Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Climate change, natural disasters March 2022-
Flooding in New York
Rain Eases, but Officials Warn That Flood Risks Remain
Heavy rain caused serious flooding across the region on Friday, leading Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency as rising waters disrupted travel and stranded people in cars and homes.
Friday’s rainfall in New York broke records. Here is the latest.
Heavy rainfall pounded New York City and the surrounding region on Friday, bringing flash floods, shutting down entire subway lines, turning major roadways into lakes and sending children to the upper floors of flooding schoolhouses.
‘Disastrous beyond comprehension’: 10,000 missing after Libya floods
Neighbourhoods washed away in port city of Derna, where two dams burst, with many bodies swept out to sea
More Than 5,000 Dead in Libya as Dam Collapses Deepen Flood Disaster
In a catastrophe recalling Hurricane Katrina, a heavy storm burst through dams to unleash their waters on the city of Derna, sweeping away entire neighborhoods.
‘Catastrophic’ flooding hits Libya as heavy rains cause dam collapse, say officials
(CNN) Thousands of people are feared dead in Libya after Storm Daniel brought severe rain and floods to the eastern part of the country, sweeping entire neighborhoods into the sea, according to eastern Libyan officials.
Flooding in eastern Libya after weekend storm leaves 2,000 people feared dead
(AP) The destruction appeared greatest in Derna, a city formerly held by Islamic extremists in the chaos that has gripped Libya for more than a decade and left it with crumbling and inadequate infrastructure. Libya remains divided between two rival administrations, one in the east and one in the west, each backed by militias and foreign governments.
The confirmed death toll from the weekend flooding stood at 61 as of late Monday, according to health authorities. But the tally did not include Derna, which had become inaccessible, and many of the thousands missing there were believed carried away by waters.
Powerful quake in Morocco kills more than 2,000 people and damages historic buildings in Marrakech
(AP) In historic Marrakech…The city’s famous Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century, was damaged, but the extent was not immediately clear. Its 69-meter (226-foot) minaret is known as the “roof of Marrakech.” Moroccans also posted videos showing damage to parts of the famous red walls that surround the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
At least 2,012 people died in the quake, mostly in Marrakech and five provinces near the epicenter, Morocco’s Interior Ministry reported Saturday night. At least 2,059 more people were injured — 1,404 critically — the ministry said.
What to know about the Morocco earthquake and the efforts to help
The epicenter was high in the Atlas Mountains about 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Marrakech in Al Haouz province.
The region is largely rural, made up of red-rock mountains, picturesque gorges and glistening streams and lakes. … Though tourism contributes to the economy, the province is largely agrarian. And like much of North Africa, before the earthquake Al Haouz was reckoning with record drought that dried rivers and lakes, imperiling the largely agricultural economy and way of life.
Morocco earthquake: UK among four countries to send aid as more than 2,100 confirmed dead
(Sky) Sixty search and rescue specialists, search dogs, rescue equipment and a medical team have all been flown to the country devastated by the earthquake.
Morocco earthquake kills more than 1,000, officials say
(WaPo) Search-and-rescue efforts were reportedly underway as residents lined up to donate blood and outside aid organizations and governments from around the world prepared to help.
The quake has sparked concern about landmarks that may have been damaged, particularly Marrakesh’s medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its bustling markets, tight streets, monumental Islamic architecture and perimeter of pink walls.
The United States Geological Survey said in a preliminary report that this was the first quake of such magnitude to hit the area in more than 100 years. It said earthquakes of this size were “uncommon but not unexpected” there, adding there had been none with a magnitude higher than 6 since 1900.
Dramatic climate action needed to curtail ‘crazy’ extreme weather
Heatwaves, wildfires and floods are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, leading climate scientists say
The “crazy” extreme weather rampaging around the globe in 2023 will become the norm within a decade without dramatic climate action, the world’s leading climate scientists have said.
With fears that humanity’s relentless carbon emissions have finally pushed the climate crisis into a new and accelerating phase of destruction, the Guardian sought the expert assessments of more than 40 scientists from around the world.
They said that the rise in global temperature was entirely in line with decades of warnings and was being boosted this year by the return of the El Niño climate pattern. But they said that people and places were more vulnerable to extreme weather than expected and were suffering effects never previously experienced as climate records were shattered.
Dr Christophe Cassou, a CNRS researcher at the Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, in France, said: “Changes in [climate] hazards have not been underestimated at global scale. But the impacts have been underestimated because we are much more vulnerable than we thought – our vulnerability is smacking us in the face.”
