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People Least Responsible for Climate Crisis are Most Vulnerable to Risks Associated with It

But just over the last few years, Bolsonaro in Brazil has allowed deforestation to take place unchecked under his watch

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Climate, Crisis, Vulnerable, trees
According to the distribution patterns of abies showed in the study, the researchers suggested that enough corridors should be conserved in Hengduan mountains and the Three Parallel Rivers to protect biodiversity against climate change. Pixabay

When a 16-year-old girl who has avowed air travel has to cross the Atlantic in a solar-powered race boat to speak at a conference on climate change while the Amazon rainforests are still burning in evidence to everything she has argued at the highest public forums, it is evident that the adults in the room are not doing enough. The “war on nature must end”, Greta Thunberg appealed as she reached the shores of America. But just over the last few years, Bolsonaro in Brazil has allowed deforestation to take place unchecked under his watch while the Trump administration has been handing out leases of public land and waters for oil and gas drilling that are estimated to produce more carbon emissions than the entire European Union does in a year.

In the face of the world’s biggest crisis, a few world leaders seem to be moving in the opposite direction in denial. The myopic economic interests of countries have clearly taken precedence over the global environmental concerns regarding climate change. Nevertheless, the impact of the climate crisis has not been more evident than today through the unpredictable weather conditions and changing trends in climate, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, as well as ocean acidification. Warming temperatures triggered by greenhouse gas emissions have increased the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts and storms across countries and regions. However, the consequent environmental degradation does not have a uniform impact on countries with varying levels of economic development.

A recently published study by researchers from the Stanford University has found that between 1961 and 2010, the poor countries with lowest carbon emissions suffered bigger losses as compared to wealthy countries with highest emissions. The study emphasized that most poor countries of the world are poorer, and the rich countries are richer due to the impact of global warming. The ratio between incomes of the richest 10 per cent and the poorest 10 per cent of the global population has been estimated to be 25 per cent more than it would have been during that time period otherwise.

A similar impact has been observed within countries where people who are least responsible for the climate crisis are the most vulnerable to the risks associated with it. The local communities living in rural parts of developing countries (that are already at a disadvantage) are directly affected due to the consequent impact on agricultural production, water availability, industry and human health. As a result of rising inequality among and within countries, India’s GDP is estimated to be 31 per cent lower than it would have been without climate change. By contrast, the GDP of Canada and EU are 32 per cent and 9.5 per cent higher respectively.

Climate, Crisis, Vulnerable
When a 16-year-old girl who has avowed air travel has to cross the Atlantic in a solar-powered race boat to speak at a conference on climate change while the Amazon rainforests are still burning in evidence. Pixabay

These findings further the ongoing debate on the division of responsibility for causing climate change and its mitigation. Historically, developed countries have had a major contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions which makes it imperative for them to lead the fight against climate change and its adverse effects. The fact that their development which caused climate change muted the growth prospects of the next wave of developing countries puts additional onus on the developed economies to make efforts to address the crisis.

Given that all countries continue with their efforts to promote an ecosystem of sustainable production and consumption, the developed countries should not only take responsibility for their own actions, but also compensate for their negative contribution of the past. In 2015, the Global Climate Fund was created with the objective to support the efforts of developing countries to tackle climate change through investments in the form of grants, loans, equity and guarantees. In addition to financial assistance, transfer of green and clean technologies to the low-income countries could further stimulate their transition to become green economies. Thus, a comprehensive action plan should be advanced to encourage adoption of sustainable alternatives by providing fiscal incentives, regulatory support for resource-incentive sectors and building of climate-resilient infrastructure in developing countries. Stringent laws regarding green subsidies and carbon taxes levied on traded goods and services could initiate the establishment of carbon-free markets. Green innovation through investment in research and technology could also play a key role to find global solutions to the global issue of climate change.

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Therefore, global value chains based on cooperation and coordination have the capacity to enhance productivity through innovation-driven production processes. International forums and bilateral trade agreements should also focus on enabling the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies for renewable sources of energy, water conservation and waste management from developed to developing countries. Lastly, since leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro cannot be expected to alter their stance on climate change, currently it is only the people who need to do their part by changing dietary habits, for instance, until the developed world can lead by example. (IANS)

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COVID-19: MakeMyTrip Lays Off Nearly 350 Employees

Covid-hit MakeMyTrip says that there's no respite in sight

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According to MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra, the word of travel has been ravaged due to global Covid-19 pandemic. Pixabay

Covid-hit online travel major MakeMyTrip has laid off nearly 350 employees as the pandemic has changed the context and viability of some of its business lines in its current form.

