Last three years were hottest on record, says UN weather agency

© Loic Venance, AFP | Dry river bed of the Loire in Montjean-sur-Loire, western France, on September 7, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2018-01-18

Last year was the second or third warmest on record behind 2016, and the hottest without an extra dose of heat caused by an El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean, the United Nations said on Thursday.Average surface temperatures in 2017 were 1.1 degree Celsius (2.0 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, creeping towards a 1.5C (2.7F) ceiling set as the most ambitious limit for global warming by almost 200 nations under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Continue reading “Last three years were hottest on record, says UN weather agency”
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Earthworm numbers dwindle, threatening soil health

DW_Earthworms help recuperate soil and enrich it with much needed minerals. But environmentalists are concerned as earthworms have come under threat from intensive use of manure and acidic soil.

Singapore has declared 2018 the year of climate action—so why are its banks still funding coal?

eco-business_2018 is officially the year of climate action in Singapore, and yet the country’s powerful banks are bankrolling huge, greenhouse gas-producing coal-fired power stations in Asia Pacific, a report has found.

DBS is co-financing four 1200 MW coal-fired power plants in Vietnam—Nam Dinh 1, Nghi Son 2, Vinh Tan 4 and Vung Ang 2—and is a financial adviser for a number of planned coal-fired projects in Indonesia including the Jawa-6, Jawa-9 and Jawa-10 plants.

Singapore banks are bankrolling fossil fuel power projects that are at odds with public promises to fight climate change, a report from Market Forces has found. Continue reading “Singapore has declared 2018 the year of climate action—so why are its banks still funding coal?”

Israel’s agriculture minister leads prayers for water

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR COUNTRY IS FACING WATER SHORTAGES EXACERBATED BY CLIMATE CHANGE? PRAY, APPARENTLY — ISRAEL’S AGRICULTURE MINISTER LEADS PRAYERS FOR WATER

by James Ayre 0 comment
What Do You Do If Your Country Is Facing Water Shortages Exacerbated By Climate Change? Pray, Apparently — Israel’s Agriculture Minister Leads Prayers For Water

Fighting climate change with bioenergy may do ‘more harm than good’

Mongabay.com

  • A new study finds land-use like grazing and managing forests for resource extraction may have released more carbon than previously thought. Its results indicate the world’s terrestrial vegetation is currently sequestering less than half its full carbon-storage potential.
  • Of that missing half, the researchers discovered 42 to 47 percent is attributed to land uses that don’t technically change the vegetation cover type. The researchers say that climate change mitigation strategies often focus on reducing intensive land-use like deforestation, with less-intensive uses that don’t change cover type largely overlooked and under-researched.
  • One of these less-intensive uses is managing forests for biomass energy production. Many countries are trying to replace fossil fuels with biomass energy in-line with international climate agreements like the Paris Accord.
  • The researchers warn that strategies developed under the assumption that producing biomass energy doesn’t come at a carbon cost could harm efforts to fight climate change. They urge that in addition to stopping deforestation, the protection of forest functions, like carbon stocks, should be moved more into focus when it comes to land-use and climate change planning.

As nations try to stem emissions to keep the world from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius in line with their commitments towards the Paris Accord, replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives is widely seen as a big step in the right direction. A major source of energy oft-extolled as renewable is biomass from trees, which are usually harvested from managed forests either established on land that has already been deforested or planted where forests didn’t naturally grow. But a new study finds land-use like managing forests for biomass production may come at a much higher carbon cost than previously thought.
Continue reading “Fighting climate change with bioenergy may do ‘more harm than good’”

Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam

Theconversation

The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is one of Earth’s most agriculturally productive regions and is of global importance for its exports of rice, shrimp, and fruit. The 18m inhabitants of this low-lying river delta are also some of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. Over the last ten years around 1.7m people have migrated out of its vast expanse of fields, rivers and canals while only 700,000 have arrived.

