Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Known Universe: A perspective from which to reflect on climate change

Copenhagen agreement fails UN processes and the planet

Climate Shame: Saturday Dec 19th, 2009 - Climate negotiations in Copenhagen ended with a whimper and some chaos in the final plenary.

About 115 national leaders attended the Copenhagen climate talks but the final 'agreement' announced by the US, India, China and South Africa, was drafted far outside the consensus process of the United Nations and amounted to only aspirational targets and promises, falling far short of an ambitous, fair and binding treaty demanded by civil society.

"The conference of the parties takes note of the Copenhagen Accord," said a final decision announced by Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen. But Tuvalu declared the COP15 process completely undemocratic, conducted in closed door sessions, and slamed the target of 2 degrees for failing to be sufficient to ensure their survival. "We are being offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our children. Our future is not for sale." Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Costa Rica also raised their voices that the proposal cannot be considered as the work of COP according to Copenhagen End Game of the It's Getting Hot in Here Blog of the Youth Climate Movement.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

A deal appears to be in sight for the final day of the UN climate change talks, but there are fears it may not prevent a 3C (5.4F) temperature rise.

Denmark's prime minister spoke of "very fruitful" talks as Copenhagen prepared to receive US President Barack Obama and 118 other world leaders.

Both the US and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have indicated they may make concessions.

It is hoped these may help overcome sharp divisions at the two-week talks.

China signalled concessions on the monitoring of emission curbs while the US said it would commit money for developing countries.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mortal Combat: Tuvalu versus China

Low-lying island nations demand dramatic action on climate change. The big boys shrug.

Low-lying island nations demand dramatic action on climate change. The big boys shrug. If I were to guess which group of people currently living on the planet cared least about the ClimateGate hacked e-mail controversy, I'd bet on the citizens of the Alliance of Small Island States.
Members of the Alliance --- a group of about 45 islands and other low-lying nations -- take rising sea levels a bit more seriously than your average think tank funded by Exxon. Their very existence is threatened, and they are making a stink about it at the climate change talks in Copenhagen.
A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contends that global sea levels may rise almost two meters by the end of this century, faster than predicted by the International Panel on Climate Change.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation'

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted. More >>>

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Small Islands, Rising Seas

Small Islands, Rising Seas Bad News for Low Lying Islands

“You know that with a sea-level rise of over 1.5 metres, hundreds of millions of people would be dead. They would simply be wiped out,” President Mohamed Nasheed of the Republic of Maldives told the UN Chronicle just two days after he addressed other world leaders at the 2009 UN General Assembly Summit on Climate Change.

The threat posed by rising sea levels has been the centrepiece of climate change negotiations, the main issue emphasized by Small Island Developing States, also known as the SIDS. More >>>

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Antarctic melt may push sea levels to 1.4 metres: study

PARIS — Quickening ice loss in West Antarctica will likely contribute heavily to a projected sea level rise of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) by 2100, according to a major scientific report released Tuesday.

Scientists long held that most of Antarctica's continent-sized ice sheet was highly resistant to global warming, and that the more vulnerable West Antarctic ice block would remain intact for thousands of years to come.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- whose 2007 report is the scientific benchmark for the UN December 7-18 Copenhagen climate summit -- did not even factor melting ice sheets into its forecasts for rising seas.

But studies since then show huge loss of ice mass, mainly as a result of warmer ocean temperatures, according to the review by more than 100 experts on the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. More >>>

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is there any real chance of averting the climate crisis?

NASA’s James Hansen was the first to point out the perils of climate change to the US Congress. Here, he begins a heated debate with experts from around the world, from China to the threatened Maldives, and argues that our leaders must be shaken out of their complacency. But will they show enough courage at next week's Copenhagen summit to take the first steps to saving the planet?

Absolutely. It is possible – if we give politicians a cold, hard slap in the face. The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – "goals" for emission reductions, "offsets" that render ironclad goals almost meaningless, the ineffectual "cap-and-trade" mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics as usual.

