Australia just finished one of its hottest summers on record. This weather map from late January 2019 shows temperatures reaching 40 to 46 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country (104 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit).

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology, BOM

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet. If the concrete industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8bn tonnes, surpassed only by China and the US.

Taking in all stages of production, concrete is said to be responsible for 4-8% of the world’s CO2. Among materials, only coal, oil and gas are a greater source of greenhouse gases. Half of concrete’s CO2 emissions are created during the manufacture of clinker, the most-energy intensive part of the concrete-making process.

Other environmental challenges associated with concrete production:

  1. It is responsible for 10% of the world’s industrial water use, and often strains supplies for drinking and irrigation in drought-prone regions;
  2. The dust from concrete worsens respiratory diseases, and;
  3. It destroys natural infrastructure without replacing the ecological functions that humanity depends on for fertilization, pollination, flood control, oxygen production, and water purification.

Source: The Guardian

Using the World Meteorological Organization annual global temperature dataset, Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, created climate stripes, which show global average temperature changes from 1850 through 2018.

Source: Climate Lab Book

It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but ambitious climate action must be made a top priority. There is no historical precedent for the pace of the transformation at the scale needed across every sector.

Source: IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming

Climate change induced extreme drought and heat will put barley crops at risk and threaten to create a global beer shortage by the end of the century. Models suggest that China could lose 10%, and the US up to 20%, of their beer supplies.  

Source: Nature Plants

After 3 years of decline, US CO2 emissions rose by 3.4% last year.

Natural gas replaced most of the lost generation from coal-fired power plant retirements and fed most of the growth in electricity demand. As a result, power sector emissions rose by 1.9%. In the transportation sector, robust growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offset a modest decline in gasoline consumption. Emissions in the buildings and industrial sectors increased.

The US was already off track in meeting its Paris Agreement targets. The gap is now wider.

Source: Rhodium Group

The 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Committee states “climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security”

It further states:

  1. “Extreme weather events, many worsened by accelerating sea level rise, will particularly affect urban coastal areas in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Damage to communication, energy, and transportation infrastructure could affect low-lying military bases, inflict economic costs, and cause human displacement and loss of life…
  • …Heat waves, droughts, and floods—combined with poor governance practices—are increasing water & food insecurity around the world, increasing the risk of social unrest, migration, & interstate tension in countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Jordan…
  • Diminishing Arctic sea ice may increase competition—particularly with Russia and China— over access to sea routes and natural resources…In 2018, the minimum sea ice extent in the Arctic was 25 percent below the 30-year average from 1980 to 2010.”

Source: U.S. National Intelligence

A study finds that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood. As oceans have warmed, the world has lost fish to eat. The amount of seafood humans could sustainably harvest shrank by 4.1%, or by 1.4 million metric tons of fish, from 1930 to 2010.

Fish make up 17% of the global population’s intake of protein, and as much as 70% for people living in some coastal and island countries.

Sources: NY Times, Science

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