Instant Library - Oct-Dec 2019
France / USA / Italy / Australia / Germany / Spain - Climate protests in France, Germany and Spain / Wildfires in California / St Mark's Square in Venice flooded / Smoke from Australia fires visible from Space / COP25 summit / Thunberg 'very surprised' about Time award / Frustration as COP25 ends without carbon deal
Story No.: G13011
Dateline: 10 October - 28 December, 2019
Date: 12/15/2019 12:00 AM
Climate protests, arrests, in NLands, France, Germany
Paris - 7 October 2019
1. Members of Extinction Rebellion with flags walking on bridge
2. Pan from riot police to demonstrators, UPSOUND (French) "We are Extinction Rebellion"
Firefighters battle southern California blaze
Porter Ranch, California - 11 October 2019
3. Various of firefighters spraying water on flames near homes and helicopter dropping water near homes
New wildfire scorches area north of Los Angeles
Simi Valley, California - 30 October 2019
4. Medium view of smoke blowing across roadway
5. Fire burning along hillside near buildings
6. Fire burning trees and brush
Wildfire east of Los Angeles destroys homes
San Bernardino, California - 31 October 2019
7. Various night views of homes burning
8. Dayside views of smoldering remains of a house
Hundreds battle new Southern California wildfire
Somis, California - 31 October 2019
9. Firefighters spraying fire on mountainside
10. Fire truck next to burning mountainside
11. Fire amid trees, grass
St Mark's Square in Venice flooded
Restrictions: Part must credit Gaetano Guzzardi; Part must not obscure logo
Central Venice, Italy - 12 November 2019
12. Wide of San Marco Square flooded
13. Tourists carrying luggage through flood waters
14. Tourist wading through flood waters
15. Various of tourists walking through flooded area
Smoke from Australia fires visible from Space
International Space Station - 13 November 2019
16. STILL: smoke from edge of Australia stretches over Pacific Ocean, red dots on picture indicate actively burning fires.
German climate activists rally at Brandenburg Gate
Berlin - 29 November 2019
17. Various of protesters in front of Brandenburg Gate
Leaders arrive in Madrid as climate summit begins
Madrid - 2 December 2019
18. New European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arriving
Spanish art installation recreates air pollution
Madrid - 4 December 2019
19. Spanish Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera (black coat) and Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, at the World Health Organization, Maria Neira (with a scarf) entering cell recreating the air pollution in Beijing
20. Ribera and Neira entering cell recreating the air pollution in New Delhi
21. Banner with COP25 logo and slogan (Spanish) "#TiempoDeActuar" ("Time to act")
Thunberg joins sit-in protest at COP25 summit
Madrid - 6 December 2019
22. Various of Thunberg joining sit-in protest against the lack of government action to tackle climate change
Thunberg calls for 'real action' on climate change
Madrid - 6 December 2019
23. SOUNDBITE (English) Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist
" The world leaders, the people in power, grasp the urgency of the climate crisis because right now it doesn't seem like they are."
Thousands join Thunberg in Madrid climate march
Madrid - 6 December 2019
24. Various top shots of thousands of protesters marching in Madrid near Cibeles Fountain
Thungberg 'very surprised' about Time award
Location unknown - 11 December 2019
25. SOUNDBITE (English) Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate activist
" I should not be the one to be person of the year, it should be everyone in the Fridays for Future movement because what we have done, we have done together."
Frustration as COP25 ends without carbon deal
Madrid - 15 December 2019
26. COP25 venue, sign
27. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace Germany:
"US President (Donald) Trump and President (Jair) Bolsonaro from Brazil have undermined these negotiations here and if they are going to continue so next year, we need a different answer from strong economies like the European Union, together with China, together with India, to come up with a new narrative of hope for the young people out there."
On October 7th 2019 Paris members of Extinction Rebellion blocked streets with mass sit-ins as riot police looked on.
In Berlin people blocked the Grosser Stern, a traffic circle in the middle of the German capital's Tiergarten park dominated by the landmark Victory Column, in a protest that started in the early hours.
