Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nicholas Stern hopeful over US climate deal

Economist Lord Stern has said he is optimistic a global deal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will be struck under Barack Obama's US presidency.

Lord Stern, who was behind the first detailed economic assessment of the impact of climate change, said US and Chinese agreement to a cut was crucial.
President George W Bush's climate views were "prehistoric" and had been seen as an obstacle, Lord Stern told the BBC.
But many now believed the new president could take a lead, he said.
"He's night and day on this issue relative to his prehistoric predecessor George Bush," Lord Stern told the BBC's Today programme's guest editor Jarvis Cocker. More >>>

Monday, December 29, 2008

German Scientist Warns Climate Change Accelerating

29 December 2008{ Climate change is happening more rapidly than anyone though possible, the German government's expert, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, warned in an interview.

The threats posed by climate change are worse than those imagined by most governments, warned Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the scientist who heads the Potsdam Institute for Research on Global Warming Effects and acts as an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate-change issues.
Schellnhuber warns that previous predictions about climate change and its catastrophic effects were too cautious and optimistic. More >>>

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bringing China into the Climate Change Fold

The current economic crisis cast a pall over climate change talks held this month in Poland.

While negotiators hoped for concrete progress towards an international climate agreement, the world’s two largest polluters were distracted – the US with preventing a collapse of the financial system in the midst of a presidential transition, China with a slowdown in domestic investment and weakening foreign demand for its manufactured goods. With American home values and retirement savings falling and Chinese unemployment numbers rising, observers worry that neither America nor China will have much appetite to cut emissions.

The paradox here is that the crisis presents a unique opportunity for the United States and China to strike a deal that would lay the groundwork for a global climate agreement. More >>>

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Obama's revolution on climate change

• Leading green scientist joins team

Sunday 21 December 2008Barack Obama ushered in a revolution in America's response to global warming yesterday when he appointed one of the world's leading climate change experts as his administration's chief scientist.

The president-elect's decision to make Harvard physicist John Holdren director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy reveals a new determination to draw a line under eight years of US policy that have seen George Bush steadfastly reject overwhelming evidence of climate change. More >>>

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hot southern summer threatens coral with massive bleaching event

Sydney, Australia -19 Dec 2008 - A widespread and severe coral bleaching episode is predicted to cause immense damage to some of the world’s most important marine environments over the next few months.

A report from the US Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts severe bleaching for parts of the Coral Sea, which lies adjacent to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle, a 5.4 million square kilometre expanse of ocean in the Indo-Pacific which is considered the centre of the world’s marine life.
“This forecast bleaching episode will be caused by increased water temperatures and is the kind of event we can expect on a regular basis if average global temperatures rise above 2 degrees,” said Richard Leck, Climate Change Strategy Leader for WWF’s Coral Triangle Program. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did Early Global Warming Divert A New Glacial Age?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 18, 2008) — The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

But gathering physical evidence, backed by powerful simulations on the world's most advanced computer climate models, is reshaping that view and lending strong support to the radical idea that human-induced climate change began not 200 years ago, but thousands of years ago with the onset of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

What's more, according to the same computer simulations, the cumulative effect of thousands of years of human influence on climate is preventing the world from entering a new glacial age, altering a clockwork rhythm of periodic cooling of the planet that extends back more than a million years. More >>>

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Obama left with little time to curb global warming

WASHINGTON (AP) December 14 -- When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid.

Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.

"The time for delay is over; the time for denial is over," he said on Tuesday after meeting with former Vice President Al Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. "We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now that this is a matter of urgency and national security and it has to be dealt with in a serious way." More >>>

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Poznań, Poland - COP 14

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Poznań, Poland - COP 14

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań ended on Saturday, 13 December. The Conference was a milestone on the road to success for the processes which were launched under the Bali Road Map. The meeting came midway between COP 13 in Bali, which saw the launch of negotiations on strengthened international action on climate change, and COP 15 Copenhagen, at which the negotiations are set to conclude.

The Conference included the 29th sessions of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies - SBSTA and SBI – as well as the 4th session of the AWG-LCA and the 2nd part of the 6th session of the AWG-KP. Over eleven thousand participants attended the Poznań meeting, which both advanced international cooperation on a future climate change regime and ensured progress on key issues. More >>>

Decisions adopted by COP 14 and CMP 4 will be available here shortly

View On-demand webcast

[For Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Arctic communities as well as other vulnerable communities the following phrase, endorsed by over 80 countries made it into the summary of the LCA round table, which means it will likely be considered a "key outcome" from Poznan.

