Europe at risk of collapse; France, Germany must lead - French PM

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls speaks during the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Image: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls speaks during the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

reuters.com - November 17th 2016  - Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr

The European Union is in danger of breaking apart unless France and Germany, in particular, work harder to stimulate growth and employment and heed citizens' concerns, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in the German capital on Thursday.

Valls said the two countries, for decades the axis around which the EU revolved, had to help refocus the bloc to tackle an immigration crisis, a lack of solidarity between member states, Britain's looming exit, and terrorism.

"Europe is in danger of falling apart," Valls said at an event organized by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "So Germany and France have a huge responsibility."

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Honoring climate change agreements will save millions of lives

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES Smoke billows from the stacks of coal-fired electricity plants as a woman wears a mask while walking in a neighborhood in Shanxi, China.

Image: KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES Smoke billows from the stacks of coal-fired electricity plants as a woman wears a mask while walking in a neighborhood in Shanxi, China.

statnews.com - November 14th 2016 - David J Hunter and Francesca Dominici

If an infectious disease was killing 7 million people a year, it would be ludicrous to work to allay its impact decades from now rather than taking immediate action against it. Yet that is exactly how we are approaching the causes of climate change, which are both immediate and long-term killers.

This week’s “airpocalypse” in New Delhi shows just how urgently action is needed to prevent the air pollution that is not only damaging our planet and human health in the long term but killing millions of people around the world in the present.

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The battle to stop Trump hijacking the climate agenda

irinnews.org - November 14th 2016 - Lou del Bello

After the shock win in the US presidential election of climate change denialist Donald Trump, what was expected to be an uneventful round of UN talks in Marrakesh has suddenly taken on far greater importance.

Behind closed doors, diplomats are scrambling to anticipate Trump’s next move. What was billed as a technical conference on the procedural issues of implementing the Paris Agreement – which came into force just this month – is now being cast as a desperate attempt to safeguard global action.

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Zika Virus Can Live for Hours on Hard, Non-Porous Surfaces

           

Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus. Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

sciencedaily.com - American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists - November 15, 2016

Research being presented today at the 2016 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientist (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which is taking place Nov. 13 -17 in Denver, found that under certain conditions, the Zika virus can live for several hours on hard non-porous surfaces and still be highly contagious, but that some commonly used disinfectants are extremely effective in killing the virus. The research may have important infection control implications for both consumers and those who work in healthcare or lab settings.

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COP 22 - MARRAKECH: Dozens of Heads of State and Government to Attend UN Climate Conference

           

COP22 President and Morocco’s Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar (left) with COP 21 President and France’s environment Minister in charge of climate-related international relations Ségolène Royal at the opening of COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Photo: UNFCCC

un.org

13 November 2016 – Ten days after the entry into force of the landmark Paris Agreement, dozens of heads of State and Government are expected on Tuesday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22), which started in Marrakech, Morocco, on 7 November 2016.

Before the Conference wraps up on 18 November, State Parties hope to define the rules for the accord and to lay out a viable plan for providing at least $100 billion a year to developing countries to support climate action.

Adopted by 196 States Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December, the Paris Agreement, so-named after the French capital where it was approved, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It entered into force in record time on 4 November 2016.

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Economic woes create anti-establishment movements around the world

A protest march against the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Stuttgart, southern Germany this year. Photograph: Felix Kastle/AFP/Getty Images

Image:  A protest march against the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) party
in Stuttgart, southern Germany this year. Photograph: Felix Kastle/AFP/Getty Images

guardian.com - November 5th 2016 - Katie Allen

The US is not the only western nation to be undergoing political ructions over the faltering post-crisis recovery. New counter-establishment parties have emerged in several countries and, as in the UK, people have voted for dramatic change. Meanwhile, there’s a growing sense in developed economies that workers have yet to benefit from the recovery or rising globalisation.

