Environment

Environment

Factoring in climate protection

At the start of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, experts and companies called for the climate to be factored into any planned economic stimulus and investment programmes. Berlin (dpa) – The call for more climate protection, and that includes during the Coronavirus crisis, is becoming louder. Prior to the international climate talks which the Federal government is convening, more than 60 corporations have joined forces to call for economic stimulus and investment programmes to be “systematically given a climate-friendly thrust”. Gerhard Adrian,President of the German Meteorological Service (DWD), said: “It would be terrible if climate protection were to be consigned to a backseat given the fight against the virus. How combatting the pandemic and the fight against climate change can be combined will be the topic of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue on Monday and Tuesday. For the first time, the annual top-level meeting will take place as a video conference. In addition to Germany, it is ..

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What effects has the coronavirus crisis had on climate change?Professor Peterson answers

Professor Peterson, what effects has the coronavirus crisis had on climate change? Do you have current figures for Germany, Europe, and the world? In the short term, the suppression of economic activity as a virus control measure has also reduced emissions. For example: during the financial crisis in 2009, global gross domestic product shrank by around 1.7 per cent compared with the previous year. This led to a 1.4 per cent reduction in global emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and cement production. Because of the coronavirus crisis, a global decline in GDP of 2.5 to 3 per cent is predicted. This could lead to corresponding emission reductions of 2 to 3 per cent. But the financial crisis also shows that this is a unique, short-term effect that is negligible compared with long-term trends. I doubt that the coronavirus crisis will have any noticeable long-term effects on emissions and climate change. [contfnewc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc] Unusual picture: the Frankfurt Airpor..

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Coronavirus: Will Europe’s cities become greener after lockdown is lifted?

As shutdowns are eased, social distancing will become the new normal across Europe. From compulsory face masks to strict one way systems in shops, our daily lives are going to look and feel very different. The lockdowns have also accelerated much deeper changes that were already underway in our cities, in particular, the drive to push cars out of key areas. They have the potential to permanently affect how we commute, work, shop and socialise. In Milan, plans have been brought forward for 70 km of new cycle lanes along with the expansion of pedestrian areas. The first phase of the project will be completed in September with the remainder opening next spring. [contfnewc] Work has begun on 35km of new cycle lanes in MilanProject Plans [contfnewc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc] [contfnewc] The Open Roads project aims to radically reduce the use of public transport during the pandemic – and will remain in place after it ends. This will permanently shrink the space given to vehicles along k..

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‘Rolling the dice’: Sydney faces challenging fire season, charts show

The Sydney region will enter spring primed for large bushfires after its third dry winter in a row, with maps showing moisture levels are below those in the run-up to the blazing 2013 season. Moisture levels of trees and other live vegetation for the fortnight up to August 12 show much of the region around Sydney to be dry, particularly to the north-west and in the Blue Mountains. The dry conditions mean it is likely all forested areas in the state will have the start of their dangerous bushfire period brought forward to September 1, the NSW Rural Fire Service said. A bushfire near Springwood in the Blue Mountains in October 2013. Dry conditions this winter have fire experts wary of the coming season.Credit:Dallas Kilponen "It's dry across the Sydney basin," said Rachael Nolan, a fire ecology lecturer at Western Sydney University who compiled the data from satellite imagery. "Our research shows when the live stuff dries out, you're more likely to get the more severe fires..

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Warming climate to stir up more damaging waves as ‘rare event’ nears: research

Waves are forecast to become larger and more powerful and to shift direction if the climate continues to warm at its current rate, with southern Australia among the regions to be hardest hit globally, new research says. The study, led by scientists from Griffith University and published in Nature Climate Change on Tuesday, comes as meteorologists forecast a "quite rare event" later this week as a potentially damaging swell hits eastern Australia. A monster wave in January 2015 that washed a woman off Nobbys breakwall in Newcastle.Credit:Cordelia Troy Using about 150 model simulations, the researchers found about half the world's coastline was "at risk from wave climate change" by the final two decades of this century if greenhouse gas emissions remained at their current "business-as-usual trajectory". The wave changes, driven primarily by strengthening winds "might potentially exacerbate or even exceed in some coastal regions, impacts of future sea-level rise", the paper said...

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‘Quite rare’: Potentially damaging surf to pummel NSW coast this week

Coastal NSW can expect unusually powerful swells late in the week, with hazardous and potentially damaging waves generated by a deep low in the Tasman Sea, the Bureau of Meteorology says. The bureau has issued a warning for gale force winds on Monday for Sydney's closed waters and the Eden Coast, and for strong winds for most of the rest of the NSW coast. Waves crash over the Wollongong breakwall in November 2015. Similar weather might well be on the way for the NSW coast later this week. Credit:Adam McLean While similar conditions are expected on Tuesday, the bureau is likely to raise the alerts to hazardous conditions on Wednesday and for damaging surf on Thursday, Jordan Notara, a forecaster, said. The combination of the deep low and a high pressure system is the source of the big swells. Wave heights for offshore Sydney will approach six metres on Thursday, "quite a rare event, particularly for August", Mr Notara said. Advertisement The record wave recorded for offshore ..

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Call for Australia’s Pacific membership to be suspended over coal

Australia's membership of the Pacific Island Forum should be "urgently reviewed" for possible sanctions or suspension over the Morrison government's pro-coal stance, says Anote Tong, a former president of Kiribati. Prime Minister Scott Morrison's resistance to demands by forum leaders at last week's gathering in Tuvalu for a global ban on new coal-fired power plants and coal mines has also drawn criticism from Rachel Kyte, a special United Nations representative, who described support for the fossil fuel as "reckless and cruel". Welcome mat to go?: Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at the Leaders Retreat during the Pacific Islands Forum last week in Funafuti, Tuvalu.Credit:AAP Mick Tsikas Mr Tong, who has been an advocate for low-lying nations facing catastrophe as sea levels rise, said Fiji was suspended from the forum in 2009 "for not adhering to the rules", and Australia's behaviour was hardly better. "It is supposed to be about the ..

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NSW’s koalas ‘in crisis’ as threats rise on many fronts, inquiry told

Koala populations are facing increased threats across NSW with even the healthiest colonies at risk as critical habitat is destroyed, and the climate grows hotter and drier, a parliamentary inquiry has heard. Among the submissions to the inquiry in Sydney on Friday was an Office of Environment and Heritage document obtained under freedom of information laws. It showed "less than one per cent of identified koala habitat is protected" under new land clearing codes introduced by the Berejiklian government in 2017. Koalas face threats on multiple fronts, including in Sydney's south-west where even the state's healthiest population are facing loss of habitat and humans move in.Credit:Jessica Hromas "Koala populations in NSW are in crisis," said Jack Gough, a researcher at the Nature Conservation Council who obtained the document. "Koalas face a range of pressures – climate change, disease, cars and dogs – but the number one threat is habitat loss and fragmentation." The docume..

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