What Is Climate Change? – Science@NASA

Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. These changes have a broad range of observed effects that are synonymous with the term.
Changes observed in Earth’s climate since the mid-20th century are driven by human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere, raising Earth’s average surface temperature. Natural processes, which have been overwhelmed by human activities, can also contribute to climate change, including internal variability (e.g., cyclical ocean patterns like El Niño, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and external forcings (e.g., volcanic activity, changes in the Sun’s energy output, variations in Earth’s orbit).
Scientists use observations from the ground, air, and space, along with computer models, to monitor and study past, present, and future climate change. Climate data records provide evidence of climate change key indicators, such as global land and ocean temperature increases; rising sea levels; ice loss at Earth’s poles and in mountain glaciers; frequency and severity changes in extreme weather such as hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods, and precipitation; and cloud and vegetation cover changes.
“Climate change” and “global warming” are often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings. Similarly, the terms “weather” and “climate” are sometimes confused, though they refer to events with broadly different spatial- and timescales.
Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s surface observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere. This term is not interchangeable with the term “climate change.”
Since the pre-industrial period, human activities are estimated to have increased Earth’s global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), a number that is currently increasing by more than 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. The current warming trend is unequivocally the result of human activity since the 1950s and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate over millennia.
Weather refers to atmospheric conditions that occur locally over short periods of time—from minutes to hours or days. Familiar examples include rain, snow, clouds, winds, floods, or thunderstorms.
Climate, on the other hand, refers to the long-term (usually at least 30 years) regional or even global average of temperature, humidity, and rainfall patterns over seasons, years, or decades.
This website provides a high-level overview of some of the known causes, effects and indications of global climate change:
Evidence. Brief descriptions of some of the key scientific observations that our planet is undergoing abrupt climate change.
Causes. A concise discussion of the primary climate change causes on our planet.
Effects. A look at some of the likely future effects of climate change, including U.S. regional effects.
Vital Signs. Graphs and animated time series showing real-time climate change data, including atmospheric carbon dioxide, global temperature, sea ice extent, and ice sheet volume.
Earth Minute. This fun video series explains various Earth science topics, including some climate change topics.
Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio. An extensive collection of animated climate change and Earth science visualizations.
Sea Level Change Portal. NASA’s portal for an in-depth look at the science behind sea level change.
NASA’s Earth Observatory. Satellite imagery, feature articles and scientific information about our home planet, with a focus on Earth’s climate and environmental change.
Header image is of Apusiaajik Glacier, and was taken near Kulusuk, Greenland, on Aug. 26, 2018, during NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) field operations. Learn more here. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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What does El Niño mean for California's winter weather? – Los Angeles Times

After a blistering summer of record heat, raging wildfires and unpredictable storms, federal scientists on Thursday said a warm, wet winter driven by El Niño is in store for California and much of the rest of the country.
The first winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that a strong El Niño will remain in place through at least the spring, with further strengthening possible over the next couple of months.
El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation pattern — sometimes referred to as ENSO — and is a major driver of temperature and precipitation patterns across the globe.
“The anticipated strong El Niño is the predominant climate factor driving the U.S. winter outlook this year,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief of the operational prediction branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
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Temperature forecasts for December, January and February favor warmer-than-average conditions across the northern tier of the U.S. and much of the West, with the highest chance of above-normal temperatures expected in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and northern New England. Odds are tilted toward warmth in Central and Southern California as well.
California
Much of the Bay Area and inland Southern California are under heat advisories through Thursday, with high temperatures expected.
Oct. 19, 2023
The forecast also favors wetter-than-average conditions in many regions of the country, including nearly all of California, the southern Plains, Texas and the Southeast. Widespread drought will persist across much of the central and southern U.S., but not in California, where the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay area have the highest odds in the state of above-normal rainfall.
The outlook conjures the specter of another soggy season for the Golden State, which was pummeled by 31 atmospheric river storms, deadly floods and record-setting snow last winter.
Gottschalck said the combination of wetness and warmth means more precipitation is likely to fall as rain instead of snow. But he and other experts also said it’s too soon to say whether California will see a repeat of the atmospheric rivers it experienced at the start of this year.
“It’s important to stress that even though we see these general patterns during El Niño and La Niña years, there is still a lot of variability and not every event is going to follow the general pattern,” Julie Kalansky, a climate scientist at the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in a recent El Niño update.
Kalansky noted that last year’s La Niña was a perfect example, as the state received a deluge of moisture despite the pattern’s association with drier conditions in Southern California.
“So, the declaration of an El Niño doesn’t guarantee that Southern California is going to have a wet, stormy winter, but it does stack the deck in that direction,” she said.
Climate & Environment
Global surface temperatures last month were 2.25 degrees above the 20th century average of 60.1 degrees, surpassing the record set in August 2016.
Sept. 15, 2023
The wet outlook follows the planet’s hottest summer ever recorded.
Global average surface temperatures in June, July, August and September were the highest they’ve ever been, marked by sizzling heat waves in Europe, China and the southwestern U.S. — including a record 31 consecutive days of high temperatures at or above 110 degrees in Phoenix.
September was so hot — 2.59 degrees above the 20th century average of 59 degrees — that it also broke the record for the highest monthly global temperature anomaly, or the largest difference from the long-term average, NOAA officials said.
Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the nonprofit Berkeley Earth, called the month’s temperature data “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.”
The September data and winter forecast make it 99% certain that 2023 will end up as the planet’s hottest year on record, according to Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Currently, 2016 and 2020 are tied for that record.
Schmidt said this year’s monthly heat records are particularly remarkable because they are occurring before the peak of the current El Niño event. Other hot periods, including in 2016 and 2020, happened after the peak of El Niño.
That doesn’t bode well for what might be in store next spring, he said.
“I would anticipate that 2024 is still going to be warmer than 2023, even given the ‘gobsmackingly bananas’ anomalies that we’ve had this summer,” Schmidt said. “What we would predict for next year, based just effectively on the long-term trend and the predicted level of ENSO going into next year, is that it will be warmer again — and by quite a lot.”
California
There is an 84% chance the system will be of moderate strength, and a 56% chance it will become a strong event at its peak, forecasters said.
June 9, 2023
Schmidt said he was surprised by the unusually high temperatures this summer. Persistent climate warming driven by the burning of fossil fuels is to be expected, as are warmer global temperatures linked to El Niño, but scientists are still seeking answers about why 2023 has been so off-the-charts.
Some theories include a recent change to shipping regulations concerning aerosols, which reduced the upper limit of sulfur in fuels. The change was geared toward cleaner air in ports and coastal areas but may have had an unintended planetary warming effect because the aerosols were reflecting sunlight away from Earth.
A dearth of Saharan dust, possibly linked to weakened trade winds from El Niño, could also be a warming factor since the dust normally has a cooling effect on the North Atlantic, Schdmit and other researchers said.
Additionally, the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in 2022 shot record-breaking amounts of water vapor into the stratosphere, which can act as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas.
“But all of the quantitative estimates of how big those effects are are way too small to explain what’s going on,” Schmidt said. “This is not a neat story. It could be the long-term trends, plus ENSO, plus a little bit from the volcano, plus a little bit from the marine shipping emission changes, plus quite a large chunk of internal variability.”
California
Unprecedented warming in the North Atlantic has startled some researchers. While global warming is the underlying cause, a variety of other factors are at play.
June 13, 2023
Indeed, he said that while the long-term trends point to continued warming, there are likely to be years in the future that are cooler than 2023.
What is indisputable, though, is that people are already experiencing the effects of warmer temperatures — including extreme rainfall, extended droughts, heat waves and sea level rise — through their impacts on infrastructure, coral reefs, fishing, crop yields and other sectors, Schmidt said.
NOAA experts said this year’s El Niño probably won’t be as severe as the one in 2015-16, which ranked as a “very strong El Niño,” but that it would still be wise for the West Coast to ready itself for more El Niño-fueled moisture. This month, state officials said they are taking steps to prepare for such a possibility, including assembling flood control material and sandbags, and providing funds for critical levee repairs.
Climate & Environment
With great abundance comes risk. Forecasters are warning of another potentially wet winter fueled by El Niño, which could bring levee breaches and flooding.
Oct. 4, 2023
Though the winter storms significantly eased drought conditions in California, the soggy winter was among dozens of billion-dollar climate disasters in the U.S. this year, with flooding in the state between January and March causing about $4.2 billion in damage, according to NOAA. In August, Tropical Storm Hilary dropped more than a year’s worth of rain in a single day in several regions of the state.
Other billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. include major flooding in New York, Hurricane Idalia in Florida and a devastating firestorm in Hawaii.
“So far this year we’ve had 24 confirmed billion-dollar disasters, which is already a record-breaking amount,” said Tom Di Liberto, a climate scientist with NOAA. “And we still have October, November and December to go.”
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Hayley Smith is an environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she covers the many ways climate change is reshaping life in California, including drought, floods, wildfires and deadly heat.
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Climate change – World Health Organization (WHO)

 
 
Climate change presents a fundamental threat to human health. It affects the physical environment as well as all aspects of both natural and human systems – including social and economic conditions and the functioning of health systems. It is therefore a threat multiplier, undermining and potentially reversing decades of health progress. As climatic conditions change, more frequent and intensifying weather and climate events are observed, including storms, extreme heat, floods, droughts and wildfires. These weather and climate hazards affect health both directly and indirectly, increasing the risk of deaths, noncommunicable diseases, the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, and health emergencies.
Climate change is also having an impact on our health workforce and infrastructure, reducing capacity to provide universal health coverage (UHC). More fundamentally, climate shocks and growing stresses such as changing temperature and precipitation patterns, drought, floods and rising sea levels degrade the environmental and social determinants of physical and mental health. All aspects of health are affected by climate change, from clean air, water and soil to food systems and livelihoods. Further delay in tackling climate change will increase health risks, undermine decades of improvements in global health, and contravene our collective commitments to ensure the human right to health for all.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) concluded that climate risks are appearing faster and will become more severe sooner than previously expected, and it will be harder to adapt with increased global heating.
It further reveals that 3.6 billion people already live in areas highly susceptible to climate change. Despite contributing minimally to global emissions, low-income countries and small island developing states (SIDS) endure the harshest health impacts. In vulnerable regions, the death rate from extreme weather events in the last decade was 15 times higher than in less vulnerable ones.
Climate change is impacting health in a myriad of ways, including by leading to death and illness from increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and floods, the disruption of food systems, increases in zoonoses and food-, water- and vector-borne diseases, and mental health issues. Furthermore, climate change is undermining many of the social determinants for good health, such as livelihoods, equality and access to health care and social support structures. These climate-sensitive health risks are disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including women, children, ethnic minorities, poor communities, migrants or displaced persons, older populations, and those with underlying health conditions.
Climate change risk pathways infographic
Figure: An overview of climate-sensitive health risks, their exposure pathways and vulnerability factors. Climate change impacts health both directly and indirectly, and is strongly mediated by environmental, social and public health determinants.
 
