Climate Change Updates May 20, 2013
- Drawing in US, China and finance critical to climate deal – S. Africa http://www.trust.org/item/20130313001500-i5lbp/?source=shfb LONDON (AlertNet) – Building a new, ambitious global climate agreement by 2015 will require drawing in China and the United States, and boosting financial help for poor nations so they feel “energised” to act, South Africa’s climate change ambassador has said. With China’s new leadership under domestic pressure to tackle worsening pollution, and U.S. President Barack Obama promising action on climate change after his re-election, now is the moment to press the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, said Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for climate change.
- German split may delay EU carbon fix http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/german-split-may-delay-eu-carbon-fix-20130517-2jpzs.html Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition blocked an opposition move to debate and vote on Europe’s carbon market, highlighting the government’s reluctance to take a stance on a proposed fix before Sept. 22 elections. Lawmakers from Merkel’s coalition parties rejected a Social Democratic motion in the Environment Committee of the lower house in Berlin yesterday calling on the government to support European Commission plans to curb the oversupply of carbon permits, said Eva Bulling-Schroeter, the panel’s head. The lawmakers requested the motion be delayed to an unspecified later date, she said.
- South Asia in Search of Coordinated Climate Policy http://www.iede.co.uk/news/2013_1868/south-asia-search-coordinated-climate-policy KATHMANDU, May 16 (IPS) – With a combined population of over 1.7 billion, which includes some of the world’s poorest but also a sizeable middle class with a growing spending capacity, South Asia is a policymaker’s nightmare. The region’s urban population is set to double by 2030, with India alone adding 90 million city dwellers to its metropolises since 2000. Over 75 percent of South Asia’s residents live in rural areas, with agriculture accounting for 60 percent of the labour force, according to recent statistics released by the World Bank. Thus the impact of changing weather patterns on this region is staggering. In Sri Lanka, an island of 20 million, close to two million have been affected by prolonged drought and intermittent yet deadly floods in the last year. When Cyclone Nilam slammed Southern India last November it left half a million hectares of agricultural land in tatters, over 1,300 small tanks damaged and an estimated 7,000 kilometres of roadways in dire need of repairs – all from just four days of heavy ran.
- Nigeria: Senate Task Government On 2013 Flood Prediction http://allafrica.com/stories/201305170158.html The Senate has mandated its committee on Water Resources, Environment, Maritime Transport and Special Duties to find out the level of Government’s preparedness to tackle the impending challenges from predicted rain floods in 2013. The Senate during a plenary session, Thursday, asked the committee to approach all levels of Government and other related agencies to ascertain their level of preparedness to provide palliative measures to flood victims and report back in two weeks.
- Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/19/climate-change-meltdown-unlikely-research Some of the most extreme predictions of global warming are unlikely to materialise, new scientific research has suggested, but the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe. The researchers said warming was most likely to reach about 4C above pre-industrial levels if the past decade’s readings were taken into account. That would still lead to catastrophe across large swaths of the Earth, causing droughts, storms, floods and heatwaves, and drastic effects on agricultural productivity leading to secondary effects such as mass migration.
- Regional council takes first steps to reflect global interests http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059981263 The Arctic Council added China and five other countries as official observers yesterday, expanding the focus of the organization and underscoring the complicated politics created by newly open waters in the north because of climate change. The council — which consists of eight Arctic countries — granted observer status to India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore in addition to China. The group deferred a final decision about an observer application from the European Union, although it welcomed the union’s request “affirmatively.” The E.U.’s bid faced a challenge from Canadian leaders in particular, who said the bloc’s ban on seal products threatens the livelihoods of indigenous peoples.
- Analysis: Obama climate agenda faces Supreme Court reckoning http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/68694 With a barrage of legal briefs, a coalition of business groups and Republican-leaning states are taking their fight against Obama administration climate change regulations to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups, along with states such as Texas and Virginia, have filed nine petitions in recent weeks asking the justices to review four U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that are designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. If the court were to take up any one of the petitions, it would be the biggest environmental case since Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark 2007 decision in which the justices ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The court’s decision on whether to take up any of the petitions, likely to come in October, could help shape or shatter the administration’s efforts to solidify its climate change agenda before President Obama leaves office in 2017.
- Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/16/climate-research-nearly-unanimous-humans-causes?CMP=twt_fd A survey of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals has found 97.1% agreed that climate change is caused by human activity. Authors of the survey, published on Thursday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, said the finding of near unanimity provided a powerful rebuttal to climate contrarians who insist the science of climate change remains unsettled. The survey considered the work of some 29,000 scientists published in 11,994 academic papers. Of the 4,000-plus papers that took a position on the causes of climate change only 0.7% or 83 of those thousands of academic articles, disputed the scientific consensus that climate change is the result of human activity, with the view of the remaining 2.2% unclear.
