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Week in Review: Top Climate News for July 31-August 4

Week in Review: Top Climate News for July 31-August 4

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including a new study indicating how climate change is behind July’s record-breaking temperatures, the murky outcome of the G20 summit in India, and an optimistic report on decreasing deforestation rates in the Amazon. 

1. World Sees Hottest July in History Amid Record High Land and Ocean Temperatures

July was the hottest month in at least 120,000 years, following on from the hottest June on record, according to a new analysis.

Speaking to reporters from the United Nations headquarters in New York last week, Secretary-General António Guterres said that the era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived.”

Last month has seen the hottest three-week period in history as well as the three hottest days on record. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), global mean temperature “temporarily” surpassed the 1.5C threshold above pre-industrial levels during the first and third week of the month. Ocean temperatures have also reached an all-time high – in places like Florida, they surpassed the 38C (100F) mark, adding to previous warnings over warming water putting marine life and ecosystems in peril.

Read more here.

2. Iran Announces Two-Day Nationwide Shutdown Amid ‘Unprecedented Heat’

A two-day national shutdown started on Wednesday in Iran amid “unprecedented heat” that has raised health concerns for vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children, and outdoor workers.

Temperatures in some southern provinces soared to 50C (122F) in recent days. In the city of Ahvaz, the mercury hit 51C (123F) this week. The capital Tehran is expecting temperatures up to 39C (102.2F) on Wednesday, as governmental offices, schools, banks, and the stock exchange shut for a two-day national holiday.

Government spokesperson Ali Bahadori Jahromi said the decision came after the Health Ministry warned about a possible increase in cases of heat exhaustion because of high temperatures as it put hospitals on high alert.

Read more here.

3. Amazon Deforestation Down Over 60% Last Month Compared With July 2022, Says Environment Minister

Amazon rainforest deforestation rates last month were at least 60% lower compared to July 2022, Brazil’s environment minister Marina Silva has told the Guardian.

While official figures are expected to be released in the coming days, preliminary data suggests that the improvement from last year “could be the best since 2005.”

Deforestation in the Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest and home to about three million animal and plant species – fell by 33.6% in the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s term compared to last year, with a loss of approximately 2,649 square kilometres between January and June – an area still greater than the size of Luxembourg. Under Lula’s predecessor, far-right Jair Bolsonaro, the rainforest shrank by 3,988 square kilometres in those six months.

Read more here.

4. G20 India: Climate Ministers Meeting Ends Without Agreement on Key Climate Issues

The fourth and final meeting of G20 climate and environment ministers from the world’s largest economies – which took place last week in Chennai, India – ended on Friday without an agreement on key environmental challenges as the planet battles through one of the hottest summers in history.

41 Ministers from the Group of 20 countries – who together are responsible for about 80% of global planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions – failed to agree on four of 68 points of discussion, including phasing down fossil fuels, doubling the rate of energy efficiency while tripling renewable energy capacity, and implementing green border taxes.

Read more here.

5. More than 80% of People on Earth Experienced a Hotter July Triggered by Climate Change: Report

More than 6.5 billion people – approximately 81% of the global population – experienced a hotter July, a new study has found.

The new report, released Wednesday by Climate Central, calculated climate change attribution assessments for 4,700 cities across 200 countries. Scientists concluded that more than four out of every five people on the planet faced climate change-attributed heat last month, which was also the hottest July ever recorded.

In particular, over 6.5 billion people experienced “at least one day” of heat that was amplified at least threefold by climate change. Moreover, during each day of the month, 2 billion people worldwide experienced at least that same level of climate change influence on their local temperatures.

Read more here.

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