Sue Miles

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  1. Now Antarctica goes down the drain

    It was believed that maybe, we humans have just managed to preserve some parts of our world from global warming. Covered in ice and inaccessible for most part of the year, some believed that Antarctica was one part of the globe which was untouched by human proliferation and that it would, at least, stay cold and steady for a few more years. How wrong we were. Like all other places, Antarctica too has been affected owing to the harsh consequences of climate change. According to a new research, a group of glaciers which were once stable, have started melting rapidly since 2009. The glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula were believed to be stable between 2003 and 2009. However, new satellite observations reveal that the area suffered a sudden destabilization in 2009 and the change in conditions is now responsible for the melting of glaciers. It is believed that these glaciers are now shedding around 56 billion metric tons of ice annually which is enough to raise sea water levels by roughly 0.16 millimeters. The research points out that the warm ocean water is melting the underside of the ice which is undermining the region’s stability and causing the sudden decline. And the conditions are supposed to be so bad that even if the warm ocean water goes away, the ice will continue to melt until a new equilibrium is reached. The report says that, “The melting and weakening of ice shelves reduce their buttressing effect, allowing the glaciers to flow more quickly to the sea.” This is quite scary considering the rate at which it will contribute to the rise in sea levels.
  2. Our planet is getting hotter each passing day and the efforts we are taking to slow down the climate change is looking well short of enough each passing day. The threat posed by the climate change is immense and although world leaders are aware of this fact, the steps taken are in the right direction but the pace at which they are taken is really slow. Recently, the ‘Climate Change Performance Index 2015’ (CCPI) assessed the green credentials of 58 countries which are accountable for over 90 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. This index is produced by lobbying groups Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe and uses standardized criteria to assess the performance of each country with respect to climate change and the efforts put in by them to protect the climate. Perhaps the most fascinating outcome of the index is that no countries are featured in the top 3 of the list. According to CCPI, the efforts put in by the countries are nowhere near where it should be and hence the highest place is managed by Denmark which stands at 4th. It comes as no surprise that top 10 of the list is dominated by European countries. The United States managed to occupy a dismal 44th spot, one place above China. The UK managed to get on the 5th spot as they have shown a range of initiatives in order to reduce emissions and the country plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from a 1990 baseline. Although they have shown some conservative approach in the last year, the government is well on track to follow the world’s first legally binding climate change target. According to CCPI, Sweden has cut down its greenhouse gas emission by about 70 percent in the last five years and it further plans to cut 40 percent by 2020. The country is looking to derive at least half of its energy from renewable sources. And for the third year in running, Denmark came top in the rankings. The country’s greenhouse gas emissions have seen steady decline since 1997 and they are well on track to generate half of its electricity from wind energy by 2020.