• This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Earth.Org Newsletters

    Get focused newsletters especially designed to be concise and easy to digest

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Week in Review: Top Climate News for June 5-9

by Earth.Org Americas Global Commons Jun 9th 20234 mins
Week in Review: Top Climate News for June 5-9

This weekly round-up brings you key climate news from the past seven days, including an air pollution crisis in the US sparked by weeks of devastating wildfires in Canada, the approval of a new controversial pipeline in the US, and a long-awaited UN plastic treaty. 

1. Atmospheric CO2 Levels More Than 50% Higher than Pre-Industrial Level, NOAA Says

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are now more than double what they were before the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday.

The Washington, D.C.-based scientific and regulatory agency, which has been independently monitoring the situation since 1974, said CO2 levels at its Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory peaked at 424 parts per million (ppm) in May, up 3.0 ppm over May 2022.

According to the agency, the annual increase in Keeling Curve peak is the fourth-largest on record and the continuation of a climb into values not seen for millions of years. The curve is named after David Keeling, who started measuring  CO2 levels for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1958. The latter, which also maintains an independent record, reported an average of 423.78 ppm for May, also an increase of 3.0 ppm from last year.

Read more here.

2. Millions of Americans Urged to Stay Indoors as ‘Unprecedented’ Smoke From Canada Wildfires Chokes East Coast

Heavy smoke from wildfires that continue to burn huge tracts of forest across Canada has drifted south, blanketing New York and neighbouring states as far south as Mexico in a thick, orange haze.

Air quality has reached unhealthy levels in Canada and several US East Coast regions, prompting air pollution warnings for more than 98 million people across the Northeast, Midwest, and mid-Atlantic. New York City, which briefly ranked as the city with the world’s worst air pollution on Wednesday morning, currently has 43.4 times the PM2.5 concentration value recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to air quality monitoring platform IQAir.

Schools across the state canceled outdoor activities. Mayor Eric Adams urged New Yorkers to stay inside or wear masks outdoors to battle the hazardous smoke, blaming climate change for the “unprecedented event”.

Read more here.

3. Countries Still Divided Over UN Plastic Treaty After Week of Negotiations

More than 170 countries have agreed to craft a draft plastic treaty after a week of tense negotiations at a UN conference in Paris, though divisions remain over issues such as whether the rules will be legally binding.

Last week’s second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC2) saw global delegates discuss how to reduce plastic pollution at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris, France. The conference ended with an agreement to produce an initial draft before the next meeting in Kenya in November. Countries will have until the end of next year to settle the final terms of the deal.

Environmental groups welcomed the outcome, though concerns remain over potential hindrances from the petroleum industry and fossil fuel-producing countries.

Read more here.

4. Debt Ceiling Deal Clears Way for $6.6bn Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) received the federal government’s backing after the US Congress voted for a debt-ceiling deal that covered fast-tracking approvals for the pipeline.

Although the pipeline – which will cost an estimated US$6.6 billion – has been denied multiple permits by courts due to concerns about water quality and environmental justice, the new bill requires the US Army Corps of Engineers to issue all remaining permits within 21 days and prohibits all judicial view of the permits.

The development of the MVP has divided politicians hailing from the two states most heavily impacted by the project. Whereas West Virginia’s congressional delegation has strongly supported the pipeline, Virginia’s senators have opposed it.

Read more here.

5. World Is Running Out of Carbon Budget to Limit Global Warming to 1.5C, Scientists Warn

Human-induced global warming rates are at their highest level in history, bringing humanity closer to reaching the 1.5C of global warming much sooner than expected, new research suggests.

Scientists behind a new study published in the journal Earth System Science Data on Thursday found that the world is rapidly running out of its carbon budget, the cumulative amount of carbon dioxide we have left to emit before we exceed our desired global temperature increase.

Currently, experts estimate that only about 250 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) can be emitted to avoid an accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) that would push global temperatures beyond the key limit of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. This is down from the previous 2020 estimate of 500 billion tonnes of CO2.

Read more here.

Tagged: week in review
Subscribe to our newsletter

Hand-picked stories once a fortnight. We promise, no spam!

Instagram @earthorg Follow Us