Climate Change News


Executive secretary says ‘progress was made, but nothing was finalized’. Nations will meet again in Poland in December.

Climate change activists take part in a demonstration in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok. Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

An international meeting in Bangkok fell short of its aim of completing fruitful preparations to help an agreement be reached in December on guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

The six-day meeting, which ended on Sunday, was scheduled to step up progress in the battle against rising global carbon emissions by adopting a completed text that could be presented at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland, three months from now.

A primary objective of the 2015 Paris agreement, to which 190 nations subscribe, is to limit the global temperature increase by 2100 to less than 2C and as close as possible to 1.5C, which is vital to the survival of island nations threatened by rising seas. But the absence of guidelines for meeting that goal has led to fears that not enough action is being taken.

There have been notable disagreements over fair financing for implementation of the rules by developing countries, and the technical details of their reporting on progress.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said on Sunday at the closing press briefing for the Bangkok meeting that progress was made on most issues but nothing was finalized.

The meeting was attended by representatives of most of the countries party to the Paris agreement, as well as the United States, which has announced that it is pulling out of the pact.

Read more: 'Limited' progress at Bangkok climate talks


The joint assessment teams of Oxfam and its partner, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), witnessed the destructive force of Ompong, known internationally as Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

The teams have been deployed to Cagayan since Wednesday to provide on-site situational updates and conduct rapid needs assessments. The community-led disaster preparedness committees of CDRC in Cagayan have been activated.

Read more: Oxfam and local partners witness Mangkhut’s “destructive force” – disaster preparedness...


Climate Change Undermining Global Efforts to Eradicate Hunger

UNITED NATIONS. The United Nations warned last month that the accelerating impacts of climate change—“already clearly visible today”– have triggered an unpredictable wave of natural disasters– including extreme heatwaves, wildfires, storms, and floods during the course of this year.

“If we do not change course by 2020”, cautions UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.”

Coincidentally, his warning was followed by the [annual 2018 report] by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which singled out climate change as one of the primary factors responsible for the rise in global hunger – and for the third consecutive year in 2017.

Along with military conflicts and global economic meltdowns, climate change is a driving force in the rise in global hunger while extreme weather, land degradation, desertification, water scarcity, and rising sea levels—are collectively undermining global efforts to eradicate hunger.

As the UN continues to express concern over rising natural disasters worldwide, the world body is taking an active role in New York City’s “Climate Change Week” which is scheduled to conclude Sunday September 30—and takes place in the margins of the 73rd sessions of the UN General Assembly where more than 125 world political leaders are due to speak this week.

A primary focus of Climate Change Week will be the number of climate-related disasters, which have doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year during the period of 1990–2016, according to FAO.

Asked about the severity of climate change on food security, Cindy Holleman, Senior Economist at FAO, told IPS the number of extreme climate-related disaster events has doubled since the early 1990s (extreme heat, droughts, floods, and storms) – “which means we now experience on average 213 medium and large climate-related catastrophic events every year”.

Read more: Climate Change Undermining Global Efforts to Eradicate Hunger


File photo of Energy, Green Technology, Science and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin (centre) checking out renewable energy generation on July 31 at the NGO Create Borneo near Kota Kinabalu. Next to her are Create officials Adrian and Jenifer Lasimbang.

KOTA KINABALU. Please don't restart the coal power plant project in Sabah, explore renewable energy sources first to solve the state’s power supply woes, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia urges the Malaysian government.

Read more: No to coal power in Sabah, explore renewable energy first, says WWF


Preserving nature: Dr Xavier (second from right) looking at a preserved turtle after the launch of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Symposium and Red List Assessment at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. With him is UMT vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Nor Aeini Mokhtar (fourth from right). — Bernama

PUTRAJAYA. Malaysia is aiming to do away with single-use plastic by 2030, as the country tries to shed its reputation as one of the largest producers of plastic waste in the world.