- The Cave Bear and Climate Change http://www.wjla.com/blogs/weather/2013/05/the-cave-bear-and-climate-change-18850.html I recently attended a talk by Dr. Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist who also has drawn more than his share of biased criticism and even very harsh personal attacks for his work. His recent book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, relates his work on reconstructing the climate back thousands of years, but as the title insinuates, how his findings have lead to political, philosophical and personal attack. Climate is always changing as shown in this reconstruction back millions of years.
- Leading climate scientist: Canada’s tar sands makes climate change ‘unsolvable’ http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/19/leading-climate-scientist-canadas-tar-sands-makes-climate-change-unsolvable/ Major international oil companies are buying off governments, according to the world’s most prominent climate scientist, Prof James Hansen. During a visit to London, he accused the Canadian government of acting as the industry’s tar sands salesman and “holding a club” over the UK and European nations to accept its “dirty” oil. “Oil from tar sands makes sense only for a small number of people who are making a lot of money from that product,” he said in an interview with the Guardian. “It doesn’t make sense for the rest of the people on the planet. We are getting close to the dangerous level of carbon in the atmosphere and if we add on to that unconventional fossilHYPERLINK “http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/fossil-fuels” fuels, which have a tremendous amount of carbon, then the climate problem becomes unsolvable.”
- America’s first climate refugees: How climate change eats the Alaskan coast http://grist.org/climate-energy/americas-first-climate-refugees-how-climate-change-HYPERLINK “http://grist.org/climate-energy/americas-first-climate-refugees-how-climate-change-eats-the-alaskan-coast/”eats-the-alaskan-coast/ The slow-moving disaster being visited on the village of Newtok is a familiar one in Alaska. People are losing the ground beneath their feet, because of erosion. Climate change has accelerated the normal process of erosion along Alaska’s rivers and coasts — especially near the shores of the Bering and Arctic seas.
- The US disconnect over climate change http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestoryamericas/2013/05/201351865032465413.html As scientists become more overwhelmingly convinced that climate change is man-made, why do politicians and the public give credence to global warming sceptics? A review of scientific literature published this week has found that 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers taking a position on global warming say humans are causing it. Yet, a large proportion of the US public still seems unconvinced. Last month, a Yale University survey found the public’s belief that climate change is happening actually dropped slightly over the last year. Moreover, only 49 percent of the those surveyed believed human activity was the cause.
- New Research Quantifies Just How Deadly Climate Change Is Making New York’s Summer
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/heat-deaths-in-manhattan-are-expected-to-skyrocket-due-to-climate-change In 2010, heat killed approximately 55,000 people in Russia, dwarfing the total death toll of every American hurricane combined. Daytime temperatures hit a cruising altitude of around 104°F and barely cooled at night; over 1 million hectares of land were swept by wildfires. The crop failure rate touched 25 percent, and total damages by the time the brutality let up came to $15 billion. In terms of spatial extent and deviation from normal, every temperature record for the region was shattered, beating even the 2003 European heat-wave, which claimed 70,000 lives. Both are extremes, but extremes that will become more likely as climate change makes its wrath felt.
- Caribbean Scientist Warns of Climate Change Disaster http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/caribbean-scientist-warns-of-climate-change-disaster/ CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, May 19 2013 (IPS) – The Caribbean does not have the luxury of time for decisive action on climate change and global warming. In fact, it is on the brink of calamity, according to a prominent scientist. Conrad Douglas, a Jamaican scientist who has published over 350 reports on environmental management and related matters, has warned that “urgent action at all levels [is] required now”, cautioning the region against complacency in dealing with climate change. Noting that earlier models forecast that an atmosphere of 350 parts per million (PPM) of carbon dioxide would place the planet at a catastrophic tipping point for climate change, Douglas cited new information which put the new tipping point at 450 PPM. “There are 445 million PPM of carbon dioxide, which is a mere five PPM of carbon dioxide away from the…limit that was projected for catastrophic global tipping points,” he told IPS. With the projected loading rate at 2.5 PPM per year, Douglas said that within two years, the earth would reach a point where even more catastrophic events would wreak havoc on the planet, its societies and its economies. “We’ve gotten to a juncture at which the entire planet is facing a precarious situation,” Douglas said. “We are heading towards a dangerous place on planet Earth.”
