruses spilling over from one species to another. The researchers say this shuffling of viruses in mammals has already started and will increase as the Earth continues to warm.

what they did was to look at maps of where some 3,000 mammal species are now and where they’re likely going to be in warmer worlds under various conditions of projected warming. And then they will take different pairs of mammals and look at where those ranges overlap in ways that they currently don’t, and then predict how often those overlaps will lead to the kinds of spillovers that I’ve talked about. It’s a huge effort. No study like this has been attempted before, and it took them three years, over the course of the current pandemic, to do it.

But the results are very stark and quite grim. So, for example, it turned out that the hot spots for future spillovers are going to lay in the tropics, areas that are diverse in species and tend to be quite mountainous, so a lot of tropical Africa and Southeast Asia. They’re going to proportionately happen in areas that are basically in humanity’s backyard, areas

— source | Apr 29, 2022

Nullius in verba

Saharan dust turns skies orange over Europe

A large, brown swath of Saharan dust can be seen in numerous satellite images blanketing much of Portugal, Spain and France, leading to air quality concerns and hazy skies. The strong winds from Storm Celia off the northwest coast of Africa picked up dust from the Sahara desert and lofted it into the atmosphere. The southerly winds then pushed the dust northward into Europe, creating haunting scenes across the region.

On Tuesday, the European Environment Agency already measured dust concentrations in Spain over five times the European Union’s recommended threshold for air quality, according to Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation program. Air quality continues to be poor in the region today as well.

We will likely see more of these events in the near future. Climate change could be worsening the Saharan dust transport to Europe, as wind and precipitation patterns change as a result of warming temperatures of the land and ocean. Widespread desertification in Northern Africa and stronger winds over the Mediterranean could be making these dust events more intense, research has shown.

Satellite imagery from NASA shows the blanket of Saharan dust over Western and Central Europe.

— source | Mar 16, 2022

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Over 25 Years, World’s Wealthiest 5% Behind Over One-Third of Global Emissions Growth

As world leaders prepare for this November’s United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world’s wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

The report, entitled Changing Our Ways: Behavior Change and the Climate Crisis, found that nearly half the growth in absolute global emissions were cause by the world’s richest 10%, with the most affluent 5% alone contributing 37%.

“In the year when the U.K. hosts COP26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain’s biggest polluters through tax credits, the commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the U.K.’s climate targets,” the report’s introduction states.

The authors of the report urge United Kingdom policymakers to focus on this so-called “polluter elite” in an effort to persuade wealthy people to adopt more sustainable behavior, while providing “affordable, available low-carbon alternatives to poorer households.”

— source | Brett Wilkins | Apr 13, 2021

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Climate scientist on hunger strike ‘after being refused bail’

A scientist who was arrested during a climate change protest is on hunger strike after being denied bail, it has been claimed. Activist group Extinction Rebellion claims Emma Smart, an ecologist, was detained on Thursday during a protest with 24 fellow scientists at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London. Smart, who is also refusing water, is being held at Charing Cross Police Station waiting for a court hearing on Saturday, the group said. Along with eight other scientists, Smart has been charged with criminal damage after pasting scientific papers to the government building and glueing themselves to its glass frontage.

— source | Apr 15, 2022

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Scientists glue hands to business department in London climate protest

Twenty-five scientists have pasted pages of scientific papers to the windows of the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and glued their hands to the glass to highlight the climate science they said the government was ignoring. The scientists, affiliated with Scientists for Extinction Rebellion, arrived at the department’s building at 1 Victoria Street, Westminster, London, just after 11am. Doctors and health professionals staged a decoy action to give them space to get into position. The action came a week after the government published a new energy strategy that promised to continue the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas, failed to set targets for onshore wind, and gave nuclear power a central role.

Ecologist Dr Aaron Thierry (@ThierryAaron), who has his hand superglued to the window at @beisgovuk with @ScientistsX

— source | 13 Apr 2022

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The world’s poorest bear the burden of heat

As temperatures climb with climate change, the world’s poorest will increasingly take the brunt of the heat, according to a new study in the journal Earth’s Future. Lower-income countries are already 40 percent more likely to experience heat waves than those with higher incomes. The researchers expect this disparity to widen in coming decades.

By 2100, the study says, people in the lowest-income quarter will experience 23 more days of heat waves each year than those in the highest. The top quarter is expected to maintain about its current level of discomfort, power outages notwithstanding.

Discrepancies were expected, said Mojtaba Sadegh, a climatologist at Boise State University, in a statement. “But seeing one-quarter of the world facing as much exposure as the other three-quarters combined … that was surprising.”

Location shapes exposure: Many lower-income countries, like Madagascar and Bangladesh, are in the tropics. Access to air-conditioning, water, cooling shelters, and electricity matters, too. Without them, heat waves hit harder.

Climate change exacerbates the problem, magnifying heat waves and upping their severity and frequency. Last year brought plenty of examples. In June, a heat dome gripped the

— source | Lina Tran | Feb 11, 2022

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Australian PM declares “national emergency” amid mass anger over response to flood crisis

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this afternoon declared that the ongoing flooding affecting large swathes of Australia’s east coast is a “national emergency.” Morrison’s announcement was made two weeks after torrential rains began hitting southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW) and created massive floods affecting hundreds of thousands of people. In the Queensland state capital of Brisbane, and in flood-prone areas of northern NSW, residents were given virtually no warning of the impending disaster. Two-thirds of Lismore properties that were inundated have been assessed as uninhabitable. Sydney has been hit by 821.6mm of rainfall so far in 2022, beating the previous record of 782.2mm in 1956. This points to the impact of climate change, which has made severe weather events more frequent than ever before.

— source | 9 Mar 2022

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