Toronto, July 29 (Canadian-Media): A heat warning, which was issued by Environment Canada (EC), on Friday, continues for most of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Toronto, media reports said.
Environment Canada and Climate Change. Image credit: ec.gc.ca
Heat warnings are issued when very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” EC said.3 days ago.
The air quality index is approaching high-risk category affecting GTA and Toronto is due to the hot, humid air.
Environment Canada, a department of the Government of Canada, coordinates environmental policies and programs as well as preserving and enhancing the natural environment and renewable resources.
“Daytime maximum temperatures in the low thirties are expected along with overnight low temperatures near the 20 degree mark,” the national weather agency said in its warning on Monday.
“There may be a brief respite from the heat in some areas today as showers or thunderstorms are possible.”
According to weather reports, the high will be 31 C but it will feel more like 40 C with the humidity.
A chance of showers or thunderstorms late afternoon and into the evening would cool the temperature and would provide great respite
from the heat.
A cooler and less humid air mass is expected on Tuesday.
According to weather reports, the high will be 31 C but it will feel more like 40 C with the humidity.
A chance of showers or thunderstorms late afternoon and into the evening would cool the temperature and would provide great respite to people from the heat.
A cooler and less humid air mass is expected on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Bringham, July 26 (Canadian-Media): Fun fact: The microscopic worms Brigham Young University (BYU) professor Byron Adams studies are not only the most abundant animal species on earth, they also make up four-fifths of animal life on this planet. That's right, four out of every five animals on earth are nematode worms, Science X Newsletter reports said.
BYU biology professor Byron Adams travels annually to Antarctica and the Arctic north to carry out research. Credit: BYU
A new study of soil nematodes co-authored by Adams reveals that there are 57 billion of them for every single living human being—much greater than previously estimated. They also have a total biomass of about 300 million tons, approximately 80 percent of the combined weight of Earth's human population.
The study, co-authored by Adams and published Wednesday in Nature, provides conclusive evidence that the majority of these tiny animals live somewhere experts did not expect: high latitude arctic and sub-arctic soils (i.e. tundra, boreal and temperate forests, and grasslands).
"Until recently, life beneath our feet has pretty much been terra incognita" says Adams. "Since we didn't know much about life in the soil, most scientists just assumed that patterns of abundance below ground would match what we see above ground. We figured the tropics must be where it's at. Turns out, that's not true at all. The reason this paper is kind of a big deal is that we show just the opposite is true."
Knowing where these tiny worms live matters because nematodes play a critical role in the cycling of carbon and nutrients and heavily influence CO2 emissions. An important finding of the paper is that nematode abundance is strongly correlated with soil carbon (more carbon = more worms). Understanding the little organisms at a global level is critical if humans are going to understand and address climate change.
For the study, researchers took 6,759 soil samples representing every continent, and every environment, from arctic tundra to tropical rainforest. They used microscopes to analyze the density of each type of nematode and generate a representative global dataset. Using the information, they built models which predict nematode populations for each square kilometer and create the first global high-resolution maps of soil nematode density.
For the past 17 years Adams, has traveled annually to the ice-free areas of Antarctica to study nematodes, tardigrades (water bears) and other microscopic creatures. His research program studies the roles these animals play in fundamental ecosystem processes as well as how they survive in extremely cold and dry environments.
United Nations, July 22 (Canadian-Media): Can young coders help solve the climate crisis? The UN’s Youth Envoy launched a global competition earlier this month, “Reboot The Earth”, in collaboration with the Office of Information & Communications Technology, to try and answer that question, fostering collaboration between the United Nations, academia, civil society, and young people to address the climate emergency, UN reports said.
Jayathma Wickramanayake’s office describes the competition as a “global hackathon”, where teams of computer programmers, scientists and others, will try to solve a local climate crisis, that may be unique to each location in line with specific community needs, by creating new software, or improving upon existing programs.
The hackathon will take place at United Nations Technology Innovation Labs in five different countries (Malaysia, Finland, India, Egypt and Germany), during August. Through a series of Tech Challenges, one team from each country will be selected to travel to New York City to attend a “Reboot The Earth” awards ceremony, during the UN Climate Summit on September 21.
The winner from each country will get the chance to have their solution showcased at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in January 2020, and the overall winner has the opportunity of seeing their software proposal developed at one of the UN Technology Innovation Labs.
You can find more details of the competition, and how to enter, here.
In an interview with UN News, Ms. Wickramanayake said that young people are key to solving global climate challenges, and drivers of change and innovation: “With the global climate movement led by young people, the United Nations supports youth’s effort in driving climate action”, said the Sri Lankan-born envoy.
Since the launch of the Youth 2030 Strategy, the United Nations has been scaling up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change.
As the Youth Envoy explains, Reboot The Earth is about creating a platform for young people to share their best innovative ideas and solutions with the United Nations, making them equal partners in the global fight against the climate crisis:
“Reboot The Earth presents young people with the opportunity to not only showcase their potential and ideas, but also to be recognized at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2019”
“We’re calling the winners of this year’s hackathon ‘The #ClimateReboot Troops’, and they will have be able to collaborate with the United Nations on a long-term project, to work on, and scale up, solutions that will have a real-life impact in communities.”
