#NASA; #SpaceXFalcon; #newSeaLevelSatellite
Washington, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft will launch from the U.S. West Coast aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in November.
A shipping container containing the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is transported on a truck to the SpaceX payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base after landing in California on Sept. 24, 2020. Image Credits: 30th Space Wing
The world's latest ocean-monitoring satellite has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California to be prepared for its Nov. 10 launch. The product of a historic U.S.-European partnership, the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft touched down at Vandenberg in an Antonov 124 aircraft at around 10:40 a.m. PDT (1:40 p.m. EDT) on Sept. 24 after a two-day journey from an IABG engineering facility near Munich, Germany.
"The spacecraft had a smooth trip from Europe and is in good shape," said Parag Vaze, the mission's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "Final preparations are under way to see the satellite safely into Earth orbit in a little under seven weeks."
The satellite is named after Dr. Michael Freilich, the former director of NASA's Earth Science Division and an instrumental figure in advancing ocean observations from space. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is one of two identical spacecraft that compose the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) mission developed in partnership with ESA (the European Space Agency). ESA is developing the new Sentinel family of missions to support the operational needs of the European Union's Copernicus program, the EU's Earth observation program managed by the European Commission. The spacecraft's twin, Sentinel-6B, will launch in 2025.
"It has been a long journey of planning, development, and testing for the mission team," said Pierrik Vuilleumier, the mission's project manager at ESA. "We are proud to work with our international partners on such a critical mission for sea level studies and are looking forward to many years of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich taking critical sea level and atmospheric data from orbit."
Once in orbit, each satellite will collect sea surface height measurements down to the centimeter for more than 90% of the world's oceans. They'll be contributing to a nearly 30-year-long dataset built by an uninterrupted series of spacecraft that started with the TOPEX/Poseidon mission in the early 1990s and that continues today with Jason-3. Instruments aboard the spacecraft will also provide atmospheric data that will improve weather forecasts, help to track hurricanes, and bolster climate models.
Although Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich has already undergone rigorous testing, it will go through a final checkout at the SpaceX payload processing facility at Vandenberg to verify that the satellite is healthy and ready for launch.
Once tests are complete, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will be mounted atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 4E. The launch is scheduled for 11:31 a.m. PST (2:31 p.m. EST) on Nov. 10.
"The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite will extend our observation record of global sea level, advance our understanding of the Earth as a system, and inform decision-makers, from federal to local levels, who must manage the risks associated with rising sea level," said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA's Earth Science Division in Washington.
Sentinel-6/Jason-CS is being jointly developed by ESA, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with funding support from the European Commission and technical support from France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, is contributing three science instruments for each Sentinel-6 satellite: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer, the Global Navigation Satellite System - Radio Occultation, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA is also contributing launch services, ground systems supporting operation of the NASA science instruments, the science data processors for two of these instruments, and support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.
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Geneva/UN, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): Live coverage of the High-Level UN Climate Change Roundtable, featuring UN chief António Guterres, designed to rally momentum for more ambitious action to limit global warming and ensure sustainable post-pandemic recovery plans, UN reports said.
Greta Thunberg (centre), joins a climate demonstration (file). Image credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias
Our common objective must be a just transition, UN chiefThe UN Secretary-General was listening to the interventions of Heads of State, CEOs and experts, and he came back at the end of the Roundtable to share his thoughts.
The main takeaway for Mr. Guterres was that a common conclusion has been reached: the global climate increase must be limited to 1.5 degrees, and carbon neutrality reached by 2050, with a dramatic reduction in emissions by 2030.
Countries need to present updated climate action plans before COP26, in a year’s time, and all actors, from cities, to companies to NGOs, need to present their own transition plans.
Let’s make sure we abide by what science tells us to do
The fundamental task of governments and other public institutions, said Mr. Guterres, is to avoid putting up barriers to these plans. This is still happening today, he said, in the form of taxation, and fossil fuel subsidies that are actively hindering climate action.
A tax on carbon, declared the UN chief, is essential.
Recounting a discussion with a Prime Minister who feared losing elections if they taxed carbon, Mr. Guterres suggested taxing pollution rather than income, as a move that would save jobs, and might even win elections.
Responding to another Prime Minister’s complaint that they couldn’t remove fossil fuel subsidies, because small businesses and citizens need cheap fuel, the UN chief told them to instead give the money directly to the poor.
Even if effective action is taken, climate change is already here, and is having a terrible impact on vulnerable people, warned Mr. Guterres. Financing must therefore be mobilized, not just for climate mitigation, but also for climate adaptation to support those who are suffering.
“Let’s make sure we abide by what science tells us to do”, he concluded. “a 1.5 degree limit, carbon neutrality by 2050, and a just transition”.
The theme of the last section was “protecting people and planet to ensure a sustainable and just recovery”. Two Heads of State spoke on the subject: Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and Gaston Alphonso Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
The UN official involved was Vladimir Kattsov, who is a member of the World Meteorological Organization’s Scientific Advisory Panel and the UN Climate (UNFCCC) Adaptation Committee.
Mr. Kattsov declared that science is a powerful tool in climate adaptation. He took his own country, Russia, as an example: a huge country with vast differences in climate. Without regular monitoring, effective climate adaptation is not possible.
