Klima-News vom Dezember 2023 - NIKIN EU

Climate news from December 2023

The daily flood of news can be overwhelming and the overview of the important news is quickly lost in the mass of gossip. This new monthly blog series summarizes the most important news on the topics of Forest and Climate from the previous month to provide a little perspective – so that you don’t lose sight of the forest with all the trees.

When selecting news from the forest, good news is prioritized because as long as humanity is aware of the climate problem and looks for solutions, there is hope for a happy ending. Of course, important developments that can sometimes be not-so-good are not withheld. A colorful mix of the enjoyable and the thought-provoking. Have fun reading!

Not-so-good: Worst forest fire year in Canada

It was already clear at the end of August; This wildfire season in Canada has been hellish. Now the data is available and it shows that in 2023 up to 2.5x as much forest area burned as in previous record years. The reasons for these numbers are varied, but they are all due to climate warming. On the one hand, the high temperatures dry out the soils, which are otherwise fire-resistant thanks to their moisture. Long periods without rain increase the drying effect of warm temperatures. On the other hand, the fire season has lengthened and fires are becoming stronger because of all the fuel that parched areas provide. The big problem with such devastating forest fires is the emission of CO2s previously stored by the forest and the soil. It also endangers the habitat of various animal species, leads to a lack of food and disrupts the food chain. In order to stop such weather extremes and prevent tipping points, a joint effort is needed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: SRF)

2023 war das schlimmste Waldbrand-Jahr in Kanada seit Messbeginn | NIKIN Blog
Image: Bad forest fires are becoming more frequent and lasting longer.

Good: Using satellites to fight forest fires and illegal logging

Europe was also hit by devastating forest fires last year. The EU has therefore set up a project that is intended to simplify the fight against forest fires. With the help of satellite images, the course of the fire can be observed so that, for example, fire engines can be used more specifically and forest paths can be cut to contain the fire. At the same time, illegal logging can also be combated by monitoring forest areas with aerial photographs. This method contributes to the preservation of European forests, which of course makes us at NIKIN happy. (Source: Euronews)

Good: Insect of the Year 2024 – Bull Beetle

At the beginning of December every year, the next year's insect is determined. This title is intended to make the population aware of ecologically important and often threatened insects and to increase appreciation for the insect. The choice for 2024 fell on the bull beetles. Bull beetles feed on the feces of herbivorous animals, reducing greenhouse gases from cow dung, dispersing plant seeds and keeping parasites away from pastures. But the election as insect of the year should also be seen as a warning. Bull beetles suffer from the use of medications in animal husbandry, which end up in the feces. When bull beetles take these medications, they die or have difficulty reproducing. The election is therefore a sign of a reduction in the use of medication and the increased grazing of livestock. (Source: SRF)

Not-so-good: A disappointing COP final document

The 2023 Climate Change Conference (COP 28) took place in Dubai in early December. Politicians from all over the world discussed further climate protection measures in the coming year. However, the final document that emerged from the discussions lacks a strong commitment to effective climate protection. For example, it does not contain a commitment to a global phase-out of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil, but simply a decision to move away from them. Compelling words? None. But although the final document appears very tentative, it is progress compared to previous climate conferences - two years ago, for example, the phase-out of coal only just made it into the final document. So it's going in the right direction, but only very slowly and for the desired 1.According to world politics, the 5 degree target is probably too slow. (Source: Zeit Online)

Good: Rediscovery of the Attenborough long-beaked echidna and the Mayr honeyeater

The story of the Attenborough long-beaked hedgehog is unique: Shortly after its discovery and scientific proof, this hedgehog species disappeared again and was considered lost. The Attenborough long-beaked echidna has now been rediscovered living in the Indonesian province of Papua. Using a camera trap, a research group caught one of these hedgehogs looking for food. In addition to other newly discovered species, the group also rediscovered a bird that had been thought lost since 2008: the Mayr honeyeater. It is not surprising that the research group has (re)discovered so many species - New Guinea is considered the most species-rich island in the world.

Die Expedition Cyclops in Neuguinea entdeckte verschollene Tiere wieder | NIKIN Blog
Image: The Attenborough long-beaked echidna falls into the camera trap. Credits: Expedition Cyclops
That's it from the December news. We at NIKIN try not to lose hope in the flood of bad news regarding the climate and continue to work together with our community for a greener world. We are convinced that together we can change the world so that we can continue to enjoy nature for a long time!
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