Science reveals that climate is close to tipping points. It is a dead certainty that continued high emissions will create a chaotic dynamic situation for young people, with deteriorating climate conditions out of their control.
Science also reveals what is needed to stabilise atmospheric composition and climate. Geophysical data on the carbon amounts in oil, gas and coal show that the problem is solvable, if we phase out global coal emissions within 20 years and prohibit emissions from unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands and oil shale.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seychelles and small islands remind the world that Copenhagen is about survival

VICTORIA, Mahé, November 12, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Republic of Seychelles, as a member of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) -a Climate Change negotiating bloc of 43 island nations, has urged leaders of the world’s industrial nations to double efforts toward concluding an ambitious and legally binding pact at the Dec. 7-18 climate summit in Copenhagen.

This was the call made by the Seychelles delegation during the last UN Climate Change negotiating session which took place in Barcelona, Spain from 2-6 November, 2009.
Seychelles was represented by Ambassador Ronny Jumeau and Mr. Wills Agricole, Director General, Climate and Environmental Services of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Transport.

More than 4,500 participants, including delegates from 181 countries, took part in the Talks. This call to action by Seychelles’ negotiators follows the statement by President James Michel to the special event on climate change organized prior to the United nations General Assembly in September, where he clearly pitched the fight against Climate Change as a battle for survival by small island states:

“For small islands, climate change is about our existence. It is about maintaining our human right to live and work in the land of our birth, the land of our parents. We must act now to ensure that it is also the land of our children” the President had declared.

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise - Seychelles Based Blog Run by Roplh Payet, Special Advisor to the President of the Seychelles.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Climate change to hit Pacific islands food security

MILAN (Reuters) Nov 26, 2009 - Rising sea levels, ocean warming, cyclones and droughts caused by climate change is set to hit hard food security in the Pacific islands, the United Nations' food agency said, urging governments to take immediate actions.

Climate change is expected to act as a "threat multiplier" in the Pacific region, home to 14 Pacific island countries and five territories (PICT), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a special report issued ahead of U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

"Despite the fact that PICTs make negligible contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions rates (0.03 percent), they find themselves -- unfairly -- facing the frontline of climate change impacts," the reports said. More >>>

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rising CO2 could cause catastrophic sea level rise finds Antarctic study

Sea levels could rise by up to 20ft (6m) if the world fails to get pollution under control, according to the latest study in the Antarctic.

19 Nov 2009 - The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found that during past periods of high carbon dioxide, temperatures in Antarctica were up to 6C above current levels. This could cause a sea level rise of up six metres, threatening coastal cities like London, New York and San Francisco.
It is the latest research to warn of the consequences of increased greenhouse gases on the Earth's climate. Yesterday a study warned that carbon dioxide produced by man is now rising at record rates putting the world on a pathway for a10.8F(6C) rise in temperature.
All the recent studies are adding pressure on world leaders to agree in international deal on climate change at a UN summit in Copenhagen this December. More >>>

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seychelles struggles to adapt to climate change in a losing battle

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- This season Jacques Matombehad to burn 14,300 U.S. dollars worth of pumpkin that he spent months growing on his farm in Seychelles. There was no other way to stop the disease spreading to his crop.

"It was out of control," he said, standing in a field of crispy pumpkin plants. "You have to burn it."
Disease and pests have become a problem for Matombe and other locals who farm the Aseroyale Plateau on Mahe, Seychelles' main island. Once cool, trade winds are now warmer, fostering the right breeding grounds for disease.

The change in temperature and unusual, extreme seasons have made farming even more unforgiving, said Matombe, noting that his neighbor recently had to burn thousands of dollars worth of Chinese cabbage after they became infected. "The disease attacks the heart," he said.
Matombe's five hectares of farmland must support his family of five children and keep 30 workers employed. But changing weather patterns have increased the costs of running his farm, raising the stakes in a precarious livelihood.