Heat and wildfire records have been broken around the world in 2023, from North America, to Europe, to Asia. “Our perception is also biased by the fact that we are living more often in uncharted territory, which gives a sense of acceleration,” said Cassou. “We now feel climate change that is emerging above usual weather.”
Climate models have accurately predicted the rise in global temperature as humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions have surged. But numerous scientists highlighted the particular difficulty they have in projecting extreme weather events, which are by definition rare.
Off-the-charts records’: has humanity finally broken the climate?
Seven dead as severe storms trigger flooding in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria
Areas of Greece report 75.4cm of rain late on Tuesday – the highest level recorded since 2006
In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, heavy rain flooded streets and homes in two neighbourhoods, leaving at least two dead. About a dozen people were rescued after being stranded inside a library, while some subway stations were shut down. Davut Gül, the governor of Istanbul, urged motorcyclists to stay home.
In Greece … The storm comes on the heels of major summer wildfires that hit Greece over the past few weeks, with some burning for more than two weeks and destroying vast tracts of forest and farmland. More than 20 people were killed in the fires.
The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, blamed both the wildfires and storms on climate change, while conceding that his centre-right government “clearly didn’t manage things as well as we would have liked” on the wildfire front.
Greece wildfire declared largest ever recorded in EU
Eleven planes and helicopter from bloc sent to tackle fire that has burned more than 300 sq miles of land
(AFP) A forest blaze in Greece is the largest wildfire ever recorded in the EU and the bloc is mobilising nearly half its firefighting air wing to tackle it, a European Commission spokesperson has said.
Eleven planes and a helicopter from the EU fleet have been sent to help extinguish the fire north of the city of Alexandroupoli, along with 407 firefighters, Balazs Ujvari said on Tuesday.
Maui Wildfires Show That ‘Risk Is Ubiquitous Now’
A wildfire resilience expert talks about what communities everywhere can do to prepare for disasters, even in places some may not expect them to occur.
(B;oomberg) It’s too soon to say what — if anything — could have stopped or softened the devastation in Maui. But experts like Kimiko Barrett say there are profound lessons in the historic fires for communities across the US, where far more dollars are spent putting out flames than preventing them.
As a slow and painful recovery begins in Hawaii, Barrett, a policy and research analyst specializing in wildfire risk for Headwaters Economics, has a message for everyone else: The risk is widespread now, and political will to address it needs to catch up fast.
In June, Barrett co-authored a report about the most effective policies for reducing wildfire risk at the community scale. She found that efforts that target the built environment, such home hardening, are often more effective than strategies like direct fire suppression or cutting back fire-prone vegetation. Yet she also found those most effective policies receive the least funding overall.
What is really being demonstrated with Hawaii, and the lesson that’s coming to light, is that risk is ubiquitous now. And this is being driven not just by people increasingly building in areas that are now experiencing increasing wildfires, but also because we do know climate change is exacerbating wildfire behavior.
Raging wildfires and extreme weather are devastating communities across the globe
(AP) An out-of-control wildfire on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife has burned thousands of acres and nearly 8,000 people were evacuated or confined. Regional President Fernando Clavijo said 250 firefighters and members of the Spanish army are tackling flames on the key tourist destination. Clavijo said the fire, which occurred in extremely hot temperatures, had a nearly 30-kilometer-long (19-mile) perimeter.
—-In Canada, residents of the Northwest Territories’ capital began fleeing an approaching wildfire Thursday in long convoys while air evacuations were underway — the latest chapter in Canada’s worst fire season.
—-In Hawaii, the governor vowed to block land grabs by developers seeking to exploit residents who were burned out by the fires that leveled the historic Maui town of Lahaina,
—-In Northern California, wind-whipped wildfires near the California-Oregon border forced evacuations Wednesday after gusty winds from a thunderstorm sent a lightning-sparked wildfire racing through Klamath National Forest.
—-In the Baja California region, Hurricane Hilary formed off Mexico’s Pacific coast Thursday, and forecasters said it could bring heavy rain to the U.S. Southwest by the weekend.
Wildfires Are Exploding in Unexpected Places Due to Climate Change. Is Hawaii the Latest Example?
The Maui fire razed a historic town and killed dozens of people. Scientists have warned that such intense blazes have begun to emerge in landscapes where the fire threat was once rare.
