The study estimates 10.2 million deaths in 2012 were due to fine particulates, dropping to 8.5 million in 2018. Of the 2012 total, 62% were in China (3.9 million) and India (2.5 million). The figures are more than twice as high as previously believed. See the Guardian report from Feb 9th and the published study, in the journal Environmental Research (behind a paywall, unfortunately, but available through university libraries).
Following up on yesterday’s post about the French “case of the century”, here is a link to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, released last month, on global climate litigation. By July 2020, the number of climate change cases had grown to more than 1,550, filed in 38 countries. Hopefully, this growing wave of climate cases will drive much-needed change. Unfortunately the law can also be used to defend the status quo. Thirteen US states have now brought in legislation to penalise protest against the fossil fuel industry. This article from Huffington Post, in June 2020, reports on Mississipi’s legislation, under which individuals and organisations which cause damage or losses that total more than $1,000 ― for example, by halting production at a refinery or stopping the flow of fuel through a pipeline ― could face felony charges punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Four French environmental organisations, Oxfam France, Notre Affaire à tous, Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme and Greenpeace France, took the French state to court for its failure to fulfil its commitments under the Paris climate accord — and won! A Guardian article from Feb 3rd, 2021 reports on the case. The Tribune Administratif de Paris, giving the official report, calls it L’ Affaire du Siècle (The case of the century).
— one of the key messages of the review by renowned Cambridge economist Sir Partha Dasgupta into biodiversity. The 600-page review was commissioned by the UK Treasury, the first time a national finance ministry has authorised a full assessment of the economic importance of nature. A similar Treasury-sponsored review in 2006, the Stern Report, is credited with transforming economic understanding of the climate crisis.
The UK government website offers the full 600 page report, a 103 page abbreviated report, and a 10 page summary of headline messages. Take your pick!
From the announcement sent out on January 21st by the UK Government Cabinet Office and Alok Sharma MP, President of the COP26 Climate Talks:
Applications have opened today to help shape the COP26 venue in Glasgow ahead of the crucial climate change talks later this year.
Groups of all kinds have the opportunity to bring climate action to life through fun and lively events, displays and workshops in the areas where many of the world’s leaders will be meeting in November.
This is likely to include demonstrations of virtual reality technology; showcasing innovation helping to tackle global climate change; opportunities for local voices from around the world through culture and arts; and youth groups provided a platform to show the impact they are making.
Organisations are being encouraged to work together with collaborative proposals wherever possible, with a focus on profiling the voices of those most impacted and on the front line of climate change.
The Guardian reports (13-1-2021) on a recent paper by a group of distinguished scientists, freely available in the online academic journal Frontiers in Conservation Science, Underestimating the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future. It surveys a large body of published work and draws a sombre conclusion. Besides documenting the ongoing Sixth Extinction, it considers the world’s political response, and links the growing tide of ethnic nationalism and populism to the increasing strain on resources and economic structures. It describes the apparent paradox of the continued rise in global human living standards, in the midst of ecological decline, as a global Ponzi scheme which will inevitably end with an ecological crash.
The UK government’s Committee on Climate Change is running a series of webinars on Paths to Net Zero Carbon , beginning on January 14th and continuing each week. You have to register in order to be sent the link.
Record breaking numbers of activists arrested on last year’s Extinction Rebellion demonstrations are being prosecuted, in one of the biggest crackdowns on protest in British legal history. The Home Secretary Priti Patel has described Extinction Rebellion activists as terrorists, and this view may be animating the unprecedented scale of the prosecutions.
Data just released by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (“Europe’s eyes on Earth”) show that globally, 2020 was very close to equalling the 2016 record for warmest year since records began, and that in Europe, temperatures were 1.6 degrees Centigrade above the 1980-2010 average — a record. In northern Siberia, the increase was dramatic — nearly 7 degrees.
On a planetary scale, it takes many years to reach a new temperature equilibrium after a change in CO2 levels. If and when we reach net zero carbon emissions, for how how many years will temperatures continue to rise? New answers (reported in the Guardian on 7-1-21) suggest that it may be as little as 20 years — and that temperatures might then start to fall.