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COP28 Begins With Breakthrough Climate Fund Agreement

Nearly all the countries attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, agreed Thursday to create a fund that would help poor nations deal with the effects of climate change.

The floor was opened for pledges to be made to the new “loss and damage” fund, in which Germany committed to contribute $100 million. The United Arab Emirates, the host of COP28, also promised $100 million. The fund received additional pledges of $51 million from Britain, $17.5 million from the United States and $10 million from Japan.

The European Union later added $245.39 million, which included Germany’s $100 million pledge. More contributions are expected to come in the next few days, although the fund will most likely fail to reach its $100 billion goal, set by developing countries.

COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber praised the decision to establish a fund, calling it a “positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here in Dubai.”

This is the “first time a decision has been adopted on Day One of any COP, and the speed in which we have done so is also unique, phenomenal and historic,” he said. “This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can and will deliver.”

Poorer countries have long urged the development of an aid fund in response to the climate crisis, as wealthier nations often are more responsible for accelerating climate change, with developing countries having to bear much of the consequences.

“So, today’s news on loss and damage gives this U.N. climate conference a running start,” said Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. “All governments and their negotiators must use this momentum to deliver truly ambitious outcomes here in Dubai.”

Some countries have questioned the fund’s long-term sustainability, as it is unclear how it will be administered and financed going forward.

A recent report from the U.N. Environment Programme estimated that $387 billion will be needed annually for developing countries to adequately deal with the effects of climate change.

The COP28 summit ends December 12.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse.

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В уряді Угорщини заявили, що не погодяться на початок переговорів про членство України в ЄС

За словами Ґерґея Ґуяша, міністра-керівника апарату прем’єра, Угорщина не погодиться розпочати дискусії під час зустрічі лідерів ЄС у середині грудня

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Зеленський обговорив оборонні питання з головами урядів Німеччини та Британії

Президент України Володимир Зеленський провів у четвер телефонні розмови з канцлером Німеччини Олафом Шольцем та прем’єр-міністром Великої Британії Ріші Сунаком, інформує сайт Офісу президента.

«Глава держави подякував співрозмовнику за потужний «зимовий» оборонний пакет від Німеччини, який містить чотири системи IRIS-T. Сторони обговорили подальшу оборонну співпрацю. Президент також висловив подяку за багаторічну програму фінансової допомоги від Німеччини», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Повідомляється, що йшлося і про ситуацію на полі бою, ситуацію в Чорному морі, функціонування «зернового коридору» тощо.

Крім того, Зеленський у розмові з Ріші Сунаком обговорив пріоритетні потреби для посилення оборонних спроможностей ЗСУ і зміцнення повітряного щита.

«Володимир Зеленський і Ріші Сунак відзначили важливість проведеної в жовтні зустрічі радників із питань національної безпеки та зовнішньої політики на Мальті та обговорили подальші кроки з імплементації української формули миру», – йдеться в повідомленні ОПУ.

Публічних деталей про бесіди від німецької і британської сторін наразі немає.

Останніми днями Зеленський здійснює виїзди у регіони, сьогодні побував на Куп’янському напрямку в Харківській області, вчора був на Одещині.

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UN Weather Agency: 2023 Is Hottest Year on Record, More Climate Extremes Ahead

The U.N. weather agency said Thursday that 2023 is all but certain to be the hottest year on record, and warning of worrying trends that suggest increasing floods, wildfires, glacier melt, and heat waves in the future.

The World Meteorological Organization also warned that the average temperature for the year is up some 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times – a mere one-tenth of a degree under a target limit for the end of the century as laid out by the Paris climate accord in 2015.

The WMO secretary-general said the onset earlier this year of El Nino, the weather phenomenon marked by heating in the Pacific Ocean, could tip the average temperature next year over the 1.5-degree (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) target cap set in Paris.

“It’s practically sure that during the coming four years we will hit this 1.5, at least on temporary basis,” Petteri Taalas said in an interview. “And in the next decade we are more or less going to be there on a permanent basis.”