(Inside Climate News) Hawaii’s devastating wildfire this week, which has killed at least 55 people and razed Maui’s historic town of Lahaina, is yet another sign of the emerging reality on a quickly warming planet, described by scientists as the latest, likely example of a major blaze erupting in an unexpected place. It’s a trend that climate experts have been warning about for years.
Without an attribution study, a complex and tedious process, it’s difficult to determine exactly how climate change influenced Maui’s fire. Still, experts say there’s plenty of evidence that suggests warming temperatures almost certainly played a role, in part by priming conditions on the island for an intense wildfire to thrive.
Global warming is “leading to these unpredictable or unforeseen combinations that we’re seeing right now and that are fueling this extreme fire weather,” Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz, a forestry researcher at the University of British Columbia, told the Associated Press. “What these … catastrophic wildfire disasters are revealing is that nowhere is immune to the issue.”
Climate scientists have been sounding the alarm bell for years, warning that not only are climate-driven wildfires burning bigger, hotter and faster, but they’re emerging in landscapes and during seasons in which they were previously rare.
At least 36 people have died on Maui as fires burn through Hawaii, county reports
(Politico) The fire took the island of Maui by surprise, leaving behind burned-out cars on once busy streets and smoking piles of rubble where historic buildings had stood.
US east cleans up after deadly storms as New England braces for flooding
(AP) — Crews across the eastern U.S. worked Tuesday to clear downed trees and power lines and restore electricity following severe storms that killed at least two people, cut power to more than a million customers at their peak, and forced thousands of flight delays and cancellations.
The storms that pounded a swath of the country stretching from Alabama and Tennessee to the Carolinas and New York on Monday continued to lash northern New England with wind and rain a day later.
Deadly flooding in China worsens as rescues and evacuations intensify
(AP) — Thousands of people threatened by storm-swollen rivers were evacuated in China’s northeast on Friday while areas on the outskirts of Beijing cleared debris from flooding that wrecked roads, knocked out power and left neighborhoods in shambles.
China is struggling with record-breaking rains in some areas while others suffer scorching summer heat and drought that threatens crops. Flooding near Beijing and in neighboring Hebei province this week killed at least 22 people.
It’s not just hot. Climate anomalies are emerging around the globe.
July was packed with weather anomalies, but some were so abnormal they sent a wave of consternation through the scientific community
(WaPo) It brought deadly and historic rains to parts of India and Vermont, and raging wildfires that delivered dangerous air to parts of the United States and Canada — all the sort of calamities that researchers have long predicted as the planet heats up. Protracted heat waves that enveloped parts of North America and Europe during July would have been “virtually impossible” without the fingerprint of climate change, researchers found.
But some events were so abnormal that they sent a wave of consternation through the scientific community. Antarctic sea ice is at a historically low level for this time of year, according to federal data. Sea surface temperatures across the North Atlantic have been “off the charts,” Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported, noting that the figures set records for this time of year “by a very large margin.” Water temperatures off the coast of South Florida rose to unfathomable levels in recent days, leading scientists to fear for the fate of the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States.
From scorching heat to deadly storms, Europe has no rest from ‘summer of hell’
More than 19,000 people have been evacuated from Rhodes as wildfires ravage the Greek island.
(Politico Eu) Europe is grappling with extreme weather from soaring temperatures in southern Italy to powerful storms in Croatia and Italy, piling pressure on emergency services and residents, and challenging tourists seeking some summer recuperation.
Temperatures have consistently topped 40 degrees Celsius this week across southern and eastern European countries, and for some areas like Sicily there remains no respite. The Italian island was baking in 46 degrees Celsius on Saturday, according to the Met Office, with night temperatures of 29 degrees offering little in the way of comfort.
On the Greek island of Rhodes, firefighters continued their battle to bring difficult wildfires under control, according to local media reports. Thousands of people have been evacuated from homes and hotels after fires engulfed large parts of the island, and Greece’s fire service warned that the situation could worsen due to weather, the BBC reported.
Intensifying heat waves prompt health warnings for Europe, US
(Reuters) – A global pattern of heat waves scorching parts of Europe, Asia and the United States intensified on Tuesday, with the World Meteorological Organization warning of an increased risk of deaths linked to excessively high temperatures.
Americans were facing a medley of extreme weather, from blazing heat from Texas to Southern California to smoke-choked air wafting into the Midwest from Canada’s wildfires. Flood warnings were up for Vermont towns that were inundated just last week, while Tropical Storm Calvin was expected to hit the Pacific island state of Hawaii later on Tuesday.
