Western U.S. Faces Extreme Heat Wave as Sweltering Summer Begins

A significant early-season heat wave is set to impact western North America, bringing potentially record-breaking temperatures and raising wildfire risks, signalling the onset of a scorching summer. A mighty high-pressure ridge, known as a heat dome, will drive unusually high temperatures across California by mid-week, extending into the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern Canada, according to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

The heat wave is expected to last 10 to 14 days, with Northern California and the Sierra Nevada foothills experiencing the highest temperatures. The Sacramento Valley could see widespread triple-digit temperatures, potentially exceeding 110 degrees, which is about 20 degrees above normal. The National Weather Service forecasts that far northern California will likely see its first 100-degree day of the year by Wednesday, while the Central Valley is under an excessive heat watch, with the San Joaquin Valley possibly reaching 110 degrees.

This event resembles the historic heat dome of June and July 2021, which lasted 27 days and caused hundreds of deaths, marine life die-offs, crop losses, and infrastructure damage. Although this year’s heat wave is predicted to be less intense, it could still exacerbate the fire season, especially with the increased vegetation from recent wet winters. California has already experienced several small fires, including a 1,300-acre blaze in Santa Barbara County, highlighting the heightened fire risk from the incoming heat. Read More

News Credit: Los Angeles Times

Picture Credit: The latest seasonal outlook from NOAA indicates a high likelihood of warmer-than-normal temperatures across most of the U.S. in June, July and August. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ex-BA Chief Calls for Sustainable Fuel Investment, Questions Costly Green Policies

Green aviation policies should be abandoned if the costs outweigh the benefits, according to the head of the world’s most influential airline organization. Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) and former British Airways CEO, emphasized that achieving net zero by 2050 is “existential, not optional.”

However, he suggested that governments should have the courage to halt green policies and shift strategies if they fail to deliver the intended results. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai Ban Styrofoam and Single-Use Plastic Bags

The Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (EAD) announced the ban on styrofoam products. This ban is part of the emirate’s larger policy on single-use plastics, which aims to reduce reliance on harmful products.

The list of banned products includes cups, lids, plates and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene.

Similarly, food container vessels for products intended for immediate consumption, either on the spot or for takeaway, and containers that contain a product that is typically consumed from the receptacle and is ready to be consumed without any further preparation, such as cooking, boiling, or heating, will also be prohibited. Read More

News Credit: Middle East Economy

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Climate Change Impact: Economic Damage Six Times Worse Than Predicted

New research shows that the economic damage caused by climate change is six times worse than previously thought. Global warming is set to shrink wealth at a rate comparable to the financial losses of a continuous, permanent war.

Researchers found that a one °C increase in global temperature leads to a 12% decline in world gross domestic product (GDP), a far higher estimate than previous analyses. With the world already having warmed by more than one °C (1.8°F) since pre-industrial times, many climate scientists predict a three °C (5.4°F) rise by the end of this century due to ongoing fossil fuel burning. This new, yet-to-be peer-reviewed paper highlights the enormous economic cost of such a scenario.

According to the paper, a three °C temperature increase will “cause “precipitous declines in output, capital, and consumption that exceed 50% by”2100.” The economic loss is so severe that it is “comparable to the economic damage caused by fighting a war domestically and permanently,” the authors write.

“There will still be some economic growth happening, but by the end of the century, people may well be 50% poorer than would’ve been weren’t for climate change,” said Adrien Bilal, an economist at Harvard who co-authored the paper with Diego Känzig, an economist at Northwestern University.

Bilal emphasized that purchasing power—how much people can buy with their money—would already be 37% higher than it is now without the global heating observed over the past 50 years. This lost wealth will continue to spiral if the climate crisis deepens, causing an economic drain often seen during wartime. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

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Brazil’s Worst-Ever Floods: Rising Death Toll and Thousands Displaced in Rio Grande do Sui

Three weeks after devastating floods struck Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, the situation remains dire. The floods have claimed 155 lives and displaced 540,000 people. Experts warn that water levels will take at least another two weeks to recede.

An aerial view of the Mathias Velho neighbourhood in Canoas, a suburb of Porto Alegre, shows extensive flooding. The death toll continues to rise daily, and over 77,000 displaced individuals are still in public shelters. In response, the state government has announced plans to build four temporary “tent cities” to accommodate them.

Governor Eduardo Leite revealed that the rebuilding costs will be “much higher” than the initially estimated 19bn reais (£2.9bn). Many cities, including the state capital Porto Alegre, remain underwater, with 46 of its 96 neighbourhoods flooded. Even residents in non-flooded areas have faced days without electricity and potable water.

