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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Why Are Climate Change Predictions Always So Wrong?

For decades we have been getting predictions that humans and our use of natural resources are destroying the oceans and species at a rapid rate. Humans are destroying our oceans at an unprecedented rate. Eighty percent of fisheries are overfished…


World Environment Day 2023: Rural India bears the brunt of climate change

Climate change is a global challenge with local implications; important to build coping mechanisms for rural communities

Rural India is diverse — from coastal regions, deltas and flood plains to deserts, hills, mountains and plateaus. Those living there have diverse aspirations, resources and skills as well. They are marginal farmers, manual wage earners, fisherfolk, animal-rearers, shepherds, nomads and many times a combination of these. 

That leaves millions of rural Indians at the mercy of the weather and climate change. Any deviation from standard long-term weather patterns makes them vulnerable to the uncertainties emerging from changing weather patterns with little access to coping mechanisms.  

Read more: Nearly 150,000 Indians have died in the past 51 years because of extreme weather: WMO

This happens in many ways. 

Rising temperature and heat stress

Most rural Indians eke out their livelihoods under the baking sun. But exposure to heat higher than 38 degrees Celsius is a severe health hazard. At temperatures above 40.6°C, our organs start to fail and the risk of death increases sharply, according to Mridula Ramesh’s book The Climate Solution

Coping mechanisms to these extreme heat conditions, like access to shade and hydration, are generally unavailable to the workers engaged. The stress worsens for malnourished women, small kids and elderly workers. 

The productivity of crops and animals is also badly affected by extreme temperatures. For instance, the increase in temperature in January lowers the yields of wheat and chickpeas. Similarly, the productivity of stressed animals is reduced significantly. 

Changing rainfall patterns

Around 120 million marginal farmer households depend on their farming and wages. Their farming practices, like time of field preparations, sowing, selection of varieties, labour availability and water management, have evolved based on prevalent weather patterns for ages. 

These aberrations from the typical weather patterns put all the farming operations in total chaos for these resource-poor farmers. This leads to poorer yields and severe economic losses. 

The implication of delayed onset of monsoon or failed September rainfalls and untimely rainfall in November for rainfed farmers is well known. It shrinks the whole rural economy and causes huge agrarian distress.        

Flood impact 

After floods, the farms and waterbodies need to be repaired. Dead livestock has to be restocked. Homes, small businesses and enterprises washed away by the torrents of rain need refinancing. 

There is a severe erosion of assets and livelihoods. But more than that, there is hardly any coping mechanism to meet these losses. 

During the flood periods, the human tragedy is immense. People survive on the high grounds, roadside and embankments for weeks and months, under plastic tents suffering during the flood and post-flood traumas.   

Read more: Budget 2023-24: Whither rural development? Allocation for livelihood and other schemes sees 14% cuts

Devastating droughts 

Droughts are slow destroyers. They slowly suck out the vitality of rural communities. 

The income of marginal and livestock farmers is affected by long-term water stress. They find themselves in a fix; they can’t abandon the farm and move away to look for alternatives and find it extremely difficult to continue with it. 

Marginal farmers have little control over the water needed for farming and water stress leads to unpredictable yields and reduced income to farmers. With the increasing water stress, farmers will reduce their investment in farming, further reducing productivity. 

More droughts also lead to the use of unsustainable already-stressed water sources. These include mining water from deeper layers that can’t be replenished, stealing water from other plots and fighting for water access.

This will lead to a significant reduction in farm incomes and increased dependency of wages from non-farm labour and distress migration. And, of course, with migration, the elderly and children left behind in villages will suffer more.

Vector-borne diseases

These unpredictable floods, droughts and rising temperatures will also increase vector-borne diseases like malaria, Kala Azar, dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and Zika. 

The changing climate also changes the prevailing pattern of vector emergence, their pathogenicity and the severity of vectors. This may create havoc on already scanty health services available to rural communities. These vector-borne diseases can become endemic in rural areas, leading to acute human distress. 