Read more: Yeo: Do away with single-use plastic


Scientists have long feared that as Earth warms, tropical peatlands -- which store up to 10 percent of the planet's soil carbon -- could dry out, decay and release vast pools of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, rapidly accelerating climate change.

Read more: Natural mechanism could lower emissions from tropical peatlands


A woman walks through floodwaters in front of the Grand Palace near the Chao Praya river in Bangkok on October 28, 2011. AFP

As Bangkok prepares to host climate-change talks, the sprawling city of more than 10 million is itself under siege from the environment, with dire forecasts warning it could be partially submerged in just over a decade.

A preparatory meeting begins Tuesday in Thailand’s capital for the next UN climate conference, a crunch summit in Poland at the end of 2018 to set rules on reducing greenhouse emissions and providing aid to vulnerable countries.

As temperatures rise, abnormal weather patterns – like more powerful cyclones, erratic rainfall, and intense droughts and floods – are predicted to worsen over time, adding pressure on governments that are tasked with bringing the 2015 Paris climate treaty to life.

Bangkok, built on once-marshy land about 1.5meters (five feet) above sea level, is projected to be one of the world’s hardest hit urban areas, alongside fellow Southeast Asian behemoths Jakarta and Manila.

“Nearly 40 percent” of Bangkok will be inundated by as early as 2030 due to extreme rainfall and changes in weather patterns, according to a World Bank report.

Read more: Bangkok struggling to stay afloat


When Trin Gim first started her biogas digester business, she raised many eyebrows. In the little district of Ung Hoa, located south of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, villagers were not accustomed to seeing a woman take the reins of a business. But eight years later, Trin Gim has achieved not only financial success,but has played a role in a larger fight in Viet Nam against the devastating impacts of climate change.

Ung Hoa is a lush pastoral paradise, where pig farms are a popular feature in most households. Waste from the pigs, usually feces and urine, can be converted into combustible methane gas with a biogas digester. That gas can be used as energy for cooking and household needs. Trin was initially involved in installing these digesters in homes but has since expanded her skillset.

On an average day, she is busy convincing potential customers of the benefits of a digester. Once households are on board, she negotiates a price and payment schedule, assesses the feasibility and size of the biogas plant, carts the required material to the house and, together with her team, installs the biogas plant.

With eight people in her employ, Trin has now installed about 3,000 biogas plants across 7 districts. 

Photo by Annette Wallgren

Read more: Pig pens power a solution to climate change in Vietnam


The mesmerizing animals appear to be thriving even as coral reefs suffer.

Feather stars, those 200-million-year-old creatures that look like something straight from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, maybe the next kings of the reef. The plant-like animals seem to be thriving, even as other reef dwellers, like corals, are dying from warmer waters linked to climate change.

Angela Stevenson of the University of British Columbia has studied crinoids, a group of marine creatures including feather stars and sea lilies, for over a decade. She’s currently stationed in Negros Oriental, Philippines, where her team is observing and experimenting with the abundant feather star communities that live on the reefs offshore. (See mesmerizing video of a feather star swimming.)

This feather star is one of the eight species being studied by Angela Stevenson and her team in Negros Oriental, Philippines. PHOTOGRAPH BY ANGELA STEVENSON

Read more: In a World of Warming Seas, Feather Stars Might be Winners


Scattering aerosols in the sky would cool the planet, but it would block crucial sunlight for plants.

Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 1991, sending 20 million tons of sulfur compounds into the sky. Scientists studied the eruption to estimate the impacts of solar geoengineering. David Harlow/US Geological Survey/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

It’s been a dangerously hot summer. Just this week, Lisbon, Portugal, reported its highest temperature ever recorded, 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Chino, California, hit an all-time high of 120°F in July. In Quriyat, Oman, temperatures were stuck above 108°F for 51 hours straight. The heat has killed dozens around the world.

Read more: Volcanoes show why solar geoengineering can’t save our food from climate change


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