Wildfires likely to increase by a third by 2050, warns UN
Wildfires that have devastated California, Australia and Siberia will become 50% more common by the end of the century, according to a new report that warns of uncontrollable blazes ravaging previously unaffected parts of the planet.
The escalating climate crisis and land-use change are driving a global increase in extreme wildfires, with a 14% increase predicted by 2030 and a 30% increase by 2050, according to a UN report involving more than 50 international researchers.
The findings suggest there should be a radical change in public spending on wildfires. The report said governments were putting their money in the wrong place by focusing on the work of emergency services when preventing fires would be a more effective approach.
Wildfires are becoming an expected part of life on every continent, except Antarctica, destroying the environment, wildlife, human health and infrastructure, according to the report, which was written in collaboration with GRID-Arendal, a non-profit environmental communications centre. The report warned of a “dramatic shift in fire regimes worldwide”.
“From Australia to Canada, the United States to China, across Europe and the Amazon, wildfires are wreaking havoc on the environment, wildlife, human health and infrastructure,” the foreword of the report said, adding that while the situation “is certainly extreme, it is not yet hopeless”.
Although “landscape fires” are essential for some ecosystems to function properly, the report looks specifically at “wildfires”, which it defines as unusual free-burning vegetation fires that pose a risk society, the economy or environment. This month, researchers found global heating could cause “megafires resistant to fire-suppression practices” in southern California. In the US, nearly 3m hectares (7.7m acres) of land were burned by wildfires last year, with blazes becoming increasingly hard to fight.
Direct responses to wildfires receive more than 50% of funding now, while planning and prevention get less than 1%. The paper calls for a “fire-ready formula” with investments rebalanced so half goes on planning, preventing and preparedness, about a third on response and 20% for recovery.
Prof Sally Archibald, an ecologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, who was involved in the report, said: “This is a really important conclusion that I hope diverts money and resources in the right direction, as well as changing policies.
“We cannot promise that if the world gives money for proactive fire management, there will be no more extreme fire events because these fires are caused by global climate change,” she said. “But it would certainly help us minimise the impact and minimise the loss of damage.”
There are many natural solutions, including starting controlled fires using prescribed burning, managing landscapes by grazing animals to reduce the amount of flammable material in the landscape, as well as removing trees too close to people’s homes.
There should be more science-based monitoring systems combined with indigenous knowledge and better international cooperation, the paper’s authors said, ahead of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
“After a century of research we’ve come around to agreeing that how people burn their landscapes traditionally in Africa is probably the most appropriate for the ecosystem,” said Archibald.
Fire-management strategies vary globally, but as a very general rule, experts believe that ecosystems closer to the equator should have more controlled fires, and those farther away should have fewer. Exceptions include tropical forests such as the Amazon, which straddle the equator yet should have very few fires.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Fire is like rainfall – you get different types of fire in different parts of the world,” said Archibald.
Wildfires have exacerbated the climate crisis by destroying carbon-rich ecosystems such as peatlands, permafrost and forests, making the landscape more flammable. Restoring ecosystems such as wetlands and peatlands helps prevent fires from happening and creates buffers in the landscape.
Climate change increases the conditions in which wildfires start, including more drought, higher air temperatures and strong winds. Equally, carbon emissions from wildfires are at an all-time high. Tackling the climate crisis is a key priority in wildfire prevention, the report said.
It also called for better health and safety standards for firefighters, including raising awareness of the dangers of smoke inhalation, reducing their exposure to life-threatening situations, and encouraging proper recovery between shifts.
Inger Andersen, director of the UN Environment Programme, said: “We have to minimise the risk of extreme wildfires by being better prepared: invest more in fire-risk reduction, work with local communities and strengthen global commitment to fight climate change.”
Prof Guillermo Rein, at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the paper, said it was good to read an “extensive and international overview” of how fire management needed to change.
“The full report is impressive. It says so many good and important things,” he said. “Especially important is the emphasis on extreme wildfires and the recommendation for [a] move from reaction to prevention and preparedness.”
Benefits of Health Insurance
Health insurance is a critical part of protecting your health. It gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on living a healthy life. Without it, your health can be threatened by unexpected medical expenses.
