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THE BRIEF [Oct 23-29'23]
Lots of planetary vital signs at extremes, peak CO2 by 2023, clean energy means less energy, big Ag made UN downplay role of methane.
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Climate 🎉
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‼️News you can’t miss
Here’s one important scary/bad (🙀), good (😻), interesting (😼) and fossil (💩) news item.
This week’s highlights
[#stateoftheclimate] — Global temperatures throughout mid-2023 have shattered records, with every month from June onward setting a new record. The extreme heat is attributed to the combination of El Niño conditions and human-driven warming. The year 2023 is projected to be the warmest on record. The record-setting temperatures have led to record heatwaves in many regions, and virtually all parts of the world have experienced warmer-than-usual temperatures. Factors contributing to the recent warmth include the strengthening of El Niño, the 11-year solar cycle, an unusual volcanic eruption, and the phaseout of planet-cooling sulphur dioxide in marine shipping fuels. The observed temperatures align with climate model projections, and ocean heat content has reached record highs. Antarctic sea ice extent has been at record lows, while Arctic sea ice extent has been at the low end of the historical range.
[#carbonoffsetrevival] — The European Union (EU) is considering reviving failed carbon offset schemes, despite evidence of their flaws. Carbon offsets have been criticized for diverting attention from decarbonization efforts and failing to deliver promised climate gains. Investigations have revealed that many offset projects are ineffective and overstated. The EU's proposed Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) would include forest offsets, potentially undermining the EU's status as a global climate leader. Critics argue that the use of tradable carbon credits could result in higher total emissions. The European Parliament's Environment Committee will vote on the CRCF, presenting a crucial choice for addressing the climate emergency.
[#bigbeeflobby] — A Guardian investigation reveals that the animal agriculture industry has influenced the United Nation's farming wing to downplay the contribution of methane emissions from livestock to global heating. Former officials at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were censored and undermined for more than a decade due to pressure from meat, feed, and dairy producers. The FAO's official number for livestock emissions has dropped from 18% to 11.2%, which some researchers argue underestimates the true impact. The industry's influence extends beyond the FAO, as the USDA may also be undercounting livestock emissions. The conflict of interest between regulating agriculture and promoting industry interests raises concerns about accountability for government institutions.
[#war] — Often people ask me what I’m most concerned about regarding climate change and this is it. That my children (and myself of course) have to live through violent conflicts that we could have avoided. Drought, flooding, and extreme weather are driving violent conflicts worldwide, while warfare has devastated ecosystems and left behind toxic legacies. Human rights organizations and lawyers are urging the International Criminal Court to assess the links between climate change and crimes, prioritizing the prosecution of crimes causing environmental destruction. Examples include Boko Haram recruitment due to economic instability in the Lake Chad basin, Russia's dam destruction in Ukraine affecting communities' access to water, and the environmental devastation caused by four decades of war in Afghanistan. The court's prosecutor is preparing a new policy on environmental crimes, and legal scholars argue that the court has authority to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes involving environmental destruction. The gathering of evidence on climatic drivers of crimes could help address the root causes of violence. Sudan is highlighted as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, with climate impacts exacerbating conflicts and environmental atrocity crimes.
That’s it for this week folks!
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