By Ajit Niranjan
World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Adaptation Has a Long Way to Go<p>The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">Paris Agreement</a> and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.</p><p>A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation — and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.</p><p>Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3°C by the end of the century.</p><p>If world leaders <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-performance-index-how-far-have-we-come/a-55846406" target="_blank">deliver on recent pledges</a> to bring emissions to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/joe-bidens-climate-pledges-are-they-realistic/a-56173821" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">net-zero</a> by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2°C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that — ideally 1.5°C. </p><p>There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings.</p>
The Cost of Climate Adaptation<p>About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.</p><p>More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.</p><p>The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.</p><p>But failing to adapt is even more expensive.</p><p>When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-after-cyclone-idai-building-climate-friendly-practices/a-54251885" target="_blank">cyclones Idai</a> and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.</p><p>The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.</p>
Exploring Nature-Based Solutions<p>The report also highlights how restoring nature can protect people from climate change while benefiting local communities and ecology.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-fires-risk-climate-change-bushfires-australia-california-extreme-weather-firefighters/a-54817927" target="_blank">Wildfires</a>, for instance, could be made less punishing by restoring grasslands and regularly burning the land in controlled settings. Indigenous communities from Australia to Canada have done this for millennia in a way that encourages plant growth while reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Reforestation, meanwhile, can stop soil erosion and flooding during heavy rainfall while trapping carbon and protecting wildlife.</p><p>In countries like Brazil and Malaysia, governments could better protect coastal homes from floods and storms by restoring <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/mudflats-mangroves-and-marshes-the-great-coastal-protectors/a-50628747" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mangroves</a> — tangled trees that grow in tropical swamps. As well as anchoring sediments and absorbing the crash of waves, mangroves can store carbon, help fish populations grow and boost local economies through tourism. </p><p>While nature-based solutions are often cheaper than building hard infrastructure, their funding makes up a "tiny fraction" of adaptation finance, the report authors wrote. An analysis of four global climate funds that spent $94 billion on adaptation projects found that just $12 billion went to nature-based solutions and little of this was spent implementing projects on the ground.</p><p>But little is known about their long-term effectiveness. At higher temperatures, the effects of climate change may be so great that they overwhelm natural defenses like mangroves.</p><p>By 2050, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-should-we-let-the-ocean-in-a-50704953/a-50704953" target="_blank">coastal floods</a> that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher sea walls, like in Indonesia and South Korea, or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji.</p><p>It's not a case of replacing infrastructure, said Matthias Garschagen, a geographer at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and IPCC author, who was not involved in the UNEP report. "The case for nature-based solutions is often misinterpreted as a battle... but they're part of a toolkit that we've ignored for too long."</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tim Schauenberg
When the Earth shook the Los Angeles region on the night of January 17, 1994, many houses, bridges and power lines were toppled. At that moment, the brightly illuminated metropole was plunged into darkness.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Anne-Sophie Brändlin
If, this time last year, the world had been told it would spend much of the coming months in lockdown, few might have believed it. But that reality came, and it did so almost overnight, bringing with it a crashing end to the busy flow of life, which sees billions rushing from one appointment to the next without much time to think. Left to their own devices at home, people have had to find new ways to spend their time, and deal with anxiety and silence.
