British Chips Now One Inch Shorter Due to Climate Change
One of Britain's favorite snacks is now an inch shorter, and climate change is to blame.
That's because the UK's 2018 summer heat wave, which the Met Office said was made 30 times more likely by climate change, led to a harvest of smaller potatoes. Smaller potatoes also means shorter chips, one of the UK's most beloved pub foods.
The finding is one of many recounted in Recipe for Disaster, a new report from the Climate Coalition that looks at the impact of climate change on Britain's fruits and vegetables. In addition to the 2018 heat wave, growers were also impacted by snow and freezing temperatures earlier in the year.
BREAKING: report shows the British-grown fruits and vegetables we love are under threat due to the extreme and unpr… https://t.co/IFqU6fbqof— The ClimateCoalition (@The ClimateCoalition)1549355422.0
"This year made it seem like an impossible job," co-founder of vegetable growing and delivery service The Natural Veg Men Matt Smee said in the report. "It's really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge. I'd be devastated if I had to deal with this year again."
The report found that more than half of UK farms had been impacted by flooding, storms or other extreme weather events in the past 10 years. Weather events in the past two years have taken a toll on a variety of crops, the report found.
- Late frosts in 2017 cost apple growers 25 percent of their crop.
- Heat reduced carrot harvests 25-30 percent in 2018.
- Heat also reduced onion harvests by 40 percent in 2018.
- Potato yields fell 20 percent in 2018 in England and Wales, the fourth smallest harvest since 1960.
- Bad weather in Spain and Italy led to shortages of zucchini, spinach and lettuce in UK supermarkets in early 2017.
The report had even more dire warnings for the future of the UK's potato crop. Currently, 80 percent of the country's potatoes are grown within its borders, but climate change could make 75 percent of the land they are now grown on unfavorable to the tuber by 2050.
"It should be unthinkable to us that the humble spud could become a delicacy," Gareth Redmond-King of the World Wildlife Fund, which is part of the Climate Coalition, said, as The Guardian reported. "But the unthinkable becomes reality if climate change isn't tackled."
However, the report said there was hope, as farmers, retailers and the UK public have all expressed willingness to work to reduce emissions from agriculture and work towards more sustainable food production. For example, the National Farmers' Union pledged in January to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 at the latest.
"The challenge for everyone—and not just the food and farming sector—is to work to reduce climate emissions to help protect [what] we love for future generations," the report said.
European Drought Threatens Harvests From Sweden to the Czech Republic !!! https://t.co/zzJrCBT0XB— Barbara Navarro #ClimateJustice 🆘 🌊 (@Barbara Navarro #ClimateJustice 🆘 🌊)1532804883.0
By Ilana Cohen
Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.
But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.
Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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