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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

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What's Changing? - Climate



Please see below recent climate-related change, including key developments regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 - Climate Action.

Imagine a ship that is sinking and needs all the available power to run the pumps to drain out the rising waters. The first class passengers refuse to cooperate because they feel hot and want to use the air-conditioner and other electrical appliances. The second-class passengers spend all their time trying to be upgraded to first-class status. The boat sinks and the passengers all drown. That is where the present approach to climate change is leading - Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard


See also:


November 2021

  • Despite COP26 promises, world temperatures will increase by 2.4°C by the end of the century. That’s the conclusion from the globe’s top climate analysis coalition, based on countries’ short-term goals.
  • As heatwaves have become an increasingly severe crisis caused by the warming planet, a study predicted that by 2100 extreme heat could contribute to the deaths of up to 97,000 people annually. Meanwhile, many cities around the globe are appointing "heat officers" to implement solutions and avoid the growing death toll from heat seen in recent times.
  • Many countries lied about their greenhouse gas emissions to the UN in the lead up to the COP26 summit, according to a Washington Post investigation. Looking at individual nations' data reports, the Post concluded that up to 2.1 billion more tons of carbon dioxide emissions are currently being released into the atmosphere than the filings showed.
  • A climate projection says 3 billion people may live with extreme heat by 2070. The research, led by scientists at Exeter University’s Global Systems Institute, said that if emissions continue to rise, 3 billion could be exposed to temperatures as high as in the hottest part of the Sahara desert today.
  • Children growing up now will experience extreme weather events at a rate two to seven times higher than their grandparents did, according to a paper published in the journal Science. The Wall Street Journal explained that if the planet continues to warm on its current trajectory, the average six-year-old will live through roughly three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents, the study finds. They will see twice as many wildfires, 1.7 times as many tropical cyclones, 3.4 times more river floods, 2.5 times more crop failures and 2.3 times as many droughts as someone born in 1960.
  • Research from Conservation International mapped the places on Earth that humanity must protect to avoid a climate catastrophe. These ecosystems contain what researchers call "irrecoverable carbon," dense stores of carbon that, if released due to human activity, could not be recovered in time for the world to prevent the most dangerous impacts of climate change.  The worldwide map published in the journal Nature Sustainability, built on a landmark study that introduced the concept of irrecoverable carbon. The research found that half of Earth's irrecoverable carbon is highly concentrated on just 3.3% of land – primarily old-growth forests, peatlands and mangroves.
  • Global research firm Ipsos said that climate concern in the UK was at the highest level ever recorded. 40% of Britons said pollution and climate change were big issues for the country.


October 2021

  • Greenhouse gases are headed in the wrong direction, according to a United Nations report that said that the world is “way off track” as carbon dioxide levels broke records in 2020.
  • China published a long-awaited plan for how it intends to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. It touched on three big questions about China’s decarbonisation, when its emissions will peak, at what level and how fast they will fall after that.
  • Quartz noted that The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, and it produces less than 0.01% of global annual emissions, but it’s still taking steps to decarbonise - making it perhaps the only country on Earth where those steps match its contribution to the problem. Nepal, Kenya, and Ethiopia aren’t too far behind.


September 2021


August 2021

  • US government scientists announced that July 2021 was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded; modern records stretch back to 1879. The global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.9C higher than the 20th-century average of 15.8C.
  • A major climate report described as a “code red for humanity” warned that global warming has already had an “irreversible” impact on the planet including the oceans and polar ice caps. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts temperatures will be 1.5C higher than 1850-1900 levels by 2040 but says it is still possible to stay below this with significant cuts to global emissions before 2030. The report said:
    • It is “unequivocal” that humans are warming the planet and have likely caused rapid changes to the climate.
    • Stabilising the global rise in temperatures at 1.5C is possible, but will still result in increasing heatwaves, droughts and floods.
      • Global warming is already affecting weather and climate extremes around the world, and hot extremes have become more frequent since the 1950s.
    • It doesn’t rule out a 2m rise in sea levels by the end of the century.
  • The FT warned however that the lengthy IPCC writing process did not allow the authors to take full account of the latest signs that climate may be changing even faster than most models had suggested: extreme heatwaves, catastrophic floods and rapid melting of Arctic ice and permafrost.
  • We're getting close to various "tipping points" - when the planet undergoes abrupt changes in response to global warming that can't be reversed no matter what we do, like polar ice caps or coral reefs vanishing. The IPCC says that maybe, just maybe, it's not too late to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. For that to happen, though, the world must halve its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and for all countries to attain "net zero" emissions - taking as much carbon out of the atmosphere as putting into it - by 2050, noted GZERO.
  • It's worth noting too that governments don't pollute nearly as much as companies, especially those in countries with lax regulations.
  • Athens appointed a chief heat officer, becoming the first European city to do so. The move follows closely behind Miami’s CHO appointment announced in early 2021. As we experience more extreme weather, we may see other new roles created specifically to mitigate the impacts of a warming planet.
  • Climate scientists found evidence that the Gulf Stream could be collapsing. The researchers found an “almost complete loss of stability over the last century”.
  • RethinkX’s report, Rethinking Climate Change, suggested that we already have the technologies to radically transform the energy (solar, wind & batteries), transport (autonomous EVs, transport-as-a-service) and food (precision fermentation and cellular agriculture) sectors. The combination of these technologies, it claimed, could see us reduce our emissions by 90% by 2035, without economic costs and indeed with many benefits.
  • Climate Visuals’ image bank, informed by international research and based on seven principles, including depicting real people and highlighting climate effects on local surroundings, shares images designed to move climate change photography from illustrative to impactful