The company is offering mediclaim coverage for the impacted individuals and their families till the end of the year.

According to an internal letter from Founder Deep Kalra and CEO Rajesh Magow sent to employees, the impacted employees will also get leave, gratuity, retention of company laptops and outplacement support, apart from salary payments as per their notice periods.

“It is undoubtedly the toughest decision we have had to take so far and it’s the saddest day for us as an organization,” read the letter.

The company analysed Covid-19 impact closely and spent considerable time thinking about the path to business recovery.

“It is evident that the pandemic has changed the context and viability of some of our business lines in its current form. Keeping this in mind we have had to take this sad but inevitable decision of rightsizing our workforce in these businesses,” said the duo.

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MakeMyTrip analysed Covid-19 impact closely and spent considerable time thinking about the path to business recovery. Wikimedia Commns

The staff rationalization, they said, is mapped to their future business strategy and “is in no way a reflection of the work done by people in these teams”.

According to Kalra, the word of travel has been ravaged due to global Covid-19 pandemic.

“What’s evident is that the impact of COVID-19 crisis is going to be long drawn for us. It’s unclear when traveling will become a way of life, as it was pre-Covid,” said the letter.

The tourism industry in India is staring at two crore job losses as industry insiders cite central apathy and a predictably long recovery period.

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Indian tourism travel and hospitality impacts 10-12 per cent of India’s employment which covers almost 5 crore plus direct and indirect jobs.

“We are living through extraordinary times which have impacted individuals, communities, businesses, countries and our world at a magnitude unknown before and there is no let-up in sight,” said the MakeMyTrip executives.

The Indian tourism, travel and hospitality sector has already seen over one quarter of accumulated losses which began from February onwards. (IANS)

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Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death In Australia, heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

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Heat
Climate change an official cause of death in Australia study suggests. Pixabay

Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340. “Climate change is a killer, but we don’t acknowledge it on death certificates,” Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.  “If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

Heat
Excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia. Pixabay

“We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke,” Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia. According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country’s death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming. “Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

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“We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires – many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure,” she said. (IANS)

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An Enzyme in Men Makes Them More Prone to The Novel Coronavirus: Study

Enzyme in men makes them more vulnerable to COVID, study suggests.

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COVID-19
Study suggests an enzyme in men makes them vulnerable to corona virus. Pixabay

After several studies revealed that men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, evidence from a new larger research of several thousand patients shows that men have higher concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their blood than women, a molecule that enables the novel coronavirus to infect healthy cells in men. This may help to explain why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than women, according to the researchers.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, also found that heart failure patients taking drugs targeting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), did not have higher concentrations of ACE2 in their blood.

“Our findings do not support the discontinuation of these drugs in COVID-19 patients as has been suggested by earlier reports,” said study co-author Adriaan Voors from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Some recent research suggested that RAAS inhibitors might increase concentrations of ACE2 in plasma — the liquid part of blood — thereby increasing the risk of COVID-19 for cardiovascular patients taking these drugs.

The current study indicates that this is not the case, although it looked only at ACE2 concentrations in plasma, not in tissues such as lung tissue.

coronavirus
Coronavirus more likely to affect men due to the presence of an enzyme in them, report suggests. Pixabay

“ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of cells. It binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect healthy cells after it is has been modified by another protein on the surface of the cell, called TMPRSS2,” Voors said.

“High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, therefore, it is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders related to COVID-19,” he added.

For the findings, the researchers measured ACE2 concentrations in blood samples taken from two groups of heart failure patients from 11 European countries.

There were 1,485 men and 537 women in the first group, the index cohort, which was designed to test the researchers’ hypotheses and research questions. Then the researchers validated their findings in the second group of 1,123 men and 575 women, the validation cohort.

The research team assessed the number of clinical factors that could play a role in ACE2 concentrations, including the use of ACE inhibitors, a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery by-pass graft.

They found that male sex was the strongest predictor of elevated ACE2 concentrations. ACE2 is found not only in the lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and the tissues lining blood vessels, and there are particularly high levels in the testes.

Coronavirus
Coronavirus affects men more due to an enzyme in their system, says study. Pixabay

The researchers speculate that its regulation in the testes might partially explain higher ACE2 concentrations in men, and why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Last month, the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, found that men are more than twice as likely to die from the disease as compared to women.

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Another study from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed that males over 50 with non-communicable chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease are at greater risk of death from coronavirus. (IANS)