Members of Extinction Rebellion also set up a camp outside Chancellor Angela Merkel's office ahead of what it called an "international rebellion" starting on October 7th.
Founded in Britain in 2018, the movement, also known as XR, now has chapters in some 50 countries.
A wildfire raged out of control along the northern edge of Los Angeles on October 11th, forcing thousands of people from their homes as firefighters battled flames from the air and on the ground.
Police Chief Michel Moore said mandatory evacuations encompassed about 100,000 people in over 20,000 homes.
Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the fire had grown to more than 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) and at least 25 homes had been damaged.
A middle-aged man who was near where the fire was burning went into cardiac arrest and died, the chief said, but he did not have details.
The blaze erupted around 9 p.m. Thursday along the northern tier of the San Fernando Valley as powerful Santa Ana winds swept through Southern California. Smoke streamed across the city and out to sea.
Terrazas said there were sustained winds of 20-25 mph (32-40 kph) with gusts over 50 mph (80 kph) and relative humidity levels had fallen as low as 3%.
The fire erupted in Sylmar, the northernmost portion of the valley, and spread westward at a rate of 800 acres (324 hectares) an hour into Granada Hills and Porter Ranch, part of a so-called urban-wildland interface where subdivisions crowd against the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains. The cause wasn't immediately known.
Porter Ranch, an upper middle-class suburb that was the backdrop for the 1982 movie "E.T." is no stranger to evacuations. Four years ago, a blowout at an underground natural gas well operated by Southern California Gas Co. in the neighboring Aliso Canyon storage facility drove 8,000 families from their homes.
Helicopters made repeated water drops as crews in Los Angeles attacked flames in and around homes. Water- and retardant-dropping airplanes joined the battle after daybreak. About 1,000 firefighters were on the lines.
Fire danger is high throughout Southern California after the typically dry summer and early fall, and the notorious Santa Ana winds - linked to the spread of many wildfires - bring a dangerous mix of witheringly low humidity levels and powerful gusts.
A spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California says the complex has not been damaged by a nearby wildfire that has grown to more than 970 acres (392 hectares).
The fire erupted before dawn as strong winds hit Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles.
Flames are pushing through sparsely developed hills between suburban tracts. Horses are being evacuated from small ranches.
The brush fire broke out just before dawn Wednesday near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in the Simi Valley area north of Los Angeles.
Red Cross spokesman Tom Horan says people are confused and scared as they arrived at a shelter set up in a community center in the city of Thousand Oaks, some wearing masks.
They registered with shelter staff amid the banging of cots being set up and food and water being carried inside.
Horan says the shelter can accommodate about 380 evacuees during the day and about 180 overnight. Pets must be kept outside in crates.
Strong winds fanned new Southern California wildfires on October 31th, burning homes and forcing residents to flee their homes in a repeat of the frightening scenario already faced by tens of thousands across the state.
The latest blazes erupted in the heavily populated inland region east of Los Angeles as strong, seasonal Santa Ana winds continued to blow with gusts of up to 60 mph (96 kph) predicted to last until the evening before they fade away.
A fast-moving fire spread into the northern neighborhoods of the city of San Bernardino, forcing the evacuation of 490 homes - approximately 1,300 people, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said.
Fire Chief Don Trapp said initial assessment showed that six homes and two outbuildings were destroyed or damaged in the 200-acre (80-hectare) fire.
As winds buffeted the state this week, utilities deliberately cut power to more than a million people to prevent high winds from damaging power lines and sparking wildfires.
Southern California Edison said its safety power cuts still affected about 215,000 people by October 30th and warned that outages were under consideration for about 800,000 people.
Pacific Gas &amp; Electric, which has staged three sweeping blackouts this week, restored power to hundreds of thousands of people Wednesday and expected to have it back for the others sometime October 31th.
The days of windstorms are not unusual for the fall season, which has seen vicious gusts propel a series of deadly and destructive California wildfires in recent years.
