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Non-Covid News

News not involving COVID-19. See also: POST-COVID for assessments and reports on what comes next.

Empowering the future: how WEF's Global Shapers are advancing the youth agenda10 July 2024 (LINK)

— The Annual Summit of under-30 Global Shapers 2024 took place in Geneva, Switzerland, under the theme 'Dare to Innovate'. 500 young innovators, activists, and local changemakers took part from over 150 countries and territories. The programme has 370 volunteer-led projects.

We waste two-thirds of the energy in fossil fuelscleantechnica1 July 2024 (LINK)

— The incredibly poor energy efficiency of fossil fuels is partly by design. For a century, the global economy primarily prioritized energy volume-add, not value-add, and invested in boosting energy sales, not the value each unit of energy adds. We invest mostly in energy quantity, not quality and efficiency.

Most marine protection measures are not working — a new, more flexible approach is needed: research assessed the effectiveness of 50 marine protected areas in 24 countriesphys.org30 June 2024 (LINK)

— The 50 MPAs scored a low average of 2/5 for effectiveness — a lot of protective conservation measures were in place on paper but they were not effective in reducing the harmful effects of certain human activities to protect marine wildlife. One clear overall trend was that a more diverse mix of management approaches resulted in greater reduction of the effects of fishing, tourism and other human activities.

List of threatened species grows by 1,000: a staggering 82% of species at risk now threatened with extinction, a significant jump from 55% in 2013, but conservation efforts bring hope for some animalsAP29 June 2024 (LINK)

— Over 45,000 species are now threatened with extinction — 1,000 more than last year — according to IUCN that blames pressures from climate change, invasive species and human activity such as illicit trade and infrastructural expansion. The risk list now includes 163,040 species, an increase of about 6,000 from last year.

— The list revealed the “staggering” decline of endemic reptiles — the giant lizard and skink — on the Canary Islands and Ibiza due to predation by the invasive snakes. The 2024 update also highlights the Asian elephant in Borneo as an endangered species. It is estimated that only about 1,000 Bornean elephants remain in the wild.

— In a contrasting tale, conservation efforts have revived the Iberian lynx from the brink of extinction, with the population increasing from 62 mature individuals in 2001 to 648 in 2022 and more than 2,000 now.

Global surge in infectious diseases as over 40 countries report outbreaks 10-fold over pre-pandemic levels: measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis and polio, as well as dengue and choleraAirfinity and Bloomberg News16 June 2024 (LINK)

The blood of exceptionally long-lived people reveals crucial differences: on the whole, those who made it to their hundredth birthday tend to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine and uric acid from their sixties onwardssciencealert16 June 2024 (LINK)

South Florida condo owners are dumping their homes after getting slapped with six-figure special assessments — and now the once-hot market is flounderingmoneywise.com13 June 2024 (LINK)


Universal basic income can double global GDP while combatting climate changethebrighterside.news9 June 2024 (LINK)

Researchers crack the genetic code of Restless Leg Syndrome thebrighterside.news9 June 2024 (LINK)

For first time in history, more aquatic animals were farmed than fished in 2022, FAO report findsAP7 June 2024 (LINK) — 30 media reports (LINK)

Panama prepares to evacuate first island and 300 families in face of rising sea levels: 63 communities along Panama’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts expected to be forced to relocate by rising sea levels in the coming decadesAP1 June 2024 (LINK)

Scientists raise concerns as world's most powerful water current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, accelerates — and consequences could be disastrousthecooldown.com5 June 2024 (LINK)

Small Island Developing States can lead in digital transformation for climate resilience: 5 opportunities and lessonsweforum.org31 May 2024 (LINK)

— There are 50 non-SIDS countries with similar population sizes; what did they do to grow and how can that be applicable to SIDS? Could SIDS who are LDCs have lessons to offer for development pathways to the other 45 non-SIDS?

