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NEWS UPDATE #77


As many as 50 million people across the world face potential hunger, disease, and water shortages by early 2016 if countries do not act immediately, declared Oxfam on Monday, addressing those nations predicted to be ravaged by this year’s Super El Niño as well as wealthy governments indebted to those most vulnerable to climate change

Not Just Oceans and Atmosphere, Rapid Warming Killing World’s Lakes
Common Dreams
The world’s lakes are warming at a faster rate than oceans and atmosphere, a trend that may already have triggered major changes in aquatic ecosystems, according to a new report published in Geophysical Research Letters on Wednesday. Globally, lakes have been heating up an average of 0.34°C (.61°F) per decade between 1985 and 2009, researchers found. In northern climates, the deepest ice-covered lakes are warming at twice the rate of the atmosphere. “The widespread warming reported here suggests that large changes in Earth’s freshwater resources and their processes are not only imminent but already under way,” the study concludes.

Climate Change Driving ‘Profound’ Shift in Arctic Ecosystem
Common Dreams
The 2015 report card compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and released Tuesday comes to a disturbing conclusion: record highs in air temperatures, and lows in peak ice, reveal that—for the marine ecosystem—climate change is already “profound.” “Changes in sea ice alone are having profound effects on the marine ecosystem (fishes, walruses, primary production) and sea surface temperatures,” reads a statement from the federal agency, whose findings were produced by 72 scientists from 11 countries. The findings were grim. Measurements of sea ice—and the end and beginning of the winter period—found a shorter window of freezing, and a dramatic shift in the ecosystem overall.

‘The Warning Bells are Deafening’: Super El Niño Threatening Global Hunger Crisis
Common Dreams
As many as 50 million people across the world face potential hunger, disease, and water shortages by early 2016 if countries do not act immediately, declared Oxfam International on Monday, addressing those nations predicted to be ravaged by this year’s Super El Niño as well as wealthy governments indebted to those most vulnerable to climate change. “The warning bells are deafening,” said Meg Quartermaine, humanitarian manager with Oxfam Australia, which issued the warning on the same day that the powerful Typhoon Melor made landfall in the Philippines, forcing the evacuation of 725,000 people.

2016 set to be hottest year on record globally
The Guardian
2016 is set to be the warmest year ever recorded, according to a forecast issued by the UK Met Office. Climate change and the peaking of the El Niño weather phenomenon are expected to drive the global average temperature next year above the record now certain to be set for 2015, which itself beat a new record set in 2014. (Also read: The Planet Keeps Breaking Heat Records)

A record 60 million people became refugees this year
Scroll.in
A record 60 million people – and possibly mainly more – have been forcibly displaced around the world this year, the United Nations said on Friday. Among them, more than 20 million have been made to leave their homes because of war and persecution, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a report. At the end of 2014, the total figure was 59.5 million, Reuters reported. The wars in Syria and Yemen are the chief contributors to this figure, among other conflicts in different parts of the world.

Hot Air? World Leaders Fact-Checked During Paris Climate Change Conference
Alexios Mantzarlis , Poynter.org
The Paris climate change conference is coming to a close, and observers are reportedly confident some kind of agreement will be reached. As with the G20 summit last month, fact-checkers from across the world scrutinized the claims made by political leaders attending the international jamboree. Many of the claims dealt with targets each country has put forward to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or the work they say they’ve already done toward that goal.

India launches climate change observatories
SciDev Net
A string of observatories will now greatly expand India’s monitoring of climate change impacts. India is no stranger to long-term ecological monitoring, but the I-LTEO identifies six zones in the vast South Asian peninsular country that are vulnerable to climate change, including the western and eastern Himalayas, the forested central area, the arid northwest and the Nicobar islands. These zones will now see the establishment of facilities that will monitor the long-term effects of climate change and help citizens find ways to adapt to or mitigate them.

