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Too hot for the human body: hottest city on Earth could become new normal

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As the full midsummer heat hits Pakistan’s Jacobabad, the city retreats inside as if sheltering from a terror attack

The city of Jacobabad in Pakistan has sweltered through intense heat for years. And experts say that temperatures will only rise in the coming years.

As summer approaches, the streets become deserted and residents hide from the scorching sun.

Very few local residents have air conditioning or any forms of house cooling to provide any relief from the temperatures which can reach 52 degrees.

Distributing water throughout the city. In the city of Jacobabad.

‘When it gets that hot, you can’t even stay on your feet’

In more wealthy Arabic countries such as Dubai, electricity and air conditioning are plentiful. Here, the heat threshold may have little effect on residents.

In Jacobabad, where many live on wages of only a couple of pounds a day, residents must find other ways to adapt to the rising heat levels and the changes in climate.

Often, the heat gets so extreme that blackouts occur, and so even those that do have an AC won’t be able to use it.

Many people who live in the village must withstand the heat to bring income. The residents in the village say that when it gets that hot, you can’t even stay on your feet.

These same workers often end up filling hospital beds as they suffer from extreme heatstroke.

Scientists say Jacobabad is particularly vulnerable to climate change

Around 200,000 people live in Jacobabad, which is located in Pakistan’s Sindh province. It has long been renowned for its fierce heat, but recent research has come to an unwelcome conclusion.

Its mixture of heat and humidity has made it one of only two places on Earth to have now officially passed a threshold hotter than the human body can withstand.

Climate experts consider the region to be one of the world’s most vulnerable places to climate change. Now, experts are raising concerns that Jacobabad’s temperatures may increase further, or other cities may join the club.

On the outskirt of Jacobabad.

A threshold hotter than the human body can withstand

Researchers have examined the temperatures in the Pakistani city, and say as the heat rises, the impacts to humans can potentially be devastating.

The researchers examined ‘wet bulb temperatures’, by taking a thermometer covered in a water-soaked cloth. This takes both heat and humidity into account.

Wet-bulb thermometer readings are significantly lower than the more familiar dry bulb readings, which do not take humidity into account. Researchers say that at a wet-bulb reading of 35C, the body can no longer cool itself by sweating.

Such a temperature can be fatal in a few hours, even to the fittest people. Jacobabad crossed the 35C wet-bulb threshold in July 1987, then again in June 2005, June 2010 and July 2012.

Each of those occurrences may have only happened for a few hours at a time, but a three-day average maximum temperature has been recorded hovering around 34C in June 2010, June 2001, and July 2012. The dry bulb temperature is often over 50C in the summer.

What is the solution?

Jacobabad’s crown for unsurvivable temperatures may conjure pictures of Death Valley-like deserts, but it is an agricultural hub fed by irrigation canals.

Stretches of the town’s bazaar are dedicated to keeping cool. Shops sell electric fans and low-tech washing machine-sized coolers that emit a refreshing mist.

But electrical solutions such as powered air conditioners and fan units are deemed useless by frequent power cuts. In the city centre, residents often lose power for three or four hours, while in more rural areas the blackouts are much longer.

Many adults and children swim in rivers as a means to cool down, but humidity levels at night too often make for uncomfortable rest.

As temperatures rise and rainfall patterns shift, difficulties with farming, irrigation, disease and labour are predicted by 2050 and will hurt people’s quality of living in parts of Pakistan.

Author

  • Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Climate

Global climate emergency to kill 83 million people by 2100

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Rising temperatures to place four times the population of Australia in danger if no further action is taken against the world’s climate emergency.

Greenhouse gas emissions contributes to rising temperatures globally.

 

New research by R. Daniel Bressler from Columbia University’s Earth Institute reveals increasing greenhouse gas emissions could contribute to 83 million excess deaths between 2020 and 2100.  

“By the end of the century, the projected 4.6 million excess yearly deaths would put climate change 6th on the 2017 Global Burden of Disease risk factor risk list,” Bressler says. 

Published in Nature Communications, the study entitled The mortality cost of carbon may trigger many to think twice about how their lifestyle generates emissions.

Findings of the study show for every 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide, one person will die of a heat-related cause with temperatures set to rise by 4.1 degrees celsius by 2100. 

This metric is equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 12.8 average global individuals or 3.5 Americans. 

The highest mortality rates are expected to occur in some of the hottest regions of the world including Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

It’s also important to note that the study only accounts for temperature-related mortality, excluding climate-mortality pathways such as the impact of climate change on infectious disease, food supply and extreme natural events such as flooding. 

Rising temperatures could contribute to 83 million excess deaths within the next century.

Bressler says this metric could be used by governments and companies to determine how they choose to monitor high emission-generating activities. 

“The emissions contributions of these groups are usually marginal relative to the aggregate emissions of the world economy from the industrial revolution through the twenty-first century,” Bressler says.

“If an organisation reduces its 2020 carbon dioxide emissions by one million metric tons this will save 226 lives in expectation over the course of the twenty-first century.” 

Temperatures have increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) globally since 1880 according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Decreasing emissions so that there is only a 2.4 degrees Celsius increase by the end of the century could save 74 million lives. 