Mexico is so hot that monkeys, birds and bats are falling dead from treeseuronews28 May 2024 (LINK)

Enhancing SIDS Trade: Data insights for future pathways: ITC's monthly briefs on the global state of tradeITC27 May 2024 (LINK)

— Between 2017 and 2022, SIDS exported on average 1,146 distinct products, while other developing and developed countries exported more than twice as many products during the same period.2 Not only did SIDS export less products, but their export revenues also concentrated in few of those: during this period, SIDS exported on average 9 equivalent products, other developing countries 20 and developed countries 41.3.

— Travel represents a much larger share of SIDS' (25.5%) than of other developing countries' exports (3.1%) or of the exports of developed countries (4.1%).

— Untapped export potential in SIDS: 53% ($30.3 billion) of the export potential of SIDS in 2028 is currently untapped. Potential: products of metals or minerals ($10.9 billion), but also in less traditional sectors, such as apparel and textile products ($1.3 billion).

UNEP for World Environment Day, 5 June: Seven ways to restore land, halt desertification and combat droughtUNEP23 May 2024 (LINK)

— "Governments and businesses have a leading role to play in reversing the damage humanity has done to the Earth. But everyday people also have a vital role to play in restoration, which is crucial to our future as a species."

Practical guideworldenvironmentday — (LINK)

More than third of Amazon rainforest struggling to recover from drought, study findsThe Guardian UK ●20 May 2024 (LINK)

16-year-old student Grace Sun from Lexington (Kentucky) wins $75,000 for what could be a medical breakthrough: improvement on an implantable medical device that could work inside the body to help diagnose and treat health problems.kentucky.com19 May 2024 (LINK)

— "To overcome the problems that have previously prevented such devices from working effectively inside the body, Grace developed a new way of chemically treating their organic components, which greatly improved their laboratory performance," according to the news release.

The type of transistor Grace worked with can detect signals that naturally occur in the body — then amplify them. She said an implanted version could one day help regulate heartbeat or monitor blood-sugar levels, Science News Explores reported. Bioelectronic devices have been under development for years but aren't for sale yet because of their current performance issues, she said. They've proven unstable in the body and slow to move electrical signals. Grace added a salt to the polymer that makes up the device, the magazine reported. "This changes the molecular structure and properties of the polymer. And that greatly improved the device's performance," the Science News Explores magazine said.

"Because these [electrical devices] are so cost-effective, and versatile," Grace was quoted as saying in the magazine, "I hope to provide more accurate, safer, as well as cheaper medical diagnostics and treatment for a variety of diseases."

Economic damage from climate change six times worse than thought: A 1C increase in global temperature leads to a 12% decline in world gross domestic product, researchers have found — reportThe Guardian UK ●17 May 2024 (LINK)

— A 3C tempe

— A 3C temperature increase will cause "precipitous declines in output, capital and consumption that exceed 50% by 2100" the paper states. This economic loss is so severe that it is "comparable to the economic damage caused by fighting a war domestically and permanently", it adds. "There will still be some economic growth happening but by the end of the century people may well be 50% poorer than they would've been if it wasn't for climate change."

Thirsty in paradise: Water crises are a growing problem across the Caribbean islands: Trinidad worst drought in recent memory, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Barbadostheconversation.com13 May 2024 (LINK)

Revolutionary new drug could extend human lifespans by 30%, study findsthebrighterside.news13 May 2024 (LINK)

Scientists explain how blood types differ in impactthebrighterside.news12 May 2024 (LINK)

Renewables covered 95% of Portugal's power needs last montheuronews10 May 2024 (LINK)

Over 76% of world’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target to at least 2C: Guardian main source: Guardian, 7 media reports8 May 2024 (LINK)

Planet is headed for at least 2.5C of heating with disastrous results for humanity, poll of hundreds of scientists findsGuardian — (LINK)

Ember think tank: renewable power reaches record 30% of global electricity: mainly 51 media reports8 May 2024 (LINK)

Groundbreaking research reveals the hidden cause of Parkinson's disease: "For the first time, we can show that mitochondria, the vital energy producers within brain cells, particularly neurons, undergo damage, leading to disruptions in mitochondrial DNA. This initiates and spreads the disease like a wildfire through the brain" thebrighterside.news9 May 2024 (LINK)

— Described as a "chronic ailment" disrupting the central nervous system, Parkinson's impacts over 10 million individuals worldwide.

