1- Climate change: July set to be world’s warmest month on record
July is anticipated to be the hottest month on record globally, with scientists confident it will surpass the previous 2019 record. The extreme heatwaves are attributed to fossil fuel use, and some experts believe it could be the warmest month in over 120,000 years. While greenhouse gas emissions and the El Niño weather system contribute to the rising temperatures, international climate agreements like the Paris Agreement aim to limit long-term global warming. Reducing emissions remains crucial to addressing climate change and its consequences.
2- Indigenous Pacific leaders call on countries to support the ban on deep-sea mining
Greenpeace and civil society leaders from the Pacific region are advocating for a halt to deep-sea mining through video projections in various global cities. They express concerns about the potential impacts on cultural heritage, ecosystems, and livelihoods. The ISA’s approval of deep-sea mining exploration contracts has sparked worries about irreversible damage. Many governments, including Canada, Portugal, Brazil, and Finland, are pushing for a moratorium on this industry. A coalition of countries has formally requested the UN-affiliated body to discuss pausing deep-sea mining. The leaders emphasize prioritizing nature and working towards ocean protection and restoration.
Source: Green Peace
3- Spy planes over the North Pole: Could climate change fuel war in the Arctic?
The rapid melting of Arctic ice due to climate change is revealing valuable natural resources, including fish, oil, gas, and rare earth minerals, sparking a race among nations to claim and exploit them. This competition for resources is leading to increased militarization in the region, raising the risk of conflict. As the ice retreats, new sea routes have opened, significantly impacting shipping and trade. NATO has recognized the security challenges posed by climate change in the Arctic and is taking steps to reduce its own emissions and achieve net zero by 2050.
4- Capacity cuts: Dutch government’s environmental action
The Dutch government’s legal victory allows it to cut the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport between the end of 2023 and October 2024. The aim is to address noise and pollution from the aviation industry, reducing flight numbers by 8% to 460,000 annually. Airlines like KLM, easyJet, Tui, and Delta contested the move. This decision marks a significant attempt to address the environmental impact of air travel and may set a precedent for similar measures in Europe.
Source: Financial Times
5- Could painting rooftops white help lower temperatures? Scientists want Barcelona to try it out.
In response to Barcelona’s increasing heat island effect, scientists suggest painting the city’s rooftops white to reduce temperatures during heatwaves. The project aims to create “cold rooftops” with higher albedo, reflecting sunlight and lowering heat accumulation. If implemented, this initiative could potentially decrease temperatures by up to 4.7 degrees Celsius. While some see it as a positive step, others call for more comprehensive solutions to address the challenges of climate change and heat waves. The success of the project will depend on the willingness of Barcelonians living in top- floor apartments to participate.
6- US considers ‘sun blocking’ to cool the Earth: What is it and does it really work?
The US is considering research into solar radiation modification (SRM) or “sun blocking” technologies to address climate change impacts. This approach involves reflecting sunlight back into space, potentially cooling the Earth. While proponents argue for its potential benefits, others express concerns about feasibility and unintended consequences. The United Nations is cautious about SRM, emphasizing the need for greenhouse gas emissions reduction as the primary solution for climate change. Research on sun-blocking shows varied outcomes, with some suggesting it as a supplementary measure alongside emission reduction efforts.
7- International Plastic Overshoot Day: Which countries are the best at recycling polluting material?
International Plastic Overshoot Day is the day when the world surpasses its capacity to manage plastic waste effectively. Earth Action, a research consultancy, marks this day to raise awareness of the global plastic pollution crisis and the disparities in recycling efforts among countries. Denmark demonstrates efficient plastic waste management, while Nigeria struggles to recycle. Currently, 43% of plastic waste is mishandled worldwide, leading to environmental and health issues. Developing countries face challenges due to managing their own plastic waste and handling waste from wealthier nations. The United Nations is working on a treaty to address plastic pollution on a global scale.
8- There’s a lot of talk about hydrogen’s potential. But transportation costs represent a big challenge.
Hydrogen, especially green hydrogen produced from renewables, is seen as a crucial tool in achieving net-zero goals. However, challenges include the dominance of fossil fuel-based hydrogen production and high production costs. Transporting hydrogen is difficult and expensive compared to natural gas. Options include dedicated pipelines or exporting hydrogen as ammonia. Partnerships and programs for green hydrogen delivery are emerging. To make hydrogen transport more feasible, reducing production costs is essential. Current technology can handle hydrogen transport, but lowering production costs would ease transportation expenses.
9- France’s nuclear power stations to limit energy output due to high river temperatures
Due to high river temperatures in France, EDF will impose output restrictions on two nuclear power plants along the Rhone River, causing a potential halving of power production at these plants. However, these restrictions are not expected to significantly affect overall output or power prices, as they are likely to be enforced during specific periods when solar output is at its peak. EDF claims to be adapting its facilities to cope with climate change, and past studies indicated minor effects on biodiversity from increased temperatures. Nonetheless, the French nuclear watchdog, ASN, closely monitors the situation and observes ecological impacts during previous heat waves.
10- Greenhouse gas emissions from global energy industry still rising – report
Despite significant growth in renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, greenhouse gas emissions from the global energy sector rose by 0.8% in 2022, reaching record levels. Fossil fuels still dominated 82% of global energy consumption, leading to an increase in emissions as overall energy demand expanded. Renewable energy, excluding hydropower, met only 7.5% of energy needs. Although renewable energy saw remarkable growth, global energy consumption rose by a modest 1.1%, with higher oil and coal usage to meet demand. The report emphasizes the need for urgent action to align with the Paris climate agreement’s goals and reduce emissions to avoid severe global heating.
Source: The Guardian