July 2021


June 2021

  • To stop the worst of climate change, the world is shifting the way it produces and consumes energy. As businesses and economies chip away at their carbon emissions, they’re creating new markets for more sustainable fuels, products, and even financial instruments. Every industry can be part of the solution - or part of the ongoing problem, argued Quartz.
  • A new climate feedback loop was discovered by scientists at CERN that could accelerate Arctic warming and sea ice loss. It produces more clouds at the pole which then produce more warming, and then more clouds, in an intensifying cycle.
  • After record breaking temperatures in North America, Quartz warned that what climate models predicted is coming true. Scientists forecast global warming would fuel higher temperatures, falling humidity, dwindling snowpack, and intensifying drought. So far, this is coming to pass, despite some uncertainty about how this will play out in the coming century.
  • The ground temperature in Siberia hit 118°F (48°C) in June 2021. The 118-degree-Fahrenheit temperature was measured on the ground in Verkhojansk, in Yakutia, Eastern Siberia, by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites.
  • In a leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists warned that climate change is reaching a tipping point sooner than previously assumed. Specifically, the scientists are concerned that global heating is close to triggering “tipping points” in the Earth’s natural systems that will lead to possible “irrevocable disaster” unless decisive action is taken. 


May 2021


April 2021


March 2021


February 2021


January 2021

  • People around the world "want action" on climate change, the United Nations Development Programme said, sharing a poll that shows almost two-thirds of people in 50 countries now believe that climate change is an emergency. The poll of 1.2 million people showed younger people were more likely agree, though 58% of over 60s also said rising temperatures are an emergency. On potential policies, the conservation of forests and increased use of renewables were most popular, while switching to a plant-based diet was least.
  • The global financial system took a big step toward pricing in climate risks. Central banks in the US and EU announced they’ll begin analysing the threats climate change poses to banks and the broader financial system. Quartz explained how greater scrutiny from the regulators who oversee more than 30% of the world’s GDP, combined with voluntary efforts by banks and asset managers, is pushing the economy to brace itself for massive changes in the coming decades.
  • The coronavirus crisis demonstrated that, when confronted with a significant threat, governments across the world can take decisive action to mitigate the effects. However, despite the very visible devastations of the climate crisis, addressing it has suffered from, among other things, partisan politics and a sometimes disjointed global awareness of where responsibility lies and the extent of action needed. As countries convene in Glasgow for COP26 to update their Nationally Determined Contributions, and the US attempts to re-assert its leadership in climate circles by re-joining the Paris Agreement, Chatham House examined whether there is an opportunity in 2021 to reinvigorate international cooperation on tackling the climate crisis.
  • The glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalayas are the main source of fresh water for around two billion people living in the region. However, by the end of this century, two-thirds of that snow and ice could be lost because of climate change. A network of data scientists and environmentalists around the world, and on the ground in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, are working to understand the extent of glacial melting in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, its effects and what can be done to minimise its impact. reported Microsoft on the Issues.
  • A 2020 project led by PIRC, NEON and explored how the public understands climate change and ways to improve communication about it. 
  • The UK launched a global climate coalition, teaming up with countries including Egypt, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands to promote measures like early storm warning systems and drought-resistant crops.
  • Devex's content series Turning the Tide took a closer look at how satellite technology can help build climate resilience. Through engaging storytelling, multimedia, and written features, Devex shares insights on national climate change resilience strategies and how these can be built on to prepare some of the world’s most vulnerable communities for the challenges ahead.


