Newsdesk – March 23

Survivors clinging to buildings in the district of Buzi, Mozambique Photograph: INGC

Cyclone Idai ‘might be southern hemisphere’s worst such disaster,’ according to the UN. The devastating cyclone that hit the city of Beira in south-eastern Africa may be the worst ever disaster to strike the southern hemisphere, according to the UN – affecting 2.6 million from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, destroying nearly everything in its path, leading to devastating floods, destroying crops, and killing and injuring thousands of people. “Where there was land, there’s now sea. The city itself is completely cut off. It’s really an island now in the ocean,” said Matthew Cochrane of the Red Cross, adding that an emergency appeal will be launched to raise an initial 10 million Swiss francs to provide shelter and clean water. For those stranded in the aftermath, health is a huge worry and the risk of outbreaks of cholera and typhoid is high, especially with reports that water pipelines to the city have been cut. “It is a total mess here. Please pray for the thousands and thousands who have lost their homes,” said Jill Lovell, the Australian who runs a mission school in Beira. “People are in trees and on rooftops. Emergency relief crews are slowly coming in. Rains continue to make it all even harder. So many lives lost and homes destroyed.” – The Guardian.

  • Here’s a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019 – Mashable.
  • “The perfect storm”: How climate change made the “historic” flooding in Nebraska and Iowa worse  – Newsweek.
  • Receding Chilean glacier a sign of accelerating climate change –
  • The ocean keeps gulping up a colossal amount of CO2 from the air, but will it last? – Mashable.
  • Germany ready to join global coal phase-out alliance: environment minister – Climate Change News.
  • In Germany, Consumers Embrace a Shift to Home Batteries – Yale Environment 360.
  • UK and Italy bid for 2020 climate talks, amid political uncertainty for both – Climate Change News.
  • Royal Court and Globe join UK arts climate protest – The Guardian.
  • How Africa can improve mobilization of climate finance for sustainable development? – UNDP Africa.
‘We must listen to the children.’ Climate strikers in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nasief Manie/AP

I see how climate change will lead to conflict in my home country, Nigeria – Nnimmo Bassey. Previous Friday, children and teenagers in 72 countries participated in what have come to be known as the school strikes against climate change. The idea of these strikes originated in August 2018 with a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, who sat outside her country’s parliament building every Friday instead of in a classroom. She is there to demand that the government takes climate action by implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. The extreme weather events are already wreaking havoc on many regions, such as Nigeria and other African nations that are at risk of highly challenged agricultural systems and intensified poverty regimes. Even with the best socioeconomic improvements in nations like Nigeria, 1.5C or 2C temperature increase will lead to elevated health risks, increased desertification, higher ocean acidification and migration of marine species to higher latitudes. The impacts on Nigeria will be dire. Ocean acidification and coastal erosion, on the other hand, will force coastal communities to relocate into the hinterland. This is a scenario that will breed conflict. The strike for climate action is a significant step by children and teenagers to solve these conflicts especially because it is their future that is at stake. When children call adults immature, we must be attentive, because it is a plea for us to think of the future of our children – The Guardian.

Nutritious, fast-growing and cost-efficient: the secret to tackling malnutrition could lie in sweet potatoes CREDIT: ALAMY

The humble sweet potato can help power Africa in the face of climate change. Forest fires during a record-breaking warm winter in Europe, Arctic cold in the US, and melting glaciers are clear signals that climate change is impacting all of us – but it is in Africa where impact is and will be the most significant. The extreme weather is likely to get worse in the years ahead, posing a threat to food production and security at a time when hunger and malnutrition continue to blight many African communities. Now, at this time, the potential of the sweet potato – a fast-growing crop rich in vitamins and micronutrients – can support climate adaptation, which is becoming increasingly important. It offers the quickest nutritional returns in the face of increasingly challenging weather conditions. Sweet potato – with all its nutritional benefits – is ripe and ready in as little as three months. Such qualities of the sweet potato will be beneficial when an estimated 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of blindness from vitamin A deficiency. As Africa Climate Week lays out the continent’s priorities ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and the UN Climate Conference, decision-makers and donors should be paying close attention to the impact of rising temperatures on hunger, poverty and equality – The Telegraph.

Source: NOAA/National. Centers for Environmental Information

‘The Trend Is Unmistakable’: New Analysis Shows Heat Records  Broken Twice as Often as Cold Ones. A new analysis revealed Tuesday shows that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts’ warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions. This analysis was conducted by The Associated Press: “The AP looked at 424 weather stations throughout the Lower 48 states that had consistent temperature records since 1920 and counted how many times daily hot temperature records were tied or broken and how many daily cold records were set. In a stable climate, the numbers should be roughly equal. Since 1999, the ratio has been two warm records set or broken for every cold one. In 16 of the last 20 years, there have been more daily high temperature records than low…” The AP report illustrates a vital point that can become muddled in conversations about weather and climate — Global warming does not mean there will never be cold weather — but if the international community stays on its business-as-usual path of burning fossil fuels and polluting the planet with reckless abandon, the likeliness of extremely cold days will continue to decline. Stanford climate scientist Chris Field has more to say about these findings: “As a measure of climate change, the dailies [temperature records] will tell you more about what’s happening; the impacts of climate change almost always come packaged in extremes.” – EcoWatch.