Cool it down: The World Bank came up with a low carbon cooling plan for India, with biggest opportunities in cooling homes and commercial buildings. Photo: WikimediaCommons/Govt of India

India likely to experience heatwaves beyond human survivability limit: World Bank

India could be one of the first countries to experience heatwaves that break the human survivability limits, according to a new report by the World Bank. According to the report, “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”, the country is recording higher temperatures that arrive early and leave late. The report also warned that the rising temperatures are likely to impact economic productivity. 

The World Bank also came up with a “cooling plan” for India. It found that low-carbon cooling could lead to investment opportunities of more than $1.5 trillion over the next 20 years. The biggest opportunities would be in cooling homes and commercial buildings, which could eliminate 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions annually by 2040, the report found. It urged the government to boost the production of energy-efficient cooling systems that are also affordable. 

Permafrost on Tibetan plateau decreased by 15.5% since 1980s: Study

A new study mapped the permafrost degradation that has occurred on the Tibetan plateau between 1980 and 2020. The study, published in ScienceDirect, found that the permafrost area on the TP has decreased by 15.5%, and the regionally average active layer thickness (ALT) has increased by 18.94 cm in the 2010s compared to the 1980s. According to the study, the permafrost area is decreasing at a rate of 60,000 sqkm per decade. The ALT, which is the top permafrost layer that thaws and refreezes every year, was 19cm thicker in the 2010s than it was in the 1980s.

Ocean temperatures across Great Barrier Reef reach record heat levels

Ocean temperatures in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef witnessed record heat levels in November. This has sparked fears of a second summer in a row of mass coral bleaching. The Guardian quoted an expert saying this level of heat accumulation so early has never been seen before, but a “well-timed cyclone” could prevent another bleaching event. 

Australia’s environment minister, meanwhile, said the government will lobby against the Great Barrier Reef being added to UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites. The minister said any criticisms on the government not taking enough climate action were outdated. The minister was referring to a report by the UN’s International Union for Conservation of Nature, which urged the government to take urgent action to save the world’s largest barrier reef. 

Brazil’s Bolsonaro ends term with 60% increase in Amazon deforestation

Official data showed deforestation in Brazil under the Bolsonaro government dropped 11.27% compared to the previous year. But according to environmentalists, the Bolsonaro rule is responsible for the most amount of destruction in the Amazon in the past 34 years. According to official data, between August 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022, 1,568 sqkm (4,466 square miles)—equivalent to the size of Qatar—was cleared. This is less than the 13,038 sqkm—the highest since 2006– cleared during the same period last year. But Bolsonaro’s overall term of four years saw a 59.5% boom in deforestation rates—the highest in a presidential term since 1988. The deforestation rate when he took office was 7,500 sqkm.

More than 100 million people forcibly displaced this year, finds UN

More than 100 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report highlighted how the displaced had no access to decent work or a stable source of income after being displaced. The report also found more than 59 million people forcibly displaced within their own countries due to conflict, violence, disasters and climate change at the end of 2021. The report concluded that long-term development action was needed in order to reverse internal displacement. According to the World Bank, climate change could force more than an estimated 216 million people to move within their own countries by 2050. 

Site in Hawaii that measures global CO2 levels shuts down after volcano eruption

An important carbon dioxide measurement site in Hawaii was shut down after a volcano, Mauna Loa, erupted in the region. The site has been monitoring global CO2 levels since 1958. The Mauna Loa Observatory is situated on the northern flank of the volcano. According to officials, power lines to the observatory have been cut and an access road to the site is inaccessible. Measurements from this site have become a crucial benchmark in the escalation of the climate crisis.

Southwestern North American megadrought is affecting Earth’s upper atmosphere: Study

According to new research, the Southwestern North American (SWNA) megadrought caused a 30% change in gravity wave activity in Earth’s upper atmosphere in the 10 years after its onset in 2000. This is likely because of less rain that is causing fewer storms, and therefore fewer waves, the research stated. The SWNA megadrought still continues even 22 years later. Some experts believe human-induced warming of the Earth’s atmosphere may have contributed more than 40% of the severity of the megadrought. Gravity waves are important because they drive the global circulation of the upper atmosphere and affect space weather and satellite orbits.

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