 

Written By Rebecca Borg

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Climate

5B : Why this is an answer to the climate crisis

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From Australian startup to solar juggernaut, 5B’s technology is reinventing solar energy

5B started as an Australian startup and is reinventing global solar energy from the ground up.

This week on Ticker Climate the co-founder of 5B, Chris McGrath ‘zoomed-in’ from sunny Darwin, Australia. 5B is an innovative solar technology business, with a mission to create abundant, accessible, affordable power from the sun. They’re breaking down barriers by making solar power easy, affordable, and quick.

Aussie startup founded over a bottle of whiskey

Solar engineers Chris McGrath and Eden Tehan founded the business in 2013. They came up with the idea over a bottle of whiskey. With an aim to accelerate the planet’s transition to fast, easy, low-cost clean solar energy. The way solar can, and should be. From a team of 30 employees last year, they now employ 137 people.

The name 5B represents the 5 billion years of sunshine Earth has left, and motivates them to strive for the simplest, most effective ways to leverage this resource.

“As individuals how we can add most to the challenge of climate change in front  of us.” 

Chris McGrath, Co-founder 5B

 

How it works

5B’s finely tuned ecosystem allows its solution to be produced anywhere in the world, at scale, with a network of channel, assembly, and deployment partners. They use technology to make the process of producing and developing solar easy and low cost.

They classify themselves as the ‘Maverick’s’ (a reference to Top Gun) of our time and the leaders of the renewable revolution.

The Maverick

The iconic technology of the ‘Maverick’ solar solution is the fastest, easiest and simplest way to deploy ground-mounted solar. 5B has redefined the engineering, and construction of solar farms.

They use the ‘Maverick’ to transform to supply and delivering chain of building solar farms to make it easier, faster, and cheaper. Their approach combines modular design, prefabrication, and rapid deployment.

This streamlines engineering & procurement and transferring cost, time & risk from the construction site to the factory. 5B makes the process simpler by using modular prefabricated blocks, pre-wired, minimal site preparation, suitable for most ground and soil types, minimal ground penetration and no trenching needed.

They’re the fastest deployment on the market.

 

Sun Cable Project

5B has joined forces with the Sun Cable Project. This project will be the world’s largest solar farm in the world on completion. It will be able to power whole cities with renewable energy.

It is in a remote location in the Northern parts of Australia. By conventional means, this process would take thousands of people in a camp in the middle of nowhere to complete.

However, with 5B they will use a highly trained workforce in a factory in Darwin, then a fleet of autonomous vehicles will help to make the rollout efficient and seamless. They will use about 100 people as opposed to thousands. They will be rolling out approximately 180 ‘Maverick’s’ per day, which equates to about one per 5 minutes.

This project will be a lighthouse for 5B to showcase their capabilities and leadership in this industry. And, with predictions the cost of solar will continue to go down, Australia could be on track to become a renewable energy exporting leader.

“The advantage in Australia is the price of solar will keep going down and that will give us an advantage over other countries. “

Energy expert, and Ticker Climate co-host, Scott Hamilton

Breaking global markets

5B is also expanding internationally, breaking into markets in Chile, the United States, and India. They want to drive growth into these markets to build their ecosystem of partners right around the world. They also have a factory in Vietnam ramping up.

Eventually, 5B wants to implement a system so seamless that you can buy a solar farm online and have it delivered the next week.

 

Bushfire prone locations need solar

Right now disastrous fires are wreaking havoc across the world. The United States and Turkey, are the most recent to fall victim to the frightening blazes.  Some of the challenges local towns and communities in remote locations face are the risk of bushfires & storms that end in extended blackouts.

The solution for these towns, communities, and businesses is solar. In Australia, 5B recently worked on a project named ‘resilient energy’ in partnership with Tesla and the co-founder of software company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The project aimed at getting power back to bushfire-affected communities. The purpose is to use renewable energy to make the communities and power systems more resilient, relying less on power lines that are likely to be damaged during a fire.

“Power lines cause fires…We want communities and power systems to be more resilient.”

 Chris McGrath, co-founder 5B

Watch this week’s full episode here: https://tickernews.co/ticker-climate/

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Climate

UNESCO votes to add 33 new spots as heritage sites

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After several days of online deliberations, UNESCO has voted to add 33 new spots to its list of World Heritage Sites so far, with more discussions to come.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee didn’t meet last year.

UNESCO designated its first World Heritage Sites back in 1978.

UNESCO says that to be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of “outstanding universal value”

Australia now has enough global support to avoid UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” World Heritage Site until at least 2023

In June, the 12 countries in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted for a draft ruling that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger of losing its World Heritage status due to the impacts of climate change.

Since then, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been busy lobbying Europe. During her tour, she visited eight countries in a bid to gain support to reject the danger listing.

The Australian government successfully garnered support from 12 other countries to delay the decision until 2023. This is enough for a clear majority.

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  • Jack is a journalist and producer at Ticker NEWS. He's previously worked for digital media publications in Australia and the US. Jack is particularly interested in reporting on international affairs and sport.

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