Huge Forest Fires in Portugal Kill at Least 60

Many died in their cars as they fled from huge blaze amid severe heatwave on Iberian peninsula 

         

Flames engulf a highway in Pedrógão - Photograph: Paulo Cunha/EPA

theguardian.com - by Sam Jones - June 18, 2017

At least 60 people have been killed in huge forest fires in central Portugal, many dying in their cars as they tried to flee the flames . . .

 . . . Several hundred firefighters and 160 vehicles were dispatched late on Saturday to tackle the fire, which broke out in the municipality of Pedrógão Grande before spreading fast . . . 

 . . . The Iberian peninsular is sweltering under a severe heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 40C (104F) in some regions.

About 60 forest fires took hold across Portugal on Saturday night, with 1,700 firefighters battling to put them out.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW . . . 

CLICK HERE - Portugal Fires Kill More Than 60, Including Drivers Trapped in Cars

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

The Arctic is Now Expected to be Ice-Free by 2040

           

The Arctic Council foresees increased shipping once the sea-ice has disappeared. Image: REUTERS/NASA

CLICK HERE - Final Report - Arctic Resilience Report

weforum.org - by Keith Breene - May 17, 2017

The last piece of summer sea-ice in the Arctic is expected to melt away in just 23 years, three decades earlier than previously expected.

Scientists now believe that the summer of 2040 will see the end of the frozen north pole after a rapid shrinking of the ice coverage in recent years, according to a report from the Arctic Council.

The scientific policy group of the eight countries with territory in the Arctic Circle says that over the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half while its volume has fallen by three-quarters. This change has profound implications, beyond those countries that have a direct stake in the region.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - About - Arctic Resilience Report

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Scientists Just Documented a Massive Recent Melt Event on the Surface of Antarctica

           

An iceberg lies in the Ross Sea with Mount Erebus in the background near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in November 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Communications - January 2016 extensive summer melt in West Antarctica favoured by strong El Niño

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - June 15, 2017

Scientists have documented a recent, massive melt event on the surface of highly vulnerable West Antarctica that, they fear, could be a harbinger of future events as the planet continues to warm.

In the Antarctic summer of 2016, the surface of the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest floating ice platform on Earth, developed a sheet of meltwater that lasted for as long as 15 days in some places. The total area affected by melt was 300,000 square miles, or larger than the state of Texas, the scientists report.

That’s bad news because surface meltin g could work hand in hand with an already documented trend of ocean-driven melting to compromise West Antarctica, which contains over 10 feet of potential sea level rise.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Climate Change Pushing Tropical Diseases Toward Arctic

Temperature changes around the globe are pushing human pathogens of all kinds into unexpected new areas, raising many new risks for people.

           

Bathers on the Baltic have recently been confronted with a new threat: dangerous disease that is normally only found in warm water.  PHOTOGRAPH BY PRIIT VESILIND, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

news.nationalgeographic.com - by Craig Welch - June 14, 2017

 . . . It's no secret that climate change can spread illnesses such as West Nile virus, Zika, and malaria, as rising temperatures push disease-carrying mosquitoes into new places, from the highlands of Ethiopia to the United States. But warm temperatures and shifting weather patterns work in subtle ways, too. Changes in precipitation, wind, or heat are shifting the threat posed by other human illnesses, from cholera to a rare freshwater brain-eating amoeba to rodent-driven infections like hantavirus. And the importance of all these changes are only growing more significant.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

'Spectacular' Drop in Renewable Energy Costs Leads to Record Global Boost

Falling solar and wind prices have led to new power deals across the world despite investment in renewables falling

           

Solar panels on sale at the Naran Tuul market in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photograph: Seong Joon Cho/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - Global Status Report - REN21 - Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - June 6, 2017

Renewable energy capacity around the world was boosted by a record amount in 2016 and delivered at a markedly lower cost, according to new global data – although the total financial investment in renewables actually fell.

The greater “bang-for-buck” resulted from plummeting prices for solar and wind power and led to new power deals in countries including Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates all being priced well below fossil fuel or nuclear options . . .

 . . . The new renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 was 161GW, a 10% rise on 2015 and a new record, according to REN21, a network of public and private sector groups covering 155 nations and 96% of the world’s population.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Facebook Disaster Maps - Using Data to Help Communities Recover and Rebuild

newsroom.fb.com - By Molly Jackman - June 7, 2017

Today, we are introducing disaster maps that use aggregated, de-identified Facebook data to help organizations address the critical gap in information they often face when responding to natural disasters. Many of these organizations worked with us to identify what data would be most helpful and how it could be put to action in the moments following a disaster.

This initiative is the product of close work with UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Programme, and other organizations. 

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Surveillance for good? Facebook tracks disaster victims

CLICK HERE - Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

Country / Region Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

American Doctor in Sudan Awarded Aurora Humanitarian Prize

           

DR. TOM CATENA – 2017 AURORA PRIZE LAUREATE

CLICK HERE - AURORA PRIZE - For Awakening Humanity - DR. TOM CATENA – 2017 AURORA PRIZE LAUREATE

abcnews.go.com - by Associated Press - May 28, 2017

An American doctor who has spent years working in a fighting-ravaged region of Sudan has been awarded the $1.1-million Aurora Prize for exceptional humanitarianism.

