Climate Updates April 25, 2013
At Stanford, Al Gore connects climate change inaction to political dysfunction http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/april/gore-climate-democracy-042413.html “Our democracy has been hacked. The operating system has been taken over.” That was the message former Vice President Al Gore brought to Stanford Tuesday night. In a far-reaching, impassioned call to civic and environmental action, Gore warned against a political system that fails to serve the majority’s interest when it comes to climate change and other pressing issues. Gore spoke to a capacity audience at Memorial Auditorium as part of the inaugural Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture, in honor of the Stanford professor and world-renowned climate scientist who died in 2010. Schneider and Gore worked together on several projects and shared, along with Schneider’s colleagues on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”
Campus Environmental Center hosts climate change panel http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2013/04/25/campus-environmental-center-hosts-climate-change-panel Hoping to advance environmental policy and sustainability awareness, experts discussed the relationship between climate change and economics at a panel Wednesday evening. The Campus Environmental Center, the only UT-sponsored environmental student-run organization, hosted “Climate Change in Texas: Risks and Opportunities,” featuring former Austin Mayor Will Wynn. As chairman on the Board of Directors of Austin Energy for nine years, Wynn said he has seen the momentum of climate change and global warming fluctuate. Wynn also highlighted the dichotomy between Texas as the worst carbon-emitting state and yet the state that offers the most renewable energy, attributable to wind power.
US national security advisor says climate change is threat, calls for emissions reductions http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/24/4261458/national-security-advisor-donilon-climate-change-emissions Scientists and advocates have called for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions for years. But now the White House national security advisor is joining in the chorus. Tom Donilon, the national security advisor to President Barack Obama, gave a lengthy speechin New York City today, to mark the launch of a new energy policy center at Columbia University. During his speech, Donilon said that “the fact that the environmental impacts of climate change present a national security challenge has been clear to this administration from the outset.” Donilon went on to cite several recent threat assessment reports from the intelligence and defense departments, saying “this underscores the need — for the sake of our national security — to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.”
Climate change will have impact on Pennsylvania vineyards http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/04/climate_change_vineyards_penns.html Visitors at Allegro Winery and Vineyards in Brogue, York County always ask owner Carl Helrich what he thinks about the crazy shifts in weather. “I will say the forecasts have not been as reliable as they used to be, and I live by forecasts,” he said. For example, he said that in 2002 the earliest the buds on the grape vines broke – an indicator of the grape growing season – on April 17. Last year, it occurred March 30. As Helrich points out, that is about an18-day difference in a matter of a decade. “I tell most of the people who come through our building if climate change is real, just ask a farmer. It takes all of the politics out of it … It is a change going on for sure,” he said.
Challenging inequality is at heart of climate adaptation http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/news/v.php?id=32590 By Suzanne Fisher
People won’t become more resilient to the impacts of climate change unless the underlying causes of their vulnerability are analysed and addressed.
After the Asian tsunami hit the Andaman and Nicobar islands in 2004, destroyed houses needed to be rebuilt. But they weren’t just rebuilt with better materials. The repaired houses and assets became jointly owned by women.
“When that woman faces the next disaster, she has more power to negotiate with her brother or her husband and is far less vulnerable,” said Harjeet Singh, international coordinator of disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation for Action Aid, which oversaw the project.
Challenging power relations and inequality, and upholding human rights might seem a long way off from adapting to climate change. But the logic is that people are vulnerable to climate change because of unequal power structures in their society. When a disaster hits their communities, they are more at risk, and it generally takes them longer to recover from the loss.
Panel ponders the political future of climate change http://chicagomaroon.com/2013/04/25/106625/ Several veterans of the environmental movement sketched a path forward for efforts to combat climate change at a talk sponsored by the Institute of Politics (IOP) Tuesday night. The panelists cited the problem of creating urgency around a distant threat as something that will continue to inhibit major congressional action on the issue, but they were hopeful for smaller scale regulatory action by the Obama administration. The panel started by discussing the problems that confront lawmakers trying to deal with climate change, such as disruption to the economy. “The policy solution to climate change is fundamentally transforming our energy economy, probably ultimately by pricing or regulating fossil fuels. That’s going to hurt core pieces of the US economy,” Coral Davenport, energy and environment correspondent for the National Journal, said. “It’s probably, potentially, going to raise prices on a lot of Americans.” Two of the other panelists, Mark Templeton, the director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic and a professor at the Law School, and Carol Browner, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both suggested localizing the issue. Browner cited “the degree to which you turn an issue into a local issue” as an important factor in gaining support. “What people end up caring about is what’s happening in their community, what’s happening in the places they raised their children,” she said.