Extreme heat sweeps the world from Europe to the US and Japan
Italian health ministry issues a red alert for 16 cities including Rome, Bologna and Florence amid soaring temperatures.
Health alerts issued as blistering heat scorches southern Europe
Tourists collapse in Greece and Italy and worker killed near Milan amid heatwave worsened by carbon pollution
(The Guardian) A ferocious heatwave inflamed by carbon pollution is baking southern Europe, posing severe health risks to older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Scorching heat has already hit several countries, with local media reports of tourists collapsing in Greece and Italy, and an outdoor worker dying near Milan. Temperatures are expected to hit 42C in Athens on Saturday, 41C in Seville on Monday and 40C in Rome on Tuesday.
An area of high pressure called Cerberus – named after a three-headed dog from Dante Alighieri’s poem Inferno – has brought hot air from Africa to Europe. Warm air, which holds more moisture than cold air, can lead to hot and dry conditions in some areas, and heavy rains and flash floods in others
Extreme flooding seen across the world so far this summer – video report
(The Guardian) Catastrophic floods around the world are triggering warnings of the climate crisis intensifying, with communities feeling the effects of July’s extreme weather. Torrential rain has flooded homes and caused extensive damage in New York’s Hudson valley while in China, thousands of people have been displaced. In Spain, people could be seen clinging to their cars and climbing trees to escape the flood water and in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where fatal landslides blocked about 700 roads, flash floods destroyed a bridge and filled streets with debris
A ‘perfect storm’ is unfolding this summer and it’s ‘supercharging’ the weather, scientist says
A “perfect storm” is unfolding this summer, one climate scientist told CNN, as atmospheric ingredients combine to create deadly flooding in the Northeast US and record-breaking heat in the Southwest US and around the world.
Deadly flooding inundated parts of the Northeast, trapping people in their homes and killing at least one woman who was swept away by the fast-moving water. Rivers in Vermont rose quickly in the torrential rain on Monday to levels not seen since Hurricane Irene in 2011.
The climate crisis is stacking the deck in favor of more intense weather events like the heavy rain and flooding in the Northeast, said Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist and distinguished professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
The climate crisis is stacking the deck in favor of more intense weather events like the heavy rain and flooding in the Northeast, said Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist and distinguished professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Catastrophic flooding swamped Vermont’s capital as intense storms forced evacuations and closures in Northeast
Volcano erupts in Iceland after weeks of earthquakes
A volcanic eruption south of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik is sending plumes of smoke across a region known for its sweeping lava fields, volcanoes and geothermal activity.
Flooding across China displaces thousands after weeks of torrential rain– video
According to state media, heavy flooding has displaced thousands of people and damaged infrastructure across China. Authorities in the northern Shaanxi province reported the worst flooding in 50 years, while in the south-western city of Chongqing, a landslide caused cracks in roads and damaged foundations. Further footage from across the country shows vehicles submerged in water and bridges destroyed. No deaths have been reported as a result of the flooding so far
Wildfires are bad for air quality. Fireworks can make the smoke worse.
Swirling soot from Canadian blazes is likely to compound the usual pyrotechnics pollution on July 4. Health experts urge caution.
A massive storm is plowing through the Midwest, clearing out smoke with hurricane-force wind gusts
(CNN) A powerful thunderstorm complex was racing across the Midwest Thursday afternoon, blowing through the harmful smoke from Canada’s wildfires and clearing the air in its wake.
The storm – referred to as a bow echo because of its arc-like appearance on radar – has a history of producing wind gusts close to 90 mph and has knocked the power out for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.
NZ North Island braces for ‘potentially devastating’ weather as cyclone Gabrielle barrels toward region
Communities still reeling from recent flooding were issued red weather warnings and told to prepare for intense rain and gale force winds
Hope for more survivors fades as Turkey-Syria earthquake toll passes 20,000
Death toll is over 17,000 in Turkey, more than 3,000 in Syria
Hundreds of thousands left homeless in middle of winter
First U.N. aid convoy enters northwest Syria from Turkey
(Reuters) – Cold, hunger and despair gripped hundreds of thousands of people left homeless after the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria three days ago as the death toll passed 20,000 on Thursday.
The death toll across both countries has now surpassed the more than 17,000 killed in 1999 when a similarly powerful quake hit northwest Turkey.
‘Nature is striking back’: flooding around the world, from Australia to Venezuela
Heavy rain and rising waters continue to take a deadly toll in countries including Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam
(The Guardian) It has been a drenched 2022 for many parts of the world, at times catastrophically so. A year of disastrous flooding perhaps reached its nadir in Pakistan, where a third of the country was inundated by heavy rainfall from June, killing more than 1,000 people in what António Guterres, the UN secretary general, called an unprecedented natural disaster.