Climate change is making it more difficult to for Seychelles to achieve food security, said Antoine Marie Moustache, the co-chair of Seychelles' Agricultural Agency on Food and Security, and a member of the National Climate Change Committee. More >>>

Friday, November 13, 2009

Poor nations vow low-carbon path

Poor countries considered vulnerable to climate change have pledged to embark on moves to a low-carbon future, and challenge richer states to match them.

The declaration from the first meeting of a new 11-nation forum calls on rich countries to give 1.5% of their GDP for climate action in the developing world.
It also calls for much tougher limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
The forum was established by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed to highlight the climate "threat" to poor nations.
The declaration contends that man-made climate change poses an "existential threat to our nations, our cultures and to our way of life, and thereby undermines the internationally protected human rights of our people".
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


For the 193 national delegations gathering in Copenhagen for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in December, the reasons for concern about climate change vary widely.

For delegations from low-lying island countries, the principal concern is rising sea level. For countries in southern Europe, climate change means less rainfall and more drought. For countries of East Asia and the Caribbean, more powerful storms and storm surges are a growing worry. This climate change conference is about all these things, and many more, but in a very fundamental sense, it is a conference about food security. 

We need not go beyond ice melting to see that the world is in trouble on the food front. The melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets is raising sea level. If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt entirely, sea level would rise by 23 feet. Recent projections show that it could rise by up to 6 feet during this century. 

The world rice harvest is particularly vulnerable to rising sea level. More >>>

Vulnerable countries unite against climate change

Maldives meeting a crucial step towards Copenhagen
09 November 2009 - In Copenhagen in December, world leaders will have the chance to agree a global plan to fight climate change.

The world’s most powerful nations will attend, but it is important that the meeting is not just about the interests of rich, developed countries.
Representatives will also be present from the world’s poorest countries – including those that will be the worst affected by climate change over the next century.
Floods, droughts, cyclones and other climate-related disasters are already being visited upon the developing world, but to date international negotiations on tackling climate change have been dominated by the voices and concerns of the developed world.

On 10 and 11 October, the leaders of some of those countries most vulnerable to the effects of man-made global warming will gather in the Maldives for the inaugural Climate Vulnerables Forum. This is an opportunity for participants to work together to develop a strong, unified voice on climate change - a voice that will be heard in international negotiations such as Copenhagen.
Countries attending include: the Maldives, Tanzania, Kenya, Barbados, Vietnam, Bhutan, Ghana, Kiribati, Nepal, Bangladesh and Rwanda. Each of these countries has experience of the effects of climate change – and action is vital in each to prevent catastrophic losses in years to come. More >>>

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Online Climate Change Conference - Climate 2009

The world's climate neutral Scientific Climate Conference

2-6 November 2009 online only.

There´s no CO2 emissions due to travel to the venue. The Internet servers of the "CLIMATE 2009/KLIMA 2009" platform are powered by means of climate-neutral energy provision.

Let the conference introduce you to the latest scientific findings on the social, economic and political aspects of climate change. Enter this platform on 2-6 November 2009 and read about new projects and innovative initiatives being undertaken in both industrialised and developing countries by universities and scientific institutions, government bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders. More >>>

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Global grassroots climate protest

Campaign Against Emissions Picks Number Ney York - October 24, 2009 Campaigners against global warming have drawn on an arsenal of visually startling tactics over the years, from posing nude on a Swiss glacier to scaling smokestacks at coal-fired power plants.

Some 300 people gathered on the City Hall Square in Copenhagen on October 24, 2009 to form the logo of the 350 campaign, calling for call for carbon emissions cuts to 350 parts per million (ppm) during a protest on International Day of Climate Action about global warming.
On Saturday, they tried something new with the goal of prodding countries to get serious about reaching an international climate accord: a synchronized burst of more than 4,300 demonstrations, from the Himalayas to the Great Barrier Reef, all centered on the number 350.