Creating an Awareness, One Breath at a Time<p>Though White says that doesn't mean living in constant state of bliss and harmony. Rather, it allows people to acknowledge why they might be feeling scared, overwhelmed, stressed or lonely. It can also prevent them from running away from those emotions and looking for distraction in alcohol, Netflix, food or spending sprees.</p><p><span></span>In short, White explains, traditions such as yoga and meditation help create an awareness of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-pandemic-linked-to-destruction-of-wildlife-and-worlds-ecosystems/a-53078480" target="_blank">what is happening in our world</a> and allow us to tackle difficult situations and our reactions to them.</p><p>"Our body response to big crisis situations, like climate change, and now the pandemic, is often to freeze, be numb and to run away," she said.</p><p>"The more we can connect with our body responses, the more we can tune into our own personal and collective responsibility to a crisis, whether it's the pandemic or climate change, without going into that trauma response."</p>
Overcoming Crises<p>The coronavirus pandemic and climate change are two of the biggest issues facing <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-time-has-come-for-humanity-to-go-through-its-next-evolution/a-53589043" target="_blank">humanity</a> at this point in history. Whether it's the global quest for a COVID-19 vaccine or the world pulling together to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">slash greenhouse gas emissions</a>, solutions to both require an effort from the international community.</p><p>This is where the ancient Indian concept of <em>Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam</em> comes in. Rooted in yoga, it means the world is one family and has to act as such. And in times of crisis, collaboration becomes more essential than ever.<br></p><p>"Yogis believe that all life is connected, that we are all one and should live in harmony with each other," said Alexander Bütow, who runs a yoga and meditation studio in Berlin.</p><p>"The problem is that many humans take themselves out of that and create divisions, groups, and start disconnecting — from themselves, from others, from the world around them. Once we stop this disconnect, we can overcome crises together."</p>
'We Are Part of Nature'<p>He, like others who practice regularly, sees meditation and yoga as a means to slowing down, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philosopher-svenja-flassp%C3%B6hler-the-coronavirus-standstill-gives-us-a-space-to-think/a-52915769" target="_blank">emptying our minds </a> and calming our thoughts. And that, so the thinking goes, facilitates a connection not only to ourselves, but to the world around us.</p><p>"Every human being is intrinsically connected to every other human being and also to nature, animals, plants, everything on this planet. But you are often not aware of it because you are too busy with too many things. When that stops for a moment, when you calm down, you realize these connections," said A.G. Ramakrishnan, a professor for electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, who also researches in the fields of meditation and breathing exercises.</p><p>"The concept of yoga, for instance, is holistic. It teaches you that we can't live without others, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/how-do-we-change-peter-sloterdijk-environment-coronavirus-on-the-green-fence-climate-change/a-53533840" target="_blank">we cannot live without animals</a>, we cannot live without nature." Ramakrishnan continued.</p><p>Yet that, says Bütow, is not in keeping with the way we live.</p><p>"It has become a bad habit these days that we take ourselves out of nature. We are part of nature way more than we pretend to be. Nature is where we came from. But we have totally detached ourselves from that."</p><p>He says breathing exercises can help us reconnect, because through our breath we are in constant contact with the outside world.</p><p>"We just have to remember this connection, which will help us to see ourselves as part of nature."</p>
Slowing Down to Help the Planet<p>For many, the pandemic has also brought our mortality into sharp relief. It has served as a reminder that life as we know it is susceptible to massive disruption.</p><p>In restricting what we can do, where we can go and how we can keep ourselves occupied, it has also made our worlds smaller, forced us not only to slow down, but in many cases to take a genuine pause. And that, says Jenny White, can reap rewards.</p><p>"Once you give yourself that time to pause and breathe, you will become kinder and softer and more understanding when it comes to your own shortcomings and difficulties. And this will make you more compassionate and understanding when it comes to other people and their needs and ultimately also our planet's needs."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-planet-climate-awareness-mindfulness-animals-plants-yogis-breath/a-56162526" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649861943#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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By Georgina Kenyon
Earlier this year, the term "bat tornado" started appearing in the Australian and international media. It all started with a BBC report from the town of Ingham in the northeastern state of Queensland, where the population of flying fox bats had apparently "exploded" over the last two years, leaving residents fed up with their noise and smell.
