Global & Disaster Medicine

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: A world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040

NYT

Document:  Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Centigrade

IPCC PRESS RELEASE

8 October 2018

Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC approved by governments

INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 8 Oct – Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, farreaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5ºC, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5ºC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5ºC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5ºC by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5ºC is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.
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The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) is available at http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ or www.ipcc.ch.

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence – 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs) – 60 Lead authors (LAs) – 17 Review Editors (REs) 133 Contributing authors (CAs) Over 6,000 cited references A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments (First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

For more information, contact: IPCC Press Office, Email: ipcc-media@wmo.int Werani Zabula +41 79 108 3157 or Nina Peeva +41 79 516 7068


STRATEGY FOR PROTECTING AND PREPARING THE HOMELAND AGAINST THREATS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE AND GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCES

STRATEGY FOR PROTECTING AND PREPARING THE HOMELAND AGAINST THREATS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE AND GEOMAGNETIC DISTURBANCES : Document

“Extreme electromagnetic incidents caused by an intentional electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or a naturally occurring geomagnetic disturbance (GMD, also referred to as “space weather”) could damage significant portions of the Nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electrical grid, communications equipment, water and wastewater systems, and transportation modes.

The impacts are likely to cascade, initially compromising one or more critical infrastructure sectors, spilling over into additional sectors, and expanding beyond the initial geographic regions.

EMPs are associated with intentional attacks using high-altitude nuclear detonations, specialized conventional munitions, or non-nuclear directed energy devices. Effects vary in scale from highly local to regional to continental, depending upon the specific characteristics of the weapon and the attack profile. High-altitude electromagnetic pulse attacks (HEMP) using nuclear weapons are of most concern because they may permanently damage or disable large sections of the national electric grid and other critical infrastructure control systems.

Similarly, extreme geomagnetic disturbances associated with solar coronal mass ejections (when plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth) may cause widespread and long-lasting damage to electric power systems, satellites, electronic navigation systems, and undersea cables. Essentially, any electronics system that is not protected against extreme EMP or GMD events may be subject to either the direct “shock” of the blast itself or to the damage that is inflicted on the systems and controls upon which they are dependent. For these reasons, the potential severity of both the direct and indirect impacts of an EMP or GMD incident compels our national attention. …..”


Terror Gone Viral: 2018

Terror Gone Viral 2018 :  Document

“…. Cumulatively, over the 2014 to 2018 period covered by the Terror Gone Viral reports, ISIS has been linked to 243 incidences, averaging five terrorist incidents per month…..”


What’s in a Cholera Kit?

 

Overview: In 2016 WHO introduced the Cholera Kits. These kits replace the Interagency Diarrhoeal Disease Kit (IDDK) which had been used for many years. The Cholera Kit is designed to be flexible and adaptable for preparedness and outbreak response in different contexts. The overall Cholera Kit is made up of an Investigation Kit, Laboratory materials, 3 Treatment Kits (community, periphery and central) and a Hardware Kit. The Treatment and Hardware Kits are each composed of individual modules. Each of the kits and modules can be ordered independently based on field need. To support orders, a Cholera Kit Calculation Tool was developed. This course is made up of two parts: a short introduction to the Cholera Kits and modules, and a demonstration of the Cholera Kit Calculation Tool.

Cholera Kit


How did NYC fare so well during the Pandemic of 1918?

Pandemic in NYC 1918

“……When compared with other large U.S. cities, especially its two largest neighbors, Boston and Philadelphia, New York City did not fare poorly in its overall mortality burden. During the pandemic, New York City’s excess death rate per 1,000 was reportedly 4.7, compared with 6.5 in Boston and 7.3 in Philadelphia.2 New York City emerged from the three waves of the influenza pandemic (September 1918 to February 1919) officially recording approximately 30,000 deaths out of a population of roughly 5.6 million due to influenza or pneumonia, 21,000 of them during the second “fall” wave (September 14 to November 16)…..”


Moria: A growing safety and mental health crisis in Greece’s largest migrant camp on the island of Lesbos

Unprotected, Unsupported, Uncertain :  Document

  • “……Currently, more than 8,500 people are crammed into a site which only has the capacity to host 3,100.
  • 84 people are expected to share one shower.
  • 72 people are expected to share one toilet.
  • People must rise at four in the morning to stand in line to get food and water, which is distributed at eight.
  • The sewage system is so overwhelmed, that raw sewage has been known to reach the mattresses where children sleep, and flows untreated into open drains and sewers……..”


