Showing posts with label Climate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Climate. Show all posts

20 October 2018

Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Dear Senator Warren:

As a constituent, I have noted with interest your suggestion that you will “take a hard look” at running for president in 2020, even as you campaign for reelection to the Senate next month. Forgive me for saying that I interpret that comment to mean “I’m in.” Forgive me, as well, for my presumption in offering this unsolicited -- and perhaps unwanted -- advice on how to frame your candidacy.

You are an exceedingly smart and gifted politician, so I’m confident that you have accurately gauged the obstacles ahead. Preeminent among them is the challenge of persuading citizens beyond the confines of New England, where you are known and respected, to cast their ballot for a Massachusetts liberal who possesses neither executive nor military experience and is a woman to boot.

18 October 2018

Climate report understates threat

By Mario Molina, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Durwood J. Zaelke

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, released on Monday, is a major advance over previous efforts to alert world leaders and citizens to the growing climate risk. But the report, dire as it is, misses a key point: Self-reinforcing feedbacks and tipping points—the wildcards of the climate system—could cause the climate to destabilize even further. The report also fails to discuss the five percent risk that even existing levels of climate pollution, if continued unchecked, could lead to runaway warming—the so-called “fat tail” risk. These omissions may mislead world leaders into thinking they have more time to address the climate crisis, when in fact immediate actions are needed. To put it bluntly, there is a significant risk of self-reinforcing climate feedback loops pushing the planet into chaos beyond human control.

13 October 2018

Australia’s Other Great (and Threatened) Coral Reefs

By Livia Albeck-Ripka

MELBOURNE, Australia — The United Nations issued a dire alert on Monday, warning that many of the world’s coral reefs could die as soon as 2040 as a result of climate change. Already, warming waters have bleached more than two-thirds of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, which covers more than 130,000 square miles and is visible from space. But the Great Barrier Reef, despite its status, is not the only unique or threatened marine ecosystem in Australia. Here are some other Australian ecosystems to keep in mind:

How climate change could be a spark to create a better world


One great taboo in the climate change debate is how much has improved over the past three decades: in public perception; in transnational consensus and determination; in scientific understanding and discovery. To stress these things seems to ignore the urgency of the situation, minimise the scale of the potential disaster, and let the air out of tyres that really need to be at their most pneumatic. As climate scientists “politely urge, ‘act now, idiots’”, (as the life-affirming BBC news story has it) the last thing we should do is congratulate ourselves on how far we’ve come. The fact that global warming has gone from something routinely dismissed as the dreamchild of cranks to the animating campaign issue of the age, over roughly the same period as we’ve forgotten all kinds of other basics of progressive politics – how to argue for universal human rights, for example – is at best a diversion, at worst a bromide.

11 October 2018

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

By Coral Davenport

INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

Global warming will make deadly heatwaves an annual threat in India and Pakistan

By Maria Thomas

In 2015, India and Pakistan experienced heatwave conditions that ended up killing over 3,600 people in just three months. Now, research suggests this could become the new normal. If average world temperatures increase by between 1.5ºC and 2°C, potentially deadly heatwaves are likely to substantially increase (pdf) in frequency, and those similar to the one in 2015 could become an annual occurrence in India and Pakistan, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body set up in 1988. At warming of over 2°C, coastal cities such as Karachi and Kolkata are especially at risk. The landmark report, released in Incheon, South Korea, today (Oct. 08), was written by a team of 91 authors from 40 countries following the 2015 Paris climate agreement, in which policymakers from around the world, including India and Pakistan, agreed to work towards limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The ultimate guide to negative-emission technologies

By Akshat Rathi

The world has delayed reducing carbon emissions for so long that humanity will need to suck enormous amounts of carbon dioxide back out from the air to avoid catastrophic global warming. That’s one of the conclusions of a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Earlier this year, Environmental Research Letters published threestudies reviewing the need for negative emissions and laying out the state of development for the technologies that can help us achieve them. Quartz has synthesized those reports to help you understand the technologies that may be required to capture as much as 20 billion metric tons each year to prevent catastrophic climate change.