For some prominent climate scientists, that is the upper limit for heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million. If the gas concentration exceeds that for long, they warn, the world can expect decades of disrupted climate patterns, rising sea levels, drought and famine. The current concentration is 387 parts per million. More >>>

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Human Security Implications of Climate Change

Presentation by Dr. Rolph Payet at the UNited Nations on Friday 23rd October 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Climate Change: Playing in the Major Leagues.

George Town, Cayman Islands - 19 October 2009 - Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent speech on climate change catastrophe in the Uk applies to the entire world.

Climate change is the most serious peril that has faced humanity in its long history. However, we are faced with more than climate change, there is peak oil and an out of control population, as well as concerns for water and food security in the years to come.

As I said to a colleague earlier today “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Humanity is today playing in the major leagues. We are in a sink or swim situation. If we can keep the planet habitable by mitigating and adapting to the changing climate, switching to alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, wave, ocean thermal and nuclear, sequester CO2 and provide the population with adequate supplies of water and food and bring the population under control, humanity may survive .

Warfare and conflict will also need to become a thing of the past as climate change and energy may well exacerbate conflict situations. With a 9.5 billion global population by 2050 ensuring that everyone has adequate food and water could be problematic.

There is however, no ‘Plan B’ if we fail to resolve all the problems facing us.

When playing in the major leagues there is no time out, there is no one that is going to offer help, let alone rescue us. Look around, the neighbourhood is somewhat sparsely populated and there are no other worlds on which humanity can survive. Even if there were other habitable worlds nearby they would in all probability belong to someone else.

There are, in all likelihood, other intelligent races out there somewhere, however in the major leagues one survives on ones own. As a young civilisation it is up to us to solve all our problems, to make peace among ourselves, to bring the population under control, to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). We must solve our own problems. As a young race we are as children, and as such we may not be able to solve our own problems. But solve them we must.

If we are able to solve the situation facing us and make it to adulthood, in the galactic meaning of the world, we may then be introduced to the neighbours.

If we do not make it to adulthood we will be just another minor statistic, a failure, a insignificant footnote in the universal history book.

For all these reasons we have to come together in Copenhagen and produce a new global climate change deal to replace the ageing Kyoto treaty. Unless we can do so, we are ‘planning to fail‘. Editor

PM Gordon Brown Speaking on Climate Catastrophe

Gordon Brown warns of climate catastrophe.

Brown: '50 days to save world' Watch Video

The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister has warned.

Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse".

He told the Major Economies Forum in London, which brings together 17 of the world's biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries, there was "no plan B".

World delegations meet in Copenhagen in December for talks on a new treaty.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Arctic seas turn to acid, putting vital food chain at risk

With the world's oceans absorbing six million tonnes of carbon a day, a leading oceanographer warns of eco disaster

Sunday 4 October 2009 - Carbon-dioxide emissions are turning the waters of the Arctic Ocean into acid at an unprecedented rate, scientists have discovered. Research carried out in the archipelago of Svalbard has shown in many regions around the north pole seawater is likely to reach corrosive levels within 10 years. The water will then start to dissolve the shells of mussels and other shellfish and cause major disruption to the food chain. By the end of the century, the entire Arctic Ocean will be corrosively acidic.

"This is extremely worrying," Professor Jean-Pierre Gattuso, of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, told an international oceanography conference last week. "We knew that the seas were getting more acidic and this would disrupt the ability of shellfish – like mussels – to grow their shells. But now we realise the situation is much worse. The water will become so acidic it will actually dissolve the shells of living shellfish." More >>>

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why Obama Really, Really Needs to Go To Cop-15 Now

Oct 09 With President Obama's failure to secure the Olympics for Chicago, a bunch of the blogosphere -- including even the NYT -- is abuzz with beltway-style speculation that a return to Copenhagen for COP-15 is now "too risky," that the President has now blown his political capital and will show himself weak by going to a summit that probably cannot, at this point, produce a major treaty.