Of the state’s seven main rivers, five are still above the maximum water level, and there is little hope of the waters receding anytime soon. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

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Activists Sue Russia Over ‘Weak’ Climate Policy

A group of activists is fighting for the right to scrutinize Russia’s climate policies, particularly its substantial methane emissions, in court. Russia’s constitutional court is considering a claim brought by 18 individuals and the NGO Ecodefense. They argue that the Russian state’s insufficient action to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions violates their rights to life, health, and a healthy environment.

Another organization that planned to join the case, Moscow Helsinki, was shut down last year by a different Russian court. It was the country’s oldest human rights group.

The claimants initially asked Russia’s supreme court to examine the national climate policy, but it refused. They then brought a new claim to the constitutional court, which was responsible for upholding the country’s constitution. While the court has decided on some environmental cases in the past, including state liability for the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, it has not yet addressed climate breakdown. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

Picture Credit: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Record April Heatwave in Philippines Linked to Climate Crisis

The record-breaking heatwave that scorched the Philippines in April would have been impossible without the climate crisis, scientists have found. Searing heat above 40°C (104°F) struck across Asia, causing deaths, water shortages, crop losses, and widespread school closures.

A recent study revealed that extreme heat was 45 times more likely in India and five times more likely in Israel and Palestine due to human-caused global warming. The scientists emphasized that the high temperatures exacerbated the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where displaced people are living in overcrowded shelters with limited access to water.

This study highlights the severe impacts of human-caused global heating, with only 1.2°C of average warming above preindustrial levels over the past four years.

Another “impossible” heatwave hit West Africa and the Sahel in late March, causing deaths and reaching 48.5°C in Mali. Deaths from extreme heat are poorly recorded in many countries, but previous research suggests millions have died prematurely over the past two decades. In Europe, where records are more comprehensive, heat-related deaths rose by 25% in the past decade.

The scientists warned of worse to come. If global temperatures rise to 2°C, repeats of April’s extreme heat will occur every two to three years in the Philippines and every five years in Israel, Palestine, and neighbouring countries. Hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists recently told the Guardian that they expect global inaction on ending fossil fuel burning to result in at least 2.5°C of warming.

“From Gaza to Delhi to Manila, people suffered and died when April temperatures soared in Asia,” said Dr. Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, part of the World Weather Attribution (WWA) study team. “The additional heat, driven by emissions from oil, gas, and coal, is resulting in death for many people.”

Dr. Carolina Pereira Marghidan, a heat risk consultant at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, added, “The heat really compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with displaced populations having limited to no access to food, water, or healthcare and generally living in overcrowded shelters that trap heat or living outdoors.”

This underscores the urgent need for global climate action to mitigate these increasingly frequent and severe weather events. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

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Latin America Faces Rising Disease and Hunger Amid Climate-Driven Disasters

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported significant increases in hunger and disease across Latin America, attributed to a year marked by unprecedented heatwaves, floods, and droughts. According to the WMO, Latin America sandwiched between unusually hot Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, likely endured tens of thousands of climate-related fatalities in 2023, along with at least $21 billion (approximately £17 billion) in economic losses, and experienced the most substantial nutritional deficit of any region globally.

The ongoing climate crisis, fueled by human-induced global warming coupled with natural phenomena like El Niño, continues to wreak havoc, with recent devastating floods in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, resulting in at least 95 deaths and extensive damage to farmland. This follows the hottest April on record globally, part of a larger trend that has seen global heat records shattered month after month for nearly a year.

The report highlights that Latin America and the Caribbean are among the hardest hit, with 13.8 million people currently facing severe food insecurity due to a combination of climate disasters and socioeconomic challenges. This situation underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the root causes and effects of climate change in the region. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

Picture Credit: André Penner/AP

A 3°C Future: Heatwaves and Submerged Cities

Climate scientists have issued a stark warning in a recent survey by The Guardian, suggesting that global heating is likely to exceed internationally agreed limits, leading to devastating climate events such as catastrophic heatwaves, floods, and storms.

The survey, which polled hundreds of leading climate experts, revealed a grim consensus: only 6% believe that the 1.5°C temperature limit set by international agreements is achievable. Achieving this would require unprecedented and radical actions to quickly reduce and reverse the world’s emissions from burning fossil fuels. Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/11/brutal-heatwaves-submerged-cities-what-3c-world-would-look-like?

News Credit: The Guardian

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Record Heat Waves in Europe Increase Heat-Related Deaths by 30%, Study Shows.

Scorching weather has baked Europe in more days of “extreme heat stress” than its scientists have ever seen.

According to the EU’s Earth-watching service Copernicus and the World Meteorological Organization, Heat-trapping pollutants that clog the atmosphere helped push temperatures in Europe last year to the highest or second-highest levels ever recorded.

Europeans are suffering from unprecedented heat during the day and are stressed by uncomfortable warmth at night. The joint State of the Climate report from the two organisations found that the death rate from hot weather has risen 30% in Europe in two decades. Read More

News Credit: The Guardian

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