WMO issued the findings for Thursday’s start of the U.N.’s annual climate conference, this year being held in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates city of Dubai.

The U.N. agency said the benchmark of key Paris accord goal will be whether the 1.5-degree increase is sustained over a 30-year span – not just a single year – but others say the world needs more clarity on that.

“Clarity on breaching the Paris agreement guard rails will be crucial,” said Richard Betts of Britain’s Met Office, the lead author of a new paper on the issue with University of Exeter published in the journal Nature.

“Without an agreement on what actually will count as exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, we risk distraction and confusion at precisely the time when action to avoid the worst effects of climate change becomes even more urgent,” he added.

WMO’s Taalas said that whatever the case, the world appears on course to blow well past that figure anyway.

“We are heading towards 2.5 to 3 degrees warming and that would mean that we would see massively more negative impacts of climate change,” Taalas said, pointing to glacier loss and sea level rise over “the coming thousands of years.”

The nine years 2015 to 2023 were the warmest on record, WMO said. Its findings for this year run through October, but it says the last two months are not likely to be enough to keep 2023 from being a record-hot year.

Still, there are “some signs of hope” – including a turn toward renewable energies and more electric cars, which help reduce the amount of carbon that is spewed into the atmosphere, trapping heat inside,” Taalas said.

His message for attendee at the U.N climate conference, known as COP28?

“We have to reduce our consumption of coal, oil and natural gas dramatically to be able to limit the warming to the Paris limits,” he said. “Luckily, things are happening. But still, we in the Western countries, in the rich countries, we are still consuming oil, a little bit less coal than in the past, and still natural gas.”

“Reduction of fossil fuel consumption — that’s the key to success.”

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Денні обстріли військ РФ на Херсонщині, Донеччині та Сумщині – є жертви і поранені

В Офісі генпрокурора з посиланням на дані обласних прокуратур повідомили про кількох поранених цивільних упродовж дня через російські обстріли на Херсонщині, Донеччині та Сумщині.

Так, згідно з повідомленням, 30 листопада, близько 11:35 армія РФ обстріляла один з населених пунктів Херсонського району. Внаслідок обстрілу травм, несумісних з життям, зазнали жінка та двоє чоловіків.

Раніше сьогодні влада повідомляла, що після ранкового обстрілу Херсона російськими військами 71-річний чоловік звернувся до однієї з лікарень.

Крім того, близько 10:30 війська РФ здійснили мінометний обстріл цивільної інфраструктури міста Середина-Буда на Сумщині.

«Внаслідок атаки ворога мирний мешканець отримав осколкові поранення. Також пошкоджено місцевий магазин та автівки», – повідомили прокурори.

Донецька обласна прокуратура зазначає, що у четвер через атаку військ РФ зазнали поранень троє громадян, які чекали на гуманітарну допомогу у Торецьку.

«Ціллю російських військ став житловий квартал. Від влучання засобів ураження зазнали тілесних ушкоджень троє цивільних, які прийшли отримати гуманітарну допомогу до адмінбудівлі. 86-річну жінку та двох чоловіків віком 63 й 34 роки доставили у лікарню з осколковими пораненнями. Останній перебуває у тяжкому стані. Вибухами пошкоджено багатоповерхові житлові будинки», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Російські військові регулярно атакують українські населені пункти з різних видів озброєння – ударними БПЛА, ракетами, РСЗВ. Москва, попри докази та свідчення, з початку повномасштабного вторгнення заперечує обстріли цивільних в Україні.

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South African Company to Start Making Vaginal Rings That Protect Against HIV

A South African company will make vaginal rings that protect against HIV, which AIDS experts say should eventually make them cheaper and more readily available.

The Population Council announced Thursday that Kiara Health of Johannesburg will start making the silicone rings in the next few years, estimating that 1 million could be produced annually. The devices release a drug that helps prevent HIV infections and are authorized by nearly a dozen countries and the World Health Organization.