#severFlooding; #India; #Nepal, #Bangladesh
United Nations, July 19 (Canadian-Media): Heavy rainfall, severe flooding and landslides across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have killed at least 93 children, and put the lives of millions more at risk, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is “responding urgently”.
A young boy in Bangladesh navigates a river swollen from days of monsoon rain. He is collecting plastic bottles washed into the river to sell to recyclers to help his family purchase food. (July 2019). Credit: NICEF/Thomas Nybo
"Millions of children have seen their lives turned upside down by the torrential rainfall, flooding and landslides," Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, said on Thursday.
Estimates reveal that more than 12 million people have been affected so far. "As the rains continue, these numbers are only likely to grow," she added.
Damage to roads, bridges and railways has rendered many areas inaccessible, and children are in urgent need of clean water, hygiene supplies, food and safe play spaces in evacuation centres.
On the ground, UNICEF is working in close coordination with respective governments and humanitarian partners from the three countries to scale up its responses for affected children and their families.
“UNICEF is responding urgently, working with local authorities and partners to ensure children are kept safe, and provided the support needed”, Ms. Gough assured.
In India, more than 10 million people have been affected in north-eastern states, including more than 4.3 million children. As the situation develops, these numbers are only likely to increase. While parts of the country have been suffering from heavy rainfall and flooding, other parts are still reeling from the aftermath of severe heat and water deficit, affecting almost half of the country.
Turning to Nepal, of an estimated 68,650 temporarily displaced people, 28,702 are children. Some 88 people have died so far, including 47 children. At least 31 people are missing, and 41 others have been injured, according to the latest Government reports. Moreover, in central and eastern Nepal, nearly 12,000 households have been temporarily displaced.
Extreme weather consequences:
In Bangladesh, monsoon rains continue to impact most of the country, particularly the central-northern and south-east regions, where more than two million people have been affected by flooding, including over 700,500 children. Estimates reveal that 367,340 houses have been damaged or destroyed and 1,865 schools affected by flood waters. Cox's Bazar in the south-east of the country, home to more than a million Rohingya refugees, has also been heavily hit.
Children pay ‘the heaviest price’
While individual extreme weather events cannot specifically be attributed to climate change, said UNICEF, the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather – including recent high temperatures, intense rains and slow-moving fronts – are in line with predictions of how human activity is influencing the global climate.
In addition to death and devastation, such events contribute to the increased spread of malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea, among other major killers.
"Across the region, we are seeing the devastating impact of extreme weather events on children and families,” warned Ms. Gough. "As weather events become more extreme, unpredictable and erratic, it is children who are paying the heaviest price.”
Toronto, Jul 10 (Canadian-Media): A progress report on the implementation of the City of Toronto's Transform TO climate action strategy was delivered today by Toronto Mayor John Tory, media reports said.
John Tory. Image credit: Facebook page
The strategy, unanimously adopted by City Council in 2017, identifies a series of short- and long-term actions to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and set Toronto on the path to a low-carbon, healthy, equitable and prosperous future.
Achievements and steps taken toward that goal over the last two year identified by the report showed that all of the short-term actions approved and fully funded by Council in 2017 are either complete or in progress.
Examples of innovative initiatives taken by the City to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions include: Issuing a $300-million green bond to raise capital dedicated to climate action; introducing zero-emission battery electric buses in the TTC's vehicle fleet; completing 21 energy retrofits in Toronto Community Housing buildings; implementing 100 Solar PV installations on City-owned properties generating 12 megawatts of electricity per year including the first solar PV and energy storage project on a paramedic services facility; building the City's first net-zero child care centre in the Mount Dennis neighbourhood ; expanding the building energy retrofit loan program; beginning the City of Toronto and Enwave partnership to build low-carbon thermal energy networks; launching a new community grants program to reduce waste; using City Council's investment in TransformTO to leverage over $135 million from external sources to support new and enhanced infrastructure, pilot projects, research and technical studies
In 2018, a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasized the urgent need to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid catastrophic climate impacts.
Toronto's community-wide GHG emissions in 2017 were 15 mega tonnes. Achieving net zero emissions in Toronto by 2050 will require bold and robust policies, programs and significant investment.
In 2019, Toronto was one of 43 cities around the world to receive an A grade from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for its leadership in managing, measuring and reducing emissions and adapting to climate-related risks.
Work to develop the next TransformTO Implementation Plan to 2023 is underway. The plan will be presented to Council in early 2020. Residents will have a hand in shaping this plan through a variety of consultation opportunities planned for this summer and fall, including a new TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action.
The panel, consisting 32 residents selected randomly through a civic lottery process, will convene this summer to advise the City on climate action priorities. An initial public meeting will take place on August 8 at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
Ottawa, Jul 5 (Canadian-Media): To address threats to water quality and ecosystem health a new Canada-Ontario Agreement was released today to coordinate actions to protect water quality in our Great Lakes and implement the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, media reports said.