On a global level migration to urban areas remains as high as ever: one person in every 200 moves from rural areas to the city every year. Against this backdrop it is difficult to attribute migration to individual causes, not least because it can be challenging to find people who have left a region in order to ask why they went and because every local context is unique. But the high net rate of migration away from Mekong Delta provinces is more than double the national average, and even higher in its most climate-vulnerable areas. This implies that there is something else – probably climate-related – going on here. Continue reading “Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam”

Critical Issues to Watch in 2018

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ipsnews_Martin Khor is Executive Director of the South Centre, a think tank for developing countries, based in Geneva

More than 480 billion plastic bottles were sold in the world in 2016, in 2018 we can expect international cooperation to reduce the use of plastic and how to treat plastic waste. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

PENANG, Malaysia, Jan 2 2018 (IPS) – Another new year has dawned, and on a world facing serious disruption on many fronts.  What are the trends and issues to watch out for in 2018?

One obvious answer is to anticipate how Donald Trump, the most unorthodox of American Presidents, will continue to upset the world order.  But more about that later.

Just as importantly as politics, we are now in the midst of several social and environmental trends that have important long-lasting effects.  Some are on the verge of reaching a tipping point, where a long-term trend produces critical and sometimes irreversible events. We may see some of that in 2018.
Continue reading “Critical Issues to Watch in 2018”

Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps

insideclimatenews_The loss of sea ice may be weakening the polar vortex, allowing cold blasts to dip south from the Arctic, across North America, Europe and Russia, a new study says.
A strong versus weakened polar vortex. Credit: NOAA

A strong polar vortex (left, from December 2013) is centered over the Arctic. A weakened polar vortex (right, from January 2014) allows cold air to dip farther south. Credit: NOAA

When winter sets in, “polar vortex” becomes one of the most dreaded phrases in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s enough to send shivers even before the first blast of bitter cold arrives.

New research shows that some northern regions have been getting hit with these extreme cold spells more frequently over the past four decades, even as the planet as a whole has warmed. While it may seem counterintuitive, the scientists believe these bitter cold snaps are connected to the warming of the Arctic and the effects that that warming is having on the winds of the stratospheric polar vortex, high above the Earth’s surface.

Here’s what scientists involved in the research think is happening: The evidence is clear that the Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet. That warming is reducing the amount of Arctic sea ice, allowing more heat to escape from the ocean. The scientists think that the ocean energy that is being released is causing a weakening of the polar vortex winds over the Arctic, which normally keep cold air centered over the polar region. That weakening is then allowing cold polar air to slip southward more often.

Continue reading “Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps”

The World Bank Year in Review: 2017 in 12 Charts

Worldbank.org

How to sum up 2017? The global economy improved but there were plenty of unsettling and upsetting events and trends. Catastrophic storms and flooding wrecked homes and livelihoods from South Asia to the Caribbean. Education quality in many countries fell short even as much of the world raced into the digital age. Yet extreme poverty continues to decline. Innovation and technology are enhancing the quality of life. And human capital is now the biggest driver of wealth in the world today. Here’s what 2017 looked like in 12 charts.

1. Millions faced famine and required emergency aid

2. The world emitted historic amounts of carbon

3. Natural disasters dominated the news

4. Two-thirds of global wealth is human capital

5. There’s a crisis in learning

6. Nutrition affects learning, and millions of children remain stunted

7. Child marriage carried high personal and economic costs

8. The world’s population is young. And jobless.

9. Natural capital and biodiversity are undervalued

10. Globally, about half of elections are considered free and fair

11. Starting a business is getting easier

12. The power of renewables

A Tribute to Hans Rosling

Continue reading “The World Bank Year in Review: 2017 in 12 Charts”

