Daily Archives: January 8, 2023

25 years after the ice storm, is Quebec prepared for the next one?

CBC News: The National – you Jan 8, 2023

The 1998 ice storm is still considered one of the largest natural disasters in Canadian history, prompting a massive investment in Quebec’s electrical grid. But 25 years later, a report is raising concerns about the province’s ability to weather future storms.

Water level woes threaten Great Lakes freshwater system – YouTube

CBC News: The National – Jan 8, 2023

Climate modelling predicts a future with less stable water levels along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, threatening the industries and ecosystems that rely on them.

What factors impacting food prices

CGTN America – Jan 8, 2023

Much of the world’s population saw its grocery bills go up in 2022. Check out what factors are driving the food prices up. #food

BBC World Service – The Climate Question, What role is overpopulation playing in the climate crisis?

If there were fewer of us, would the amount of greenhouse gasses we emit reduce? It’s a question that often creeps up in discussions about climate change. Studies show that the global population will decline eventually and populations in many rich nations are already declining. However, 11,000 scientists signed a paper warning of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless society transforms, including the reversal of population growth. But an analysis by the United Nations found that affluence has a greater impact on the climate than population. When we talk about overpopulation, what are we really saying and where does the conversation go from here?

This episode was first broadcast on 13th December 2021.

Presenters Neal Razzell and Kate Lamble are joined by:
Nyovani Madise, head of the Malawi office of the African Institute for Development Policy.
Anu Ramaswami, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton.
Arvind Ravikumar, professor in energy transition and climate policy at the University of Texas.

Producer: Darin Graham
Reporter: Rajesh Joshi
Series producer: Alex Lewis
Editor: Emma Rippon
Sound engineer: Tom Brignell
Production coordinator: Siobhan Reed and Sophie Hill

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Too many people? The challenges of demographic change | Business Beyond

DW News – Dec 28, 2023

There are now eight billion people on the planet, more than at any point in history. In many ways, population growth reflects progress: improved access to healthcare has led to a rise in life expectancy and a decline in infant mortality. Yet the swelling number of people has also led to problems. Rapid urbanization and growing demand for resources has had a detrimental environmental impact. In regions with swelling youth populations, young people often do not have sufficient access to opportunities.

Other parts of the world are grappling with the opposite problem: their populations are ageing rapidly and there are not enough young people to support them.

In this video, we look at examples of demographic challenges in India, Nigeria and Poland and ask: what are governments doing to tackle demographic trends? We also consider the impact a surging global population will have on the long-term health of the planet.


00:00 Introduction

01:55 Swelling Populations: India

05:15 Youth Bulge: Nigeria

08:00 Ageing Populations: Poland

12:04 Environmental Impact

14:57 Conclusion

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Why some scientists fear a treeless Amazon

[This article was written with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.]

Some Brazilian scientists fear that the Amazon may become a grassy savanna — with profound effects on the climate worldwide.

By Alex Cuadros Jan. 4, 2023

One of the first times Luciana Vanni Gatti tried to collect Amazonian air she got so woozy that she couldn’t even operate the controls. An atmospheric chemist, she wanted to measure the concentration of carbon high above the rainforest. To obtain her samples she had to train bush pilots at obscure air-taxi businesses. The discomfort began as she waited on the tarmac, holding one door open against the wind to keep the tiny cockpit from turning into an oven in the equatorial sun. When at last they took off, they rose precipitously, and every time they plunged into a cloud, the plane seemed to be, in Gatti’s words, sambando — dancing the samba. Then the air temperature dipped below freezing, and her sweat turned cold.

Not that it was all bad. As the frenetic port of Manaus receded, the canopy spread out below like a shaggy carpet, immaculate green except for the pink and yellow blooms of ipê trees, and it was one of those moments — increasingly rare in Gatti’s experience — when you could pretend that nature had no final border, and the Amazon looked like what it somehow still was, the world’s largest rainforest.

The Amazon has been called “the lungs of the earth” because of the amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs — according to most estimates, around half a billion tons per year. The problem, scientifically speaking, is that these estimates have always depended on a series of extrapolations. Some researchers use satellites to detect changes that indicate the presence of greenhouse gases. But the method is indirect, and clouds can contaminate the results. Others start with individual tree measurements in plots scattered across the region, which allows them to calculate the so-called biomass in each trunk, which, in turn, allows them to work out how much carbon is being stored by the ecosystem as a whole. But it’s hard to know how representative small study areas are, because the Amazon is almost as large as the contiguous United States, with regional differences in rainfall, temperature, flora and the extent of logging and agriculture. (One study even warned of the risk of “majestic-forest selection bias.”)

…(read more).

Oxford Study: Heat and Drought Hazard to Hit 90 Percent of Earth’s Population

Oxford University:

More than 90% of the world’s population is projected to face increased risks from the compound impacts of extreme heat and drought, potentially widening social inequalities as well as undermining the natural world’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere—according to a study from Oxford’s School of Geography.

Warming is projected to intensify these hazards ten-fold globally under the highest emission pathway, says the report, published in Nature Sustainability.

In the wake of record temperatures in 2022, from London to Shanghai, continuing rising temperatures are projected around the world. When assessed together, the linked threats of heat and drought represent a significantly higher risk to society and ecosystems than when either threat is considered independently, according to the paper by Dr. Jiabo Yin, a visiting researcher from Wuhan University and Oxford Professor Louise Slater.

These joint threats may have severe socio-economic and ecological impacts which could aggravate socio inequalities, as they are projected to have more severe impacts on poorer people and rural areas.

According to the research, “The frequency of extreme compounding hazards is projected to intensify tenfold globally due to the combined effects of warming and decreases in terrestrial water storage, under the highest emission scenario. Over 90% of the world population and GDP is projected to be exposed to increasing compounding risks in the future climate, even under the lowest emission scenario.”

Dr. Yin says, “By using simulations from a large model…and a new machine-learning generated carbon budget dataset, we quantify the response of ecosystem productivity to heat and water stressors at the global scale.”

He maintains this shows the devastating impact of the compound threat on the natural world—and international economies. He says, limited water availability will hit the ability of “carbon sinks”—natural biodiverse regions—to take in carbon emissions and emit oxygen.

Professor Slater says, “Understanding compounding hazards in a warming Earth is essential for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG13 that aims to combat climate change and its impacts. By combining atmospheric dynamics and hydrology, we explore the role of water and energy budgets in causing these extremes.”

This is where old dirty cars end up

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What the new US Congress means for the rest of the world | DW News

DW News – Jan 8, 2023

The US House of Representatives finally has a new speaker. Republican Kevin McCarthy was sworn in after 15 rounds of voting. He faced fierce resistance from members of his own party. McCarthy was forced to make compromises with right-wingers to secure the post. The smal faction of far-right representatives promises to make life difficult for McCarthy and the US government. What could their outsize influence mean for US foreign policy and the Ukraine War?