We witnessed this last week a great effort at achieving truth and reconciliation, with the Roman Catholic Pope admitting atrocities committed by his ‘staff’ and asking personal and God’s forgiveness for the crimes they committed in the Canadian residential school program. Finally. It’s a great move and we await his coming to Canada to offer his repentance to the survivors of these schools and their progeny, acknowledging the horrors, too, of intergenerational violence, and indeed to the whole nation.
It all makes me think: will we or can we expect such an investigation of and repentance by Russia for the crimes it is now committing against Ukraine in its sacrilegious war (as the same Pope has labeled it)? Consider the similarities of actions by the Russian army: the use of mass graves; random and targeted abuse of helpless civilians; starvation tactics; the tearing apart of families; physical and psychological abuse of those captured; and overall genocide.
This week also had the release of a third consecutive publication from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global scientific authority on the climate crisis. It focuses on climate change mitigation (i.e., the reduction of its cause, atmospheric greenhouse gases) and makes it clear that if we don’t start now to reduce these emissions on a large scale, we will see future climate events more catastrophic than we can imagine. The report published last Monday is from the IPCC's third working group. The first report (August, 2021) looked at the causes of the climate crisis, while the second (February, 2022) outlined the severity of the situation.
It was reported on so well by many others, including Euronews.com: "We must halve emissions by 2030 in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. However, the IPCC scientists also emphasize that it is not too late to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2030. The report outlines how keeping in line with Paris Agreement goals will only be possible with immediate and substantial action.
"At present we are on a pathway to exceed 3°C of global warming by 2030 - more than double the 1.5°C limit agreed in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. In order to stay within 1.5°C of global warming by 2030, it is essential that global greenhouse gas emissions reach their peak by 2025 at the latest. This means they need to be reduced by 43% by the end of the decade. Methane levels must also be cut by a third, according to the paper.
“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming,” says IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. The publication highlights that between 2010 and 2019, greenhouse gas emissions were at the highest level in human history. Over that same period, however, the report notes that the cost of renewable energy has decreased by up to 85%. Lee adds that across the world, there has been a renewed focus on legislation tackling deforestation, improving energy efficiency and accelerating a switch to renewable energy sources. “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries,” says Lee, “there are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”
"Despite the commitments made at COP26, current climate pledges are still on track to see a rise of 14% - a far cry from the 43% decrease we need by the end of the decade.
“We left COP26 in Glasgow with a naïve optimism, based on new promises and commitments,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in response to the report. He added that the main issue is the enormous emissions gap which has been all but ignored. The science is clear but most major emitters aren’t taking the steps needed to fill the “inadequate” promises they have already made. “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness,” he added."
And from the David Suzuki Foundation (April 6, 2022): "You’ve likely seen some of the headlines about Monday’s IPCC report, “Mitigation of Climate Change.” It further confirmed that governments, businesses, industry and financial institutions must significantly up their game if the world is to avoid heating beyond 1.5 C by 2030. The message for urgent action is loud and clear. But what you may have missed in the headlines are the possibilities, despite all the challenges, to alter our course.
An electrified global system fuelled by clean renewable power and storage gives countries their best chance of energy security and a safer, fairer world. Renewable energy has seen huge advances, and continues to massively outperform forecasts.
Last year, the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90 per cent of the global power sector’s expansion.
2020 saw a 45 per cent increase in new renewable capacity over 2019 and the largest year-on-year increase since 1999.
Rapid deployment and falling costs of renewable energy have massively exceeded expectations and 24 countries reduced emissions by building up renewables, among other policies.
Just one example, lithium battery manufacturer CATL is the world’s fastest growing 10-year tech company, far outpacing Google or Amazon at that age.
The invasion of Ukraine further highlights the benefits of renewable sources and efficiency measures in creating energy security for countries, while fluctuating fossil fuels expose vulnerable communities to price spikes."
But, sadly the Canadian government, in the very heels of this report landing on their desks, just approved yesterday a giant oil extraction project off the coast of Newfoundland. What an absurd juxtaposition.