While floods are indeed natural phenomena, a longstanding result of storms, the human-induced climate crisis is amplifying their damage. Rising sea levels, driven by melting glaciers and the thermal expansion of water, are increasingly inundating coastal areas, while warmer temperatures are causing more moisture to accumulate in the atmosphere, which is then released as rain or snow.
Scientists have said flash floods are becoming a problem in some countries, with short, severe bursts of rain causing anything from annoyance to mayhem. Some places are whiplashing between severe drought and these sudden downpours, heightening the risk of mudslides and other knock-on effects.
As the world heats further, the sort of floods seen this year from Australia to Nigeria will probably become more common. “We have waged war on nature, and nature is striking back, and striking back in a devastating way,” Guterres lamented after visiting Pakistan in September.
Typhoon Noru wreaks havoc across south-east Asia
James Parrish and Lauren Herdman (MetDesk)
As Hurricane Ian hits the Americas, Noru has been ripping through the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand
On Tuesday, Typhoon Noru struck south of the city of Da Nang in Vietnam, heading westwards to Thailand. Initially a tropical storm, Noru originated in the Philippine Sea on 23 September, propagating westwards while gathering moisture and strengthening.
Classified as a very strong typhoon, Noru made landfall in the Philippines on Sunday with 83mph winds. Passing through Manila, a lack of moisture degraded Noru, returning it to typhoon status.
Hurricane Ian, meanwhile, hit western Cuba as a category 3 hurricane on Tuesday, with winds of up to 125mph and caused enough damage to knock out the island’s entire power grid and disrupt water supplies. Work to restore the electricity is ongoing, and at least two people have died.
Storm re-intensifies after ‘historic’ damage
Death toll remains unclear as Florida Gov. DeSantis describes flooding as a one-in-500-year event
After devastating Florida, Ian becomes a hurricane again and heads for South Carolina
(NPR) The storm is thought to have brought more than 17 inches of rain over West-Central Florida, the National Weather Service says.
The historic Naples Pier was reportedly destroyed under waves at least 20 feet high, and parts of the only bridge linking Sanibel Island to the mainland were washed away.
The two coastal counties hit the hardest — Lee County, home to Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and Charlotte County to the north — are “basically off the grid,” the governor said.
How Hurricane Fiona turned the barely imaginable into the all-too possible — and what it means for future storms
In this instance, …the storm’s unusual severity was determined by a fateful confluence of conditions, including low wind shear and a path that kept it over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream as it moved north.
As a result, unlike most tropical storms and hurricanes that reach Canada, Fiona lost little of its strength by the time it slammed into a wide swath of the Atlantic coast, centred on a point in Guysborough County Nova Scotia. From there it sped on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, leaving destruction in its wake.
In a special report on oceans produced in 2019, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear that the first and most pronounced effect of climate change for many living in coastal regions would not be the gradual rise in average sea level around the globe, but the increasing likelihood of high-water events as a consequence of sea-level rise.
In parts of Atlantic Canada, high-water events that occurred on average about once per century in the recent past could come to be annual events by the 2060s, according to climate projections. That means if Fiona is the outlier today, it is unlikely to stay that way.
Precisely how much of Fiona’s impact can be attributed to climate change has yet to be determined, Dr. [Adam Fenech, the director of the University of Prince Edward Island’s climate lab] said. That will have to wait until he and other researchers can run detailed computer simulations of the storm using the same initial conditions and seeing what happens with and without the presence of warming linked to greenhouse gas emissions.
But previous work already suggests climate change is having an effect on tropical systems that enter Canadian waters.
Major earthquake shakes Mexico on anniversary of two previous tremors
Quake registered at 7.5 magnitude and struck off the coast of La Placita de Morelos on the anniversary of two devastating tremors
Alarms for the new quake came less than an hour after a nationwide earthquake simulation marking the 1985 and 2017 quakes.
Jeffrey D. Sachs: Pakistan and the Fight for Climate Justice
Too often, rich countries deny their historical responsibilities, whether it be for colonialism, slavery, or today’s mounting climate damage. But the developing world will not forget the leading role that industrialized economies have played in permanently altering the climate and making catastrophic events more likely.