Read more: MGNREGA graft: Social audit finds irregularities worth Rs 54 lakh in Rajasthan

Nutrition impact

Climate change will also impact the quantity and quality of food available to rural communities. 

As already mentioned, the productivity of crops will be adversely affected due to unfavourable weather conditions. But with increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, there is also a reduction of protein content in food grains like rice and wheat, which are the staples for rural communities. 

This reduced nutrition access is compounded by increasing vector-borne diseases in malnourished children and women.   

Toll on mental health

The stress and anxiety related to loss of livelihoods, uncertain futures, helplessness and physical stress due to extreme weather conditions also affect the mental health of rural communities. 

The anxiety to rebuild their lives and livelihoods or distressed migration to new places, feeling the vulnerability of their existence makes the rural people depressed and may lead to living unhappy lives or even add to farmers’ suicides.  

Call for action

Globally, there are discussions on actions around compensation, mitigation and restoration of climate change-related losses. Crucially, there must be actions at the local level. 

Each community has a different kind of vulnerability to the risks associated with climate change. The vulnerability reduction action needs to be customised to the specific human and ecological situation. 

This will need close interaction with the communities. Universalisation of access to public system support, insurance, easy access to financial systems, diversification of livelihood choices and collective action can reduce the vulnerability of rural communities.

Considering the scale of climate change, the hazards and losses are inevitable; it is important to build coping mechanisms for rural communities too. 

Read more: Tax the wealthy: 2 billion people can be lifted from poverty by levying the super-rich, says Oxfam

It is a global challenge with local implications; hence the solution should also be of that scale. Efforts are required everywhere, including the urban communities. The solutions may cover these points:

  • Helping the community to understand the spread and depth of the crisis — Often, communities in hilly regions do not appreciate the challenge of rising sea levels. Similarly, the urban folks may not appreciate how the power cuts affect the farmers and their livelihoods.
  • Solving water and energy crisis challenges — Investing in rainwater harvesting, checking soil erosions and distributing renewable energy like stand-alone microgrids for rural communities.
  • Making the primary healthcare functional
  • Nature-based solutions for climate restoration like large-scale reforestation / agroforestry investments and linking them with the livelihoods of local communities.
  • Technologies for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Local-level waste management — Recycle, reuse and compost.
  • Local food system — Diversified food production to meet the needs locally, reducing food miles, carbon dioxide, energy and water footprint.
  • Diversified livelihoods portfolio for rural communities to bring resilience and reduce vulnerabilities. 

Read more: Will India officially be poverty free in 2023?

There are no easy solutions to this global crisis, but we have no choice other than to try everything that may work. 

Ashok Kumar is director for farm prosperity at non-profit Transform Rural India

Views expressed are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect those of Down To Earth

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Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon is sweeping through southern skies

Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon: Oblique view of Earth orbit and parabolic path of comet sweeping around it.
This space view is from 20° north of the ecliptic plane and from longitude 235°. Grid lines on the plane are 1 astronomical unit (AU), the distance between the sun and the Earth. The ram’s-horn symbol marks the vernal (March) equinox direction. The Earth is exaggerated 500 times in size, and the sun 5 times. Stalks connect the Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon to the ecliptic plane at the beginning of each month of 2023. Image copyright Guy Ottewell. Used with permission.

Renowned British astronomer Guy Ottewell originally published this piece about Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon on May 25, 2023. Reprinted with permission. Edits by EarthSky.

Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon

Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon was discovered on October 7, 2021, on images taken at the Mount Lemmon Observatory, northeast of Tucson in Arizona. T4 means the 4th discovery or recovery in the first half of October.

Mount Lemmon is the highest point of the Santa Catalina Mountains, one of four mountain ranges around Tucson. It’s not to be confused with Catilina, the conspirator who tried to seize power over the Roman republic in 63 BCE. I’m reminded of my speculation that the Navajos may have seen Canopus, the great star of the south, from one of the four sacred peaks surrounding their land. In fact, it’s shown as the cover picture for the Astronomical Calendar 2023.

When discovered, comet C/2021 T4, because of the geometry of its orbit, appeared quite northerly, at declination +12°.

Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon is a long period comet

In fact, it’s a long-period comet; if it ever previously dropped from its remote home – at 44,000 AU out – to the inner solar system, it would have been millions of years ago. So during its present passage, it’ll feel gravitational perturbations from the planets that will shorten its period to merely thousands of years.

Its orbit is inclined about 20° to the ecliptic plane. However, it’s going in a retrograde direction, or opposite to the direction in which the planets revolve. The result is that it’ll make a very long rapid sweep across our southern sky.

Constellation chart, with labeled stars and Milky Way, with curved line showing path of comet.
Chart showing the location of Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon starting in July through November 2023. Chart copyright Guy Ottewell. Used with permission.

Finder chart

At present the comet is 60° out in the morning sky, southerly (at declination -13°), 1.75 AU from the sun and 2 AU from Earth. However, it’s still at a dim magnitude of about 11. Then, on June 27, 2023, its distance from us will shrink to 1 AU.

On July 18, 2023, we will pass it at opposition. And around this time, it’ll be nearest to us, 0.54 AU, and brightest, perhaps about magnitude 8 or 7 but still below the unaided-eye limit. Its nearness will make it appear even farther south, at declination -56° on July 20.

Then in the following months it will climb north, becoming lower in the evening sky and more distant. At the same time it’ll be dimming by perhaps 2 or 3 magnitudes. It will reach perihelion, 1.48 AU from the sun, on July 31, 2023. Finally, it’ll ascend across the ecliptic on September 10, 2023, and be at conjunction behind and north of the sun on November 9, 2023.

Of course, we must remember that predictions of a comet’s brightness, and the size of their tails, can be unreliable. That’s because they depend on the melting of ice and release of dust in these lumpy spinning objects.

Comet-Hale Bopp still observable? Wow!

By the way, Alan Hale alerted us (Guy Ottewell) to this comet with a Facebook post on May 22. Alan was discoverer of the great comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1). And, despite now being more than 47 AU away, it’s the first on the Minor Planet Center’s list of currently observable comets, not because of its present magnitude (about 20) but because it is the earliest-numbered non-periodic comet still considered observable at all.

Bottom line: Comet C/2021 T4 Lemmon was discovered from Mount Lemmon Observatory in 2021. It’s currently sweeping through the southern skies.

Climate Expert: What The Media Won’t Tell You About Hurricanes, 2023 Edition

[June 1] is the official start of the 2023 hurricane season in the North Atlantic. Over the past few decades, the media has increasingly celebrated every hurricane as an indicator of climate change — whether juiced, intensified, linked, or fueled…

Media plot to conceal cow fart contribution to global warming? – Animals 24-7

(Beth Clifton collage) Did you know about it?  If so,  how?  Did cow farts affect what you had for dinner? SEATTLE,  Washington––Is there a media conspiracy to suppress awareness of the contribution of animal agriculture to global warming? Considering that…


High road to Dubai COP28: Why discussions on carbon credits are important at upcoming Bonn climate conference

Bonn Conference will advance the work on how countries can cooperate to fulfil their nationally determined contributions to address climate change 

Carbon markets will be a key discussion topic at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany, scheduled from June 5-15, 2023. 

The Bonn Conference will deal with technical details to feed discussions at the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in December 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.

COP27, hosted by Egypt last year, led to securing the establishment of a loss and damage fund, which had been negotiated upon and postponed for over three decades.

The Bonn Conference will advance the work on how countries can cooperate to fulfil their nationally determined contributions (NDC) through provisions made under Article 6 of the UN-mandated Paris climate pact. More than 66 per cent of countries plan to use carbon credits to meet their NDCs, according to the World Bank.

Also read: High road to Dubai COP28: What to expect at the upcoming Bonn climate conference

Carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought, according to the UN Development Programme.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement deals with trading carbon credits. Clause 6.2 allows countries to trade greenhouse gas emission reduction outcomes, and 6.4 establishes a market for trading these reductions between countries under UN supervision.