The UN official said that cost of making erroneous decisions is high, and that governments must therefore invest in research and intellectual capital, and ensure that there is strong dialogue between scientists and politicians.
Several UN agencies have been underlining the devastating impacts of climate change during the Roundtable.
UN Peacekeeping has listed global risks, and the links between climate and security issues, whilst the refugee agency UNHCR, tweeted a reminder of the effect that climate change has on the movement of people.
The section of the event devoted to COVID-19 recovery packages has just wrapped up. The speakers, a mix of business and government leaders, were Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar State, India, Dinah McLeod, CEO of the Global Cement and Concrete Association, the head of Microsoft, Brad Smith, Kahori Miyake, Co-Chair of the Japan Climate Leaders' Partnership, and Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and formerly a French politician, who played a key role in the 2015 Paris climate talks.
The entire financial sector needs to adapt
The world leaders involved in the climate finance section of the roundtable have all had their say, including commitments to ramping up ambition.
The last speaker was Mark Carney, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, and formerly the Governor of the Bank of England.
Mr. Carney declared that, to achieve the Paris climate goals, the whole economy needs to transition, including the financial sector, and every financial sector must take climate into account.
Disclosure, he continued, is essential, adding that it is unacceptable for companies not to disclose the impact of their decisions on the climate. The EU is making this mandatory, and banks are moving in the right direction.
This shift, declared Mr. Carney, will have a huge impact on companies’ plans.
The Special Envoy described the financial sector as being at a tipping point, and told world leaders that the climate actions they take over the next year, will allow the private sector to adjust in a way that will help us to achieve our climate goals.
Youth climate activist Sophia Kianni is watching today’s event. She has been reacting to Mr. Guterres's speech.
"The Secretary-General is absolutely right in stressing that we need sustainable COVID-19 recovery plans that tackle climate change.
On the topic of us “prioritizing the most vulnerable people and communities,” it is especially crucial to include and prioritize indigenous people in climate change negotiations, as they have been protecting the earth for generations but their voices have been neglected or ignored in high-level discussions.
We must acknowledge and address the links between racial justice and climate justice as we work to devise a fair and just transition - Sophia Kianni
Additionally, we must acknowledge and address the links between racial justice and climate justice as we work to devise a fair and just transition away from fossil fuels that addresses structural inequities.
Young people are deeply concerned about climate change, as our generation will have to reckon with the disastrous implications of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. Millions of young people have turned out to strike for climate action, and it is crucial for us to have a seat at the table when discussing issues such as climate change that will have such a large impact on our futures. We have captured the world’s attention and now it’s time for governments to listen to our demands.
With the United States general election getting closer each day, it has been scary to imagine another 4 years without decisive climate action, especially after watching forest fires exacerbated by warmer temperatures ravage through California.
The new climate crisis countdown clock erected in New York City displays that there are only 7 years left until Earth’s current carbon budget is depleted. I am dismayed by the lack of climate action being taken by world leaders; as we bounce back from COVID-19, it will be crucial to include climate action in recovery efforts".
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson followed Mr. Guterres. The UK will be hosting the next UN Climate summit, COP26, which has been delayed until November 2021.
After going through some of the ways in which the UK is attempting to meet its climate commitments, Mr. Johnson expressed his desire to work with all world leaders to make COP26 a success, and looked ahead to the virtual event due to be co-hosted by the UN and UK on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The next part of the event focuses on climate finance, featuring Mark Carney, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Sebastián Piñera Echenique, the country originally slated to host this year’s climate COP. They’ll be discussing ways to boost climate finance.
The world has a high fever and is burning up
In his opening statement, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Roundtable, that “the world has a high fever and is burning up”.
Noting that climate disruption is “daily news”, he painted a picture of the past decade being the hottest on record, rising greenhouse gases and devastating wildfires, combined with record floods that are upending people and the planet.
“The recent United in Science report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is unequivocal”, he told the meeting. “We must urgently reverse course”.
Against this backdrop, he urged everyone “to act on three urgent priorities”, beginning with sustainable COVID-19 recovery plans that tackle climate change.
In recovering from the pandemic, UN chief stressed the need for everyone to work together to end fossil-fuel subsides, put a price on carbon and consider climate risks in all financial and policy decisions.
“And most important, leave no one behind”, he said.
The UN chief outlined specific action which needs to start immediately, including COVID-19 recovery packages that also decarbonize the global economy, and policies consistent with the key goal of limiting emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Transitioning to renewable energy…will yield three times as many jobs as fossil fuels”, he said, noting, “the possibilities of a sustainable blue economy are still untapped”.
Secondly, the UN chief told the meeting that science must guide them in protecting economies and societies – zeroing in on a 45 per cent reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2030.
He described the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement in December, as “an important moment to continue raising climate ambition”.
Finally, the Secretary-General stressed that all solutions must prioritize the most vulnerable nations and communities through just transition policies, international cooperation and solidarity.
On the current path, “the scale of suffering around the world due to climate disruption will be beyond all our imaginations”, he said, urging everyone to commit “now” to sweeping climate action.
