Climate Change ☀️
G7 nations vow to phase out international financing for coal projects
In a communique issued at the conclusion of a two-day meeting, environmental ministers for France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and the United States vowed to deliver climate targets that would limit the Earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. That goal, if met, would satisfy the most aspirational aims of the 2015 Paris agreement. But so far, the world remains far from such a trajectory, despite far-reaching new pledges this year from the United States and some other nations.

The group also said it would begin to halt international investments in coal-fired power plants in poorer nations. “We stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now and commit to take concrete steps towards an absolute end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021,” the document states.

Precisely how G-7 leaders plan to make good on that promise remains to be seen, but the announcement — and the collective call “on other major economies to adopt these commitments” — places pressure on China, the world’s largest emitter, to follow suit.

“This G-7 announcement leaves China alone as the only significant funder of overseas coal power plants,” Bernice Lee, founding director of the Hoffmann Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy, said in a statement Friday. “Beijing has already signaled it is quitting coal-funding in Bangladesh, and I think this will raise further questions over its export finance strategy. Does China really want to be the last one standing for an industry on its last legs?”

The other climate-related promises that nations made on Friday included a commitment to safeguarding 30 percent of the world’s land and 30 percent of oceans by 2030, in hopes of reversing the loss of wildlife and making nature better equipped to soak up carbon emissions.

“Today’s G-7 statement is a landmark one,” Enric Sala, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence and prolific writer on the natural world, said in a statement. “Countries are not kicking the can down the road any more but are acting on overwhelming scientific evidence that urges us to protect at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/05/21/g7-climate-coal/

In utero exposure to tiny air pollution particles is linked to asthma in preschoolers
Women who were highly exposed to ultra-fine particles in air pollution during their pregnancy were more likely to have children who developed asthma, according to a new study. This is the first time asthma has been linked with prenatal exposure to this type of air pollution, which is named for its tiny size and which is not regulated or routinely monitored in the United States.

Slightly more than 18 percent of the children born to these mothers developed asthma in their preschool years, compared to 7 percent of children overall in the United States identified as having asthma by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other types of pollutants are routinely monitored and regulated to reduce potential health effects, such as larger-size particulate pollution and gaseous pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. These have been associated with asthma risk in children in prior research. This study controlled for exposure to these other types of pollution and exposure to pollutants following birth, and it still found an elevated risk of asthma in children born to mothers with heightened exposure to ultra-fine particles in pregnancy.

Ultra-fine particulate pollution -- particles that are smaller than the width of an average human hair -- can get deeper into our lungs and pass into our circulation to cause various health effects. Because of this, the researchers said their toxic effects may actually be greater.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210521094504.htm

Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations