Nature and Biodiversity

Floods and heatwaves threaten lives across the globe – plus other nature and climate stories to read this week

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Top nature and climate stories: Flooding in India and China; Heatwaves across Europe and the US; and more.

Top nature and climate stories: Flooding in India and China; Heatwaves across Europe and the US; and more. Image: REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • This weekly round-up contains the key nature and climate news from the past week.
  • Top nature and climate stories: Flooding in India and China; Heatwaves across Europe and the US; COP28 president urges countries to be "brutally honest" about climate action.

1. Floods force evacuations in India and China

All schools were closed in India's capital New Delhi and people were urged to work from home on 13 July, as the river Yamuna reached its highest level in 45 years following record rainfall.

Hundreds of people were evacuated to relief camps on 12 July, as the water level of the river passed its "danger mark" – and submerged some adjoining parts of Delhi.

The city, home to more than 20 million people, has recorded 113% more rain than average since monsoon season started on 1 June, according to the India Meteorological Department.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned that water supplies would be affected and appealed to residents of Delhi "to cooperate with each other in every possible way in this emergency".


At least 88 people have died in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, as flash floods swept away bridges, cars and homes.

It comes as more than 40,000 people were evacuated due to flooding in China's Sichuan province, state media reported on 12 July, due to unusually heavy rains.

Floods and mudslides have destroyed homes, damaged infrastructure and killed several people.


How is the World Economic Forum fighting the climate crisis?

2. Heatwaves in Europe and US – as El Niño forecast to continue

The Southwest of the United States and Southern Europe were continuing to swelter under intense heatwaves this week, as forecasters predicted the El Niño phenomenon behind them would continue into next year.

As of 14 July, around 100 million Americans from Florida to California were under excessive heat advisories, watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

It came as the Climate Prediction Center said there was a greater than 90% chance that El Niño conditions, which bring periods of intense heat, would continue to grow over autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and peak in the winter.

Map of heatwave across Europe. climate news
The European Space Agency uses satellites to monitor temperatures. Image: European Space Agency

Warnings were also in place across much of Southern Europe, as the heatwave named "Cerberus" by Italy's Meteorological Society, pushed temperatures to near-record levels.

The Greek authorities were anticipating temperatures as high as 43°C or 44°C over the weekend, Reuters reports.

"Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland are all facing a major heatwave with temperatures expected to climb to 48°C on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia – potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe," said the European Space Agency, which monitors temperatures on land and sea.

As many as 61,000 people are thought to have died in Europe's heatwaves in summer 2022, according to research released on 10 July.

On the same day, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed the first week in July was the hottest on record.

3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week

The UAE's COP28 president, Sultan al-Jaber, has laid out a plan for the climate summit to be held in Dubai in November. He urged countries to be "brutally honest about the gaps that need to be filled" and agree on a plan to get back on track to meet climate targets.

John Kerry, the US special envoy on climate change, made it clear that the United States will not provide reparations to developing countries affected by climate-related disasters. He was speaking at a congressional hearing on 13 July.

The ocean is becoming more green due to the climate crisis and changes in plankton, according to research that used NASA images, The Guardian reports.

A new analysis reveals the plastics consumed annually by Australians have a greenhouse gas emissions impact equivalent to 5.7 million cars – more than a third of the total number of cars on Australia's roads.

Britain has announced plans to eliminate the current limit on fines for polluters. The limit, which is currently set at £250,000 ($322,375), will be removed. Additionally, the number of offences that can be prosecuted by environmental regulators will be expanded.

The European Parliament on 13 July voted to pass a law to restore degraded natural ecosystems, which had been hotly contested.


4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

Long lead times are hampering the speed of renewable energy build-out worldwide. Digitalizing the processes for permit application as well as the stakeholder engagement can cut down lead times so clean energy projects can get built faster, according to four clean energy experts.

Young people are becoming catalysts for change in the face of growing climate crisis issues. The world's youth are at the forefront of building a sustainable future with cutting-edge technology and circular economic models. Here are some of the youth-led initiatives driving real solutions for a sustainable future.

The climate crisis is accelerating the global food crisis. Extreme weather, fuelled by rising temperatures, causes short-term disruptions in crop growing and long-term changes in regional growing conditions. We must act now to protect the most vulnerable, writes Himanshu Gupta, CEO of ClimateAI.

Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityClimate Action
1. Floods force evacuations in India and China2. Heatwaves in Europe and US – as El Niño forecast to continue3. News in brief: Other top nature and climate stories this week 4. More on the nature and climate crisis on Agenda

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