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This UN Tracker Shows That Even Far-Fetched Voluntary Pledges Actually Make a Difference

This UN Tracker Shows That Even Far-Fetched Voluntary Pledges Actually Make a Difference 86

The 17 goals of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are so broad and ambitious that they seem almost ludicrous.

For example: the signatories want poverty “to end in all its forms everywhere” by 2030. Sure.

Plus, countries can agree they will do their best to meet these goals, from reducing inequality to taking urgent action against climate change, but at the end of the day they’re all voluntary anyway. Let’s be real, it’s very unlikely this is going to happen as soon as 2030 (or ever, cynics may argue).

So why make these goals, and commit to them, in the first place?

The Our World in Data initiative set out to answer this question. Its SDG Tracker collects data from official sources, such as the UN and the World Bank, and organizes them in maps and charts to help us track the progress (or regress) towards each goal. It incorporates contemporary data as well as the Millennium Development Goals, predecessors of the SDGs, have achieved.

Some indicators show an unfortunate trend — the number of deaths from road accidents, for example, increased between 1990 and 2015. But things have improved in a number of key areas, from maternal and child mortality to deaths from HIV/AIDS. The number of people in extreme poverty dropped from from 2.2 billion in 1970 to 705.55 million in 2015.

Overall that tool shows us something critical about these voluntary, unrealistic goals: it shows they work. Lives of people around the world are better because of them.

That could mean that similar agreements could have their intended effect, too. The Paris Agreement, for example, is also voluntary. Though some argue that these commitments are nowhere near enough to save the climate, governments and corporations are now taking action in a way that seemed impossible before the deal.

This works because these voluntary schemes focus on the implementation of measures on the ground. The Montreal Protocol  the voluntary international agreement that reduced the number of CFCs entering the atmosphere  thousands of experts deployed to individual cities to help countries as a whole move away from CFCs.

The SDGs and the Paris Agreement work similarly, engaging businesses and administrations at the local level.

If that sounds boring, think of what it’s achieved so far: Protecting the ozone layer may have avoided as much as 2 million skin cancer cases, and while global population has more than doubled since the 1970s, extreme poverty has been cut in half. International voluntary pacts may seem just abstract PR, but the data shows that they may be the way to go if we want a better world.

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Planet Earth

Polar vortex: “wild” winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January

Polar vortex: "wild" winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January 99

In the upper atmosphere above the North Pole, experts saw a rapidly swirling vortex of cold air that could bring severe frosts to the United States, Northern Europe and East Asia. Serious cold snap and snowy weather are expected after January the 16th.

Snowfalls and a cold snap hit South Korea since the start of 2021, hitting historic snow maximums and temperatures. In the country, for the first time since 1964, television and newer communications are sending people cold snap warnings:

https://twitter.com/sonyeoljin/status/1346841272347082752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The situation is similar in Japan, where a new snow storm hit historic highs:

On January 7, the thermometer In Beijing dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1966 record. In other regions of China, the temperature is also not sugar, and you can only move around in special uniforms:

The cold even reached Taiwan, where the temperature in some areas dropped below freezing point, snow poured down and people realized that rice terraces can be used as a ski jump:

Even more snow went to Spain, where on January 6, 2021, a temperature of -34.1 ° C was recorded – the lowest on record. After that, a snow storm hit the country, which has not been seen for 80 years:

https://youtu.be/pHU533Krs5M

The same thing happens in Canada and in the northern states of the United States:

It seems that after a stratospheric warming, the subpolar vortex began to split:

The vortex itself is a standard phenomenon. However, this time experts were surprised at his movement. It is possible that in the near future it will be divided into two parts. 

Scientists associate the strange behavior with the changed climate in the Arctic, which has become warmer. From September to December, the amount of ice cover decreased significantly.

The polar vortex is a low-pressure region located in the stratosphere and filled with cold air. When the jet stream of air that holds the vortex weakens, the low pressure area moves south. 

As the ice shrinks, more moisture will move inland. It will turn to snow, so snowfalls are expected. Snow, in turn, reflects heat, leading to a cold snap.

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Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared 100

Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud crash at dawn when a huge hole in the ground formed outside the Ponticelli Ospedale del Mare hospital in eastern Naples.

Early in the morning of January 8, 2021, a sinkhole occurred in the parking lot of a clinic in Naples. The depth of the formed cavity is about 20 meters, the total area of ​​the hole is about 2,000 square meters.

No casualties were found at the scene; firefighters say the sinkhole “affected an area of ​​about 500 square meters” and engulfed several cars parked near the hospital.

As the press writes and as a little can be seen from the videos, rescuers and firefighters were running around the pit together with the governor of the area.  But who should be there in the forefront are Italian geologists, since Naples stands in the very center of the volcanic system known as the Phlegrean Fields.

If the surface collapsed, moreover – the surface reinforced with concrete and reinforced from below with some kind of communications, then we are talking about serious soil deformations caused by the activity of magma.

Italy has been in doubt since the summer of 2020, because swarms were observed there in very atypical places in May, and according to the forecasts of old Italian seismologists, who had witnessed many strong earthquakes, it should have boomed in the August region.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to Italy and there was no big earthquake. But, since there are swarms, it means that something is being prepared, the magma is gathering strength. 

Following this particular sinkhole event – an obvious sign that a major earthquake in Italy is already very close.

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A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China 101

In the first months of 2020, the whole world with a certain fright followed the events unfolding in China, where people fell on the streets during the day and astronauts wandered, and in the evening crematoria began to smoke. And now, with the onset of December, the cycle seems to be repeating itself.

Shunyi area in Beijing, where the authorities announced “wartime status” the day before. As you can see in the videos, thousands of people are lined up in the queue for mandatory testing:

Dalian city, where “wartime” is also declared. Neighborhoods are blockaded, people are walled up in entrances, familiar characters of George Lucas roam the streets:

https://twitter.com/UndergroundSilk/status/1341741036297723905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Chinese ‘rescuers’, before performing a combat mission:

Chengdu City:

Daluo Port, Yunnan – tourists came for adventure and they received the ‘time of their life’ after leaving the ramp:

If something happens in Beijing, it does not mean that tomorrow the same will happen everywhere. However, the trend towards such dynamics is observed and, as the practice of the first wave of the pandemic has shown, all countries and people, to one degree or another, have taken into account the ‘Chinese experience’. 

Therefore, one must think that everything will now be in peace, as in spring – a new global round of the fight against the Covid has begun in China, a new great pandemic cycle!

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