November 2023

1. Indoor wood burning raises women’s lung cancer risk by 43%

Suril S. Mehta, et al., “Indoor wood-burning from stoves and fireplaces and incident lung cancer among Sister Study participants,” Environmental International (August 2023). bit.ly/3RQpzF9

See also, Gary Fuller, “Indoor wood burning raises women’s lung cancer risk by 43%, says US study,” The Guardian bit.ly/3LWKXVB via @guardian

“Using an indoor wood stove or fireplace increases women’s risk of developing lung cancer by 43% compared with those that do not use wood heating, according to a US study.

In the UK, one in 13 men and one in 15 women born after 1960 are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetimes. In the US it is one in 16 men and one in 17 women.

The US study found that more frequent use of indoor wood heating led to greater risk. For example, people who used their wood burner on more than 30 days a year had a 68% increased lung cancer risk compared with people who did not burn wood.

The results come from the Sister Study, which tracks the health of 50,000 US women who had sisters with breast cancer.”

2.  “Extreme weather displaced 43m children in past six years

UNICEF, Children displaced in a changing climate: Preparing for a future that’s already underway (Oct 2023).  uni.cf/46jNWzr

See also, Nina Lakhanu, “Extreme weather displaced 43m children in past six years, Unicef reports,” The Guardian (5 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/3rKAJks via @guardian

“At least 43 million child displacements were linked to extreme weather events over the past six years, the equivalent of 20,000 children being forced to abandon their homes and school every single day, new research has found….

Floods and storms accounted for 95% of recorded child displacement between 2016 and 2021, according to the first-of-its-kind analysis by Unicef and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The rest – more than 2 million children – were displaced by wildfires and drought.

In absolute terms, China, the Philippines and India dominate with 22.3 million child displacements – just over half the total number… But the greatest proportion of child displacements were in small island states – many of which are facing existential threats due to the climate emergency – and in the Horn of Africa where conflict, extreme weather, poor governance and resource exploitation overlap.”

3.  Toxic PFAS contaminating drinking water for communities from nearby military bases

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Groundwater, Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives (September 2023).  bit.ly/3ZWdaBD

See also, Tom Perkins, “Toxic PFAS from US military bases polluting drinking water, report finds,” The Guardian (13 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/3MpFaID

“Plumes of toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” flowing from at least 245 US military bases are contaminating or threatening to pollute drinking water for nearby communities, and hundreds more are likely at risk across America, a new Department of Defense report finds…

While the report acknowledges the pollution, it does not clarify which drinking water sources are polluted, how high PFAS levels are in the polluted water systems, or provide information about the plumes’ locations…

The military currently only provides clean drinking water for communities with levels of PFOA and PFOS, two kinds of PFAS compounds, above 70 ppt. The EPA is proposing lowering the legal limit to 4 ppt. If it does, as expected, the defense department will likely be forced to provide drinking water to most, if not all, communities around facilities where there is PFAS contamination.”

4.   Shrinking Antarctic ice shelves

Benjamin J. Davison, et al., “Annual mass budget of Antarctic ice shelves from 1997 to 2021,” Science Advances (12 Oct 2023).  www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adi0186

See also, Nadeem Badshah, “Antarctica has lost 7.5tn tonnes of ice since 1997, scientists find,” The Guardian (12 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/3M3mspX

“More than 40% of Antarctica’s ice shelves have shrunk since 1997 with almost half showing “no sign of recovery”, a study has found, linking the change to the climate breakdown.

Scientists at the University of Leeds have calculated that 67tn tonnes of ice was lost in the west while 59tn tonnes was added to the east between 1997 and 2021, resulting in a net loss of 7.5tn tonnes.”

5.  UK Conservatives reversing critical climate polices and undermining efforts to achieve net zero

UK Climate Change Committee, CCC assessment of recent announcements and developments on Net Zero (12 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/46O4orz

See also, Fiona Harvey, “Sunak’s U-turns make net zero harder and keep bills high, watchdog warns,” The Guardian (12 Oct 2023). bit.ly/45sxfRb

“Rishi Sunak’s reversals on key climate policies have damaged the UK’s ability to meet its carbon-cutting goals and will keep energy bills high for millions of households, with the effect of “making net zero considerably harder to achieve”, the UK’s climate watchdog has warned.

Rowing back on policies to phase out gas boilers and petrol and diesel vehicles, and the general sense that the government is “weakening its commitments” to shifting to a green economy, have also harmed the prospects of inward investment into the UK, and sent adverse signals to consumers, businesses and other governments.

Scrapping plans to force landlords to improve the energy efficiency of rented accommodation will also cost renters about £325 a year in higher bills, the report found.

In a damning verdict on the prime minister’s announcements last month, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned of a “substantial policy gap” that was putting the UK off track to meet its crucial 2030 carbon targets.”

