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This week’s top climate stories: Italy’s drought exposes old bridge, California to phase out gas vehicles, and more

climate change

From California phasing out gas vehicles in the fight against climate change to Italy’s worst drought in 70 years, here are this week’s key climate stories.

1. Pakistan declares national emergency, flood death toll reaches 937

The Pakistani government has declared a national emergency as rain-induced flooding has so far killed 937 people, including 343 children, and left at least 30 million people without shelter. Sindh province reported the highest number of deaths as 306 people lost their lives as a result of flooding and rain-related incidents from June 14 to Thursday, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

IDPs carry belongings after recovering useful items from their flood-stricken home as they wade through a flooded area in Jaffarabad district of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, Aug. 25, 2022. (AP/PTI)

Balochistan reported 234 deaths, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab province recorded 185 and 165 deaths, respectively. 37 people were killed in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir, while nine were reported dead in the Gilgit-Baltistan region during the current monsoon rains.

2. California to phase out gas vehicles

California set itself the course to end the era of gas-powered cars, with air regulators adopting the world’s strictest rules for the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Cars are parked in the employee parking lot at Tesla Inc’s American car factory in Fremont, California. (Reuters, file)

The California Air Resources Board’s move to make all new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs electric or hydrogen by 2035 is likely to reshape the U.S. auto market, which gets 10% of its sales from the nation’s most populous state. But such a radical transformation in what people drive also requires at least 15 times more car chargers statewide, a more robust energy grid, and vehicles that people of all income levels can afford. (AP)

3. Dangerous heat is expected to strike 3 times more often in the future

What’s officially considered “dangerous heat” in the coming decades is likely to affect much of the world at least three times more often as climate change worsens, according to a new study.

In many of Earth’s rich mid-latitudes, spikes in temperatures and humidity that feel like 39.4 degrees Celsius or higher — now the occasional summer shock — should statistically happen 20 to 50 times a year by the middle of the century, it said. a study in the magazine Communication Earth & Environment. By 2100, that brutal heat index could stick around for most of the summer in places like the southeastern U.S., the study’s author said.

This photo from the Fire Brigade of the Gironde Region SDIS 33, (Departmental Fire and Rescue Service 33) shows an aerial view of a fire near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, in southwestern France. (SDIS 33 via AP, File)

And it’s much worse for the sticky tropics. The study said a heat index deemed “extremely dangerous,” with the sensational heat index exceeding 124 degrees (51 degrees Celsius) — now something that rarely happens — is likely to hit a tropical belt encompassing India, one to four weeks a year by the century. end. (AP)

4. Italy’s drought lays the old Imperial Bridge over Tiber. naked

Italy’s worst drought in 70 years has uncovered the pillars of an ancient bridge over the River Tiber once used by Roman emperors, but which fell into disrepair by the third century. Two piers of the Nero Bridge have been visible for much of the summer near the Vittorio Emanuele Bridge that crosses the river near the Vatican, a pile of moss-covered rocks where seagulls now bask.

The ruins of the ancient Roman Neronic Bridge, emerge from the riverbed of the Tiber River, in Rome, Aug. 22, 2022. (AP)

The bridge was built in the first century for Emperor Nero to reach his gardens at Janiculum Hill near today’s St. Peter’s Square, historian Anthony Majanlahti said. The bridge fell apart as early as the third century, traffic was diverted to the nearby Sant’Angelo Bridge, which led pilgrims past the Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican. (AP)

5. Globally reach 345 million people with acute food insecurity

The number of people facing acute food insecurity worldwide has more than doubled to 345 million since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, conflict and climate change, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Wednesday.

Before the coronavirus crisis, 135 million people worldwide suffered from acute hunger, said Corinne Fleischer, the WFP’s regional director. Reuters. The numbers have been rising since then and are expected to rise further due to climate change and conflict.

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