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ENVIRONMENT - December 2019

Dec 2019

Dec 12, 2019

EU Leaders to Consider Climate Neutrality Pledge

  • European Union leaders gathered in Brussels amid a push to commit to making the 28-member bloc climate neutral by 2050.
  • Some Eastern European countries want financial guarantees before they agree to the EU cutting to zero its net amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • But the new head of the EU's executive body, Ursula von der Leyen, placed it at the heart of a new "Green Deal".
  • Billions of euros would be added to the EU budget to move from fossil fuels.
  • The so-called "Just Transition Mechanism" would also include funding from the European Investment Bank and would support states such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, which are among the EU member states most reliant on the coal industry.
  • The new head of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that he wanted EU leaders to agree on a commitment to the bloc becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

Dec 11, 2019

Climate May Warm at Least 3°C without Action

  • Despite urgent calls by the UN secretary general asking countries to raise their ambitions and enhance nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at the United Nations Climate Summit in September, a new analysis released at COP25 in Madrid showed that under the current policies global temperatures will see a rise of 3 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century and a rise of 2.8° C if all pledges under the Paris Agreement are implemented.

Sydney Choked by Haze from Australia Bush Fires

  • Wildfires engulfed the Australian city of Sydney in haze so thick in some places it was 11 times worse than the level considered "hazardous," and was apt to trigger fire alarms.
  • The city cancelled ferries and some offices in the downtown area were evacuated.
  • Local health officials advised people to stay indoors as much as possible and those with heart and lung problems were told to avoid all outdoor activity.

Dec 10, 2019

Climate Change: 1.9 Billion People Rely on Natural Water Towers

  • Scientists have assessed and ranked the importance of Earth's great "water towers".
  • These are the 78 mountainous regions that are able to generate and then store vast quantities of water.
  • They deliver it in a controlled way to major populations living downstream.
  • The Dutch-led team finds Asia's Indus basin - fed by the Himalayan, Karakoram, Hindu-Kush, and Ladakh ranges - to be the most important storage unit on the planet.
  • Its waters, produced at high elevation from rain and snow, and draining from lakes and glaciers, support more than 200 million people settled across parts of Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan.
  • But the Indus water tower, the researchers point out, is also the most vulnerable on their list of 78.

Dec 08, 2019

Oceans Running Out of Oxygen

  • Climate change and nutrient pollution are driving the oxygen from our oceans, and threatening many species of fish.
  • That's the conclusion of the biggest study of its kind, undertaken by conservation group IUCN.
  • While nutrient run-off has been known for decades, researchers say that climate change is making the lack of oxygen worse.
  • Around 700 ocean sites are now suffering from low oxygen, compared with 45 in the 1960s.
  • Researchers say the depletion is threatening species including tuna, marlin and sharks.
  • The threat to oceans from nutrient run-off of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus from farms and industry has long been known to impact the levels of oxygen in the sea waters and still remains the primary factor, especially closer to coasts.

Dec 07, 2019

Saturn's Moon May Help Decode Climate Change on Earth

  • Researchers found that Saturn's largest moon Titan undergoes significant seasonal changes in its energy budget—the amount of solar energy it absorbs, and the heat it emits—an advance that may lead to new insights about climate fluctuations on the Earth.
  • It is to be noted that Titan is the only body in the solar system, other than Earth, with a significant atmosphere and liquid surface lakes.
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