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Climate crisis| Climate crisis
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Climate crisis| Climate crisis

Residents in Sementeh, near Lanchang in Malaysia’s Pahang state are evacuated on a digger.



The year began with a Addition of the damageAfter the 2020 extreme weather events, which included fires and floods. California is the US’s only exception. More than doubleIts previous annual wildfire record had more than 1.7m (4.1m) ha. Nasa concluded that 2020 was the hottest year in recorded history. The US’s Noaa and the UK Met Office put it in close second to 2016.

And 2021 – the year that would see the crucial UN climate summit held in Glasgow in November – was not showing signs of being much better. Africa’s January was its warmest ever. Malaysia was hit by torrential rainsThis caused the evacuation of 50,000 people to be evacuated and the death of at most six. In Turkey, there were concerns that Istanbul might run out of water. The worst drought in a decade.

Residents in Sementeh, near Lanchang in Malaysia’s Pahang state are evacuated on a digger.
Residents in Sementeh, near Lanchang in Malaysia’s Pahang state are evacuated on a digger.Photograph by Mohd Rafan/AFP/Getty Images

However, there were small steps towards progress on other fronts. Joe Biden became president in just hours. It was announced that the USwould be joining the Paris agreement. StoreDot, an Israeli company, announced that car batteriesIt was the first time that a Chinese factory had produced a charger that could fully charge in five minutes.

In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. We see it with our own eyes, we feel it, we know it in our bones, and it’s time to act.

Joe Biden

In the UK, a plan was made to reintroduce whitetails eagles in the east. This was unusually. Farmers leading the charge, who said they wanted to “inspire people with nature and drive wider nature recovery”.


The internationally renowned scientist James Hansen waded into the UK’s row over plans for a new coalmine in Cumbria, saying it showed “contemptuous disregard for the future of young people”. A few days earlier, nine activists had announced that they were in a tunnel under London’s Euston station, dug secretly beneath a tent, in order to protest against the high-speed rail link the UK government was in the process of building.

Protesters’ canary-shaped handwritten messages outside the Home Office during a demonstration against a proposed coalmine in Cumbria.
Protesters’ canary-shaped handwritten messages outside the Home Office during a demonstration against a proposed coalmine in Cumbria. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

A historic wave of winter weather hit the eastern US and Texas, with nearly 10 million people without power at the storm’s peak, and Millions without waterIt was discovered that the pipes burst after which it was the most. Winter storms can be costlyRecord of the event

A remarkable rewilding effort in Indonesia has been conducted 10 orangutans rescuedThey were released back into the wild. Helicopters were used as a means of transporting critically endangered apes deep into forests.

Scientists in Madagascar discovered what is believed be the The smallest reptile found on Earth. Brookesia Nana, a nano-chameleon with a body that is just 13.5mm in length, is a Brookesia.


The world’s oldest Laysan albatross, a female named Wisdom, nesting on Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge.
The world’s oldest Laysan albatross, a female named Wisdom, nesting on Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge.Photograph: USFWS Pacific Region

New York was lit up with news Dolphins were at play in the East River – validation of a long-term clean-up of the river which had cost the city $45m. Further north, in the Midway Atoll wildlife refuge in the North Pacific, the “oldest wild bird in history”, 70-year-old Wisdom the Laysan albatross, hatched another chick. Wisdom was banded in 1956 by Chandler Robbins, a biologist. Albatrosses usually mate for life.

Australia is located on the opposite side of the globe. was being affected by devastating floodsWith thousands fleeing rising waters in New South Wales and the insurance industry facing millions in claims, it was a difficult time for many. The same region was also fighting A mouse plagueThis horrifying footage shows the ground moving as the rodents take over.

Deb Haaland, the first American woman to be confirmed as such, was confirmed in the USA. indigenous cabinet secretaryShe took over the environment department. The world witnessed a huge increase in renewable energy. China announced that it had built windfarms using a Amazing total capacity of almost 100GW in 2020 – an increase of nearly 60% on 2019. Climate Action 100, Launching the first benchmarkIt was difficult to track corporate progress on climate changes. However, it was possible to find that only a few polluters were actually taking serious action.


