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ENVIRONMENT - November 2019

Nov 2019

Nov 29, 2019

EU Parliament Declares Climate Emergency

  •  The European Parliament voted to declare a climate and environment emergency in a symbolic gesture just ahead of the latest UN global crisis summit.
  • The motion urges the commission to ensure that all relevant legislative and budgetary proposals are fully aligned with the objective of limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees C.
  • As per Pascal Canfin, the MEP who heads the environment committee, given the climate and environmental emergency, it is essential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030.

Nov 28, 2019

UK Has Technology for Zero Carbon Emmissions

  •  According to a new report, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is achievable with current technology, according to a new report.
  • As per the Centre for Alternative Technology, a net zero-carbon Britain is already possible, without relying on future developments.
  • The Powys-based charity said that changes to buildings, transport and industry could help slash UK energy demand by 60%.
  • The CAT report - Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency - also claims making further changes to energy, diets and land use could help provide 100% renewable energy and cut emissions from agriculture and industry.

Nov 27, 2019

Slash Emissions Now or Miss 1.5 Degree Celsius Goal, UN Warns

  • The world will miss its chance to avert climate disaster without an immediate and all-but-impossible fall in fossil fuel emissions, the UN said in its annual assessment on greenhouse gases.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme said that global emissions need to fall by 7.6 percent, each year, every year until 2030 to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C.
  • The harsh reality is that emissions have risen on average 1.5 percent annually over the last decade, hitting a record 55.3 billion tonnes of CO2 or equivalent greenhouse gases in 2018 -- three years after 195 countries signed the Paris treaty on climate change.
  • The World Meterological Organization said that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations hit an all-time record in 2018.
  • The Paris deal committed nations to limit temperature rises above pre-industrial levels to "well below" 2C, and to a safer 1.5-C if at all possible.
  • Yet the UN found that even taking into account current Paris pledges, the world is on track for a 3.2C temperature rise, something scientists fear could tear at the fabric of society.

Nov 26, 2019

Coal: Is This the Beginning of the End?

  •  The fuel that powered the industrial revolution may be in decline at last.
  • 2019 looks set to see the largest fall in electricity production from coal on record.
  • The reduction is estimated to be more than the power generated from coal in Germany, Spain and the UK combined.
  • It is projected to drop by 3% - which is a fall of 300 terawatt hours.
  • The record drop raises the prospect of a slowing of global CO2 emissions growth in 2019.
  • But the authors warn that, even with this decline, coal use and emissions remain far higher than the level required to keep the global temperature rise below 2C.

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Again Break Records

  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that the increase in CO2 was just above the average rise recorded over the last decade.
  •  Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases once again reached new highs in 2018.
  • Levels of other warming gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, have also surged by above average amounts.
  • Since 1990 there's been an increase of 43% in the warming effect on the climate of long lived greenhouse gases.
  • The WMO report looks at concentrations of warming gases in the atmosphere rather than just emissions.

Nov 25, 2019

1st In- Vitro Gives Hope for Endangered Puerto Rican Toad

  •  A critically endangered Puerto Rican toad was for the first time born via in vitro fertilisation as US scientists attempt to save it from extinction.
  • Olaf - named in honour of the frozen semen he came from - is the first of more than 300 Puerto Rican crested toads that hatched after the first attempt failed, Diane Barber, ectotherms curator at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas.
  • Barber was part of a team that travelled to the southwest town of Guayanilla in 2018 to collect semen from six male Puerto Rican crested toads that were later released back into the wild. The scientists were careful to select bigger toads that had what are called "nuptial pads" on their thumbs, which indicate sexual maturity and help them grab on to females.
  • The team, which included scientists with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Puerto Rico's Department of Natural Resources, among others, preserved the semen in liquid nitrogen as they transported it to the Fort Worth Zoo, where a couple of female toads injected with hormones awaited.
  • The Puerto Rican crested toad was thought extinct until the 1960s and was then rediscovered in the early 1980s.

Sumatra Rhino is Extinct in Malaysia

  •  The Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia, after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer.
  • The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of five rhinoceros species, once roamed across Asia as far as India, but its numbers have shrunk drastically due to deforestation and poaching.
  • The WWF conservation group estimates that there are only about 80 left, mostly living in the wild in Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.
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