The UN has been canvassing the views of young people on the future of the organization, and committing to taking their views into account.
In this powerful video, young people recount powerful stories of the devastating impact that climate change is having on their lives.
It includes climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose impassioned speech at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit made headlines around the world.
And here's why it's all so important, in case you needed a reminder...
Who’s appearing on screen this morning?
Apart from Mr. Guterres and Mr. Johnson, a host of other leaders are expected to join via video conference. They include Mark Carney, Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Sebastián Piñera Echenique, the country originally slated to host this year’s climate COP. They’ll be discussing ways to boost climate finance.
This will be followed by a roundtable on aligning COVID-19 recovery packages and business plans with the 1.5C and carbon neutrality goals. The leaders will include the head of Microsoft, Brad Smith, Laurence Tubiana, former French politician and now CEO of the European Climate Foundation, and Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister of Bhutan.
The last discussion will be on climate adaptation and resilience, which will involve the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, Vladimir Kattsov from the UN Climate (UNFCCC) adaptation committee, and Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network.
The whole event is expected to wrap up at about 13:00 New York time.
Good morning from New York, where the UN is hosting (online, of course, given the ongoing pandemic) a High-level Climate Change Roundtable, at 11:30 Eastern Time, featuring several world leaders, including Mr. Guterres, which is designed to showcase the vast benefits or recovering from the pandemic in a sustainable way, that helps to limit global warming to 1.5C or lower.
Mr. Guterres will kick things off, and he’s expected to outline the dangers of not acting faster, but also going through some of the positive actions undertaken since last year’s Climate Action Summit, which famously involved young climate activist Greta Thunberg delivering a fiery, angry speech, telling world leaders “you have failed us”.
UK Prime Minister will also deliver opening remarks, and he’s likely to give more detail of the 12 December event on climate that he is co-hosting with the UN. This event is being dubbed “the sprint to Glasgow”, in recognition of the fact the annual UN COP climate conference, due to be held in the Scottish city, has been postponed until November 2021.
Pacific small islands and ‘Big Ocean’ nations at UN Assembly make the case for climate action, shift to clean energy
#UN; #Covid19; #PacificIslanders; #OceanProtection; #UNSDGs; #SDGs
United Nations, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): Facing constant threats from climate change and wary of the possible spread of COVID-19 to their shores, Pacific Island leaders on Friday touted their own environmental action plans and called for more aggressive climate action from other nations, including rapid shifts toward clean energy.
The low-lying island nation, Tuvalu, in the Pacific Ocean is particularly susceptible to higher sea levels caused by climate change. Image credit: UNDP Tuvalu/Aurélia Rusek
“All countries and peoples are in a global war against climate change. We have witnessed deadly fires in the US, typhoons in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, and floods in Asia. It is a war that we can win, but we must be much more aggressive in combatting it,’ David Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, the first of several Pacific Island leaders to speak today, said in a pre-recorded address.
He said “climate change is our single greatest long-term security threat. Rising waters threaten to make life in remote atolls impossible. Higher temperatures threaten crops, livestock, and fish. The world must transition to sustainable and renewable energy.”
Indeed, coal and natural gas are unsustainable solutions for the environment and are harmful to both economic growth and equality of opportunity. “If our world is to fulfill its commitments under the Paris Agreement, all nations must make a unified and global effort,” President Panuelo said, noting that, for example, through the Montreal Protocol, some 98 per cent of ozone depleting substances have been phased out by the global community.
Action today will secure oceans’ prosperity tomorrow
He went on to explain that Micronesia’s exposure to the Pacific Ocean carries risks beyond climate change. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, he said, by 2050 there may be more plastics than fish in our oceans.
“As such, in February 2020, he had signed legislation into public law which bans the importation of Styrofoam and one-time-use plastics into Micronesia. Further, over the next five years, Micronesia would partner with the Blue Prosperity Coalition to seek to protect 30 per cent of its ocean’s Exclusive Economic Zone by 2030.
“Micronesia is thus taking actions today for our ocean’s prosperity tomorrow. I urge all peoples and nations to join our efforts. We cannot allow COVID-19 to halt efforts such as the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework or the intergovernmental negotiations on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) instrumentation,” he stated.
For his part, Kausea Natano, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, said that while is island nation was still COVID-19 free, “the ripple effects of this deadliest virus has come at a huge cost to our economy. Unemployment in our fisheries and tourism sectors has soared and remittances dropped significantly. Food security was affected as supply chains were disrupted.”
“Covid-19 has significantly disrupted economies and societies right across the world. Indeed, [it] has reshaped the contours of the normal way of things, placing us on a ‘new normal’. Therefore, we must not only think outside the box, but we must also work outside the box,” he explained.
Safety of ‘Blue Pacific’ tied to climate action
And with that in mind, Prime Minister Natano said the United Nations and its Member States must work collaboratively to build back better countries and economies that are inclusive and leave no one behind; protect the health and wellbeing of all; preserve natural and marine environments; are low emissions and climate smart; and build resilience to future crises.
He stressed that the shared prosperity and security of “our Blue Pacific” can only safely exist if the international community pursues efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius. The transformation and investment response to the COVID-19 pandemic must also serve to build our resilience to the impacts of climate change.