December 2020


October 2020


September 2020


August 2020

  • California may have set a new global temperature record. The August 2020 reading of 130°F (54.4°C) in Death Valley could be the hottest ever.
  • A range of experts - including professors, astronomers, authors, and historians examined what climate change looks like, how humans have already and are continuing to contribute to it, how and why it has become politicised, and what needs to happen moving forward for real progress to be made. One noted that the main goal of climate action is not to win over the sceptical minority, but to make those people who are concerned but still fundamentally complacent about the issue to be really engaged in a way that they prioritise climate change in their politics and their voting and make sure that leaders think of climate change as a first-order political priority.
  • Towns across Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East recorded temperatures over 50 degrees C every day for a week. Record highs were posted in 2020 in Baghdad, Basra, Damascus and Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and Nasa declared June 2020 the hottest ever measured. 
  • It’s predicted that, thanks to carbon emissions, Alpine glaciers could lose half of their ice by 2050 – and the people who live there will be affected, too. Experts have warned that 500,000 cubic metres of ice is in danger of breaking off Mont Blanc’s Planpincieux glacier, prompting the evacuation of homes in the nearby town of Courmayeur in Italy.
  • Meanwhile, Greenland lost 586 billion tons of ice in 2019, surpassing the previous annual record by over 15 percent after an unusually warm year. The data confirm that the vast Arctic territory's ice sheet is melting much faster than expected as a result of climate change.


July 2020

  • Climate TRACE - which stands for Tracking Real-time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions -comprises organisations from the tech sector that have pioneered some of the most-powerful software-based emissions-monitoring solutions in the world, in part using AI and remote sensing. This first-of-its-kind global coalition will leverage advanced AI, satellite image processing, machine learning, and land- and sea-based sensors to do what was previously thought to be nearly impossible: monitor Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from every sector and in every part of the world. The work will be extremely granular in focus - down to specific power plants, ships, factories, and more. The goal is to actively track and verify all significant human-caused GHG emissions worldwide with unprecedented levels of detail and speed.
  • By the middle of 2020, the tundra around Khabarovsk in Siberia was on fire. The temperature in Verkhoyansk, inside the Arctic Circle, reached 38 C and an international study in World Weather Attribution said anthropogenic climate change has made all this 600 times more likely. Once-in-80,000 years events have become once-in-130 years events – but don’t expect to have to wait 130 years for the next one, warned Tortoise Media.
  • Tortoise added that there seems to be a lag of up to five years between the time methane starts seeping into the Arctic Ocean – as it does from time to time – and the arrival of microbes that eat it. This is the finding of a study of a methane seep first seen in the Ross Sea off western Antarctica in 2011. It matters because methane is 36 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and if it starts seeping in large volumes from the sea bed (or permafrost), global warming could accelerate out of control.
  • Tortoise Media reported that New York City’s climate has been reclassified: it’s no longer humid continental, but instead sits within the humid subtropical climate zone. In fact, the city has probably met the requirements for the past five years. And it’s only getting hotter. To nobody’s surprise the culprit is – say it with me – man-made climate change. Looking specifically at the city’s horticultural world, the NYT highlighted some of the already visible impacts ($): from early spring to the loss of native plants like birches and survival of plant-eating pests that usually die in the cold weather. Trees from Asia and South America are now thriving in NYC outside conservatories.
  • The Financial Times reported that indigenous people make up 6 per cent of the global population but manage or have tenure rights over more than a quarter of the world’s land surface. “There is simply no way to halt climate breakdown if indigenous peoples aren’t included,” says Conservation International (CI), a US-based non-profit organisation. A 2020 study by the Ecological Society of America found that 36 per cent of the world’s intact forest landscapes (forests undisturbed by human activity) lie within indigenous lands “making these areas crucial to the mitigation action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change”. 


June 2020


May 2020

  • Khatanga is an old cold war outpost in the far north of the Russian arctic, with a giant runway and a modest hotel now used mainly by sledge-haulers trying their luck with ice floes and polar bears. The average temperature there at this time of year is zero degrees C. The record high was 12 degrees, until May 2020, when the mercury reached 25.4, reported Tortoise. 


April 2020

  • If countries fail to meet the pledges of the Paris climate agreement, the global economy could lose out on $600 trillion by the end of the century. That’s according to a paper in the journal Nature Communications that quantified potential benefits for governments of working together on “self-preservation strategies” – and the costs of not doing so.


January 2020

95% of the oldest, thickest sea ice has disappeared since 1984.