“Taking care of our Great Lakes will also help protect more than 3,500 different species that live in the basin. I encourage everyone to participate in this consultation to continue building resilient communities and protecting the environment.” said Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Catherine McKenna. Image credit: Official
The Great Lakes play a vital role in the physical, social and economic life of both Canada and Ontario to provide drinking water to 1 in 4 Canadians, are home to more than 10 million Canadians and support almost 40 percent of Canada's economic activity.
Canada and Ontario are also seeking input from the public between July 5 and September 4 and a final agreement is expected in 2020.
Key challenges facing the Great Lakes are tackling harmful and nuisance algae in Lake Erie, cleaning up the Great Lakes Areas of Concern including improving wastewater and stormwater management and reducing pollution, issues of invasive species and climate resilience.
The new draft Agreement will also take the next steps to enhance engagement with First Nations and Métis communities and will include a new focus on fish consumption.
United Nations, Jul 3 (Canadian-Media/UN): To counter global challenges that are a particular threat to vulnerable island nations like those in the Caribbean, it’s vital to “face the headwinds together”, especially in the face of the destruction being wrought by climate change, the UN chief told the annual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conference in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.
In 2017, Secretary-General António Guterres walks through a neighbourhood destroyed by back-to-back hurricanes in Codrington town, Antigua and Barbuda. He visited the country to survey the devastation and offer support from the Organization/Credit:UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
“The beauty of St. Lucia and the uniqueness of the voice and way of life of each of the Caribbean islands is threatened”, said Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday at the Conference of Heads of CARICOM Governments gathered to focus on obstacles to sustainable development.
Mr. Guterres recounted his visit to the South Pacific in May where he saw how “Pacific island nations are addressing the climate crisis” by focusing “a climate lens” on development investments. He also recalled his visit two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in 2017, when “in only a couple of days”, years of “hard-won development gains” were destroyed in Barbuda and Dominica.
Hurricanes Ivan and Thomas – and the many others that came before Irma and Maria – are still etched in the memories of Caribbean people” he noted.
As climate-related natural disasters grow in frequency and severity, the UN chief pointed out that “the risks to families and to development overall will only intensify”.
What the Caribbean has endured makes “abundantly clear” the urgent need to “reduce global emissions and work collectively to ensure that global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”, he continued, inviting government and private sector leaders to come with concrete plans to the UN Climate Action Summit in September, at UN Headquarters, which could result in a 45 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
“We must massively increase our ambition to advance low-emission and resilient development, including addressing loss and damage from climate impacts”, he stressed, saying “we need all hands-on deck”.
We must massively increase our ambition to advance low-emission and resilient development -- UN chief
‘Act daily’ to counter plastic threatMr. Guterres signalled the need to “act on a daily basis” to counter the “grave threat” that eight million tons of ocean-polluting plastics are posing to marine ecosystems and tourism sectors.
“From plastic pollution to coastline erosion, more frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise and biodiversity loss, Caribbean States face immense pressure”, maintained the UN chief.
He commended the “bold vision” of CARICOM leaders, to make the Caribbean the world’s first Climate Resilient Zone and drew attention to the creation of a Caribbean Resilience to Recovery Facility. When completed, it aims to provide a regional indigenous mechanism to source talent, experience and financial solutions for the region, to build resilient communities and nations.
Economic constraints In addition to managing the recurrent and increasing costs of climate-related events, small island developing States (SIDS) overall, face a range of economic constrictions, from small domestic markets to heavy dependence on imports and high national debt constraints, according to the UN chief.
“These challenges are further complicated by the difficulties SIDS face in mobilizing development finance on affordable and appropriate terms”, he said.
The Secretary-General said he backed steps to improve access to development financing; eligibility for Official Development Assistance, including vulnerability criteria in addition to Gross National Income per capita; and speed and predictability of climate financing, especially SIDS.
Mr. Guterres threw his “strong support” behind the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC) proposal to convert debt to investment in resilience, noting that “to achieve this and other global challenges, we must reaffirm commitment to multilateralism”.
“We must face the headwinds together”, the Secretary-General underscored, “There is no alternative to cooperation and collaboration”.
He urged the leaders to “seize this historic opportunity to ensure that every Caribbean country, and all SIDS, receive optimal support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The UN chief drew attention to five UN Summits in September where the “collective voices” of the Caribbean Sates can “be heard by the global community”.
Moving forwardIn closing, he thanked CARICOM for its “strong cooperation” with the UN, welcomed the Counter-Terrorism Strategy for the region, developed with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, and recognized its leadership on key UN priorities, “not least climate change and financing for development”.
Mr. Guterres commended Caribbean nations’ commitment to foster regional cooperation on fighting illegal drug trafficking and saluted their response efforts to the refugee and migration crisis in the wider region “as a result of the situation in Venezuela”.
“Let us cooperate ever more closely in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of the Caribbean”, concluded the Secretary-General.