10 October 2018

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

By Coral Davenport

INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

7 October 2018

Confronting the Reality of Climate Change


In 2014, President Barack Obama famously said, “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Four years later, as Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) convened its 11th annual conference, the growing sense of urgency was palpable. The title of the conference said it all: “The End of the World as We Know It: The Consequences of Extreme Climate Disruption for Business and Democracy.” Speakers reviewed the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change, catalogued the dire consequences of insufficient action and examined the ways in which the business community, the military and government at all levels are responding, or failing to respond, to the challenge.

This special report looks at key themes to emerge from the conference, along with additional information, in order to present an overarching view of where the confrontation with climate change stands today. Download the PDF

14 September 2018

Switch In Climatic Factors Controlling Vegetation Dynamics On Tibetan Plateau



The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau lies between the Himalayan range to the south and the Kunlun Range to the north. Map by Lencer, Wikipedia Commons.

4 September 2018

No Ecosystem on Earth Is Safe From Climate Change

ROBINSON MEYER

If climate change continues unabated, nearly every ecosystem on the planet would alter dramatically, to the point of becoming an entirely new biome, according to a new paper written by 42 scientists from around the world. They warn that the changes of the next 200 years could equal—and may likely exceed—those seen over the 10,000 years that ended the last Ice Age. If humanity does not stop emitting greenhouse-gas emissions, the character of the land could metamorphose: Oak forest could become grassland. Evergreen woods could turn deciduous. And, of course, beaches would sink into the sea.

30 August 2018

India and the geoeconomics of climate change: Global responsibility as strategic interest

Is a first version of a text that will be developed into a larger publication of an academic or policy-relevant character. The series includes publications aimed at larger audiences as well as expert audiences. As climate change progresses, it will have impacts on global politics, creating both new vulnerabilities and opportunities. Geoeconomics provides a useful analytical framework for the political implications of climate change as it shifts the focus from military force to economic means of exerting power.  This working paper looks at the geoeconomics of climate change in the case of India. It examines the ways in which India has used climate policies to gain leverage and contain threats regionally and globally. Due to its emerging power status and high vulnerability to climate impacts, India holds a key position in the global fight against climate change. 

27 August 2018

Environmental Threat Made in China

BRAHMA CHELLANEY

From large-scale dam-building to unbridled resource-exploitation, human activity is causing serious damage to Himalayan ecosystems. While all the countries in the region are culpable to some extent, none is doing as much harm as China. NEW DELHI – Asia’s future is inextricably tied to the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range and the source of the water-stressed continent’s major river systems. Yet reckless national projects are straining the region’s fragile ecosystems, resulting in a mounting security threat that extends beyond Asia.

The atmosphere is not following protocol

By Dennis Clare

Earlier this summer, investigations by the New York Times and the independent Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that 18 factories spread across 10 provinces in China were using CFC-11 in foam-blowing products used to insulate buildings, pipes, and appliances such as refrigerators. The chemical is one of a class of compounds known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are famous for their ozone-depleting effects in the stratosphere—but are also extremely potent greenhouse gases, significantly contributing to global warming. They were supposed to have been banned globally by 2010. But the companies told the EIA that the use of CFC-11 was commonplace, appearing in up to 70 percent or more of insulating products in China. “We were absolutely gobsmacked to find that companies very openly confirmed using CFC-11 while acknowledging it was illegal,” said Avipsa Mahapatra of EIA. “The fact that they were so blasé about it, the fact that they told us very openly how pervasive it is in the market.”