The nonprofit council owns the rights to the rings, which are now made by a Swedish company. About 500,00 rings are currently available to women in Africa at no cost, purchased by donors.

Ben Phillips, a spokesperson at the U.N. AIDS agency, said the advantage of the ring is that it gives women the freedom to use it without anyone else’s knowledge or consent.

“For women whose partners won’t use a condom or allow them to take oral (preventive HIV) medicines, this gives them another option,” he said.

HIV remains the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in Africa and 60% of new infections are in women, according to figures from WHO.

The ring releases the drug dapivirine in slow doses over a month. It currently costs $12 to $16, but experts expect the price to drop once it is widely produced in Africa. Developers are also working on a version that will last up to three months, which should also lower the yearly cost.

WHO has recommended the ring be used as an additional tool for women at “substantial risk of HIV” and regulators in more than a dozen African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe have also given it the green light. WHO cited two advanced studies in its approval, saying the ring reduced women’s chances of getting HIV by about a third, while other research has suggested the risk could be dropped by more than 50%.

Last year, activists charged the stage in a protest during last year’s biggest AIDS meeting, calling on donors to buy the silicone rings for African women.

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Білорусь відкриває консульство у Ростові-на-Дону. Москва каже, що сфера його діяльності охоплюватиме окуповані території України

Білорусь відкриває генеральне консульство у російському Ростові-на-Дону, йдеться у розпорядженні уряду РФ. Згідно з документом, консульський округ генконсульства включатиме, крім Ростовської та Волгоградської областей, окуповані Росією Крим, частини Донецької, Луганської, Запорізької та Херсонської областей України.

Владі Ростовської області рекомендовано виділити службові та житлові приміщення на умовах оренди чи купівлі, або виділити ділянку землі для будівництва генерального консульства.

Українська сторона цього ще наразі не коментувала.

За даними білоруської служби Радіо Свобода, у Ростові-на-Дону вже працює відділення посольства Білорусі.

Посол Білорусі в РФ Дмитро Крутой раніше повідомив про плани влади збільшити кількість дипломатичних місій у Росії.

Офіційно білоруська армія не бере участі у повномасштабній війні Росії проти України, проте Олександр Лукашенко надав територію Білорусі для проїзду та тимчасової дислокації російських військ, а з території Білорусі завдавалися ракетні удари по Україні. Через пособництво у війні проти України та масових репресій США, ЄС та Великобританія запровадили проти Білорусі санкції.

Крім того, до Білорусі нібито для «оздоровлення» вивозять дітей із окупованих територій України. Європарламент у вересні засудив участь Лукашенка у російській агресії проти України та вивезенні дітей, закликавши Міжнародний кримінальний суд у Гаазі видати ордер на його арешт.

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У Новогродівці знайшли загиблого чоловіка, під завалами будинку можуть бути люди – Донецька ОВА про обстріл

Виконувач обов’язків голови Донецької обласної військової адміністрації Ігор Мороз повідомив, що на місці обстрілу військами РФ житлового будинку у Новогродівці з-під завалів дістали тіло загиблого чоловіка.

«Станом на 10:00 під завалами, ймовірно, перебувають 4 людини, з них – 1 дитина. Пошуково-рятувальна операція триває. Наразі розібрано 132 тони будівельних конструкцій», – повідомив Мороз.

Раніше сьогодні повідомлялося, що війська РФ обстріляли багатоповерховий будинок у Новогродівці на Донеччині.  Йшлося про поранену 13-річну дитину і ймовірне перебування під завалами кількох людей.

За даними МВС, війська РФ вночі одночасно шістьма ракетами «С-300» вдарили по Покровському району Донеччини. Постраждали Покровськ, Новогродівка та Мирноград. Усього влада повідомляла про 10 постраждалих цивільних, зокрема дітей.

