Newsdesk – March 30

Illustration by Eva Bee

The destruction of the Earth is a crime. It should be prosecuted. British Barrister Polly Higgins calls for criminal law of ecocide to impose a legal duty on governments to protect the public from dangerous industrial practices. Polly Higgins has devoted her life to creating an international crime of ecocide. Since stepping down from her legal practice as a court advocate, she devotes her time to one client – the Earth. The Earth Protectors group she founded seeks to crowdfund the campaign, which would radically shift the balance of power, forcing anyone contemplating large-scale vandalism to ask themselves: “Will I end up in the international criminal court for this?” Until 1996, drafts of the Rome Statute, which lists international crimes against humanity, included the crime of ecocide. But it was dropped at a late stage at the behest of three states: the UK, France and the Netherlands. Ecocide looked like a lost cause until Higgins took it up 10 years ago. She gave up her job and sold her house to finance this campaign on behalf of all of us. She has drafted model laws to show what the crime of ecocide would look like, published two books on the subject and, often against furious opposition, presented her proposals at international meetings – The Guardian

  • They Grew Up Around Fossil Fuels. Now, Their Jobs Are in Renewables – The New York Times
  • U.N. Report Finds the Past Four Years Were Warmest on Record – U.S. News
  • The Day the Dinosaurs Died – The New Yorker
  • Terrifying map shows all the parts of America that might soon flood – Grist
  • Senate’s Green New Deal Vote: 4 Things You Need to Know – Inside Climate News
  • Alaska bakes under heat wave linked to climate change –
Food aid distribution in Kenya: Hunger is on the increase. Image: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hunger is growing as the world warms faster. Climate change is speeding up, and among its malign impacts is a setback for efforts to feed the world: hunger is growing again. The evidence that hunger and malnutrition are once again on the rise after a prolonged decline, is published in a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the state of the global climate in 2018. The report, drawing on material from scientists, UN agencies and countries’ own meteorological services, says the physical signs and the impacts of climate change are speeding up as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels. In a statement the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, writes that the data released in the report “give cause for great concern. The past four years were the warmest on record, with the global average surface temperature in 2018 approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline … There is no longer any time for delay” – Climate News Network

Humidity and water are crucial for vector breeding. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Rising Temperatures Will Help Mosquitos Infect a Billion More People. Mosquitoes are unrelenting killers. In fact, they are among the most lethal animals in the world. When they carry dangerous viruses or other organisms, a bite can be unforgiving. They cause millions of deaths every year from such infectious diseases as malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever and at least a dozen more. Climate change is expected to make them even deadlier. As the planet heats up these insects will survive winter and proliferate, causing an estimated billion or more new infections by the end of the century, according to new research. Mosquitoes thrive in warm temperatures and carbon dioxide, encouraging them to flourish and spread disease. Rising temperatures are causing many to migrate to new locations. Mosquitoes are able to spread blood-borne pathogens faster than epidemiologists can track an epidemic. There are many one-way doors through which we will go as the planet warms – EcoWatch