A major Antarctic glacier is close to a tipping point that would accelerate the rate at which it melts and push up the global sea level significantly in the coming decades, a new study warns. The Thwaites glacier in the Amundsen Sea has lost about 600 billion tonnes of ice since the 1980s as parts of it break off the edge. But the melting process could speed up considerably as the glacier approaches a tipping point that could lead it to be wiped out entirely within 150 years. Losing the whole glacier would increase the world’s sea level by about 50 centimetres – considerably more than the 20 centimetre increase that has occurred so far as a result of the ocean warming caused by climate change. This would put large numbers of the world’s cities under water – while the simultaneous melting of other major Antarctic glaciers would push sea levels up much higher still, the research finds. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and also involved researchers from NASA and the University of Washington.
The i Newspaper 8th July 2019 read more »
Zac Goldsmith: Every minute, 40 football pitches’ worth of forest disappears. Our oceans are being polluted at such a rate that by 2050 they will contain more plastic than fish. In the last fifty years, global wildlife populations have declined by an average of 60 per cent. Whole species are disappearing at an unprecedented speed, with over a quarter of animals and plants threatened with extinction. These sobering statistics are just a glimpse of the environmental tragedy that the world faces. The erasure of iconic animals and the destruction of beautiful landscapes is a crisis on its own terms, but it represents an existential threat to people too. Nature is at the root of everything we rely on – from the air we breathe to the water we drink, from the soil we use to grow our food, to the places we go to relax. When we cut down forests, we deprive humanity of a source of clean air and income; when we pollute the oceans, we deny people access to fish to sell and eat; and when we degrade soil, it is humans who suffer as crops fail and food becomes scarce. This undeniable link between the destruction of the natural world and its impact on mankind means that the environment is a major development issue too. 75 per cent of the world’s poorest households rely directly on fishing or farming for survival, and with over 90 per cent of the poorest people depending on natural resources for basics like food, fuel and transport, it the most vulnerable individuals on the planet who face the most dire consequences of the degradation of the environment.
Telegraph 8th July 2019 read more »