3 PM CET – “Sad occasion for all students at Texas’ public universities”
A new law signed on Wednesday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott requires all state-funded colleges and universities in Texas to close their diversity, equity, and inclusion offices.
This new law coincides with an expected Supreme Court ruling that would prohibit colleges and universities from considering race in admissions decisions.
Texas #Republicans tore apart diversity offices in colleges and universities for no good reason.#Diversity shatters stereotypes, nurtures critical thinking, & fosters effective communication across diverse backgrounds.
We need DEI in the diverse state of #Texas.
— Senator Roland Gutierrez (@RolandForTexas) June 16, 2023
Institutions that do not comply with the law will lose state funding.
Texas Republicans, including Governor Abbott, view the law as a way to prioritise merit-based approaches and eliminate perceived divisiveness.
Critics, on the other hand, argue that dismantling diversity offices undermines the success of students and hinders the benefits of a diverse student body, calling it a “sad occasion for all students at Texas’ public universities.”
3 PM CET – Wildfire Warnings in Northern Europe
Forest fire warnings are in effect in Scotland and the Nordic and Baltic countries, due to dry conditions and rising temperatures.
Reports of small wildfires have emerged in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Scotland, prompting concerns about a potential recurrence of the large-scale wildfires witnessed in Sweden in 2018.
While the high risk of wildfires has become somewhat common in southern European countries, it is atypical for the northern parts of Europe.
According to our #EFFIS🔥, the Fire Danger Forecast Anomaly for 16 June, calculated as the standard deviation from the 30-year historical mean value of the Fire Weather Index, shows:
🟤"Extreme Anomaly" levels in large areas of 🇬🇧🇮🇪🇫🇷🇧🇪🇳🇱🇱🇺🇨🇭🇦🇹🇩🇪🇩🇰🇳🇴🇸🇪🇫🇮🇪🇪🇱🇻🇱🇹 pic.twitter.com/phNKshagzU
— Copernicus EMS (@CopernicusEMS) June 16, 2023
Measures are being taken by authorities to address the current situation, which includes deploying airborne firefighting units. It is said that the current drought may be linked to climate patterns, including the transition from La Niña to El Niño.
3 PM CET – Carbon Capture and Storage Technology: How Viable in the Long-Run?
However, the IEEFA report concluded that both projects are not ideal models for future CCS projects.
Instead, they should serve as a warning about the technical and financial sustainability of CCS in the future.
Igor Orlov from Equinor explains how Net Zero Teesside is leveraging this experience and expertise 📽️ pic.twitter.com/Cyxy2SU1wY
— Net Zero Teesside (@NetZeroTeesside) June 19, 2020
Sleipner has been operating since 1996, and Snøhvit has been capturing carbon since 2008. Both projects faced unexpected geologic challenges during this time, including CO2 migration and pressure issues.
“Snøhvit highlights the need for CCS projects to have continuous monitoring, extensive backup plans and the money to implement them. Sleipner proves that injected CO2 can start behaving in unexpected ways despite what appears to have been years of nominal performance,” explained Grant Hauber, IEEFA’s Strategic Energy Finance Advisor.
Significantly the study questions whether the world has the required technical capabilities, regulatory oversight, and long-term commitment to ensure successful CO2 storage globally.
12 PM CET – European Union Advised to Commit to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 90-95% before 2040
As the European Commission works on drafting the EU’s first legally binding emissions-cutting target for 2040, a report from the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change recommends that the bloc commits to cutting emissions by 90-95% in the next 17 years.
🚨NEW recommendation from the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change:
🔹The EU must strive for net emissions reductions of 90-95% by 2040, relative to 1990 levels.
The report also outlines pathways for the 🇪🇺 green transition.
— EU Climate Action (@EUClimateAction) June 15, 2023
As part of its efforts to reduce its contribution to climate change and align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, this new legislation is supposed to help the EU to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
This goal can be achieved by increasing the use of renewable energy sources, electrifying industries that produce pollution, and adopting alternatives like hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change said.
11 AM CET – Potential Woodland Restoration in Scotland: Trees Found at Record-Breaking Heights
Thousands of years ago, hilltop woodlands were lost in the Scottish Highlands due to overgrazing and habitat loss. Now, researchers from the University of Sterling documented 11 new altitudinal records for tree species in Britain.
The highest tree, a rowan, was found at 1,150m near the top of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. In addition, a sitka spruce was found at 1,125m on Braeriach, the third-highest mountain in Britain.
Britain’s highest trees discovered atop Scotland’s Munros by #UofStirling researcher @Watts_SH of @StirlingScience. More here 👉 https://t.co/YXi9oVmtTG#HighMountainTrees @BSBIbotany pic.twitter.com/OAEWd8z3PD
— University of Stirling (@StirUni) June 15, 2023
“It was fascinating to find trees growing at the absolute limit of environmental tolerance for these species. Some were 200m above previously known altitudes,” said Sarah Watts, PhD researcher in Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. “This shows us that there is potential for woodland restoration in Britain’s mountains after centuries of habitat loss and degradation.”
Furthermore, the restoration of the woodlands in the Highlands could benefit biodiversity, wildlife and provide natural hazard protection and flood-risk reduction. Read more about these new altitudinal records in a separate article.
10 AM CET – UN Secretary-General: “The world is watching – and the planet can’t wait.”
At a press conference following a meeting with civil society climate leaders from across the world, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to take swift action to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
Following a meeting with civil society climate leaders from across the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to take swift action to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
I just met with a group of #ClimateAction leaders from civil society around the world.
In every country, without exception, civil society must be at the table helping to shape policy, and on the ground helping to deliver change. pic.twitter.com/YaoKpH8OaI
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) June 15, 2023
Speaking at the press conference, his speech, he said that countries are far from meeting their emissions targets, emphasising the need for developed countries to support developing countries in the phasing out of fossil fuels.
This comes soon after Guterres had proposed the establishment of a Climate Solidarity Pact, under which rich nations would support emerging economies to reduce their carbon emissions.
He also stressed the importance of fossil fuel companies “driving, “not obstructing,” the transition. “I call on all fossil fuel companies to present credible, comprehensive and detailed new transition plans – fully in line with all the recommendations of my High-level Expert Group on net zero pledges,” said Guterres.
9 AM CET – Migrant Shipwreck off Greece: Nine Survivors Arrested While Hopes for More Survivors Lessen
Following the capsizing of an overcrowded migrant ship off the coast of Greece on Wednesday, nine survivors have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling.
The vessel is believed to have held between 400 and 750 passengers, including women and children. Tragically, at least 79 bodies have been recovered thus far, with 104 survivors rescued. Despite ongoing search efforts, it appears unlikely that additional survivors will be found.
⚫ ️A statement in the light of yesterday's horrific shipwreck off the #Greek coast:
"What happened is the consequence of the absence of safe & legal pathways to come to #Europe.
Those deaths will raise dreadful toll of 1166 people who lost their lives since beginning of 2023" pic.twitter.com/aAUmXmBlG5
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) June 15, 2023
Reports indicate that the migrants paid thousands of dollars for passage on the ship, which originated from an Egyptian port and had taken on passengers in Libya.
Greek authorities claim that the migrant ship declined their offer of assistance and insisted on continuing to Italy. However, legal experts argue that this did not absolve the Greek authorities of their responsibility to act.
Additionally, the EU should support other countries in reducing their emissions to address the fairness gap, considering Europe’s high per-capita historical emissions.
Read our Sustainability Tracker for June 15, 2023:
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Factory blowing smoke. Featured Photo Credit: Marcin Jozwiak.