Tag Archives: climate

2017 – The Environmental Year

I thought I would have a brief look at some environmental topics that were hitting the headlines both here in Ireland and wider afield in 2017.

  • Wild native Irish honey bees are still here.  A good news story for a change.
  • Melting ice, read more about the melting of the Larsen C iceshelf here.
  • Fracking. Thankfully onshore fracking was banned in Ireland earlier in the year, though it is still possible to do off-shore fracking. Still a huge step in the right direction.
  • Wildfires – California saw it’s largest ever wildfires in 2017. Over 40 people were killed in wildfires in Portugal and Spain. Canada, Greenland, Chile and southern Europe all experienced devastating wildfires during 2017. It has been one of the worst years for wildfires globally and many link the fires to climate change.
  • Hurricanes – both national and international hit the headlines. Hurricanes Irma, was the most powerful recorded Atlantic hurricane in written history. Hurricane Ophelia had been down-graded to a storm by the time she made landfall in Ireland. However, she was the most easterly Atlantic major hurricane on record. 2017 is classed as the fifth most active on record, with 17 named storms.
  • Other weather events – there was torrential rainfall the the NW of Ireland in August causing substantial flooding and property damage particularly in County Donegal.
  • Neonicotinoids are know to be harmful to bees and other insects including aquatic insects and there is increasing evidence that they affect other animals (e.g. songbirds) too. Research from England has found that 88% of tested rivers showed contamination by neonics. Of these eight rivers exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits, and two were found to be acutely polluted.
  • The Great Barrier Reef appears to be dying at a much a faster rate than scientists thought. Again climate change is a factor, as the reef suffers sever bleaching due to rising water temperatures.
  • Plastic in our oceans. This has been a growing problem for many years but this year it seems to have hot the headlines more. We produce over 270 million tonnes of plastic every year, half of which is simple use. over 7 million tonnes end up in our oceans. To learned more click here.
  • USA leaving Paris Climate Accord Agreement. This can only be bad news. Climate change is a global issue and we need to work together.

Let us hope that in 2018 the world will start to take note. Climate change and pollution are some of the greatest threats we face as a human race. We cannot keep abusing this place we call home, because if we do there will be no home left for us.

 

 

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Climate Change – An Uncertain Future

Climate change is very much the elephant in the room. We know it’s out there,  we know the climate is changing, but very few of us are actually talking about it.

In recent weeks, a huge iceberg (5,800 sq km, which is about the size of County Mayo) broke off the Larsen C ice shelf in the Antarctic. This is a very visual image that we can physical see the effects of a warming earth.

I have just read a fascinating essay by David Wallace-Wells, who expertly summarises the many changes our planet will, and is experiencing, because of climate change.

Entitled the “Uninhabitable Earth” and appearing in the New York Magazine,  it makes for a very worrying reading. Wallace-Wells has interviewed hundreds of eminent scientists and combined their science, views and predictions into a very readable article.

I urge anyone, whether you view yourself as a climate change believer or skeptic to read the full article.

Just a few observations outlined by Wallace – Wells:

  • The Arctic’s permafrost holds 1.8 trillion tons of carbon. Melting permafrost (as is already happening) could release this into the atmosphere
  • In the last 30 years, we (or human activity) have released 50% more carbon into the atmosphere than in all the time humans have been on earth
  • Some of the latest data suggests that the planet is warming at a rate that is twice as fast as what had been previously thoughts by scientists
  • In the sugar cane region of El Salvador over 25% of male farm workers are suffering from chronic kidney disease, thought to be a result of dehydration while working in fields they used to be able to work in without difficulty

 

Sea levels will rise

Sea levels will rise

It is a very uncertain future we face. We need to make a huge cultural shift in the way we think, and the way we do things, if we are going to slow down the effects of climate change. And I say slow down, because personally I think we are gone beyond the point of stopping it.  Is it a future we can leave in the hands of politicians who only look at things in the short term? Here in Ireland, the Climate action and low carbon development act 2015 and the recently published National Mitigation Plan do not even begin to address the seriousness of the problems we face.

In Ireland, the Citizen’s Assembly, are asking for submissions on “How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change“. Here is an opportunity to have your say.  Submission deadline is the 11th August 2017.

If you are interested in finding out more check out The Stop Climate Chaos website.