Although it is unequivocal that climate change affects human health, it remains challenging to accurately estimate the scale and impact of many climate-sensitive health risks. However, scientific advances progressively allow us to attribute an increase in morbidity and mortality to global warming, and more accurately determine the risks and scale of these health threats.
WHO data indicates 2 billion people lack safe drinking water and 600 million suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, with children under 5 bearing 30% of foodborne fatalities. Climate stressors heighten waterborne and foodborne disease risks. In 2020, 770 million faced hunger, predominantly in Africa and Asia. Climate change affects food availability, quality and diversity, exacerbating food and nutrition crises.
Temperature and precipitation changes enhance the spread of vector-borne diseases. Without preventive actions, deaths from such diseases, currently over 700 000 annually, may rise. Climate change induces both immediate mental health issues, like anxiety and post-traumatic stress, and long-term disorders due to factors like displacement and disrupted social cohesion.
Recent research attributes 37% of heat-related deaths to human-induced climate change. Heat-related deaths among those over 65 have risen by 70% in two decades. In 2020, 98 million more experienced food insecurity compared to the 1981–2010 average. The WHO conservatively projects 250 000 additional yearly deaths by the 2030s due to climate change impacts on diseases like malaria and coastal flooding. However, modelling challenges persist, especially around capturing risks like drought and migration pressures.
The climate crisis threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction, and to further widen existing health inequalities between and within populations. It severely jeopardizes the realization of UHC in various ways, including by compounding the existing burden of disease and by exacerbating existing barriers to accessing health services, often at the times when they are most needed. Over 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – spend at least 10% of their household budget to pay for health care. With the poorest people largely uninsured, health shocks and stresses already currently push around 100 million people into poverty every year, with the impacts of climate change worsening this trend.
In the short- to medium-term, the health impacts of climate change will be determined mainly by the vulnerability of populations, their resilience to the current rate of climate change and the extent and pace of adaptation. In the longer-term, the effects will increasingly depend on the extent to which transformational action is taken now to reduce emissions and avoid the breaching of dangerous temperature thresholds and potential irreversible tipping points.
While no one is safe from these risks, the people whose health is being harmed first and worst by the climate crisis are the people who contribute least to its causes, and who are least able to protect themselves and their families against it: people in low-income and disadvantaged countries and communities.
Addressing climate change’s health burden underscores the equity imperative: those most responsible for emissions should bear the highest mitigation and adaptation costs, emphasizing health equity and vulnerable group prioritization.
To avert catastrophic health impacts and prevent millions of climate change-related deaths, the world must limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. Past emissions have already made a certain level of global temperature rise and other changes to the climate inevitable. Global heating of even 1.5°C is not considered safe, however; every additional tenth of a degree of warming will take a serious toll on people’s lives and health.
WHO’s response to these challenges centres around 3 main objectives:
Leadership and Raising Awareness: WHO leads in emphasizing climate change’s health implications, aiming to centralize health in climate policies, including through the UNFCCC. Partnering with major health agencies, health professionals and civil society, WHO strives to embed climate change in health priorities like UHC and target carbon neutrality by 2030.
Evidence and Monitoring: WHO, with its network of global experts, contributes global evidence summaries, provides assistance to nations in their assessments, and monitors progress. The emphasis is on deploying effective policies and enhancing access to knowledge and data.
Capacity Building and Country Support: Through WHO offices, support is given to ministries of health, focusing on collaboration across sectors, updated guidance, hands-on training, and support for project preparation and execution as well as for securing climate and health funding.  WHO leads the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), bringing together a range of health and development partners, to support countries in achieving their commitments to climate-resilient and low carbon health systems.
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What we know about the 2023 El Niño and its effect on weather – Vox.com

2023 will break more weather records as the southern hemisphere heads into spring.
by Umair Irfan
El Niño, the warm phase of the Pacific Ocean’s temperature cycle, has already pushed temperatures around the world to levels never recorded before. Humanity this year experienced the hottest July, the hottest August, and the hottest September ever measured across the planet.
The temperatures didn’t just inch past the prior records; they blew right through them. September’s heat beat the previous high by nearly a whole degree Fahrenheit, “a staggeringly large margin,” according to Robert Rohde, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth.
But while the northern hemisphere is cooling off as autumn sets in, it’s only getting hotter south of the equator. And around the world, El Niño is likely to continue pushing weather to greater extremes into next year.
This autumn, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted that a “strong” El Niño would persist in the northern hemisphere through March 2024, sending shock waves into weather patterns.
Historically, El Niño years tend to set new heat records, energize rainfall in parts of South America, fuel drought in Africa, and disrupt the global economy. It may already have helped fuel early-season heat waves in Asia this year.
“This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, in a statement in May. “We need to be prepared.”
This winter, NOAA anticipates that El Niño will contribute to drier and warmer than normal conditions across the northern continental US while causing more snow and rain across the south and much of the east coast.
Some of El Niño’s biggest effects are playing out across the southern hemisphere now. South America is emerging from one of the hottest winters ever experienced on the continent. That created the conditions fueling wildfires in Argentina’s Cordoba province that forced evacuations in October.
“In Central Argentina there is an enormous lack of precipitation, and unfortunately, the forecast says there will be no rain in coming days,” Matilde Rusticucci, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, wrote in an email. However, through the rest of the year, El Niño is likely to bring downpours to the country as spring turns to summer, said Rusticucci, who also works as a researcher at Conicet, Argentina’s national science research council. That would alleviate fire conditions, but could lead to flooding.
This El Niño will likely be costly to the global economy. The one in 1997-98, one of the most powerful in history, led to $5.7 trillion in income losses in countries around the world according to a study published in May in the journal Science. That’s much higher than prior estimates of as much as $96 billion. It was also blamed for contributing to 23,000 deaths as storms and floods amped up in its wake.
Rising average temperatures are poised to amplify these effects further. Even if every country met its existing pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit climate change, El Niño events could lead to $84 trillion in economic losses by the end of the century, according to the Science study. 
“[T]hese findings together suggest that while climate mitigation is essential to reduce accumulating damages from warming, it is imperative to devote more resources to adapting to El Niño in the present day,” the authors wrote.
This might seem like a whole lot of impact from a weather phenomenon driven by slightly warmer than average water in the Pacific. But it turns out that the planet’s largest ocean, covering about one-third of its surface, is a powerful engine for weather around the world. Seemingly small shifts in temperature, wind, and current in the parts of the Pacific Ocean near the equator can alter weather patterns for months. 
Scientists have improved their ability to predict when these cycles will rise and how severe they will be, buying us time to prepare. Yet humans are also changing the climate while building more ports, homes, and offices in areas that are vulnerable to disasters worsened by El Niño. That’s why such events can be so costly — but there are measures that can dampen some of their worst effects. 
Fishers off the coast of Ecuador and Peru coined the term El Niño in the 19th century to describe a warm water current that regularly built up along the west coast of South America around Christmas (“El Niño” means “the boy,” a reference to the Christ child.)
The warm water turned out to be part of a much larger complicated system connecting seas and skies all over the world. Scientists now know that the Pacific Ocean cycles between warm, neutral, and cool phases roughly every two to seven years, inducing changes in the ocean and in the atmosphere. This back-and-forth is called the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. It’s “the strongest fluctuation of the climate system on the planet,” said Michael McPhaden, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (You can read a more detailed explanation of El Niño’s mechanics here.)
The key thing to understand is that the Pacific Ocean is huge. Huuuuge. Huuuuuuuuge. And that’s just the surface area; the Pacific averages 13,000 feet in depth but can dip as low as 36,000 feet. Water isn’t just moving north, south, east, and west, but up and down. These currents are driven by wind as well as temperature and salt gradients. 
Earth’s oceans also act as a giant thermal battery. They’ve absorbed upward of 90 percent of the warming humans have induced from burning fossil fuels, and the Pacific, at least, appears to be warming particularly fast
All this adds up to a world-changing amount of energy packed into one big ocean.
During ENSO’s neutral phase, wind pushes warm water in the Pacific around the equator from east to west. This lets warm water pool near Indonesia and raises sea levels there by 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) above normal compared to the coast of South America. The warmer water near Asia evaporates more readily and fuels rainstorms there. And as surface waters get pushed away from South America, water from deeper in the ocean rises, bringing with it valuable nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. This phenomenon is called upwelling, and it’s critical for nourishing sea life. About half the fish in the world are caught in upwelling zones. 
When El Niño starts picking up, this engine shifts gears. The trade winds slow down and the warm water near Asia starts sloshing back eastward across the Pacific, reaching the coast of South America. The drift in warm water also moves evaporation and rain such that southeast Asia and Australia tend to get drier while Peru and Ecuador typically see more precipitation. 
“It creates a lot of convection and a lot of thunderstorms in a part of the world that doesn’t always have that activity,” said Dillon Amaya, a research scientist at NOAA. “You release a lot of energy and a lot of heat into the atmosphere and this creates waves that propagate in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere symmetrically.”
These perturbations can then deflect weather patterns across the world. For instance, in the US, El Niño typically leads to less rainfall in the Pacific Northwest and more in the Southwest. But it’s one of several factors that influences the weather, making it tricky to anticipate just how it will play out in a given year. “It’s not always a one-to-one relationship,” Amaya said. 
The guidelines for declaring an El Niño are sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific that stay 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius) above the 30-year average for three months. The signal can be obscured by the noise of the changing seasons. That’s why scientists waited until June to say for certain that the world is in an El Niño year. “Once you get on the other side of spring, our forecast skill goes way up,” Amaya said. 
This engine can also shift into reverse. Tradewinds blowing east to west across the Pacific get stronger, cooling the region around the equator, a phenomenon known as a La Niña. This tends to have a cooling effect over the whole planet. 
El Niño typically picks up over the summer and shows its strongest effects over the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, forecasts drawing on ocean buoys, sensors, satellite measurements, and computer models showed that a strong one was brewing as the eastern Pacific Ocean steadily warmed up just below its surface. 
“The vast majority … are assuming that we’re going to have a big El Niño this winter,” said Amaya. “I think we’re definitely expecting to break global temperature records this year.”
Part of what’s making this so jarring is that ENSO is coming out of an unusually long La Niña phase. They typically last one to two years, but the world has been in one since 2020. “There’s only been three triple-dip La Niñas in the last 50 years: One in 1973 to 76, one from 1998 to 2001, and then this one,” said McPhaden. That has allowed more heat energy to accumulate in the ocean and may have helped cushion some of the warming due to climate change. However, the World Meteorological Organization noted that the past eight years were still the hottest on record
So the warming water detected in the equatorial Pacific and the rebound from La Niña pointed toward a strong El Niño. “All the ingredients are in place and the soup is cooking,” McPhaden said. “The ocean is uncorked. All that heat that was stored below the surface of the ocean is going to come out.”
The other big factor is that the planet itself is heating up. El Niño is part of a natural cycle. Human activity is amplifying some aspects of it, but not always in a straightforward way. Researchers expect that climate change will increase the chances of strong El Niño and La Niña events, but are still chalking out how they will manifest. Exactly how that extra heat is distributed across the ocean and the atmosphere will alter which regions see more rain, which ones will suffer drought, and where the biggest storms will land. 
And while the rising El Niño this year will eventually cycle back to its cool phase, it won’t be enough to offset humanity’s consumption of fossil fuels. “What really matters from the long-term point of view is this relentless rise in greenhouse gas concentrations,” McPhaden said. “You cannot escape that there will be continued warming because of that.” 
These forecasts, however, buy precious time to prepare. While El Niño can push some disasters to greater extremes, tools like early warning systems, disaster shelters, evacuations, and climate-resilient building codes can keep the human toll in check. It’s going to be an extreme year, but it doesn’t have to be a deadly one. 
Update, October 12, 2 pm: This story was originally published on May 30 and has been updated with new temperature records and NOAA’s updated El Niño forecast.
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Dry Springs in Central Texas Warn of Water Shortage Ahead – InsideClimate News