20 August 2018

Heat: the next big inequality issue In India

by Amy Fleming with Ruth Michaelson
Source Link

When July’s heatwave swept through the Canadian province of Quebec, killing more than 90 people in little over a week, the unrelenting sunshine threw the disparities between rich and poor into sharp relief. While the well-heeled residents of Montreal hunkered down in blissfully air conditioned offices and houses, the city’s homeless population – not usually welcome in public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants – struggled to escape the blanket of heat. Benedict Labre House, a day centre for homeless people, wasn’t able to secure a donated air-conditioning unit until five days into the heatwave. “You can imagine when you have 40 or 50 people in an enclosed space and it’s so hot, it’s very hard to deal with,” says Francine Nadler, clinical coordinator at the facility.

18 August 2018

Take it from the military: Climate security is national security

BY BRIGADIER GENERAL STEPHEN A. CHENEY

President Trump has insisted that national security is his top priority, repeatedly pledging to protect Americans and equip our military to be the most effective in the world. However, Trump’s failure to act decisively on climate change puts Americans at more risk than ever before. Having spent over 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, I’m acutely aware that climate security is national security, a fact recognized by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Since 2010, the Department of Defense has released dozens of reports confirming the urgent threat of climate change to our national security. That’s because our military leaders, responsible for protecting Americans, don’t have the luxury of ignoring reality to score political points. They correctly recognize that climate change threatens vital American infrastructure, hampers our military’s readiness, accelerates instability across the globe, and puts American lives at risk.

16 August 2018

Is Germany's Heat Wave a Preview of the Future?


The country's recent dramatic heatwave has seen the water authority in Chemnitz impose a ban on pumping water out of ponds or other urban waters, with the Chemnitz River only 25 centimeters deep in some places. Those caught taking water can be slapped with fines of up to 50,000 euros. In Gotteszell in Bavaria, a regional railway line had to be shut down because the tracks warped in the heat. And in the city of Bochum, beer brewer Moritz Fiege had to appeal to customers to return their used bottles because he had run out of bottles and crates. Meanwhile, at the Berlin Zoo, zookeepers are freezing fish, apples and carrots, so they can provide polar bears with chilled food. And in Hamburg, the Hagenbecks Tierpark zoo has installed lawn sprinklers for its alpacas.

9 August 2018

Hot but not bothered: Major media are ignoring the climate crisis

By Dawn Stover

Heat waves continue to wash over the globe, breaking records and threatening lives. This year is on track to rank among the four hottest years on record—together with 2015, 2016, and 2017. Buildings and roads in the United Kingdom are literally melting. In Japan, 116 people died and more than 30,000 were taken to hospitals by ambulance because of the heat wave in July. Along with the scorching heat, deadly wildfires are dominating much of the news cycle. Fires have raged in places as widespread as the American West, Greece, and the Arctic. More than 10,000 firefighters are battling the Carr Fire in California, which has killed six people and burned more than 100,000 acres and is still growing. In a July 29 tweet, writer Alex Steffen wrote that “the pyrocumulus [fire] cloud “is to this generation what the mushroom cloud was to Boomers.”

7 August 2018

Warming World Why Climate Change Matters More Than Anything Else

By Joshua Busby

The world seems to be in a state of permanent crisis. The liberal international order is besieged from within and without. Democracy is in decline. A lackluster economic recovery has failed to significantly raise incomes for most people in the West. A rising China is threatening U.S. dominance, and resurgent international tensions are increasing the risk of a catastrophic war. Yet there is one threat that is as likely as any of these to define this century: climate change. The disruption to the earth’s climate will ultimately command more attention and resources and have a greater influence on the global economy and international relations than other forces visible in the world today. Climate change will cease to be a faraway threat and become one whose effects require immediate action.

29 July 2018

Take it from the military: Climate security is national security

BY BRIGADIER GENERAL STEPHEN A. CHENEY

President Trump has insisted that national security is his top priority, repeatedly pledging to protect Americans and equip our military to be the most effective in the world. However, Trump’s failure to act decisively on climate change puts Americans at more risk than ever before. Having spent over 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, I’m acutely aware that climate security is national security, a fact recognized by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Since 2010, the Department of Defense has released dozens of reports confirming the urgent threat of climate change to our national security.