📰 EwA News Digest: Climate Hotspot at Home, Amphibian Diversity Loss and 400% Deforestation Increase

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Kayla Padegimas

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Feb 22, 2022, 10:29:33 AMFeb 22
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Hi Everyone! This is Kayla, the new spring intern here at EwA, with my first news digest for February.


First off, AGL, an Australian energy company, has promised to move the closing dates of two of its largest coal plants up in response to the increases in the renewable market, but by only two to three years… While closing these plants to keep our outputs in check is essential to these efforts, this two to three year move should not be praised the way AGL wants it to be, as it is a minor shift that will not make any difference in their carbon emissions before then. 



New studies into harlequin toads shined a light onto how the loss of these species will affect human resources, such as pharmaceuticals, through the loss of poisons and toxins derived from amphibians. Losing these species likely means a large loss of chemical diversity, the effects of which cannot be fully known with the lack of research into large swaths of the areas they are native to. The difficulty involved with studying this loss globally makes the effects hard to pin-point but will likely cause large scale losses not only for humans but also for global biodiversity



Closer to home, New England has become a hotspot for climate change, seeing some of the fastest rising temperatures compared to the rest of the globe. New England has already exceeded the Paris Climate Accords threshold of 1.5 degrees celsius, which has allowed for shifts to the ecological, economic, and cultural climate as well. They also warn against the complacent nature of warmer winters as people grow comfortable with less frigid temperatures and climate issues don’t seem as important, getting pushed aside in favor of more enjoyable winter conditions. 


This next article focuses on the argument that we cannot afford the economic insecurity that would come with making massive steps to aid with environmental issues. The truth is we are endangering our entire future by not acting, with billions of dollars in damages and continued biodiversity loss due to changing climate and extreme weather! So while these extreme environmental shifts have been on the scientific and political communities' radar mainstream since at least 2011, there is still massive pushback to “compromise” future economic freedom to focus on these issues, over ten years later.



Unfortunately the Amazon rainforest saw it’s highest January deforestation rate since 2008 last month. While the levels of deforestation vary a lot by month, season and year, the trends have been going upward since 2012, reaching their highest level since 2008 in 2021. 430 miles of rainforest were destroyed last month, according to recent data, which is a 400% increase from January 2021. Check out the full statistics on Mongabay



We’ll end this week with an  interesting piece that proves how little we truly know about the world. A recently published study estimates that there are approximately 14% more tree species on the planet than we currently know about, around 73,274 in total, which would be around 9,200 more than the currently accounted number. Deforestation and other human activities are especially dangerous with this new information, as many of these trees are rare and found in very few places on the globe, and could have unknown ecosystem benefits we are depriving them of… 



That’s all for this month, look out around Mid-March for the next digest!


- Kayla

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