This speculation all seems to me to be a gross misreading of the situation. Most knowledgeable observers haven't expected to see a comprehensive treaty signed at COP-15 for some time now. Instead, the point of this meeting is to reframe the issue, ramping up global awareness of the need to act quickly, laying out the outlines of a new treaty, and hammering out some of the bilateral agreements needed to make the thing work. Simply by showing up, Obama adds weight to this reframing. And he's smart enough to be able to explain that to the American people (whether the beltway media's smart enough to understand the actual situation remains to be seen).

On a domestic policy front, I've long argued that the biggest reason the President needs to go to Copenhagen has absolutely nothing to do with getting a treaty signed: he needs to go so that he can focus the attention of the nation on climate change, and teach the American people about the dangers we face and the opportunities responding to climate change can bring. The only people who will hate this are the people who are already the avowed enemy of the President and all he stands for, and frankly, who cares about making them happy?
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Governors' Global Climate Summit Backs Treaty With Teeth

LOS ANGELES, California, October 2, 2009 (ENS) - At the Governors' Global Climate Summit today, 30 governors, premiers, mayors and senior officials from around the world and the United Nations declared that workable solutions to global warming exist and they want a strong climate deal to emerge from negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who convened this second annual summit of subnational leaders, said, "Addressing the problems caused by climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our time and at this summit we heard leaders and experts from around the globe discuss the innovative steps and strategies being championed in the fight against global warming."

"We have deepened our partnerships and renewed our commitment to work collaboratively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a cleaner planet and stronger economy for the next generation. In signing this declaration we are sending a powerful message to the national leaders negotiating the next global climate agreement that we are ready for action," said Schwarzenegger. "The time to act is now." More >>>

Friday, October 2, 2009

Global Food Security Plans Too Narrow - Analyst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) September 29th 2009 - Global plans to reduce hunger by boosting food production are too narrowly focussed on farming without considering how to slow population growth or halt climate change, long-time environmental analyst Lester Brown said on Tuesday.

The Obama administration and leaders of other wealthy nations have promised to spend more money and coordinate efforts to reduce the chronic hunger that plagues more than 1 billion people in the world.
But the initiatives fail to recognise the need to stabilise climate and population, said Brown, who has been writing about how to fix the planet for more than 30 years.
"If we don't address these two issues seriously, there's not a chance that we're going to be able to increase food security and eradicate hunger in the world," said Brown, noting he was struck by "the narrowness of the approach" to food security.
Brown was speaking to reporters as he launched a new edition of his prescription for saving the planet called "Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization." More >>>

Thursday, October 1, 2009

California timber firm to market its forests as weapon against global warming

Sierra Pacific's announcement comes less than a week after the Schwarzenegger administration pushed through new rules allowing the company to sell carbon credits.

Reporting from Sacramento - The state's largest timber company Wednesday announced a groundbreaking agreement to begin marketing its vast forests as a weapon in the fight against global warming.

Sierra Pacific Industries' announcement comes less than a week after the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through new rules that allow the firm to sell its trees' ability to absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air.

Environmental groups immediately raised questions about the timing, so soon after the administration pressed the California Air Resources Board to approve the new protocols. "There obviously was a backroom deal going on that helped drive approval of those protocols," said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Promoters of Sierra Pacific's new pact said such criticisms miss the mark and that the new effort is blazing a trail in the battle against global warming.

"This deal is really marking the way not just for California, but for the global carbon market," said Eron Bloomgarden of Equator, a private equity fund for natural resource projects that will work with Sierra Pacific to find buyers for its carbon credits. More >>>

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World Leaders Pledge to Accelerate Climate Change Action

NEW YORK, New York, September 22, 2009 (ENS) - "Climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical and economic issue of the 21st century. It rewrites the global equation for development, peace and security," said UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon today at the Climate Change Summit he convened at UN Headquarters in New York.

Ban urged the more than 100 assembled world leaders to speed up their action on global warming and preserve the planet for future generations. He countered those who claim that addressing global warming comes at too high a price.

