Top climate stories of this week: Ray of hope in California, billionaire’s donation to fight climate crisis, and more

Top climate stories of this week: Ray of hope in California, billionaire’s donation to fight climate crisis, and more

World News

After weeks of concern over the wildfires in California, firefighters have reported major progress in containing the blaze this week, with a spokesperson saying that conditions at the Mosquito Fire about 177 kilometres northeast of San Francisco were “looking a whole heck of a lot better.”

Elsewhere in Pakistan, flood waters have finally started receding in the worst-hit Sindh province, but authorities have cautioned that it will take months to fully drain the water and warned that water-borne diseases are spiking. In a surprise move, outdoor gear company Patagonia’s ownership has been transferred from founder Yvon Chouinard and his family to two nonprofits established to fight climate change.

Here are the top stories of this week:

Patagonia founder gives away company to help fight climate crisis

Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire founder of the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, said on Wednesday he is giving away the company to a trust that will use its profit to fight the climate crisis.

Instead of selling the company or taking it public, Chouinard, who became famous for alpine climbs in Yosemite National Park and has a net worth of $1.2 billion, is transferring his family’s ownership of the company to a trust and a non-profit organisation.

While rich individuals often make financial contributions to causes, the New York Times said the structure of the Patagonia founder’s action meant he and his family would get no financial benefit. Not only will the Chouinard family not get any tax breaks for its decision to give away its wealth, but it will also instead have to pay nearly $17.5 million in taxes as the amount it transferred to the Trust will be considered as a ‘gift’ under American law.

Children, women suffer from water-borne diseases as Pakistan floods recede

Children and women are becoming more vulnerable as tens of thousands of people suffer from infectious and water-borne diseases in flood-hit Pakistan, government data showed and UNICEF said on Friday, as the total death toll from the inundation surpassed 1,500.

As flood waters begin to drain away, which officials say may take two to six months in different areas, the flooded regions have become infested with diseases including malaria, dengue fever, diarrhoea and skin problems, the southern Sindh provincial government said in a report issued on Friday. (Reuters)

California wildfire ‘looking a whole heck of a lot better’ 

Firefighters again prevented flames from entering a Northern California mountain town and reported major progress against the week-old blaze that’s become the largest in the state so far this year. Conditions at the Mosquito Fire about 177 kilometres northeast of San Francisco were “looking a whole heck of a lot better,” according to fire spokesman Scott McLean.

A firefighter manages a backfire, flames lit by firefighters to burn off vegetation, while battling the Mosquito Fire in Placer County, California, on Sept. 13, 2022. (AP)

Still, officials are concerned that an upcoming weather system might hamper firefighting efforts over the weekend. Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. In the last five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive fires in its history. (AP)

Floods in Italy kill at least 10; rescues from roofs, trees

Floodwaters triggered by heavy rainfall swept through several towns in a hilly region of central-east Italy early Friday, leaving 10 people dead and several missing, state radio said. Dozens of survivors scrambled onto rooftops or up trees to await rescue.

“It wasn’t a water bomb, it was a tsunami,” Barbara Mayor Riccardo Pasqualini told Italian state radio, describing the sudden downpour Thursday evening that devastated his town in the Marche region near the Adriatic Sea.

“It was an extreme event, more than an exceptional one,” climatologist Massimiliano Fazzini told state TV. He said that based on his calculations the amount of rain that fell, concentrated over four hours and in particular in a 15-minute period, was the most in hundreds of years. (AP)

Watch: Florida souvenir simulates flash flood experience to spread awareness

As the world grapples over the climate crisis with scorching heat waves and unusually heavy rainfall, several campaigns are under way to raise awareness and curb the crisis. To create an experience on the dangers posed by the crisis, a souvenir shop in Florida left its customers shocked by creating a flash flood inside the store. A video showing people getting terrified over the sudden flash flood inside the store has surfaced online.

The clip shared by Now This on Twitter shows customers checking out souvenirs related to the climate crisis. Meanwhile, water is seen gushing through the doors of the store, leaving them panicked and terrified.

The original video shared by The CLEO Institute features a message displayed in the store after the flash flood. “If a few inches can have this effect on you, imagine what a few feet can do. Florida could stop being Florida if we don’t take action soon. Rising seas, extreme heat and chronic flooding are already affecting us,” reads the message.

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