India has pledged to restore 13 million hectares of degraded forests: IUCN
The Economic Times
India has pledged to restore 13 million hectares of degraded forests as part of the Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched by Germany and IUCN in 2011 to have 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2020, IUCN has said. This target was endorsed by the UN Climate Summit in 2014 and extended to 350 million hectares under restoration by 2030.

India’s 2022 renewable energy goal will require investment four times the defence budget
Fact Check India
India’s installed capacity of renewable energy is likely to reach 147 GW by 2020, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. It would need Rs 8.01 lakh crore ($120 billion) in capital investment and Rs 2.67 lakh crore ($40 billion) in equity to achieve the ambitious target, according to information released by the ministry of new and renewable energy. The Rs 10.68 lakh crore ($160 billion) needed over the next seven years (until 2022) – at an average of Rs 1.53 lakh crore ($23 billion) a year– to meet the stated goal is equivalent to over four times the country’s annual defence spending, and over ten times the country’s annual spending on health and education.

Rs 98,000 crore for a toy: the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train is a bad idea
Jawed Usmani, Catch News
India and Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week for the development of a high-speed rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, using the Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train) technology. This has been publicised as a great achievement, a highly desirable and valuable outcome of the visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to India. The reality, however, is very different. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is not good value for money. It is a very expensive toy, a complete mis-allocation of scarce resources, representing absolutely wrong prioritisation of objectives.

Delhi’s Transport Sector 3 Times More Polluting Than Mumbai’s
Chaitanya Mallapur, IndiaSpend
Delhi’s transport sector produces six times as much greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as that of Kolkata’s, five times as much as Ahmedabad’s and three times as much as Greater Mumbai and Chennai, according to a study. Delhi’s transport sector contributes 32% of the city’s GHG emissions—gases responsible for global warming—said the report, GHG Footprint of Major Cities in India, conducted by the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.

No ordinary drought: Look what the poor in Uttar Pradesh are eating to survive
Supriya Sharma, Scroll.in
Two successive crop failures have brought the poor of Bundelkhand to the brink. The soil is too arid to plant the winter crop of wheat and families have begun to cut down on meals. (Also read: Mulayam Singh smiles with his birthday cake while farmers die in Bundelkhand)

Obituary: Why farm leader Sharad Joshi was a beacon of hope for India’s liberals
Manuwant Choudhary, Scroll.in
In 1976, Joshi quit his lucrative career at the United Nations to return to India to become a farmer. He bought a plot of land at Ambethan, near Pune, in January 1977, to experience farming first hand. Keeping meticulous accounts at his farm and understanding the markets, he realised within two years that farming was a losing proposition. He also understood how it was the government’s deliberate policy to keep farm prices depressed. He studied India’s rural economy and found a negative subsidy of 72% on the cost of agriculture production. This prompted him to set up the Shetkari Sangathana in 1979 in Chakan near Pune to demand remunerative prices for farm produce and access to markets and technology.

Australia Approves Adani’s ‘Irresponsible’ Coal Port Near Great Barrier Reef
Common Dreams
Australian environmental minister Greg Hunt on Monday approved the expansion of a coal terminal in Abbot Point in northern Queensland, a decision which prompted backlash from green groups who said the port poses a grave risk to the Great Barrier Reef. Despite the country’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions, the approval means Abbot Point is on track to become one of the world’s biggest coal ports, servicing projects planned for the Galilee Basin—including the controversial $16 billion Carmichael mine proposed by Indian energy giant Adani, which in recent months was abandoned by nearly all of its financiers over climate concerns.

Is the Shenzhen landslide the first of many more?
The Guardian
The deadly landslide that buried part of the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen beneath a tide of red mud on Monday may be a devastating new consequence of China’s urban explosion, an expert has warned. The destruction of 94 acres of the Guangming New District, which had sprung from the rice paddies in just a few decades, was sudden but a long time in coming. Even as the the neighbourhoods and factories were being built, the mountain of refuse that would destroy it all was piling up.

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