By: Cady Inabinett
United Nations announces record high greenhouse gas levels
The World Meteorological Organization announced on Oct. 25 that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high level and increased at a faster rate than the annual average for the past decade. This announcement comes just days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, is set to begin in Glasgow on Oct. 31.
The UN has also warned that the world is still off-target to reach Paris Agreement goals to lower emissions.
The World Meteorological Organization’s report shows increases in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, despite temporary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
The report also indicated that sections of the Amazon rainforest have changed from being carbon sinks that remove CO2 from the air, to producing CO2 due to increasing deforestation in the region.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas reported that, based on the current rates of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, global temperatures will increase “far in excess” of Paris Agreement targets, which aim to cap global warming at 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. Taalas went on to say, “The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin contains a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP26.”
Moderna announces low does COVID vaccine works for kids 6 to 11
Moderna announced Oct. 25 that a low dose version of its COVID-19 vaccination is safe and effective in children aged 6 to 11 years old.
Moderna’s vaccine is still yet to be approved by the FDA for 12 to 17-year-olds, but, in the meantime, the company has been conducting research focusing on the 6 to 11-year-old group. The vaccine study has shown only temporary side effects such as headache and injection site pain, similar to the side effects exhibited by adults.
The company has said it plans to share results with the FDA soon, but is yet to submit data to any scientific journal.
As of now, no COVID-19 vaccination has been approved by the FDA for use in children under the age of 12, but Pfizer’s low dose vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds is expected to be approved for use by the FDA by early November. Pfizer has reported that their vaccination is 91% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in that age range.
The FDA will meet on Oct. 26 to discuss Pfizer’s findings.
Sudanese prime minister arrested in coup
Sudan’s military arrested the country’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and other senior officials Oct. 25, seizing control of the government. This has sparked mass protests against the military coup among Sudanese citizens.
This seizure of power disrupts plans for a governmental transition to democracy, a plan that has been in place since longtime autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.
Following Hamdok’s arrest, military head General Abdel-Fattah Burhan announced on national TV that the country’s Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian governing body created following al-Bashir’s ousting to transition to a democratic government, would be dissolved. Burhan cited quarrels among political factions as cause for military intervention.
Buhran also said the military would appoint a technocratic government to lead the country’s upcoming July 2023 elections, but emphasized that the military would remain in charge of the government.
Protestors in the capital city Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman have blocked streets as security forces have used tear gas in attempts to disperse the crowds. There have also been reports of security forces opening fire into crowds of protestors. The Sudan Doctors’ Committee have reported three protestors have died and 80 have been wounded.