TEN ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTS
1.Rapid acceleration of sea level rise along the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. coast
Juanjun Yin, “Rapid Decadal Acceleration of Sea Level Rise along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts during 2010-2022 and Its Impact on Hurricane-Induced Storm Surge,” Journal of Climate (2 Mar 2023). bit.ly/3MNr1G4
Sonke Dangendorf et al., “Acceleration of U.S. Southeast and Gulf coast sea-level rise amplified by internal climate variability,” Nature Communications (10 Apr 2023). go.nature.com/43ECygE
See also, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, “Seas have drastically risen along southern U.S. coast in past decade: Multiple new studies highlight a rate of sea level rise that is ‘unprecedented in at least 120 years’ along the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. coast,” The Washington Post (10 Apr 2023). wapo.st/3A1qSaf
Richard Luscombe, “Miami and New Orleans face greater sea-level threat than already feared,” The Guardian (10 Apr 2023). bit.ly/40ll9ag
“Coastal cities in the southern US, including Miami, Houston and New Orleans, are in even greater peril from sea-level rise than scientists already feared, according to new analysis.
What experts are calling a dramatic surge in ocean levels has taken place along the US south-eastern and Gulf of Mexico coastline since 2010, one study suggests, an increase of almost 5in (12.7cm).
That “burst”, more than double the global average of 0.17in (0.44cm) per year, is fueling ever more powerful cyclones, including Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida in September and caused more than $113bn of damage – the state’s costliest natural disaster and the third most expensive storm in US history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).”
“A second study by a long list of sea-level experts, led by Sönke Dangendorf of Tulane University and published in Nature Communications, finds the same trend since 2010 across the U.S. Gulf Coast and southeastern coastlines, calling the rise “unprecedented in at least 120 years.”
2. Adverse impacts on children’s health from air pollution
European Environment Agency, Air pollution and children’s health (24 April 2023) bit.ly/3n4fszK
See also, Fiona Harvey, “Europe ‘failing its children’ on air pollution, EEA says,” The Guardian (24 Apr 2023). bit.ly/3Aq26AS via @guardian
Breathing dirty air causes the premature death of at least 1,200 children across Europe each year, and many thousands more are afflicted with physical and mental health problems that could have lifelong impacts, according to the latest assessment of air pollution by the European Environment Agency.
Children are particularly susceptible to dirty air, as pollutants can have an impact on their development that is permanent. The impacts begin before birth, with studies linking pollution to low birth weight and premature birth.
Exposure to high levels of pollutants in childhood have been shown to inhibit lung capacity, cause asthma, lead to higher levels of respiratory disease and ear infections, and increase the risk of allergies – and they may also affect brain development.”
3. Acute exposure to air pollution raises risk of heart arrhythmias
Xiaowei Xue et al., “Hourly air pollution exposure and the onset of symptomatic arrhythmia: an individual-level case–crossover study in 322 Chinese cities,” Canadian Medical Association Journal (1 May 2023). bit.ly/41YszBB
See also, Hannah Devlin, “Air pollution spikes linked to irregular heartbeats, study finds,” The Guardian (1 May 2022). bit.ly/3NAbCcq
“The research, based on nearly 200,000 hospital admissions in China, found a significant increase in risk of arrhythmias in the first few hours after an increase in air pollution levels. Heart arrhythmias can increase the risk of heart disease and sudden cardiac death.”
4. Melting glaciers in Alps threaten biodiversity of invertebrates
M. A. Wilkes, et al., “Glacier retreat reorganizes river habitats leaving refugia for Alpine invertebrate biodiversity poorly protected,” nature ecology & evolution (4 May 2023). go.nature.com/3HQhXwz
Abstract: Alpine river biodiversity around the world is under threat from glacier retreat driven by rapid warming, yet our ability to predict the future distributions of specialist cold-water species is currently limited. Here we link future glacier projections, hydrological routing methods and species distribution models to quantify the changing influence of glaciers on population distributions of 15 alpine river invertebrate species across the entire European Alps, from 2020 to 2100. Glacial influence on rivers is projected to decrease steadily, with river networks expanding into higher elevations at a rate of 1% per decade. Species are projected to undergo upstream distribution shifts where glaciers persist but become functionally extinct where glaciers disappear completely. Several alpine catchments are predicted to offer climate refugia for cold-water specialists. However, present-day protected area networks provide relatively poor coverage of these future refugia, suggesting that alpine conservation strategies must change to accommodate the future effects of global warming.
