Over a third of heat-related deaths caused by global warming

Climate and Capitalism | June 01, 2021

(London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, May 31, 2021) Between 1991 and 2018, more than a third of all deaths in which heat played a role were attributable to human-induced global warming, according to a new study in Nature Climate Change.

The study, the largest of its kind, was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Bern within the Multi-Country Multi-City (MCC) Collaborative Research Network. Using data from 732 locations in 43 countries around the world it shows for the first time the actual contribution of man-made climate change in increasing mortality risks due to heat.

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Climate change: Food production in Africa’s Sudano-Sahelian Zone under threat, finds study

Madhumita Paul

Down To Earth | May 17, 2021

The Sudano-Sahelian Zone in West Africa is the most vulnerable to climate change. Photo: Flickr

The Sudano-Sahelian Zone, which comprises 16 countries in Africa, is the most vulnerable to climate change. The associated risks have pushed food crop as well as livestock production outside safe climatic space (SCS), in turn jeopardising food security in the region, a new study has warned.

The region, one of the poorest in the world, is characterised by fluctuating rainfall and droughts.

The study, led by Finland’s Aalto University, therefore raised alarm over the increasing threat to production of food crops and livestock in the region. It was published in journal One Earth May 14, 2021.Read More »


Sand and dust storms in Asia: a call for global cooperation on climate change

Yao Wu, Bo Wen, Shanshan Li & Yuming Guo

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: April 26, 2021 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00082-6

On March 15, 2021, north China suddenly experienced a serious sand and dust storm, which originated in Mongolia and was the biggest in the past decade. At least nine people, including one child, were directly killed by the sand and dust storm in Mongolia. The devastating storm swept across northern China, covering 380 million hectares of land in 12 provinces. Schools in several cities were closed and more than 50 flights to and from Beijing, China were cancelled. PM10 concentrations in Beijing increased sharply to 8000 μg/m3 during the morning of March 15 due to the storm, and 24-h mean PM2·5 concentrations exceeded 200 μg/m3, which is far higher than the WHO guideline of 25 μg/m3. It has been estimated that such an increase in PM10 concentration could lead to an increase of 99·8% in daily all-cause mortality, which corresponds to at least 265 excess deaths per day in Beijing.

This wave of sand and dust storms is a result of combined effects of dry cyclones from Mongolia and cold air from Siberia. Driven by the prevailing westerlies, dust particles in the deserts of Mongolia were lifted high into the air, travelling downwind from the source areas, and depositing in northern China and even South Korea.

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Tipping points confirmed for massive Antarctic glacier

A small rise in ocean temperature may trigger catastrophic collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Climate and Capitalism | April 02, 2021

In 2013, a 270 square mile iceberg broke off the Pine Island Glacier.

(Adapted from material provided by Northumbria University.)

Researchers have confirmed for the first time that Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica could cross tipping points, leading to a rapid and irreversible retreat which would have significant consequences for global sea level.Read More »


Why a net‑zero future depends on the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon

Anya M. Waite, Brad Deyoung, Chris Milley and Ian G. Stewart

| February 25, 2020


Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Most of us growing up along Canada’s East Coast never worried about hurricane season. Except for those working at sea, we viewed hurricanes as extreme events in remote tropical regions, seen only through blurred footage of flailing palm trees on the six o’clock news.Read More »


UN Report: Action Needed Now to Solve Triple Emergency

Climate and Capitalism | February 18, 2021

Making Peace With Nature, a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), synthesizes findings from recent global assessments, including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and others. It proposes what the authors’ call “a scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies.”Read More »


Global Ice Melt: Much Faster Than Predicted

Evan Lim

Climate and Capitalism | February 17, 2021

Eqip Glacier, a marine terminating glacier in Greenland

Two new studies suggest that recent estimates of global ice melt are conservative. In other words, ice is melting much more rapidly than experts thought. As a result, sea levels are rising faster as well.

The first study combines various observations from satellites, on-the-ground measurements, and model-based estimates to create a clearer picture of the state of Earth’s ice between 1994 and 2017. Essentially, it captures a global tally of change in ice mass over that time period. The resulting measurements of ice loss and sea level rise fall in the upper range of scenarios forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body within the United Nations meant to provide objective science related to climate change. The IPCC’s scenarios were laid out in their 2019 special report on oceans and the cryosphere, itself a recent overview of assessment work.Read More »



Lithium, Batteries and Climate Change

The transition to green energy does not have to be powered by destructive and poisonous mineral extraction.

Jonathan Neale

Climate and Capitalism | February 11, 2021

Jonathan Neale’s new book, Fight the Fire, is published by The Ecologist magazine, Resistance Books, the Alternative Information and Development Centre, and the International Institute for Research and Education. For a free copy, click the cover image.

Lithium mine in Bolivia

Click to download free pdf or ebook.

I have spent the last year working on a book called Fight the Fire: Green New Deals and Global Climate Jobs. Most of it is about both the politics and the engineering of any possible transition that can avert catastrophic climate breakdown. One thing I had to think about long and hard was lithium and car batteries.

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How climate crisis is disrupting ecosystems?

A Journal of People report


Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

As the world is getting warmer and warmer many organisms native to lower latitudes or elevations are moving higher.

However, novel organisms moving into a new habitat could disturb the ecological balance, which has been established over a long period. Plants and herbivores are characterized by long-term co-evolution, shaping both their geographic distribution and the characteristics that they display in their occupied sites.

At higher elevations, this is seen in insect herbivores being generally less abundant and plants in turn being less well defended against herbivores, because of lower energy and shorter growing seasons. In contrast, low-elevation plant species defend themselves against more abundant and diverse herbivores, whether by means of spikes, thorns or hair, or by toxic substances. Climate change could disturb this ecological organization.Read More »


Climate Crisis: Change in global precipitation patterns

A Journal of People report

Fig. 1

Figure: Schematic illustration of the general circulation of the atmosphere for early and late Holocene latitudinal insolation gradients. Source: Inter-hemispheric synchroneity of Holocene precipitation anomalies controlled by Earth’s latitudinal insolation gradients, Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19021-3

The Earth’s climate system is largely determined by the differences in temperature between the tropics and the poles. Global warming is likely to cause global atmospheric circulation to change and progressively revert to a situation similar to that of 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. This is the conclusion of a study (Michael Deininger, Frank McDermott, Francisco W. Cruz, Juan Pablo Bernal, Manfred Mudelsee, Hubert Vonhof, Christian Millo, Christoph Spötl, Pauline C. Treble, Robyn Pickering, Denis Scholz. Inter-hemispheric synchroneity of Holocene precipitation anomalies controlled by Earth’s latitudinal insolation gradients. Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19021-3 ) undertaken by a research team led by Dr. Michael Deininger, the results of which have been published in Nature Communications.Read More »