Російські військові регулярно обстрілюють українські міста і села, розташовані в межах досяжності їхньої артилерії, ракетних систем залпового вогню, ракет і дронів. Попри докази і свідчення, Москва від початку повномасштабного вторгнення заперечує цілеспрямовану атаку на цивільних.

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Російська атака на дитсадок і лікарню: влада Херсонщини повідомила про 1 загиблу і 5 поранених людей за добу

Через російську агресію на Херсонщина за минулу добу одна людина загинула і п’ятеро зазнали поранень, повідомила пресслужба обласної військової адміністрації.

«Опівночі російська армія атакувала Дарʼївку. Ворожим вогнем пошкоджено з десяток житлових будинків, дитсадок та лікарню. У власних оселях постраждали четверо місцевих жителів. Каретою «швидкої» до лікарні шпиталізували 59-річного чоловіка та 75-річну жінку. Їх стан медики оцінюють як середньої тяжкості. Ще двом жінкам, 75 та 66 років, медичну допомогу надали на місці. Від госпіталізації вони відмовилися», – розповіли у Херсонській ОВА.

Усього, за даними влади, за минулу добу армія РФ здійснила 107 обстрілів, лише по Херсону було випущено 23 снаряди.

Російські війська щодня обстрілюють деокуповану частину Херсонщини, зокрема обласний центр. Попри докази і свідчення, Москва від початку повномасштабного вторгнення заперечує цілеспрямовану атаку на цивільних.

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Vice President Harris to Lead US Delegation to Major Climate Summit

Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the U.S. delegation to the world’s premier climate summit, the White House said Wednesday.

The White House stressed that President Joe Biden considers the climate crisis among his top four priorities, but the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas has consumed much of his time and attention.

“Throughout her engagements, the vice president will underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s success in delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad,” said Kirsten Allen, the vice president’s press secretary.

Harris will lead dozens of top U.S. officials, including special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and others from more than 20 agencies and departments, the White House said.

This year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties — known as COP28 because it is the 28th gathering of its kind — will be hosted by United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed. The royal, who took office after the 2022 death of his brother, is also chairman of the Supreme Petroleum Council, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s top governing body for oil, gas and related industries.

Nearly 200 countries represented

More than 70,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries are beginning to converge on the city of Dubai, which has seen a meteoric rise from its fishing village roots, thanks to its massive oil wealth.

There, in a city known for its artificial archipelago and hyperluxury shopping offerings inside a mall that covers more than 50 soccer fields and contains an indoor ski slope and a colony of penguins, they will assess the progress toward the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In a statement, Biden said Harris would “showcase U.S. global leadership on climate at home and abroad” and would “help galvanize increased global ambition at this critical event.”

She will attend meetings Friday and Saturday in Dubai.

Earlier this week, when asked why Biden was not attending the summit, John Kirby, director of strategic communications at the National Security Council, said Biden was “more than capable” of handling his many responsibilities, but that the Mideast conflict had “obviously” been a recent focus.

‘Race to the top’

VOA on Wednesday asked White House national climate adviser Ali Zaidi whether the United States would push for a deal to commit countries to phase out fossil fuels by a certain date. In September, leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies failed to agree on this issue.

Washington, Zaidi replied, seeks to “phase down the emissions that come from the unabated burning of fossil fuels.”

That word — unabated — may be a sticking point in this year’s declaration, as it would permit the opening of new fossil fuel plants if they have thus far unproven technology meant to capture and store carbon emissions.

Already, an intergovernmental group of 117 countries has questioned that language and has indicated opposition to its inclusion.

“The emission abatement technologies which currently only exist at limited scale have a minor role to play to reduce emissions mainly from hard to abate sectors,” the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People said in a statement signed by ministers from 16 countries, including Austria, Ethiopia and France. “However, they should not be used to delay climate action in sectors such as electricity generation where feasible, effective and cost-efficient mitigation alternatives are available, particularly in this critical decade when emissions need to be reduced urgently and dramatically.”