Travelers in Search of Wood and Water<p>The Australian mainland has four species of flying fox — also known as <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zambia-incredible-flight-of-the-fruit-bats/a-36825859" target="_blank">fruit bats</a> — two of which are listed as nationally protected species. Some can reach a wingspan of 1.5 meters.</p><p>Flying fox camps have been likened to railway stations, where crowds of the animals come and go each day. They may travel up to 50 kilometers (30 miles) in a single night, and 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) seasonally, depending on food availability. </p><p>They also need a good source of water, drinking small amounts frequently to stay hydrated without weighing themselves down in flight. Susan Island, located in the middle of the Clarence River that runs through the city of Grafton, has become an ideal congregation spot. </p><p>But climate change and deforestation are making their movements less predictable. As their habitat is lost or water sources dry up, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/australia-heat-wave-brain-frying-bats/a-42078045" target="_blank">they seek refuge</a> in urban or suburban areas. "They're being forced into areas they would not normally be," said Tim Pearson, an ecologist and chair of the NGO Sydney Bats. </p><p>And while some Australian towns may be seeing an influx of flying foxes, nationally, their numbers have dropped significantly. </p>
Perishing in the Heat<p>Extreme temperatures over recent years have wiped out thousands — sometimes even tens of thousands — of animals at a time, with media reports showing heaps of corpses where they have fallen from trees suffering extreme heat stress.</p><p>Australia experienced the hottest November on record this year, with temperatures reaching the mid-40 degrees Celsius in some regions.</p><p>And bats are more exposed to heat in towns and suburbs where they don't have the protection of thick forest. </p><p>"This latest catastrophe to befall some of Australia's largest bat species is a symptom of a much larger problem — Australia's deforestation crisis," said Matt Brennan, head of Tasmania-based Wilderness Society. "Eastern Australia is now a designated global deforestation hotspot, alongside places like the Amazon, the Congo and Borneo." </p>
Extending a Helping Hand<p>Some towns are trying to help them. Yarra City council in Melbourne has installed sprinkler systems where flying foxes come to breed in huge colonies on the Yarra River, to try and keep them cool. </p><p>And along the Parramatta River in Sydney, the New South Wales state government has helped fund a project to plant trees to provide the bats with more habitat and shade.</p><p>However, these well-intentioned interventions don't always hit the mark. Pearson says sprinklers can startle heat-exhausted animals, increasing their stress levels. And ultimately, making urban environments more hospitable to bats is no substitute for preserving the forests where they are naturally at home.</p><p>"You can plant trees to give the flying foxes more habitat, but the real problem is climate change and ongoing deforestation," said Pearson. </p>
Bats Need Forests, and Forests Need Bats<p>While flying foxes suffer from loss of trees, loss of fruit bats is, in turn, bad news for trees. As flying foxes pop their heads into flowers to feed on nectar, or consume fruit and excrete the seeds, they help eucalypts, melaleucas, banksias and many species of rainforest trees and vines, to reproduce.</p><p>Pearson warns that if we don't address climate change and halt deforestation, Australia's flying fox numbers will fall so low within the next few decades, they will no longer be able perform this vital role.</p><p>"I think they will survive in some pockets along the coast where there is food and water," he said, "but they will not be acting as the pollinators and seed dispersers that are so necessary for our forests to survive." </p>
Learning to Love Our Winged Neighbors<p>Pearson is among the flying fox's fiercest defenders. He's studying their vocalizations and says the din their human neighbors complain about is actually the highly developed communication of an intelligent and intensely social species. </p><p>He wants the public to stop seeing them as disease-carrying invaders and start appreciating fruit bats for the extraordinary animals they are: "It's through educating people, raising awareness about how important these flying foxes are for ecosystem health that we may be able to save them."</p><p>In Grafton, spectators now sometimes gather to watch them on their nightly search for food. </p><p>"When I realized people were coming from around Australia just to see the bats here out of curiosity, I started to find out more about them, appreciate them," said Taylor. "People actually row out to the island to see them!" </p><p>"I guess the bats are kind of funky," she admits.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/flying-foxes-australias-love-hate-relationship-with-fruit-bats/a-55949095" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649780401#/" target="_self"></a></p>
"Industrial meat production is not only responsible for precarious working conditions, it also pushes people off their land, leads to deforestation, biodiversity loss and the use of pesticides — and is also one of the main drivers of the climate crisis."
