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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Posted on 29 December 2019 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

2019 in review: Polarised world entering era of climate impacts

We look back on CHN’s reporting from a year that saw a great collision of political and physical forces

Relief aid after cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in March 2019

Women help unload humanitarian aid from a helicopter after cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in March 2019. (Photo: USAFRICOM/Flickr

As 2019 draws to a close, the rift between the climate vanguard and the laggards has never been so wide. 

Public pressure for faster and deeper emissions cuts has peaked this year and a growing alliance of countries, regions, cities and businesses are pushing for more ambitious climate action.  

Across the world, the reality of climate impacts has grown ever starker. But support to help the most vulnerable cope is lacking. Meanwhile, scientists continue to warn of a narrowing window of time to act. 

Entrenched nationalism continues to threaten the multilateral order which underpins the Paris Agreement and a global commitment to limit warming “well below 2C”. 

Donald Trump has officially started to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and Jair Bolsonaro is working to open up the Amazon to large agribusiness interests. Other emerging economies such as China and India are seemingly hiding behind the US retreat to delay bolder action. 

Throughout 2019, Climate Home News has continued to report on the science, the people and the big diplomatic players shaping the commitments and disagreements taking the world into the future. Here were the biggest moments. 

2019 in review: Polarised world entering era of climate impacts by Chloé Farand, Climate Home News, Dec 20, 2019

Click here to read the complete article as posted on the Climate Hone News website.

Opinion of the Week...

Shouting into the apocalypse: The decade in climate change 

Extinction Rebellion Oxford Circus London 04-19-19

Extinction Rebellion Demonstration, Oxford Circus, London, April 19, 2019

What's that worn-out phrase? Shouting into the wind? Well, after a decade of rising pollution, failed politics and worsening disasters, it seems the many, many of us who care about the climate crisis increasingly are shouting into the hurricane, if not the apocalypse.

On the cusp of 2020, the state of the planet is far more dire than in 2010. Preserving a safe and healthy ecological system is no longer a realistic possibility. Now, we're looking at less bad options, ceding the fact that the virtual end of coral reefs, the drowning of some island nations, the worsening of already-devastating storms and the displacement of millions — they seem close to inevitable. The climate crisis is already costly, deadly and deeply unjust, putting the most vulnerable people in the world, often who've done the least to cause this, at terrible risk.

The worst part? We've known about this for a very long time. The climate emergency may seem like the issue of the moment, a new thing, a 2020 Democrats thing or a Greta Thunberg thing, but check out this 1958 educational film that mentions "tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami;" or coverage of the first Earth Day in 1970, 50 years ago this coming April, when millions hit the streets; or NASA scientist James Hansen's 1988 testimony before the US Senate stating the era of global warming had begun.

It bears repeating that scientists have looked at the evidence, and more than 97% of them agree that humans are warming the planet, primarily by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. The warnings from scientists are only getting more dire as we peel decades off the calendar.

"The point of no return is no longer over the horizon," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this month. "It is in sight and is hurtling towards us."

There's a bright spot in all of this, and I will get to that.

But first I think we must take a clear-eyed, cold assessment of 2020.

Shouting into the apocalypse: The decade in climate change, Opinion by John D Sutter, CNN, Dec 26, 2019

Editors Note: John D. Sutter is a CNN contributor and a National Geographic Explorer. He is director of the forthcoming BASELINE series, which is visiting four locations on the front lines of the climate crisis every five years until 2050. Visit the project's website and sign up for the BASELINE newsletter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. 

Click here to access the complete opinion piece as posted on CNN.

Toon of the Week...

2019 Toon 52 

Hat tip to the Stop Climate Science Denial Facebook Page.

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Statistic of the decade: The massive deforestation of the Amazon (Liberty Vittert)
  • SkS review for 2019 (Baerbel)
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #52, 2019 (Doug Bostrom)
  • Doubling down: Researchers investigate compound climate risks (Daniel Grossman)
  • What psychotherapy can do for the climate and biodiversity crises (Caroline Hickman)
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1 (John Hartz)
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1 (John Hartz)

Climate Feedback Reviews...

[To be added.] 

Poster of the Week...

d2019 Poster 52 

SkS Week in Review... 

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