EU commissioner warns time running out on moves to halt climate change http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/eu-commissioner-warns-time-running-out-on-moves-to-halt-climate-change-1.1369994 The world will not be able to feed an extra 2 billion people by 2050 if it continues to “throw away 30 to 50 per cent of the food we produce”, EU environment commissionerJanez Potocnik warned in Dublin yesterday. In an interview with The Irish Times , he said the European Commission would spell out its views on how to curb food waste in a “communication” later this year to theEuropean Parliament and Council of Ministers. Asked about the deal engineered by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to renew the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (Cap), Mr Potocnik said he hoped “some of its more negative impacts” on the environment would be reversed.
A unified approach to climate change and hunger http://www.irinnews.org/Report/97913/A-unified-approach-to-climate-change-and-hunger JOHANNESBURG, 24 April 2013 (IRIN) – Studies out of Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Niger show that children born during natural hazards, like droughts or floods, are more likely to be malnourished. Yet as the climate changes, it is poor countries – already struggling with hunger and food insecurity – that are increasingly likely to face these natural hazards.
A recent conference considered this issue from the perspective of “climate justice” – an approach to climate change focusing on the rights of vulnerable people who are the least responsible for causing climate change but among the most affected.
The Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice (HNCJ) conference, held in Dublin, Ireland, was organized by Irish Aid, the Mary Robinson Foundation, CGIAR and the World Food Programme (WFP). Among the topics explored were “joined-up approaches” – also known as the “nexus” approach.
Pakistan farmers grapple with climate change http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/04/201342312421913125.html Gujar Khan, Pakistan – After five consecutive dry winters, Abdul Qadeer was jubilant at the prospect of a plentiful harvest of wheat after December rains soaked his farmland. But the 39-year-old farmer’s hopes were destroyed last month by torrential spring rains and a hailstorm that flattened his wheat crop. Qadeer is one of many farmers suffering the effects of unpredictable weather patterns and variable rainfall, which scientists believe are linked to climate change. Now Pakistan’s government is trying to introduce crop insurance to save farmers from economic ruin. Qadeer, who farms land in Gujar Khan, approximately 55 km southeast of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, vividly recalls the unexpected volley of pebble-sized hailstones that lashed his 15-acre (6-hectare) field for about 15 minutes one day in the last week of March. “I could clearly hear dull, clunking sounds of the hailstones that slashed through the stalks of the standing wheat crop and knocked (the ears of wheat) to the ground,” Qadeer said. He had anticipated harvesting a good crop in the second week of April, but the unseasonal storm destroyed his wheat, causing losses of 800,000 Pakistani rupees ($8,000).
Climate change advisers says fracking can be OK http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/10013034/Climate-change-advisers-says-fracking-can-be-OK.html The controversial fossil fuel is forced out of the ground by blasting water into rocks, a process known as “fracking”. Environmentalists claim this hydraulic fracturing causes earthquakes and contaminates drinking water. They are also concerned that methane escapes during drilling and burning the fuel releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But despite these concerns, a new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said shale gas can be part of the energy mix. The committee was set up to advise the Government on how to meet a legally-binding target to cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050.
Climate Change Games Crystalize Complexities http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2013/04/24/climate-change-games-crystalize-complexities/ People were standing up and sitting down, intense negotiations were underway, funding decisions were being made, and a lot of commotion was coming from a crowd of over 300 policymakers, scientists, and practitioners from over 40 countries. We are gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the Seventh Annual International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change(CBA7), and were playing games meant to capture and simplify the multitude of complex factors that go into decision-making for preparing for and responding to climate change impacts, among them: when and how much to invest in disaster preparedness measures while experiencing the cost of damages when disaster strikes.
