March 2023

1.PFAs in Norwegian Ice

William F. Hartz, et al., “Levels and distribution profiles of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in a high Arctic Svalbard ice core,” Science of The Total Environment (1 May 2023) bit.ly/3I1X01k

See aslo, Tom Perkins, “Alarming levels of PFAS in Norwegian Arctic ice pose new risk to wildlife,” The Guardian (11 Feb 2023). bit.ly/40Qp7cb

Norwegian Arctic ice is contaminated with alarming levels of toxic PFAS, and the chemicals may represent a major environmental stressor to the region’s wildlife, new research finds.

The Oxford University-led study’s measurements of ice around Svalbard, Norway, detected 26 types of PFAS compounds, and found when ice melts, the chemicals can move from glaciers into downstream ecosystems like Arctic fjords and tundra.

The meltwater can contain a cocktail of contaminants that includes PFAS and affects the entire food web, including plankton, fish, seal and apex animals like polar bears, which have previously been found to have high PFAS levels in their blood

2.. Ultra low emissions zones (Ulez) in London and reduction of air pollutants

Mayor of London, INNER LONDON ULTRA LOW EMISSION ZONE – ONE YEAR REPORT (Februery 2023).  bit.ly/3HNBn4

See also, Peter Walker, “Ultra low emissions zone expansion cut London pollutants by up to 26% – study,” The Guardian (10 Feb 2023). bit.ly/3jVl6CL

The initial expansion of London’s ultra low emissions zone (Ulez) for motor vehicles has brought notable benefits in reducing pollution, a study has found as the mayor prepares for a big extension to its boundaries.

The report has been peer-reviewed by Dr Gary Fuller, an expert on urban pollution at Imperial College London. It calculated that since the zone was introduced four years ago, emissions of toxic nitrogen oxides, or NOx, particularly produced by diesel engines, are 23% lower across London as a whole compared with what would be their estimated level if the scheme had not been introduced, and 26% lower within the zone.3.

3. Air pollution linked to depression

Xinye Qiu, et al., “Association of Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution With Late-Life Depression in Older Adults in the US.   JAMA Nework Open (10 Feb 2023).   bit.ly/3Yq1TrD

See also, Sara Knapton, “Air pollution linked to depression, study suggests,” Irish Independent (11 Feb 2023). bit.ly/3E2MPbo via @IrishIndoNews

A team from Harvard University looked at the health records of nearly nine million people in the US, of whom 1.5 million developed depression after the age of 64.

After matching the records to where they had lived, researchers found long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), were all linked to a greater risk of depression.

They found that for each five-unit increase in fine particulate matter exposure, depression risk increased by 0.9pc.

For the same increase in nitrogen dioxide exposure it increased by 0.6pc, and for the same rise in ozone exposure, it increased by 2pc.

4. Climate Change and Spread of Malaria in Africa

Colin J. Carlsom, et al., “Rapid range shifts in African Anopheles mosquitoes over the last century,” Biology Letters (15 feb 2023).  bit.ly/3EgHf5w


“Here, we use one of the most comprehensive datasets ever compiled by medical entomologists to track the observed range limits of African malaria mosquito vectors (Anopheles spp.) from 1898 to 2016. Using a simple regression approach, we estimate that these species’ ranges gained an average of 6.5 m of elevation per year, and the southern limits of their ranges moved polewards 4.7 km per year. These shifts would be consistent with the local velocity of recent climate change, and might help explain the incursion of malaria transmission into new areas over the past few decades. Confirming that climate change underlies these shifts, and applying similar methods to other disease vectors, are important directions for future research.”

See also, Apoorva Mandavilli, “Climate Change Is Spreading Malaria Over More  and More of Africa,” The New York Times (15 Feb 2023). nyti.ms/3XHJeX7

5. Risks from underestimating climate feedback loops

William J. Ripple et al., “Many risky feedback loops amplify the need for climate action,” One Earth (17 Feb 2023).  bit.ly/3EeFMML

See also, Bob Berwyn, “Scientists Examine Dangerous Global Warming ‘Accelerators’,” Inside Climate News (17 Feb 2023).  bit.ly/3YMDI75

“Recent climate projections may be underestimating the pace of global warming in an atmosphere damaged by greenhouse gas emissions, because the interaction of powerful climate feedback loops that can accelerate warming are not well-represented in key climate models, an international team of scientists concluded in a study published today in the journal One Earth. Their findings suggest that efforts to reduce emissions require even more urgency to avoid worst-case climate outcomes, the team reported…

Recent evaluations conclude that, if countries meet the emissions-reduction targets they’ve set for themselves, the average global temperature would warm 2.7 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial temperatures by 2100, which would have catastrophic impacts for people and ecosystems. But if some of the feedback loops shown in the new paper accelerate, warming could soar well above that level, toward 4 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century…

The researchers examined 41 climate feedback loops and found 27 that significantly increase warming but may not be fully accounted for in climate models. Ripple said scientists generally understand the feedback loops individually, but that the models often overlook the cumulative effect all of them together might have over the next 50 to 80 years.”