The cost of health care is skyrocketing in many areas of the world. Unexpected illnesses and injuries can leave a person in financial ruin.
A lack of health insurance can lead to medical debt and bankruptcy. Medical bills for emergencies can easily exceed thousands of dollars. Not only can these bills drain your savings, but they can also hurt your credit score.
Insurance providers are willing to adjust the terms of your plan based on changes in your lifestyle. In addition, you may qualify for a tax break or reduced premium.
Health insurance can cover the costs of preventive care, such as annual physicals, screenings, and vaccinations. Preventive care is an important way to avoid developing serious illness.
If you do become sick, your insurance will cover the costs of surgery, emergency room visits, and other treatments. You can even receive free preventive care through your health insurance.
Without health insurance, you will often delay seeing a doctor until you are very ill. This is a dangerous habit. When you are in pain, you are more likely to seek medical attention.
The lack of insurance also leads to a higher risk of death for uninsured adults. Women with breast cancer have a 49 percent greater risk of dying if they do not have health insurance.
How to Build a Successful Business Without Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for any business. It helps you engage with your audience and can lead to more traffic, better SEO and increased conversion rates. However, it takes time to build a following. The process can take several months or even years.
While social media can help you connect with your audience, it’s important to maintain a consistent voice. This will help establish a positive impression and create a loyal following.
Social media can also be a great tool for monitoring customer behavior. You can learn more about your customers’ interests, preferences, and needs. When you know who your audience is, you can tailor your content to meet their specific needs.
If you want to get the most out of your social media strategy, set goals. Be sure to measure your results and adjust your spending accordingly. Also, use a SMART goal strategy. Goals that are attainable and relevant to your business will help you reach your overall objectives.
A good strategy is to allow one hour each day to interact with your audience on social media. Respond to any comments, inquiries, or concerns your audience may have.
Another benefit of monitoring social media is gaining industry insight. This information can help you make important business decisions. Knowing your competition can help you fill in strategy gaps and identify your target audience.
Having a social media presence can be a fun and exciting way to generate leads, increase traffic and improve SEO. You can also promote your business, interact with customers, and create a friendly atmosphere that keeps people coming back.
Nuclear annihilation just one miscalculation away, UN chief warns
The world is one misstep from devastating nuclear war and in peril not seen since the Cold War, the UN Secretary General has warned.
“We have been extraordinarily lucky so far,” Antonio Guterres said.
Amid rising global tensions, “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”, he added.
His remarks came at the opening of a conference for countries signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The 1968 deal was introduced after the Cuban missile crisis, an event often portrayed as the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The treaty was designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries, and to pursue the ultimate goal of complete nuclear disarmament.
Almost every nation on Earth is signed up to the NPT, including the five biggest nuclear powers. But among the handful of states never to sign are four known or suspected to have nuclear weapons: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.
Secretary General Guterres said the “luck” the world had enjoyed so far in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe may not last – and urged the world to renew a push towards eliminating all such weapons.
“Luck is not a strategy. Nor is it a shield from geopolitical tensions boiling over into nuclear conflict,” he said.
And he warned that those international tensions were “reaching new highs” – pointing specifically to the invasion of Ukraine, tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the Middle East as examples.
Russia was widely accused of escalating tensions when days after his invasion of Ukraine in February, President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s substantial nuclear forces on high alert.
He also threatened anyone standing in Russia’s way with consequences “you have never seen in your history”. Russia’s nuclear strategy includes the use of nuclear weapons if the state’s existence is under threat.
On Monday, Mr Putin wrote to the same non-proliferation conference Mr Guterres opened, declaring that “there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed”.
But Russia still found itself criticised at the NPT conference.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called Russia’s sabre-rattling – and pointed out that Ukraine had handed over its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in 1994, after receiving assurances of its future security from Russia and others.
“What message does this send to any country around the world that may think that it needs to have nuclear weapons – to protect, to defend, to deter aggression against its sovereignty and independence?” he asked. “The worst possible message”.
Today, some 13,000 nuclear weapons are thought to remain in service in the arsenals of the nine nuclear-armed states – far lower than the estimated 60,000 stockpiled during the peak of the mid-1980s.
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-62381425
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