Initially, the United States appoints a diplomat for plants and animals

Good morning and welcome to The Climate 202! Dino Grandoni, National environmental correspondent for the Washington Post, wrote the top of today’s newsletter. Below we have the latest on Hurricane Iandevastating effect in Florida. But first:

Initially, the United States appoints a diplomat for plants and animals

As temperatures rise and habitats shrink, hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species around the world are at risk of disappearing.

For the first time, the United States is appointing a special diplomat to defend global biodiversity amid what policymakers here and abroad are increasingly recognizing as an extinction crisis.

Monica Medina Takes on a new role as Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday. she Currently serving As Assistant Secretary of the Department for Ocean Affairs and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The appointment underscores the Biden administration’s desire to protect land and water not only at home but also to conserve habitats outside.

“Not just for nature, for nature’s sake”

The loss of biodiversity is not just a tragedy for wildlife. It is one of the greatest threats facing humanity.

according to UN major report In 2019, one million species are at risk of extinction, with dire repercussions for humans who depend on ecosystems for food, fresh water and other resources. Overfishing, pollution, pesticides, disease, urban sprawl and, of course, climate change contribute to declining numbers of vulnerable species worldwide.

“There is a direct link between biodiversity loss and instability in many parts of the world,” Medina said in a recent telephone interview. “It’s not just about nature for nature’s sake. I think it’s about people.”

Her appointment comes weeks before a major biodiversity conference in mid-December in Montreal. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Kunming in 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The point of United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity – also known as COP-15 – for countries to reverse the loss of species by adopting an international framework for biodiversity conservation. This effort is similar to the 2015 climate talks that resulted in the Paris Agreement.

  • What does the United States want from the conference? That states commit to conserving 30% of their land and water area. “We’re looking at ways to reach that goal, because that’s what scientists tell us we need in order to have a healthy planet,” Medina said.
  • One big hitch: Define what, exactly, would be considered land and water conserved? “That’s part of the discussion, what matters,” she said.
  • Is the United States doing its part? President Biden Set a goal of conserving nearly a third of the country’s land and water by 2030.

Take Biden a few steps toward that goal, restoring protection to two desert tracts in Utah and reimposing fishing restrictions at a marine monument off New England. Both movements reverse the decisions he made President Donald Trump.

But the Biden administration Not set yet Many other specific places for new protection. Medina indicated that Inflation reduction law Passed this year and allocate billions of dollars to fund conservation.

The link between biodiversity and climate change

Sea level rise Forest flooding and tree killing. temperature increase It allows the disease to spread further, such as a form of avian malaria that is killing birds in Hawaii. high water temperature Oxygen filtrationMarine life is stifled.

Medina noted that protecting ecosystems such as forests and peatlands would help keep warming carbon out of the atmosphere in the first place.

“It’s a crisis we’re facing that’s intertwined with the climate crisis, but it’s also independent and important in its own right,” she said. “If we can solve the biodiversity crisis, we are a long way from solving the climate crisis.”

Ian moves inland, floods coastal Florida and cuts power to 2.5 million

Hurricane Ian It gradually receded into a tropical storm early Thursday, with maximum winds of 65 mph. Although it is believed that the storm has already peaked, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis He warned late Wednesday that the killing could continue across the state, Reporting by Jason Samino, Kelly Casoulis Cho and Annabelle Timsit.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said Ian, tearing toward the Florida Atlantic coast, is expected to weaken further Friday night through Saturday, but “may be close to hurricane strength” on Friday as it approaches South Carolina.

About 2.5 million customers are without electricity, according to, which tracks outages across the country. Conditions are expected to deteriorate as Ian moves inland.

Ian jumped from a Category 3 storm Tuesday night to just shy of Category 5 Wednesday morning, a hallmark of climate change. The rapid intensification of storms, which has occurred frequently in recent decades, is associated with rising ocean temperatures. Warmer water helps feed hurricanes, allowing them to grow, strengthen and release more rain.

  • The monster storm will drop 12 to 20 inches of rain over central and northeastern Florida, with local amounts of up to 30 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center. Flash floods are one of the most serious threats from tropical storms because they happen quickly and occur offshore. The slow-moving nature of Ian means that torrential rains will fall across the state for a longer period of time.
  • In a press briefing Wednesday evening, DeSantis said there will be an influx of people and supplies available to those in need, and that first responders will likely be able to reach residents in high-risk areas when conditions are safer in first light Thursday.
  • DeSantis also sent an official letter to President Biden On Wednesday, he demanded a declaration of a major disaster for the entire state, demanding full federal compensation for response and recovery costs for the first 60 days.

Millions of people have moved to Ian’s Way in the past 50 years

The patch of coast facing the most catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Ian It has been undergoing rapid development in recent decades, significantly exposing more assets and people to harm, Washington Post Simone DucroquetAnd the Brady Dennis And the John Moeskens Report.

From 1970 to 2020, census records show that the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area expanded 623 percent to more than 760,000 people. Meanwhile, Tampa St. The Petersburg-Clearwater region experienced growth of more than 187 percent and is now home to more than 3.1 million people.

Stephen Strader, Risk geographer and professor at Villanova UniversityWith more people and businesses moving ashore, it creates a massive opportunity for weather-related disasters to wreak havoc.

“Then you look at sea level rise and climate change on top of that, and you’re looking at a multi-headed monster,” Strader said. “We haven’t really done much to curb this growth. … What we are finding is that it is not sustainable.”

Why defeating Mansion’s energy bill could be a loss for the climate

after, after Senator Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.) On Tuesday he said he was withdrawing his plan to allow energy from a temporary government funding bill, many environmental groups cheered. But the bill also included a provision for the rapid expansion of transmission lines, which is crucial to helping the United States achieve its bold climate goals, Shannon Osaka Reports for The Post.

Bill Mansion, dubbed Energy Independence and Security Actto help speed up the approval process for new clean energy and fossil fuel projects by setting a two-year target for environmental reviews and giving the federal government the authority to build transmission lines.

However, many climate activists have argued that although the bill will speed up the nation’s transition to clean energy, its potential benefits do not outweigh the harms of restricting additional greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.

However, these power lines are essential for transporting renewable electricity from the sunny and windy areas of the country to urban centers. According to the analysis of Princeton Universitywho recently passed away, Inflation reduction law US emissions could be reduced by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. But that calculation depends on whether the nation succeeds in increasing transmission by 2.3 percent annually. If transmission grows only 1 percent per year, designers expect 80 percent of the benefits of the new climate law could be lost.

EU warns of ‘strong’ response to sabotage after Nord Stream bombings

European Union Commanders on Wednesday launched investigations into random and simultaneous breaches of three underwater natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, citing Russian sabotage.And the Meg Kelly And the Michael Birnbaum Reporting for The Post.

Experts said the explosions were likely the largest single release of methane into the atmosphere from the energy sector. The gas is more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide during its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Thomas Lufoxa researcher with Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory In France, he said, in a worst-case scenario, the spill could cause the same amount of pollution from global warming as a million cars a year.

On Wednesday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell He pledged a “strong and united response” to any attacks on energy infrastructure in the 27-nation bloc. Although investigations have only just begun, many politicians have blamed Russia, saying the explosions are the next step in the Kremlin’s strategy as it continues to wage war in Ukraine and use energy supplies as leverage on Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov He described accusations that Russia was responsible for the bombings as “predictably stupid” and “ridiculous”. He told reporters in a phone call that Moscow had no interest in damaging the pipelines – which are majority-owned Russian entities – due to the high value of the gas.

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