Credits are certificates representing one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent that has either been prevented from entering (emissions reductions) or removed from the atmosphere (CO2 removals). They can be generated from projects such as restoring forests, setting up renewable energy, managing industrial gases, etc.

In 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, parties created a rulebook for carbon markets — a feat that took six years to achieve.

But the rulebook is far from complete. Negotiators still have to work out the architecture of the market and how emission reductions have to be reported, said Vladislav Malashevskyy, a member of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the UNFCCC. 

What happened at COP27?

Transparency emerged as a hot topic. Under 6.2, parties decided to keep information on carbon credits hidden after they had justified the reasons to the reviewers. If the review team spots inconsistencies, the party is encouraged to address them. They, however, cannot make confidential findings public, according to the adopted decision on Article 6 at COP27.

Some countries used national security to push confidentiality. “I think that’s a front for keeping the system secretive, which allows dodgy dealings to go on, which we know already happens under carbon markets and will allow countries to cheat the system, potentially,” Matt Adam Williams, climate and land lead at The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a non-profit had told Down To Earth.

Article 6.4 had a rocky start at CoP27. The Supervisory Body — tasked with overseeing the Article 6.4 mechanism — recommended carbon removals. This was criticised by civil society groups and indigenous peoples.

Carbon removal’ means removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It can be land-based, like afforestation or reforestation, ocean-based and engineering-based such as direct air capture (where big machines suck CO2).

The Supervisory Body’s recommendations provide a broad definition of removals. It does not distinguish between types of removals, including each activity’s requirements, risks and implications, according to Geoengineering Monitor, a project of Biofuelwatch, Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Global Forest Coalition. There were also concerns over human rights violations. 

Towards the end of the negotiations, parties asked the supervisory body to re-examine the recommendations on removals after considering the views of the parties and observers.

Another major aspect was renaming unauthorised emissions reductions — credits not authorised for NDCs or other international mitigation purposes — but could still be sold on voluntary carbon markets; the name was changed to “mitigation contribution emissions”.

Corporates, therefore, cannot use credits to offset their emissions when emission reductions are counted by a country, Gilles Dufrasne, Carbon Markey Watch’s lead on global carbon markets, said in a blog post.

What to expect at Bonn?

Under Article 6.2 discussion at Bonn, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will recommend additional rules to help operationalise the cooperation between countries.

This includes discussing the special circumstances of least developed countries and small island developing states in the mechanism and transfer of Internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), a unit of trade. ITMO trading allows countries to purchase ITMOs from other countries

It would also address the question of when information should be treated as confidential regarding mitigation efforts, their transfer, and appropriation. The discussion would also cover other agendas, such as corresponding adjustments and the process for authorising and using ITMOs.

SBSTA’s agenda for Article 6.4 involves further work on the rules, modalities and procedures developed last year at Sharm-el-sheikh. Discussions will focus on three key aspects:

1. Determining if ‘emission avoidance’ (credits on projects that aims to prevent deforestation or pump less oil and gas) and ‘conservation enhancement’ (which could partially include land use emissions) activities fall within Article 6.4’s scope.

2. Establishing the specifics of the connection between the mechanism registry, international registry, and other registries, including interoperability between them. A registry is a centralised accounting and reporting platform.

3. Addressing the necessary information required for host parties’ authorisation statements on Article 6.4 Emissions Reductions (A6.4ER) transfers. The authorisation statement will declare whether the country requires A6.4ER for its own NDCs or other purposes.

Further, the Supervisory body will discuss removal activities based on the information note released by the secretariat. The note has attracted negative attention for its favoured stance on ‘nature-based removals’ as against ‘engineered removals’.

What should lie ahead?

After adopting a rule book for international cooperation at Glasgow, discussions on Article 6 have taken on a subdued tone, primarily focusing on procedural and technical questions. However, with increasing interest in meeting climate goals through markets, parties and non-party stakeholders are interested in having more clarity on the full operationalisation of Article 6.