Do keep on reading below in today’s Planetary Health Weekly(#14 of 2022) for:
MORE CLIMATE CRISIS UPDATES:
Livestock dies in droves in Somalia – and without rain ‘humans are next,’
Severe coral bleaching along 500 kilometres of Great Barrier Reef,
$1.3 trillion cost of transforming food systems under climate change,
Clean truck corridors – coast to coast,
Despite calls for change, Canada’s RBC is one of world’s top bankers to fossil fuel industry,
‘Vulnerable to climate change in every way’: Mumbai eyes status as south Asia’s first carbon neutral city,
Greasing wheels towards climate chaos: fossil fuel subsidies,
Clean energy sources generated more of the world’s energy than coal last year,
More than 99.9% of studies agree: humans caused climate change,
Global warming from 1880-2021 (great 30 second video),
Covid-19 isolations have taken a severe toll of mental health: WHO,
Pfizer, Moderna vaccines aren’t the same, study finds antibody differences,
One-third of world’s population yet to receive a Covid vax,
Shanghai locks down 26 million in two phases,
Relief and concerns as Ghana reopens its borders,
U.S. Supreme Court sides with Navy in SEALs vaccine mandate case,
Red America’s compassion fatigue: a report from Mobile, Alabama,
Mouthwash and nine other ways to get rid of Covid, THEN
‘A heck of a problem’: WFP chief warns of aid crisis amid Ukraine war,
How Covid-19 laid bare Africa’s medical oxygen crisis,
The pandemic and our broken social contracts,
Urban sprawl propelling evolution of plants worldwide,
New ‘mosquito grounding’ insecticide could revive stalling fight against malaria,
Canadian Red Cross mobile vaccine clinics demonstrate value of teamwork and agility,
A song of hope and inspiration by the young Zelensky’s,
Is there something amiss with the way the EPA tracks methane emissions from landfills?
Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates for residential schools,
Canada’s grim legacy of cultural erasure in poignant school photos,
Quote by UN Chief on the climate crisis: “We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe,"
Navigating digital health waves,
Thanks to slavery-era ‘science,’ Black Americans today are dying of kidney disease at higher rates,
Russian government bars its scientists from international conferences,
Creating a nature positive future: the contribution of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures,
New book: “How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason” by Lee McIntyre,
Realizing the promise of biological physics requires a multi-pronged approach to education, funding and workforce,
U.S. National Academy of Science launches effort to help support Ukrainian researchers as they resettle in Poland, and lastly
ENDSHOTS of the First Backyard Signs of Spring!!
I hope you’ll keep reading. Best, david
David Zakus, Editor and Publisher
Early Spring bringing renewal and hope for better days in Ukraine and relief from the inflicted suffering.
Somalia — For Hawa Hassan, having livestock means having freedom and security. About a year ago, she had about 600 goats and sheep. Her family would roam around Somalia in search of pasture and water. When they needed cash, they would sell a few for about $60 each and use their livestock’s milk and meat to feed the family.
But beginning in late 2020, the rains failed. And with each subsequent rainy season, they failed again. Her family would release their goats to find food, but some wouldn’t return. The animals began to perish day by day in the unforgiving landscape of sand, stones, and dehydrated bushes. In the past three months alone, about 250 died. Now she only has 35.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has reported severe bleaching to 60% of the corals along a 500-kilometre stretch of the Great Barrier Reef between Innisfail and Mackay. Surveys are ongoing on the southern section of the reef, but with reports of local bleaching, scientists cannot rule out widespread bleaching of similar severity.
Bleaching occurs when the sea surface temperature is too hot for too long, causing corals to expel the algae living in their tissues and turn white. Scientists say global warming is the major factor driving more frequent bleaching events.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) chief scientist David Wachenfeld said coral bleached when it was “severely stressed” but could recover if sea surface temperatures returned to normal quickly enough. “It’s a bad sign on its own, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will die,” Dr Wachenfeld said.
Research commissioned by WWF-Australia from scientists at Climate Resource found Australia must ramp up emissions reduction to keep pace with the global effort needed to create a 50% chance of keeping temperatures below 1.5 degrees. That means cutting Australia’s emissions 74%, based on 2005 levels, by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050.