UN official hopeful about 2015 climate talks http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/international/UN-climate-chief-predicts-2015-talks-wont-fail_07711879 DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Governments are more serious and the impact of climate change is more dramatic, improving chances of a groundbreaking global warming pact in 2015 in contrast with the failure of such an effort in 2009, the U.N. climate chief said Tuesday. The climate change talks in Copenhagen were a resounding failure, setting back the movement to control global warming. Even so, the U.N. official, Christiana Figueres, is optimistic, though she admits the world needs to step up its efforts to meet its goals. A conference is set for Bonn next week, one of a series of meetings leading up to the next major climate convention in 2015. Briefing reporters by teleconference from Washington Tuesday, Figueres complained that no country is doing enough now, and the “scale and speed” of efforts must be intensified to ensure the world can keep temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), compared to pre-industrial times. Experts believe that meeting that target would help ensure that the worst effects of climate change can be averted. “What is very different is that we all went to 2009 having made our own decision that governments had to come to an agreement. But there was actually no commitment of governments to come to an agreement,” said Figueres, who was appointed in 2010 after serving as member of Costa Rica’s negotiating team. “It was everybody else except the governments,” she said. “Now, we have commitment of countries, of governments. They have said we are going to come to agreement in 2015. They have reiterated and reemphasized that, and it is very much on track.”
S. should do more on climate change to aid economy – UN’s Figueres http://news.yahoo.com/u-more-climate-change-aid-economy-uns-figueres-215942177.html By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) – The United States should do more to fight climate change and help industry catch up on missed economic opportunities in clean energies, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Tuesday. Christiana Figueres, speaking during a visit to the United States, welcomed President Barack Obama’s plans to promote wind and solar power or to set tougher emissions standards for power plants in the coming years. “There is a very broad array of issues that the United States can and should be looking at,” she told reporters on a telephone conference. Figueres, who is from Costa Rica, also stressed that no single nation was doing enough to offset global warming.
Work on 2015 climate deal set to start in Bonn http://www.rtcc.org/work-on-2015-climate-deal-set-to-start-in-bonn/ UN talks to construct a legally binding climate change deal are set to start on April 29, amid warnings from scientists that greenhouse gas emissions are rising too far, too fast. Organisers say the ‘scope, structure and design’ of a 2015 emissions agreement will be discussed during the week-long negotiations involving 195 countries. Financial commitments and the ambition of emission targets for developed and developing nations are likely to dominate the summit. “The discussions in Bonn and throughout this year are crucial to preparing the upcoming 2015 agreement and to raising ambition, using the implementation of current agreements under the UNFCCC as a basis,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
Climate Changes Updates 25-28 April
1. Guy Stewart Callendar: Global warming discovery marked
2. Antarctic nematodes and climate change
3. EXCLUSIVE: Global deal on CO2 emissions ‘not enough’ to reduce current levels
4. UK ranked in top six for using tax as green policy tool
5. Ireland set to fall short of EU 2020 emissions target
6. Developing nations put climate change at heart of development plans
7. Obama campaign launches plan to shame climate sceptics in Congress
8. Global Cooling Ended in 19th Century
9. Earth’s Core 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Expected
10. Officials, Environmentalists Say Climate Change Is Hitting Home
11. Climate change and dead fish: Think global, act local
12. Coal and gas fail the test when it comes to environmental impact
13. Earthquakes and coal seam gas
14. It Turns Out, Hurricanes Could Actually Trigger Earthquakes
15. Democrats Distort Vote on Climate Change
16. Stove solutions: Improving health, safety and the environment
17. China, EU, USA & India outline global climate deal positions
18. Rapid transition of climate zones could speed extinction
19. UN climate fund risks becoming ‘a closed bank’, warns NGO
20. Be part of a landmark citizen science paper on consensus
21. Pollen trapped in glaciers could reveal plant species as well as family
22. Which emits more CO2, corn fields or home lawns?
23. Record Sea Surface Temperatures on Northeast Continental Shelf
24. Women are ‘key drivers’ in climate change adaptation
25. Air pollution linked to life-threatening hardening of the arteries
26. Arctic Snow Clears the Air
27. Earth’s Center Is 1,000 Degrees Hotter Than Previously Thought, Synchrotron X-Ray Experiment Shows
28. Scientists Investigate Release of Bromine in Polar Regions
29. Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Highest Level in 150 Years On Northeast Continental Shelf
30. Residents Concerned About Health Effects of Hydrofracking
31. Ecology Buys Time for Evolution: Climate Change Disrupts Songbird’s Timing Without Impacting Population Size (Yet)
32. Scientists Advocate a Simple, Affordable and Accurate Technology to Identify Threats from Sea-Level Rise