The work done so far on Article 6.2 has enabled countries to start implementing the framework, with Switzerland signing bilateral agreements with multiple countries and Ghana providing the first set of authorisations for ITMOs to be used by Switzerland. However, the prescriptive framework provided in pursuit of the Article needs more carvings as answering questions on how countries would report information on mitigation and what information disclosures would be necessary.

The supervisory body needs to address several outstanding agendas, such as developing methodology, organising registries (including the overall infrastructure), and clarifying the activities that would be recognised as carbon removals to operationalise Article 6.4.

Elephant Fitted With a Prosthetic Foot So He’s Able to Walk Again – LOOK

Cam and Chhouk with the prosthetic – SWNS

When one is dealing with elephants, everything becomes a bit bigger, a bit more extreme—such as in this video when CPR is delivered via two veterinarians jumping up and down on the animal’s ribs like a moon bounce.

Similarly, Chhouk, an 11-year-old Asian elephant living at the Wildlife Alliance conservation organization in Cambodia, walks with a 44-pound prosthetic foot made out of recycled car tires and tow truck strapping.

Chhouk’s foot had to be amputated after it was caught in a poacher’s snare, but thanks to some $1,450 in funding every year from the Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK, the multi-ton animal gets a new prosthetic every 6-months, allowing him to walk, swim, and even run without difficulty.

“The level of care that he gets is brilliant and he has a great life now. There’s no better feeling,” said 27-year-old Cam Whitnall from England who runs the Paradise Wildlife Park and Big Cat Sanctuary with his family.

“Because he’s still growing, it needs replacing often and we’ve been sending payments to cover that. They’re made out of recycled rubber and some Velcro to tie it up,” he said. “They weigh about 20kg (44 pounds) and we actually got them to send one over and it’s sitting in my office currently.”

OTHER ANIMAL PROSTHETICS: The ‘Wizard of Paws’ Makes Prosthetics to Fit Any Animal – Lending a Human Hand of Compassion

Recently Cam got to visit Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia and found the whole setup for Chhouk was exceptional. The keepers use a little contraption to isolate his leg in order to attach the prosthetic, but as a video taken by Cam shows, Chhouk helps the process along as if he were a human putting on a shoe.

Nevertheless, he’s still rewarded at the end with a big juicy coconut.

WATCH the process here…

SHARE This Example Of Compassion And Ingenuity For Animal Rehab… 


High road to Dubai COP28: Climate finance will be key at Bonn Climate Conference

Success in climate negotiations this year hinges on adequate financial commitments from the Global North towards the South

Finance is the headline issue for climate politics in 2023. As the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provided no concrete outcome on climate finance, there is a lot riding on the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany, scheduled from June 5-15, 2023. 

While the $100 billion climate finance goal — first pledged in 2009 — may be met this year, discussions on its successor, the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance, will continue at Bonn, where the Sixth Technical Expert Dialogue (TED) will deliberate on the “quantum” of money for the new goal as well as “mobilisation and provision of financial sources”.

According to an estimate by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a total of $83.3 billion was provided to developing and emerging economies in 2020 — $16.7 billion short of $100 billion. 

The $100 billion goal was not a negotiated goal, it was conceptualised in a somewhat arbitrary fashion by developed country leaders and does not reflect the true financing needs developing countries face today. 

The Stern-Songwe report of 2022 estimated that $1 trillion per year will be needed in external climate finance by 2030 for emerging and developing economies other than China. The UNFCCC Standing Committee on Climate Finance estimated the needs of developing countries to be from $5.8-11.5 trillion.

The NCQG is expected to be operational by 2025 and will be designed to consider the needs of developing nations.  At COP26 in Glasgow, an ad hoc work programme for the NCQG for 2022-24 was set up. Under this programme, Parties agreed to have four TEDs annually through 2024 to guide the technical work to inform political deliberations at COP.

At COP27, experts lamented the fact that instead of discussing substantive matters like the quantum of finance, the final cover text included procedural details only. It called for the need to significantly strengthen the ad hoc work programme, given the climate emergency. 