According to a new report to be published on March 16 by the Netherlands-based 'think-and-do-tank' Clim-Eat, The Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), transforming food systems so they survive and thrive under climate change demands USD 1.3 trillion in investment every year until 2050.
The report - available here - will be launched at an affiliate session of the World Economic Forum event Bold Actions for Food. In the report, the authors outline how this investment is built upon the foundations of four 'action areas' set out in the landmark 2020 report Actions to Transform Food Systems Under Climate Change:
(i) Rerouting farming and rural livelihoods to new trajectories
(ii) De-risking livelihoods, farms and value chains
(iii) Reducing emissions through diets and value chains
(iv) Realigning policies, finance and support to social movements and innovation
The transformation investment the new report calls for could necessitate anywhere between a 10- to 20-fold increase in current levels of investment in sustainable climate-smart agriculture, based on a number of existing estimates. The report argues that transformation also necessitates a complete reimagination of where agriculture and food systems investments should focus, so that we're not simply 'plugging gaps' in current investment.
The report identifies that the benefits of transformative investment in food systems far outweighs the cost of inaction - the hidden environmental, social and economic costs of our current food system are estimated to be valued at $20tn a year.
he US is charging forward on pollution-free transportation, and tackling some of the dirtiest vehicles through new rules that require truck and bus manufacturers to go electric.
The transition to cleaner trucks and buses can’t come fast enough. Electric medium and heavy-duty trucks save lives, and states across the nation are taking note and adopting policies to safeguard the health of their residents. This week, Washington became the second state after Oregon to adopt California’s Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule, which will slash diesel emissions, improve local air quality, and give a jolt to the electric truck market.
The transition to electric cars and vehicles is gathering momentum far beyond the West Coast. Six states - Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York - are on the verge of adopting or considering the ACT rule to get more electric trucks on their roads. All together, these nine states make up 20% of the national fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
No community should be a sacrifice zone for the movement of goods. Diverse coalitions in each state considering adoption of clean truck policies have brought together environmental, health, environmental justice, consumer, labor, faith and business organizations to push for change and get clean trucks, buses and vans on our roads.
The latest study of corporate data from 60 of the world's largest banks shows that rather than cutting back on the funding of fossil fuel projects since the 2016 global agreement to limit greenhouse gases, they have increased that funding to $3.8 trillion US in the past five years.
The report outlining the data, Banking on Climate Chaos 2021, is the 12th annual tally of fossil fuel financing by a group of seven climate advocacy organizations, including Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club, both based in the United States.
Although U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, have committed to establishing emissions targets for their financing portfolios in line with the Paris climate accord, the report declares that North America's biggest bank has also been "the world's worst fossil bank" over the past five years, lending $317 billion to the industry.
And while U.S. banks lead the pack, Canada's RBC has the dubious honour of punching above its weight. Four Canadian banks are in the top 20, including RBC, TD, Scotiabank and Bank of Montreal.
"There's a lot in the Canadian psyche and history that is wrapped up in the fossil fuel economy, and we're feeling some of that inertia right now," said Laura Zizzo, co-founder and CEO of Manifest Climate, a Toronto company that advises financial institutions across North America on strategies to help them navigate climate change.
But in a country where there is so much political and economic pressure for oil and gas development, RBC said that to be successful, its move to net zero must be gradual. "This transition is vitally important and it must be done in an inclusive manner that brings all sectors and communities along or we won't achieve the support we need to meet these goals," RBC said in an email.
As Carney — who was governor of both the Bank of Canada and Bank of England before becoming head of impact investing at Brookfield Asset Management — has warned in the past, when financial institutions take a stake in long-term fossil fuel projects, it is not just bad for the climate. It also creates a risk for ordinary Canadians who depend on those institutions for their banking, pensions and insurance, as well as for investors and employees.
In order to hold temperatures at levels scientists say are necessary to keep temperature rise to 2 C, experts say the value of fossil fuel investments must fall to zero in about 30 years.
