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Businesses on their journey to sustainability: Notes from Transform 2019

How can businesses transform to a circular economy, reduce their carbon footprints, and adapt to climate change? A summary of valuable experiences of the speakers at this summit on sustainability.

Agriculture and horticulture »

Climate change doesn’t have to result in wheat yield losses in southern Europe

Negative effects of climate change on wheat yields can be avoided by using earlier flowering cultivars. Advanced grain filling reduces the risk of exposure to enhanced drought and heat stresses.

Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

Good news: Global vulnerability to climate-related hazards is decreasing, so far.

Even though the number of hazards and the number of people exposed to them has increased, hazard vulnerability has dropped strongly. Clearly, investing in protection and resilience pays off.

Climate change »

The pace of smashing extreme temperature records is increasing

By the end of this century, far more temperature records will be set under a high-end than under a low-end scenario of climate change, and far more of these records will be ‘smashing’.

Coastal erosion and coastal floods »

So far, intertidal flats in the Wadden Sea can easily keep up with sea-level rise

In the period 1998 to 2016, the intertidal flats in the German Wadden Sea have accreted with rates ranging from 4 to 22 mm/year, strongly exceeding the observed recent mean sea-level rise.

Climate change »

Observed loss of carbon in thawing Alaskan permafrost faster than previously thought

Measurements of thawing permafrost in Alaska showed a loss of soil carbon in the upper 55 cm of 5.4% per year, indicating much faster release of carbon dioxide and methane than previously thought.

Previously in ClimateChangePost


According to experienced climate and conflict experts, the role of climate in conflicts to date is small compared to other drivers of conflict. Climate change will amplify conflict risk, however.

A high occurrence of positive temperature anomalies in the lead-up of slope failures in the Italian Alps supports the hypothesis that climate warming is destabilizing slopes at high-elevation sites.

Where hot extremes have increased by 0.33 °C per decade from 1950 to 2018, the trend for cold extremes is 0.49 °C per decade. A 50% difference!

Screening on the 6th September in London: This film discusses concerns of New York citizens about the future with the hot August weather as a starting point.

Weather disasters have increased in number and intensity in recent decades. Damage caused by extreme weather events has been on the rise. In terms of casualties the 2003 and 2010 heat waves stand out.

This week, a wind turbine almost as high as the Eiffel Tower will be assembled at the Dutch coast. On a windy day, this turbine can produce enough electricity to supply 16,000 houses.

Unprecedented mass mortality events, reported in previous summers and resulting from prolonged periods of high sea surface temperatures, seem to become the new standard already by 2050.

Biodiversity of plants and animals on earth will change. At 2 °C global warming, terrestrial ecosystems could lose on average 14% of their current local species, and 22% at 4 °C.

Both heat stress and ozone increase mortality, and both are affected by climate change. While the total health burden of ozone will decrease by 2050, heat-related mortality will strongly increase.

River flood risk to European railways, €581 million per year in recent decades, could increase substantially: by up to 310% under a 3 °C warming scenario, according to recent estimates.

When the Mediterranean Sea warms up, hurricanes in the area are likely to become more vigorous. Their winds will be stronger, and they will lead to more intense precipitation, increasing flood risk.

Trends in burnt area in Portugal and Spain illustrate the complicated relationship between population and fire incidence. Rural abandonment means fewer fires but more fuel for extreme events.

Almost half of the variability in global maize and spring wheat yields can be explained by climate variability and climate extremes during the growing season.

The probability of facing a 1 in 100‐year event is more than doubled in 30% of the global coastlines when accounting for the dependence between storm surges and waves.

Global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change from the year 1970 to 2100, on average with 5% for every 1 °C of global warming. Declines are largest at the tropics.

The number of damaged infrastructures seems to be small still: 12 out of 947 infrastructures since the 1990s. Numbers have doubled, though, between 2010 and 2018 compared with the period 2000-2010.

Human activities affect the worldwide risk of droughts since the beginning of the twentieth century, according to an analysis of observations, climate reconstructions and tree ring data.

In Poland, mortality is generally highest in winter and lowest in summer. However, heat waves may increase the number of fatalities such that summer mortality equals or exceeds winter mortality.

The experts find it plausible that sea level rise could exceed 2 m by 2100 under the business as usual scenario, more than twice the upper value put forward by the IPCC in 2014.

When rivers flood, nearby rivers often flood at the same time. The distance over which rivers flood simultaneously has increased since 1960. It far exceeds the size of individual drainage basins.


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