With the summer expected to be more severe this year, some 7,082 villages across Karnataka and 1,193 wards, including in Bengaluru Urban district, are vulnerable to drinking water crisis.

Drought in over 90% districts in Karnataka, state reports farmer suicides, water theft

Karnataka is grappling with drought in 223 of 236  talukas,  there’s little water for drinking and irrigation. Distressed farmers are committing suicide. The situation could be similar in a number of states, including Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and even some of the eastern and northern states, reported Sandrap. Bengaluru in 1961 had 262 lakes, of which only 81 remain. The rest have been claimed by the real estate business for making housing layouts; the Bengaluru Development Authority and BBMP have been held responsible for levelling over 100 lakes directly and indirectly.

The report adds that the Winter Rainfall at the all-India level for the period January 1, 2024 to February 25, 2024 is already 31% below normal. There is the role of global warming and El Nino in this and these factors are going to persist at least till the end of Indian Summer. With the summer expected to be more severe this year, some 7,082 villages across Karnataka and 1,193 wards, including in Bengaluru Urban district, are vulnerable to drinking water crisis in the coming months as per a assessment made by the government as of February 10. 

The state imposed Section 144 near Bhadra Canals after 1,000 million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water released from the reservoir starting from the night of February 5, to supply drinking water to the urban areas of Haveri and Gadag districts, failed to reach the intended location where the jack well was situated. This was because there are over 20,000 pump sets installed along the canals, which are being used to lift water illegally. Additionally, some villagers have constructed illegal check dams using sandbags, further obstructing the supply of water to the Haveri and Gadag districts.

Bangladesh experienced 185 extreme weather events between 2000 and 2019: ICCCAD report

According to report climate change impacts in Bangladesh between 2000 and 2019, Bangladesh experienced 185 extreme weather events, making it the seventh most vulnerable country to climate change. In June 2023, temperatures surpassed 40°C during a prolonged heatwave. Tropical cyclones have ripped through coastal communities, costing on average 0.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) per year.

Even with accelerated climate action, continued warming and more extreme weather will stress adaptation efforts in Bangladesh, making it harder to protect lives and livelihoods. By the end of the century, even under a very low-emissions scenario, Bangladesh could see a further 0.8°C of warming compared with 1981–2010, and heavier rainfall could increase peak river flow by 16% relative to 1971–2000, raising the risk of flooding.

Currently, the government of Bangladesh spends approximately 6–7% of its annual budget on climate adaptation, about 75% of which comes from domestic sources. However, scaling up adaptation measures as outlined in the National Adaptation Plan (2023–2050) will require seven times the current spending.

Study: 33% to 68% of the global land surface will experience a significant change impacting plant growth 

At least one-third of the global land surface will experience a significant change in “phytoclimate” – a term used for the climate conditions that underpin plant growth – by 2070 under global warming, a new study says. The research takes a new approach to looking at how climate change could affect land ecosystems by mapping not only expected changes to climate, but also how these changes could affect plants, which underpin animal communities. It forecasts that 33% to 68% of the global land surface will experience a significant change in phytoclimate by 2070 under a low and high emissions scenario, respectively. “Phytoclimates without present-day analogue are forecast to emerge on 0.3-2.2% of the land surface and 0.1-1.3% of currently realised phytoclimates are forecast to disappear,” the researchers add.

China may miss climate targets in 2025

According to new study based on state data, China is at risk of missing key climate targets for 2025 and needs to make record cuts in fossil fuel use and maintain record renewable energy investment to get back on track.

The Bloomberg report added that rapid growth in electricity demand and below-average rainfall boosted demand for coal last year, alongside the rebound from the government’s zero-Covid policy boosting demand for oil, it adds. China is  “off track on all its core 2025 climate targets”, despite clean energy now being the biggest driver of the country’s economic growth.

According to AP, China will now need “even sharper pollution cuts” to reduce emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 18% through to 2025, as pledged in its 14th five-year plan. China is at risk of missing other targets, including reducing energy intensity, limiting the growth of coal power and boosting the share of clean electricity in the grid, the article noted. China has pledged to bring its CO2 emissions to a peak by 2030, and to net-zero by 2060, reports 

Antarctica sea ice reaches alarming low for third year in a row

According to the latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, the amount of floating sea ice around Antarctica has fallen below 2m sqkm for the third year in a row, the Observer reports, adding that this threshold had not previously been crossed since satellite measurements began in 1979. The paper says: “The latest data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center confirms the past three years have been the three lowest on record for the amount of sea ice floating around the continent. Scientists said another exceptionally low year was further evidence of a ‘regime shift’, with new research indicating the continent’s sea ice has undergone an ‘abrupt critical transition’.

The latest melting season in Antarctica, which takes place in the southern hemisphere summer during December, January and February, was more than a month longer in some areas of the continent.

Trees may not slow climate change as much as previously thought

Citing a new study, the Times reported that almost a third of the carbon-reducing cooling effect of planting trees is offset by changes to atmospheric chemistry and the amount of sunlight reflected back into space. The paper quotes study lead author Dr James Weber saying: “We’re not saying trees are bad. We’re saying trees have a part to play, but we need to think about how they affect the whole Earth system…Trees are not a substitute for carrying on as we are. We need to cut emissions at the same time.” It adds: “The implication, he said, is that countries may have to decarbonise their economies more deeply rather than banking too much on tree-planting.”

The researchers modelled two scenarios. In one, little is done to tackle climate change besides tree planting. In this case, the avoided warming from forests absorbing CO2 was reduced by 23%-31% when the other forest effects were taken into account. In the second, more optimistic scenario, strong action is taken to reduce further warming. In this case, the avoided warming was reduced by 14%- 18%, the new scientist reported.

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