More than half of the 330,000 childhood deaths attributable to diarrhea in 2015 took place in just 55 out of 782 African states, provinces, or regions.

NEJM

Document:  Diarrhea

“Diarrheal diseases are the third leading cause of disease and death in children younger than 5 years of age in Africa and were responsible for an estimated 30 million cases of severe diarrhea (95% credible interval, 27 million to 33 million) and 330,000 deaths (95% credible interval, 270,000 to 380,000) in 2015…….”

 

 


UN: Child Mortality

Document:  Levels and Trend in Childhood Mortality

Over the last two decades, the world made substantial progress in reducing mortality among children and young adolescents (including children under age 5, children aged 5−9 and young adolescents aged 10−14).

Still, in 2017 alone, an estimated 6.3 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes.

Children under age 5 accounted for 5.4 million of these deaths, with 2.5 million deaths occurring in the first month of life, 1.6 million at age 1–11 months, and 1.3 million at age 1−4 years.

An additional 0.9 million deaths occurred among children aged 5−14.

Among children and young adolescents, the risk of dying was highest in the first month of life at an average rate of 18 deaths per 1,000 live births globally in 2017.

In comparison, the probability of dying after the first month and before reaching age 1 was 12 per 1,000, the probability of dying after age 1 and before age 5 was 10 per 1,000, and the probability of dying after age 5 and before age 15 was 7 per 1,000.


GAO: Initial Observations on the Federal Response and Key Recovery Challenges to the Hurricanes and Wildfires of 2017

GAO

2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires:

Initial Observations on the Federal Response and Key Recovery Challenges

GAO-18-472: Published: Sep 4, 2018. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 2018.

Document

Federal and state preparedness and coordination efforts prior to and after the 2017 hurricane and wildfire disasters facilitated the response in Texas, Florida, and California. Specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state emergency management officials implemented various preparedness actions prior to landfall of the hurricanes and during the wildfires—such as predeploying federal personnel to support response efforts; colocating federal, state, and local emergency managers; and pre-staging and delivery of commodities like food and water. Further, according to FEMA and state officials, preexisting coordination mechanisms and relationships also facilitated response efforts in each state. For example, FEMA and each state had conducted numerous emergency exercises in the years prior to these disasters and had developed relationships during response to prior disasters that led to accelerated decision-making during the 2017 disasters. Federal and state officials emphasized that there were certainly unprecedented challenges during these disasters—such as deploying a sufficient and adequately-trained FEMA disaster workforce—and lessons learned, but prior response coordination efforts helped to quickly and effectively resolve many of these challenges.

The federal government provided significant support to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but faced numerous challenges that complicated response efforts. FEMA efforts in Puerto Rico alone were the largest and longest single response in the agency’s history. As of April 2018, FEMA had obligated over $12 billion for response and recovery for Hurricane Maria (see figure below) reflecting the scale and complexity of efforts given the widespread damage. FEMA tasked federal agencies with over 1,000 response mission assignments for Hurricanes Maria and Irma in the territories at a cost of over $5 billion, compared to about 400 such assignments for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the California wildfires combined. For example, FEMA assigned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the mission to install over 1,700 emergency electricity generators in Puerto Rico, compared to the 310 for the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund Obligations and Expenditures for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and California Wildfires through April 30, 2018

Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund Obligations and Expenditures for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and California Wildfires through April 30, 2018

Note: An obligation is a definite commitment that creates a legal liability of the government for the payment of goods and services ordered or received. An expenditure is an amount paid by federal agencies by cash or cash equivalent, during the fiscal year to liquidate government obligations.

Nevertheless, GAO found that FEMA faced a number of challenges that slowed and complicated its response efforts to Hurricane Maria, particularly in Puerto Rico. Many of these challenges were also highlighted in FEMA’s own 2017 hurricane after action report, including:

  • the sequential and overlapping timing of the three hurricanes—with Maria being the last of the three—caused staffing shortages and required FEMA to shift staff to the territories that were already deployed to other disasters;
  • logistical challenges complicated efforts to deploy federal resources and personnel quickly given the remote distance of both territories; and
  • limited preparedness by the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico for a Category 5 hurricane and incapacitation of local response functions due to widespread devastation and loss of power and communications led FEMA to assume response functions that territories would usually perform themselves.

The 2017 hurricanes and wildfires highlighted some longstanding issues and revealed other emerging response and recovery challenges. For example, the concurrent timing and scale of the disaster damages nationwide caused shortages in available debris removal contractors and delays in removing disaster debris—a key first step in recovery. In addition, FEMA’s available workforce was overwhelmed by the response needs. For example, at the height of FEMA workforce deployments in October 2017, 54 percent of staff were serving in a capacity in which they did not hold the title of “Qualified”—according to FEMA’s qualification system standards—a past challenge GAO has identified. FEMA officials noted that staff shortages, and lack of trained personnel with program expertise led to complications in its response efforts, particularly after Hurricane Maria.

Federal Disaster Workforce Deployed at the Height of 2017 Response Acivities

Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund Obligations and Expenditures for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and California Wildfires through April 30, 2018

Further, federal, state, and local officials faced challenges finding temporary housing for disaster survivors given the extensive damage to available housing in each location. For example, given the widespread damage in Puerto Rico and lack of hotels and other temporary housing, FEMA transported survivors to the mainland United States to stay in hotels. FEMA also used new authorities and procedures to meet the need, such as providing Texas as much as $1 billion to manage its own housing program. However, this approach had not been used or tested in past disasters and state officials noted challenges in managing the program such as staffing shortfalls. State officials further noted challenges in coordinating with FEMA that led to delays in providing assistance to survivors. GAO will continue to monitor these programs.

In 2017, four sequential disasters—hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the California wildfires—created an unprecedented demand for federal disaster response and recovery resources. According to FEMA, 2017 included three of the top five costliest hurricanes on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that the cumulative damages from weather and climate related disasters in the United States were over $300 billion in 2017 alone. As of June 2018, Congress had appropriated over $120 billion in supplemental funding for response and recovery related to the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires. Further, in October 2017, close to 14,000 federal employees were deployed in response to the disasters.

Given the scale and cost of these disasters, Congress and others have raised questions about the federal response and various recovery challenges that have arisen since the disasters. This report provides GAO’s observations on: (1) federal and state preparedness and response coordination for hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, and the California wildfires; (2) federal preparedness for and response to hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and (3) existing and emerging disaster recovery challenges highlighted by these disasters.

GAO analyzed FEMA policies, procedures, guidance, and data specific to disaster response and recovery programs. GAO focused on the busiest period of disaster response activity for the federal government—August 2017 through January 2018, with select updates on recovery efforts and obtained updates through June 2018. In October and November 2017, GAO teams made site visits to hurricane damaged areas in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At these locations, GAO visited FEMA joint field operation locations and interviewed FEMA, Department of Defense, and other federal officials about response and recovery operations, visited disaster recovery centers, and observed damage. GAO also interviewed FEMA officials responsible for wildfire response and recovery efforts in California.

Additionally, GAO interviewed state and territorial emergency management officials or their designee in Texas, Florida, California, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as officials from eight cities and counties in Texas, Florida, and California (selected based on their proximity to the disaster impacted areas and their availability) to discuss their observations on the federal response in their respective jurisdictions. While the perspectives of these officials are not generalizable, they provided valuable insights into the federal response to the 2017 disasters.

This report includes 10 appendices that provide further details and data on federal response and recovery efforts. These areas cover key issues and challenges that GAO believes are critical for assessing the federal response and warrant continued Congressional and agency oversight during disaster recovery.

GAO is not making recommendations in this report, but has ongoing work that will address various response and recovery programs and challenges in more detail. GAO will make recommendations, as appropriate, once this work is completed.

In commenting on a draft of this report, DHS stated that the report highlighted the challenges of the complicated response and recovery efforts as well as provided insights into these efforts. DHS also noted that it is continuing to apply lessons learned from 2017 to improve its future program delivery and response efforts.

For more information, contact Christopher Currie at (404) 679-1875 or curriec@gao.gov.

 


Texas made strides in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey but a year later there is still a disturbing lack of recovery based on income and race across a state

NYT

Episcopal Health Foundation report

“…..Nearly a year after Hurricane Harvey swamped the Texas Gulf Coast, a growing share of affected residents say their lives are back on track, but three in 10 (30%) say their lives remain disrupted….”

One Year Later:  Document/Survey

“……27 percent of Hispanic Texans whose homes were badly damaged reported that those homes remained unsafe to live in, compared to 20 percent of blacks and 11 percent of whites. There were similar disparities with income: 50 percent of lower-income respondents said they weren’t getting the help they needed, compared to 32 percent of those with higher incomes….”

 


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