Global warming

What would you save from Earth?

I once had a dream where the Earth was collapsing and we all had to hurry to get on a rocket ship to take us to another planet. There wasn't very much space on the ship, so we each could only bring 5 things (not including people or animals) with us. I remember choosing Beethoven's music, but I don't remember the other 4 things.

I often think about that dream and try to decide what I would choose now. Beethoven's music still makes the cut! What 5 things would you bring?

Young people demand a better future

On Friday, September 22, millions of young people around the globe walked out of school to protest the lack of action to reverse climate change. Led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, teenagers, children, and some adults added their voices to an ever-growing movement to hold governments and corporations accountable for their environmental destruction and demand that they make immediate changes to reverse the damage. A week later, more strikes drew similar crowds, some even larger. In New Zealand, an unprecedented 3.5% of the population took to the streets.

Heatwave in Japan

Japan heatwave declared natural disaster (BBC News)

In July 2018, Japan's weather agency declared a heatwave which swept the country a natural disaster, with at least 80 deaths recorded. An agency spokesman warned that "unprecedented levels of heat" were being seen in some areas. More than 22,000 people were admitted to hospital with heat stroke, nearly half of them elderly, emergency officials said. Last Monday, the city of Kumagaya reported a temperature of 41.1ºC (106ºF), the highest ever recorded in Japan. In central Tokyo, temperatures over 40ºC were also registered for the first time.

Flooding in Japan

Hit by its worst weather catastrophe in decades, Japan watched in horror in the summer of 2018 as torrential rains caused more than 200 deaths and 600 landslides, with whole villages swallowed by floods. The rains, which prompted millions to flee their homes and left 250,000 houses without water or electricity, were the worst weather-related crisis for 35 years.

Crisis experts say Japan’s ageing demographics exacerbated the tragedy, as the elderly are more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves. Almost a third of the population was over 65 in the most damaged area, in the country’s south-west.

Government officials described “frantic efforts” to understand why so many elderly residents ignored evacuation orders. “I think Japan is going to have to recognise that old people either cannot, or do not want to, follow the textbook procedures in a crisis,” said one senior official.

Carbon sucking tech

The world will need "carbon sucking" technology by 2030s, scientists warn.

As efforts to cut planet-warming emissions fall short, large-scale projects to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will be needed by the 2030s to hold the line against climate change, scientists have said.

“If you’re really concerned about coral reefs, biodiversity [and] food production in very poor regions, we’re going to have to deploy negative emission technology at scale,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, a science and policy institute.

World leaders agreed in 2015 an aim of holding global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times in order to protect small island nations from sea level rises, shore up food production and prevent extreme weather.