When United Nations agencies appeal for aid for Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Uganda, then one cannot but notice that these very countries are governed by corrupt and cynical politicians who have scant regard for democracy. They ride roughshod over human rights and ignite ethnic and religious conflicts to shore up their hold on power. Somalia? It can no longer be described as a state any more and languishes at the bottom of the global corruption indices. South Sudan? Has oil reserves, but instead of exporting crude, it displaces millions of civilians in an orgy of ethnic violence. Tiny Eritrea? Where there was once hope, there now stands Eritrea, the North Korea of Africa, hermetically sealed off and governed by a clique that has its finger in the pie of traffickers smuggling people to Europe. Ethiopia - a potentially rich, but depressed country No country illustrates the link between bad governance and hunger more clearly than … [Read more...] about Opinion: Hunger on the Horn of Africa is not caused by climate change
Disaster movie "Geostorm" opens in cinemas this week, starring Gerard Butler as a rocket scientist tasked with saving the world after climate-controlling satellites designed to prevent natural disasters are hijacked to do just the reverse. The movie was some time in the making - reportedly due to major reshoots following poor reception from test audiences. As the release date finally came into view, real-life catastrophes like hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria filled our screens with images all-too-close to those in the Geostorm trailer. Many commentators have taken a dim view of the film's flippant treatment of climate-related disasters. But can the emerging genre of climate fiction – or "cli-fi" – in cinema play a positive role in the fight against climate change? A failure of imagination Most people accept that climate change is real. Two out of three people in Latin America, Africa and Europe think global warming is a very serious problem, … [Read more...] about Hollywood to the rescue: Can pop culture fight climate change?
Donald Trump, set to become president of the United States in about a month's time, has chosen Scott Pruitt - a leading opponent of federal environment and climate regulation - to head the country's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt, currently the attorney general in the state of Oklahoma, is currently suing the EPA in an effort to limit carbon emission limits on power plants put in place by outgoing president Barack Obama. Pruitt does not believe that manmade climate change is a certainty, and has described the issue as "far from settled." United States campaign group Sierra Club described his nomination, which must still be confirmed by the US Senate, as "putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires." Trump had already put one of America's best-known climate skeptics, Myron Ebell, in charge of leading the transition efforts between Obama's EPA and Trump's EPA, and there had been speculation that he would appoint Ebell to head the agency. And though Ebell's … [Read more...] about More dire data, less climate change concern?
Frank Bainimarama knows all about the need to protect the ocean. As the prime minister of Fiji, he runs a country made up of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific. This week, he's been co-hosting the first ever UN conference on the ocean in New York, along with Sweden's Climate Minister Isabella Lovin, focusing on sustainable development and conservation of the world's oceans, seas and marine resources. Speaking to the assembled leaders from government, science, business and civil society, Bainimarama - also the incoming president of this year's UN Climate Conference in November - made it clear that ocean protection and climate change are inextricably linked. "Climate change poses the biggest threat the world has ever known," he said. "And the quality of our oceans and seas is also deteriorating at an alarming rate. They are interlinked, because rising sea levels, as well as ocean acidity and warmer waters, have a direct effect on our reefs and fish … [Read more...] about Climate change: A simmering threat to our ocean
Germany and California have agreed to cooperate in the fight against climate change following Washington's decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris agreement of 2015. Germany, Europe's largest economy, and California, the largest state economy within the US, will support the work of the "Under 2 Coalition" which includes cities, regional governments and states, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said Saturday. "We cannot achieve our climate goals without the engagement of local and regional communities. That has become even clearer after the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement," Hendricks said after agreeing on the joint approach with California Governor Jerry Brown in San Francisco. "California and Germany unite the world leaders in the fight against climate change, the existential threat of our time," Brown said in a statement released by the German ministry. Brown's agreement with Germany came just hours after he agreed to expand his state's … [Read more...] about Germany and California agree joint fight against climate change
The sun is setting in Rishikesh, an Indian city in the Himalayan foothills. Hundreds of people have converged on the banks of the Ganges to sing hymns in praise of the goddess of the sacred river. Disappearing glaciers Impact on people Pollution, not climate change, a priorityWorld Health Organization said more than 115,000 people in India died from water and sanitation related issues.higher incidence of canceramong those living along its banks. India's government has invested more €2.5 billion euros in cleaning up the polluted waters — an operation that has thus far taken precedence over water availability, U.P. Singh, director general of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, told DW. But, he added, cleanup "is one of our important long-term goals." Connecting people with waterGanga Action, stressed at the conclusion of evening prayers in Rishikesh, failure to act could have untold consequences. … [Read more...] about Ganges under threat from climate change
As Hurricane Harvey continues to bear down on Texas, bringing with it unprecedented levels of rainfall, questions are being asked as to the relation between climate change and this monster storm. The answer is complicated, as climate researcher Andrew King explains to DW. DW: Hurricanes are a natural phenomenon this time of year in the Gulf of Mexico, and this isn't the first time Texas has been hit. But to what extent can we link this storm to climate change? Andrew King: It's quite hard to make a link between this specific storm and climate change. These major tropical storms occur naturally. However, we do know that there is an overall long-term trend toward increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin. There are likely climate change components in that trend. With Hurricane Harvey, the big impact is through the rainfall over the inland areas. It's likely that climate change has enhanced that extreme rainfall a bit. It's … [Read more...] about Hurricane Harvey: Is climate change to blame?
The world is getting hotter. That's clear to farmers whose crop yields were hit by heat waves across southern Europe, Asia and the United States this summer. It's clear to hospital staff who struggled to cope with the physical effects of that heat on the human body. And to those who lost their homes in forest fires across southern Europe and the US. The weather has becomes a deadly force. Just ask the victims of the recent record-breaking hurricanes that swept the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and storm flooding that's increasingly inundating tropical coastlines around the world. Yet in terms of human costs, these sudden, dramatic events pale in comparison to the droughts gripping large parts of East Africa, where aid agencies warn that 800,000 children are at risk of starvation. In these droughts, global temperature rise is undoubtedly a factor — and it can unleash a deadly chain of consequences, as food shortages contribute to mass migration and fuel conflict. In … [Read more...] about Climate change is happening — but it’s not game-over yet
The warming climate has played a substantial role in the devastating wildfires around the world in 2017. However, the real causes of such tragedies are often left in the shadows — and in most cases they can be traced back to human activity. Read more: How climate change is increasing forest fires around the world Pyromaniacs, negligent forest visitors tossing a smoldering cigarette butt into the bushes or farmers burning trash without the required control measures are just some of the reasons fires are sparked and end up burning thousands of forest hectares around the world every year. Fire and forestry experts have pointed out that forest fire intensity could be reduced with appropriate land management and policies that take climate change into account. These, again, are human factors. Recent wildfires in California, Chile and Portugal, to name just a few, are proof of the increasing risk presented by forest fires at a global … [Read more...] about Yes, climate change fuels forest fires — but that’s not the only factor
The global agreement signed at the UN's climate talks in 2015 aims to stop average global temperatures from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2050. With the exception of the United States, which withdrew from the accord over the summer, 195 countries, Russia among them, have pledged to fight global warming. Alexey Kokorin, of the World Wildlife Fund, said Russia had indeed begun implementing the terms of the agreement at home — at least formally. He says that Russia has been providing financial assistance to developing nations and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to reduce greenhouse gases. "But that is all just part of the country's foreign policy public relations program. It really doesn't do much in the way of stopping climate change, regardless of whether or not we keep our promises," he emphasizes. Russian industry will remain the world's most energy intensive until at least 2030. Scientists say … [Read more...] about Where Russia falls short in fight against climate change