6. Impacts of Induction Stoves on Indoor Air Quality in Affordable Housing

WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Out of Gas, In With Justice:  Studying the Impacts of Induction Stoves on Indoor Air Quality in Affordable Housing (Feb 2023). bit.ly/3lObwCp

See also, Delaney Dryfoos and Victoria St. Martin, Indoor Pollutant Concentrations Are Significantly Lower in Homes Without a Gas Stove, Nonprofit Finds,” Inside Climate News (14 Feb 2023).  bit.ly/415fSVK

A recent study by a group of environmental activists in New York City, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, sought to measure the extent to which replacing gas stoves with electric ranges could affect indoor air quality.

… the WE ACT study, which was based on both long-term air monitoring and cooking tests using a spaghetti dinner in a half-dozen apartments, helped to quantify just how much air quality differs between using gas and electricity. Researchers found that gas stoves produced nearly three times the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, and roughly twice the levels of carbon monoxide, than in kitchens with electric induction stoves.”

7. Cattle-ranching, not cocaine, has driven the destruction of the Colombian Amazon

Paulo J. Murillo-Sandoval et al., “The post-conflict expansion of coca farming and illicit cattle ranching in Colombia,” Nature (3 Feb 2023).  go.nature.com/3lPXDTU

See also, Luke Taylor, “Cattle, not coca, drive deforestation of the Amazon in Colombia – report,” The Guardian (19 Feb 2023).  bit.ly/3lMgcZs

“Cattle-ranching, not cocaine, has driven the destruction of the Colombian Amazon over the last four decades, a new study has found.

Successive recent governments have used environmental concerns to justify ramping up their war on the green shrub, but the research shows that in 2018 the amount of forest cleared to cultivate coca, the base ingredient of cocaine, was only 1/60th of that used for cattle.

The study’s findings vindicate conservation experts who have long argued that Colombia’s strategy to conserve the Amazon – often centered on combating coca production – has been misplaced.”

8. The climate doom loop: balancing the causes and consequences of the climate crisis

Laurie Laybourn, Henry Throp and Suzannah Sherman 1.5°C – dead or alive? The risks to transformational change from reaching and breaching the Paris Agreement goal.  Chatham House and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPRR) (Feb 2023).  bit.ly/3k7Sl5X

 See also, Damian Carrington, “World risks descending into a climate ‘doom loop’, warn thinktanks,” The Guardian (16 Feb 2023).   bit.ly/3SardzC

“The world is at risk of descending into a climate “doom loop”, a thinktank report has warned.”

“The report said: “This is a doom loop: the consequences of the [climate] crisis draw focus and resources from tackling its causes, leading to higher temperatures and ecological loss, which then create more severe consequences, diverting even more attention and resources, and so on.”

“Avoiding a doom loop required a more honest acceptance by politicians of the great risks posed by the climate crisis, the researchers said, including the looming prospect of tipping points and of the huge scale of the economic and societal transformation required to end global heating. This should be combined with narratives that focused on the great benefits climate action brought and ensuring policies were fairly implemented.”

9. Adverse impacts on freshwater species from fracking wastewater

Aaron Boyd, et al, “Persisting Effects in Daphnia magna Following an Acute Exposure to Flowback and Produced Waters from the Montney Formation,” Environmental Science and Technology (1 Feb 2023).

See also, Liza Gross, “Fracking Wastewater Causes Lasting Harm to Key Freshwater Species,” Inside Climate News (21 Feb 2023).  bit.ly/3Z2H8mq

Exposing water fleas, a critical link in the aquatic food chain, to fracking wastewater reduces their survival and ability to reproduce, with potentially far-ranging consequences, new research shows.

10.  Current loss of biodiversity as start of a new mass extinction

Gerardo Ceballos, et al, “Vertebrates on the brink as indicators of biological annihilation and the sixth mass extinction,” PNAS (1 June 2020).  bit.ly/3YVbK9j

See also, Damian Carington, “Ecosystem collapse ‘inevitable’ unless wildlife losses reversed,” The Guardian (24 Feb 2023). bit.ly/3y13bOd via @guardian

“The steady destruction of wildlife can suddenly tip over into total ecosystem collapse, scientists studying the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history have found.

Many scientists think the huge current losses of biodiversity are the start of a new mass extinction. But the new research shows total ecosystem collapse is “inevitable”, if the losses are not reversed, the scientists said.

The Permian-Triassic extinction event, known as the “Great Dying” occurred 252 million years ago. It was driven by global heating resulting from huge volcanic eruptions and wiped out 95% of life on Earth.

However, species are being lost today even faster than in any of the previous five mass extinctions that have struck the planet. Wildlife is being destroyed via the razing of natural habitats for farming and mining, pollution and overhunting. Humanity relies on healthy global ecosystems for clean air and water, as well as food.”


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