See also, Sofia Quaglia, “Melting glaciers in Alps threaten biodiversity of invertebrates, says study,” The Guardian (4 May 2023). bit.ly/44Hmqf4
5. Ireland warms like the rest of the world, but it is also subject to possible cooling from a weakening Gulf Stream
Irish Marine Institute, Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem: Summary for Policymakers 2023 bit.ly/42mEbyw
Kevin O’Sullivan, “Ireland to face cooling as Gulf Stream weakens, Marine Institute warns,” Irish Times (4 May 2023). bit.ly/3psVvmR
“Unlike many parts of the world enduring rising temperatures due to climate change, Ireland is likely to experience cooling arising from sustained weakening of the Gulf Stream that normally gives the country its temperate climate, according to a new report…
The Gulf Stream, a strong ocean current that brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean, is predicted to decrease by 30 per cent into the future, with a low risk it will collapse completely, said report co-author Dr Gerard McCarthy of the ICARUS research facility at Maynooth University.
Also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), he said it disappeared before, in the last ice age – some 14,000 years ago – which saw glaciers return to Ireland. There is already evidence of its weakening, with Irish surface waters cooling in recent years after peaking in 2007. “Understanding how this is changing is a key research priority,” said Dr McCarthy, who underlined that “we have unique climate risks often tangled up with the Atlantic”.”
6. How climate lawsuits adversely affect stock value of carbon polluters
See Isabella Kaminski, “Big polluters’ share prices fall after climate lawsuits, study finds,” The Guardian (22 May 2023). bit.ly/3IUC51t
The study found stock markets responded most strongly in the days after cases against carbon majors, which include the world’s largest energy, utility and materials firms. Photograph: Dean
Climate litigation poses a financial risk to fossil fuel companies because it lowers the share price of big polluters, research has found.
A study to be published on Tuesday by LSE’s Grantham Research Institute examines how the stock market reacts to news that a fresh climate lawsuit has been filed or a corporation has lost its case.
The researchers hope their work will encourage lenders, financial regulators and governments to consider the effect of climate litigation when making investment decisions in a warmer future, and ultimately drive greener corporate behaviour.
The study, which is currently being peer reviewed, analysed 108 climate crisis lawsuits around the world between 2005 and 2021 against 98 companies listed in the US and Europe. It found that the filing of a new case or a court decision against a company reduced its expected value by an average of 0.41%.
7. Fossil fuel companies responsibility for climate reparations
Marco Grasso and Richard Heeda, “Time to pay the piper: Fossil fuel companies’ reparations for climate damages,” One Earth (April 2023). bit.ly/43mEXMh
See also, Nina Lakhani, “Fossil fuel firms owe climate reparations of $209bn a year, says study,” The Guardian (19 May 2023). bit.ly/45m53R8
“The world’s top fossil fuel companies owe at least $209bn in annual climate reparations to compensate communities most damaged by their polluting business and decades of lies, a new study calculates.
BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company and Chevron are among the largest 21 polluters responsible for $5.4tn (£4.3tn) in drought, wildfires, sea level rise, and melting glaciers among other climate catastrophes expected between 2025 and 2050, according to groundbreaking analysis published in the journal One Earth.
It is the first time researchers have quantified the economic burden caused by individual companies that have extracted – and continue to extract – wealth from planetheating fossil fuels.”