- Prince Charles puts heat on ministers over climate change http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/10066252/Prince-Charles-puts-heat-on-ministers-over-climate-change.html The Prince of Wales, who warned 50 months ago that there were fewer than 100 months left to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change, is keen to check on progress. MandrakeHYPERLINK “http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/” hears that the heir to the throne summoned Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, and Greg Barker, the climate change minister, to a private meeting at his London residence, Clarence House, earlier this month. There have been suggestions that Prince Charles will tone down his public comments on controversial subjects such as climate change as he takes on more duties from the Queen.
- Climate change: After activism http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2013/05/20/Climate-change-After-activism.aspx Martin Wolf got my weekend off to a dreadful start. I read his latest FT column (Why the World Faces Climate Chaos) on Friday, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Wolf is hardly the first to lay out the reasons why climate change is such a diabolical policy problem. But if, like me, you have been distracted lately, his brutally frank assessment of why ‘humanity has yawned and decided to let the dangers mount’ is bracing indeed. Wolf’s column reinforces the pessimism I have felt for some time about the likelihood that coordinated international political action will have any meaningful impact on the climate change problem. It’s been twenty years since the Kyoto Protocol, and in diplomatic terms, we have very little to show for the last two decades. Given all the barriers and disincentives to action laid out by Wolf, why would we expect the future to be any different?
- Kiribati carries out major survey of Phoenix Islands http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-20/an-kiribati-sends-survey-team-to-phoenix-islands/4699856?section=business The Kiribati Government is sending a second team to survey the Phoenix Islands, one of the world’s largest marine protected areas. Twelve experts will join a group that set out last week to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) to study the effects of climate change on coral ecosystems and other developments. Education and information officer Betarim Rimon has told Radio Australia’s Pacific BeatHYPERLINK “http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/radio/program/pacific-beat” the team will travel on Monday by patrol boat to Canton, the only inhabited island in the Phoenix group. “They’ll be doing surveys on biodiversity…on the old infrastructure that exists on the island – they need to ascertain on how to revive them,” he said.
- Climate Change Study Shows Pace Is Slowing, But Extreme Action Still Vital http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/19/global-warming-climate-change-study-2013_n_3303784.html?utm_hp_ref=green OSLO, May 19 (Reuters) – Extreme global warming is less likely in coming decades after a slowdown in the pace of temperature rises so far this century, an international team of scientists said on Sunday.
Warming is still on track, however, to breach a goal set by governments around the world of limiting the increase in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, unless tough action is taken to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Changes Updates 20 May 2013
1. Who’s Paying the Price for Global Warming?
2. Extreme global warming seen further away than previously thought
3. Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research
4. Earth’s Iron Core Is Surprisingly Weak
5. Slow Earthquakes: It’s All in the Rock Mechanics
6. Melting Glaciers
7. Higher temperatures could lead to 20 per cent jump in New York heat deaths
8. Mt. Everest ice cores to offer glimpse into climate change
9. Time to adapt to climate change, say world’s biggest cities
10. John Ashton: No UK political party serious about climate change
11. Report: Warming slows but 4°C future likely in the long term
12. UN: Businesses underestimating climate risk
13. WWF: EU must hold nerve on aviation climate deal
14. Overheated climate-change rhetoric hurts economy (Column)
15. World’s Largest Tropical Glacier Shrinks
16. Long-term warming, short-term variability: why climate change is still an issue
- Study Finds 97 Percent of Journal Articles over 20 Years Conclude Climate Change is Human-Caused
- Ernest Moniz Confirmed as Secretary of Energy
- GAO: Local Governments Need More Guidance from Feds to Prepare Infrastructure for Climate Change
- Arctic Council Calls for HFC Phase Down under Montreal Protocol
- Australia’s Carbon Price Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Increasing Renewable Energy
- World Bank Returns to Large Hydropower Projects to Reduce Carbon Emissions
- Insurance Industry Sees Economic Risk from Climate Change
- Sportsmen Organization Engaged on Climate Change
- Microsoft Has an Internal Carbon Fee, Purchases GHG Offsets
- Extreme Weather and Climate Change Displaced More Than 32 Million People Last Year
- 180 Native Villages at Risk in Alaska Due to Climate-Driven Erosion
- Ancient Arctic Much Warmer than Today
- One-Third of Animals and Half of Plants under Threat from Climate Change
- Fish Migrating towards Poles for Colder Water
- Study Finds Methane Emissions to Be Higher than Previously Reported
- Health Risks Increase during Hot Weather
- Other Headlines