Thursday, January 13, 2011
What is the future for North America's environment? Much of the answer is up to us.
A new report examines the major forces and underlying trends likely to shape the environment of North America in 2030 and outlines nine areas where decisions today will affect our environmental future in varying degrees.In fact, while the pressures on North America's environment will continue to increase over the next 20 years, the report emphasizes that it would be a mistake to assume that our choices today can't influence environmental quality down the road.
North American Environmental Outlook to 2030, released today by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), scans environmental data and projections by the United Nations Environment Program, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and others to examine a range of different environmental scenarios for North America.The nine areas to watch fall under three categories:Greatest potential for impact by 2030. More >>>
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Politicians in elected democracies think on two- or four-year cycles—if that—while even the leaders of an autocratic state like China, without the pressures of an election, are still limited in just how far ahead they can plan. That's not just politics—that's human psychology.
We tend not to be very good at planning for the future—just look at the long-term decline in the American savings rate—and that's just thinking over the scale of a human lifetime. Climatological time is closer to "deep time," the writer John McPhee's term for how the planet's geology changes over millions to even billions of years, a span of time simply unfathomable to human beings. Climate can change a lot faster than that—thanks largely to the billions of tons of greenhouse gases we've been pumping into the atmosphere over the past 150 years—but it still moves a lot slower than political time, so it's easy to put off until tomorrow. More >>>
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Report from top reinsurer reveals cost of climate-related disasters spiked in 2010 as natural disasters killed 295,000
The number of weather-related natural disasters soared last year, providing "further evidence of advancing climate change", according to amajor report from one of the world's leading reinsurance firms.
Munich Re said that 950 natural disasters were recorded last year, nine tenths of which were weather-related events such as storms, floods or heat waves. The total represents the second highest number of natural disasters recorded since 1980 and is 21 per cent higher than the average number of annual incidents recorded over the past decade. More >>>