“If we failed this, then we are putting additional debt into our already exhausted capacities, which can further exacerbate climate crises going forward,” he said, calling for stronger political will form all countries towards full implementation of the Paris Agreement, the SAMOA Pathway for small island developing States, and the Istanbul Plan of Action for landlocked developing States.
In his virtual address, Taneti Maamau, President and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Kiribati, said that of ‘great importance to Kiribati and our Blue Pacific is without question, the alarming dilemma of our present time, climate change.
To this end, his Government continues to implement critical projects to build resilience, including the Peacebuilding Fund’s climate security project, which he launched in Kiribati earlier this month.
Joint combat against COVID-19 and climate crisis“In solidarity with our Pacific Islands Forum family, we also remain committed to securing our maritime boundaries, amid the impacts of climate change. This is a matter of sovereignty,” he added.
“While COVID-19 is our immediate crisis, we must continue to work on the other challenges that confront us all, in particular climate change, the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of the Pacific and its peoples,” he said, recalling the Kainaki II Declaration in 2019 adopted by leaders at the end of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, and the 2018 Boe Declaration, on security in the Pacific.
Next up, James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, said that to protect his country and people from the spread of the coronavirus, his Government had acted early and fast, putting in place the necessary preventive measures in policy and law, including passing a National Pandemic Act, to deal with COVID-19 and similar outbreaks in the future.
“This has cushioned us against the loss of lives, with just six so far,” he said, adding that Papua New Guinea was also working successfully at the regional level with the Pacific Islands Forum to curb the spread of teh disease. Nevertheless, the net effect of the pandemic had resulted in job losses, export and other revenue losses, and stalled development activities.
“Unless and until an effective vaccine is developed and made available to use, the health threats of COVID-19 cannot be underestimated,” warned Prime Minister Marape, and stressed that any approved vaccine must be considered a “public good” and be made widely available for the benefit of all.
Protecting maritime fisheries As a maritime nation, Papua New Guinea, stressed its Prime Minister, gives high priority to the protection of the maritime and fisheries sector, which represents a quarter of the annual budget and employs 80 per cent women, especially in the canneries of the tuna.
In support of this sector, the Government launched in July 2020 its very first National Oceans Policy 2020-2030, to ensure that the oceans, seas and their resources are correctly and sustainably coordinated, managed, protected, governed and used.
Finally, on Friday, Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Prime Minister and Minister for Public Enterprises of Tonga said that while small island developing States, including his own, contribute to no more than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, “it is unfortunate that we continue to bear the brunt of this climate injustice.”
As a result, Pacific Island countries continue to be imperiled by destructive tropical cyclones of unprecedented magnitude. The most recent had been Tropical Cyclone Harold in April of this year, which wreaked havoc on four Pacific Island nations, namely, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, as well as Tonga, he said “and this is while we grapple with the distressing effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Recalling that Pacific Island Forum Leaders consistently echoed the need for urgent climate action, Mr. Tu’i’onetoa, in his pre-recorded address, reaffirmed Tonga’s commitment to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius.
At the same time, he said that while 2020 was marked as the ‘Year of Delivery’ for powering Tonga’s sustainable development through the attainment of 50 per cent renewable energy penetration, project delays and the sudden halt to the market supply chains caused by the global pandemic, had led to a major disruption in efforts to achieve that target.
Science-based solutions critical for ocean preservation
“However, agreements have been signed for grant funding, by way of public-private partnership and the fervent support of our development partners, will continue to drive Tonga’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) objectives,” he said, citing his country’s push towards solar, wind and battery energy and other innovative technologies.
He went on to say that Tonga was also pressing ahead with its work towards achieving SDG 14 (conservation and sustainable use of the ocean) through, among others, measures taken to establish Special Management Areas (SMAs) initiatives, and the implementation of the Tonga Marine Spatial Planning Project.
“We cannot overemphasize the urgency for action to protect and sustainably use the world’s ocean, seas and marine resources,” the Prime Minister said, but stressed that relevant actions could only be meaningful and effective if derived from science-based and innovative information and data.
As such, Tonga supported the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 – 2030, which provides an overarching framework that will allow ocean science to support countries in their sustainable development of the ocean.
#UN; #GreenhouseGases; #EarthAtmosphere; #WMO; #GlobalAtmosphere; #UNEP
UN, Sep 9 (Canadian-Media): Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at record levels, and emissions that saw a temporary decline due to the pandemic are heading towards pre-COVID levels, while global temperatures continue to hit new highs, according to a major new UN report.
The La Mojana region of Colombia is highly vulnerable to climate-change induced floods and droughts. By building resilience to these impacts, the project also insulates communities from other shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: UNDP Colombia/Mauricio Enriquez O.
United in Science 2020, released on Wednesday, highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change on glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and it’s cost on people across the globe; manifest more and more often through disasters such as record heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and floods.
Speaking at the launch of the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized that there is “no time to delay” if the world is to slow the trend of the devastating impacts of climate change, and limit temperate rise to 1.5 degree-Celsius.
“Whether we are tackling a pandemic or the climate crisis, it is clear that we need science, solidarity and decisive solutions,” said Mr. Guterres.
