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Paris Agreement In Full Swing, Developed Countries Urged To Honor It

More than 1,400 delegates from 182 countries are participating in the Bangkok Climate Change Conference from Tuesday to Sunday.

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Developed countries are being urged to honour Paris Agreement. Flickr
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A joint platform of developing countries on Saturday called on the developed nations to make a greater commitment towards honouring the Paris Agreement during the Climate Change Conference being held in the Thai capital.

The platform, which brings together around 20 countries including Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba and Venezuela, called for respecting the vital and delicate balance reached in 2015 in Paris, Efe news reported.

Iran’s Majib Shafiepour, a spokesperson for the coalition, expressed disappointment over the position taken by developed nations and their alleged unwillingness to make progress on key issues like the funding required to combat climate change pledged under the Paris Agreement.

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India Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech as he attends Heads of States’ Statements ceremony of the COP21 World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, 30 November 2015.

As agreed in the landmark 2015 conference, developed countries have to contribute $100 billion annually starting in 2020 to be given to the most disadvantaged nations to fight against climate change and alleviate its effects.

Ecuador’s Walter Schuldt blamed the change in the financial narrative provided by the bloc of developed nations for the delay in the realization of measures.

Part of the funds will be used to alleviate and mitigate the damage and consequences of environmental disasters and to finance adaptation to technological change in developing nations.

“There is a lack of progress and interest on the part of developed countries,” said Bolivia’s Ivan Zambrana. “This indifference creates new obstacles.”

Although no specific developed countries were mentioned by name during the media appearance, a source participating in the meetings told Efe news that the US was the main country hindering the dialogue process.

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Education – along with training and public awareness – plays a key role in the global response to climate change, as recognized by Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. Flickr

Although US President Donald Trump announced in June 2017 the withdrawal of his country from the Paris Agreement, the move will not be effective until November 2020.

Also Read: Asia’s Increase In Consumption of Meat to Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

More than 1,400 delegates from 182 countries are participating in the Bangkok Climate Change Conference from Tuesday to Sunday, the last preparatory meeting before the Climate Summit set to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.

Delegates in Bangkok were also negotiating on a handbook of standards and guidelines that included goals, schedules and policies for countries to reduce their emissions of polluting gases responsible for global warming, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. (IANS)

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Skyscrapers May Have Made The Impact Of Hurricane Harvey Worse: Study

The scientists projected future warming and found future versions of the same storms would be significantly wetter and stronger.

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Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

Humans helped make recent devastating U.S. hurricanes wetter but in different ways, two new studies find.

Hurricane Harvey snagged on the skyscrapers of Houston, causing it to slow and dump more rain than it normally would, one study found. The city’s massive amounts of paving had an even bigger impact by reducing drainage. Land development in the metro area, on average, increased the chances of extreme flooding by 21 times, study authors said.

A second study looked at last year’s major Hurricanes Maria and Irma and 2005’s deadly Katrina and used computer simulations to see what would have happened if there had been no human-caused global warming. The study found that climate change significantly increased rainfall from those three storms, but did not boost their wind speed.

Both studies are in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

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A smoky haze envelopes the skyscrapers and Rocky Mountains that usually can be seen as a backdrop to the city from a high-rise building, Aug. 20, 2018, in Denver. VOA

Houston was a literal drag on Harvey as it sloshed through, with the storm getting tripped up by the skyscrapers, said study co-author Gabriele Villarini, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Iowa.

Co-author Gabe Vecchi, a climate scientist at Princeton University, said that forced the storm to move up higher, causing more concentrated rain over Houston and slowing, which also made more rain.

He compared it to a river running over rocks, creating bubbles.

“That’s sort of what’s going on here,” he said.

This effect is dwarfed, though, by the paving and building that don’t allow water to sink into the ground, Vecchi said.

Harvey’s record rainfall reached 5 feet in one spot near Houston. The scientists used computer simulations to see the effects of urbanization. In parts of the Houston metro area, the effects of development ranged from a 10 percent higher risk of extreme flooding in the less developed northwest to nearly 92 times the risk in the northeast, they reported.

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A work truck drives on Hwy 24 as the wind from Hurricane Florence blows palm trees in Swansboro N.C. VOA

That’s on top of the unique weather patterns that made Harvey slow down and stall and climate change which brought more water into the storm, Vecchi said.

MIT hurricane and climate expert Kerry Emanuel, who wasn’t part of the study, called the Harvey study “a real advance in our understanding of hurricane impacts on urban areas.”

But Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon wasn’t convinced. He said the team used generic shapes instead of the actual Houston skyline. He said the storm’s wind speeds may have slowed, but that’s different from the storm’s forward movement slowing.

The other study in Nature looked at a variety of historical damaging storms and tried to calculate past and future effects of climate change. In three cases, the scientists simulated the storms without the changes in the climate from greenhouse gases, showing that global warming increased rainfall 8.9 percent in Hurricane Maria , 6.3 percent in Hurricane Irma and 8.7 percent in Hurricane Katrina .

Maria hit Puerto and Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, while Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

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Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C.. VOA

In Maria’s case, a warming climate concentrated heavier rain in the center of the storm and reduced it on the edges, said co-author Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

For 15 storms, which included the devastating Typhoon Haiyan , the potent Gilbert and 1992’s Hurricane Andrew , the scientists projected future warming and found future versions of the same storms would be significantly wetter and stronger.

Also Read: Vietnam Does Its Part in Cleaning The Environment, Cleans Plastic

“We are beginning to see a climate change influence emerge on tropical cyclones and that’s coming out as rainfall,” said study lead author Christina Patricola, an atmospheric scientist at the national lab.

Although replicating a storm in a different climate is difficult and can’t account for certain changes, this work bolsters science understanding of how climate change alters hurricanes, Emanuel said. (VOA)