Month: August 2019

New Study: Groundwater Resources In Africa Are Resilient To Climate Change

Groundwater – a vital source of water for drinking and irrigation across sub-Saharan Africa – is resilient to climate variability and change, according to a new study led by UCL and Cardiff University.

groundwater

A consortium of 32 scientists from across Africa and beyond carried out the research, published in Nature, which shows how groundwater replenishment depends upon heavy rainfalls and flood events, amplified by climate change.

The findings are significant given the fact that 1 in 3 people currently lack access to safe water in Sub-Saharan Africa and a dramatic expansion of irrigation is required to feed growing populations.

Groundwater plays a central role in sustaining water supplies and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa due to its widespread availability, generally high quality, and intrinsic ability to buffer episodes of drought and increasing climate variability.

Professor Richard Taylor (UCL Geography), co-lead on the study, said:

“Groundwater offers a potential pathway to sustain increases in freshwater use required to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 (zero hunger) and 6 (safe water for all).”

“Our study reveals, for the first time, how climate plays a dominant role in controlling the process by which groundwater is restocked. This improved understanding is critical for producing reliable climate change impact projections and adaptation strategies.”

The research involved the collation of multi-decadal records of groundwater levels and rainfall to examine how the replenishment of groundwater has responded to variations in climate and geology. The team analysed observations compiled from nine countries across sub-Saharan Africa representing a range of climates from hyper-arid to humid.

The study shows that in humid areas groundwater is replenished primarily by rainfall that directly infiltrates the land surface, whereas in drylands it occurs predominantly by leakage from temporary streams and ponds. Local geology also plays a role in determining the sensitivity of rates of replenishment to changes in climate.

This research, supported by UK research councils (NERC, ESRC, EPSRC), the Department for International Development (DFID) and The Royal Society, also shows that, in drylands, the heavy rainfalls and flood events generating groundwater replenishment are commonly associated with climate variation phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña.

Dr Mark Cuthbert (Cardiff University), co-lead on the study, said: “Previous regional-level assessments of groundwater resources using large-scale models have ignored the contribution of leaking streams and ponds to groundwater supplies, underestimating its renewability in drylands and resilience to climate change.”

“Knowledge of the replenishment process can inform strategies to enhance groundwater supplies. In drylands, where groundwater resources are often the only lasting source of freshwater, such strategies can further exploit the predictability of heavy rainfalls and flood events that generate groundwater,” added Dr Cuthbert.  

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August 8, 2019 at 07:59AM

Greta Walk-Out: Apocalyptic Climate Cult Shows First Signs Of Division

Greta Thunberg was among a group of young activists who protested over a disagreement about the Fridays for Future movement’s demands.

Greta Thunberg speaks to reporters after the opening press conference of this week’s summit. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Greta Thunberg was among 30 young activists who walked out of a major European meeting of more than 400 students who have spent the last nine months boycotting school on Fridays to demand action on climate change.

Thunberg, 16, has become the most visible spokesperson of the Fridays for Future movement after launching a solitary school strike in Stockholm in Stockholm. But during an emotional meeting Wednesday morning, the group left the main hall and sat down outside the front door, which BuzzFeed News witnessed, just before the conference was due to take up a draft platform of the movement’s demands.

“We’re on strike,” said Janine O’Keeffe, an adult activist who lives in Sweden and has been active with the strike movement since its early days, and who had been participating in a committee drafting the movement’s demands. Multiple other participants also described the walkout as a “strike” to BuzzFeed News.

Thunberg did not respond to requests to comment before this story was first published. But she said in a text message to BuzzFeed News after publication that she did not personally view the gathering as a protest.

“I did not ‘join a walk out’ or ‘join a sit in.’ We are going in and out of meetings all the time,” she wrote. “In this case I sat down outside the auditorium to comfort a friend of mine who was sad and upset at the time.” […]

The split began to emerge in meetings that BuzzFeed News sat in on Tuesday, but came to a head Wednesday as the conference was preparing to take up a list of demands. A committee had met the day before to revise a draft that outlined more than 20 specific policy recommendations, covering everything from reforming agriculture to curbing carbon emissions from boats. Thunberg and group of others recommended scrapping these proposals in favor of much broader principles like “follow the science” and “climate justice for everyone.”