“We have a choice: business as usual, leading to further calamity; or we can use the recovery from COVID-19 to provide a real opportunity to put the world on a sustainable path,” he added.
The Secretary-General outlined six climate-related actions to shape the recovery from COVD-19, to ensure a sustainable future for coming generations.
The six actions include: delivering new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition; making public bailouts contingent upon green jobs and sustainable growth; shifting away from grey and towards green economy, making societies and people more resilient; channelling public fund investments into sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate; factoring in climate risks and opportunities into the financial system as well as in public policymaking and infrastructure; and lastly – working together as an international community.
“As we work to tackle both the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, I urge leaders to heed the facts in this report, unite behind the science and take urgent climate action,” added Mr. Guterres, urging governments to prepare new and ambitious national climate plans, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), in advance of COP26.
“That is how we will build a safer, more sustainable future.”
Climate change continues unabated In one of its key findings, the report states that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations showed “no signs of peaking” and continued to increase to new records.
Benchmark stations in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch network reported CO2 concentrations above 410 parts per million (ppm) during the first half of 2020, with Mauna Loa (Hawaii) and Cape Grim (Tasmania) at 414.38 ppm and 410.04 ppm, respectively, in July 2020, up from 411.74 ppm and 407.83 ppm the same month last year.
“Greenhouse gas concentrations - which are already at their highest levels in 3 million years - have continued to rise,” said Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in the foreword to the report.
Meanwhile, large swathes of Siberia have seen a prolonged and remarkable heatwave during the first half of 2020, which would have been very unlikely without anthropogenic climate change. And now 2016-2020 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record, he continued.
“Whilst many aspects of our lives have been disrupted in 2020, climate change has continued unabated,” added Mr. Taalas.
Findings According to the report, CO2 emissions in 2020 will fall by an estimated 4 to 7 per cent in 2020 due to COVID-19 confinement policies. The exact decline will depend on the continued trajectory of the pandemic and government responses to address it.
In April 2020, at the height of COVID-related lockdowns, daily global fossil CO2 emissions dropped by an unprecedented 17 per cent compared to the year prior. However, by early June, the emissions had mostly returned to within 5 per cent below 2019 levels.
It notes that though the emissions gap – the difference between what we need to do and what we are actually doing to tackle climate change – is wide, it can still be bridged with urgent and concerted action by all countries and across all sectors.
On the state of the global climate, the report indicates that the average global temperature for 2016-2020 is expected to be the warmest on record, about 1.1 degree Celsius above 1850-1900 (a reference period for temperature change since pre-industrial times) and 0.24 degree Celsius warmer than the global average temperature for 2011-2015.
The report also documents how the COVID-19 pandemic has impeded the ability to monitor changes in climate through the global observing system, which in turn has affected the quality of forecasts and other weather, climate and ocean-related services.
Aircraft-based observations have seen major reductions, manual measurements at weather stations and of rivers have been badly affected and nearly all oceanographic research vessels are in ports, owing to direct or secondary impact of the pandemic.
The impacts on climate change monitoring are long-term, according to the report. They are likely to prevent or restrict measurement campaigns for the mass balance of glaciers or the thickness of permafrost, usually conducted at the end of the thawing period.
The report The United in Science 2020 report, the second in a series, is coordinated by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UK Met Office.
The report brings together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations. It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action.
#NASA; #SeaLevelMission; #Space; #MeasureOceans; #ESA; #EUMETSAT; #NOAA, #CNES
Washington, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): When a satellite by the name of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich launches this November, its primary focus will be to monitor sea level rise with extreme precision. But an instrument aboard the spacecraft will also provide atmospheric data that will improve weather forecasts, track hurricanes, and bolster climate models, NASA reports said.
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft undergoes tests at its manufacturer Airbus in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in 2019. The white GNSS-RO instrument can be seen attached to the upper left portion of the front of the spacecraft. Image credit: Airbus
"Our fundamental goal with Sentinel-6 is to measure the oceans, but the more value we can add, the better," said Josh Willis, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "It's not every day that we get to launch a satellite, so collecting more useful data about our oceans and atmosphere is a bonus."
A U.S.-European collaboration, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is actually one of two satellites that compose the Copernicus Sentinel-6/Jason-CS (Continuity of Service) mission. The satellite's twin, Sentinel-6B, will launch in 2025 to take over for its predecessor. Together, the spacecraft will join TOPEX/Poseidon and the Jason series of satellites, which have been gathering precise sea level measurements for nearly three decades. Once in orbit, each Sentinel-6 satellite will collect sea level measurements down to the centimeter for 90% of the world's oceans.
Meanwhile, they'll also peer deep into Earth's atmosphere with what's called Global Navigation Satellite System – Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO) to collect highly accurate global temperature and humidity information. Developed by JPL, the spacecraft's GNSS-RO instrument tracks radio signals from navigation satellites to measure the physical properties of Earth's atmosphere. As a radio signal passes through the atmosphere, it slows, its frequency changes, and its path bends. Called refraction, this effect can be used by scientists to measure minute changes in atmospheric physical properties, such as density, temperature, and moisture content.