(Project Syndicate) Around the world, 2022 has been a year of climate catastrophes, including droughts, floods, mega-fires, typhoons, and more. Among the hardest-hit countries is Pakistan. With torrential monsoon rainfall almost 190% above its 30-year average, extraordinary flooding has submerged one-third of the country and killed 1,400 people so far. But make no mistake: this is not only a “natural disaster”; rather, it is also the result of malfeasance for which high-income countries must bear major financial responsibility.
Pakistan’s floods can be clearly linked to human-induced climate change. Because warmer air holds more moisture, higher temperatures generally mean heavier monsoons. While monsoons have a natural year-to-year variation (being strong in some years and weak in others), the probability distribution is shifting toward heavier rainfall. The melting of Himalayan glaciers due to rising temperatures may also be contributing to increased flooding, and the same is likely true of land-use changes, including deforestation and poorly designed infrastructure.
The world’s rich countries… have deprived Pakistan of the long-term climatic conditions on which it has built its economy, homes, farms, and infrastructure. If there was a global climate court, Pakistan’s government would have a strong case against the US and other high-income countries for failing to limit climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs). But since there is no global climate court (yet), governments should act like one and allocate the attributable climate losses and damages to those countries that are historically responsible for them. Pakistan (and its neighbors in the Himalayas) would of course have the core responsibility for sustainable management of the land, including reforestation and climate-safe infrastructure.
Historic, unforgiving Western heat wave is peaking and crushing records
California’s inland and valley regions are seeing unprecedented September temperatures over 110 degrees, while the state’s power grid is near the brink
Climate change connection
While extreme heat events are not caused by climate change, human influence on our atmosphere is making them more frequent, intense, prolonged and, in some cases, larger. It propels already high-end events into record territory.
Breaking records by large margins, the heat wave bears shades of the unprecedented events that torched the Pacific Northwest in June of 2021 and the United Kingdom Britain in July, both of which scientists concluded would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.
Residential green spaces protect growing cities against climate change
By Michael Drescher, Associate Professor, School of Planning; Dawn Parker, Professor in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment and Rebecca Rooney, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Waterloo
(The Conversation) With affordable housing in decline, there are loud calls to massively increase the number of homes being built. Unfortunately, conventional residential development destroys large amounts of green space. The average greenness of urban areas across Canada declined five percentage points between 2001 and 2019, and even more in larger cities.
The loss of urban green space leads to increases in urban heat and flooding, which are amplified by climate change, and can threaten human health and well-being, and property. They also degrade natural ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.
Perversely, poorly planned cities themselves contribute to climate change. As Canadian cities move to tackle the housing shortage, they should take care not to worsen climate change and its impacts.
What cities do to fight climate change
By early 2022, over 600 Canadian municipalities had declared a climate emergency. Some of them are taking action by conserving natural ecosystems and better integrating them into their operations. Others are beginning to use green development standards to guide developers in building more sustainable communities.
Even so, 78 per cent of large Canadian cities have continued to lose tree canopy over the past 20 years. This may be because green space conservation and creation are not well incentivized in the planning and development process.
‘Nothing left’: Floods in Sudan leave 100 dead, many homeless
The UN says at least 258,000 people have been affected by the floods in 15 out of 18 provinces.
More than 100 people have died and thousands affected as floods caused by torrential rains continue to devastate Sudan. Authorities have declared an emergency in six of the hardest-hit provinces, with 15 out of 18 provinces affected. Among the worst-affected areas are the camps that house internally displaced people in Darfur. Opposition groups say the country’s military leadership — which took power in October in a coup — failed to properly prepare for the rainy season, doing little to respond to the disaster. There are fears that rising river levels could devastate the capital Khartoum next.
International aid reaches Pakistan, where floods have claimed more than 1,000 lives
(NPR) International aid has begun to reach Pakistan after the death toll of heavier-than-usual monsoon rains surpassed 1,000 and affected about 33 million people. The military and volunteers helped evacuate thousands of people still stranded by the flooding. Cargo planes from Turkey and the UAE arrived in the capital Islamabad on Sunday with tents, food, water and other necessities. The devastation comes as the South Asian nation faces high inflation and a depreciating currency. The country is hoping that the IMF will release $1.2 billion from Pakistan’s bailout program.
Pakistan declares national emergency as flood toll nears 1,000
At least 937 people are dead and 30 million are ‘badly affected’ as Pakistan struggles to cope with devastating floods.
