Climate Change Talks at Katowice, Poland and Hothouse Earth

At the Katowice Climate Change Conference, December 2018, member countries agreed the ‘rulebook’ for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement into practice – in particular how emissions would be measured and progress in reducing emissions tracked. However, the Conference did not tackle the question of how countries would increase their targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. By 2020, countries must show how they have met the targets that they set back in 2008. Carbon emissions appear to be on the ...

Polar Vortex

By Monday, February 4, 2019 No tags 0

Chicago has been affected by temperatures as low as -30°C in January this year. When the wind chill is added to this, it was said to feel like -50°C. The reason behind these unseasonally low temperatures is the polar vortex. The polar vortex refers to upper level winds which normally keep very cold winds in the region around the North Pole. (It is a winter equivalent to the mid-latitude jet stream which sometimes breaks down forming a blocking anticyclone that ...

Living Planet Report 2018

The WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report has been released (links to the full report and the summary can be found here: https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_report_2018/). It makes sobering reading. The Report shows that there has been a decline in the wildlife population of 60% over the past 40 years. It estimates that the value of environmental goods and services to humanity is around US $125 trillion annually. The Report highlights the great acceleration i.e. the increasing impact of human activity on all aspects ...

The New Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HKZM)

The new 55-km Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HKZM) – the world’s longest sea-bridge, links three main cities in the greater bay Area of China (formerly called the Pearl River Delta). The Bay Area is China’s economic powerhouse, accounting for 14% of China’s GDP in 2017, but only 5% of its population. China’s economy has been slowing down, and there are problems related to inequalities in wealth, an ageing workforce and increasing pollution of air and water. It is hoped that the ...

An End to Peat Cutting in Ireland?

By Monday, December 10, 2018 No tags 0

In November 2018, the Irish peat company, Bord na Mona, announced plans to close 17 of its active peat bogs, and to close the remaining 45 bogs by 2025. The cutting of turf in peat bogs is a traditional form of energy in Ireland, and was widely practiced across the country in its numerous peat bogs, such as in Kerry and Mayo in the west of Ireland. Peat was cut not only by Bord na Mona, but also by individual ...

Concerning Leap Years

Who Introduced the Leap Year? Julius Ceasar, believe it or not. The Roman calendar had got seriously out of date with the solar calendar, even though Roman officials were supposed to introduce an extra month every so often. So Caesar consulted his top astronomers who worked out that the solar year—the time it takes for the Earth to do exactly one rotation around the sun—was 365.25 days. So, by maintaining a calendar with 365 days, and adding one extra day every ...

PRE IB: Getting ahead in IB Geography

This blog was written by experienced Geographer Garrett Nagle.  You can read more student and teacher blogs by Garrett here. The new Geography syllabus, which will be taught from September 2017 and examined for the first time in May 2019 begins with a quote from an IB Student from the British School in Rio de Janeiro: ‘Geography is the only subject that has given me the skills to interpret and understand reality in a way I could not imagine before and ...