Authorities in Mumbai, home to 30 million inhabitants, have announced a detailed blueprint that, if successful, will make the city carbon neutral by 2050. This would see Mumbai become the first city in south Asia to achieve the milestone.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the city’s very survival depends on the policy. Nearly 40% of Mumbai will be underwater in the next 100 years if sea levels continue to rise at their current rate, according to a study by the India Meteorological Society.
The city’s residents are broadly aware that the climate is changing. Many now spend time each day scooping seawater out of their flats during India’s annual monsoon season, which has seen its period of rainfall lengthen and intensify over the last decade due to climate change.
Temperatures are also rising. There have been 13 heat waves over the last 15 years and the average temperature in the city has risen by 1°C during the same period. While Mumbai’s wealthier residents can afford to crank up their air conditioning systems, around 42% of the city’s inhabitants live in informal settlements which become “uninhabitable” in summers, according to residents.
Two unusually strong cyclones have also barrelled the city in the last two years, claiming the lives of at least 180 people in Mumbai and its surrounding area. Climate change can be a sensitive but hard to avoid topic.
The “Mumbai Climate Action Plan” is a six-pronged approach. The authorities plan to transform the energy sector and buildings, create sustainable mobility, develop sustainable waste management systems, set up urban greening and encourage biodiversity, improve air quality and reduce urban flooding. Some landmark projects are already underway. There is the coastal road, an eight-lane highway that veers away from the coast and runs high above the Arabian Sea, with spectacular views.
Ever wonder why fossil fuels are still being extracted, transported and traded in 2022, even though we know the threat they pose to our lives, economies and ecosystems? From climate change to oil spills, we have known for decades about the harms of fossil fuel production, yet the oil keeps flowing. The dependency of the economy on fossil fuels continues while we are far behind the actions required for a long-waited and urgent green-economy transition. In large part, this is due to financing and investing in fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies.
IRENA, renewable energy power generation received USD 128 billion in subsidies in 2017 globally. The figure might sound impressive, but we need the full picture to put this 12-digit figure in context... What was the total subsidy level channelled toward fossil fuels according to the same data set? The fossil-fuel industry benefited from USD 447 billion worth of direct subsidies or in other words, received 70% of total direct energy sector subsidies. This massive support at the sub-national level includes subsidies to petroleum products, electricity generation, natural gas and coal. This is almost 3.5-fold of the renewable energy power generation subsidies, Although the number is big enough as it is, please note this figure only includes direct and reported subsidies.
There is no single agreed definition or calculation methodology for subsidies, but rather different institutions produce data on this issue with their in-house calculations.
The IMF also released a report in October 2021 using a much broader definition of subsidy by reporting the explicit and implicit figures together. This means the numbers also include underpriced supply and environmental costs. Accordingly, the fossil-fuel subsidy volume is even more sizeable at USD 5.9 trillion as of 2020 globally. Among the implicit subsidies, the cost of air pollution constitutes the largest share followed by global warming. This figure corresponds to providing
$11 million subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry every minute.
More than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers agree that climate change is mainly caused by humans, according to a new survey of 88,125 climate-related studies.
The research updates a similar 2013 paper revealing that 97% of studies published between 1991 and 2012 supported the idea that human activities are altering Earth’s climate. The current survey examines the literature published from 2012 to November 2020 to explore whether the consensus has changed.
“We are virtually certain that the consensus is well over 99% now and that it’s pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change,” said Mark Lynas, a visiting fellow at the Alliance for Science and the paper’s first author.
Globally, nationally and locally, the pandemic continues. It remains far from being over. Please remember that and take care.
Over the last week there were about 8 million new cases (down ~20%, though testing is sorely insufficient and this is likely a huge underestimation) and 28,000 deaths (down again ~20%), and about 140 million people again received a Covid-19 vaccine.
In Canada cases are spiking, especially in Ontario, where today it's estimated at about 120,000,000 have gotten the virus. Nationally there are about 30 deaths/day over the last week (down 11%) though hospitalizations are increasing.