"They are wrong," said Ban. "The opposite is true. We will pay an unacceptable price if we do not act now." More >>>

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video message by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, September 2009

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, takes stock of the international climate change negotiations ahead of the upcoming talks in Bankgok.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Students on Ice

STUDENTS ON ICE is an award-winning organization offering unique educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic.

Monday, September 14, 2009

EU May Give Up To EUR15B For Climate Change Fight

BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 10, 2009, (Dow Jones) --The European Commission said Thursday that the European Union may give up to EUR15 billion a year by 2020 to finance the fight to climate change in developing countries, setting out a blueprint for negotiations on a global deal to fight climate change later this year.

"This initiative aims to maximize the chances of concluding an ambitious global climate change agreement" at a Copenhagen global meeting in December, the commission said in a statement.
Developing countries are likely to need EUR100 billion a year by 2020 to limit their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, the commission said. If an ambitious agreement is reached in December, the E.U. could contribute between EUR2 billion and EUR15 billion a year by 2020, it added.
The E.U. wants to lead negotiations at the Copenhagen summit to reach an international agreement to fight climate change and keep global warming under two degrees Celsius. The deal would be the successor of the Kyoto protocol, negotiated more than a decade ago.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

“The President’s Dilemma,”

Anote Tong is President of a small nation – a group of 33 atoll islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, half-way between Australia and Hawaii. Tong is faced with a dilemma the likes of which most government leaders couldn’t image. Scientists predict that within 30 to 50 years the nation he governs will have disappeared, covered over by rising seas resulting from global climate change. More >>>

Watch the video

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Climate and National Security

New York Times Editorial: August 18, 2009 - One would think that by now most people would have figured out that climate change represents a grave threat to the planet. One would also have expected from Congress a plausible strategy for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that lie at the root of the problem.

That has not happened. The House has passed a climate bill that is not as strong as needed, but is a start. There are doubts about whether the Senate will pass any bill, given the reflexive opposition of most Republicans and unfounded fears among many Democrats that rising energy costs will cripple local industries.

The problem, when it comes to motivating politicians, is that the dangers from global warming — drought, famine, rising seas — appear to be decades off. But the only way to prevent them is with sacrifices in the here and now: with smaller cars, bigger investments in new energy sources, higher electricity bills that will inevitably result once we put a price on carbon. More >>>

UN seeks signatures for action against climate change

NAIROBI, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The UN is calling for millions of online signatures for a climate petition and launching the first-ever Global Climate Week as part of its "Seal the Deal!" campaign, 100 days ahead of a crucial UN climate change summit in Copenhagen (COP 15) in December.

A statement from the Nairobi-based UN Information Center (UNIC) said on Friday that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is leading the call for communities around the world to take advantage of Global Climate Week from September 21-25 to encourage leaders to seal a fair, balanced and effective agreement on climate change.
"A scientifically-credible deal in Copenhagen can catalyze a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy which is so essential on a planet of six billion people, rising to over nine billion by 2050," said Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
"As such, it will represent perhaps the biggest and most far reaching stimulus package of 2009 and beyond," he said.
Among the events planned for more than 120 countries are youth assemblies, tree planting drives, a climate neutral day and a "Go Green Day". New York and other cities around the world have set up a full program for the week. More >>>

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blog wins recognition as one of top 100 climate change blogs

The Daily Reviewer has chosen this blog “Climate Change: Changing our World” as one of the top 100 climate change blogs on the Internet.

See The Daily Reviewer

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rajendra Pachauri on the Number

Dear friends, For once, this email isn't asking you to do anything at all. It's merely sharing the news--the amazing news--that arrived about 45 minutes ago at 350 headquarters.

Rajendra Pachauri is the U.N.'s top climate scientist. He leads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which every five years produces the authoritative assessment of climate science. Their last report, in 2007, helped set the target of 450 ppm (parts per million of CO2) that many environmental groups and national governments have adopted as their goal for Copenhagen.

As you all know, that number is out of date. When Jim Hansen and other scientists looked at phenomenon like the Arctic ice melt of the last two summers, they produced new data demonstrating that 350 is the bottom line for the planet.

