This Week in Sustainability News – 26.08
This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.
UK and US banks fund Russian “carbon bombs”
Newly released data has shown that financial institutions across the US and UK are among the biggest investors in Russian “carbon bomb” projects.
Carbon bombs refer to fossil-fuel extraction projects estimated to contain over one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, a figure triple that of the UK’s annual emissions.
The UK was found to be the third largest backer of these Russian projects, with 32 institutions collectively holding over £2.1 billion in investments. HSBC was found to have the largest share of these investments.
The data was released by the Leave it in the Ground Initiative (Lingo). The group hope that the database encourages campaigners to challenge the financial institutions investing in the projects that both accelerate climate change and feed the war in Ukraine.
Dangerous heat conditions to be more common by 2100
New research has shown how heat conditions across the world will be impacted by the choices we make now regarding climate change.
The study uses the “heat index” to quantify the impact of temperature and humidity on the human body. A dangerous heat index is defined as temperatures exceeding 39.4C, while an extremely dangerous heat index exceeds temperatures of 51C and is considered unsafe for humans for any length of time.
In a scenario where global emissions remain unchecked until 2100, areas surrounding the equator such as sub-Saharan Africa and India could face extremely dangerous heat indexes on a regular basis.
Even in a lower emissions scenario, where warming is kept under the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2C, dangerous heat indexes may be up to 10 times more common in Western Europe, the US, China, and Japan. Furthermore, in the tropics, dangerous days could cover half of the year.
Europe struggles under worst drought in 500 years
The European Commission has warned that Europe’s current drought may be the worst in at least 500 years, according to preliminary data.
Currently, 47% of the continent is facing “warning” conditions, meaning the soil has dried up, while a further 17% is “on alert”.
The impacts of the drought are being felt across Europe, with harvests expected to face significant reductions compared to previous years.
Furthermore, the drying of rivers across the continent has led to supply chain issues and a 20% drop in hydroelectric power generation.
Viral “there’s no climate emergency” post debunked
The “World Climate Declaration” went viral on social media recently. The declaration demonstrates a consensus among over 1,100 supposed scientists and professionals that “there is no climate emergency”.
Experts quickly debunked the post, categorising it as “the latest iteration of a broader disinformation campaign that for decades has peddled a series of arguments long discredited by the scientific community at large.”
The vast majority of the declaration’s signatories were found to have no experience or background in climate science.
Furthermore, experts have drawn attention to the well-documented ties between the group behind the post and various fossil fuel interest groups.
While 1,100 signatories may seem like a large number, studies have found that over 97% of peer-reviewed climate change research articles reach a very different conclusion from that which is promoted by the World Climate Declaration. The overwhelming consensus amongst the scientific community is that rapid climate change is happening and humans are largely responsible.
In one study, over 88,125 articles were reviewed, with 99.9% of them coming to the same conclusion.
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