Almost every other day, Charlie Flatten gets a call about another local water well gone dry. 
Last week, he tried to help one woman find a water truck to fill her home cistern. But all the hauling companies had suspended service amid a deepening shortage in Central Texas.
“She’s got to go find somewhere else to live,” said Flatten, general manager of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District in Dripping Springs. “This is extremely serious.” 
Here in the booming Hill Country southwest of Austin, Flatten said, the Trinity Aquifer is at its lowest level on record. Across the region, iconic natural springs are dwindling or drying up, victims of extreme heat, persistent drought and ever-growing demand for water.
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This May, Flatten’s district issued a moratorium on groundwater pumping for the first time in its history. Meanwhile, he said, a private company called Aqua Texas continues pumping millions more gallons than it is authorized to take. And there isn’t much he can do about it. 
“Their business model does not benefit from conservation,” Flatten said of Aqua Texas, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities, an investor-owned utility with a $10.4 billion market capitalization. “Their business model benefits from selling water and their shareholders expect them to turn a profit every quarter.”
Flatten sent Aqua Texas a $450,000 fine for pumping almost twice as much as its permit allowed last year, but the company hasn’t paid. Settlement negotiations continue, along with excessive pumping, Flatten said.  
“We have contested the over pumping fee with the groundwater district and are currently working closely with them to get that resolved,” said Aqua Texas spokesperson Jennifer Olohan.
“The fee was for over pumping the drought curtailment numbers and not for over pumping the totality of our permit.”
After a year of requests from local leaders, Aqua on Friday banned all outdoor water use by its customers.  
This situation highlights a critical weakness of aquifer management in Texas, according to Vanessa Puig-Williams, Texas water program director for the Environmental Defense Fund. 
Because groundwater is private property in Texas, most of the conservation districts that manage it have insufficient tools available to enforce conservation, she said. 
“We are asking our local groundwater conservation districts to do the impossible,” she said. “I think we’ve set ourselves up for a disaster and I think we’re starting to see it in Central Texas.”
The cavernous, limestone aquifers of Central Texas produce a notable collection of springs that have nurtured human habitation for millenia. 
Ancient footpaths once followed this line of water features along where the Hill Country meets the coastal plains. Later, the Spanish road through Texas took the route. Today it’s the Interstate Highway 35 corridor—one of the fastest growing regions in the country—and the powerful springs mark the spots that would become Austin, San Marcos, New Braunfels and San Antonio.
Central Texas’ largest springs, which come from the Edwards Aquifer, are approaching their lowest flow levels on record, according to Robert Mace, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University in San Marcos. 
Standing beside a spring-fed pool, he pointed to a dry, rocky hole at the water’s edge. 
“It’s usually just gushing out of here,” Mace said as afternoon temperatures approached 105 degrees. “I’ve never seen it like this. This is the worst it’s been.”
San Marcos Springs, historically the second-largest in Texas, is flowing at just 50 percent of its historical average for this time of year.

The largest spring complex in Texas, Comal Springs in nearby New Braunfels, is flowing at 30 percent of its historical average for August. Its primary spring has gone completely dry. 
Las Moras Springs in Brackettville, west of San Antonio, has also stopped flowing. 
Barton Springs in Austin is flowing at about 14 cubic feet per second. Its average flow over the last 45 years is 67 cubic feet per second, according to Tim Loftus, manager of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. 
“We’re starting to enter rare territory,” he said. 
The lowest flow recorded at Barton Springs was 10 cubic feet per second during the drought of the 1950s—a decade-long dry spell that still stands as the worst in Texas history and the lowest point for the Edwards Aquifer springs. 
There is one big difference between the 1950s and now. Back then, there were less than eight million people in Texas. Today there are 30 million. Texas has gained more residents than any other U.S. state since the turn of this century, and none of them brought their own water.
Current heat and rainfall conditions rival the intensity of the 1950s drought, said Roland Ruiz, manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority in San Antonio. Back then, however, these conditions lingered for almost 10 years. 
“This drought is not nearly as long in duration, at least not yet,” he said. “In terms of temperature, it’s more intense.” 
Levels in the Edwards Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for nearly two million people, are about 50 feet below average for this time of year, according to Paul Bertetti, senior director for aquifer science research and modeling with the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
Last week, he told a board meeting of the aquifer authority that only a “deluge event” would begin to return normal conditions. But dry heat still dominated the forecast for weeks to come. 
“August doesn’t look good,” Bertetti said. “Above-normal rainfall is not expected until winter months.” 
When it comes to water conservation, there’s one high-volume use that planners agree must be first to go: the lawn. 
Summertime outdoor water use accounts for 50 to 80 percent of residential consumption, according to the Texas Water Development Board. Most of it goes onto turf grass.  
“We’ve asked our customers to basically let their lawns die, and that is not acceptable to a lot of people,” said Eric Ingram, operations manager of the water supply company in the Hill Country town of Comfort. “They tell us, ‘We’ve got thousands of dollars invested in this carpet grass.’ Well, we live in a desert now.”
The city of Manor banned sprinkler use for the first time in its history. Residents may only water by hand. City manager Scott Moore said the number of residential water accounts in Manor grew by 144 percent since 2013. Since 2016, the city has registered 2,376 residential and 135 commercial irrigation systems, he said.
Georgetown, the fastest-growing U.S. city, also banned sprinkler use in some of its territory for the first time since 2011, citing the inability of a neighboring city, Leander, to supply water. 
“Not being allowed to water our lawns is far from ideal. However, having safe drinking water for our customers must take priority over pristine, green lawns,” said Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder in a public announcement
In several cases, widespread irrigation of grass caused water system problems as supply grew short. For example: some residents of Bee Cave woke up to low or no water pressure in late June. 
“The storage tanks were drained overnight by over-irrigation of lawns,” Bee Cave mayor Kara King wrote on Facebook.
The same thing happened in Dripping Springs, where some residents received a boil water notification on July 20. Rick Broun, general manager for the local water supply company, told the Dripping Springs Century News that the loss in system pressure resulted from “an enormous amount of irrigation use last night.”
Residents and developers must reform their water use habits as the population of Central Texas continues to grow, according to Cathy Ramsey, a Dripping Springs resident and Western Hays County project coordinator for the Save Our Springs Alliance.
“Not many people are aware that the groundwater is extremely stressed right now,” she said. “The land looks dismal, wells are going dry and new developments keep on coming in, so it’s a little alarming.”

She has no well on her 10-acre semi-rural lot. Instead, pipes channel rainwater that falls on her house into a 20,000 gallon cistern that sits half-buried near her house. She uses non-toxic detergents so her sinks and showers can drain into gardens outside. 
Ramsey doesn’t grow a lawn. She lets the native grasses grow tall. Some of their roots can reach more than 15 feet below ground, she said, giving them excellent drought tolerance. 
“We’re destroying our springs to have lawns,” she said. “How sad.”
Native grasses alone won’t save Texas from water scarcity. Sustainable growth will require a combination of tactics on multiple fronts, according to Perry Fowler, executive director of the Texas Water Infrastructure Network. 
He said priorities should include repairs to widespread leakage in aging water systems, adoption of reuse technologies, construction of new reservoirs and, ultimately, development of desalination plants. 
“Based on the population growth projections that we’re seeing right now, we don’t have adequate water,” Fowler said. “The weather just exacerbates the problem.”
Water infrastructure in Texas has typically relied on federal money from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, he said, but increasing earmarks in national legislation are decreasing the amount available to Texas. 
In November, Texas will vote on a proposed amendment to the state constitution—known as Proposition 6—that will establish a state water fund. 
“I think a lightbulb went off this last legeislative session showing that people are viewing water as more of a priority,” Fowler said. “We’re going to be struggling just to maintain the level of funding that we rely on here.”
Marisa Bruno, water program manager for the Hill Country Alliance, said cities should adopt a system known as “One Water,” in which a single authority runs an integrated system for water supply, wastewater and stormwater drainage, full of built-in opportunities for reuse.  
“We’re going to just have to make some changes,” she said. “I don’t think business as usual is going to cut it.”
On a sweltering summer afternoon, 53-year-old Horacio Aguirre crossed his arms as he stared into a green, mucky puddle. He’d driven three hours from Houston to show his granddaughter Jacob’s Well, an iconic Hill Country swimming hole, only to find it dried up.  
“I can’t believe it,” said Aguirre, an industrial mechanic. “This is sad.”
Standing nearby in the shade, David Baker nodded in agreement. The founder and director of the Wimberley Watershed Association, he’s dedicated the last 30 years to protecting Jacob’s Well. In that time, he’s seen it stop flowing six times. But he’s never seen the water as low as it is now.