(Al Jazeera) “What we are seeing here in the country is development deficit. It is not only the excessive rain which is causing the issue, but rather the inadequate preparation and infrastructure,”
European drought unearths sunken Nazi warships, ‘Spanish Stonehenge’
(WaPo) One of the worst droughts on record in Europe has parched the continent’s major waterways, revealing relics such as a long-submerged village and World War II-era battleships.
Earlier this week, the unrelenting heat wave that left the Iberian peninsula drier than any time in the last 1,200 years also exposed dozens of prehistoric stones in a reservoir in central Spain.
The drought drained the reservoir to a fraction of its capacity, the Spanish government said, granting archaeologists access to the Dolmen of Guadalperal, believed to be from 5000 B.C. Known as the “Spanish Stonehenge,”
France’s river Loire sets new lows as drought dries up its tributaries
Famous for UNESCO World Heritage castles, Loire suffers drought
Unprecedented low water levels endanger river ecology
Sand banks stretch for miles, flat-bottom boats stranded
Four nuclear plants depend on water flow for cooling
EU countries rush to help France tackle ‘monstrous’ wildfires
Firefighters from Romania, Poland, Austria, Greece and Italy fight blazes in show of ‘European solidarity’
(The Guardian) Most are stationed along a 26 mile (40km) active fire-front in the south-west, where a blaze described as “monstrous” continued to devastate pine forests.
German firefighters and their vehicles arrived in the early hours of Friday morning to help tackle the massive Landiras fire in the Gironde and the Landes, south of Bordeaux, which had sparked up again this week after destroying swathes of forest in July.
In a summer of extreme heat and drought, France has faced its most serious forest fires in years. One local firefighter described the Landiras blaze in south-west France as “a sleeping monster which can wake at any gust of wind”.
The French state broadcaster reported that since the start of the year, 56,000 hectares of forest had burned in France – three times the annual average this decade.
‘They are not slowing down’: The rise of billion-dollar disasters
One battered N.C. community illustrates how summer, fueled in part by climate change, is proving an especially perilous and costly season
(WaPo) While weather disasters strike the United States every year, the numbers show that summer is proving prone to some of the most costly annual disasters, including powerful hurricanes, seemingly endless droughts, sprawling wildfires and torrential rainstorms that fuel the sort of flooding St. Louis and eastern Kentucky have recently endured.
How climate change drives inland floods
(NPR) Climate change means more flood risk across the United States. That includes places far from the ocean and sometimes far from rivers and streams, but where rain storms can still cause dangerous flash floods.
Why, exactly, does a hotter Earth mean more inland flood risk? And what does the future hold? This FAQ is for the millions of people who live in increasingly flood-prone parts of the United States, and who want to know how to stay safe and prepare for a changing climate.
How does climate change affect heavy rain?
It all starts with the release of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane. As humans keep burning fossil fuels, the atmosphere gets hotter. That hot air holds more water vapor, and so when it rains, it rains harder.
Climate scientists have been predicting for decades that heavy rain would get more common as the Earth heats up. At this point, scientists can measure what’s happening in real time. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest rain storms increased across the country between 1958 and 2016, according to the National Climate Assessment. The situation is most serious in the eastern half of the country. A lot more rain is falling in the Northeast and Midwest, which means a lot more flood risk in all kinds of places, including areas far from the coast.
Living Through India’s Next-Level Heat Wave
In hospitals, in schools, and on the streets, high temperatures have transformed routines and made daylight dangerous.
By Dhruv Khullar
(The New Yorker) Dhruv Khullar writes, in a haunting dispatch from India, where an unprecedented heat wave has taken hold. … And, Khullar cautions, extreme heat isn’t just a phenomenon affecting “poor, faraway people”: just last week, temperatures in the U.K. reached a hundred and four for the first time; last summer, in the course of three weeks, more than fourteen hundred people died during a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. Short of causing death, extreme heat can lead to fever, vomiting, and fainting, and, as Khullar, a practicing physician, writes, the effects of climate change are also psychological—heat has been linked to a rise in suicides among Indian farmers.
(Atlantic Council) It’s the new, broiling normal. Europe’s brutal heatwave this week—which notched the highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom at 104 degrees Fahrenheit—has buckled airport runways and fueled scorching wildfires. It’s also racking up a death toll in the thousands. This is the reality of the changing climate—and it will only get worse from here. Even as they work to reduce carbon emissions, how can societies and individuals adapt to this extreme heat?
Under threat from extreme heat: What can cities do to adapt? | Arsht Rock Press Briefing (video)
The World Is Burning Once Again
We can only adapt so much to extreme heat.