“Not one of us agreed to all these demands, because they’re too specific,” Thunberg said in making the recommendation. Saoi O’Connor, a 16-year-old from Ireland, was even more emphatic in arguing against specific demands as the meeting broke up. “Our movement is strong because we haven’t had to do this,” BuzzFeed News heard them say to another participant.

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August 8, 2019 at 07:52AM

An Establishment Rebellion

Why the elite loves the eco-warriors.

An establishment rebellion

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has acquired a number of artefacts associated with Extinction Rebellion (XR), the protest group campaigning to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2025. Apparently, just nine months since Extinction Rebellion’s first public stunt, its paraphernalia deserves to be housed alongside some of the world’s best art and design works of the past 5,000 years. 

It is hard to think of any supposedly radical protest movement in history that has been so readily embraced by the establishment as Extinction Rebellion. And the love-bombing isn’t just coming from the usual luvvies like Dame Emma Thompson and activist celebs like Lily Cole and Charlotte Church. Recently, XR attracted the attention of wealthy philanthropists. Last month, three wealthy Americans (one of whose family wealth comes from the oil industry) donated nearly £500,000 to XR and vowed to raise millions more. Other wealthy backers include a hedge-fund manager, who remains anonymous. 

Then, there is the literary establishment – from heavyweight authors like Margaret Atwood and Phillip Pullman to big-name publishers like Penguin, it has thrown its weight behind Extinction Rebellion, too. This Is Not A Drill, XR’s protest handbook, was recently rushed out for release by Penguin. Penguin’s editor breathlessly declared that climate change was so pressing that XR’s book needed to be published several months before its initial release date: ‘This is an emergency, and we have to react like it’s an emergency.’ The book even features a contribution from Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury – the former head of the established church

The reason for this establishment love-in is that Extinction Rebellion represents no rebellion at all. It has the appearance of a rebellion, certainly – protesters glue their hands to buildings, block roads and get themselves arrested. But the message is one that affirms and flatters establishment opinion rather than challenging it. 

Parliament, for instance, was quick to heed XR’s demand to declare a ‘climate emergency’. More significantly, the group’s main aim of reducing UK emissions to ‘net zero’ is one that is shared not only by the Conservative government, but also by MPs of all stripes. The ‘net zero’ target for 2050 was nodded through parliament with just an hour and a half of debate and without a single vote needing to be cast. XR is only more impatient in its demand, calling for a 2025 deadline. PODCAST‘Kids are not in constant danger’SPIKED

Many have tried to compare Extinction Rebellion’s climate crusade with past movements for progressive change. Justifying the V&A’s decision to acquire Extinction Rebellion artefacts, senior curator Corinna Gardner compared their punchy colour palette to that of the Suffragettes. Similarly, XR leader Roger Hallam claims his protesting is in the ‘tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King’.

These comparisons are delusional, pretentious and insulting. But they unwittingly highlight something important. Whether it was the Chartists, the Suffragettes, the civil-rights movement, or the gay-rights movement, these genuinely progressive campaigns were all despised by the elite at the time. These were campaigns that sought to expand human freedom, to wrest rights and resources from the establishment. By contrast, environmentalist campaigns like Extinction Rebellion are, by their very nature, against freedom. They seek to place new limits on human activity: on industry, on economic growth, on our travel, on our diets, and on childbirth.

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August 8, 2019 at 06:31AM

URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT SHOWS UP IN NEW SATELLITE PHOTOS

If proof were needed that the Urban Heat Island was a true effect then the photos in this article are clear enough. The effect may not affect world temperatures, but it must affect the thermometers that are placed in our cities and so give an impression that the world is warming up faster. If these measurements are so important you would think that it should be possible to place the crucial thermometers in ideal country locations. This is why the best record must come from the satellite measurements with truly global coverage. 

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August 8, 2019 at 05:20AM