Dr. Tom Catena was presented the prize Sunday in Armenia's capital, Yerevan. The prize was established in remembrance of the Armenian survivors of a mass killing by Ottoman Turks.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Doctor in Sudan who treats up to 750,000 people wins global humanity award

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

LIVE Webcast - CSIS Event Today | Four Famines: Unprecedented Need, Underfunded Response

csis.org - Monday, June 5, 2017 - 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm - CSIS Headquarters

The world today is grappling with four looming famines which are testing the capacity of our strapped global humanitarian response infrastructure. In Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, protracted conflict has left 30 million people, mostly children, in the throes of severe food insecurity, with 20 million potentially facing starvation.

José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, and David Beasley, the newly appointed Executive Director of WFP, traveled together last week to visit some of the hardest hit communities in famine-stricken South Sudan. Come hear their perspective on what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII.

CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND A LINK TO REGISTRATION

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science

           

A coal-fired power station in Mount Storm, W.Va., in January. The coal industry played an instrumental role in efforts to unwind the Obama administration’s climate policies. Credit Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

nytimes.com - by Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton - June 3, 2017

The Republican Party’s fast journey from debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist is a story of big political money, Democratic hubris in the Obama years and a partisan chasm that grew over nine years like a crack in the Antarctic shelf, favoring extreme positions and uncompromising rhetoric over cooperation and conciliation . . .

<In 2008 Senator John McCain, who had just secured the Republican nomination for President, sounded the alarm on global warming.>

 . . . Since Mr. McCain ran for president on climate credentials that were stronger than his opponent Barack Obama’s, the scientific evidence linking greenhouse gases from fossil fuels to the dangerous warming of the planet has grown stronger.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Map Shows How Paris Reversal Isolates U.S. From World

           

           

1Nicaragua refused to join the Paris Agreement because the country believes that the accord’s voluntary goals are insufficient.

2A brutal civil war and international sanctions made it difficult for Syria to attend the Paris negotiations and deliver an emissions-reduction goal.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Global Health Governance - Reform of the World Health Organization

CLICK HERE - Global Health Governance - Reform of the World Health Organization - Spring 2017 - Special Issue (77 page .PDF report)

blogs.shu.edu - by Tine Hanrieder and Adam Kamradt-Scott
May 30, 2017

Introduction (Excerpt)

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

           

nytimes.com - by Michael D. Shear - June 1, 2017

President Trump announced Thursday that he will withdraw the United States from participation in the Paris climate accord, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy.

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

Still, Mr. Trump’s decision is a remarkable rebuke to fellow heads-of-state, climate activists, corporate executives and members of the president’s own staff, all of whom failed this week to change Mr. Trump’s mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

‘Resilience Bonds’: A Secret Weapon Against Catastrophe

           

Resilience bonds could help places vulnerable to natural disasters, like Mexico, better prepare for catastrophe - not just help clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

The costs of natural disasters are becoming too much to bear – and it’s driving up premiums no matter where you live. The solution may be a transformative type of insurance never seen before.

bbc.com - by Amanda Ruggeri - May 16, 2017

 . . . People will have to shift their entire thinking about how disaster recovery is funded – and by whom, experts say. “There’s a perception that, following a disaster, the federal government’s role is to make you whole and rebuild homes and infrastructure and community at the federal taxpayer’s expense. And that is simply not true,” Medlock says. “There are limits to what the federal government can – and should – do.”

 . . . Enter a new idea that could transform not only the global economy, but how disasters affect us: a resilience bond. As well as guaranteeing help to communities after a catastrophe, it would help fund projects and strategies they need to become less vulnerable to begin with . . .

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

What Happens to Earth if the US Exits the Climate Deal?

           

Credit:  AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

washingtonpost.com - Associated Press - May 27, 2017

 . . . In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem, and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

 . . . “The U.S. matters a great deal . . . That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it” . . . 

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Miami's Zika Outbreak Began Months Before It Was First Detected

           

A groundskeeper at Pinecrest Gardens sprays pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County, Fla., in 2016.  Gaston De Cardenas/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature - Genomic epidemiology reveals multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States

npr.org - by Greg Allen - May 24, 2017

Last year's Zika outbreak in Miami likely started in the spring of 2016, with the virus introduced multiple times before it was detected, researchers say. And most of those cases originated in the Caribbean.

The study, published Wednesday in Nature, examined more than 250 cases of local Zika transmission in three Miami neighborhoods. Researchers analyzed 39 Zika virus genomes isolated from 32 people who had been infected and seven Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that carries Zika.

Comparison of differences in those genomes finds the virus was introduced by travelers at least four and perhaps as many as 40 different times as early as March 2016. Local transmission of Zika wasn't confirmed in Miami until late July.

Country / Region Tags: 
General Topic Tags: 
Problem, Solution, SitRep, or ?: 

Pages

Subscribe to Global RSS
howdy folks