8. Sinking New York City with increasing flood threats
Tom Parsons, Pei-Chin Wu, Meng (Matt) Wei, Steven D’Hondt, “The Weight of New York City: Possible Contributions to Subsidence From Anthropogenic Sources,” Advancing Earth and Space Science (8 May 2023). bit.ly/43iJoaU
See also, Oliver Milman, “New York City is sinking due to weight of its skyscrapers, new research finds,” The Guardian (19 May 2023). bit.ly/3oge0Ln via guardian
“New York City is sinking in part due to the extraordinary weight of its vertiginous buildings, worsening the flooding threat posed to the metropolis from the rising seas, new research has found.
The Big Apple may be the city that never sleeps but it is a city that certainly sinks, subsiding by approximately 1-2mm each year on average, with some areas of New York City plunging at double this rate, according to researchers.
This sinking is exacerbating the impact of sea level rise which is accelerating at around twice the global average as the world’s glaciers melt away and seawater expands due to global heating. The water that flanks New York City has risen by about 9in, or 22cm, since 1950 and major flooding events from storms could be up to four times more frequent than now by the end of the century due to the combination of sea level rise and hurricanes strengthened by climate change.”
9. Human and societal costs of global warming
Timothy M. Lenton, et al., “Quantifying the human cost of global warming,” Nature Sustainability (22 May 2023). bit.ly/45s3C3E
See also, Kristoffer Tique, “A Fifth of the World Could Live With Dangerous Heat by 2100, New Study Warns: Most people live in a place with a mean annual temperature of 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But billions of people could see that figure jump to 84 degrees or higher, research says,” Inside Climate News (23 May 2023). bit.ly/3MTqX7j
“One in five people could live in dangerously hot conditions by the end of the century if global warming continues at its current pace, even if nations uphold their pledges under the Paris Agreement, scientists warned in a new peer-reviewed study. It’s the latest research published in recent days that points to the stark human and societal costs of the accelerating climate crisis as global carbon emissions continue to rise to unprecedented levels.
The study … estimates that some 2 billion people would see a mean annual temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, starting in as early as 2070, when Earth’s population is expected to reach at least 9.5 billion. Most people live in a “human climate niche” that ranges between a mean annual temperature of 55 degrees and 80 degrees, the researchers said, so that many people experiencing a major uptick in regional heat would be unprecedented.
Such a temperature threshold, where 84 degrees or higher becomes the middle ground for the year, can also be very dangerous for anyone without air conditioning or other means to cool off, the study’s authors also noted. According to their estimate, some of the nations that will be hardest hit by the heat are also home to some of the world’s poorest communities, where air conditioning typically isn’t an option…
Among the study’s most pertinent findings is the drastic difference it would make for the world to limit average warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement. Scientists estimate that under the global climate treaty’s current pledges, the world is still on track to warm by roughly 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100. But if emissions were significantly slashed to limit average warming to 1.5 degrees, Monday’s study said, just 400 million people would be pushed outside their climate niche instead of 2 billion.”
10. Deteriorating conditions on the River Wye
The Wildlife Trusts, Official status of River Wye downgraded due to worsened condition (30 May 2023). https://bit.ly/43v7kI4
The Wildlife Trusts are deeply concerned that the River Wye’s official status has been downgraded to ‘unfavourable-declining’, by the Government’s advisor, Natural England, today. The organisation’s new assessment shows that the much-loved river, which flows for 155 miles from mid-Wales to the Severn estuary in England, has experienced declines in key species such as the Atlantic salmon and white-clawed crayfish.
The new assessment covers the parts of the Wye that flow through England. When it was last assessed in 2010 only 1 of the 7 English units was ‘favourable’ and the remainder were ‘unfavourable recovering’, which means that actions underway could be expected to improve the condition over time. However, a new interim assessment out today shows that this has not happened – and now the Wye’s condition is worse, not better. The results are significant enough to reclassify all 7 units of the Wye, as well as all four units of its tributary the River Lugg, as ‘unfavourable declining’. The assessment on both the Wye and the Lugg record declines in salmon and crayfish, with declines in important aquatic plants also seen on the Wye.
See also, Helena Horton, “River Wye health status downgraded by Natural England after wildlife review,” The Guardian (30 May 2023). https://bit.ly/42hk18