It’s difficult to keep up with climate change news, especially when there’s so much going on in the world right now.
But, it’s clear that it is still a growing concern for many of us.
The BBC reported this week that online search queries for “climate anxiety” in the first 10 months of 2023 were 27 times higher than the same period in 2017.
It’s not a topic which is going to go away any time soon either, as scientists have repeatedly warned us.
Ahead of the upcoming UN’s climate change summit, COP28, when world leaders will try to decide what to do about the struggling environment, news about the impact global warming is having is increasingly important.
So here are just three news stories about the crisis from the last week.
1. Thirty new species detected in Bath
Bath City Farm has found around 30 unexpected species on its farm over the last eight years out of a whopping 1,250 total species found on the farm in total.
While that sounds like positive biodiversity news on the surface, these species have either relocated to the farm or popped up in winter when they were previously there only in the summer.
These are species who were not accustomed to the temperatures in Bath before – but climate change appears to have changed this, as the city heats up.
Animals which previously stuck to the south coast have now moved further north and moths which were found on the Channel Islands are now scattered across the south of England.
Ecologist Mike Williams, who led the wildlife recording, told The Guardian that visitors to the farm “are listening to the sound of climate change” when they can hear the loud sound of the new arrivals around the Bath meadows – the old inhabitants were known for being quiet.
2. Study links heatwave in Brazil to climate change
Brazil has been attracting plenty of attention recently, as pop star Taylor Swift held a series of concerts amid a record-breaking heatwave.
A 23-year-old fan, Ana Clara Benevides Machado, sadly collapsed while waiting in the audience for the show to start. She later died in hospital.
Firefighters estimate 1,000 attendees fainted during Swift’s show. At the time, Rio de Janeiro saw temperatures peak at 58.5C – and now a new report suggests this heatwave was at least partly driven by the climate crisis.
It was Brazil’s eighth heatwave of the year, and occurred a month before summer normally kicks in the southern hemisphere.
They concluded that this increased temperature “may be partly due to human driven climate change, with a contribution from natural variability”.
However, the researchers did caveat: “The heatwave was a largely unique event; we thus have low confidence in the robustness of our approach.”
3. Pregnant women, babies and children facing ‘urgent threat’
The research found “climate hazards, including extreme heat, are associated with increased risks of developing complications that lead to adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes”.
The international body even released a Call for Action ahead of COP28, after releasing data showing effects of climate events on maternal and child health have been seriously underestimated.
This includes increased risk of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
The WHO said: “In addition to the health risks related to poor nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, the effects of exposure to climate hazards and their aftermath during and after pregnancy can affect mental health and contribute to intergenerational trauma.”
The destabilising impact of the climate crisis can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression can also negatively impact pregnancy and the year after giving birth.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to all of us, but pregnant women, babies and children face some of the gravest consequences of all,” said Bruce Aylward, assistant director general for universal health coverage at the World Health Organisation.