The precise global atmospheric measurements made by Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will complement atmospheric observations by other GNSS-RO instruments already in space. Specifically, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service meteorologists will use insights from Sentinel 6's GNSS-RO to improve weather forecasts. Also, the GNSS-RO information will provide long-term data that can be used both to monitor how our atmosphere is changing and to refine models used for making projections of future climate. Data from this mission will help track the formation of hurricanes and support models to predict the direction storms may travel. The more data we gather about hurricane formation (and where a storm might make landfall), the better in terms of helping local efforts to mitigate damage and support evacuation plans.
How It Works
Radio occultation was first used by NASA's Mariner 4 mission in 1965 when the spacecraft flew past Mars. As it passed behind the Red Planet from our perspective, scientists on Earth detected slight delays in its radio transmissions as they traveled through atmospheric gases. By measuring these radio signal delays, they were able to gain the first measurements of the Martian atmosphere and discover just how thin it was compared to Earth's.
By the 1980s, scientists had started to measure the slight delays in radio signals from Earth-orbiting navigation satellites to better understand our planet's atmosphere. Since then, many radio occultation instruments have been launched; Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will join the six COSMIC-2 satellites as the most advanced GNSS-RO instruments among them.
"The Sentinel-6 instrument is essentially the same as COSMIC-2's. Compared to other radio occultation instruments, they have higher measurement precision and greater atmospheric penetration depth," said Chi Ao, the instrument scientist for GNSS-RO at JPL.
The GNSS-RO instrument's receivers track navigation satellite radio signals as they dip below, or rise from, the horizon. They can detect these signals through the vertical extent of the atmosphere – through thick clouds – from the very top and almost all the way to the ground. This is important, because weather phenomena emerge from all layers of the atmosphere, not just from near Earth's surface where we experience their effects.
"Tiny changes in the radio signal can be measured by the instrument, which relate to the density of the atmosphere," added Ao. "We can then precisely determine the temperature, pressure, and humidity through the layers of the atmosphere, which give us incredible insights to our planet's dynamic climate and weather."
With the help of JPL's GNSS-RO principal investigator Chi Ao and NOAA's National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Jackson, this video explains how the GNSS-RO instrument aboard Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will be used by meteorologists to improve weather forecasting predictions. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
But there's another reason why probing the entire vertical profile of the atmosphere from orbit is so important: accuracy. Meteorologists typically gather information from a variety of sources – from weather balloons to instruments aboard aircraft. But sometimes scientists need to compensate for biases in the data. For example, air temperature readings from a thermometer on an airplane can be skewed by heat radiating from parts of the aircraft.
GNSS-RO data is different. The instrument collects navigation satellite signals at the top of the atmosphere, in what is close to a vacuum. Although there are sources of error in every scientific measurement, at that altitude, there's no refraction of the signal, which means there's an almost bias-free baseline to which atmospheric measurements can be compared in order to minimize noise in data collection.
And as one of the most advanced GNSS radio occultation instruments in orbit, said Ao, it will also be one of the most accurate atmospheric thermometers in space.
More About the Mission
Copernicus Sentinel-6/Jason-CS is being jointly developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with funding support from the European Commission and support from France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
The first Sentinel-6/Jason-CS satellite that will launch was named after the former director of NASA's Earth Science Division, Michael Freilich. It will follow the most recent U.S.-European sea level observation satellite, Jason-3, which launched in 2016 and is currently providing data.
NASA's contributions to the Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission are three science instruments for each of the two Sentinel-6 satellites: the Advanced Microwave Radiometer, the GNSS-RO, and the Laser Retroreflector Array. NASA is also contributing launch services, ground systems supporting operation of the NASA science instruments, the science data processors for two of these instruments, and support for the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.
#UNEP; #CleanAirForAll; #ReinforcedEnvironmentalStandards
UN, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): On 7 September 2020, for the first time ever, the world will join together to mark the UN's International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. The theme for 2020 is "Clean Air for All".
UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlines why air pollution is a preventable risk. He calls for us all to work together to build a better future with clean air for ever.
“Around the world, nine out of every ten people breathe unclean air. Air pollution contributes to heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. It causes an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year, predominantly in low- and middle-income countries. Air pollution also threatens the economy, food security and the environment.
As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the world needs to pay far greater attention to air pollution, which also increases the risks associated with COVID-19.
We must also urgently address the deeper threat of climate change. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees will help reduce air pollution, death and disease. This year’s lockdowns have caused emissions to fall dramatically, providing a glimpse of cleaner air in many cities. But emissions are already rising again, in some places surpassing pre-COVID levels.
We need dramatic and systemic change. Reinforced environmental standards, policies and laws that prevent emissions of air pollutants are needed more than ever. Countries also need to end subsidies for fossil fuels. And, at the international level, countries need to cooperate to help each other transition to clean technologies.
I call on governments still providing finance for fossil fuel-related projects in developing countries to shift that support towards clean energy and sustainable transport. And I urge all countries to use post-COVID recovery packages to support the transition to healthy and sustainable jobs.
7 September, marks the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. Let us work together to build a better future with clean air for all.”