Some countries currently have very high daily case rates, including: South Korea, which is having a terrible time, Cyprus, Botswana, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal and Israel. Most Canadian provinces are now reporting higher case rates than their counterparts in the USA.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented levels of stress caused by social isolation has taken a dire toll on mental health, and may have led to the "massive" increase in cases of anxiety and depression, which have swelled by over 25% globally, the World Health Organization said.
In a fresh scientific brief, the WHO also found that the COVID-19 crisis had in many cases significantly impeded access to mental health services and raised concerns about increases in suicidal behaviour.
The brief, which was based on an umbrella review of a vast number of studies, determined that the world saw a 27.6% increase in cases of major depressive disorder in 2020 alone. During the first year of the pandemic, there was also a 25.6% hike in cases of anxiety disorders worldwide, it found.
"In terms of scale, this is a very large increase," said Brandon Gray of WHO's mental health and substance use department, who coordinated the scientific brief. The brief, he told Agence France-Presse (AFP), "shows that COVID-19 has had a large impact on people's mental health and well-being.. Read more at Daily Sabah
David Beasley, the executive director at the World Food Programme. Credit: Claudio Centonze/European Union
March’s inaugural European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels saw the aid sector’s big names try to crack familiar problems like funding and impunity for international law violators, even as a major new one loomed: the global ripple effects of the war in Ukraine.
“The availability of food is going to become a heck of a problem in about six to nine months,” David Beasley, the executive director at the World Food Programme, told a panel Tuesday. “Most people don’t realize Ukraine grows enough food to feed 400 million people, and if the agricultural leaders of the world can’t compensate fast enough, if the war doesn’t end quick enough, you are going to have extraordinary conditions,” he said.
“Try quadrupling the food pricing in Sahel and Niger, in Syria, and people are not going to survive,” Beasley added. “You will have destabilization of many nations in about six to nine months from now if we don’t get ahead of it.”
He was speaking at a session on “Expanding the resource base for humanitarian aid,” one of the priorities of Janez Lenarčič, the European Union’s commissioner for crisis management, who co-hosted the forum with the French presidency of the Council of the EU. Read more at Devex.
A man painting cylinders used for storing oxygen in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2021. Credit: Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters
The death of Dr. Rosemary Chukwudebe, then head of the internal medicine department at Nigeria’s Kogi State Specialist Hospital in 2018 inspired Nigerian entrepreneur Temie Giwa-Tubosun to launch the medical oxygen business arm of her company LifeBank, which is well known for its blood supply services. “She [Chukwudebe] needed oxygen and they eventually found the oxygen after many hours but they could not find a spanner to open the cylinder. And this woman died,” Giwa-Tubosun said. “I have her picture on my wall in my office here to remind me why I do what I do.”
Unfortunately, Chukwudebe’s predicament is a familiar one in many countries in the African continent where patients with asthma and other conditions have died because they could not get the medical oxygen they urgently needed.
Though the COVID-19 response has had a positive impact on Africa’s medical oxygen sector, health experts said the gains made during the pandemic should be sustained in the long term.
According to Nigeria’s National Policy on Medical Oxygen in Health Facilities, more than 625,000 deaths occur annually due to diseases associated with hypoxaemia, which is the insufficiency of oxygen in the blood or low blood oxygen saturation. Read more at Devex
Many of the norms and institutions underpinning contemporary society were forged in and for a bygone era, and now have created a mismatch between people's expectations and their reality. It is little wonder that the pandemic has highlighted the erosion of people's sense of mutual obligation and social trust.
The emergence of the Omicron variant just before the holiday season has led to another surge of infections and hospitalizations in the world’s rich economies, renewing the focus on the issue of vaccine hesitancy (or, in many cases, outright refusal, such as with the Serb tennis player Novak Djokovic). The unvaccinated remain unnecessarily vulnerable, and the exasperated double- and triple-dosed are wondering when enough will be enough. Worse, billions of people in developing countries still do not have access to vaccines, representing a catastrophic, ongoing failure of the international system. Read more at Project-Syndicate.
Urbanization is not only changing landscapes, but plants are evolving with them, too, as a result, a new study shows.