“Jacob’s Well is the canary in the coal mine for the aquifer. The canary is gasping for breath right now,” Baker said. 
It’s not just the drought, he said. Massive volumes of groundwater pumping are equally to blame. Specifically, Baker said, Aqua Texas, the investor-owned water utility that’s been flaunting its permits.
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When Baker started the Watershed Association in 1996, he said, there were 50 houses in the Woodcreek neighborhood. Now there are 1,500, with more than 2,000 lots still yet to be developed, all serviced by Aqua Texas.
Hays County, which includes Jacob’s Well, ranked as the fourth fastest-growing U.S. county last year, tied with its neighbor, Comal County. 
Every gallon now sprayed onto lawns or flushed down toilets in these neighborhoods used to flow out of Jacob’s Well, Baker said. 
“Across the region we’re losing two-to-three feet of groundwater levels every year,” he said. “Let’s be conscious that this is a finite resource.”
Aqua Texas, which supplies water to 280,000 customers in the state, said in a statement it is taking steps to reduce the impacts of its pumping. The company said it has purchased additional land outside the Jacob’s Well area in order to explore the possibility of using a different aquifer, and that it is building a new treatment plant to reuse wastewater for lawn irrigation. Aqua Texas also plans to spend $3 million this year replacing underground pipes. 
“We live here and understand the importance of finding a solution to the water issues. We can’t fix it overnight,” said Aqua Texas president Craig Blanchette in a statement. 
But Flatten, the manager of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, said time is running out and there isn’t much he can do to enforce less pumping. 
Each of the 98 groundwater conservation districts in Texas has different rules and powers. Most of them don’t have authority to deny permits to pump groundwater, which is considered a landowner’s private property. (The districts may enact a temporary moratorium on new permits, like Hays Trinity has done.) 
“I can’t go out and turn their taps off,” Flatten said. “We’re running out of time.”
The population of Dripping Springs has tripled in ten years. Flatten estimated that if 100 residents were asked the location of the city’s namesake springs, none of them would know. So they wouldn’t know, either, that those springs are also totally dry.  
“The springs are a window to the aquifer,” he said. “If you see a dried up spring, that means every nearby water well is at risk.”
Dylan Baddour covers the energy sector and environmental justice in Texas. Born in Houston, he’s worked the business desk at the Houston Chronicle, covered the U.S.-Mexico border for international outlets and reported for several years from Colombia for media like The Washington Post, BBC News and The Atlantic. He also spent two years investigating armed groups in Latin America for the global security department at Facebook before returning to Texas journalism. Baddour holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has lived in Argentina, Kazakhstan and Colombia and speaks fluent Spanish.
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Climate Change and Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms | US EPA – U.S. EPA.gov

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Scientists continue to document many effects of climate change on freshwaters, estuaries, and marine environments, and those effects are predicted to be exacerbated in the future. These effects, along with nutrient pollution, might cause algal blooms to become more severe and to occur more often in more waterbodies. Blooms with the potential to harm human health, pets, livestock, or aquatic ecosystems are referred to as harmful algal blooms, or HABs, and they can also have wide ranging economic impacts. 
In freshwaters, cyanobacteria (microscopic photosynthetic bacteria previously known as blue-green algae due to their color) are the most common HAB producers. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, produce toxins that cause illness in humans and other animals.
HAB forming cyanobacteria thrive in warm, slow-moving water, and typically occur when water temperatures are warmer. As a result, increases in water temperature with climate change are expected to increase the magnitude and duration of cyanoHABs. Warmer water temperatures favor cyanoHABs in several ways, including:
In some regions, climate change is predicted to reduce freshwater runoff due to drought and increased evaporation. These effects will combine to increase salinity in inland waters. This can impact irrigation, harm crops, contaminate drinking water, and allow the invasion of salt-tolerant and marine algae to inland lakes. In the southwestern and south-central United States, more salt-tolerant algal HABs known as “golden algae” have regularly recurred, expanded into lagoons, and killed fish in freshwater lakes since 2000.
In other regions, increased runoff from more intense rainfalls may increase freshwater flows to coastal areas. This freshwater sits on top of saltwater because it is lighter. This can prevent mixing of oxygen rich surface water with deeper layers where the oxygen has been removed by the decomposition of HABs after they die and sink to the bottom layer. These low oxygen (or hypoxic) zones harm or kill animals that require oxygen to live, including many commercially important species.
Algae need carbon dioxide to survive. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air and water can lead to rapid growth of algae, especially cyanoHABs that can float to the surface of the water and use the increased carbon dioxide. Increased levels of carbon dioxide also increase the acidity of the water, which affects competition among algal species and impacts the organisms that graze on algae. These effects can combine to increase the competitive advantage of HAB species.
Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns, increasing both rainfall intensity and the duration of drought. Increased rainfall causes higher nutrient runoff from land into waterbodies fueling HABs like those observed in Lake Erie in 2011 and 2015. If followed by extended drought, waterbodies can retain those nutrients for longer, favoring HAB species that compete better under higher nutrient conditions.
Moreover, increases in extreme rainfall and subsequent increases in freshwater flows may flush large loads of nutrients, freshwater HABs and their associated toxins into estuaries and marine areas. As a result, estuarine and marine waters may be at greater risk of developing HABs or seeing an exacerbation of existing HABs.
Scientists predict that sea level could rise one meter by the year 2100. This would increase the area of shallow, stable coastal waters that provide more favorable conditions for HABs.
Coastal upwelling occurs when wind pushes warm, surface water offshore and deep, nutrient rich waters rise to replace it. Climate change is expected to alter the timing and intensity of coastal upwelling. Along the west coast of the United States, excess nutrients delivered by upwelling might lead to more algal blooms, including HABs, especially when combined with increased runoff of nutrient pollution from the land.

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EPA History: Earth Day | US EPA – U.S. EPA.gov

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It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic smoke into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it.
How was that possible? Because there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.
In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked! In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Go to the current Earth Day site.
Note: The resources listed below are available for historical reference only. Page layout may differ for older documents and some links may be broken.
Earth Day ’70: What It Meant
by Gaylord Nelson [April 1980]
Earth Day Recollections: What It Was Like When The Movement Took Off
by John C. Whitaker [July/Aug. 1988]
The Spirit of the First Earth Day
by Jack Lewis [January/February 1990]
The Guardian: Origins of the EPA (1992)
EPA Registry to Record Trees Planted in Celebration of Earth Day
[February 5, 1990 press release]
From Awareness to Action
by William D. Ruckelshaus [April 22, 1971]
Earth Week 1973
by William D. Ruckelshaus [April 8, 1973]
Train Stresses Long-Range Planning as the Environmental Movement Comes of Age
Russell E. Train [April 22, 1975]
Statement on Earth Day 1990
by William K. Reilly [April 20, 1990]
Browner Releases Data on U.S. Water Quality, Calls for New Clean Water Act
Carol M. Browner [April 20, 1994]
The Earth is in Your Hands
by Carol M. Browner [Winter 1995]
EPA to Expand Chemical Right-To-Know Program and Provide Public with Better Health Data
Carol M. Browner [April 21, 1998]
Earth Day 2000 Kick Off
Remarks by Carol M. Browner [April 4, 2000]
Carol M. Browner speech, JFK School of Government, Harvard University [April 17, 2000]
Further reading: Collected remarks by EPA Administrators

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Environmental protection expenditure | European Environment Agency's home page – European Environment Agency

All official European Union website addresses are in the europa.eu domain.

The EU must increase environment- and climate-related expenditure to meet the objectives of the European Green Deal. Environmental protection expenditure (EPE) mainly includes expenditure related to the abatement of air, water, soil and noise pollution, the protection of biodiversity, the management of wastewater and waste, and environmental research and development. In real terms, the expenditure increased by 7% between 2018 and 2022 in the EU, reaching EUR 278 billion in 2022. It is very likely that it will continue to increase in the coming years, as additional funds will be made available.
Building on the European Green Deal policy objectives , the Eighth Environment Action Programme (8th EAP) aims to accelerate the green transition . To achieve this, environmental protection expenditure (EPE) must be increased in the Member States, and so must green expenditure beyond that directly related to environmental protection, such as expenditure on renewables, energy and resource efficiency, and the circular economy transition. EPE includes expenditure on the protection of ambient air, soil and water; wastewater and waste management; noise abatement; biodiversity protection; protection against radiation; and environmental research and development (R&D). EPE only partly captures expenditure related to the climate-related expenditure and the circular economy .
EPE includes both operating expenditure and investments. In real terms, it grew by 7% in the period 2018-2022, reaching an estimated EUR 278 billion by 2022 (2010 prices). Most EPE is spent by corporations, and this spending increased by 9% between 2018 and 2022, while the EPE of general governments and non-profit institutions serving households increased by 8%. Most EPE was spent on waste management and wastewater treatment activities in this period .
Since 2018, the share of overall EPE in gross domestic product (GDP) has remained relatively stable, at around 2%. The increase in this share in 2020 was an anomaly caused by the decline in GDP during the COVID-19 pandemic. In absolute terms, EPE was roughly the same in 2020 as in 2019 and increased by about 4% and EUR 11 billion (2010 prices) in 2022.
It is very likely that EPE will increase in the coming years, as additional resources have been made available. The EU’s 2021-2027 budget has earmarked additional funding for climate- and biodiversity-related activities . Moreover, grants and loans for climate-related activities are available through the 2021-2026 EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) . The RRF was created to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supports the EU’s aim to achieve a twin digital and green transition.
To achieve EU’s objectives on environmental protection, resource management and the circular economy by 2030 , the additional investments needed for the period 2021-2030 are estimated at approximately EUR 77 billion per year for environmental protection, as covered by EPE, and EUR 53 billion per year for resource management and the circular economy transition. It is uncertain if investments, for example in national EPE, EU funding and private circular economy financing, will increase at a fast enough rate to bridge the gap between current investment and total investment needed by 2030. For instance, environmental protection investments account for only a small share of total EPE, amounting to 20% in 2022, and increased from EUR 51 billion (2010 prices) in 2018 to EUR 56 billion (2010 prices) in 2022 (EEA’s own calculations based on data from Eurostat . InvestEU and sustainable finance actions are expected to trigger additional private capital flows in Member States for sustainable investment, which would help to fill the investment gap.
EPE increased from 2.1% to 2.3% of GDP between 2018 and 2020 at the EU level. EPE to GDP ratios varied greatly across the Member States. In Austria, Belgium and Romania EPE accounted for more than 3% of GDP, while in Ireland it accounted for less than 1%. In 21 of the 27 EU Member States, this share increased during the period 2018-2020, with the biggest increases in Poland (1 percentage point) and Malta (0.6 percentage points). In contrast, the share fell in the other EU Member States, with the biggest reductions in Lithuania and Cyprus.
‘Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts (EPEA) measure the economic resources devoted to prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution and any other degradation of the environment. They cover the spending by resident units of a country (i.e. by its households, corporations and government) on environmental protection (EP) services, e.g. pollution abatement (air, water, soil and noise), waste and wastewater management, protection of biodiversity as well as related research and development, education and training activities’ .