Zaidi also pointed out Biden’s role in passing a significant climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, which commits at least $370 billion to clean energy over the next 10 years — something Harris will also emphasize at the gathering, administration officials told reporters in a briefing on the matter on Wednesday.

“This is a race to the top, hopefully, for clean energy,” Zaidi told VOA. “We want to lead that race, and the good news is the more countries that join that race, the better off we’ll be in tackling these emissions. We need countries like China and other major economies to be the ones that reduce emissions in a major way. We’re doing that here at home.”

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Росія на зустрічі ОБСЄ має почути, чому її «засуджують та ізолюють» – Боррель

За словами Жозепа Борреля, і Лавров зможе повернутися до Кремля і повідомити, що ЄС і ОБСЄ «залишаються об’єднаними у засудженні щодо агресивної, протиправної поведінки Росії»

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US Life Expectancy Climbs, but Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Life expectancy in the United States is on the rise but remains lower than it was in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, as a host of other factors contributing to mortality, including chronic disease, gun violence and a persistent epidemic of overdose deaths, continue to plague the country.

According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, an American born in 2022 could expect to live 77.5 years on average, up 1.1 years from 2021, with most of the improvement accounted for by the reduction in COVID-19 deaths.

However, as recently as 2019, the year before the pandemic began in earnest, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.8 years. While some other countries with advanced economies and modern health care infrastructure have seen their life expectancy rates return to pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. still lags behind.

There are also wide gaps in life expectancy across demographic groups in the U.S. Women, for example, had a life expectancy of 80.2 years in 2022, compared to just 74.8 years for men.

Asian Americans born in 2022 could expect to live 84.5 years, and Hispanic Americans of any race had a life expectancy of 80 years. White Americans matched the overall average at 77.5 years, while Black Americans could expect to live 72.8 years. The lowest life expectancy reported by the CDC was for American Indian and Alaska Native Americans, at 67.9 years.

Behind peer countries

“There’s both good and bad news here,” Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and a professor of public health at The George Washington University, told VOA.

“It’s disappointing that life expectancy has not rebounded more following the worst of COVID,” Wen said. “But that said, life expectancy in 2022 did rise by more than a full year. And it’s thought that more than 80% of this positive increase was attributed to a drop in COVID-19 deaths.

“Even before COVID, the U.S. was already behind our peer countries when it came to life expectancy,” she added. “Even without COVID, improvements in life expectancy have been stagnating in the U.S. over the last decade. So it’s not surprising, then, that we would not have as robust of a rebound as other countries. We need to improve our health care infrastructure in this country, especially when it comes to preventing illnesses and addressing chronic diseases.”

In much of Europe, as well as in developed economies in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, life expectancy is significantly above 80 years for the average person.

Coronavirus still matters

While coronavirus deaths are down to just a fraction of what they were in 2020 and 2021, the disease still presents a serious threat to the lives of many Americans, especially because the widespread existence of chronic diseases common to U.S. adults make dying from an infection more likely.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, told VOA that the country could still be doing more to limit deaths from coronavirus infections, including by encouraging more Americans to get vaccinated against the disease.

However, he said the threat from the pandemic represents only part of the troubles facing U.S. public health officials.

“There are many challenges to American health beyond COVID,” Sharfstein said. “So, we have a ways to go, and many of those challenges got worse during the pandemic.”

In addition to improving preventive care for respiratory illnesses, Sharfstein’s organization has called for concerted action by the government to address overdose deaths, suicides, gun violence, motor vehicle crashes, heat-related deaths, as well as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Change by demographic group

While all of the demographic groups tracked by the CDC saw their life expectancies rise between 2021 and 2022, the increase varied significantly.

The American Indian and Alaskan Native cohort experienced the largest year-over-year boost in life expectancy of 2.4 years for men and 2.1 years for women. However, that same group experienced the most severe decline in life expectancy during the pandemic, a loss of 6.2 years between 2019 and 2021.

