Facing the heat: Wildfires in California have burned through 3.2 million acres of land since the beginning of this year | Photo: LA Times

Wildfires continue to blaze through US west coast; California guv calls it ‘climate emergency’

Massive wildfires continued to rage in California, killing at least 19 people in this past month and burning through 3.2 million acres of land, which is larger than the US state of Connecticut. 

California governor Gavin Newsom said the situation was a ‘climate emergency’ and declared that the debate on whether climate change is real was now over. US president and climate sceptic Donald Trump, however, blamed poor fire-control measures of the raging blazes.

In Oregon, more than 500,000 people (more than 10% of the population) were asked to evacuate amidst raging wildfires that have destroyed more than 900,000 acres of land in the past few days. At least three people were killed and five towns destroyed as the state battled fire conditions that have not been seen for the past 30 years. 

In south-western US, migratory birds have been falling dead by the thousands while heading south for the winter. A possible explanation for this, according to experts, could be the massive wildfires in the west of the country that may have pushed the birds to course correct away from coastal areas and towards the Chihuahuan desert, where food and water is scarce, forcing them to starve to death.

Hurricane Sally, meanwhile, is inching its way closer to the country’s Gulf Coast and threatening ‘catastrophic flooding’. The residents of Mississippi and Louisiana have been asked to evacuate as the region is hit with its second storm in less than a month. Five tropical storms are currently churning in the Atlantic Ocean for only the second time in recorded history. 

Greenhouse gas levels hit record high this year despite COVID-19 lockdown: UN report

Despite lockdowns across the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high this year, according to a new UN report. According to the report, there was a slight dip because of the pandemic, but it wasn’t enough to create a dent in C02 levels that are now the highest they have ever been in the past 3 million years. According to the report, concentration of CO2 hit 414.38 parts per million in July, compared with 411.74 ppm a year earlier.

Earth set to lose two-thirds of wild animal population this year: Report

A new report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated that the world was on track to lose two-thirds of its wild animals this year. The report found a 58% drop in animal populations between 1970 and 2012, and the losses were on track to reach 67% by 2020. The study blamed pollution, destruction of wild habitats and hunting for the mass extinction. The animal species mentioned include endangered elephants and gorillas to the less popular salamanders and vultures. 

Study predicts displacement of 1.2 billion people due to climate crisis in next 30 years

As climate change escalates, more than a billion people are likely to be displaced in the next 30 years, according to a new report. According to the study by think-tank Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), 1.2 billion people are living in 31 countries, including Nigeria, Angola and Uganda, which are ill-equipped to deal with the increasing ecological threats. Countries such as India and China are likely to be worst hit by water scarcity, according to the study.

Another study published in the journal Nature Climate Change stated climate migration is taking place mainly in middle income and agriculture-dependent populations. This was because the impact of climate change was mainly on factors such as rainfall, temperature, storms, cyclones and floods, according to the study. While people living in poorer countries don’t have the means to migrate in cases of extreme weather, those with high incomes are able to absorb the consequences, the study stated.

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