Such were the words of Barbara Unmüssig of green think tank, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, at the Berlin presentation of the so-called "Meat Atlas 2021."
Germany Plays Leading Role in the Meat Industry<p><span>Olaf Bandt, chairman of BUND, says policymakers must take account of society's desire to </span><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/can-you-be-a-good-christian-and-eat-meat/a-55410685" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">restructure the sector</a><span>. "This requires far-reaching political realignment of agricultural policy," he said. "But there can be no agricultural transition without a food transition."</span></p><p>Bandt describes Germany as a key player in the production of pork and milk, with a 20% share of the EU market. </p><p>"Huge amounts of meat are exported," he said, adding that this reliance on international markets is having a detrimental effect on the environment, livestock and farms. "More and more animals live on ever fewer farms, further exacerbating the pollution of groundwater in those regions." </p>
Meat Devours Rainforest<p>Global population and economic growth are the drivers behind increasing demand for meat. In 1960, the planet was home to just 3 billion people and, according to the report, meat consumption at that time was around 70 million metric tons. That equated to an annual per capita global average of 23 kilograms.</p><p><span></span>By 2018, however, when the population had grown to 7.6 billion people, meat consumption had risen seven-fold to around 350 million metric tons — or a global average of 46 kilograms per person annually.</p><p>A key problem with this trend is that <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/eating-meat-is-no-longer-a-private-matter/a-55515722" target="_blank">meat production</a> requires vast areas of land. According to the German Environment Agency (UBA), the country's central environment authority, 71% of global arable land is currently used for livestock feed. That is four times the amount required for direct food growth (18%) or other raw materials such as cotton (7%) and energy crops like corn for biogas (4%). </p>
The Problem With Pesticides<p>Besides revealing the power and global impact of the international meat industry, authors of the "Meat Atlas" also illustrate links to the global chemical industry. They write that dangerous and sometimes banned pesticides are exported by large chemical companies. Among the producers and exporters of such chemicals are European players, Bayer Crop Science, BASF, and Syngenta, as well as U.S. companies Corteva and FMS. </p>
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There's no doubt that tackling the climate crisis will require drastic action on a global scale. But there are also some personal changes you can make to curb your carbon footprint in the new year.
Go Car Free<p>Instead of taking the car, consider using public transport or cycling — even just one day a week. Emissions from the transport sector make up a fifth of CO2 emissions, with the largest contributors being road vehicles like cars and buses. According to the Center for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), going car-free can save an average of 2.04 tons of CO2 equivalent per person annually.</p>
Fly Less<p>When traveling long distances, take a train rather than a plane. Aviation contributes up to 2.5% of the world's global carbon emissions. And taking one fewer long-haul return flight per year can save 1.68 tons of CO2 equivalent per person per year, according to CREDS. If you can't avoid flying, you could also offset your emissions by donating to sustainable projects.</p>
Eat Less Meat<p>One way to lower your footprint is by eating less red meat in favor of plant-based alternatives, or swapping it for pork or poultry. Food production is responsible for about a quarter of global emissions — and the meat and dairy sectors are major contributors. A 2018 study found that producing a kilo of beef emits 60kg of greenhouse gases, compared to 6kg for poultry, or just 1kg for peas.</p>
Cut Down on Waste<p>About one-third of food produced globally is lost or wasted, contributing up to 10% of carbon emissions, according to the UN. When it ends up in landfills and rots, it produces the potent greenhouse gas methane. Households are responsible for a large portion of this waste. So you can curb your footprint in 2021 by planning meals, buying only what you need, and by freezing and reusing leftovers.</p>
Start a Garden<p>Why not introduce some new plants to your balcony or garden? Another way to reduce the amount of methane ending up in the atmosphere is by composting food waste in a bin and using it to nourish your plants. You don't need much space to grow veggies, and doing so can cut the footprint of your food. Adding insect-friendly plants to the mix will also attract pollinators like butterflies or bees.</p>
Avoid Fast Fashion<p>Making a pledge to buying fewer clothes in 2021 is another way to limit your carbon footprint. If you do need a new item, look for options that are second hand, or consider swapping or renting. According to the UN, the fashion industry produces about 10% of global carbon emissions. A main culprit is "fast fashion" — cheap clothes that are rapidly bought and thrown out as trends change.</p>
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By Elliot Douglas
First developed in China more than a thousand years ago, fireworks have since become an integral part of celebrations all over the world. From New Year's Eve festivities, to U.S. Independence Day and Diwali in India, many events have become almost synonymous with the spark and spectacle of mini explosions lighting up the night sky.
