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human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Major climate change study warns that Britain will experience the worst flooding in Europe

A report in The Independent by Phoebe Weston has been summarized on msn.com:

Researchers from 24 European countries have provided the clearest evidence yet that climate change is affecting the severity of floods. The study also shows clear regional variations – in northwestern Europe, floods are becoming more severe but will be less destructive in southeastern Europe.

North England and southern Scotland will be the areas worst affected, with an 11 per cent increase in river flood levels per decade, according to the research by 50 scientists from 35 research institutions.

Birmingham floods

This is because in central and northwestern Europe, increased levels of precipitation are making soils wetter meaning they are unable to absorb excess water, according to the paper published in Nature.

In southern Europe, the risk of flooding is falling because climate change is causing precipitation to fall while higher temperatures are drying out soils, meaning they can absorb more water. Some areas will see as much as a 23 per cent decline in the magnitude of flood events per decade.

In the Mediterranean, small river floods may become larger due to more frequent thunderstorms and deforestation, according to scientists who looked at river flow data from 3,738 locations.

“For a long time, it has been assumed that climate change is having an impact on the magnitude of flood waters because a warmer atmosphere can store more water. However, this is not the only effect – things are more complicated,” said lead researcher Professor Gunter Bloschl from the Vienna University of Technology.

“Processes differ across Europe – but the regional patterns all correspond well with predicted climate change impacts. This shows us that we are already in the midst of climate change,” he said.

Annual damage from flooding costs an estimated $100bn (£80bn) of damage every year. This is expected to rise due to increased economic growth and urbanisation.

“This timely study adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that flood magnitude has increased in the UK over the last five decades, particularly in parts of northern and western Britain,” said Jamie Hannaford from the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

“We show this is part of a continent-wide pattern of changes in flooding, which is in line with what we may expect in a warming world.

“This highlights the importance of long-term hydrological monitoring and the benefits of data sharing and collaboration at a European scale in order to better understand the mechanisms behind observed changes in flooding.”

Researchers say these findings should be included in flood management strategies.

“Regardless of the necessary efforts of climate change mitigation, we will see the effects of these changes in the next decades. Flood management must adapt to these new realities,” said Professor Bloschl.

See also:

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/britain-flooding-climate-change-study-europe-a9082471.html



 


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Scottish action to address climate emergency

https://news.gov.scot/news/action-to-address-climate-emergency

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened a new £6 million project which uses cutting-edge renewables technology to harness energy from waste water.

Ms Sturgeon launched the Stirling District Heat Network project while visiting the city as part of the 50th Travelling Cabinet.

The project, which received £2 million support through the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, was developed collaboratively with Stirling Council and Scottish Water Horizons. It is the first of its kind in the UK and will provide affordable and low-carbon heat to the local Stirling community.

The announcement is part of a new package of announcements made in Stirling – which is aiming to become Scotland’s first carbon neutral city – to tackle the global climate emergency. The Cabinet is meeting in the city to discuss key issues affecting the local community, including climate change, and Ministers will also be engaging directly with local residents at a public meeting held in the newly refurbished Engine Shed building.

In addition, £300,000 is to be invested to expand the Climate Ready Classrooms initiative to help young people aged 14-17 to develop their understanding of climate change, its causes and potential impacts. The programme aims to engage with at least 50% of Scotland’s secondary schools in the next two years and accredit almost 5,000 young people as carbon literate.

There was also additional support announced for communities across Scotland to undertake their own Big Climate Conversations, which will feed-in to the Scottish Government Public Engagement Strategy on climate change.

Scotland


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Scotland is producing more energy than it needs from wind power

Seeing countless renewable energy records broken and milestones passed has been a constant source of encouraging news for our planet. Now, we have yet another impressive stat to celebrate: in the first half of 2019, Scotland generated enough energy from wind power to supply its homes twice over.

Source: Science Alert:

https://www.sciencealert.com/scotland-s-wind-turbines-are-now-generating-double-what-its-residents-need

Specifically, turbines generated 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity between January and June, enough to supply power to 4.47 million homes – not bad for a country that has around 2.6 million homes to its name.

It’s a record high for wind energy in Scotland, and it means the turbines could have provided enough electricity for every dwelling in Scotland, plus much of northern England as well, for the first six months of the year.

windturbines



 


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Scotland plants 22 million trees

In an article in The Independent, Phoebe Weston states that Scotland has planted 22 million trees to tackle the climate crisis, whilst England has not met its target, falling short by 7 million, or 3,000 hectares.

A total of 11,200 hectares of Scottish countryside were covered, according to Government statistics.  But in England just 1,420 hectares of woodland was planted, despite a target of 5,000 hectares being set, figures from the Forestry Commission suggest. This means it missed its annual target by seven million trees.

While the overall figures for the UK in the year to 31 March are up, that success is down to large increases in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust said.

The percentage of woodland cover in the UK remains at 13 per cent, with 10 per cent in England, 15 per cent in Wales, 19 per cent in Scotland and 8 per cent in Northern Ireland.

trees

The number of trees planted in Scotland now represents 84 per cent of the UK total. Increasing the number of trees being planted is part of the country’s efforts to tackle climate change, with a target of 15,000 hectares a year set to be in place from 2024-25.

After the latest figures were released, Abi Bunker, from the Woodland Trust, said: “The UK needs renewed ambition when it comes to tree planting and woodland expansion. The scale of what needs to be achieved to reach net zero targets is obvious; it will necessitate a three-fold increase on current levels.”

In the meantime, it has been announced on the Government’s website that Sir William Worsley has been reappointed to continue his drive to accelerate tree planting rates. The chair of the National Forest Company was tasked last year with setting a bold direction for the country’s forests and woodlands over the next 25 years.

Now Sir William is marking his reappointment with a call to land owners, farmers and foresters across the country to take up the mantle of tree planting by accessing the Government’s Woodland Creation Grant Scheme.

Through this fund, which is now open for applications all year round, planting grants of up to £6,800 are available to help landowners realise the benefits of expanding woodland cover.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tree-champion-reappointed-to-continue-tree-planting-push

A picture of Sir William Worsley leaning on a fence in a field.

Sir William Worsley