On October 31th authorities in Ventura County ordered evacuations for about 7,500 people in an area that includes roughly 1,800 buildings as the blaze threatened the small, unincorporated rural community of Somis.
Hundreds of firefighters raced to attack the blaze, which initially was fanned by moderate winds and then was fueled by tinder-dry brush in canyons. Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said more than 400 firefighting personnel were on the job. The fire grew in only a few hours to around 7,400 acres - just over 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) - before midnight.
Ventura County Fire Assistant Chief John McNeil estimated that the fire could reach around 12,000 acres before running out of fuel. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said a small drone that appeared to be "looking at photography of the fire" interfered with aerial firefighting efforts.
Tourists and Venetians have donned high boots and taken to raised walkways to slosh through the high water that has hit much of the lagoon city.
Venice's tide forecast office said the water level peaked at 1.27 metres (about 4 feet 3 inches) on Novembre 12th but warned that an even higher tide was forecast for after nightfall.
The high water invaded cafes and stores.
As a precaution, authorities closed nursery schools.
San Marco Square, more usually thronged with tourists, was largely deserted.
Many hotels keep disposable knee-high plastic boots handy for tourists.
Venetians' wardrobes often include over-the-knee rubber boots.
Bad weather has dogged Italy lately, with near-daily downpours drenching much of the country.
Meteorologists predicted more heavy rain coming in late Tuesday, especially in the northeast, which includes Venice, as well as in Sicily and elsewhere in the south.
A picture taken from the International Space Station shows smoke stretching from the edge of Eastern Australia over the Pacific Ocean.
About 60 fires were burning around New South Wales on the morning of November 13th, with 27 uncontained while being battled by more than 1,000 firefighters, the Rural Fire Service said.
A body was found late on November 13th in a scorched forest near the town of Kempsey in northeast New South Wales, police said.
He is suspected to be a 58-year-old man who lived in a nearby shed and had not been seen since Friday when ferocious wildfires across New South Wales killed three other people and destroyed at least 150 homes.
Students in Berlin, Germany marched in support of the global climate strike on November 29th, joining 3,000 protests across the world.
Seventeen-year-old protester, Robin Ebelt said "the generation before us messed it up" and that he wanted to live "for another 60 years."
Fridays for Future activist, Quang Paasch said protesters needed to continue to "take to the streets" to defend the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Fridays for Future protests were originally started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg in 2018 who was outraged by the lack of government action on climate change.
The worldwide student climate marches come a few days before the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP 25, begins on December 2nd in Madrid.
World leaders were arriving on December 2nd for the start of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid that seeks to step up efforts to stop global warming.
The UN is warning that the efforts so far are insufficient to overcome the “point of no return” in climate change.
The summit, which moved to the Spanish capital after Chile had to pull out amid anti-government protests, aims to put the finishing touches to the rules governing the 2015 Paris accord.
That involves creating a functioning international emissions-trading system and compensating poor countries for losses they suffer from rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.
Spain's Energy and Environment Minister Teresa Ribera visited an art installation in Madrid on December 4th, which simulates pollution levels of some of the world's biggest cities.
Ribera and the Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at the World Health Organisation, Maria Neira, walked around the "Pollution Pods" created by British artist Michael Pinsky on the sidelines of the COP25 climate change meeting.
Safe perfume blends and fog machines inside the geodesic domes imitate the air quality of some of the world's most polluted cities - London, Beijing, Sao Paulo, New Delhi - as well as one of the most pristine environments on earth, Tautra in Norway.
Ribera said experiencing the simulated environments was "impressive" and helps understand how pollution affects people's health.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Madrid on December 6th to join thousands of other young people in a march to demand world leaders take real action against climate change.
Ahead of the march, Thunberg joined a sit-in protest at the conference venue in the Spanish capital.
Madrid is hosting a two-week, United Nations-sponsored talks aimed at streamlining the rules on global carbon markets and agreeing on how poor countries should be compensated for destruction largely caused by emissions from rich nations.
The talks come as scientific evidence mounts about disasters that could ensue from further global warming, including a study commissioned by 14 seafaring nations due to be published Friday that predicts that unchecked climate change could devastate fishery industries and coral reef tourism.