Switzerland records 600 MW of subsidized photovoltaic projects in Q1pv-magazine7 May 2024 (LINK)

Copernicus: Switzerland says it can't afford to take part in EU climate change monitoring programmeeuronews.com2 May 2024 (LINK)

A guide for organizations supporting businesses in the agrifood sector, with a look at small island developing StatesITC29 April 2024 (LINK)

— Needed: support to plan for business continuity or pivot their business model in terms of preparedness and better planning to minimize the impact on business operations. Moreover, improved infrastructure, fiscal incentives for disaster resilience and accurate weather monitoring are needed to minimize the impact on economic activities. Meeting new green market requirements or finding new niche markets in the green space is also a high priority for businesses and shows the value of business support organizations in the climate space.

IMF expects growth in Latin America to average about 2% per year in the next five years, below its already low historical average. These projections are also considerably weaker than those for other emerging market economies across Europe and Asia, which are also expected to slow but still grow by 3% and 6% annually. This weaker outlook partly reflects long-standing challenges of low investment and slow productivity growth. The additional challenge this time is that the demographics are turning, and the labor force won't grow as fast as beforeIMF26 April 2024 (LINK)

Europe had worst wine harvest in 62 years: climate change + impacts blamed: wine consumption also at its lowest level since 1996 because of price increases from inflation and a sharp drop in wine drinking in China due to economic slowdowneuronews26 April 2024 (LINK)

While most of the world still runs on dirty fossil fuels, Costa Rica has generated nearly all of its electricity from renewable sources of energy for nearly a decade — it's still not enough... (For comparison, the US generates just over 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources)theverge24 April 2024 (LINK)

— "In the winter, like a six-month period from June to December, many of the hydropower plants get surplus flows. That's when we have low wind, but we have more hydropower. And then in the summer, like from December to May perhaps, we get low hydropower, so the other sources of energy complement that electricity supply — mainly wind power, biomass, and geothermal."

"In the long term, what we see is an increase in hydropower production — but in the west and south of the country, mainly because rains will get heavier, more intense in that region. We’ve got a problem because hydropower does not have the same variability as solar wind. So, if we get more solar and more wind, our system will have more variability."

Question: There has been opposition to large hydroelectric dams because they harm river ecosystems and displace people from their homes. How do you think about those risks?

"From the start of the project, we get the communities and all the stakeholders involved in the project. We know that perhaps this will be a little more expensive. However, with this perspective the project will be held with lower risk and we can fulfill our environmental and social requirements."

Ocean floor a 'reservoir' of plastic pollution, world-first study 20 media reports5 April 2024 (LINK)

Researchers from EPFL and HES-SO Valais Wallis have published a study emphasizing the importance of local energy solutions, and the role of decentralized photovoltaic systems for community empowerment in a more sustainable energy future for Switzerland: this could reduce annual system costs by 10% and elevate self-consumption rates to 68%. see_link5 April 2024 (LINK)

— "With an investment of 1260 CHF/year per capita in local energy communities, districts can produce about half of the total energy needs of Switzerland by using around 60% of the available roof surface."

Global water crisis fuelling more conflicts, UNESCO report warnsAl Jazeera22 March 2024 (LINK)

— Girls and women are the first victims of a lack of water, said the report, published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), especially in rural areas where they have the primary responsibility of collecting supplies.

