Stories of clear skies and wildlife conquering urban areas might provide much needed comfort during these uncertain times as the health crisis unfolds. But in Brazil, where climate and environmental issues already lack attention and resources, the pandemic underscores the next crisis.
Environmental defenders in Brazil are at risk — last year, 57 were assassinated and the numbers are increasing. The UN has launched a new initiative to address the escalating violence. This article shows the challenges faced by an activist from the Amazon region who fights for justice, and it notes how the Brazilian government can save lives while preventing unregulated exploitation in the region.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brasil’s current de facto presidential frontrunner, says he would withdraw Brazil from the Paris Agreement if he wins the October election. The withdrawal of such an important developing country, home to the world’s largest rainforest, would deal a blow to international climate cooperation. Bolsorano’s opposition to the international pact has drawn criticism from the UN’s environment chief.
After an 18-month stretch without a White House science adviser – the longest any modern president has gone without a science adviser – Trump appoints extreme weather expert Kelvin Droegemeier to the post. Kelvin Droegemeier is vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma and a climate change scientist. His selection was widely welcomed.
In May 2018, the Brazilian Institute for Climate and Society and the German Embassy in Brazil hosted an event on international climate and security in Rio de Janeiro. The meeting, joined by experts from the public sector, civil society and international think tanks, reflects Latin America’s increased interest in the international dimension of climate fragility risks.
In November 2017, the U.S. government released its first ever Global Water Strategy – to our knowledge also the first of its kind globally. The opening page cites President Trump claiming that ‘[w]ater may be the most important issue we face for the next generation’. This priority may surprise observers of the current U.S. administration.
News that the Trump administration will move to repeal and replace the clean power plan (CPP) – a major initiative to cut emissions from the US electricity sector – has been met with concern overseas.
As global temperatures rise, warmer air and oceans are expected to fuel stronger hurricanes, with dangerous consequences.
The impacts of Hurricane Harvey continue to be felt in the southern US. The events have sparked early debate over the links between the hurricane and climate change. Commentary from scientists suggests that warming is likely to have intensified its impact. Nevertheless, many other factors are likely to have played a role. These include Houston’s population explosion, continued building in flood-prone areas and subsidence due to groundwater over-extraction, media reports suggest.
One of the most pressing—and distressing—climate change impacts faced by the world is storm surge, a storm-induced increase in water level exceeding normal, tidal levels. Storm surge is becoming more of a threat to coastal communities due to rising sea levels, since higher sea levels mean higher “normal, tidal levels” before surge even occurs. Affected communities face risks to their homes, infrastructure, and livelihoods, but what can we do about the problem, aside from abandoning coastal communities altogether?