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Week in Review: Top Climate News for July 24-28

by Earth.Org Europe Global Commons Jul 28th 20234 mins
Week in Review: Top Climate News for July 24-28

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including devastating wildfires in Greece and Southern Italy and a worrisome new study suggesting the Earth is close to reaching a much-feared tipping point.

1. EU Ramps Up Firefighting Planes Fleet As Climate Crisis in Southern Europe Intensifies

The European Union is in talks with manufacturers to buy new firefighting planes to battle the intense wildfires that are wreaking havoc on Southern European countries including Greece and Italy, Reuters reported.

The plan is to double the current buy up to 12 new firefighting planes, the first the bloc would fully own, as well as another 12 to bolster member states’ own national fleets – including Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain – for an estimated cost of €23 million (US$25.5 million). The bloc doubled its reserve fleet last year amid a devastating wildfire season that exhausted its ability to respond to the emergency.

The announcement comes as Europe battles another summer characterised by record temperatures, destructive floods, and other extreme weather events.

Read more here.

2. Global Warming Could Push Atlantic Past a Tipping Point by Mid-Century Under Current Emissions Scenario: Study

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), one of the most important tipping points in Earth’s climate system, could collapse around mid-century under the current emissions scenario, a new study has found.

Published in Nature Communications on Tuesday, the analysis challenges the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in the recently published Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) suggested a collapse of AMOC in the 21st century to be very unlikely.

“A slowdown of the AMOC could have consequences around the world,” the IPCC explains. “Rainfall in the Sahel region could reduce, hampering crop production; the summer monsoon in Asia could weaken; regional SLR [sea level rise] could increase around the Atlantic, and there might be more winter storms in Europe.”

Read more here.

3. Greta Thunberg Found Guilty of Criminal Activity for Malmö Harbour Anti-Oil Protest

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been sentenced by a Swedish court to pay fines totalling 2,500 kronor (US$240) after she was found guilty of disobeying police orders to leave an anti-oil protest in Malmö last month.

Thunberg had joined a group of around 20 protesters from the Swedish group Reclaim the Future at the city’s oil terminal, climbing on tankers and blocking the entrance to the port to prevent trucks from entering or leaving the harbour.

After failing to comply with police orders to leave the site, Thunberg – who in 2018 became the face of the global youth climate movement Fridays for Future – and three fellow activists were taken away and charged with disobeying police orders.

“The real crime is inside the gates we blocked,” said the group’s spokesperson, Irma Kjellström, who had also been charged in connection to last month’s protest. “We will continue our opposition to this type of activity. We are not going to wait and contribute to the fossil fuel industry continuing to take our dreams away from us.”

Read more here.

4. Rhodes Wildfires Prompt Evacuation of 19,000 People Amid Hottest July Weekend in 50 Years

Dozens of ferocious wildfires spreading uncontrollably on three fronts across the Aegean island of Rhodes have prompted local authorities to evacuate about 19,000 people – mostly tourists – from seaside villages and hotels over the hottest weekend the country has recorded in 50 years.

Blazes started a week ago and quickly began spreading uncontrollably from the centre of the island to the seaside villages of Kiotari, Gennadi, Pefki, Lindos, Lardos, and Kalathos in the South, fuelled by extremely hot and dry conditions and high-speed winds with gusts up to 49km/h (30mph).

Bu Sunday, wildfires had burned 2,712 hectares (6,701 acres), according to Copernicus EU, the Earth Observation component of the European Union Space Programme. They come as the country battles through an intense heatwave with peaks of 45C in central Greece, which experts predict will be the longest the country has ever endured.

Read more here.

5. UN Chief Urges Russia To Renew Black Sea Export Deal Amid Growing Food Insecurity

Speaking on the first day of the UN Food System Summit Stocktaking Session (UNFSS+2) in Rome on Monday, UN chief António Guterres urged Russia to renew the landmark Black Sea Deal, just days after the country announced it would withdraw from the pact.

The Black Sea esport deal – a landmark deal between Russia and Ukraine that allowed grains and basic food supplies from Ukraine to be exported to countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia – was brokered by the UN and Turkey in July 2022 in an effort to ease global food insecurity.

Last week, Russia announced that it would step back from the grain export deal with Ukraine. The decision could have devastating impacts on food security in malnourished developing countries and Ukraine’s capacity to export basic food supplies to global markets, experts have warned.

In a tweet published after Russia’s announcement, Guterres had already condemned Russia’s withdrawal from the deal, saying the Black Sea export deal was “a lifeline for global food security in a troubled world.”

Read more here.

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