The University of Toronto (U of T)-led examination used a white clover plant to show the changes made to vegetation as environments are physically altered. Researchers, led by evolutionary biologists at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, reviewed data on the plant that was gathered by 287 scientists in 160 cities across 26 countries -- from Toronto and Tokyo to Melbourne and Munich.
As a result, scientists found transparent evidence of the force humans and cities have in prompting the development of life globally. In particular, the white clover is often found to be progressing as a direct response to environmental modifications in urban areas. Read more at the Weather Network.
For most of us, getting a shot only lasts an instant, but for public health specialist Shawna Novak, the vaccination story begins before clinic doors open and ends long after doses are administered.
Shawna is part of the Canadian Red Cross vaccination team operating clinics across southern Ontario, working in support of the Ontario Ministry of Health and alongside local public health units. To date, Red Cross vaccinators have provided over 60,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine at mobile clinics across the province - enough to fill Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena to capacity more than three times over. Read more at Red Cross.
Remote sensing of methane from high altitude aircraft reveals plumes of the gas coming from the open face, on the left, and from a vent, on the right, at the River Birch landfill outside New Orleans in April 2021. Researchers from the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Carbon Mapper calculate the rate of methane venting at approximately 2,000 kilograms per hour, which would be 48 metric tons per day. Credit: University of Arizona, Arizona State University, NASA JPL and Carbon Mapper.
Three environmental groups are making a move to hold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accountable for accurately tracking heat-trapping gases emitted from the nation’s landfills.
The Environmental Integrity Project, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club have filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA, the first step in a legal process under the Clean Air Act. The groups claim the agency allows landfills to use methods that are more than two decades old, which are underestimating methane emissions by at least 25%.
The EPA under the law must review and, if necessary, revise its landfill gas emissions calculation methods every three years, and agency officials have known those emissions factors have been off since at least 2008, according to the 10-page legal notice, which was sent to Michael Regan, the EPA administrator, last week. Read more at Inside Climate News
Residential School in Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan, around 1950. Credit: Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, via Reuters
Tears rolled down the cheeks of residential school survivors at the Vatican after Pope Francis delivered a long-awaited apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the harm those institutions caused to generations of Indigenous people.
The pontiff stood Friday before a room of nearly 200 Indigenous delegates in the Sala Clementina, one of the halls of the Apostolic Palace, and asked for God’s forgiveness for the deplorable conduct of church members.
“I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry,” Francis said in Italian during a final meeting with First Nations, Inuit and Métis delegates. Read more at The Star
“The science is clear. So is the math,” the U.N. leader said during a speech delivered at a Sustainability Summit hosted by The Economist. “Keeping 1.5 alive requires a 45% reduction in global emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by mid-century.” And yet, “according to present national commitments, global emissions are set to increase by almost 14% in the 2020s.”
“We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe,” Guterres continued. “Our planet has already warmed by as much as 1.2 degrees—and we see the devastating consequences everywhere. In 2020, climate disasters forced 30 million people to flee their homes—three times more than those displaced by war and violence.”
Guterres warned that “as major economies pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5 degrees.”
“Countries could become so consumed by the immediate fossil fuel supply gap that they neglect or knee-cap policies to cut fossil fuel use,” he said. “This is madness. Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction."
“As current events make all too clear, our continued reliance on fossil fuels puts the global economy and energy security at the mercy of geopolitical shocks and crises,” added Guterres. “We need to fix the broken global energy mix.”
Noting that “the timeline to cut emissions by 45% is extremely tight,” the U.N. leader stressed that “instead of hitting the brakes on the decarbonization of the global economy, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal towards a renewable energy future.”
“Two weeks ago,” said Guterres, citing part two of the U.N.’s landmark climate assessment, “the IPCC confirmed that half of humanity is already living in the danger zone. Small island nations, least developed countries, and poor and vulnerable people everywhere are one climate shock away from doomsday. In our globally connected world, no country and no corporation can insulate itself from these levels of chaos.”