The UN's International Day of Clean Air for blue skies highlights that air pollution is now the greatest environmental threat to health, but it is preventable. We have the solutions and technology to change this. To improve our air quality we need everyone on board –from individuals to private companies to governments.
Air pollution doesn’t have to be a part of our collective future. Cleaner air will make us healthier, protect nature and help achieve global climate change goals.
What are you doing to clear the air?
Join the conversation: #CleanAirForAll
Improved climate action on food systems can deliver 20 percent of global emissions reductions needed by 2050
#Nairobi; #UNEP; #NDCs; #ClimateFocus; #ParisAgreement; #FixingFood; #GlobalEmissions
Nairobi, 1 Sep 4 (Canadian-Media): Policymakers can improve the chances of achieving climate goals and limiting global warming to 1.5oC by making more specific commitments to transforming national food systems.
Image Credit: World Resource Institute
Enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for Food Systems, a new report published today by WWF, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), EAT and Climate Focus, finds countries are missing significant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identifies 16 ways policymakers could take more action, from farm to fork.
Currently, diets and food loss and waste are widely ignored, but by adding them to national climate plans, policymakers can improve their mitigation and adaptation contributions from food systems, by as much as 25 percent. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries are expected to revise or resubmit their NDCs every five years. This year, therefore, policymakers have the opportunity to adopt food systems solutions and set more ambitious targets and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in turn, improve biodiversity, food security and public health.
Food systems – which gather all the elements and activities that relate to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food – account for up to 37 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions; continuing on a business-as-usual trajectory will single-handedly exhaust the 1.5oC compatible emissions budgets for all sectors. Although 89 percent of NDCs mention agriculture production, agriculture emissions reduction targets are mainly included in wider land-use targets. More notably, other actions in the food system, such as reducing food loss and waste, or shifting to more sustainable diets, are widely ignored, despite presenting the combined opportunity to reduce emissions by as much as 12.5 Gt CO2e - the equivalent of taking 2.7 billion cars off the road.
“Ambitious, time-bound and measurable commitments to food systems transformation are needed if we are to achieve a 1.5oC future. Failing to do so is ignoring one of the main drivers of today’s climate crisis. Without action on how we produce and consume food, we cannot achieve our climate or biodiversity goals, which are the foundation to achieve food security, prevent the emergence of diseases and ultimately deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. That’s why we urge governments to include climate and nature positive food systems approaches in revised and more ambitious NDCs submitted this year,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General WWF-International.
“The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our food supply systems, from complex value chains to impacts on our ecosystems. But it has also demonstrated that businesses and people are ready to build back better. This crisis offers us a chance to radically rethink how we produce and consume food. For example, reorienting consumption by halving food waste and catalyzing a shift towards more plant-rich diets, is also a powerful climate mitigation tool to take advantage of. It is up to us to seize this opportunity and put sustainable food systems at the heart of the green recovery,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
The 16 actions identified in the report include reducing land-use change and conversion of natural habitats, which could reduce emissions by 4.6 Gt CO2e per year. Comparably, reducing food loss and waste, which accounts for 8 percent of all GHG emissions, could reduce emissions by 4.5 Gt CO2e per year. Yet only 11 countries currently mention food loss in their plans and none consider food waste. Improving production methods and reducing methane emissions from livestock, could reduce emissions by up to 1.44 Gt CO2e per year, but much greater reductions could be achieved by shifting to healthier and more sustainable diets with a higher proportion of plant-based than animal-based foods could avoid emissions of up to 8 Gt CO2e each year. No current national climate plans explicitly discuss more sustainable diets.
The report finds that developed countries are less likely than developing countries to provide sector-specific mitigation actions for agriculture in their current climate plans though in absolute terms, the number of specific actions for reducing emissions in the food system in developing countries is also low. Through August 2020, 15 NDC updates and revisions have been submitted and though some feature agriculture, actions are still lacking. Early indications are that sustainable food consumption and food loss and waste will continue to be ignored in the review process. None of the updates and revisions submitted mention them in their mitigation contributions or policies and measures.
“Food systems are a neglected mitigation opportunity and there is rarely any mitigation opportunity with so many sustainable development benefits. Eliminating excessive meat consumption, improving storage facilities and reducing food waste is good for our health and improves food security. With a check-list and concrete examples of activities and targets, this report provides guidance for policymakers to integrate food systems in their national climate strategies,” said Charlotte Streck, Co-founder and Director, Climate Focus.
“Fixing food is not only a prerequisite to achieve the 2030 Agenda, but is as important as the energy transformation to deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement. Shifting to regenerative, carbon-absorbing production and adoption of healthy, predominantly plant-based diets that are affordable and accessible, as well as halving food waste and loss, are crucial actions that must be included in countries’ NDCs and integrated in their climate action plans with clear ambitions. As we enter the Decade of Action, let’s make it the decade of delivery for a healthy, sustainable and equitable food future for all,” said Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, EAT Founder and Executive Chair.
In addition to increasing ambition in their NDCs, countries have a number of additional opportunities to reduce emissions and preserve nature through food systems. In 2021, in the context of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP 15), world leaders can agree to a new deal for nature and people, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. In addition, the first ever UN Food Systems Summit will take place in 2021; as UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted when launching the Summit, ”transforming food systems is crucial for delivering all the Sustainable Development Goals”.
