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Showing posts from June, 2020

Siberia heatwave: why the Arctic is warming so much faster than the rest of the world

Smoke from wildfires cloaks the skies over Siberia, June 23 2020. EPA-EFE/NASA On the eve of the summer solstice, something very worrying happened in the Arctic Circle. For the first time in recorded history, temperatures reached 38°C (101°F) in a remote Siberian town – 18°C warmer than the maximum daily average for June in this part of the world, and the all-time temperature record for the region. New records are being set every year, and not just for maximum temperatures, but for melting ice and wildfires too. That’s because air temperatures across the Arctic have been increasing at a rate that is about twice the global average . All that heat has consequences. Siberia’s recent heatwave, and high summer temperatures in previous years, have been accelerating the melting of Arctic permafrost. This is the permanently frozen ground which has a thin surface layer that melts and refreezes each year. As

Black Lives Matter

Diversity is an issue that the Cabot Institute team discuss a lot. Out of a concern for the lack of inclusion in Bristol’s ‘green scene’, we awarded Innovation Funds to the brilliant Green and Black Ambassadors’ project to support two black women to develop their (already inspiring) leadership and begin to build a more inclusive environmental community. We’ve refused to participate in, or cancelled, events that didn’t have diversity in the speaker list. And we feel proud to have the first female president of the Royal Meteorological Society as the Chair of our Board. Whilst small, these actions require individual and collective consciousness embedded in everyday decisions. But for all our caring and progress to date, we know we have not done enough. Not nearly. The past few weeks have, in honesty, left us reeling. The tragic death of George Floyd, and the widespread #BlackLivesMatter activism that followed have served as a critical and hard-hitting reminder of just how far we hav

Innovating for sustainable oceans

University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute researchers come together for the oceans’ critical decade World Oceans Day 2020 – the start of something big Since 1992, World Oceans Day has been bringing communities and countries together on 8 June to shine a light on the benefits we derive from – and the threats faced by – our oceans. But this year, there’s an even bigger event on the horizon. One that may go a long way to determining our planet’s future, and which researchers at the Cabot Institute for the Environment intend to be an integral part of. From next year, the United Nations launches its Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, a major new initiative that aims to “support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health”. Oceans are of enormous importance to humans and all life on our planet – they regulate our climate, provide food, help us breathe and support worldwide economies. They absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere, and sea-

A modal share for net zero

Bristol needs to get more people cycling and walking in the next decade to meet its net-zero carbon emissions target Bristol has committed to an ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. This will require an 88% reduction in emissions from the transport sector in the next decade. While other sectors, such as energy and waste, have decarbonised significantly in recent years, emissions from transport have been stubborn to change. Transport, therefore, represents one of the greatest challenges for Bristol meeting its 2030 ambitions. The challenge of reaching this target has been compounded by uncertainty around what a carbon neutral transport sector would look like. We know intuitively that car journeys need to be replaced by public transport, walking, and cycling. However, a lack of certainty about the scale and nature of the shift required makes it difficult to establish a roadmap for transitioning to a sustainable transport system. In 2019, the Sustainable Transport Netwo