Người Sài Gòn đắp chăn ngủ ngoài đường trong giá lạnh

Rạng sáng 21/12, nhiệt độ ở TP.HCM xuống dưới 20 độ C khiến người dân ra đường đốt lửa sưởi, trẻ nhỏ bịt tai, động vật mặc áo ấm tránh rét.
Người Sài Gòn đắp chăn ngủ ngoài đường trong giá lạnh
Ngồi đốt lửa sưởi ấm trên đường Trần Văn Đang (quận 3), anh Đặng Văn Huế cho hay nhiều năm nay chưa bao giờ thấy Sài Gòn lạnh đến thế và kéo dài nhiều ngày. “Tuy hôm nay đỡ hơn mấy hôm trước nhưng vẫn lạnh lắm. Vì phải chờ khách mối nên 2h sáng tôi phải có mặt tại đây, không thể vì thời tiết thay đổi mà để mất khách được”, tài xế xe ôm này chia sẻ. Ảnh: Lê Quân. 

Continue reading “Người Sài Gòn đắp chăn ngủ ngoài đường trong giá lạnh”

Mẹ thiên nhiên và huỷ diệt bởi thủy điện không phải là vấn đề duy nhất của Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long

Không có khu vực đồng bằng nào trên thế giới bị đe doạ bởi biến đổi khí hậu trầm trọng như Sông Cửu Long. Liệu Việt Nam có hành động kịp thời để cứu nơi đây?

Loạt bài của Mongabay – Mongabay series

Tiếng Việt
Phần 1 – Liệu biến đổi khí hậu sẽ nhấn chìm Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long?
Phần 2 – Việt Nam cực kỳ lo lắng vì Trung Quốc và Lào xây đập trên Mekong
Phần 3 – Mẹ Thiên nhiên và huỷ diệt bởi thủy điện không phải là vấn đề duy nhất của Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long
Phần 4 – Kế hoạch cứu nguy Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long

English
Part 1 – Will climate change sink the Mekong Delta?
Part 2 – Vietnam sweats bullets as China and Laos dam the Mekong
Part 3 – Mother Nature and a hydropower onslaught aren’t the Mekong Delta’s only problems
Part 4 – A plan to save the Mekong Delta

Biến đổi khí hậu và các đập nước ở thượng nguồn đang đe dọa khu vực quan trọng này và vấn đề trở nên khó kiểm soát được. Nhưng có phải những vấn đề lớn nhất của ĐBSCL đều do chính Việt Nam tạo ra?

Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long của Việt Nam, nơi ở của gần 20 triệu người, là một trong những môi trường nông nghiệp có năng suất cao nhất trên thế giới, nhờ vào mạng lưới kênh rạch, đê, cửa cống và rãnh thoát nước phức tạp.

Về thế mạnh nông nghiệp của ĐBSCL, Việt Nam đã đi từ một nhà nhập khẩu gạo lâu năm và trở thành một nước xuất khẩu lớn. Tuy nhiên, nông dân trong khu vực rất quan tâm đến các chính sách an ninh lương thực của chính phủ, trong đó yêu cầu hầu hết đất đai của ĐBSCL phải được dành cho sản xuất lúa gạo. Và nhiều người trong số họ đang có biện pháp để phá vỡ các quy tắc, theo những cách mà không phải lúc nào cũng thân thiện với môi trường.
Continue reading “Mẹ thiên nhiên và huỷ diệt bởi thủy điện không phải là vấn đề duy nhất của Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long”

Only a fundamental mindset shift can save the Mekong Delta: expert

Last update 11:10 | 16/12/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Well-meant but misguided climate change interventions in the Mekong Delta are set to do more harm than good, and only a change in policymakers’ mindset can reverse the damage, an independent researcher and expert said on December 14.

Mekong Delta, save, solar energy, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Nguyen Huu Thien (standing), expert on Mekong Delta ecology, responds to questions at a workshop on the region’s water and energy needs held on December 14 in Hanoi. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Kien

The change in mindset would involve a shift from forceful interventions to embracing natural cycles, said Nguyen Huu Thien.

Thien, whose work focuses on the Mekong Delta’s ecology, was giving his assessment of Resolution No 120 on sustainable development for the Mekong Delta that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed in November. Continue reading “Only a fundamental mindset shift can save the Mekong Delta: expert”