By Doug Johnson
Laptops, phones and tablets come out in new, flashier upgrades each year, and consumers lap them up, eager to own the latest desirable models with the most cutting-edge features. But with every upgrade, older models mount up in landfills around the world.
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By Alexander Freund
Archaeologists have discovered tens of thousands of prehistoric paintings of animals and humans in a remote area of Colombia. Some now-extinct animals are depicted, meaning the art is likely more than 12,500 years old.
Rock art at the Cerro Azul hill in Serrania La Lindosa in the Amazonian jungle department of Guaviare, Colombia, on June 8, 2018. GUILLERMO LEGARIA / AFP via Getty Images
Ancient rock art depicting animals and humans at the Chiribiquete National Park in Guaviare, Cerro Azul, Colombia on July 2, 2018. Diego Camilo Carranza Jimenez / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
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By Zulfikar Abbany
How do you whittle down the 200 billion in our Milky Way galaxy to a mere 21? Focus on the ones that have changed human understanding of the universe, as astronomer Giles Sparrow told DW.
Illustration: Betelgeuse in "A History of the Universe in 21 Stars" by Giles Sparrow — a star big enough to turn supernova and explode.<p>It is fascinating. Unlike other forms of science, where you can chop things up or do experiments in a lab, with astronomy the only thing that we really have, apart from the occasional asteroid or meteorite that falls to Earth, is light and other radiations that have crossed all of this space. </p><p>Then, we pick them up with our telescopes on Earth and reconstruct the information. It often ends up being this amazing exercise in lateral thinking, because these things are physically so far beyond our reach.</p>
Illustration: Polaris and its constellation from "A History of the Universe in 21 Stars" by Giles Sparrow.<p><em>But that does raise the question: how reliable is our science on stars? We're talking about 21 stars in your book out of how many billions…</em></p><p>About 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, and about as many galaxies in the observable universe as there are stars in the Milky Way. And that's only the observable universe, which is the area that light has had time to reach us since the Big Bang. The entire universe probably stretches far, far beyond that. And it's expanding. </p>
Illustration: Our sun is just one of 200 billion (and counting) stars.<p>The scientific method is a matter of making increasingly good approximations to whatever reality is. And sometimes you get big things that come along and upset all the previous thinking, like Einstein's theories of relativity a century ago. So, yes, there are unanswered questions. But it feels like we understand the general principles pretty well and we've demonstrated them in nuclear fusion and experiments on Earth.</p><p><em>Now, you've narrowed down these billions upon billions of stars to just 21. What's the thinking there?</em></p><p>Well, the 21 stars form an overview of all the different aspects of the science, the stars that have been critical to our understanding of astronomy and its history. So, for instance, there's 61 Cygni, which is this obscure star in the constellation of a swan. It was the first star for which we worked out its distance. That was one of those lateral thinking tricks.</p>
Illustration: 61 Cygni and its constellation from "A History of the Universe in 21 Stars" by Giles Sparrow.<p><br>You know how things appear to be in a slightly different position or direction when you look at them with one eye and then the other — the idea of parallax. Well, people had pointed out that if the Earth was going around the sun, why weren't we seeing the stars shifting their positions?</p><p>And the reason for that was that the stars were vastly farther away than anyone had thought. It took a couple of hundred years before telescopes and measuring technology had advanced to the point where they could finally measure that distance. But that was the first step towards our working out the distances for other objects.</p>
Illustration: Helvetios from "A History of the Universe in 21 Stars" by Giles Sparrow.<p>Then, a much more recent thing, we've got a star called Helvetios. That was the first star, where we found planets, eight of them, orbiting around it.</p><p><em>And the 3 imposters, what's up with them?</em></p><p>To tell the entire story, you need to go beyond the stars. And the imposters were first mistaken for the stars.</p>