The scope of EPEA is defined according to the Classification of Environmental Protection Activities and Expenditure (CEPA 2000). CEPA 2000 is a recognised international standard included in the family of international economic and social classifications.

For further information, see Eurostat (2017).
This indicator is directly based on data published by Eurostat and the underpinning methodology can be found in Eurostat . EU-level data are based on Eurostat estimates.

The EUR values were deflated to 2010 prices using the Eurostat GDP deflator.
This indicator is a headline indicator for monitoring progress towards meeting one of the targets of the 8th EAP. It contributes mainly to monitoring progress in relation to aspects of the 8th EAP’s aim to accelerate the green transition (Article 1) and Article 3(u), which requires ‘mobilising resources and ensuring sufficient sustainable investments from public and private sources… consistent with the Union’s sustainable finance policy agenda’ . The European Commission communication on the 8th EAP monitoring framework specifies that this indicator should be used to monitor the ‘increase [in] spending by households, corporations and governments on preventing, reducing and eliminating pollution and other environmental degradation’ .
EPE is measured in billion euros (EUR) and as a share of GDP (%)

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Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (General) – Florida's Mangroves – Florida Department of Environmental Protection


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Mangroves are one of Florida’s true natives. They thrive in salty environments because they can obtain freshwater from saltwater. Some secrete excess salt through their leaves, while others block absorption of salt at their roots.
Florida’s estimated 600,000 acres of mangrove forests contribute to the overall health of the state’s southern coastal zone and beyond. This ecosystem traps and cycles various organic materials, chemical elements and important nutrients. Mangrove roots act not only as physical traps but provide attachment surfaces for various marine organisms. Many of these attached organisms filter water through their bodies and, in turn, trap and cycle nutrients.
The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp. Florida’s important recreational and commercial fisheries would drastically decline without healthy mangrove forests.
Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves. Mangrove branches are rookeries, or nesting areas, for beautiful coastal birds such as brown pelicans and roseate spoonbills.
Red mangroves at Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve
Worldwide, more than 50 species of mangroves exist. Of the three species found in Florida, the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is probably the most well-known. It typically grows along the water’s edge. The red mangrove is easily identified by its tangled, reddish roots called “prop-roots.” These roots have earned mangroves the title of “walking trees.” This mangrove, in particular, appears to be standing or walking on the surface of the water.

a black mangrove colonizes the edge of a spoil island in Indian River Lagoon
The black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) usually occupies slightly higher elevations upland from the red mangrove. The black mangrove can be identified by numerous finger-like projections, called pneumatophores, that protrude from the soil around the tree’s trunk.

a close-up of a white mangrove leaves at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) usually occupies the highest elevations farther upland than either the red or black mangroves. Unlike its red or black counterparts, the white mangrove has no visible aerial root systems. The easiest way to identify the white mangrove is by the leaves. They are elliptical, light yellow green and have two distinguishing glands at the base of the leaf blade where the stem starts.
All three of these species utilize a remarkable method of propagation. Seeds sprout while still on the trees and drop into the soft bottom around the base of the trees or are transported by currents and tides to other suitable locations.

Florida’s mangroves are tropical species; therefore, they are sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations as well as subfreezing temperatures. Research indicates that salinity, water temperature, tidal fluctuations and soil also affect the growth and distribution of mangroves. They are common as far north as Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast and St. Augustine on the Atlantic Coast. Black mangroves can occur farther north in Florida than the other two species. Frequently, all three species grow intermixed.
People living along the south Florida coasts benefit many ways from mangroves. Mangrove forests protect uplands from storm winds, waves and floods. The amount of protection afforded by mangroves depends upon the width of the forest. A very narrow fringe of mangroves offers limited protection, while a wide fringe can considerably reduce wave and flood damage to landward areas by enabling overflowing water to be absorbed into the expanse of forest. Mangroves can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. Mangroves also filter water and maintain water quality and clarity.
It is true that mangroves can be naturally damaged and destroyed, but there is no doubt that human impact has been most severe. Scientists in multiple agencies, including the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, Smithsonian Institute, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and many more are studying changes in Florida’s coastal habitats. The scientists evaluate habitat changes by analyzing aerial photographs from the 1940s and 1950s and satellite imagery and aerial photography from the 1980s. Frequently the changes illustrate loss of mangrove acreage. Through researching the history of study sites, these losses are often attributed to human activities.
However, mangroves are also gaining ground along their northern Florida habitat limits. As winter cold snaps decrease, mangroves are able to expand further north into new territory. Continued evaluation of aerial images between 1984 and 2011 has shown that the Florida Atlantic Coast gained more than 3,000 acres of mangroves. All the increase occurred north of Palm Beach County and the acreage between Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine doubled. Much of these gains come at the expense of salt marsh communities. Research is ongoing to determine the impacts, both positive and negative, of this transition.
State and local regulations have been enacted to protect Florida’s mangrove forests. Local laws vary. Be sure to check with officials in your area prior to taking any action to determine if a permit is required. Learn more about state regulations.
Mangroves are one of Florida’s true natives and are part of our state heritage. It is up to us to ensure a place in Florida’s future of one of our most valuable coastal resources – mangroves.
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What are El Nino and La Nina? – NOAA's National Ocean Service

El Niño

During El Niño, trade winds weaken. Warm water is pushed back east, toward the west coast of the Americas.
El Niño means Little Boy in Spanish. South American fishermen first noticed periods of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean in the 1600s. The full name they used was El Niño de Navidad, because El Niño typically peaks around December.
El Niño can affect our weather significantly. The warmer waters cause the Pacific jet stream to move south of its neutral position. With this shift, areas in the northern U.S. and Canada are dryer and warmer than usual. But in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Southeast, these periods are wetter than usual and have increased flooding.
El Niño causes the Pacific jet stream to move south and spread further east. During winter, this leads to wetter conditions than usual in the Southern U.S. and warmer and drier conditions in the North.
El Niño also has a strong effect on marine life off the Pacific coast. During normal conditions, upwelling brings water from the depths to the surface; this water is cold and nutrient rich. During El Niño, upwelling weakens or stops altogether. Without the nutrients from the deep, there are fewer phytoplankton off the coast. This affects fish that eat phytoplankton and, in turn, affects everything that eats fish. The warmer waters can also bring tropical species, like yellowtail and albacore tuna, into areas that are normally too cold.
La Niña means Little Girl in Spanish. La Niña is also sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Niño, or simply “a cold event.” La Niña has the opposite effect of El Niño. During La Niña events, trade winds are even stronger than usual, pushing more warm water toward Asia. Off the west coast of the Americas, upwelling increases, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.
These cold waters in the Pacific push the jet stream northward. This tends to lead to drought in the southern U.S. and heavy rains and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the South and cooler than normal in the North. La Niña can also lead to a more severe hurricane season.
La Niña causes the jet stream to move northward and to weaken over the eastern Pacific. During La Niña winters, the South sees warmer and drier conditions than usual. The North and Canada tend to be wetter and colder.
During La Niña, waters off the Pacific coast are colder and contain more nutrients than usual. This environment supports more marine life and attracts more cold-water species, like squid and salmon, to places like the California coast.



Author: NOAA
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Drinking-water – World Health Organization (WHO)

Overview

Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.
Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.
In 2022, 6 billion people used safely managed drinking-water services – that is, they used improved water sources located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. The remaining 2.2 billion people without safely managed services in 2022 included:
Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. This is particularly the case in health care facilities where both patients and staff are placed at additional risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation and hygiene services are lacking.
Out of every 100 patients in acute-care hospitals, 7 patients in high-income countries (HICs) and 15 patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will acquire at least one health care-associated infection during their hospital stay.
Inadequate management of urban, industrial and agricultural wastewater means the drinking-water of hundreds of millions of people is dangerously contaminated or chemically polluted. Natural presence of chemicals, particularly in groundwater, can also be of health significance, including arsenic and fluoride, while other chemicals, such as lead, may be elevated in drinking-water as a result of leaching from water supply components in contact with drinking-water.
Some 1 million people are estimated to die each year from diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation and hand hygiene. Yet diarrhoea is largely preventable, and the deaths of 395 000 children aged under 5 years could be avoided each year if these risk factors were addressed. Where water is not readily available, people may decide handwashing is not a priority, thereby adding to the likelihood of diarrhoea and other diseases.
Diarrhoea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. In 2021, over 251.4 million people required preventative treatment for schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water.
When water comes from improved and more accessible sources, people spend less time and effort physically collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other ways. This can also result in greater personal safety and reducing musculoskeletal disorders by reducing the need to make long or risky journeys to collect and carry water. Better water sources also mean less expenditure on health, as people are less likely to fall ill and incur medical costs and are better able to remain economically productive.
With children particularly at risk from water-related diseases, access to improved sources of water can result in better health, and therefore better school attendance, with positive longer-term consequences for their lives.
Historical rates of progress would need to double for the world to achieve universal coverage with basic drinking water services by 2030. To achieve universal safely managed services will require a 6-fold increase. Climate change, increasing water scarcity, population growth, demographic changes and urbanization already pose challenges for water supply systems. Over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth. Re-use of wastewater to recover water, nutrients or energy is becoming an important strategy. Use of wastewater and sludge is widespread globally; however, much is used informally and/or without sufficient treatment and other controls to ensure that human and environmental health is protected. If done appropriately safe use of wastewater and sludge can yield multiple benefits, including increased food production, increased resilience to water and nutrient scarcity and greater circularity in the economy.
Options for water sources used for drinking-water and irrigation will continue to evolve, with an increasing reliance on groundwater and alternative sources, including wastewater. Climate change will lead to greater fluctuations in harvested rainwater. Management of all water resources will need to be improved to ensure provision and quality.
As the international authority on public health and water quality, WHO leads global efforts to prevent water-related disease, advising governments on the development of health-based targets and regulations.
WHO produces a series of water quality guidelines, including on drinking-water, safe use of wastewater, and recreational water quality. The water quality guidelines are based on managing risks, and since 2004 the Guidelines for drinking-water quality promote the Framework for safe drinking-water. The Framework recommends establishment of health-based targets, the development and implementation of water safety plans by water suppliers to most effectively identify and manage risks from catchment to consumer, and independent surveillance to ensure that water safety plans are effective and health-based targets are being met.