A landmark legal decision by the German supreme constitutional court found that the government’s climate protection measures were insufficient to protect future generations. The government promised it would take action on what one of the young activists who had brought the case called “a huge win for the climate movement”. In the UK, Ella Kissi Debrah (a young girl who died from an asthma attack in 2013) was the coroner. Published a reportThis called for the reduction of legally binding maximum levels in particulate air pollution in Britain.

Activists from the environmental group Fridays for Future demonstrating in Berlin’s Invalidenpark.
Activists from the environmental group Fridays for Future demonstrating in Berlin’s Invalidenpark.Photograph by Fabian Sommer/AP

A two-day summit was held in the USA on climate change. Was sucked up with promisesAll sides, even one from the US, to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% before 2030. The country also pledged to double its financial assistance to other countries to help them achieve their targets. “Is it enough? No,” said John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, who Had previously struck a dealChina to cooperate on climate change. “But it’s the best we can do today and proves we can start to move.”

However, the shifts were made against the backdrop of a worrying development. Scientists concluded thatThe warm Atlantic current that was caused by abrupt and severe climate changes in the past was now at its weakest level in at least 1,600years. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is also known as this current.

China has huge sandstorms Turn the skies over Beijing Yellow for manyCyclone Seroja brought heavy downpours and strong winds to Western Australia. Some locations saw their rainfall. highest ever daily rainfall.


A Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch ShellThe unprecedented ruling will have profound implications for the energy industry as well as other polluting multinationals. It will require the country to reduce its global carbon emission by 45% by 2030. This decision was made just as the International Energy Agency published Net Zero 2050, a landmark report. This statement stated that exploitation was the best and most important part of development.The development of new oil and natural gas fields would have a halt in this year. No new coal-fired power plants could be built if the world wants to maintain safe levels of global heating and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Ava Princi, Liv Heaton, Izzy Raj-Seppings and Laura Kirwin embrace outside the federal court of Australia in Sydney. Eight young Australians and a nun sought an injunction in September 2020 to prevent the environment minister, Sussan Ley, from finally approving the Vickery coalmine extension project in north-east New South Wales.
Ava Princi and Liv Heaton embrace outside the federal court Australia in Sydney. Eight young Australians, a nun, and Sussan Ley, the environment minister sought an injunction to stop her from approving Vickery’s coalmine extension project in north east New South Wales.Photograph by James Gourley/AAP

During this time, the Australian federal court ruled that the environment minister was guilty. Sussan Ley had a duty to care to protect young people from the climate crisis, in what lawyers said was “the first time in the world” such a duty of care had been recognised.

France’s minister of ecological transition delighted and shocked people with the announcement of a new climate law Would omit meat from the menuOnce a week in schools

Turkey was hit by “sea snot” – a blanket of mucus-like stuff that was silting up the coasts, created as a result of warm temperatures and agricultural run-off that encouraged phytoplankton to grow. California is the exception. Rainy season: short and lateThe governor declared an Impending drought emergency41 out of 58 counties.


The west coast was hit with one of the most intense and powerful heatwaves that North America has ever seen. It lasted for more than a month. Caused by what meteorologists called a “dome of high pressure”, the heatwave extended from California – worsening the drought even as the first wildfires of the season began – all the way up to Canada, where temperatures rose up to 118F (46.6C), shattering all previous records. “This is the beginning of a permanent emergency,” Governor of Washington State said.

Other parts of this world are also available It was scorching!. Europe and Asia both had their second-warmest Junes ever, while Africa and New Zealand had their warmest Junes.

Smoke billows from the chimneys of Belchatow power station in Poland.
Smoke billows from the chimneys of Bełchatów power station in Poland. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

However, the fight against this continued. Poland declared that it would shut down Bełchatów, Europe’s most polluting power plant (although only in 2036). The City of London stated it would be Digging boreholes and creating a heat network for one of the UK’s largest low-carbon heating systems.

