Tag Archives: Greenhouse gas emissions

Are the European floods linked to the climate crisis?

Almost certainly. Scientists have long predicted climate disruption will lead to more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Human emissions from engine exhaust fumes, forest burning and other activities are heating the planet. As the atmosphere gets warmer it holds more moisture which brings more rain. All the places that recently experienced flooding – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, London, Edinburgh, Tokyo and elsewhere – might have had heavy summer rain even without the climate crisis, but the deluges were unlikely to have been as intense.

There has not yet been an attribution study for the latest floods in Europe because the analysis takes several days.

Please continue reading: What is causing the floods in Europe?

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Investigating how climate affects intense rainstorms across Europe, climate experts have shown there will be a significant future increase in the occurrence of slow-moving intense rainstorms.

The scientists estimate that these slow-moving storms may be 14 times more frequent across land by the end of the century. It is these slow-moving storms that have the potential for very high precipitation accumulations, with devastating impacts, as we saw in Germany and Belgium.

Professor Lizzie Kendon, Science Fellow at the Met Office and Professor at Bristol University, said:

“This study shows that in addition to the intensification of rainfall with global warming, we can also expect a big increase in slow-moving storms which have the potential for high rainfall accumulations. This is very relevant to the recent flooding seen in Germany and Belgium, which highlights the devastating impacts of slow-moving storms.

“Our finding that slow-moving intense rainstorms could be 14 times more frequent by the end of the century under the high emissions RCP8.5 scenario, shows the serious impacts that we may expect across Europe if we do not curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

The study findings are relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation policy in Europe, with specific implications for future flooding impacts, the design of infrastructure systems, and the management of water resources.

Currently, almost stationary intense rainstorms are uncommon in Europe and happen rarely over parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Accurate predictions of future changes in intense rainfall events are key to putting effective adaptation and mitigation plans in place to limit the adverse impacts of climate change.

> Extreme Storms Will Be More Likely In Europe Research Shows

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Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.

That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult. Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.

Luckily, there are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions. If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.

Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 bird, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.

Under the canopy in a tropical mangrove forest.
Mangroves are particularly good at storing carbon. Velavan K/Shutterstock

Peatlands – those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens – store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.

Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife. Diverse natural systems also bounce back better from climate extremes than do species-poor, highly degraded systems, and will keep helping biodiversity and people even as Earth continues to warm.

2. Manage farmland and fisheries sustainably

Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.

People currently use about 25% of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living. The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.

Rows of vegetable beds with lines of young trees.
Reforestation in tandem with food growing: lettuce, cauliflowers and tomatoes grow among saplings in Brazil. Luisaazara/Shutterstock

3. Create new forests – with care

People have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth.

Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place. Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.

A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single-species plantation.

We can do the same thing in the ocean by restoring seagrass meadows.

4. Shift to more plant-based diets

Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat. Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.

Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.

A vegan burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
A vegan diet is better for wildlife and the climate than a high-meat one. Rolande PG/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A note of caution

It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests. Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights. And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.

With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.

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About the authors:

Pete Smith currently receives research funding from UKRI, EU, Wellcome Trust and Scottish Government. He is on the science advisory team for Carbon Direct (https://carbon-direct.com/).

Mark Maslin is a Founding Director of Rezatec Ltd, Co-Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board and Sheep Included Ltd Advisory Board. He has received grant funding in the past from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding in the past from The Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Camille Parmesan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Yukon, Canada, Alaska, Beaufort Sea and caribous

Each spring for at least the past 23,000 years, members of the Porcupine caribou herd as they move in concert near the end of their approximately 1,500-mile trek, dispersed across the wide expanses of their wintering grounds in Canada’s Yukon, have gathered together like water flowing along branched tributaries toward a single confluence. That confluence is a 1.5 million-acre area of boggy coastal tundra plain, nestled between the north slope of the Brooks Range in Alaska and the Beaufort Sea. The caribou know this place as their summer calving and feeding ground. We know it as Area 1002 within the larger 19.2 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Estimates indicate that 10 to 20 pounds of carbon per square foot resides within the uppermost 10 feet of the permafrost.

