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Catastrophe Chronicle — July 2021 Edition

CO2 levels vs Population Growth

July 29, 2021
A Carbon Calculation: How Many Deaths Do Emissions Cause?
“A new study looks at “the mortality cost of carbon”: lives lost or gained as emissions change over time…. R. Daniel Bressler, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University, calculated that adding about a quarter of the output of a coal-fired power plant, or roughly a million metric tons of carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere on top of 2020 levels for just one year will cause 226 deaths globally. By comparison, the lifetime emissions beyond 2020 levels of a handful of Americans (3.5, to be precise) will result in one additional heat-related death in this century.” — New York Times

July 29, 2021
The Amazon Is Fast Approaching a Point of No Return
“Brazil’s rainforest is being stolen and cleared at an accelerating pace, and the Bolsonaro government is fanning the flames.” — Bloomberg

July 28, 2021
Earth’s vital signs worsen amid business-as-usual mindset on climate change
“‘There is growing evidence we are getting close to or have already gone beyond tipping points associated with important parts of the Earth system, including warm-water coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets,’ said Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology in the OSU College of Forestry.” — ScienceDaily

July 27, 2021
Thousands of scientists warn climate tipping points ‘imminent’
“Researchers say ‘overexploitation of the Earth’ has seen many of its ‘vital signs’ deteriorate to record levels. For the study, scientists relied on “vital signs” to measure the health of the planet, including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, glacier thickness and sea-ice extent and deforestation. Out of 31 signs, they found that 18 hit record highs or lows. For example, despite a dip in pollution linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane hit all-time highs in 2021. Greenland and Antarctica recently showed all-time low levels of ice mass and glaciers are melting 31-percent faster than they did just 15 years ago, the authors said…” — Aljazeera

July 26, 2021
The Heat, Floods and Fire We Don’t Hear Enough About
“From India to Turkey, it’s not just ‘crazy weather.’ It’s the world at 1.2 degrees of global warming, explain climate scientists.” — Bloomberg

“July 25, 2021
Yep, it’s bleak, says expert who tested 1970s end-of-the-world prediction
A controversial MIT study from 1972 forecast the collapse of civilization — and Gaya Herrington is here to deliver the bad news…. Herrington, a Dutch sustainability researcher and adviser to the Club of Rome, a Swiss thinktank, has made headlines in recent days after she authored a report that appeared to show a controversial 1970s study predicting the collapse of civilization was — apparently — right on time. Coming amid a cascade of alarming environmental events, from western US and Siberian wildfires to German floods and a report that suggests the Amazon rainforest may no longer be able to perform as a carbon sink, Herrington’s work predicted the collapse could come around 2040 if current trends held.” — The Guardian

July 25, 2021
The insect apocalypse: ‘Our world will grind to a halt without them’
“Insects have declined by 75% in the past 50 years — and the consequences may soon be catastrophic…. The loss of insect life from the food chain would not just be catastrophic for wildlife. It would also have direct consequences for the human food supply…. In Paul Ehrlich’s ‘rivets on a plane’ analogy, we may be close to the point where the wing falls off.” — The Guardian

July 17. 2021
As Frozen Land Burns, Siberia Fears: ‘If We Don’t Have the Forest, We Don’t Have Life
“Last year, wildfires scorched more than 60,000 square miles of forest and tundra, an area the size of Florida. That is more than four times the area that burned in the United States during its devastating 2020 fire season…. Last year, the record-setting fires in the remote Siberian region of Yakutia released roughly as much carbon dioxide as did all the fuel consumption in Mexico in 2018, according to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service in Reading, England….” — The New York Times

July 17, 2021
Scientists Fear For Birds As Utah’s Great Salt Lake Nears Record Low Levels
“The vibrant ecosystem of North America’s largest saltwater lake is under serious threat from water diversion and climate change-fueled drought. Utah’s shrinking Great Salt Lake could spell disaster for millions of birds that depend on the briny body of water for food.” — HuffPost

July 17, 2021
Thousands Of Flamingos Die As Lake In Turkey Dries Up In Drought
“Environmentalists say the birds are being sacrificed to climate change and wasteful agricultural irrigation.” — HuffPost

July 16, 2021
Flooding in Europe, in Pictures
“The heavy rain and flooding that began on Wednesday in Europe has continued, with 106 lives lost in Germany by Friday, and at least 20 in Belgium. Hundreds of people are still missing, and the grim expectation is that many of them have not survived…. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s president, was among the many who linked the devastation to the need to deal with climate change. ‘Only when we take action against climate change can we keep the events that we are now experiencing within limits,’ he said.” — The New York Times

July 14, 2021
MIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule.
“A remarkable new study by a director at one of the largest accounting firms in the world has found that a famous, decades-old warning from MIT about the risk of industrial civilization collapsing appears to be accurate based on new empirical data. The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms as measured by global revenue. — Vice