After the MV X-Press Pearl, Sri Lanka was prepared for disaster. Ship carrying toxic chemicalsThe sank after it caught fire off the coast. During that time China was fixingOn a herd if elephants that had walked 300 miles into Kunming.


The July average global surface temperature was The hottest since recordsIt all started in 1880 when Death Valley in California registered 54.4C (130F).

People visit the unofficial thermometer reading 56C (133F) at Furnace Creek Visitor Center on 11 July.
Furnace Creek Visitor Center, 11 July: Unofficial thermometer reading 56C (133F).Photograph by David Becker/Getty Images

As the US heatwaves grew worsened and droughts worsened America, India, China, Europe were being affected by catastrophic floods. Torrential downpours on India’s west coast led to 115 deaths, while Henan province in China saw a year’s worth of rain – 604mm – in a single day. Horrifying videosThe waters rose in subways and hundreds of thousands were forced out. When it became clear that there was a sewage backup, Germany saw rows break out. Flood early-warning system had a failedAfter torrents of rainwater flooded villages and towns, more than 100 people died.

The Australian government continued its work To combat attempts to have the Great Barrier Reef declared “in danger”, with local politicians saying they feared for the impact the declaration would have on jobs. In the UK, the water company Southern Water was fined a record £90m after a six-year investigationEvidence was found that the company deliberately poured untreated sewage into seawater to avoid the need for upgrading infrastructure.

And to top off a dark month for the planet: New data were shownResearchers found that Greenland’s melting was rapid, with the amount ice disappearing in a single day sufficient to cover Florida in 5cm of water.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave the world its most dire warning yet. Climate change was clearly evidentwarning about some of the effects that could be caused by human activity, inevitable and “irreversible”.

As the heat increased, wildfires broke out in The Mediterranean, where the Greek prime minister described them as the country’s “greatest ecological disaster in decades”, and across more than 9m hectares of forests in Siberia.

A local resident holds an empty water hose near the village of Pefki in Greece.
An elderly Greek resident holds a water hose that is empty near the village Pefki.Photograph by Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

Japan was also hit by floods and landslides. More than a million people live in this areawere evacuated and also Turkey, Colombia, and Tennessee in America, where a record-breaking delugeThe rain swept through homes, roads and businesses. Rain fell at the highest point on the Greenland Ice Sheet For the first timeOn record

A Swedish company shipped the world’s first customer delivery of “green steel” – made without using coal – as solar power outstripped coal in Australia for the very first timeFor a brief moment, solar power generated more electricity.

Extinction Rebellion in the UK reacted to the news by blocking London Bridge and Oxford Circus and pouring red paint into entrances at the City of London. They also locked themselves outside the Science Museum due to its sponsorship deal with Shell.


“Blah blah blah”Greta Thunberg described the global leaders’ promises to address climate change as “the promises made by the world’s leaders.” She pointed out that carbon emissions are still on track for rising 16% by 2030. Cop26 drew closer and politicians across the globe were under increasing pressure for better offers. A US/EU deal It felt good to make a contribution to reducing methane emissions.

Insulate Britain climate activists block the anticlockwise carriageway of the M25 near Ockham.
Insulate Britain climate activists block the anticlockwise carriageway on the M25 at Ockham.Photograph by Mark Kerrison/Alamy Live News

A new protest movement was launched in the UK. as Insulate Britain demonstrators began sitting on motorways to demand climate action in the form of insulation for the country’s housing stock. As preparations were accelerated, Scotland was the next to be affected. One man built the ark on a hillside, telling the planning committee when it asked if it was a permanent structure: “It’s not permanent in the same way that humanity won’t be if we don’t take action on the climate.”

