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Devastating satellite photos show how planet has been ravaged by climate change – World News

As world leaders meet at Cop26, more and more green house gas emissions are released into the atmosphere leading global temperatures levels to rise, meaning glaciers and lakes disappear

Lake Urmia has changed drastically over the decades

Satellite images show how climate change has already ravaged beautiful and precious parts of the world.

Images taken 40 years apart of a lake, a glacier and a forest highlight how much our Earth has changed over the past four decades.

The striking photos act as yet another wake up call to political leaders and consumers to act now before climate change becomes runaway environmental disaster.

The first images shows Lake Urmia in Iran, which was once the second-largest saltwater lake in the Middle East.

Because it is a closed basin lake water only leaves when it is evaporated – something which has been happening more and more recently.








Columbia Glacier in Alaska in 1997
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Image:

Imagery courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat; Processing by Planet)



A study found that the area of Lake Urmia, which is home to pelicans and flamingos, has decreased by around 88% over recent decades.

Photos commissioned by ITV shows the drastic change to the lake over the past 40 years.

Columbia Glacier in Alaska has also changed dramatically during the same time period.

The colossal icy form has been slowly melting as it makes it way down Chugach Mountains to Prince William Sound.

Since it started melting in the 1980s, due to rising global temperatures, it has retreated by 12 miles and lost half of its thickness, contributing to sea-level rise.

Glaciers around the world, excluding those in Greenland and Antarctica, have lost an average of 267 gigatons of ice per year, according to a recent study .








Columbia Glacier in Alaska in 2021
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Image:

Imagery courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat; Processing by Planet)



If global temperature levels had not risen so much during the 20th century, then neither the lake nor the glacier would have shrunk so much.

A key part of limiting future rises and similarly serious impacts on the physical world will be keeping the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as low as possible.

That means emitting less and sucking up more – something trees have been doing since before intelligent life evolved on Earth.

Unfortunately, intense logging over decades has led to more and more of the world’s trees being cut down.

Land-clearing by humans accounts for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily coming from the destruction of the world’s forests for products such as palm oil, soy and beef.

This not more clear anywhere than the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, which has been cut down at increasingly fast rates over the past decades.








In 1997 there was a lot more tree cover in the municipality of Matupá in central Brazil
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Image:

Imagery courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat; Processing by Planet)










The same stretch of land has far fewer trees in 2021
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Image:

Imagery courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat; Processing by Planet)



The destruction of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest hit its highest level for 10 years this summer

Photos from space show just how much of this precious, wild resource have been lost in the past 24 years.

Cop26, a global summit on climate change currently taking place in Glasgow, is seen as a make or break point when it comes to stopping further environmental decline.





Yesterday more than 100 global leaders pledged to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by the end of the decade, underpinned by $19 billion in public and private funds to invest in protecting and restoring forests.

However, those promises are likely to fail unless quickly backed by more funding, transparent monitoring and tough regulation of businesses and financiers linked to forest destruction, environmentalists warn.








World leaders are currently meeting in Glasgow
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Image:

Getty Images)



The commitment included countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo which collectively account for the majority of the world’s tropical forests.

While broadly welcomed, many conservationists noted that similar zero deforestation pledges had repeatedly been made and not met by both governments and businesses.

Those include the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF), the United Nations sustainability goals and targets set by global household brands.

“While the Glasgow Declaration has an impressive range of signatories from across forest-rich countries, large consumer markets and financial centres, it nevertheless risks being a reiteration of previous failed commitments if it lacks teeth,” said Jo Blackman, head of forests policy and advocacy at London-based Global Witness.

“The question is whether (the) headline-grabbing announcements on deforestation will end up amounting to more of the same empty promises or if they will be followed up with the real regulatory action that is so urgently needed.”

Cutting down forests has major implications for global goals to curb warming, as trees absorb about a third of the planet-heating carbon emissions produced worldwide, but release the carbon they store when they rot or are burned.

Forests also provide food and livelihoods, help clean air and water, support human health, are an essential habitat for wildlife, regulate rainfall and offer flood protection.

Last year, an area of tropical forest the size of the Netherlands was lost, according to monitoring service Global Forest Watch.


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