*Participants at the round table expressed the need for international solidarity in embarking on a low emissions path that safeguards the developmental aspirations and survival of the most vulnerable countries and people. * Editor]

Seychelles Country Statement on Climate Change delivered today by Ambassador Ronald Jumeau today at the High Level Session at UNFCCC COP XIV, Poznan, Poland on Behalf of the Seychelles, Small Island Developing States and the Alliance of Small Island States. Read Full Statement

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wetter and wilder: the signs of warming everywhere

In the third part of our series on the eve of the Poznan conference, we look at how climate change is already changing ordinary people's lives from Australia to Brazil
Joao da Antonio's eyes are full of tears. If good rains do not come, he says, he will pack his bag, kiss his wife and two children goodbye and join the annual exodus of young men leaving hot, dry rural north-east Brazil for the biofuel fields in the south.

Da Antonio, 19, can earn about £30 a month for 10 hours gruelling work a day cutting sugar cane to make ethanol, and more than a million small farmers like him migrate south for six months of the year because the land can no longer support them. Tens of thousands a year never return, forced to move permanently to Sao Paulo or another of Brazil's cities in search of work.

"Life here is one of suffering," Da Antonio said. "I will do anything to earn some money. None of us want to die, but the lack of water here will kill us. " More >>>

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming Study: Carbon output rising faster than forecast

23 October 2007 - Global warming “will come sooner and harder”; Chinese growth and loss of natural “sinks” highlighted in study.

Scientists warned last night that global warming will be “stronger than expected and sooner than expected”, after a new analysis showed carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere much faster than predicted.

Experts said that the rise is due to soaring economic development in China, and a reduction in the amount of carbon pollution soaked up by the world’s land and oceans.

It also means human emissions will have to be cut more sharply than predicted to avoid the likely effects.
Dr. Corinne Le Quere, a climate expert at the University of East Anglia and British Antarctic Survey, who helped conduct the study, said: “It’s bad news because the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has accelerated since 2000 in a way we did not expect. My biggest worry is people are discouraged by this and do nothing. I hope political leaders will act on this, because we need to do something fast.” More >>>

[This is an article from October last year that I missed but thought important enough to post today. Editor]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ancient skills 'could reverse global warming'

Trials begin of a technique used by Amazon Indians that takes CO2 and locks it safely into soil

7 December 2008 - Ancient techniques pioneered by pre-Columbian Amazonian Indians are about to be pressed into service in Britain and Central America in the most serious commercial attempt yet to reverse global warming.

Trials are to be started in Sussex and Belize early in the new year, backed with venture capital from Silicon Valley, on techniques to take carbon from the atmosphere and bury it in the soil, where it should act as a powerful fertiliser.
The plan is to scale up rapidly into a worldwide enterprise to reverse the build-up of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, in the atmosphere and eventually bring it back to pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
The ambitious enterprise – which on Friday received its first multimillion-pound investment from California – is the brainchild of two of Britain's most successful environmental entrepreneurs: Craig Sams, one of the founders of the best-selling Green & Black's organic chocolate, and Dan Morrell, who co-founded Future Forests, the first carbon offsetting company. More >>>

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Climate change: Young people take a stand at Poznan

05 Dec 2008: Fifteen inspired young people have travelled overland from the UK to Poznan, Poland to urge our government to take strong and equitable action on climate change. Poznan is the setting for this year's UN Climate Change Conference, a critical stage in negotiating a global deal on climate change to take effect after 2012.

We are joining international youth from more than fifty countries to ensure our voices are heard and listened to. As things stand, we are miles away from where we need to be and we have only one year left to get there in time for the Copenhagen conference in December 2009.

The UK Youth Delegation (UKYD) is a self-organised group of 18 to 25-year-olds who are passionate about the need to equitably reduce greenhouse gas emissions right away, in order to avoid dangerous climate change. This is a generational issue: peer-reviewed science predicts fundamental impacts on the world's climate system – the system that humanity has been intimately linked to throughout history. The decisions made at Poznan will shape the world we grow up in. If a global deal is not reached, the world will look very different in 2050, when members of the UKYD will not yet have reached retirement age. Climate change is not just about polar bears. It's about us. More >>>

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pacific: climate change threatens food security

2 December 2008, Rome - Ocean warming, frequent tropical cyclones, flash floods and droughts are likely to have a devastating impact on food production systems in Pacific island countries, FAO warned today.

Climate change-related disasters are already imposing serious constraints on development in the islands, which appear to be in a "constant mode of recovery," according to a new report entitled Climate Change and Food Security in Pacific Island Countries, jointly published by FAO, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific.

"Climate projections for the Pacific island countries are bleak and indicate reduced food security, especially for households," said Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department. More >>>