July 14, 2021
Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs
“The Amazon rainforest is emitting a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to a study. The giant forest had been absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis but is now causing its acceleration, researchers said. Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for beef and soy production. But even without fires, hotter temperatures and droughts mean the south-eastern Amazon has become a source of CO2, rather than a sink.” — The Guardian

July 13, 2021
Severe drought threatens Hoover dam reservoir — and water for US west
“Only 1.8% of the west is not in some level of drought, with California, Arizona and New Mexico all experiencing their lowest rainfalls on record over the previous 12 months. ‘The amount of water now available across the US west is well below that of any time in modern civilization,’ said Park Williams, a hydroclimatologist at Columbia University. Research by Williams and colleagues last year analyzed tree rings to discover the current dry period is rivaled only by a spell in the late 1500s in a history of drought that reaches back to around 800, with the climate crisis doubling the severity of the modern-day drought.” — The Guardian

July 13, 2021
Plastic pollution is nearing irreversible tipping point, experts warn
“Biodiversity loss, rising temperatures and increased toxicity for oceans and wider society if emissions continue…. In an article published in , scientists from Sweden, Norway and Germany wrote that there were “enormous” consequences for continuing to throw away plastics, which continue to be “poorly” recycled. Figures for plastic waste entering the environment by 2025 are in the region of 9 and 23 metric tonnes per year, with warnings that by 2050, the world’s oceans and seas will be filled with more plastic than fish.” — Independent

July 9, 2021
1 Billion Sea Creatures Cooked To Death In Canada In Record Pacific Northwest Heat Wave
“’If we don’t like it, then we need to work harder to reduce emissions,’ warned the University of British Columbia scientist who calculated the massive toll.” — HuffPost

July 8, 2021
Climate crisis ‘may put 8bn at risk of malaria and dengue’
“More than 8 billion people could be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by 2080 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated, a new study says.” — The Guardian

July 7, 2021
A Tug of War Between Lake and Sky
“A Clash between elemental forces — sun, rain, heat and ice — is what is threatening to upend centuries of relative stability along the Great Lakes’ 10,000 miles of shoreline, including the 22 miles that define Chicago’s eastern edge. And the best explanation is climate change, said Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist at the University of Michigan who has been studying lake levels for more than a decade. In fact, the speed and uncertainty of the changes underscore how Chicago, in some crucial ways, is perhaps more immediately exposed to the dangers of global warming than cities on the ocean.” — The New York Times

July 5, 2021
Questions to ask on the eve of World Population Day: How many Indians are too many Indians? Are our numbers a boon or a bane?
“The thought that we are about to outnumber the Chinese ought to occupy us. How many Indians are too many Indians? Are our numbers a boon or a bane? What will the demographic changes do to our society? Instead, our politicians are exploiting the myths about population explosion to further their divisive agenda. …It took millions of years for the world’s population to reach one billion in 1800 AD. But it doubled within just 100 years and tripled in the next century, hitting the six-billion mark in 1999. By 2011, it had reached seven billion. In 2030, it’s expected to grow to around 8.5l billion, by 2050 it will be 9.7 billion and in 2100, it will be 10.9 billion.” — Free Press Journal

July 5, 2021
Berta Cáceres assassination: ex-head of dam company found guilty
“Roberto David Castillo, former Honduran army intelligence officer, found to be co-collaborator in ordering murder. A US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer who was the president of an internationally-financed hydroelectric company has been found guilty over the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres. Caceres, winner of the Goldman prize for environmental defenders, was shot dead two days before her 45th birthday by hired hitmen on 2 March 2016 after years of threats linked to her opposition of the $50m Agua Zarca dam.” — The Guardian

July 5, 2021
Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored)
“In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on ‘climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems.’ The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest)…. ‘The climate change began in 1960,’ the report’s first page informs us…. But, the report argued, the world ignored this warning, as the global population continued to grow and states made massive investments in energy, technology and medicine.” — The Guardian

July 3, 2021 July 3 is International Plastic Bag Free Day. It’s for us to make the choice — planet or plastic

“A whopping 25,940 tonnes per day of plastic waste is generated in India, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar disclosed in the Lok Sabha in November 2019, quoting a study by the Central Pollution Control Board. Since then, the pandemic has only led to a surge in pollution from disposable products such as plastic face masks, hand sanitiser bottles and syringes.” — The Free Press Journal

July 2, 2021
The scientists hired by big oil who predicted the climate crisis long ago
As early as 1958, the oil industry was hiring scientists and engineers to research the role that burning fossil fuels plays in global warming…. What those scientists discovered — and what the oil companies did with that information — is at the heart of two dozen lawsuits attempting to hold the fossil fuel industry responsible for their role in climate change.” — The Guardian



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