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DAILY DOSE: Sorry, sustainable energy didn’t make a dent in fossil fuel dominance last year; Saudis lift Covid restrictions, Hajj in full swing.

The 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy report reveals that despite a record growth in renewables, fossil fuels continue to dominate global energy supply at 82%. The rise in gas and coal prices owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reinforced this trend. Despite an unprecedented increase in renewables capacity, led by solar, global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions have risen again. This trajectory is contrary to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Global energy demand grew by about 1%, with fossil fuels constituting 82% of global energy consumption. Electricity generation rose by 2.3%, with wind and solar power contributing a record 12% of power generation. Coal remains the dominant source for power generation at around 35.4%. The consumption of oil saw an increase of 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd), yet was 0.7% lower than pre-Covid levels in 2019. The report also indicates that global energy-related emissions reached a new high of 39.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, an increase of 0.8%. (Reuters)

The annual Hajj pilgrimage has commenced, seeing around 2 million Muslim pilgrims embark on the sacred journey to Mecca and the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site. The Hajj, one of Islam’s five pillars, has returned to full capacity this year after being limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. All Muslims capable of doing so physically and financially are required to undertake this five-day pilgrimage once in their life, providing a deeply spiritual experience believed to absolve sins and unify the 1.8 billion strong Muslim community. The Saudi royal family takes pride in maintaining the holy sites and facilitating this key event, although tragedies such as the 2015 stampede that claimed over 2,400 lives have marred its history. Hajj rituals primarily commemorate Quranic accounts of Ibrahim, his son Ismail, and Ismail’s mother Hajar. Pilgrims will camp, pray, and perform various symbolic acts, with the final days coinciding with the Eid al-Adha holiday. (Associated Press)

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The SeadragonSearch project, a citizen science initiative involving scuba divers and artificial intelligence, has shown that the different populations of weedy seadragons in the vast Great Southern Reef are genetically linked, debunking earlier theories of two subspecies. Scuba divers around the globe contributed photos of the seadragons, found uniquely in Australia’s coastal waters. Researchers distinguished different individuals using the seadragons’ unique spot patterns on their faces and bodies, with machine learning helping to create a timeline for each creature. The project’s co-founder, Dr. Nerida Wilson, highlights the importance of these findings for species protection, particularly given the low genetic diversity of certain populations and their vulnerability to climate change. Wilson emphasized the need for careful monitoring and attention to these populations’ ability to adapt to new conditions. (ABC Australia)

India’s Union Home Minister Amit Shah has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to eradicating drug trafficking and consumption from the country. He emphasized a zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics, in a video message released on the International Day Against Drug Abuse. Highlighting the government’s achievements, he noted that coordinated efforts have led to the seizure of narcotics worth Rs 22,000 crore between 2014 and 2022, a 30-fold increase compared to Rs 768 crore from 2006 to 2013. Furthermore, drug-related cases have risen by 181% during the same period. Shah attributed the progress to the Modi government’s integrated approach and the contributions of various organizations like the Narcotics Control Bureau. Efforts are also being enhanced through initiatives like the 2019-established National Narcotics Coordination Portal (NCORD) and the formation of Anti Narcotics Task Forces in every state. However, Shah stressed that public participation is vital for success. He urged citizens to abstain from drugs, inform security agencies of any drug-related activities, and participate actively in this national endeavor, citing the destructive impact of drugs on society and national security. (Times of India)

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)


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