It also noted that NCQG should build on lessons learned from the $100 billion per year target. The co-chairs of NCQG were asked to develop a work plan to outline the preliminary topics for each TED in 2023. This was published on March 28, 2023. 

The fifth TED was conducted on March 8-10, 2023. Parties discussed the potential options for the framing and structure of the NCQG.

What will be discussed in Bonn?

The sixth TED will be held on June 12 and 13, 2023 at the Bonn climate conference. The theme will be “quantity, mobilisation and provision of financial sources”. 

Several Parties have submitted their views ahead of the discussions. India, on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) bloc, has said that quantity should be determined based on the needs and priorities of developing countries using a bottom-up approach. Quantity deals with actual figures such as the amount of funds. 

The Least Developed Countries (LDC) bloc has also called for the need to determine the quantitative target. They added that developing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and National Adaptation Plans (NAP) can provide a benchmark for computing country needs and quantum of finance. The bloc has also asked for finance for loss and damage to be addressed as part of the new goal and included in 2023 NCQG deliberations. 

Civil society organisations have asked for the new goal to be needs-based and science-based. They added that future climate finance should not be in the form of debt-inducing loans and that debt cancellations should be treated as an innovative source of climate finance.

It is clear that discussions on the NCQG must progress with ambition this year. The new figure should be based on evolving climate science and the needs of developing countries. It must be tied to specific results and outcomes to be achieved in a time-bound manner. 

There is also a need for a roadmap on delivery to ensure accountability and transparency. Delays in delivering the updated NCQG figure in the post-2025 period will severely impair climate action in developing countries. 

In 2020, according to OECD, 70 per cent of the $83.3 billion in climate finance was provided to developing countries as concessional and non-concessional loans, while only 26 per cent was in the form of grants (approximately $17.9 billion). 

The currently evolving debt crisis in the Global South underlines the urgent need for more grant-based climate finance, without which developing countries will be pushed deeper into debt, negatively impacting their development.

If you can’t define it, you can’t measure it

In India’s submission to the ad-hoc work program on NCQG on the work plan for 2023, the country has asked for a clear definition of climate finance. It is hard to fathom that there is no universally accepted definition of climate finance. Without it, tracking climate finance flows is challenging

It is up to each donor country to label any funds as climate finance. According to the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance, climate finance is that which “aims at reducing emissions, and enhancing sinks of greenhouse gases and aims at reducing vulnerability of, and maintaining and increasing the resilience of, human and ecological systems to negative climate change impacts”. 

But there is no standard, internationally agreed definition of what can be counted as climate finance or even what should be reported as “new” or “additional” climate finance. A clear definition is needed so that there is accountability, transparency and traceability of financial flows from developed to developing countries.

Beyond climate finance

Through the UNFCCC multilateral process, the spotlight must be on finance in various concrete forms this year — filling up a loss and damage fund, concessional finance for the energy transition and decarbonisation in developing countries, more financing for adaptation and progress on the NCQG towards an ambitious new goal reflective of the true needs of the developing world. 

Beyond climate finance, urgent attention must be directed to other financial barriers that are hindering the green transition in developing countries. Around 93 per cent of the most climate vulnerable countries are already in debt-distress or face a high risk of being in debt-distress, according to Action Aid. 

The International Energy Agency stated that the high cost of capital and rising borrowing costs reduce the economic attractiveness of clean energy investment in developing countries, even if they possess rich renewable resources. 

This conversation was catalysed in 2022 by the tabling of the Bridgetown Agenda, which put forth a package of proposals. The COP27 cover decision called for reform of multilateral development banks “to define a new vision and commensurate operational model, channels and instruments that are fit for the purpose of adequately addressing the global climate emergency”. 

Climate was a key issue of focus at the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Demands must be scaled up at the Summit on a New Global Financing Pact to be hosted by France on June 22-23, where CSE will be in attendance. 2023 has to be all about the money.

Climate change is already making parts of America uninsurable

In a report published in April, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara admonished the industry to better account for far-reaching risks like those wrought by climate change. “The insurance sector no longer has the luxury of thinking only of the year…

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