NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND CHANGES

At present time the most evident and serious signs of deterioration of nature and ecological services are climate change (increased air and water temperature, glaciers and ice shelf melting, sea level rise, ocean acidification), deforestation, desertification, further loss of habitat to agriculture and construction, loss of biodiversity, pollution of land, water and air including increasing greenhouse gases (GHG).

"more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally [declared] that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency".

Ripple et al. 2019

  • CLIMATE CHANGE

    Climate change is now admitted and scientifically proven to be due to change in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 23% of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (13% of CO2, 44% of methane, and 82% of nitrous oxide emissions) between 2007 and 2016 derived from agriculture, forestry and other land use (settlements, commercial use, etc.).

    Methane increase is highly due to ruminants and the expansion of rice cultivation. Increase of nitrous oxide emissions are primarily due to nitrogen application in agriculture and increased manure deposition in intensive pastures which accounts for 1/2 of total anthropogenic N2O emissions.

  • GREENHOUSE GASES

    Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and are now more than 50 % higher than their 1990 level. CO2 represents 76% of green house gases.

     

    The Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris was signed in 2016, ratified by 175 parties, in which all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees centigrade. Followed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC in October, in 2018, which recommends to limit global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels to insure clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, while ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.

     

    Human-induced warming reached approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels in 2017, increasing at 0.2°C  per decade.

    The main source of carbon dioxide emissions is coming from human activities driven by burning fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil, when we use electricity, heat our homes, drive, ride, or fly, when we run our factories, build houses and roads, and farm food.

    ​​​The largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the transportation sector.

    Electricity/heat generation (48% CO2), transport (20% CO2), the remaining 30% is split between industry and buildings.

 
 

Relation between temperature and emissions

Graphs from Met office

Land degradation

Desertification is the result of land overuse through deforestation, intensive agriculture and pasture, and mineral extraction and is worsened by droughts, fires and increasing temperature.

 

Since the pre-industrial period, climate change and temperature increase (risen nearly twice as much as the global average temperature) has adversely impacted terrestrial ecosystems and contributed to desertification and land degradation.

 

In 2015, about 500 million people lived within areas which experienced desertification between the 1980s and 2000s, mostly in South and East Asia, the Sahara region including North Africa, and the Middle East. People living in already degraded or desertified areas are increasingly negatively affected by climate change.

Desertification amplifies global warming through the release of CO2 linked with the decrease in vegetation cover.

Increasing temperatures: ice melting &

sea level rise

The total ice sheet holds enough water to raise seas by 7 meters, but nobody knows how how fast that will happen.

Rising waters are already worsening storm surge and causing flooding in cities worldwide.

 

From 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. The Arctic’s sea ice has shrunk in every decade since 1979, with 1.07 million km² of ice loss every decade.

 

Melting from Greenland accounts for 25% of global sea level rise, double the contribution of Antarctica, and its share is growing. Greenland could contribute another quarter-meter of sea level rise by 2100.

Loss of Biodiversity

We are experiencing the sixth largest extinction since the birth of Earth.

“up to a million species are threatened with extinction and many benefits humans obtain from nature have decreased over the last 50 years, a decline likely continue until at least 2050.”

 P. Balvanera, Science, Oct- 2019

Pollution

Land and water pollution with household and industrial waste and toxic discharges are impacting large areas of land and freshwater and oceans, limiting viable Life or organisms and causing diseases and death to human beings.

Increasing temperatures due to climate change will worsen the effect of pollution on health.

Warmer temperatures make air pollution a much bigger problem. "Global deaths attributable to ambient fine particulate matter remain at 2·9 million in 2016 and total global air pollution deaths reaching 7 million.

Watts et al. 2019, Lancet

"Air pollution damages lungs, your heart and can negatively impact every other vital organ. The impact accumulates over time, leading to problems later in life, as well as causing problems like asthma in the immediate term.

As temperatures rise, there is more of a chance for disease to spread."

  Watts et al., Lancet, 2019

 

AIR TRAVEL

Aviation emissions were approximately

492 million tonnes of CO2  and 2.06 million tonnes of NO in 2002

 

By 2050 they could grow by a further 300-700%. Technological improvements are being continually eclipsed by the increase in air traffic volume.

'Passengers should be fully informed about the ecological effects of flying as they are currently understood by the scientific community. Only on this basis can environmental awareness and climate protection grow and flourish' (Atmosfair).

Emissions of CO2 and NO will increase to 1029 and 3.31 million tonnes respectively by 2025,

despite projected efficiency innovations to airframes, engines, aerodynamics and flight operations.

The continued aviation growth threatens the ability of many developed countries to meet CO2 emission reduction goals necessary to contain the temperature increase to even 4° or 6 °C.

By 2020, global international aviation emissions are projected to be ca.

70% higher than in 2005.

Emissions by passenger by km: about 200 g/km CO₂eq per passenger on long distance flights.

The carbon footprints of business class and first class are 3 times and 9 times higher than economy class.​

References;

https://www.sdgfund.org/goal-13-climate-action

https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/Pages/ClimateChange_Trends.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_aviation

Anderson K, Bows A (2008). Reframing the climate change challenge in light of post-2000 emission trends. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (366:1882, p.3863-3882)

https://theicct.org/blogs/staff/inflight-luxury-who-really-pays

Kerry Reals (7 January 2019). "Don't count on technology to save us". Flightglobal.

https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions

https://www.ipcc.ch/

 WHAT YOU CAN DO AT HOME

  • Plant trees or buy trees to be planted in this new forest

  • Give up the daily use of car, prefer public transport

  • Change your car with an electric vehicle

  • Prefer holiday destinations that you can reach by train

  • Install solar panels

  • Use energy efficient appliances

  • Eat more vegetarian food and limit consumption animal proteins

  • Avoid flown-in produce

  • Do not change your e-devices if they are still working

  • Buy second hand, reuse, recycle

  • do not use a dryer for your clothes, use the sun!

  • Share with others

  • More scientific info on Climate Solutions at : https://www.drawdown.org/

Profoundly troubling signs [of changes] from human activities include sustained increases ruminant livestock populations, meat production, world gross domestic product, global tree cover loss, fossil fuel consumption, number of air passengers carried, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and per capita CO2 emissions since 2000.

Ripple et al. 2019

not to make profit but

for the Earth and Humans

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if you have any questions about THIS program

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Silvia Pinca

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