But it's been hard to get that news out to the powers that be.

So today it comes as enormous and welcome news that Dr. Pachauri, from his New Delhi office, said that 350 was the number.

"As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations," said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm).

"But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target," he told Agence France Presse in an interview.

It's your work that has made this breakthrough possible. In fact, Pachauri specifically cited the last big piece of news for 350: the decision of 80+ small island nations and less developed countries to endorse the 350 target.

"I think this is a good development," said Pachauri. "Now people -- including some scientists -- see the seriousness of the impacts of climate change, and the fact that things are going to get substantially worse than what we had anticipated."

This news makes it much easier for all of us to push hard leading up to the International Day of Climate Action on the 24th of October (signup to start or attend an event at , and the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December.

It's clear now that science is powerfully on the side of the 350 target. Now we need the political world to follow suit. You will make that happen in the next two months. Oct. 24 is officially 60 days away, and we're building just the momentum we need to make it count.

Thanks for all you do,

Bill McKibben

P.S. Once you've spread this news around your networks (click here to share it on twitter or here to share it on facebook), please go celebrate. And speaking of celebrations, our friends at The Age of Stupid report that the Global Premier of their new epic climate change film takes place on September 21--you can find details on local screenings here:

You should join us on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at and follow us on twitter by visiting

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of of people like you in every corner of the planet.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sign the Petition!

The UN-led Seal the Deal Campaign aims to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December.


Climate change affects us all. Nine out of every ten disasters
recorded are now climate related. That is a scarey fact. Rising
temperatures and more frequent floods, droughts and storms are
impacting millions of people’s lives. And set against the backdrop of
global warming is a global financial crisis. Clearly, planet Earth
needs our attention.

On December 7, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, to
respond to one of the greatest challenges facing humanity: climate
change and sustainable economic growth. But how to protect the planet
and create a green economy that will lead to long-term prosperity? The
negotiations in Copenhagen will need to answer this question. Our
existence depends on it.

Reaching a deal by the time the meeting ends on December 18 will
depend not only on political negotiations but also on public pressure
from around the globe. Public support must be galvanized. To do this,
the United Nations has launched “Seal the Deal”, a campaign that
encourages users to sign an online, global petition which will be
presented to world leaders. The petition will serve as a reminder that
world leaders must negotiate a fair, balanced and effective agreement
in Copenhagen, and that they must seal a deal to power green growth,
protect our planet and build a more sustainable, prosperous global
economy that will benefit all nations and all people.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Climate-Change Calculus

Why it's even worse than we feared. Among the phrases you really, really do not want to hear from climate scientists are: "that really shocked us," "we had no idea how bad it was," and "reality is well ahead of the climate models."

Yet in speaking to researchers who focus on the Arctic, you hear comments like these so regularly they begin to sound like the thumping refrain from Jaws: annoying harbingers of something that you really, really wish would go away.

Let me deconstruct the phrases above. The "shock" came when the International Polar Year, a global consortium studying the Arctic, froze a small vessel into the sea ice off eastern Siberia in September 2006. Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen had done the same thing a century before, and his Fram, carried by the drifting ice, emerged off eastern Greenland 34 months later. IPY scientists thought their Tara would take 24 to 36 months. But it reached Greenland in just 14 months, stark evidence that the sea ice found a more open, ice-free, and thus faster path westward thanks to Arctic melting. More >>>

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lighting Revolution Forecast By Top Scientist

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2009) — New developments in a substance which emits brilliant light could lead to a revolution in lighting for the home and office in five years, claims a leading UK materials scientist, Professor Colin Humphreys of Cambridge University.

