As drought dries up the Yangtze river, China loses hydropower

The Yangtze River, the third largest in the world, has dropped to half its average water levels, affecting shipping routes, limiting drinking water supplies, causing rolling blackouts, and even exposing long-submerged Buddhist statues. Some 66 rivers across 34 counties in Chongqing were dried up as of last week, Reuters reported. Also last week, the province of Sichuan, which gets more than 80 percent of its energy from hydropower, cut or limited electricity to thousands of factories in an effort to “leave power for the people.” Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, is just a quarter of its normal size for this time of year.

— source grist.org | Aug 23, 2022

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Teachers’ Forum Condemns NCERT’s Decision to Remove Chapters on Climate Change

After widespread outrage, a teacher’s forum has also stepped in to criticise NCERT for removing crucial chapters concerning climate and weather change from students’ syllabus and has urged a rethink on the issue and reintroduction of the chapters. In a statement released recently, Teachers Against Climate Crisis (TACC) highlighted said chapters on the greenhouse effect, weather, climate and popular environment movements from syllabi for classes 6th to 12th were crucial and should not have been removed.

The deleted chapters include an entire chapter on the greenhouse effect from the Class 11 geography syllabus, a chapter on weather, climate, and water from the Class 7 syllabus, and information about the monsoon from the Class 9 syllabus. The forum also voiced concern that information about popular people’s movements like the Chipko movement and the Narmada Bachao Andolan had been removed from the “Democratic Politics” syllabus as part of the “Popular Struggles and Movements” course.

— source newsclick.in | 12 Jul 2022

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Unchecked emissions could double heat-related child mortality

If carbon emissions are limited to slow temperature rise, up to an estimated 6,000 child deaths could be prevented in Africa each year, according to new research.

A team of international scientists, led by the University of Leeds in collaboration with researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), have shown that thousands of heat-related child deaths could be prevented if temperature increases are limited to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC target through to 2050.

However, heat-related child deaths could double in sub-Saharan Africa by mid-century if high emissions continue.

Their workpublished in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimated the impact of climate change on annual heat-related deaths of children under five years old in sub-Saharan Africa, from 1995 — 2050.

The findings show that since roughly 2009, heat-related child mortality has been at least double what it would have been without climate change.

— source University of Leeds | Jul 5, 2022

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To Tackle Climate, Our Morality Must Catch Up With Our Intelligence

This week, the World Meteorological Organization warned that the world has a 50 percent chance of seeing warming of 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels in the next five years. Even those who view the glass as half full tend to agree that efforts undertaken so far by the world’s countries to combat the climate crisis, while significant in some respects, are not enough. Indeed, the global economy continues to rely extensively on fossil fuels, which still provide about 80 percent of the energy supply.

The warnings about an impeding climate catastrophe included in the second and third segments of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest review of climate science, which were released on February 28 and April 4, 2022, respectively, went completely ignored amid the war in Ukraine and soaring energy costs.

In the United States, the Biden administration’s response to soaring gas prices was to renew oil and gas drilling on federal lands and to announce “the largest-ever release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserves.” The rest of the world has also responded with short-term thinking to the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

World-renowned scholar-activist Noam Chomsky grapples with the consequences of this short-term thinking amid escalating military tensions, in this exclusive interview for

— source chomsky.info | May 11, 2022

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This Is How Amazon Is Fueling the Climate Crisis

One benefit that Amazon has provided society with is a reduction in shopping-related violence. The once legendary fights over low-priced electrical items have moved online, and the fight is now between who has the fastest fingers and the fastest internet connection. Black Friday, however, continues to supercharge an already hyper-consumerist society and push us closer to climate breakdown. Extinction Rebellion (XR) decided to call out the major online retailer on its most profitable day by blocking fifteen fulfillment centers in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. The fulfillment centers blockaded account for 50% of Amazon deliveries in the UK. In all, more than thirty arrests were made as the environmental group brought attention to Amazon’s wasteful business practices, tax avoidance and worker exploitation.

While XR’s detractors claim businesses are being affected in tough economic times, one man who has certainly not been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic is the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. As people around the world hunkered down in their homes due to the deadly virus sweeping the planet, Amazon shares soared 8% as people switched to online shopping as bricks and mortar shops remained shuttered. In a single day in July 2020, the world’s richest man added $13 billion to his already burgeoning fortune. His net worth rose from $113 billion in March 2020 to over $200 billion today.

Now, many will counter that Mr. Bezos deserves his wealth because he had the foresight to start Amazon back in the early days of the internet and he is a hardworking benign

— source commondreams.org | Simon Whalley | Nov 28, 2021

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Magical Thinking on Fertilizer and Climate Change

As world leaders wrap up the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, new scientific research shows that there is still a great deal of magical thinking about the contribution of fertilizer to global warming.

Philanthropist Bill Gates fed the retreat from science in his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster earlier this year. “To me fertilizer is magical,” he confesses, nitrogen fertilizer in particular. Under a photo of a beaming Gates in a Yara fertilizer distribution warehouse in Tanzania, he explains that “to grow crops, you want tons of nitrogen – way more than you would ever find in a natural setting [sic]…. But nitrogen makes climate change much worse.”

That last part, at least, is true, and new research suggests that the climate impacts of excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers is much worse than previously estimated. Researchers estimate that the N-fertilizer supply chain is contributing more than six times the greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by the entire commercial aviation sector.

Nitrogen: a growing climate problem

By all accounts, food and agriculture are barely on the agenda of the UN climate summit, even though food systems contribute about one-third of GHGs. Direct emissions from food

— source ipsnews.net | Timothy Wise | Nov 9 2021

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