Hispanic Americans had the next largest gain in 2022, with life expectancy for men rising by 2.4 years and for women by 1.7 years. The group as a whole saw life expectancy drop by 4.1 years between 2019 and 2021.

For Black men and Black women, the average life expectancy increased by 1.5 years in 2022. As a group, Black Americans experienced an overall decline in life expectancy of 3.6 years during the pandemic.

Male Asian Americans saw their life expectancy increase by 1.2 years in 2022, with Asian American women seeing an increase of 0.7 years. Asian Americans as a group saw life expectancy decline by 2.1 years from 2019 to 2022.

As a group, White Americans had the smallest rebound in life expectancy last year, with men charting a gain of 1.1 years and women 0.6 years. As a group, White Americans lost 2.1 years of life expectancy between 2019 and 2022.

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As COP28 Gets Underway, Scientists Warn of Irreversible, Catastrophic Climate Change

The COP28 climate summit gets underway Thursday in Dubai, as scientists warn the world is heading for irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.

2023 is on course to be the hottest year on record, according to data from the European Union, which says that climate change combined with this year’s El Nino weather pattern have fueled recent record-breaking temperatures. Fearsome heat, forest fires and flash storms have characterized a year of extreme weather around the world, with no continent left untouched.

The COP28 summit comes at a crucial moment, according to Tom Rivett-Carnac, a former strategist at the UNFCCC and now with the Global Optimism climate think tank.

“This is the launch of what’s called the ‘global stocktake.’ So, this is the first time since the Paris Agreement [in 2014] the world has taken stock of how we are doing on the objectives we set ourselves back then.

“And it’s challenging to see what that report says. We should be reducing our emissions by 43%. By the end of this decade, that latest trajectory suggests they’re actually going to rise by 9%, with catastrophic impacts for people all over the world,” Rivett-Carnac told VOA.

Climate costs

The annual summit, officially known as the 28th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, runs for two weeks until December 12. Some 70,000 delegates from 197 countries are expected to attend, including many heads of state – though the leaders of the U.S. and China, two of the leading emitters of carbon emissions, are not expected to attend.

The COP summits involve complex negotiations. The 198 parties to the UNFCCC – comprising nearly every country in the world – largely agree on the goal of reducing global emissions to curb climate change. However, there is often disagreement over who should bear the costs of reducing those emissions and on how to mitigate the impact of climate change that is already happening.

Less developed nations say richer nations are responsible for most historic greenhouse gas emissions and therefore they should compensate poorer nations for reducing their use of fossil fuels. Poorer nations argue they also need help to adapt to the changing climate.

“Different countries have different priorities. Those who are most vulnerable are concerned about the financial flows to help them deal with the crisis. Those who are less vulnerable, and more wealthy are concerned about collective attempts to reduce emissions. So, any outcome needs to be balanced,” Rivett-Carnac said.

Loss and damage

“Last year, one of the big breakthroughs was the creation of what’s called a loss and damage fund to help countries deal with the impacts that we can’t avoid. This year, we need to see a big step forward towards the operationalization of that fund,” Rivett-Carnac said.

The 2014 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, by 2050.

However, according to data published earlier this month by NASA and Columbia University, climate change is currently accelerating, and the world will cross the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold this decade.

Melting ice caps

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Antarctica last week ahead of the COP summit, in a bid to highlight the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“To rescue Antarctica, to rescue Greenland, to rescue the glaciers that I’ve seen in the past, it is absolutely crucial to end the addiction to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the first source of climate change, and I hope that the next COP will be able to decide the phase out of fossil fuels with a clear time frame that is compatible to guarantee that the temperature will not rise more than 1.5 degrees [Celsius],” Guterres told the Associated Press.

Antarctica alarm

Scientists have long warned of rapidly declining sea ice in the Arctic – and they say the region could be ice-free in the summer within a generation.

Until 2015, there was little evidence of ice melt in Antarctica. Now scientists say the rate of ice retreat is accelerating rapidly.