#Beirut; #UN; #EnvironmentalCrisis; #UNOCHA; #UNDP; #UNEnergy
Beirut/UN, Sep 2 (Canadian-Media): Contamination from hazardous chemicals, landfill sites at capacity, and water pollution, are among the most urgent challenges faced by the Lebanese authorities and UN teams tackling the huge task of clearing up Beirut, following the massive explosion in the city’s port on 4 August.
UNICEF team, including Mohamad Saleh, removing the debris from Medawar street in Qarantina region of Beirut, Lebanon.Image credit: UNICEF/Ramzi Haidar
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Jihan Seoud, Energy and Environment Program Manager at the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Lebanon office, described the impact of the explosion as a major concern, particularly as Beirut’s environment was already “in a dismal state” before the disaster.
Thousands of tonnes of waste
The destruction of the Port of Beirut has created up to 800,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste in the city said Ms. Seoud, and it is likely to contain hazardous chemicals, given the types of material known to be normally stored there, such as pesticides, pharmaceutical products, industrial chemicals, lead from vehicles, and various types of heavy metals.
The chemicals can damage health, through direct exposure, or soil and water contamination, said Ms. Seoud, adding that, although air pollution from the blast is currently considered to be limited, chemical contamination of particles scattered by the explosion may become airborne again, and could pose a new public health threat.
Cleanup teams have already started work on debris waste from outside the port; cleaning, sorting and recycling the waste to the extent possible: concrete and stones, for example, can be crushed into smaller sizes and reused in paving sidewalks or asphalting roads.
However, Beirut’s waste management systems are now at breaking point, with one of the two plants serving the city, severely damaged in the blast, as more goes directly to landfill sites, one of which is nearly full. Ms. Seoud told reporters that the city could be facing another municipal solid waste crisis soon if this issue is not resolved.
‘Much more is needed, and fast’
On Monday, the World Bank issued a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment, which flagged many of the concerns outlined by Ms, Seoud, and urged the authorities to rebuild the city in a transparent, inclusive and accountable manner.
The reconstruction, said the energy expert, also needs to be mindful of the environment, and take into consideration elements such as solar power, energy efficiency measures, and climate-resilient building designs.
The cost of cleaning up the environmental degradation resulting from the explosion has been estimated by UNDP at over $100 million, which comes on top of the country’s existing environmental cleanup costs, estimated at $2.35 billion by UNDP in 2018.
So far, only a small proportion of the necessary relief funding has been secured from donors. “Much more is needed”, said Ms. Soued, “and fast”.
#UN; #ClimateDevelopment; #SDGs; #YoungPeople
UN, Sep 2 (Canadian-Media): Without harnessing the energy, tech savvy and optimism of young people, the world has no hope of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Paris Agreement on climate change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday.
Students use laptop computers provided by UNICEF at a secondary school in Sana’a Governorate, Yemen. © UNICEF/Hani Alansi
Addressing leaders from Government, business and multilateral agencies during a high-level event on Generation Unlimited - a global partnership to help 10 to 24 year-olds access education, training and job opportunities – the UN chief said COVID-19 has exposed inequalities that have been allowed to persist for far too long.
‘Crisis within a crisis’
“The situation of children and young people is a crisis within a crisis,” he said. “My generation has failed to respond properly to the global challenges we face.”
Held online, under the theme, “Connecting Half the World to Opportunities”, participants pledged to reach 3.5 billion children and young people with quality education - including world-class digital solutions, distance learning and skilling, by 2030.
Noting that before the pandemic, one-fifth of young people were not in employment, education or training, Mr. Guterres said that one-third of them now lack access to remote learning. Children from the poorest households and those in rural areas are the most likely to miss out.
A call for education, digital tech investments
Education and digital technology are two of the most important investments that can be made as countries respond to COVID-19 and lay the foundations for a strong recovery.
The UN chief said investing in digital learning and training for young people is essential for building social cohesion and reducing the inequities that block human development.
These investments cannot be top-down, he assured. “Those days are over.” Young people themselves must be at the forefront, making decisions and bringing their problem-solving skills to bear on the world’s most serious problems.
“I particularly encourage young women to speak and look forward to hearing from you”, he emphasized.
He said Generation Unlimited was building resources and networks to help young people realize their dreams. Its goal: to help every young person - regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, sex or ability – access the Internet and opportunities for education, training and entrepreneurship
UN agencies and partners in the public, private and civil society sectors are already working with young people to scale up innovations. “We have made a strong start,” he said. “Today’s meeting is about exploring ways to take this work to the next level.
10-year countdown begins
With 10 years left to achieve the SDGs, he called for strengthening links across sectors and rallying investment over the next year.
Large-scale financial and political resources must be marshalled by advanced and emerging economies, as well as international agencies. The private sector can step in to invest in shared-value partnerships, and foundations to provide catalytic funding.
The groundwork for these ambitious efforts must be laid at the country level – with young people and national partners in the lead. “I urge everyone here to play their full part, through technology, know-how, leadership or finance”, he said.