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Human Impact Has Pushed Earth Into the Anthropocene, Scientists Say

New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch

           

Fishermen float onboard a boat amid mostly plastic rubbish in Manila Bay, the Philippines. Humans have introduced 300m metric tonnes of plastic to the environment every year. Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters

CLICK HERE - The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene

theguardian.com - by Adam Vaughab - January 7, 2016

There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.

The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.

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Antibody Might Protect Fetus From Zika, Study Finds

           

A researcher holds a tray of Zika virus growing in cells at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. No treatments exist to block Zika virus in a pregnant woman from infecting her fetus and potentially causing severe birth defects. But now, researchers report that they have identified a human antibody that prevents -- in pregnant mice -- the fetus from becoming infected and damage to the placenta. The antibody also protects adult mice from Zika disease.  Photo: Huy Mach

CLICK HERE - Nature - Neutralizing human antibodies prevent Zika virus replication and fetal disease in mice

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - November 7, 2016

Researchers reported two steps toward fighting the Zika virus Monday — one from a team that has found a potential way to protect unborn babies from the virus, and a second from a team that announced the start of human trials of a new vaccine.

Neither offers immediate relief against the epidemic of Zika that has swept across the Americas and the Caribbean and parts of Asia, but they both provide hope of eventually being able to protect pregnant women and their babies from the infection.

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Before the Flood

nationalgeographic.com - October 30, 2016

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet.

CLICK HERE - National Geographic - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - YouTube - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - About the Film - Before the Flood

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Paris Climate Change Deal Becomes International Law

           

(Pic: Solar Impulse/Flickr)

CLICK HERE - United Nations - Framework Convention on Climate Change - PARIS AGREEMENT - STATUS OF RATIFICATION

nytimes.com - by The Associated Press - November 4, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — The Paris Agreement to combat climate change became international law on Friday — a landmark deal about tackling global warming amid growing fears that the world is becoming hotter even faster than scientists expected.

So far, 96 countries, accounting for just over two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have formally joined the accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). More countries are expected to come aboard in the coming weeks and months.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - It’s official: the Paris climate deal is now international law

 

 

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Vaccinating Against Dengue May Increase Zika Outbreaks

Mosquito vector Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Credit: NIAID

CLICK HERE - Implication of vaccination against dengue for Zika outbreak

yfile.news.yorku.ca - October 31, 2016

Vaccinating against dengue fever could increase outbreaks of Zika, suggests new research out of York University and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China.

The research identifies a potentially serious public health concern. More than a third of the world’s population lives in areas where dengue is endemic and cases of co-infection with Zika have already been reported.

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The myth of renewables threatening grid stability?

bnef.com - October 31st 2016

Germany’s power grid outage averaged 12.7 minutes last year, 41% less than in 2006, even though renewables have grown to account for as much as a third of power generation in the country, according to data released by the federal regulator last week.

This put to rest concerns about intermittent sources of power threatening grid stability. The country is weaning itself away from nuclear power and embracing renewables generation, providing a working model of transformation of the energy sector for many other countries.

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World on Track to Lose Two-Thirds of Wild Animals by 2020, Major Report Warns

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact

       

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. Photograph: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

CLICK HERE - Living Planet Report 2016

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - October 26, 2016

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

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Governments Agree U.N. Study of Tough Climate Limit, Despite Doubts

           

A building under construction is seen amidst smog on a polluted day in Shenyang, Liaoning province November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Chen

reuters.com - by Alister Doyle - October 20, 2016

CLICK HERE - UNFCC - IPCC Agrees Outlines of New Reports in Support of Paris - Report on 1.5ºC Goal in 2018

Governments gave the green light on Thursday for a U.N. scientific study on how to meet an ambitious global warming target, despite growing worries by some scientists that the goal may be unrealistic.

The report, due for completion in 2018, is meant to guide almost 200 nations including China and the United States on how to stop world temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). its' open ended - no date set

But some scientists say the 1.5C ceiling, favored most strongly by tropical island states which fear rising sea levels, will likely be breached soon because of a steady buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.

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