Heat & Drought, plus other climate change impacts forcing Central Americans to leave home and migrate

Climate Change Forcing Central Americans To Flee Home: Climate change is a major factor forcing Central Americans, left with no other option, to flee their homes, as the dual threats of drought and extreme weather have destroyed crops and productive farmland, Bloomberg reports. Central America is responsible for less than 1% of global carbon pollution yet is one of the most vulnerable regions on the planet to the ravages of climate change. Nearly one-third of residents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the so-called Northern Triangle, suffer from crisis-level food insecurity. “They’re not leaving because they want to,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in Guatemala on Monday. No legal framework for climate-driven migrants (they are not technically “refugees” under international law) exists but the Biden administration is exploring the issue with a report due in August. Northern Triangle farmers have endured five drought years in the last 10, and Hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated the region, submerging Honduras’s agriculturally productive Sula Valley and turned Guatemalan farming communities into cemeteries. Climate change is also exacerbating coffee leaf rust, killing off one of the region’s top exports. The International Organization for Migration has found a relationship between hurricanes in Central America and increased migration to the U.S. from the region and a paper published in April found a link between the severe drought in El Salvador in 2014-’15 and migration to the U.S. “These consecutive years of extreme drought are really driving poverty and food insecurity in the region and pushing families to abandon agriculture and to migrate to survive,” Marie-Soleil Turmel, a scientist with Catholic Relief Services, which works with farmers in the area, told Bloomberg. “Whole communities are being wiped out.” (Bloomberg $; Climate migration legal issues: The Conversation

More Than a Third of Heat Deaths Are Tied to Climate Change, Study Says More than a third of heat-related deaths in many parts of the world can be attributed to the extra warming associated with climate change, a new study found. The research, which makes a case for taking strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect public health, found that heat-related deaths in warm seasons were boosted by climate change by an average of 37 percent. 37% of all heat-related deaths in people between 1991 and 2018 were linked to climate change, the Guardian reports. The study uses data from 732 cities in 43 countries to “calculate the number of deaths attributed to heat levels higher than the ideal temperature for human health”, the newspaper reports. According to Associated Press via the Independent, the study estimates that climate change was linked to 9,7000 deaths per year in the cities studied. The New York Times notes that the study “detected increased mortality from climate-boosted heat on every inhabited continent”. It continues: “While the differences in mortality among the places studied are complex… the research indirectly suggests a divide between rich and poor regions.” The Sydney Morning Herald focusses on results from Australian cities in its coverage of the research, while the Times notes that there have been 6,000 heat-related deaths in the UK alone since 1991. The i newspaper also picks out numbers for the UK. Meanwhile, NBC News, the Independent, Bloomberg and the Evening Standard also cover the study. In other new research, MailOnline reports that the warming effect of greenhouse gases so far “has been overestimated”, according to new research. And the South China Morning Post reports on a new paper which finds that “coal burning contributes up to 70% of carbon in Yangtze River sediment”. Meanwhile, the New York Times carries a piece on the Arctic station that “keeps satellites connected” and Climate Home News reports that NASA is launching a mission to “better predict climate impacts”.

A look at what’s inside Biden’s $6tn plan. Why is just $14bn in new money devoted to climate change? Biden’s budget proposes $11.2bn for the Environmental Protection Agency – a 22% increase from the previous year – according to the newspaper. $800bn in funding is also proposed over the next decade in “new spending and tax breaks in a bid to accelerate the deployment of clean-energy technologies”, according to the paper. It adds that the government will ask Congress for $1.2bn for the Green Climate Fund and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would see a 7% budget increase. The Hill reports that the budget proposal “takes aim at specific tax provisions that benefit the fossil fuel industry”, adding that eliminating these measures would generate $35bn over the course of a decade. The Guardian also covers the budget.

Financial Times reporters argues that the ruling “suggests more companies will face litigation”. An editorial in the Washington Post writes that “change is coming, whether the oil industry likes it or not” and the Sydney Morning Herald carries an editorial entitled: “Transition to renewables no longer optional.” It closes with the statement: “We are being held back by leaders on both sides of politics who are fearful of job losses in traditional industries, loss of export income, or simple failure to acknowledge the reality of climate change. They need to accept, as courts and corporations alike are increasingly doing, that a transition to renewables is no longer ideological or even economic. It is inevitable.”