Category: Earth & climate

Lima climate deal: business as usual or step forward?

Sunday 15th of December the yearly UN Climate Conference in Lima finished, two days late, with a deal between all 194 represented nations. For the first time in history, an agreement has been reached that commits every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions. The deal outlines the framework which will be the core of the necessary deal to take serious global action, to be agreed upon during the climate top in Paris in December 2015.

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Photo of the week: Brazil’s ongoing drougth

Brazil’s Cantareira reservoir has dried up to nearly 10% of its normal capacity (photo: Nacho Doce/Reuters)

California is not the only place who’s suffering historical droughts. The Canteira system is at its lowest level on record, posing a serious threat to water provisions of South-America’s largest city Sao Paullo. The government was forced months ago to install daily rationing. If the current situation doesn’t change dramaticcaly, Sao Paola can fall dry by February next year. Brazil relies heavily on hydropower and has to start up very polluting coal plants since no water means no hydropower. In the meantime, many speculate about the reasons behind this unseen drought. Antonio Nobre (one of country’s most respected Earth scientists and climatologists) believes the far going deforestation in the Amazon and the almost complete disappearance of the Atlantic forest are the main reason. The forest used to cool down the region and inforced a water cycle which is now broken.

Sources

BBC
The Telegraph

 

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Europe’s recent action on climate change: is it enough?

On the morning of the 25th of October, the world received the news European leaders reached a long-awaited deal on how to tackle climate change after 2020. By now, most people have heard about the 20-20-20 strategy outlined in the climate and energy package in 2009. The three key points of this package are (all to be reached by 2020):

  • A 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels;
  • Raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%;
  • A 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency.

So far, many European countries are doing quite some efforts to reach this goals and many of them will reach this targets well in time. But it was time to think about the next step, and that’s what the recent European top in Brussels was all about. This time, new goals for the decade following 2020 were on the table. The new key points are bolder:

  • 27% energy efficiency,
  • 27% renewables
  • 40% reduction of greenhouse gases

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Photo of the week: Soy beans

The agriculture of soy beans (photo: Yann Arthus-Bertrand)

Today the consumption of soy beans is ten times the amount of fifty years ago. Three quarters is used for the meat industry. The soaring demand for meat is putting high pressure on our planet as valuable agriculture land and ancient forests make way to grow food for animals instead of people.

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Photo of the week: the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is still world’s largest coral reef system stretching for over 2.300 kilometres. over an area of approximately 344.400 square kilometres. Due to climate change and the impact of human behavior the Great Barrier Reef lost nearly half of its corals since 1985, according to a study of National Academy of Science.

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Ozone

I Introduction

Today we are going to talk about the ozone hole. There’s a good chance you got a sunburn in the last few weeks and so you know by experience how important it is to block out the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Luckily, most of the radiation is blocked by our dear earth’s ozone layer already. Problem is there’s a hole in it. You probably have heard of it before, but do you know what caused it, how politicians tried to stop it and why they created a new problem by doing so? You will find out soon!

 

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