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Climate change is threatening Madagascar’s famous forests – our study shows how serious it is

Urgent action is needed to protect Madagascar’s forests. Rijasolo/AFP via Getty Images Global climate change doesn’t only cause the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels and extreme weather events. It also has a direct effect on many tropical habitats and the animals and plants that inhabit them. As fossil fuel emissions continue to drive climate change, large areas of land are forecast to become much hotter and drier by the end of this century. Many ecosystems, including tropical forests, wetlands, swamps and mangroves, will be unable to cope with these extreme climatic conditions. It is highly likely that the extent and condition of these ecosystems will decline. They will become more like deserts and savanna. The island nation of Madagascar is of particular concern when it comes to climate change. Of Madagascar’s animal species, 85% cannot be found elsewhere on Earth. Of its plant species, 82% are unique to the island. Although a globa
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Detectable impacts of Climate Change in the UK; a new review for the next Climate Change Risk Assessment

2022 was another year of “unprecedented” weather. Provisional figures indicate that it was the warmest so far recorded, with almost every month hotter than average. Much of the country had a notably mild New Year, despite the cold snap in mid-December. This was preceded by the third warmest autumn on record , and that by a scorching summer, with the hottest day ever recorded in July. But summer’s heat waves were also accompanied by a rise in the number of daily deaths across the country. People around the world are becoming increasingly more aware of events like these, and their impact in the UK is particularly concerning amidst the ongoing cost-of-living, energy, and NHS crises. Aerial view of the Wennington wildfire, London, 19 July 2022. Source: Harrison Healey, Wikimedia Commons  (CC BY 3.0). Ahead of the Fourth UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA4), the Climate Change Committee (CCC) are asking what we know about the impact of past and present climate change on natural and

Four ways winter heatwaves affect humans and nature

Temperature anomaly in Europe, Jan 1. Much of the continent was 10°C or more (dark red and grey) above the long-term average. WX Charts , CC BY-NC An extreme winter heatwave meant countries across Europe experienced a record-breaking New Year’s Day . New daily temperature records for the month of January were set in at least eight countries : Belarus, Czechia, Denmark, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Netherlands and Poland. In many cases the temperatures were not just breaking the old highs, but smashing them by massive margins. On a typical January day in Warsaw, Poland, temperatures would barely go above freezing, yet the city recently experienced 19℃, breaking the previous January high by 5.1℃ . New January records were set at thousands of individual stations in many other countries such as 25.1℃ at Bilbao airport in Spain , 0.7℃ hotter than the previous record set only last year. Large areas of central and Eastern Europe experienced tempera

After COP27, is 1.5C still alive?

Try booking a train on Boxing Day in the UK and you’ll soon find out that none are running. Well, not entirely. One small railway line managed by indomitable Gauls still holds out: The Eurostar. And airports are still being served as plains are still flying. Obvs. If this is not just the present, but also our future, then Mia Mottley , Prime Minister of Barbados, is right: “We’re at 1.2 degrees now. If in 5 years we’re at 1.5, then we’re…. we’re…. I won’t use that word now.” Apologies, I got carried away. Back to planes (flying), trains (not running) and automobiles (driving). These are symptomatic of the mess we’re in, but nothing compared to the mess we’re heading towards. And nothing compared to the mess others already find themselves in. If these current trends continues the number of refugees is set to increase from 21m in 2022 to 1bn in 2050 (Mia Mottley again). Many originate from Africa which is responsible for only 4% of global emissions (and 2% of historic emissions) and home

COP27: What really happened on finance, justice and Loss and Damage?

The Cabot Institute for the Environment sent three delegates to the recent Conference of the Parties 27 (COP27). Drs Alix Dietzel (Sociology, Politics and International Studies); Colin Nolden (Bristol Law School); and Rachel James (Geographical Sciences) were present for most of the first week and Colin was there for the full two weeks. As the Institute has observer status with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Alix, Rachel and Colin had the chance to engage with policy makers and climate policy experts from around the world to help promote climate action which is informed by the best evidence and research.  We asked them to give an update on their experience at COP27 and as a result, whether the pledges made at COP27 would mean that 1.5C is still achievable.    Drs Colin Nolden and Alix Dietzel at COP27. Climate finance - Dr Colin Nolden   Colin's research interests span sustainable energy policy, regulation and business models and interactions with sec

Towards urban climate resilience: learning from Lusaka

  “This is a long shot!”  These were the words used by Richard Jones (Science Fellow, Met Office) in August 2021 when he asked if I would consider leading a NERC proposal for a rapid six-month collaborative international research and scoping project, aligned to the COP26 Adaptation and Resilience theme. The deadline was incredibly tight but the opportunity was too good to pass up - we set to work! Background to Lusaka and FRACTAL Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, with around 100,000 people in the early 1960s to more than 3 million people today. 70% of residents live in informal settlements and some areas are highly prone to flooding due to the low topography and highly permeable limestone sitting on impermeable bedrock, which gets easily saturated. When coupled with poor drainage and ineffective waste management, heavy rainfall events during the wet season (November to March) can lead to severe localised flooding impacting communities and creatin

COP27: how the fossil fuel lobby crowded out calls for climate justice

COP27 has just wrapped up. Despite much excitement over a new fund to address “loss and damage” caused by climate change, there is also anger about perceived backsliding on commitments to lower emissions and phase out fossil fuels. As an academic expert in climate justice who went along this year, hoping to make a difference, I share this anger. “Together for Implementation” was the message as COP27 got underway on November 6 and some 30,000 people descended on the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheik. The UNFCCC strictly regulates who can attend negotiations . Parties (country negotiation teams), the media and observers (NGOs, IGOs and UN special agencies) must all be pre-approved. I went along as an NGO observer, to represent the University of Bristol Cabot Institute for the Environment . Observers have access to the main plenaries and ceremonies, the pavilion exhibition spaces and side events. The negotiation rooms, however, are largely off limits. Most of the day is spent