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We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding of Earth's sensitivity to carbon dioxide, finds that permafrost thaw could release more carbon emissions than expected and that the uptake of carbon in tropical ecosystems is weakening. Adverse impacts on human society include increasing water shortages and impacts on mental health. Options for solutions emerge from rethinking economic models, rights-based litigation, strengthened governance systems and a new social contract. The disruption caused by COVID-19 could be seized as an opportunity for positive change, directing economic stimulus towards sustainable investments.
A synthesis is made of ten fields within climate science where there have been significant advances since mid-2019, through an expert elicitation process with broad disciplinary scope. Findings include: (1) a better understanding of equilibrium climate sensitivity; (2) abrupt thaw as an accelerator of carbon release from permafrost; (3) changes to global and regional land carbon sinks; (4) impacts of climate change on water crises, including equity perspectives; (5) adverse effects on mental health from climate change; (6) immediate effects on climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for recovery packages to deliver on the Paris Agreement; (7) suggested long-term changes to governance and a social contract to address climate change, learning from the current pandemic, (8) updated positive cost–benefit ratio and new perspectives on the potential for green growth in the short- and long-term perspective; (9) urban electrification as a strategy to move towards low-carbon energy systems and (10) rights-based litigation as an increasingly important method to address climate change, with recent clarifications on the legal standing and representation of future generations.
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Stronger permafrost thaw, COVID-19 effects and growing mental health impacts among highlights of latest climate science.
The main function of the immune system is to protect the host from both pathogenic (ie. viruses, bacteria and foreign material) and neoplastic invasion. It is composed of both humoral and cellular factors. The humoral factors comprise the antibodies and the complement system, while the cellular factors comprise the lymphocytes and the phagocytes. These immunological factors remain in a relatively inactive state until activated by foreign molecules. Activation of the immune system under normal circumstances is beneficial to the host. In septic, multiply traumatized, critically ill surgical patients or severe preclamptic women, the host response to stress is more extensive and, as a result, extensive activation of immunological factors could create complications in the host like the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multisystem organ failure (MOF) or the syndrome of haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count (HELLP) in preeclamptic women. In order to appreciate the later parts of this article regarding immunology and pregnancy, an understanding of the normal immune system is essential.
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