“The big struggle that we have right now in the climate and polar sciences is, why is Antarctica all of a sudden so fast? Will this trend continue? Will we really lose sea ice at that pace? And how can we stop that?” said Antje Boetius, president of the German Alfred Wegener Institute.

“These things all together mean it’s time to talk about losses and damages. It’s time to talk about socioeconomic solutions because it cannot be that the ones that are transforming, the ones that have little CO2 emissions, that they are punished the most.

And it must be that those who have the highest emissions and who have a wealth from that help others who have had all those losses,” Boetius told Reuters.

Biden, Xi absent

The COP28 summit looks set to be without the leaders of the world’s two biggest polluters, the United States and China, which together account for 42 percent of global CO2 emissions.

A U.S. official said this week that President Joe Biden would not be attending the talks, without giving a reason. Chinese President Xi Jinping is also not expected to attend the Dubai meeting.

Biden has frequently warned of the urgent need to tackle global warming, recently announcing a $6 billion investment to address climate change under the Inflation Reduction Act.

At their meeting in California in November, Biden and Xi agreed to deepen cooperation on tackling climate change. “What you see is that if the U.S. and China are in lockstep and have a clear sense of what they want to achieve together, it’s much easier for the world to come together around those commitments,” said former UNFCC strategist Rivett-Carnac.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will be leading day-to-day negotiations for the United States.

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Опитування: проти членства України в ЄС і НАТО – лише 5% українців

У цілому в кожному з регіонів більшість підтримує вступ до обох союзів. При цьому ідея вступу України до НАТО в межах лише тих територій, які нині підконтрольні уряду, є неприйнятною для більше ніж половини опитаних

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US Life Expectancy Rose Last Year, But it Remains Below its Pre-Pandemic Level 

U.S. life expectancy rose last year — by more than a year — but still isn’t close to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2022 rise was mainly due to the waning pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said Wednesday. But even with the large increase, U.S. life expectancy is only back to 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago.

Life expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live, assuming the death rates at that time hold constant. The snapshot statistic is considered one of the most important measures of the health of the U.S. population. The 2022 calculations released Wednesday are provisional, and could change a little as the math is finalized.

For decades, U.S. life expectancy rose a little nearly every year. But about a decade ago, the trend flattened and even declined some years — a stall blamed largely on overdose deaths and suicides.

Then came the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. since early 2020. The measure of American longevity plunged, dropping from 78 years, 10 months in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, and then to 76 years, 5 months in 2021.

“We basically have lost 20 years of gains,” said the CDC’s Elizabeth Arias.

A decline in COVID-19 deaths drove 2022’s improvement.

In 2021, COVID was the nation’s third leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer). Last year, it fell to the fourth leading cause. With more than a month left in the current year, preliminary data suggests COVID-19 could end up being the ninth or 10th leading cause of death in 2023.

But the U.S. is battling other issues, including drug overdose deaths and suicides.

The number of U.S. suicides reached an all-time high last year, and the national suicide rate was the highest seen since 1941, according to a second CDC report released Wednesday.

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. went up slightly last year after two big leaps at the beginning of the pandemic. And through the first six months of this year, the estimated overdose death toll continued to inch up.

U.S. life expectancy also continues to be lower than that of dozens of other countries. It also didn’t rebound as quickly as it did in other places, including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Steven Woolf, a mortality researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University, said he expects the U.S. to eventually get back to the pre-pandemic life expectancy.

But “what I’m trying to say is: That is not a great place to be,” he added.

Some other highlights from the new report:

Life expectancy increased for both men and women, and for every racial and ethnic group.
The decline in COVID-19 deaths drove 84% of the increase in life expectancy. The next largest contributor was a decline in heart disease deaths, credited with about 4% of the increase. But experts note that heart disease deaths increased during COVID-19, and both factored into many pandemic-era deaths.
Changes in life expectancy varied by race and ethnicity. Hispanic Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives saw life expectancy rise more than two years in 2022. Black life expectancy rose more than 1 1/2 years. Asian American life expectancy rose one year and white life expectancy rose about 10 months. But the changes are relative, because Hispanic Americans and Native Americans were hit harder at the beginning of COVID-19. Hispanic life expectancy dropped more than four years between 2019 and 2021, and Native American life expectancy fell more than six years.