The drinking-water guidelines are supported by background publications that provide the technical basis for the Guidelines recommendations. WHO also supports countries to implement the drinking-water quality guidelines through the development of practical guidance materials and provision of direct country support. This includes the development of locally relevant drinking-water quality regulations aligned to the principles in the Guidelines, the development, implementation and auditing of water safety plans and strengthening of surveillance practices.
Since 2014, WHO has been testing household water treatment products against WHO health-based performance criteria through the WHO International Scheme to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that products protect users from the pathogens that cause diarrhoeal disease and to strengthen policy, regulatory and monitoring mechanisms at the national level to support appropriate targeting and consistent and correct use of such products.
WHO works closely with UNICEF in a number of areas concerning water and health, including on water, sanitation, and hygiene in health care facilities. In 2015 the two agencies jointly developed WASH FIT (Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Improvement Tool), an adaptation of the water safety plan approach. WASH FIT aims to guide small, primary health care facilities in low- and middle-income settings through a continuous cycle of improvement through assessments, prioritization of risk, and definition of specific, targeted actions. A 2023 report describes practical steps that countries can take to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities.
 
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What is climate change? A really simple guide – BBC.com

Human activities are causing world temperatures to rise, with more intense heatwaves and rising sea-levels among the consequences.
Things are likely to worsen in the coming decades, but scientists argue urgent action can limit the worst effects of climate change.
Climate change is the long-term shift in the Earth's average temperatures and weather conditions.
Over the last decade, the world was on average around 1.2C warmer than during the late 19th Century.
It has now been confirmed that global warming exceeded 1.5C across the 12 month period between February 2023 and January 2024. That followed 2023 being declared the warmest year on record.
The temperature increase was driven by human-caused climate change and boosted by the natural El Niño weather phenomenon.
The climate has changed throughout the Earth's history and natural factors, such as El Niño, can affect the weather for shorter periods of time, as happened in 2023.
But natural causes cannot explain the particularly rapid warming seen in the last century, according to the UN's climate body, the IPCC.
This long-term climate change has been caused by human activity, the IPCC says, mainly from the widespread use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – in homes, factories and transport.
When fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2). This traps extra energy in the atmosphere near the Earth's surface, causing the planet to heat up.
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution – when humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels – the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by about 50%, external.
The CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, external has a distinctive chemical fingerprint which matches the type increasingly found in the atmosphere.
The global average temperature increase of 1.2C seen in the past decade might not sound much.
However, it has had a huge effect on the environment, including:
more frequent and intense extreme weather, such as heatwaves and heavy rainfall
rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets, contributing to sea-level rise
huge declines in Arctic sea-ice
ocean warming
People's lives are also changing.
For example, parts of East Africa suffered their worst drought in 40 years, putting more than 20 million people at risk of severe hunger.
In 2022, intense European heatwaves led to an abnormal increase in deaths.
The more average temperatures increase, the worse the impacts of climate change become.
Limiting long-term average temperature rises to 1.5Cis crucial, according to the IPCC.
The science is not completely certain, but the consequences of 2C global warming versus 1.5C, external could include:
Extreme hot days would be on average 4C warmer at mid-latitudes (regions outside the poles and tropics), versus 3C at 1.5C
Sea-level rise would be 0.1m higher than at 1.5C, exposing up to 10 million more people to events including more frequent flooding
More than 99% of coral reefs would be lost, compared with 70-90% at 1.5C
Twice the number of plants and vertebrates (animals with a backbone) would be exposed to unsuitable climate conditions across more than half the geographical area where they are found
Several hundred million more people may be exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty by 2050 than at 1.5C.
The call to limit temperature rise to 1.5C was partly designed to avoid crossing so-called "tipping points".
After these thresholds are passed, changes could accelerate and become irreversible, such as the collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet. However, it's not clear precisely where these thresholds sit.
The Earth's poles are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures
About 3.3 to 3.6 billion people are highly vulnerable to climate change, according to the IPCC.
People living in poorer countries are expected to suffer most as they have fewer resources to adapt.
This has led to questions about fairness, because these places have typically only been responsible for a small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, external.
However, knock-on impacts could be felt over wide areas. For example, crop failures linked to extreme weather could raise global food prices.
In a landmark agreement signed in Paris in 2015, almost 200 countries pledged to try to keep global warming to 1.5C.
To achieve this, "net zero" CO2 emissions should be reached by 2050. Net zero means reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, and removing any remaining emissions from the atmosphere.
Most countries have, or are considering, net zero targets, external.
However, greenhouse gas levels are still rising quickly and the world is "likely" to warm beyond 1.5C, external, the IPCC says.
However, there has been progress in some areas such as the growth of renewable energy and electric vehicles.
World leaders meet every year to discuss their climate commitments.
The most recent UN climate change summit, COP28, was held in the United Arab Emirates. For the first time, countries agreed to "contribute" to "transitioning away from fossil fuels", although they are not forced to take action.
The next conference, COP29, will be held in Azerbaijan in November 2024.
Major changes need to come from governments and businesses, but individuals can also help:
take fewer flights
use less energy
improve home insulation and energy efficiency
switch to electric vehicles or live car-free
replace gas central heating with electric systems like heat pumps
eat less red meat
Top image from Getty Images. Climate stripes visualisation courtesy of Prof Ed Hawkins and University of Reading.
Rishi Sunak apologises for leaving D-Day events early, calling it a 'mistake'
Chris Mason: D-Day absence an extraordinary own goal from the Conservatives
Divers join search for missing Michael Mosley
The devastating cost of fighting Myanmar's military dictatorship
Who is the missing TV personality Michael Mosley?
The right could win big in Europe – thanks to young people
The women volunteers who listened to obscene Samaritans helpline calls
What next for Grealish after England omission?
Why scientists are studying whales with a crossbow
Weekly quiz: Which runaway horse will wish the King a happy birthday?
Lowry interviews reveal a 'drifter' who never found love
Down the Rabbit hole: Pocket-sized AI gadget put to the test
The birth of a fearless, reckless Special Forces unit
Watch Steven Knight's critically acclaimed series, SAS Rogue Heroes, on BBC iPlayer
How did Tetris become an all-time favourite?
The game was created by a Russian and marketed by an American during the Cold War
Two friends caught between tradition and technology
A beautifully shot observational documentary following two Indian fishermen
Empress Dowager Cixi: From concubine to power
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the woman who dominated China's court for almost 50 years
© 2024 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.

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Pursuing coup, Gabon weather officers experience corruption allegations

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Gabon’s former ecosystem minister Lee White and 3 officers have been placed underneath property arrest just after a criticism from a forestry union

Next a coup, the new govt of Gabon has arrested four environment ministry officials on allegations of corruption.

Condition media agency Agence Gabonaise de Presse (AGP) reviews that British-born previous setting minister Lee White and 3 other officers of the previous regime of Ali Bongo have been positioned underneath dwelling arrest.

AGP, which is controlled by the new routine, cites a public prosecutor in Gabon, who claims they are accused of a sequence of crimes relevant to the auctioning off of forestry permits and the alleged environment up of an uncommon lender account to obtain hundreds of countless numbers of bucks from fines and wooden gross sales.

Advocate for forest finance

White has been distinguished in UN Weather talks, positioning himself as a defender of African passions and a leader in the defence of the forests of the Congo basin.

Below his leadership, global cash have poured into Gabon for rainforest security, through the Central African Forest Initiative (Cafi) and a new credit card debt-for-mother nature swap.

White served underneath Ali Bongo, who has took over the nation from his father in 2009 and gained a series of closely disputed elections.

The newest election was in August. Bongo was declared the winner regardless of allegations of electoral fraud. The Economist democracy index classed Gabon as an authoritarian routine.

On election day, White tweeted in assist of the government’s shift to shut down the world-wide-web “as a precaution adhering to some provocative statements by opposition politicians”.

A several times afterwards, the armed forces seized electric power, arresting Bongo and his allies. On Wednesday, AGP reported that White was put less than household arrest.

The allegations

The new authorities also arrested previous director of  the government’s forestry office Ghislain Moussavou, financial adviser Jean Guy Diouf and inspector of solutions Ghislain Aimé Boupo.

French newspaper Le Monde reviews that the arrests relate to a grievance by the Gabonese union of h2o and forest specialists, acknowledged in French as Synapef.

Union spokesperson Maurice Steed Mve Akue advised Le Monde that they complained to the law enforcement last Could.

They did not acquire a reaction but complained once again soon after the coup as “the justice process now has much more room to maneuver to do its work”.

They allege that the ministry fined forest operators and marketed deserted wooden and that money, value a number of hundred thousand pounds, was put into a individual account to the ministry’s normal account.

Exposed: carbon offsets joined to superior forest reduction even now on sale

This revenue was employed to finance “missions by the minister, associations, studies by foreign consultancy corporations and conversation actions”, the union alleges.

Akue explained to Le Monde “there is no traceability or justification for component of the expenses incurred”.

The union also elevated issues about two forestry permits awarded to a joint undertaking among the authorities and the Singaporean group Olam, which has been reducing down forests for palm oil in the region.

They declare that the permits were awarded outdoors of the proper regulatory parts and devoid of a contact to tenders. Ali Bongo’s son was deputy head of this joint enterprise right up until he joined govt in 2019.

The new routine

White has been changed as minister by a solider identified as Colonel Maurice Ntossui Allogo. While he has little environmental working experience, a ministry official informed Le Monde “he receives, listens and will take notes”.

He is staying recommended by Tanguy Gahouma, a veteran local weather diplomat who also represented the very last govt and chaired the African group in climate talks in 2020 and 2021.

Nicaise Moulombi is the head of the Croissance Santé Environnement marketing campaign group. He instructed Le Monde he desired a review of exactly where international local weather finance has ended up.

“We want to know in which the conservation funds has long gone,” he reported. In unique, he was worried about the Cafi funds and about the debt-for-mother nature swap, organised by US campaign group The Character Conservancy.

In June 2021, Norway paid out Gabon $17m via the Cafi forest safety plan. Six months later, Gabonese park rangers threatened to strike, complaining their salaries were being normally compensated quite a few months late.

The Character Conservancy and Cafi have been invited to comment.



Joe Lo

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Amazon Nations Unite in Criticism of EU Deforestation Regulations

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The Belem Declaration echoes expanding discontent with a new law prohibiting companies from importing products linked to deforestation

Amazon nations have attacked in a joint declaration the “proliferation” of environmental rules in trade, echoing a expanding backlash against new EU deforestation specifications.

A legislation adopted by European governments in June involves providers to confirm a sequence of solutions, together with cattle, soya and palm oil, were not developed on land afflicted by tree decline.

The EU suggests the rules are a crucial making block in the struggle in opposition to local climate transform and biodiversity loss. But some of the world’s largest commodity producers have been voicing rising discontent calling the steps “protectionist” and “discriminatory”.

The newest sign of opposition will come in the Belém Declaration signed on Tuesday by 8 South American nations following a significant rainforest summit in Brazil. The last document features a rejection to trade actions these as the EU’s regulations.

In the Brazilian town of Belém, Presidents and best officials from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru attended the Amazon Summit, although Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela despatched other leading officials.