6.  GHG emissions impact on polar bear decline

Steve C. Amstrup, and Cecilia M Bitz, ‘Unlock the Endangered Species Act to address GHG emissions,” Science (31 August 2023).  bit.ly/3rYa4Rc

See also, Bob Berwyn, “New Research Shows Direct Link Between Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Polar Bear Decline,” Inside Climate News (3 Sept 2023).  bit.ly/3S4aQH5

Scientists say their findings could help close a legal loophole that enables the federal government to avoid considering greenhouse gas emissions impacts on threatened and endangered species.

“The paper establishes a direct link between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and cub survival rates using a methodology that can “parse the impact of emissions by source,” said Amstrup, also the chief science officer for Polar Bears International, a nonprofit conservation organization.

For example, the new paper notes that the hundreds of power plants in the U.S. combined will emit more than 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide over their 30-year lifespans. By calculating the amount of warming that carbon will drive, and the amount of Arctic sea ice that heat will melt, they estimate that those emissions will reduce polar bear cub recruitment in the Southern Beaufort Sea population by about 4 percent. By using that formula, they can measure how greenhouse gas emissions from a new project would affect polar bear populations, a calculation that wasn’t as clear when polar bears were listed as vulnerable.”

7.  Advantages of capturing carbon dioxide from the oceans

Austin Lieber, et al., Demonstration of direct ocean carbon capture using encapsulated solvents,” Chemical Engineering Journal (27 June 2023).  bit.ly/3QlyrBx

See also, Ananya Chetia, “Scientists Find Success With New Direct Ocean Carbon Capture Technology,” Inside Climate News (2 Sept 2023).

“In a research paper, the scientists say capturing carbon dioxide directly from the oceans could have advantages over direct air capture.

As human activity and climate change increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean, harming coral reefs and marine life, researchers have designed a new technology using aqueous sodium hydroxide and sodium carbonate to remove carbon dioxide from ocean water, helping reverse acidification and reduce global warming.”

8.  Quickly intensifying tropical cyclones

Andra J. Garner, “Observed increases in North Atlantic tropical cyclone peak intensification rates,” Scientific Reports (19 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/3rUis4h


“Quickly intensifying tropical cyclones (TCs) are exceptionally hazardous for Atlantic coastlines. An analysis of observed maximum changes in wind speed for Atlantic TCs from 1971 to 2020 indicates that TC intensification rates have already changed as anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have warmed the planet and oceans. Mean maximum TC intensification rates are up to 28.7% greater in a modern era (2001–2020) compared to a historical era (1971–1990). In the modern era, it is about as likely for TCs to intensify by at least 50 kts in 24 h, and more likely for TCs to intensify by at least 20 kts within 24 h than it was for TCs to intensify by these amounts in 36 h in the historical era. Finally, the number of TCs that intensify from a Category 1 hurricane (or weaker) into a major hurricane within 36 h has more than doubled in the modern era relative to the historical era. Significance tests suggest that it would have been statistically impossible to observe the number of TCs that intensified in this way during the modern era if rates of intensification had not changed from the historical era.”

9.  Significant gaps in EU commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 2030


See also, Ajit Niranjan, “EU must cut carbon emissions three times faster to meet targets, report says: Climate commissioner says pace of reductions needs to speed up in buildings, transport and agriculture to meet 55% target by 2030,” The Guardian (24 Oct 2023).   bit.ly/3FtyUvd

“In an attempt to stop weather growing more extreme, the EU has promised to pump 55% less planet-heating gas into the air in 2030 than it did in 1990. But over the past three decades it has cut emissions by just 32%, leaving behind “significant gaps” for the next seven years, the commission found in its latest State of the Energy Union report.

Current policies will cut emissions in 2030 by just 43%, according to new estimates from the European Environment Agency project. The figure rises to 48% if they include policies that have been planned but not yet put in place, but still leave a deficit in climate action of seven percentage points..

The EU also oversaw a boom in clean technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels, the report found, but the commission cautioned that renewable energy needed to grow much faster than it had over the past decade. On average, the share of renewables in European energy has grown 0.67 percentage points each year to hit 21.8% in 2021. Reaching the EU target of 42.5% by the end of the decade “will require a much faster growth in the coming years”, the report found.”

10.  “Damning evidence’ of harms of fracking

Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure from Concerned Health Professionals of NY, Science & Environmental Health Network, and Physicians for social Responsibility  (9th ed.,  Oct 2023).   bit.ly/46GWkJR

See also, Jon Hurdle, “Research by Public Health Experts Shows ‘Damning’ Evidence on the Harms of Fracking,” Inside Climate News (20 Oct 2023).  bit.ly/3s56xk0

“Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas is linked to an array of health harms, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and birth defects, according to the latest compilation of studies on the impact of fracking on human health.

The ninth edition of a “compendium” of scientific, medical, government and media reports on the industry’s health effects, released Thursday, contains references to almost 2,500 papers that add to evidence that fracking has an array of negative impacts on human health, the authors say.

The number of studies collected is now more than six times what it was when the first compendium was published in 2014, but the conclusions are the same, said Dr. Sandra Steingraber, the lead author, and a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, which jointly published the 637-page document.”





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