Chile forest fires: At least 51 dead, say officials | BBC News

At least 51 people were killed by forest fires in Chile’s Valparaíso region, local authorities have said. President Gabriel Boric declared a state of emergency and said he would make “all necessary resources” available to tackle the situation. It is believed to be Chile’s deadliest forest fire on record. Many of those affected were visiting the coastal region during the summer holidays.

Record hot oceans are causing havoc from California to Chile. Is climate change to blame? - USA TODAY

“Our findings emphasize a changing climatic landscape for California, attributing the extreme characteristics of the California floods to the dual forces of human-driven climate change and a subtle influence of natural climate variability,” said Davide Faranda, a researcher in climate physics at the French National Center for Scientific Research.

Heat waves rage in South America

Meanwhile, intense heat waves have been occurring across much of South America, including Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia.

On Jan. 31, the temperature in Santiago, Chile’s capital city, hit 99.1 degrees, the third highest temperature in 112 years of reporting, the World Meteorological Association reported. Drought, low humidity and strong winds also are blamed for creating conditions that contributed to the catastrophic fires occurring across the continent.

At least 130 people have died in Chile, with hundreds more missing in the Valparaiso region, including the coastal town of Viña del Mar, the WMO said.

Study uncovers alarming underestimates of global threat expected to expand drastically in coming decades: ‘Expect survivable but not livable conditions’

A new study suggests that we have underestimated the health risks associated with climate change, especially among older people.

What happened?

A group of scientists set out to explore human survivability and livability in a warming world and found that previous estimates had significantly underestimated the risk to human survival (or overestimated humans’ capacity to survive) in hot, dry conditions, especially for older adults.

Earlier studies had utilized a threshold of 35 degrees Celsius (equal to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) for wet bulb temperature (Tw) — one pair of scientists hypothesized that six hours of exposure in these conditions would lead to death, according to News-Medical.Net. (A wet bulb temperature of 95 F is equal to 95 F at 100% humidity or 115 F at 50% humidity.)

Two Climate Advisers Quit U.S. Export-Import Bank Over Fossil Fuel Plans - The New York Times

The project in Bahrain is one of several controversial overseas fossil fuel projects that the Export-Import Bank of the United States is currently considering.

The two advisers, who sit on an 18-person board that President Biden created to help the bank take climate change into account when making investments, resigned last week after a meeting about the Bahrain project, according to five current and former bank officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

They described mounting frustration among climate advisory board members, who say they are being kept in the dark about upcoming fossil fuel loans and blocked from making recommendations about whether to approve or even modify a particular project.

At least two more climate advisory board members are considering stepping down, according to the officials.

Mr. Biden’s aides have expressed concern about the direction of the bank, which has consistently flouted a 2021 presidential order that government agencies stop financing carbon-intensive projects overseas.

This ancient material is displacing plastics and creating a billion-dollar industry

Now cork is experiencing a revival as more industries look for sustainable alternatives to plastic and other materials derived from fossil fuels. The bark is now used for flooring and furniture, to make shoes and clothes and as insulation in homes and electric cars. Portugal’s exports reached an all-time high of 670 million euro ($728 million) in the first half of 2023.

But cork is more than a trendy green material. In addition to jobs, the forests where it grows provide food and shelter for animals, all while sequestering carbon dioxide. And unlike most trees grown commercially, cork oaks are never cut down, meaning their carbon storage capacity continues through the 200 years or more they live.