International Health Trends and Perspectives (a new journal based at Ryerson University, Toronto) is dedicating a special issue to the topic of Planetary Health (see graphic below) to highlight research and theoretical contributions of scientists and scholars globally. Inviting manuscripts that are solutions and equity-focused. See the call for papers details here https://bit.ly/3tDixHT
Increasingly, digital technologies are transforming the delivery of health services and the functioning of health systems. Many of these technologies have also presented new ways of doing research and informed rapid decision-making. In this episode, we hear how UNICEF worked with Jamaica to rapidly deploy an electronic registry solution for the COVID-19 vaccine. We also learn that the Government of the Philippines created a huge opportunity for research by allowing open access to data from COVID-19 tests.
In 2018, my dad died of peritonitis, a common infection in people who are on peritoneal (kidney) dialysis therapy. My dad was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure many years before he passed. But, a recent reckoning in medicine points to a dark reality in calculating kidney function in Black American patients, something medical schools and the scientific community are only now addressing.
Ever wonder why there are so many dialysis clinics in Black communities?
Russian Government Bars Its Scientists From International Conferences
Russian government’s office building. Credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images
Russian scientists will not participate in international conferences this year, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation said via its
Telegram channel. The decision comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has
strained the relationshipsbetween Russian scientists and the international research community. Minister Valery Falkov also said during a
meetingwith universities that scientific schools should no longer emphasize when publications are indexed through the two major international scientific databases, according to a
recapsent through the Ministry’s Telegram channel.
Scientists aren’t banned from publishing research in international journals indexed in the two databases, Web of Science and Scopus, but will not lean on them as indicators of the quality of the work. The two databases are major sources of scientific information and have metrics that are widely used to evaluate the relative importance of scientific research.
Creating a Nature Positive Future: The Contribution of Protected Areas and Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures
Credit: istockphoto Protected areas (PAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) are a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation that provide co-benefits for achievement of the SDGs, in support of a nature-positive future. This report presents the global status of PAs and OECMs and opportunities for action, focusing on coverage and quality elements of effective management and equitable governance. Recognition is given to Indigenous Peoples' territories and the need to secure tenure rights, as well as embed PAs and OECMs into national policies and frameworks.
“How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason” by Lee McIntyre
Credit: Book Cover
Can we change the minds of science deniers? Encounters with flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, coronavirus truthers, and others.
“Climate change is a hoax—and so is coronavirus.” “Vaccines are bad for you.” These days, many of our fellow citizens reject scientific expertise and prefer ideology to facts. They are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. They cite cherry-picked evidence, rely on fake experts, and believe conspiracy theories. How can we convince such people otherwise? How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don't believe in facts? In this book, Lee McIntyre shows that anyone can fight back against science deniers, and argues that it's important to do so. Science denial can kill.
Drawing on his own experience—including a visit to a Flat Earth convention—as well as academic research, McIntyre outlines the common themes of science denialism, present in misinformation campaigns ranging from tobacco companies' denial in the 1950s that smoking causes lung cancer to today's anti-vaxxers. He describes attempts to use his persuasive powers as a philosopher to convert Flat Earthers; surprising discussions with coal miners; and conversations with a scientist friend about genetically modified organisms in food. McIntyre offers tools and techniques for communicating the truth and values of science, emphasizing that the most important way to reach science deniers is to talk to them calmly and respectfully—to put ourselves out there, and meet them face to face.
Biological physics — also known as the physics of living systems — has emerged fully as a field of physics alongside other recognized fields such as astrophysics and nuclear physics, says the first decadal survey of biological physics from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report outlines how federal agencies, policymakers, and universities can strengthen the field’s future and offers recommendations on research directions, funding, workforce, and education.
Publisher and Editor: Dr. David Zakus Production: Aisha Saleem and Julia Chalmers Social Media: Mahdia Abidi, Shalini Kainth and Ishneer Mankoo Website, Index and Advisory: Eunice Anteh, Gaël Chetaille, Evans Oppong, Jonathan Zakus, Dr. Aimée-Angélique Bouka & Elisabeth Huang Blogs: Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, Aisha Saleem and Dr. Jay Kravitz