Scientists have said the Doomsday Clock – a metaphor for a global apocalypse – has moved closer to midnight than ever before. It’s now just 100 seconds away. President and chief executive of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Rachel Bronson, said the world has entered into the realm of a two-minute warning – with high danger and little room for error.
The 10 years to the end of 2019 have been confirmed as the warmest decade on record by three global agencies. According to Nasa, Noaa and the UK Met Office, last year was the second warmest in a record dating back to 1850. The past five years were the hottest in the 170-year series, with the average of each one more than 1C warmer than pre-industrial.
The world’s oceans hit their warmest level in recorded history in 2019, according to a study published Monday that provides more evidence that Earth is warming at an accelerated pace. The analysis, which also found that ocean temperatures in the last decade have been the warmest on record, shows the impact of human-caused warming on the planet’s oceans and suggests extreme weather events could worsen as the oceans continue to absorb so much heat.
A global shipping industry organization is proposing a research and development program to help cut carbon dioxide emissions, funded by about $5 billion from shipping companies over a decade. Environmental activists say that while shipping contributes only about 2% of global greenhouse gases, the industry’s efforts are essential to combating climate change. The strategy envisions cutting total annual emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared with 2008.
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who has led worldwide protests demanding global action on the issue, is Time magazine’s Person Of The Year. Thunberg, 16, has been calling the world’s attention to what she describes as a “climate emergency”. In the announcement, the magazine said: “For decades, researchers and activists have struggled to get world leaders to take the climate threat seriously. But this year, an unlikely teenager somehow got the world’s attention.”
More than 11,000 researchers from around the world on Tuesday issued a grim warning of the “untold suffering” that will be caused by climate change if humanity doesn’t change its ways. The group said that as scientists, they have the “moral obligation to tell it like it is.” The scientists, who come from over 150 countries, said the climate crisis is “closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.”
The US has begun the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, notifying the UN of its intention to leave, as other countries express regret and disappointment at the move. The notification begins a one-year process of exiting the global climate change accord, culminating the day after the 2020 US election. The US government says the deal puts an “unfair economic burden” on Americans.
The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has refused to accept an environmental award, saying the climate movement needed people in power to start to “listen” to “science” and not awards. The young climate activist, who has rallied millions to her “Fridays for Future” movement, was honored at a Stockholm ceremony held by the Nordic Council, a regional body for inter-parliamentary cooperation.
Donald Trump appears to have taken a swipe at teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, tweeting a video of an emotional Thunberg with an apparently sarcastic comment that she seems to be “very happy” and looking forward to a bright future. The president tweeted out a video with the comment showing visibly upset Thunberg as she delivered a blistering speech to world leaders at a United Nations summit.
An assessment backed by the world’s major climate science bodies has found commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The report, launched as leaders gather at a UN climate action summit in New York on Monday, says current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100.