Before the COP26 summit which is being held in the UK from the 31st October to the 12th November, the UK have announced a new plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The main concentration being increased funding into the transportation industry aimed at transforming toward electrical vehicles. Whether this will be a considerable change in the right direction or just another empty promise is obviously yet to be determined.
Earlier in the year the UK had plans to open a new coal mine which is quite contradictory to the COP26 summit that they are hosting this year. As the agenda of government and business is always difficult to determine without direct involvement in these areas, hopefully we can see more urgency and action from the COP26 summit being held at the end of this month.
Each year global temperatures are exceeding the previous years records, with this year being no exception. Demonstrating in the simplest way how we all are drastically changing the Earth’s climate and how the consequential issues extend much farther than just leaving your air conditioning on overnight.
Theses issues, I have talked about in previous posts consist of rising sea levels, increased risk of wildfire and much more. Additionally, recent rising temperatures in the United States are a perfect example of how bad this issue is becoming and how drastic action is needed much sooner than expected.
This landmark court case, which took place in the Netherlands, came to the conclusion that the oil company Shell had to cut their CO2 emissions in half by 2030.
The main reason why this is so phenomenal is due to the fact that this is the first instance of a company being legally mandated to the environmental policies of the Paris Agreement.
‘The environmental group brought the case to court in 2019, alongside six other bodies and more than 17,000 Dutch citizens’ – BBC News
Although this only applies in the Netherlands, there is hope that this will now encourage more countries to legally hold big oil and gas companies responsible for their harmful environmental practices.
A recent article published by Nature has demonstrated that global agreements surrounding climate change can accelerate the rate at which we can mitigate environmental issues.
The best case scenario for global agreements would be ‘climate negotiations is a legally binding global agreement targeting < 2 °C warming by 2100 and incorporates sanctions’. However, due to various factors this may not be entirely possible, thus researchers suggest creating groups where nations or representatives are involved in a common goal with shared interests or geography. This can better enable global leaders to mitigate climate change issues whilst investing in local problems with other nations.
In recent news, researchers have been studying the idea of installing solar panels over the top of canal systems. In short, this can help reduce evaporation of water, help plant growth and be used as a space for renewable energy. An article published in the Nature journal also argued that the idea of installing solar panels over canal systems outweigh the ecological and financial alternatives of installing them elsewhere; concluding that this method produces 20%-50% more solar power than conventional methods.
There is a rising concern among parents and teachers with children experiencing what has been deemed Eco-anxiety. If you would like to learn more about this phenomenon, more detail can be found in a previous post.
In recent news, people are looking into ways to help alleviate this anxiety and create a more assured confidence in the next generation. National Geographic has provided a list of different solutions others may want to try if they know children experiencing this type of anxiety:
Community activities – This can help bring people together and share ideas or inspirations into the small changes than can do to help the planet and alleviate their own anxiety.
Being prepared – Assure them that nations put plans in place for natural disasters caused by climate change and other phenomenon.
Discuss what we can do – Reassure them that officials and scientists worldwide are tirelessly researching and discussing different solutions to the many complex problems climate change presents.
Learning and experience – Teaching children about the wonders of the natural world whilst taking them on days out in woodlands or national parks can help inspire and create a passion for learning about the environment whilst developing a strong attachment to nature.
NASA are working on a new satellite which will be used to track hazards as well as measure the rates at which land ice is melting. Their new project will help provide more accurate data and estimations for scientists and engineers to use to act upon this information.
This joint project between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation has revolutionary aspirations:
‘By tracking subtle changes in Earth’s surface, it will spot warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions, help to monitor groundwater supplies, track the melt rate of ice sheets tied to sea level rise, and observe shifts in the distribution of vegetation around the world. Monitoring these kinds of changes in the planet’s surface over nearly the entire globe hasn’t been done before’ – http://www.climate.nasa.gov
This is hopefully going to be a big step forward into how we collect data from Earth and also the measures we can take to put large-scale action into motion.
The next global climate change summit which is scheduled to take place later this year is reportedly focusing on those most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
‘The Climate and Development Ministerial will bring together countries and partners to work on solutions to the flooding, drought and extreme temperatures faced by many developing countries, as well as opportunities for energy access, cleaner air and smarter cities’ – http://www.gov.uk
The UK government is also subjecting more funding and focus into engineering a greener future, focused on minimising carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy schemes.
Climate change is now a subject people can study at university. This has emerged as a whole new area one can study at different universities around the UK. The course is specifically tailored to tackling climate change and focus on aspects from the impact of scientific mechanisms to the social aspects. This is a great step forward as now the younger generation can be more equipped with dealing with their future and this incentives more people to work within the environmental sector to tackle the issues surrounding climate change.
A case study conducted on the islands of New Zealand have found that species which inhabit these islands are at risk of extinction due to causes such as the invasion of non-native species. The researchers also noted that conservation efforts must tackle indirect threats as these pose as much of a risk as the immediate threats. They warn that conservation efforts can easily be reversed or harmful conditions being exacerbated by global environmental change.