In the renewed debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one troubling impact of oil development has been overlooked: Disrupting the annual caribou migration will have a profound effect on the soil and release even more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

Currently, the exact social cost of carbon taking into account the potency and lifespan of methane released to the atmosphere remains uncertain. That is because environmental risk assessments have not evaluated how widespread the thawing of permafrost in Area 1002 will be as a consequence of shifting caribou movement, nor have they determined the rate at which the thawing top 10-foot-layer of permafrost will be decomposed. Still, decades-old preliminary exploration activity in Area 1002 would suggest, at the very least, that the spectacular wilderness vista will be altered for generations to come.

Beyond the analyses, the ultimate question remains: Will this economically questionable 30-year venture be worth the lasting environmental consequences to a wilderness that took tens to hundreds of thousands of years to develop, for the sake of extracting what amounts to meeting one year’s worth of the nation’s oil demand?

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A great five-minute “film” from Bianco, a Danish shoe brand

Receiving followers of my personal blog, it gives me also more possibilities to find writers from all over the world who have something good to contribute or giving others possibilities to discover other things.

Today I found my way to a

“Husband, dad, brother, uncle, nephew, friend, teacher, ex-swimmer, blogger, vegan, juggler, learner, introvert”

and as such someone who many more people could fit this cultural stereotype. As a “60-something guy trying to figure out the world, and his place in it” he does not mind going into minds of others or showing what others might think and feel. Doing that he gives us the opportunity to have some nice feeling coming over us. Sometimes he even might write a post he had not planned. {The 18 Uses for Dr. Bronner’s Amazing Soap}

I am not so good in following the fashion world any more (though I must admit I also made my way of living of it by choreographing fashion shows in the past). We should not be afraid to know presents brands, soon our children or grandchildren may let us know about them or give it to us. {The 18 Uses for Dr. Bronner’s Amazing Soap}. Mr. Jim Borden may always be looking for something to write about,

it almost became a necessity to proactively go out into the world and do things or to simply observe more closely what is going on. {Writing Is a Symptom of Thinking}

The blogger may know that the essence of Wheeler’s Which is that the customer should always be given a choice between something and something, not a choice between something and nothing. {What in the World Is Wheeler’s Which}

Good to notice that last year, the company Bestseller made great strides towards sourcing 100 percent more sustainable cotton and made a significant commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions plus revealed plans to build its own solar power plant. More: Fashion FWD seems to be Bestseller’s ambitious strategy that will make sustainability central to its way of doing business. Bestseller wants to do its part to transform the fashion industry for a sustainable reality. It’s the right thing to do and it also makes good business sense.

foto van Bianco.

There you can get shoes of Bianco, which was founded by René Piper Laursen in 1987 with a vision of developing an international brand based on a profitable franchise concept. Bianco tells its customers that it offers fashion-forward footwear with sublime international standards and at an affordable price to a wider audience of women and men. Bianco is represented in more than 100 retail stores (a mix between own stores and franchise) and wholesalers in Scandinavia. I must confess I do not know if they succeed to make great shoes, pumps, stilettos, trainers, hi-tops, boots, bootees, ballerinas and other cool accessories like bags, belts, clutches, scarves and jewellery, but for sure I was pleasantly surprised when by the article of Mr. Borden I could enjoy one of their “spectacular ad campaigns”.

Lovely to see they dare to touch social strings.

He presents a film of the Danish shoe brand, part of Bianco’s “Step Out of Your Head” campaign and gives their description of it from the campaign web site:

In this year’s campaign, we’re encouraging you to silence your worst critic, yourself. Most of us tend to let our thoughts run away with us, and let our insecurities take hold. But by giving our inner thoughts its time in the limelight, we might inspire a more positive way of thinking about ourselves.

He too had never heard of Bianco before watching this video, and he also would not have known that it was a footwear company based on watching it. {Falling in Love on a Lift} (Though when they look down at their feet one could perhaps notice the Product Placement – and by law in Belgium it should have the PP logo in the right corner when screened publicly.) (- On the video there is no PP-logo, so viewers might stay in the dark. -)

I loved the short film.

In any case it is by such findings and people writing about their explorations we too can find some other worlds and interesting things to see. Therefore, now my turn to introduce you to Mr. Borden his blog and the Bianco film. Please do enjoy his trying to figure out the world, and his place in it.

Borden’s Blog

Falling in Love on a Lift

foto van Bianco.

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