Illustration: Omega Centauri from "A History of the Universe in 21 Stars" by Giles Sparrow.<p>For instance, Omega Centauri, which is this enormous globular cluster, a huge spherical ball of stars, orbiting around the Milky Way. That was classed as a star when they first catalogued it and the Andromeda Galaxy was seen as a star.</p><p>Then there's the first quasar, which means quasi-stellar object. They found this obscure star, giving off strange radio signals, relatively nearby. They realized it was this distant galaxy, billions of light years away, shining with such intense light that we could see it.</p>
Long story, short: Supernova 1994D has helped scientists realize that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, not slowing.<p><em>And how do you feel about the idea of travelling to these distant locations? Is it worth it?</em></p><p>From a purely scientific point of view, you'd say: "Yes". If it was just about looking at the stars, then you're always going to come up against this problem that we have within our own solar system — when we send probes to investigate our own sun — they're staying quite a safe distance from it. You can't get within a few million kilometers without <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/solar-orbiter-blasts-off-in-mission-to-the-sun/a-52319412" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">burning up your spacecraft</a>.</p><p>On the other hand, we know, for instance, that Proxima Centauri, that first star close to Earth, has at least one planet orbiting it. And opinions differ, but it's in the right area for it to be potentially habitable. But we think that Proxima might be too unstable for that because it's giving off these very harsh stellar flares.</p><p>The prospect of investigating other solar systems is very enticing, though. Whether we do that using robot space probes and an awful lot of patience, or whether we find some way, whether it be suspended animation or warp drives, or any of these science fiction-ish ideas, which do have some scientific merit, that would be quite an adventure.</p>
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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has announced key members of his environmental team, saying that his administration would make a unified response to climate change a priority.
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World leaders should declare a "climate emergency" in their countries to spur action to avoid catastrophic global warming, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in opening remarks at a climate summit on Saturday.
On the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Agreement, more than 70 world leaders are due to address the one-day virtual meeting in the hope of galvanizing countries into stricter actions on global warming emissions.
Fossil Fuel Investment 'Unacceptable'<p><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(90, 88, 88);">The UN chief said economic recovery packages launched in the wake of </span><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-endng-covid-new-dawn-for-climate/a-55807185" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial; font-size: 14px;">the coronavirus pandemic</a><span style="background-color: initial; font-size: 14px; color: rgb(90, 88, 88);"> represented an opportunity to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future — but warned so much more needs to be done to ward off catastrophic consequences.</span><br></p>
China and India Promises<p>China and India vowed to advance their commitment to lower carbon pollution at the summit.</p><p>President Xi Jinping was one of the first leaders to address the virtual conference and he said China will boost its installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1,200 gigawatts over the next decade. Xi also said China will increase its share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25% during the same period.</p><p>And "China always honors its commitments," Xi promised.</p><p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India was ramping up its use of clean energy sources and was on target to achieve the emissions norms set under the 2015 Paris agreement.</p><p>India, the second-most populous nation on Earth and the world's fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, is eyeing 450 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity by 2030, Modi said.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/un-urges-world-leaders-to-declare-climate-emergency/a-55918020" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649465278#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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