Amazon nations fail to concur on deforestation intention at summit

Environmental ‘trade barriers’

The international locations unsuccessful to agree on a widespread goal for ending deforestation but issued unified procedures and steps to bolster regional cooperation.

The remaining document does not solitary out the European law precisely, but it condemns “the proliferation of unilateral trade steps based mostly on environmental demands and norms which constitute trade barriers”.

The signatories go on to declare that this kind of actions “primarily have an effect on smallholder farmers in building countries, the pursuit of sustainable progress, the advertising of Amazon products and solutions and the initiatives to eradicate poverty and combat hunger”.

Mainstream economists accused of playing down weather threat

Marcio Astrini from the Observatório do Clima named the inclusion of the paragraph in the joint declaration “a disgrace”. He told Weather Home News that if nations around the world like Brazil and Colombia are severe about ending deforestation, they must have vetoed this statement.

“What’s incorrect with a industrial husband or wife indicating they never want to get products connected to deforestation?”, Astrini extra. “Environmental and climate difficulties are already part of enterprise and marketplace criteria all over the world, this is a new truth, and it is much better to adapt to it.”

Brazilian backlash

The attack on trade actions in the declaration follows a 7 days of heated rhetoric by prime governing administration officials in the region.

Brazil’s agriculture minister Carlos Favaro slammed the European deforestation legislation, calling it “an affront” to world-wide trade rules. He added Brazil would enhance trade relations with other companions if the EU carries on not to acknowledge Brazil’s attempts to safeguard the surroundings.

Indonesia falls limited on peatland restoration, risking damaging fireplace time

Deforestation accelerated sharply underneath the considerably-ideal then-president Jair Bolsonaro, but premiums have been coming down because the new administration led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took energy at the commence of the calendar year.

Brazil is the one greatest exporter of agricultural goods to the EU, delivery nearly $12 billion worthy of of soya, corn and beef to the bloc in 2022. The commodities have been a historic driver of tree decline throughout the Amazon region, which include in Brazil. The governing administration states only 2% of Brazilian farmers commit environmental crimes.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva waits for the official family photograph with leaders of nations around the world attending the Amazon Summit at the Hangar Convention Centre in Belem, Para Condition, Brazil. (Photo: Reuters)

Astrini promises for the frustrating majority of producers the new rules will not be a issue, producing the criticism of the European rules “meaningless” in Brazil.

Other important commodities-generating nations like Indonesia and Malaysia have formerly criticised the regulations.

‘Critical step’

Businesses have right until December 2024 to change to the new laws, which requires them to trace the goods they are promoting back to the plot of land where they have been created.

André Vasconcelos from the supply-chain transparency team Trase states the EU law is a “critical step” in earning confident customer marketplaces participate in a purpose in driving down deforestation. But he additional that for the new restrictions to be “effective and equitable”, the EU requires to cooperate with producer nations.

Metals bosses appreciate front row seat at UN deep-sea mining negotiations

“Such collaboration requires to incorporate the provision of fiscal assist to strengthen enforcement of environmental restrictions as effectively as the provision of incentives for farmers, specially smallholder farmers, not to deforest”, he told Local weather Home Information.

The EU claims it is stepping up its engagement with making nations around the world to assure an inclusive changeover to deforestation-no cost and lawful provide chains.

Mercosur stumbling block

The difficulty is most likely to appear again to the fore at future talks above a extended-awaited free trade agreement in between the EU and South America’s Mercosur bloc.

Paraguay’s President-elect Santiago Pena explained to Reuters this 7 days that the EU’s existing environmental needs in trade talks are “unacceptable”. He said that the European bloc’s proposals would hinder key soy exporter Paraguay’s financial improvement.

Brazil is also pushing the EU for better trading terms in return for providing environmental ensures about the security of the Amazon rainforest. Mercosur officers are performing on a counter-proposal ahead of assembly with EU negotiators. The two sides hope to reach an arrangement right before the close of the year.

Matteo Civillini

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Bonn’s battles – Climate Weekly

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Sign up to get our weekly e-newsletter straight to your inbox, furthermore breaking news, investigations and added bulletins from crucial occasions

The once-a-year Bonn climate talks are supposed to make momentum and set the scene for the upcoming Cop summit.

But let us hope Dubai is very little like what’s been occurring on the financial institutions of the Rhine this week.

Even though talks have been heading on no matter, governments have nonetheless to officially agree on the agenda, placing regardless of what is agreed on on a shaky authorized footing.

Loaded countries and susceptible creating international locations want an emphasis in talks on reducing emissions to preserve 1.5C within just achieve.

But the significant rising nations are not so eager, at least without having an emphasis on loaded nations spending for it.

All establishing nations around the world – large and little – want to go over their plans to adapt to weather alter.

But, again, for rich nations, that raises the awkward dilemma of who must fund this adaptation.

Agenda chat can all feel distant from the actual planet. But when items get talked about, things get performed.

The previous Cop’s breakthrough on loss and harm was only attainable for the reason that developing nations and campaigners fought difficult in Bonn for the situation to even be on the official agenda of Cop27. Acquiring nations around the world hope finance for adaptation is future.

This week’s news:

…and comment

And the inside conferences of the Japanese Europe team in Bonn have been no much less contentious, as the location talks about which of its users really should host next year’s Cop.

Bulgaria has set itself forward but Russia claims, for the reason that of the EU’s guidance for Ukraine, they will veto any EU member point out.

Luckily for us, two non-EU states have thrown their hat in the ring. Unluckily, people two are Azerbaijan and Armenia, who were being not too long ago at war with every other and are most likely to veto each individual other.

If the team simply cannot concur, there are three doable remedies: the talks could be in Bonn, the UAE could host all over again or Australia or Turkiye – who are bidding for Cop31 – could swap turns with the Jap Europe team.

Joe Lo

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Europe’s inexperienced hydrogen rush in Africa challenges power ‘cannibalisation’

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The EU signed green hydrogen agreements with Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Namibia to supply the bloc with the gasoline in advance of its 2030 ambitions.

Europe’s green hydrogen plans have established off a race among the creating nations, significantly in Africa, to develop into the bloc’s 1st suppliers, jeopardizing power wants amid their very own populations.

The EU bloc sees hydrogen made with renewable energy – regarded as “green hydrogen” – as a value-efficient way to lessen emissions, in particular in industries that are difficult to decarbonise this sort of as aviation and weighty land transport.

Although the European field is in its infancy, hopes of achieving small-phrase ambitions mainly rest on generation overseas. International locations, specifically in Northern and Sub-saharan Africa, have been attracted by the sector’s opportunity for investments and new work, analysts instructed Local weather Dwelling News.

But experts warned the enthusiasm hides significant dangers. Incentives crafted into the EU rules indicate the enormous scale-up of green hydrogen exports could acquire up most renewable electrical energy in producing nations, at the price of community populations.

G7 may possibly dismiss local climate warnings and simply call for new gasoline investments

This would be a issue for nations around the world like Namibia – a single of the EU’s crucial hydrogen companions – exactly where just above fifty percent of the populace has access to electricity.

For Godrje Rustomjee, an analyst at the African Weather Foundation, countries want to locate the appropriate trade-off between domestic wants and export potential.

Usually, he states, the hazard is that environmentally friendly hydrogen may well turn into “another neo-colonial project”.

“There is a serious possibility that international international locations arrive in with immediate investment decision, but all the gains and included benefit end up currently being extracted and sent across to Europe”.

Marta Lovisolo, a hydrogen analyst at Bellona, states the danger building international locations will divert sources toward output for exports is “extremely high”.

“Green hydrogen is a little something Europe desperately needs and creating nations could potentially mass-generate for a worthwhile market place,” she suggests. “As it transpired with fossil fuels, nations around the world appear completely ready to stake every little thing on becoming exporters with no remaining given the vital safeguards.”

Betting massive on hydrogen

Inspite of staying a almost non-existing power source today, environmentally friendly hydrogen has come to be a cornerstone of Europe’s decarbonisation ideas.

Green hydrogen is typically manufactured by way of electrolysis, a system that separates h2o into hydrogen and oxygen, employing energy produced from renewable sources.

The bloc has set a concentrate on of achieving annual domestic creation of 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030 and importing the identical sum. It is a tall get, thinking about that final 12 months globally eco-friendly hydrogen generation ability was 109 kilo tonnes – a portion of what the EU wants to accomplish.

Presently, most hydrogen is produced utilizing fossil fuels. All over three-quarters is derived from methane gasoline and a quarter from coal. Green hydrogen is extra pricey to generate and accounts for fewer than 1% of whole world output.

To gasoline its ambition the EU is pouring billions of euros into the sector. Together with investments in the establish-up of domestic capacity, cash are being fully commited in direction of partnerships with long run exporting nations.

The EU has signed agreements with a sequence of nations around the world which includes Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Namibia. The partnerships are billed as a win-earn condition.

Uncertainty on renewable retraining frightens South Africa’s coal communities

Principles exemption

The Fee has also just lately set out the procedures on renewable hydrogen. Among the several provisions, it includes a requirements for acquiring renewable energy called ‘additionality’.

In the future, hydrogen producers will have to make confident that only new renewable energy era potential is made use of for eco-friendly hydrogen production. This is to make certain hydrogen output does not choose away current renewable power from the grid, perhaps expanding reliance on fossil fuels in other places.

Additionality can be accomplished possibly by specifically connecting a photo voltaic or wind farm to a hydrogen production facility or via obtain agreements with clean up electrical power turbines.

But European lawmakers have included a phase-in clause to velocity up the market with the hope of assembly its 2030 aims. Any eco-friendly hydrogen set up that begins output in advance of 2028 will be exempted from the additionality procedures for the pursuing ten several years, till 2038.

That usually means the jobs produced ahead of that date will be equipped to use currently set up capacity, for occasion getting clean electrical power directly from the grid.

Analysts say the regulations have set off a race amongst exporting nations to meet the 2028 deadline. Namibia, for example, hopes to commence exporting green hydrogen in 2026, even though analysts think this will be extremely complicated to achieve.

Around the rainbow: The purpose of hydrogen in a clean up electrical power program, spelled out

Threat of ‘cannibalisation’

Maria Pastukhova, a senior policy advisor at E3G, says the procedures let hydrogen projects to “cannibalise” the existing regional infrastructure for the intent of export output.

“For several nations, primarily in Africa, this electricity is required at property, wherever grids want to be decarbonised or regional citizens really do not have entry to electricity,” she extra.

Only 56% of Namibians had entry to electrical power in 2022. The nation imported 60-70% of its electrical energy demand from customers, most of it coming from fossil gas sources.