A new report revealed that wildfires were actually caused by humans, which is a sad irony. Record-breaking releaseCarbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The world was experiencing an energy crisis, with skyrocketing gas prices in Europe and increasing pressure on the environment. Coal and electricity suppliesChina


China Kunming hosted the Kunming conference on biodiversity and announced a $233m (£170m) fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries.

We will use the creation of an ecological civilisation to coordinate the relationship between nature and man.

Xi Jinping

Just days before Cop26, Australia – a country notoriously opposed to climate action – published its plan for reducing carbon emissions. it was called “a scam”It does not include any modelling or detail.

Delegates at the summit of the Green Middle East Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Green Middle East Initiative Summit in Riyadh was attended by delegates.Photograph by Saudi Green Initiative/Reuters

However, there were signs of change elsewhere, with a number of plans being announced at the Summit of the Middle East Green Initiative, led by the United Arab Emirates which will be hosting Cop28 in two years’ time.

Tesla was the first to go public. First ever battery powered car to top Europe’s sales chart. The UK government was forced to take a Near rebellion to U-turnWater companies must reduce sewage discharges by imposing a duty.

One senator in the US gained international notoriety: Joe Manchin (a conservative Democrat). He was resisting his party’s demands for massive cuts to President Biden’s climate change plans. It looked for a moment like Biden would have had to travel to Cop26 without any legislative progress at home.


Cop26After two years of delays, fears, worries, criticisms, and negotiations, the conference was finally underway. The first two days saw world leaders gather and were exhorted by David Attenborough to be “motivated by hope rather than fear”. Biden had finally got his bill passed, but the UK’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, put a dampener on events by making his speech and then hopping into a private jetTake the short journey to London.

In the first week, there was a flurry of deals methane, deforestationThe ambition to – coal Keep to 1.5CHeating and Finance, with hundreds of the world’s biggest banks and pension funds with assets worth $130tn committing themselves to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Alok Sharma receives applause after giving the closing speech at Cop26 in Glasgow.
After giving the closing speech at Cop26, Glasgow, Alok Sharma is applauded. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

By the end of the second week of hard negotiation, the summit’s president, Alok Sharma, had cajoled countries into a deal including a ratchet mechanism that asked every country to upgrade its emission reduction plans in time for the next Cop in Egypt in a year’s time, and each year thereafter. Many were disappointed that the deal did NOT include the loss and damage mechanism that most countries had requested, to help developing nations pay for the effects of the climate crisis.

Beyond the summit British Columbia is hit by rainstorms in Canada, earlier battered by the summer’s heatwaves, broke up roads and led to a state of emergency.

One of the most rare animals in the world was spotted out in the oceans: the octopus. Mythical white Sperm WhaleA momentary glimpse of a sandbar in the waters off Jamaica.


In the middle of the year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), announced the following: Month it had recognised a new Arctic temperature record: the summer of 2020 had seen the Russian town of Verkhoyansk hit with an all-time high of 38°C (100.4°F).

Floods devastated Queensland, Australia with up to 180mm rain Some people fall in 24 hoursParts of the state. Storm Arwen, Storm Barra and Storm Arwen both struck the UK. Heavy rains Fallen in IraqThis can lead to severe flooding and displacement. Tornadoes also ravaged North America, with at most 70 deaths in Kentucky. What was described as the “most devastating tornado event” in the state’s history, only to be followed, by the end of the month, by Record-breaking temperaturesAnd snowfall.

A family walks past a destroyed church in Mayfield, Kentucky.
A family walks by a burned church in Mayfield Kentucky.Photograph by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

EO Wilson, who passed away 26 DecemberHe had warned many time that humans would not be able to continue to use the earth’s resources and land in the same way they used it. The biologist was often caught up in controversy during his career. Nevertheless, his warning that “we live in a delusional state” if we do not understand the burden that the western way of life imposes on Earth, rings true even now.

If all humanity were to vanish, the world would revert to the rich equilibrium it was 10,000 years ago. The environment would be destroyed if all insects vanished.

EO Wilson, biologist


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