Only seven countries in the world breathe safe air, says Swiss study: Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and New Zealand: Puerto Rico, Bermuda and French Polynesia also fell within safe levelseuronews20 March 2024 (LINK)

FAO warns of climate change impact on farms and rural households run by women in poor main source: AP, 21 media reports4 March 2024 (LINK)

Hot seawater killed most of cultivated coral in Florida Keys in setback for restoration effortAP16 February 2024 (LINK)

Global warming is making Greenland 20% more green: Parts of Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers that melted over the past three decades have been replaced by wetlands, shrub vegetation and areas of barren rock, according to a new study that used satellite images to track changes since the 8 media reports13 February 2024 (LINK)

UK startup Seabound can capture 95% of a ship's carbon emissionsthenextweb8 February 2024 (LINK)

— Late last year, Seabound installed a prototype of its device on a huge cargo vessel owned by British shipping giant Lomar. The pilot was funded by a £1.2mn grant under the UK government's £60mn Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. Over the course of two months on a route between Turkey and the Persian Gulf, the device captured 78% of carbon emissions and 90% of sulphur dioxide from one of the ship's auxiliary engines.

An extra 3 billion people will have a scarcity of clean water by 2050 due to pollution in waterways, scientists predictForbes ●6 February 2024 (LINK)

Scientists propose a Category 6 as hurricanes gain in intensity with climate change: would include hurricanes with wind speeds greater than 192mph (308kmph) 42 media reports5 February 2024 (LINK)

The small canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden in Switzerland unveiled a creative new way to generate solar power: outfitting a roadside retaining wall with vertical solar panels: 'we will probably see more of these things'thecooldown.com23 January 2024 (LINK)

Drought has forced authorities to further slash traffic by 36% in Panama Canal, disrupting global main source: AP, 43 media reports17 January 2024 (LINK)

Something weird is happening to these Alpine goats. Scientists say it's an ominous sign. Climate change and other human impacts are turning some animals nocturnal: Wolves — the main predator of ibexes in this region — typically hunt under the cover of darkness. Plus, these goats don't see well in the dark and live in highly treacherous terrain.vox17 January 2024 (LINK)

Who are Western Europeans? New study reveals true origins: based on genomic analysis of about 1,600 ancient people: nomads of the Yamnaya culture riding out of the Pontic steppe 5,000 years ago, on the newly domesticated horse. And they brought an elevated genetic risk for multiple sclerosis.haaretz16 January 2024 (LINK)

An unprecedented flu strain is attacking hundreds of animal species. Humans could be next. An avian flu strain has struck some 320 bird and mammal species, including elephant seals.adn16 January 2024 (LINK)

In 2023, the world's oceans took up an enormous amount of excess heat, enough to "boil away billions of Olympic-sized swimming pools," according to NOAA annual reportphys.org11 January 2024 (LINK)

Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, Academy award winner Oliver Stone, Pulitzer prize winner Chris Hedges and 400 around the world demand decolonization of Okinawasee_link6 January 2024 (LINK)

— Dr. Katherine Muzik, a marine biologist conducting coral research throughout the tropical Atlantic and Pacific, dived in the Ryukyu Islands during the years 1981-1988 and 2007-2015. She reports that "the astonishing diversity of marine life in Oura Bay, rare and unique worldwide, would certainly be suffocated and destroyed by continuing this appalling military project."

Evolution is not as random as previously thought, finds new study: the evolutionary trajectory of a genome may be influenced by its evolutionary history, rather than determined by numerous factors and historical accidentsphys.org3 January 2024 (LINK)

— "The implications of this research are nothing short of revolutionary," said ProfessorJames McInerney, the lead author of the study. "By demonstrating that evolution is not as random as we once thought, we've opened the door to an array of possibilities in synthetic biology, medicine, and environmental science."

Scientists finally figure out why pee is yellow — "Now that we've identified this enzyme, we can start investigating how the bacteria in our gut impact circulating bilirubin levels and related health conditions like jaundice," said study co-author Xiaofang Jiang. "This discovery lays the foundation for understanding the gut-liver axis."usnews3 January 2024 (LINK)

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