WWF Average wildlife populations have dropped by 60 per cent in just over 40 years The average size of vertebrate (mammals, fish, birds and reptiles) populations declined by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, according to the biennial Living Planet Report published by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF. That doesn't mean that total animal populations have declined by 60 per cent, however, as the report compares the relative decline of different animal populations. Imagine a population of ten rhinos where nine of them died; a 90 per cent population drop. Add that to a population of 1,000 sparrows where 100 of them died – a ten per cent per cent decrease. The average population decrease across these two groups would be 50 per cent even though the loss of individuals would be just 10.08 per cent. Whatever way you stack the numbers, climate change is definitely a factor here. An international panel of scientists, backed by the UN, argues that climate change is playing an increasing role in driving species to extinction. It is thought to be the third biggest driver of biodiversity loss after changes in land and sea use and overexploitation of resources. Even under a two degrees Celsius warming scenario, five per cent of animal and plant species will be at risk from extinction. Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to extreme warming events, their cover could be reduced to just one per cent of current levels at two degrees Celsius of warming.
Indonesia will move its capital city as its current one is sinking Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 3,000 years, an average three millimetres per year. The two major causes of sea level rise are thermal expansion – the ocean is warming and warmer water expands – and melting of glaciers and ice sheets that increases the flow of water. Antarctica and Greenland hold enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by about 65 metres if they were to melt completely. Even if this scenario is unlikely, these ice masses are already melting faster. And island nations and coastal regions are feeling the impact. Earlier this year, Indonesia announced its plans to move the capital city away from Jakarta. Home to over ten million people, some parts of Jakarta are sinking as much as 25cm per year. Jakarta’s precarious position is thanks to a combination of two factors – rising global sea levels and land subsidence as underground water supplies have been drained away to meet water needs. This grim picture is repeated elsewhere too. In the Pacific, at least eight islands were swallowed by the sea in the last century, with Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands feared to be the next low-lying nations to be wiped off the map.
There’s more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than any time in human history
In May, sensors at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii – which has tracked Earth’s atmospheric concentration of CO2 since the late 1950s – detected a CO2 concentration of 415.26 ppm. The last time Earth's atmosphere contained this much CO2 was more than three million years ago, when sea levels were several metres higher and trees grew at the South Pole. Scientists have warned that carbon dioxide levels higher than 450ppm are likely to lock in catastrophic and irreversible changes in the climate. Around half of the CO2 emitted since 1750 has been in the last 40 years.
Two-thirds of extreme weather events in the last 20 years were influenced by humans The number of floods and heavy rains has quadrupled since 1980 and doubled since 2004. Extreme temperatures, droughts and wildfires have also more than doubled in the last 40 years. While no extreme weather event is never down to a single cause, climate scientists are increasingly exploring the human fingerprints on floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms. Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering climate science, gathered data from 230 studies into “extreme event attribution” and found that 68 per cent of all extreme weather events studied in the last 20 years were made more likely or more severe by human-caused climate change. Heatwaves account for 43 per cent of such events, droughts make up 17 per cent and heavy rainfall or floods account for 16 per cent.
The mighty #Himalayas visible from Jalandhar. With #pollution level at the lowest in 30 years people are getting a clear view of the #Dhauladhar range from 200kms away. Absolutely incredible
1 MILLION SEAGRASS SEEDS ARE BEING PLANTED, TO HELP FIGHT THE CLIMATE CRISIS From seagrass to tree planting, nature is a vital ally in the fight against the climate crisis. Seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers 0.2% of the seafloor, it absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year, making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change. Working together with Sky Ocean Rescue, one million seagrass seeds have been collected this summer from various sites around the country by a team of volunteers. The seeds will be cultivated, before being planted in Dale Bay in Pembrokeshire this winter, where they will grow into a 20,000 m2 seagrass meadow.
TREE PLANTING IS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD Trees can be a crucial ally in the fight against climate change, and they are so important for our future wealth, wellbeing and wildlife. Trees are so important to local communities and influence microclimates as well as helping tackle climate change and our forests provide wilderness areas rich in some of the most wonderful species, all helping wildlife to thrive. Working with partners, we’re aiming to protect and restore 1 trillion trees around the world. In the UK, all major parties included significant tree planting pledges in their manifestos. And earlier this year, Ethiopia planted a record 250m trees in just one day. While we need make sure we’re planting the right trees in the right places, the raised ambition offers real reason for hope.
Britain has not used coal to generate electricity for two weeks - the longest period since the 1880s. The body which manages the way electricity is generated said coal was last used at 15:12 on 17 May. Fintan Slye, director of the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), said the British record for solar power had also been broken this month. Britain broke the record for a week of no coal earlier this month, which Mr Slye said would be a "new normal". The government plans to phase out the UK's last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions and Mr Slye said there was "still a lot of work to do". But he added: "As more and more renewables come onto the system, we're seeing things progress at an astonishing rate." The world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882 at Holborn Viaduct in London.
In May 2019
Last year speakers included the ‘great’ of Sir Andrew Dilnot (Geospatial Commission Chair), Dr Rebecca Heaton (UK Committee on Climate Change) but also that innovation and daring to do things differently can reap many rewards for industry and individuals alike clearly demonstrated from the global giants such as CRAY (with AI solutions for producing environmental patterns to help meet climate challenges) to start-ups such as QualisFlow (environmental management platform delivering sustainability alongside increased profitability and productivity).
The impact of the individual, through our actions at home, and in our work was repeatedly highlighted as the key to success….and Covid-19 has surely demonstrated how quickly changes in our behaviours can influence the world around us (not flying/driving – and the resultant change to air quality etc.). “You can have anything you want, you just can't have everything, it's about choices, how we do things and behavioural drivers,” (Paul Campion, TRL CEO) the need for choices…a key take away. Location data can help us understand those choices.
Talking of which: When we started planning the UK was ramping up to host COP26, and the theme, “Priorities for a Sustainable Future: applying geospatial to global challenges" was leaning towards environmental change and associated implications of decarbonisation, resilience planning and adaption programmes.
• Climate Governance – Leadership in the policy space, aligns to bringing in views from thought leaders. • Priorities for Net Zero – looking at sector applications & implications (buildings, transport, electricity, energy…. Etc), • The UK’s preparations for Climate Change – (case studies)
However with the arrival of Covid-19, the emphasis has clearly needed to shift to reflect the new normal – issues of sustainable supply chain mean something different today than they did a few months ago.
Date: Tuesday 17th November. – Save the Date. Venue: mixed on-line and in person (as restrictions will allow). London.
AGI Location data to achieve NetZero
Location data to achieve Net Zero
Denise McKenzie, Chair AGI
12th May 2020
Geovation Webinar Series
“The impact of climate change is felt differently
across the world. It is the variation and
difference that leads to understanding and
power: geospatial data can help us understand
the impact on people and manage this.” Sir
Andrew Dilnot, Geospatial Commission
• Environmental Management
• Doing good, better
• Changing ideas about success
AGI Mission 2020
To be a thriving UK Geospatial Community,
actively supporting a sustainable future
17th November 2020
Join the conversation
Photo sources: Unsplash and AGI archives
Denise McKenzie, Chair AGI
12th May 2020
Geovation Webinar Series