? Read more:

— World Economic Forum (@wef) November 19, 2019


December 2019

  • Greenland is now shedding ice sheets at an annual rate of 254 billion tons. That's seven times faster than it did in the 1990s. The resulting rise in sea levels has put millions of people around the world in danger of seasonal floods.
  • While there’s widespread scientific consensus that the world is getting warmer, it seems some individuals still need convincing. For example, in the US, 6% of people say climate change isn’t real, and 9% don’t attribute global warming to human action, according to a survey by YouGov.
  • Climate change could shorten pregnancies. Heat stress causes women to give birth earlier, and may account for 250,000 fewer days of gestation for US babies by 2100.
  • The UN climate talks ended in disappointment. The COP25 talks in Madrid failed to produce bold pledges from major nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly, despite the proceedings running two days longer than planned.


November 2019

  • Global temperatures are on track to rise around 3.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century (7 degrees Fahrenheit), which would have disastrous implications, according to a United Nations report. Increasingly acidic oceans could dissolve all coral reefs, and severe heat, already extreme in many regions, would become intolerable.
  • Italy became the first country to introduce compulsory education on climate change. From September 2020, schools are obliged to include about one hour a week in their curriculum, alongside teaching core subjects such as Physics, Maths and Geography through a sustainability lens.
  • Parts of Canada are heating up at a level more than double the global average. The province of British Columbia has around 17,000 glaciers. They're releasing 22 billion cubic meters of water each year. Some scientists even predict that they could have disappeared completely by 2030. 


October 2019


September 2019


August 2019

  • Richer nations tend to politicise the climate change while poorer nations more often present it as a problem of international concern, according to a study published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Researchers analysed more than 37,000 news articles from 45 countries and territories using computer algorithms and found that the strongest predictor of how a given country’s press will cover climate change is Gross Domestic Product per capita. In short: the way a country’s media reports on global warming is based on the resources available to combat it.


July 2019

  • Scientists tracked in 2019 an unprecedented number of fires burning north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska after a record summer heatwave. By one estimate, the fires released more carbon dioxide than Sweden's entire annual emissions in one month alone. This problem increases the risk that politically disruptive effects of climate change – like mass migrations or geopolitical competition for ice-free Arctic sea lanes and undersea resources – will arrive (much) more quickly than expected, noted GZEROMedia.


June 2019

  • Chatham House examined the increasingly urgent narrative surrounding climate change and the role of the corporate sector in helping avert the climate crisis. How, if at all, are strikes, protests and the new state of emergency reshaping consumer expectations, corporate strategy and public policy on environmental issues? What new business models and frameworks can private enterprises develop to help contribute to climate governance? And to what extent can businesses provide genuine leadership on climate change?
  • Compost may be a key part of the solution to addressing climate change, but large-scale collection of food scraps, yard trimmings, and even human bodies poses a huge logistical challenge. Cities like Seoul, South Korea, which recycles 95% of its food waste, are proving it’s possible, while sites in Sweden, California, and New York are turning egg shells and carrot tops into biogas and saving money in the process.


May 2019


March 2019

  • It may be human nature to rejoice in sunshine and balmy breezes, but when the cause is climate change, days much hotter than the seasonal average can spark anxiety, too. Quartz asked scientists and philosophers about how to deal with this cognitive dissonance, and how to channel our emotions toward action.
  • The Little Ice Age is term that often refers to a moderately cold period in the 17th and 18th centuries that hit Europe especially hard. But it may have gone as late as the 19th century and began - or was at least triggered - in the 13th century. Either way, the Little Ice Age caused famines, sparked witch hunts, altered wars, toppled dynasties, and may show us what lies ahead with climate change, according to Quartz.
  • Students around the world have gone on climate strikes. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, students in more than 100 countries have held massive school walkouts to protest climate inaction.


January 2019


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February 2018


January 2018



  • Glacier shrinkage, combined with melting of the polar ice caps, pose three main threats: raising sea levels; disrupting ocean current circulation and losing freshwater stores. The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers was challenged in a scientific study.
  • What if William Wilberforce had said: "Could you just cut down a bit? Own one slave instead of two?"  Fair point, is the environment the biggest threat the world faces - in which case it's elected governments, not just individuals - who should be acting now - or do the less appetising aspects of our human nature - laziness, poor attention, indifference and prevarication - just mean that we can't prepare for a crisis in advance, but will just have to try and deal with it when it arrives? Do we really care that there might be a "perfect storm" in 2030?  Are we suffering from "perverse cosmic myopia" when it comes to the biggest problems - financial as as well as environmental -that we are facing?