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This Is Almost Certainly the Hottest Decade on Record, UN Weather Agency Says
We are almost certainly living through the hottest decade on record, according to a provisional report from the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The WMO's Provisional Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 was released Tuesday on the second day of the COP25 UN climate change conference in Madrid. The report found that the mean temperatures for January through October 2019 were around 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and that 2019 would likely be the second or third warmest year on record, meaning the past five years "are now almost certain" to be the five warmest years on the books.
"It's shocking how much climate change in 2019 has already led to lives lost, poor health, food insecurity and displaced populations," Dr. Joanna House of the University of Bristol told BBC News, in response to the report's release. "Even as a climate scientist who knows the evidence and the projections, I find this deeply upsetting. What is more shocking is how long very little has been done about this. We have the information, the solutions, what we need now is urgent action."
Since the 1980s, every decade has been warmer than the one before, but just reciting average temperature increases doesn't give a true sense of the impact of global warming, University of Manchester atmospheric physics professor Grant Allen told The Guardian.
"This [temperature rise] does not simply mean slightly warmer summers, it means an increased frequency of extreme weather globally – droughts, heatwaves, flooding and changing patterns in the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones," Allen said. "These impacts are real and happening now and place huge pressures on communities and countries – put simply, these impacts make for a more unstable world, and are already having profound impacts on our ecosystems and biodiversity."
The report did not limit itself to temperature measurements either. Here are some other notable signs of the climate crisis in 2019:
- The amount of heat absorbed by the oceans reached record levels.
- Mean seal level rise reached its highest level since high-precision record keeping began in 1993.
- Arctic daily sea ice extent was at its second lowest minimum in September, and sea ice extent in Antarctica was the lowest on record for some months
- Cyclone Idai was one of the strongest cyclones on record to make landfall in East Africa, displacing 50,905 people in Zimbabwe, 53,237 in southern Malawi and 77,019 in Mozambique.
- Seven of the more than 10 million internal displacements recorded between January and October 2019 were due to extreme precipitation or flooding.
The report also listed some impacts from 2018. That year, a record 220 million people over 65 were exposed to heat waves, which are especially dangerous for the elderly. More than 820 million people also suffered from hunger that year. Global hunger had been in decline, but is rising again partly because of extreme weather events and fluctuating temperatures.
Attendees at the COP25 climate conference hoped the release of the report would reinforce the urgency of taking action."Now we know that global temperatures are rising to record levels and without action we can expect more climate suffering. It's vital we phase out fossil fuels as fast as possible," Dr. Kat Kramer from Christian Aid told BBC News. "The good news is this is a timely wake-up call at the start of the COP25 climate summit in Madrid. Delegates have no excuse to block progress or drag their feet when the science is showing how urgently action is needed."
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'How Dare You Put Our Lives at Risk': Pennsylvania Democrat Brian Sims Rips GOP Members for 'Coverup' of Positive COVID-19 Tests
Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.
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In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.
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By Linda Lacina
World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.
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Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
By Nicholas Joyce
The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.
Telehealth Versus Traditional Therapy<p><a href="https://www.cigna.com/hcpemails/telehealth/telehealth-flyer.pdf" target="_blank">Private insurance companies</a> like Cigna and Aetna, have come around; they now provide coverage for what they see as a "legitimate" service. And <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-wells-2019-consumer-survey-finds-majority-of-consumers-open-to-telehealth-adoption-continues-to-grow-300906438.html" target="_blank">surveys show</a> consumers are receptive to telehealth counseling: no driving to an appointment, no searching for a parking space, no worries about childcare while they're away, no need to switch providers if they move, and no problem if the specialist happens to be far away.</p><p>Online therapy opens doors for clients who wouldn't otherwise seek help, <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/empirical-examination-of-the-influence-of-personality-gender-role-conflict-and-self-stigma-on-attitudes-and-intentions-to-seek-online-counseling-in-college-students/oclc/941976505" target="_blank">particularly patients</a> who feel stigmatized by therapy or intimidated by a stranger sitting across the room from them. Often, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1089/1094931041291295" target="_blank">people open up</a> more easily in telehealth sessions. Firsthand accounts have detailed <a href="https://www.romper.com/p/i-tried-online-therapy-for-a-month-this-is-what-happened-13630" target="_blank">positive experiences from consumers</a>.</p>
Overcoming Prejudices About Online Counseling<p>Now COVID-19 is forcing most traditional psychotherapists to adapt their practice to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/expressive-trauma-integration/202003/covid-19-etherapy-in-times-isolation" target="_blank">online counseling</a>. After experiencing the medium, they are <a href="https://www.wecounsel.com/blog/why-every-therapist-in-private-practice-needs-a-telehealth-option/" target="_blank">overcoming their prejudices</a>. Many will convert some or all of their caseloads to telehealth after the pandemic ends. Most of our clients seem to be good with it: responding to a satisfaction survey, 85% of USF students strongly or somewhat agreed their telehealth experience was comparable to an in-person visit.</p><p>All this allows a continuity of care for clients that before was impossible; there is, however, a caveat. Because of the coronavirus, some of my clients at USF who live out-of-state have moved back home. That means, legally, I can no longer serve them. Even though they are still USF students, my license is valid only in Florida.</p><p>For telehealth to work effectively, our national system of licensing and regulation law needs to adapt. Although the federal government temporarily halted HIPAA regulations to promote telehealth during this time, not all states are allowing out-of-state practice. The coronavirus may not be here forever, but spring break and Christmas holidays always will. We need seamless telehealth across state lines.</p>
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As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images
By Jessica Corbett
Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.
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Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
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