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Climate Change

New report finds 2022 ‘disastrous year’ for melting Swiss glaciers

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2022)

Glaciers in Switzerland melted at record rates in 2022, according to a report released Wednesday by the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network, which labeled it a “disastrous year.”

The new study indicates that about .71 cubic miles of ice has melted, accounting for over 6% of the glacial volume. Before this year, ice loss percentages as small as 2% were considered to be “extreme,” UPI reported.

Multiple factors contributed to the melting, including heatwaves in Europe and light winter snowfall in 2021-22, according to GLAMOS, an organization set up by the Cryospheric Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences.

Glaciers are usually protected for part of the year by a layer of snow. But dust blowing from the Sahara Desert could have caused the snow to retain more heat from the sun and thus melt more rapidly this year.

The rapid melting of snow cover meant that by summer, Swiss glaciers were exposed to unusually hot and dry weather conditions, UPI reported.

Monitoring stations that are set up to measure snowfall across Switzerland reported dramatically less snowfall this year and in some cases no snowfall. The loss of “ice depth” averaged out to about 10 feet throughout the country.

Many of the smaller glaciers in Switzerland have all but disappeared.

The previous record for glacial melting in Switzerland was during a heatwave in 2003.

Climate Change

Prince William meets President Biden in Boston to discuss climate change

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Prince William greeted US President Joe Biden at the waterfront in Boston on Friday, part of a three-day visit by British royals trying to focus attention on tackling environmental issues.

William and his wife, Kate, attempted to keep the spotlight on climate and other causes they champion on their first overseas trip since taking on the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales after the death of Queen Elizabeth in September.

In the middle of their US visit, however, Netflix Inc released a trailer for an upcoming documentary series about William’s younger brother, Harry, and his American wife, Meghan, reviving talk about rifts in the royal family. Buckingham Palace also was dealing with a new racism controversy, Reuters reported.

On Friday afternoon, William smiled as he met Biden outdoors in cold weather along Boston’s waterfront. The two men took a brief stroll before a private meeting at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

The pair were expected to discuss “shared climate goals” and “prioritization of mental health issues,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters before the meeting.

Later on Friday, William and Kate were due to honor winners of the Earthshot Prize, an award William established to recognize people working to fight the effects of climate change. Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish and others were scheduled to perform at the star-studded ceremony.

“We want to demonstrate what we can all do to help put the world on a path towards a stable climate, where communities, nature and oceans thrive in harmony,” William said in an opinion piece published in The Huffington Post on Friday.

Kate and William last visited the United States in 2014, when they were guests of then-President Barack Obama at the White House.

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Climate Change

3.6 billion people face inadequate access to water: WMO

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2022)

Around 3.6 billion people currently face inadequate access to water for at least one month per year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its State of Global Water Resources 2021 report.

The figure is projected to increase to more than five billion by 2050. The report published on Tuesday, November 29, assesses the effects of climate, environmental and societal change on the Earth’s water resources.

The report shows that due to the influence of climate change and a La Nina event (period cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific), the year 2021 witnessed large areas drier than normal around the world.

According to WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, though the impacts of climate change are often felt through water — such as more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme flooding, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers — there is still insufficient understanding of changes in the distribution, quantity and quality of freshwater resources.

The WMO report aims to fill this knowledge gap, which would be helpful in providing universal access in the next five years to early warnings of hazards, such as floods and droughts, he said.

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Climate Change

COP27 reaches breakthrough agreement on new ‘loss and damage’ fund

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(Last Updated On: November 20, 2022)

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) closed Sunday with a breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.

“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”

Set against a difficult geopolitical backdrop, COP27 resulted in countries delivering a package of decisions that reaffirmed their commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The package also strengthened action by countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change, as well as boosting the support of finance, technology and capacity building needed by developing countries.

Creating a specific fund for loss and damage marked an important point of progress, with the issue added to the official agenda and adopted for the first time at COP27, the UN said in a statement.

Governments took the ground-breaking decision to establish new funding arrangements, as well as a dedicated fund, to assist developing countries in responding to loss and damage.

Governments also agreed to establish a ‘transitional committee’ to make recommendations on how to operationalize both the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28 next year. The first meeting of the transitional committee is expected to take place before the end of March 2023.

Parties also agreed on the institutional arrangements to operationalize the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, to catalyze technical assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

New pledges, totaling more than $230 million, were made to the Adaptation Fund at COP27. These pledges will help many more vulnerable communities adapt to climate change through concrete adaptation solutions.

COP27 President Sameh Shoukry announced the Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, enhancing resilience for people living in the most climate-vulnerable communities by 2030.

The cover decision, known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, highlights that a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investments of at least $4 to $6 trillion a year.

COP27 brought together more than 45,000 participants to share ideas, solutions, and build partnerships and coalitions. Indigenous peoples, local communities, cities and civil society, including youth and children, showcased how they are addressing climate change and shared how it impacts their lives.

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