“A lot of the large increases in life expectancy are coming from the groups that suffered the most from COVID,” said Mark Hayward, a University of Texas sociology professor who researches how different factors affect adult deaths. “They had more to rebound from.”

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US Wolverines Threatened With Extinction as Climate Change Melts Refuges

The North American wolverine will receive long-delayed federal protections under a Biden administration proposal released Wednesday in response to scientists warning that climate change will likely melt away the rare species’ snowy mountain refuges.

Across most of the United States, wolverines were wiped out by the early 1900s from unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns. About 300 surviving animals in the contiguous U.S. live in fragmented, isolated groups at high elevations.

In the coming decades, warming temperatures are expected to shrink the mountain snowpack wolverines rely on to dig dens where they birth and raise their young.

The decision Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows more than two decades of disputes over the risks of climate change and threats to the long-term survival of the elusive species.

The animals resemble a small bear and are the world’s largest species of terrestrial weasel. They are sometimes called “mountain devils” for their ability to thrive in harsh alpine environments.

Protections were rejected under former President Donald Trump. A federal judge in 2022 ordered the administration of President Joe Biden to make a final decision this week on whether to seek protections.

In Montana, Republican lawmakers urged the Biden administration to delay its decision, claiming the scientists’ estimates were inaccurate to make a fair call about the dangers faced by wolverines. The lawmakers, led by hard-right conservative Representative Matt Rosendale, warned that protections could lead to future restrictions on activities allowed in wolverine habitats, including snowmobiling and skiing.

In September, government scientists conceded some uncertainty about how quickly mountain snowpacks could melt in areas with wolverines. But they said habitat loss due to climate change — combined with other problems such as increased development such as houses and roads — will likely harm wolverine populations in decades to come.

“The best available information suggests that habitat loss as a result of climate change and other stressors are likely to impact the viability of wolverines in the contiguous U.S. through the remainder of this century,” they concluded.

The scientists added that some of those losses could be offset if wolverines are able to recolonize areas such as California’s Sierra Nevada and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain.

Environmentalists argued in a 2020 lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service that wolverines face localized extinction from climate change, habitat fragmentation and low genetic diversity.

Wolverine populations that are still breeding live in remote areas of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington state. In recent years, individual animals have been documented in California, Utah, Colorado and Oregon.

The wildlife service received a petition to protect wolverines in 2000 and the agency recommended protections in 2010. The Obama administration proposed protections and later sought to withdraw them but was blocked by a federal judge who said in 2016 that the snow-dependent animals were “squarely in the path of climate change.”

Protections were rejected in 2020 under Trump, based on research suggesting the animals’ prevalence was expanding, not contracting. Federal wildlife officials at the time predicted that despite warming temperatures, enough snow would persist at high elevations for wolverines to den in mountain snowfields each spring.

They reversed course in a revised analysis published in September that said wolverines were “less secure than we described.”

The animals need immense expanses of wildland to survive, with home ranges for adult male wolverines covering as much as 1,580 square kilometers (610 square miles), according to a study in central Idaho.

They also need protection from trapping, according to scientists. Wolverine populations in southwestern Canada plummeted by more than 40% over the past two decades due to overharvesting by trappers, which could have effects across the U.S. border, scientists said.

Wolverine trapping was once legal in states that include Montana. They are still sometimes caught inadvertently by trappers targeting other fur-bearing animals.

At least 10 wolverines have been accidentally captured in Montana since trapping was restricted in 2012. Three were killed and the others released unharmed. In Idaho, trappers have accidentally captured 11 wolverines since 1995, including three that were killed.