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‘Era of global boiling has arrived,’ says UN chief as July set to be hottest month on record

July hottest month on record

The era of global warming has ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, has said after scientists confirmed July was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning,” Guterres said. “It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C [above pre-industrial levels], and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action.”

Guterres’s comments came after scientists confirmed on Thursday that the past three weeks have been the hottest since records began and July is on track to be the hottest month ever recorded.

Global temperatures this month have shattered records, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme, stoked by the burning of fossil fuels and spurring violent weather.


Backlash builds as Japan prepares to release wastewater from Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan to release wastewater from Fujiyama nuclear plantSouth Korean opposition lawmakers sharply criticized the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog on Sunday for its approval of Japanese plans to release treated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

They met with Rafael Grossi in a tense meeting in Seoul that took place while protesters screamed outside the door.

Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general, arrived in South Korea over the weekend to engage with government officials and critics and help reduce public concerns about food safety.

The IAEA last week approved the Japanese discharge plans, saying the process would meet international safety standards and pose negligible environmental and health impacts. South Korea's government has also endorsed the safety of the Japanese plans.


As the ice melts, a perilous Russian threat is emerging in the Arctic

Russian threat in ArcticAsk Britain’s foreign secretary which part of the world poses his biggest foreign policy challenge, and the chances are he will say either Russia or China. He probably will not say the Arctic. Yet the implications of what is happening in the Arctic will change patterns of international trade, drive food insecurity, deepen global poverty, increase refugee crises, reorient military alliances, and turbocharge military expenditures and the risk of war.

The eight Arctic states – Canada, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the US and Russia – have long collaborated on scientific research through the Arctic Council, a non-military body. Until now. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Arctic Council meetings ceased. So did cooperation with Russia. This has hampered progress on climate and environmental research and turbocharged the militarisation of the Arctic.

The success of the Arctic Council depended on its geopolitical balance. It is not a security alliance and has always tried to remain independent from politics. Five of the eight countries were part of Nato; the other three were not. That has now changed. Finland joined Nato in April. Sweden is in the process of joining. Soon, Nato will literally be surrounding Russia in the Arctic.



Bellwether ‘forever chemicals’ case heads to trial

3M goes on trial for forever chemicalsThe company 3M, which has been a major manufacturer of what are known as “forever chemicals,” is staring down what could be a test case for whether it faces liability for water contamination caused by the toxic substances.

This upcoming week, claims from the city of Stuart, Fla., against 3M will go to trial.

This case is just one of hundreds that have been grouped together. They each pertain to claims about the use of a group of toxic chemicals, also called “PFAS,” that are found in firefighting foam.

The case for the city of Stuart, which has about 18,000 residents, was selected last year as the first “bellwether” case of the group to go to trial.

Bellwether cases are often viewed as test cases in which both the accusers and the accused can see how legal issues will play out and make decisions about future litigation in accordance.


Italy's Deadly Floods Just Latest Example Of Climate Change's All-Or-Nothing Weather Extremes

Italy floods

The floods that sent rivers of mud tearing through towns in Italy’s northeast are another drenching dose of climate change’s all-or-nothing weather extremes, something that has been happening around the globe, scientists say.

In a changing climate, more rain is coming, but it’s falling on fewer days in less useful and more dangerous downpours.

The hard-hit Emilia-Romagna region was particularly vulnerable. Its location between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic Sea trapped the weather system this week that dumped half the average annual amount of rain in 36 hours.

“These are events that developed with persistence and are classified as rare,″ Fabrizio Curcio, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, told reporters.



One killed as tornado hits south Texas near the Gulf coast, damaging dozens of homes

Texas tornadoOne person was killed and a curfew was imposed after a powerful tornado tore through a community near the southern tip of Texas before dawn Saturday, damaging dozens of residences and knocking down power lines, authorities said.

At least 10 others were hospitalized, including two people who were listed in critical condition, said Tom Hushen, the emergency management coordinator for Cameron County. Many residents also suffered cuts and bruises.

A nighttime curfew for those 17 and under was issued by Eddie Treviño Jr., the Cameron County judge, and is expected to end May 16 to “mitigate the effects of this public health and safety emergency.” The order also forbids non-residents of Laguna Heights from entering its residential areas.


Billions of people lack access to clean drinking water, U.N. report finds

Billions without access to clean drinking water

Millions of people in Mexico don't have access to clean water. Extreme heat and drought brought on by climate change are partly to blame, but so is the aging infrastructure and years of mismanaging water.

Mexico is not the only place struggling with wide-scale water insecurity. Around 2 billion people around the world do not have access to clean and safe drinking water, and approximately 3.6 billion people – 46% of the world's population – lack adequate sanitation services, according to a new United Nations World Water Development Report released Wednesday.


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