(The Atlantic) Earlier this year, the U.K.’s Met Office had to update its definition of a heat wave because climate change had rendered the old definition obsolete: Heat waves would now be so common as to have lost their meaning.
It’s not just the U.K. Now everywhere is hot. More than 100 million Americans are currently under heat advisories or warnings. In India, a record-breaking heat wave has only recently given way to the monsoon. Parts of Central Asia are still seeing temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. And the damage done by overlapping disasters doesn’t merely accrete linearly; it compounds. Over time, climate change has made these concurrent extremes more and more common, Kai Kornhuber, a climate scientist at Columbia, told me. Since the late ’70s, concurrent major heat waves have grown six times more frequent in the Northern Hemisphere, Kornhuber and several colleagues found earlier this year. “What we’re seeing now is a situation where the overall warmth of the climate is higher, which puts us intrinsically closer to those extreme-heat thresholds,” Alex Ruane, a climate scientist at NASA, told me.
Many European schools and hospitals at risk from heat waves and floods: How to protect vulnerable groups from climate change?
(European Environment Agency/EEA) Climate change affects all Europeans but vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, low-income groups and people with health problems or disabilities, are the most affected. One in ten European schools and hospitals may also be at flood risk and about half of those facilities in cities are within intense urban heat islands. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today, looks at these inequalities and how to address them through equitable climate change adaptation.
More and more vulnerable Europeans are increasingly exposed to dangerous heat waves, due to the combination of rising temperatures, urbanisation, and the ageing of the population, according to the EEA briefing. Flood-prone areas in some countries tend to have higher shares of the elderly or unemployed people who may not be able to relocate or pay for insurances or adequate flood protection for their homes. The EEA analysis also shows that nearly half of schools and hospitals in European cities are within intense urban heat islands, and every tenth European school or hospital may be exposed to flooding.
Towards ‘just resilience’: leaving no one behind when adapting to climate change
Despite efforts to adapt to climate change in Europe, the most vulnerable groups in society are still the most affected. Projected climate change, an ageing society and persisting socio-economic inequalities mean that differences in vulnerability and exposure to climate change are likely to continue. In addition, adaptation responses may worsen existing inequalities or even create new ones. This briefing looks at how climate change affects vulnerable groups and how these impacts can be prevented or reduced through equitable adaptation actions. It also presents examples of equity-oriented policies and measures from across Europe.
Humanity’s broken risk perception is reversing global progress in a ‘spiral of self-destruction’, finds new UN report
World could undo social and economic advances and face 1.5 disasters a day by 2030, according to UN’s flagship Global Assessment Report.
The Global Assessment Report (GAR2022), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) ahead of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May, reveals that between 350 and 500 medium- to large-scale disasters took place every year over the past two decades. The number of disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 disasters a day – by 2030.
The report entitled “Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future,” found that the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies, as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, had reduced both the number of people impacted and killed by disasters in the last decade.
However, the scale and intensity of disasters are increasing, with more people killed or affected by disasters in the last five years than in the previous five.
Global disasters are coming harder and faster. Here’s how we can cut the risks
The UN’s annual report on mitigating calamities shows that a radical rethink is needed to protect those who suffer most
If the world seems beset by constant disasters, from the pandemic to drought, we only have ourselves to blame.
Over the past two decades, we have experienced up to 500 disasters a year as a result of human activity. By 2030, this could rise to 560 a year – or 10.7 a week.
Given the disproportionate impact these disasters have on the most vulnerable, the tragedy is that the world is actively reversing social and economic gains, particularly in developing countries, by underestimating the threat. With this broken risk perception, humanity itself is on a spiral of self-destruction – a key finding of the UN’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (Gar 2022).
UN chief calls for extreme weather warning systems for everyone on Earth
António Guterres says entire planet should be covered by early warning systems within five years
About a third of people around the world are not now covered by early warning systems, but in Africa the problem is greater, with about six in 10 people lacking such warnings.
As climate breakdown takes hold, more people are likely to be affected by extreme weather, including flash floods, heatwaves, more violent storms and coastal storm surges, made worse by sea level rises.
António Guterres said it was unacceptable that so many people were still not covered by early warning systems, and pointed out that the IPCC had recently found half of humanity was “in the danger zone” for climate breakdown.
Guterres has asked the World Meteorological Organization to lead the effort to ensure everyone is covered by an early warning system. He has called for a plan on how to fulfil the target to be brought to the next UN climate summit, Cop27, to be held in Egypt in November.