The Southern African nation, in particular, is racing to turn out to be Africa’s initially environmentally friendly hydrogen exporting hub, but faces a context of large unemployment and a single of the most unequal economies in the environment, according to the World Lender.

Namibia’s pitch

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob sees environmentally friendly hydrogen as an “engine of growth” that will make the state an industrialised economy and develop a massive quantity of employment.

“Because of our countrywide inexperienced hydrogen efforts, Namibia continues to be well-positioned to turn into a key provider of clean and inexperienced energy to the environment,” he explained at Cop27.

In 2021 the Namibian government commenced pitching its proposition to European leaders, luring them in with the guarantee to offer up to a few million tonnes of renewable hydrogen each and every year.

Namibia’s Tsau Khaeb National Park has been earmarked for environmentally friendly hydrogen projects. Image: Olga Ernst and Hp Baumeler

Germany was 1st to respond to the calls and quickly partnered with its former colony. A German private joint enterprise is now doing work with the Namibian governing administration to build a $9.4 billion inexperienced hydrogen job. The enormous infrastructure is predicted to choose up 4,000km2 of land (about four instances the metropolis of Berlin) inside of the Tsau Khaeb Countrywide Park.

Its purpose is to begin hydrogen output by the stop of 2026.

Cash for hydrogen

Subsequent Berlin’s direct, the European Commission signed a memorandum of being familiar with (MoU) with Namibia on renewable hydrogen, some thing they have also completed in at the very least other three establishing international locations

The agreement aims to aid “the creation and export of renewable hydrogen”, when presenting Namibia the “possibility to attain its possess energy safety and decarbonisation objectives”.

At the very same time the European Investment Bank pledged to give Namibia a financial loan of up to 500 million euros to finance renewable hydrogen and renewable power investments. The EIB President explained “the advancement of a green hydrogen financial state will bring Namibia and Europe closer jointly – as partners”.

A very similar memorandum of knowledge was signed on the sidelines of Cop27 amongst the European Union and Egypt. The partnership is aimed at “contributing to the EU future options to import renewable hydrogen”, whilst accelerating “the Egyptian electrical power sector’s transition and decarbonisation”.

The agreement does not still incorporate any binding determination but it expects to stimulate expense in infrastructure and a lot easier entry to funding solutions.

On unveiling the offer, the European Commission Vice-President claimed Egypt is “preferably placed” to transport green hydrogen to Europe. He extra that Egypt is blessed with “unlimited probable for solar and wind vitality”, which goes over and above neighborhood electrical power requirements and, thus, can also be used for green hydrogen.

Irrespective of this likely, the country’s electrical power sector is still vastly dominated by fossil fuels, with only about 6% of the source coming from renewables.

Migrant staff face risks developing Europe’s new fuel materials in the UAE

Bellona’s Marta Lovisolo says the agreements are “full of nice words and phrases, but do not have any authorized safeguards” to prevent European interests arrive initially.

She adds developing nations around the world are specially attracted as the European Union has signalled it would subsidise the large rates needed for green hydrogen.

Much more money to come

Brussels is operating on a subsidy scheme to deliver down the charges of hydrogen for consumers. Eco-friendly premiums would deal with the value gap amongst renewable hydrogen produced abroad and the fossil fuels it would exchange.

The revenue pot is expected to be big. The green premium to attain the 2030 targets for hydrogen could appear up to €115 billion in whole.

For the African Local weather Foundation’s Godrje Rustomjee the fiscal incentives are just as well superior for building international locations to overlook. “On 1 hand they could use renewables only for domestic use but this could arrive at intense price,” he states, “on the other, the mother nature of these export offers has the opportunity of doubling a country’s economic system”.

The critical, he states, it is really hanging the appropriate compromise and securing safeguards in the promotions with rich importing countries.

He believes these should really contain safeguards for local electrical power provision and incentives, such as the localisation of manufacturing in the place.

 



Matteo Civillini

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What’s at stake for weather at the Earth Bank’s spring meeting?

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Remark: The World Bank controls tens of billions of pounds which can make a serious variation in the battle versus climate modify. A coalition of nations is pushing for environmentally friendly reforms.

Thanks to the endeavours of Barbados’s primary minister Mia Mottley and her “Bridgetown Agenda”, the local weather motion has shifted its target towards the Earth Lender and the tens of billions of dollars it controls.

As the chief of an island nation, battered by hurricanes and facing increasing sea amounts, Mottley wishes the lender to consider the guide in mobilising the more than $1 trillion a year creating nations will want by 2030 to satisfy their climate investment demands.

Her campaign has picked up some effective allies. The US is the bank’s host, its largest shareholder and effectively picked its next president Ajay Banga. They have offered aid to at least the concepts of Mottley’s agenda, calling along with Germany for “fundamental reform”.

In reaction to this stress, the Planet Bank’s management purchased its staff to attract up an “evolution roadmap”. The 20-web page doc states the bank will “broaden” beyond its latest “twin goals” of ending extraordinary poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Its new mission “will emphasize the significance of sustainability and resilience to mirror much more obviously that our mission includes international general public products (GPGs), these types of as local weather change”.

This was followed past 7 days by a 37-page report, which available a lot more depth and will be debated by governments and bank officials at the growth committee of the bank’s spring meeting future Wednesday. The bank’s mission is most likely to be officially up to date.

Get far more challenges

But what does that mean in observe? The only actual improve the bank has proposed so much is to lessen the fairness-to-financial loan ratio of its biggest subsidiary lender (IBRD) from 20% to 19%.

This would allow for the IBRD to lend $4 billion a lot more a calendar year, significantly of which would be expended on weather initiatives.

Reformers which includes the German governing administration referred to as it a “first step” but reported the ratio must be reduce, liberating up extra money.

This will be debated by the bank’s government administrators, a group of 25 government appointees from all-around the entire world, at next week’s spring meeting.

The bank’s advancement committee, which is major the reform, explained the proposal balances the ambition to expend extra with the want for the financial institution to retain its prime-tier AAA credit rating ranking.

The Planet Financial institution raises most of the funding its wants to operate by borrowing on worldwide bond markets. Investors’ self esteem is thus paramount.

OECD reforms established to give “green” jobs greater export finance

Reformers like Barbados’s Avinash Persaud say the bank can go more when however retaining its credit history ranking, which makes it possible for it to borrow, and therefore lend, dollars cheaply.

Future week’s assembly is very likely to approve the 19% adjust. Reformers are hoping it will agree to revisit that figure yet again at the World Bank’s annual accumulating in October.

A related proposal is to scrap the IBRD’s statutory lending restrict, a rule drawn up when the financial institution was set up in 1944 which boundaries the quantity it can lend.

Get a lot more backing

The Earth Bank’s credit history rating is established by organizations like Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. Their analysts seem at the bank’s funds and determine what rating to give it.

Lowering the fairness-to-loan ratio usually means having on much more danger. Anything that could get worried the analysts.

So the lender is trying to get to reassure them by drawing interest to governments’ pledge to back again the lender if it ever receives into hassle. These guarantees are recognised as the bank’s “callable capital”.

The bank suggests it will operate on options for producing much better use of its callable capital “in the coming months”, whilst speaking to governments and score businesses.

Get extra funds

But these changes can only get the lender so significantly. To go the big bucks, the financial institution desires extra dollars to start off with.

It can get this by charging creating nations around the world a lot more to borrow. But, with lots of of the world’s poorest international locations already in a good deal of credit card debt, the bank’s progress committee claims “there is no urge for food for this”.

So, the lender claims it desires far more money from the rich governments between its shareholders by means of a “capital increase”.

Devoid of this, it suggests, the improve to the lending ratio and other actions “will not be plenty of relative to the large needs of consumer countries”.

But wealthy governments have not long ago been loath to up their contributions, even as Covid-19, the climate crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine force up the needs.

As a consequence, Entire world Financial institution predicts its aid will get started to tumble in the July 2023 to July 2024 fiscal year.

The lender “will require substantial additional economic ability to reply to a a lot more ambitious, current mission”, its evolution roadmap says.

Reformers concepts

A lot more radical ideas have not been set on up coming week’s agenda by the lender. Funding initiatives, like photo voltaic farms, in creating countries is often extra costly than executing so in a richer nation.

A single purpose between numerous is that loan providers are fearful that swings in currency exchange charges in several creating nations will threaten the bank’s potential to get compensated back. To compensate for this perceived added risk, banks cost higher interest rates to debtors.

Mottley’s adviser Avinash Persaud is pushing for a new fund to hedge versus forex possibility for inexperienced initiatives, delivering security for swings in the worth of a area forex. He wants to get in touch with it a Just Eco-friendly Transition, Financing Expense Rely on (JGT-Healthy).

Globe Bank’s non-public sector arm to end supporting new coal

According to a briefing seen by Local weather Property, the idea is for this to be a concentrated company sitting in the center of a community of multilateral development banking institutions like the Environment Lender.

He estimates that $14 billion would be necessary to hedge for the returns of 50 percent the once-a-year investment decision building international locations require. In advance of that, he claims, a pilot using $5 billion could establish the thought functions.

This would will need extra than just the Environment Bank’s backing – but an endorsement from the lender or any of its shareholders upcoming 7 days would propel it up the agenda.

Joe Lo

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Duvha power station, located in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is scheduled to be decommissioned amongst 2031 and 2034. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Considered from the conference centres of Cops, the Just Strength Transition Partnerships are rather fascinating.

Wealthy international locations are giving billions of pounds to coal-reliant emerging economies like South Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam to support them shift to renewables.

But from Benicon Park, an casual settlement future to a coal-fired energy station in South Africa’s coal state, it appears like a menace to the neighborhood. That is what our joint investigation with neighborhood outlet Oxpeckers identified.

It is far too early to say whether or not the coal-to-renewable transition will do the financial injury this group fears. But substantially will count on how superior retraining is and just .1% of South Africa’s $83 billion financial commitment prepare is allotted to abilities improvement.

Element of the problem is prosperous nations and private providers are unwilling to fund points like education classes. The explanation is straightforward: contrary to photo voltaic farms, these really don’t make any revenue and, for that reason, have to have grants, not financial loans.

This week’s stories

That is not to say that doing work in the fossil fuel sector is all sweetness and light even though.

Our reporting from the UAE observed that migrant staff in the oil and fuel sector are dying and the authorities are ignoring the protection challenges producing these unnecessary fatalities.

1 jeep driver working on a pipeline project died following finding missing in the desert for two days. Authorities say he died of a heart assault, which signifies businesses do not have to pay households payment.

Searching forward to subsequent week, all eyes are on the Japanese city of Sapporo exactly where the G7 is debating no matter if to call for new fuel investments and Washington DC in which the Planet Bank’s spring meeting will focus on how to get the massive bucks going into local climate assignments.

Joe Lo

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