Tree planting must double by 2020 as part of radical changes to land use in the UK, according to the government’s advisers on climate change. New forests would lock up carbon but also help to limit the more frequent floods expected with global warming. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said land currently used to produce food would need to be converted to woodland, growing crops to produce energy and for new homes to accommodate the growing population. Up to 17% of cropland and 30% of grassland could be converted, the report says. Protecting and restoring peatland, a huge store of carbon, is also vital, as is ensuring no food waste went to landfill by 2025, but is instead used to generate energy, it adds. The CCC said that for decades food production had been rewarded with subsidies ahead of other public goods that land could provide, but that Brexit provided an opportunity to reward landowners for helping to fight climate change and its impacts as well as supporting wildlife. The CCC report says the government should increase tree planting from 9,000 hectares (22,239 acres) per year to 20,000ha by 2020, then triple it to 27,000ha by 2030. This would bolster forest cover from 13% of the UK to 19% by 2050. “There are government plans to increase planting rates, but the plans have not been funded and to date the targets have been missed,” Stark said.
Guardian 15th Nov 2018 read more »
Climate change worsened the most destructive hurricanes of recent years, including Katrina, Irma and Maria, by intensifying rainfall by as much as 10%, new research has found. High-resolution climate simulations of 15 tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans found that warming in the ocean and atmosphere increased rainfall by between 5% and 10%, although wind speeds remained largely unchanged. This situation is set to worsen under future anticipated warming, however. Researchers found that if little is done to constrain greenhouse gas emissions and the world warms by 3C to 4C this century then hurricane rainfall could increase by a third, while wind speeds would be boosted by as much as 25 knots.
Guardian 14th Nov 2018 read more »
Greenhouse gas emissions from the land-use and agriculture sector are set to increase unless the UK’s “unsustainable” approach changes, warns the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in a report published today. “Fundamental reform” is needed to ensure the UK stores more carbon in land, says the government’s official climate advisory body. Maintaining current per-capita food production will also become difficult, while farmers need help to deal with the impacts of a warming climate, it adds. The new report considers how changes in land use can contribute towards mitigating and adapting to climate change. It says land-use emissions could be cut by 35-80% by 2050, compared with 2016 levels, while maintaining current per-capita food production.
Carbon Brief 15th Nov 2018 read more »
Business Green 15th Nov 2018 read more »
The hot breath of climate change could blow in new health hazards – if the past is a reliable guide. A shift in mosquito evolution could be triggered by ever greater levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, fossil evidence matched with climate simulations suggests. And in a new climate, and with new opportunities, there could follow new diseases, according to British researchers. Mosquitoes already carry infections such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika virus, West Nile virus and dengue fever: diseases that kill millions each year. And mosquitoes are more than usually sensitive to CO2, which they exploit to detect potential sources of blood from the mammals on which they prey. Researchers have repeatedly worried about what warming temperatures and changing climate could do for the mosquito-borne return of malaria to those cooler climates normally considered safe, and about the potential spread of tsetse fly as its normal habitat becomes too hot.
Climate News Network 15th Nov 2018 read more »