That could cause hundreds of billions of dollars in losses by 2050, says the report, adding that limiting global warming would lessen the economic impact for coastal countries, but that they also need to adapt to ocean changes.
The presence in Madrid of Thunberg was expected to shift the attention to demands for greater action by non-governmental organizations and a whole new generation of environment-minded activists.
Past appearances by the 16-year-old have won her plaudits from some leaders - and criticism from others whoâ€™ve taken offence at the angry tone of her speeches.
An advocate for carbon-free transportation, Thunberg travelled by train overnight from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, where she arrived earlier this week after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States by catamaran.
That became necessary after a sudden change of venue for the COP25 summit following a wave of anti-government protests that hit Chile, the original host.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg said on December 6th that calls for real action against climate change were still being ignored by political leaders, despite their continuous praise of the global environmental youth movement she helped create.
The Swedish teenager was in Madrid, where United Nations-sponsored talks on climate change are underway, to join fellow young climate activists, representatives of Latin America's indigenous peoples and thousands of other protesters.
Before marching, Thunberg said at a press conference that she hoped the COP25 summit would lead to "something concrete" and "increasing awareness among people in general".
Surrounded by three other activists from Spain and Uganda, she added: "The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power."
The 16-year-old was followed by a swarm of cameras and reporters from the very first step she took out of an overnight train from Lisbon.
The advocate of carbon-free transportation arrived in the Portuguese capital earlier this week after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States by catamaran.
During the December 2-13 talks, nearly 200 countries are meant to streamline the rules on global carbon markets and agree on how poor countries should be compensated for destruction largely caused by emissions from rich nations.
"We are tired of the praises that you keep giving the activists," she said. "We want you to act."
Swedish teen Greta Thunberg joined fellow young climate activists, representatives of Latin America's indigenous peoples, and thousands of other protesters in a climate march on the streets of Madrid on December 6th.
Thunberg was in Madrid, where United Nations-sponsored talks on climate change are underway.
She said that calls for real action against climate change are still being “ignored" by political leaders despite their continuous praise of the global environmental youth movement she helped create.
Amid an overwhelming level of attention from cameras and other protesters she left the march shortly after it began, getting in a red car that she's been using to move around the city.
During the Dec. 2-13 talks, nearly 200 countries are meant to streamline the rules on global carbon markets and agree on how poor countries should be compensated for destruction largely caused by emissions from rich nations.
An official directly involved in the negotiations said that despite a few setbacks, the technical negotiations were progressing, although many issues were being left for ministerial-level meetings in the summit's second and final week.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the discussions, added that a political declaration on greater “ambition" - a buzzword at the summit - was shaping to be “difficult to achieve.”
Sweish climate activist Greta Thunberg says she was "very surprised" to be named Time's “person of the year”, despite becoming the figurehead of a global youth movement pressing for faster action climate change.
Leaving a UN climate conference in Madrid, Thunberg told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she wanted to dedicate the award to all young activists.
"I should not be the one to be person of the year, it should be everyone in the Fridays for Future movement because what we have done, we have done together," she told the AP by phone interview.
She is now planning to head home to Sweden for some rest during the holidays.
Thunberg said she was hopeful that the message being pushed by her and other activists - that governments need to drastically increase their efforts to combat climate change - is finally getting through.
Marathon international climate talks ended on December 15th with negotiators postponing until next year a key decision on how to regulate global carbon markets.
After two weeks of negotiations in Madrid on tackling global warming, delegates from almost 200 nations passed declarations calling for greater ambition in cutting planet-heating greenhouse gases and in helping poor countries that are suffering the effects of climate change.
But despite holding the longest climate talks ever in 25 nearly annual editions they left one of the thorniest issues for the next summit in Glasgow, in a year's time.
Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace Germany said in the meantime he hoped the European Union's 'Green Deal,' which proposes a net-zero emmisions target by 2050, would be implemented to "set a precedence for other economic regions" of the world.