The source of the huge potential he foresees, gallium nitride (GaN), is already used for some lighting applications such as camera flashes, bicycle lights, mobile phones and interior lighting for buses, trains and planes. More >>>

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

UNITED NATIONS -- July 21, 2009- The chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change criticized the Group of Eight summit participants for ignoring the IPCC's scientific findings and the declaration that emerged from the 2007 U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, in which leaders agreed to work toward a new treaty limiting average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

Though simultaneously praising the 2-degree commitment as "clearly a big step forward" in international talks, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri told reporters here yesterday that G-8 leaders failed to heed warnings that global greenhouse gas emissions levels must peak by 2015. Nations must also start to come up with concrete plans for rapidly slashing emissions afterward, Pachauri said. More >>>

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Facing the Future: Speech by HRH The Prince of Wales

The Richard Dimbleby Lecture, titled “Facing the Future” as delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales, St James’s Palace State Apartments, London

London - 8th July 2009 - Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted that you are able to join me here at St. James’s Palace and I am enormously grateful to Jonathan Dimbleby for what was a very well-crafted obituary!

But Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard Dimbleby was, without doubt, one of the world’s finest broadcasters. He combined a flair for language with great human insight to report on some of the most significant moments of the twentieth century – not least when he guided millions of viewers on the day television came of age, with the B.B.C.’s coverage of my mother’s Coronation in 1953. And I remember that day well. I was about the age of four, and I also recall some wonderful lady coming up to me years ago and saying “I remember you so well at your parents wedding, with your little head appearing over the pew.” And I said “I think it was the Coronation”, and she said, “No, no, your parents’ wedding!”

Whenever he turned his powers of observation to those great occasions he always, to my mind, managed to stress that sense of the long-term view which duty and stewardship depend upon.

St. James’s Palace has been at the heart of that process ever since a seventeen year old Prince of Wales ascended the throne to become King Henry the Eighth exactly five hundred years ago this year. It was Henry who commissioned the building of this palace – exhibiting an interest in architecture that may possibly be hereditary! But towards the end of his reign he also showed an interest in sustainability. Perhaps it is not so well known that Henry instigated the very first piece of green legislation in this country. More>>>

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 12, 2009 - Climate “policy as usual” is not working. In the 20 years since serious global discussions on climate change have been underway, atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations and average temperatures have continued to rise.

During the 1990s, the talk was mostly about the need to prevent climate change. Now, adapting to climate change is given equal or greater priority. This shift of focus is an admission of failure.
To save the environment we will need unprecedented action — and a great deal of luck. But the change we need is nowhere in sight. Having participated in U.N. negotiations and countless climate conferences in recent decades, we confess to a dreadful sense of déjà vu as we approach the December 2009 Climate Summit in Copenhagen. More >>>

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009 - VENICE -- Europe will be wrangled for the next six months by a lanky, no-nonsense Swede named Carl Bildt. His country chairs this semester's cascade of European Union summits, procedural debates and other gabfests. As Sweden's foreign minister, it is Bildt's job to make sense of it all -- a task akin to herding not cats but eels.

Well, he asked for it, didn't he? When he was Sweden's prime minister in the 1990s, the conservative politician relentlessly overhauled his country's socialist economic policies and neutralist orientation to push it into the European Union. Now Sweden is stuck picking up the pieces of a deepening European economic crisis, paralyzed national governments and a constitutional stalemate.
But it was Bildt's description of the strategic consequences of climate change that galvanized my attention when he spoke here to the Council for the United States and Italy. The rapid melting of the Arctic ice sheet at the North Pole will bring "revolutionary new transport possibilities between the Atlantic and the Pacific," he told the gathering, expanding that thought for me later in an interview. More >>>

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NOAA: Fourth warmest May on record

Computer model predicts a long and strong El Niño June 17, 2009 - Fast on the heels of the fifth warmest April on record, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reports: Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the fourth warmest on record for May, the fifth warmest for boreal spring (March-May), and tied with 2003 as the sixth warmest January-May year-to-date period.

And no, I don’t think the monthly data tell us much about the climate. But I know reporting it annoys the deniers. More seriously, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) seems to be heating up, although I’m told it takes a few months before El Niño conditions would translates into warmer global temperatures.

You may recall that earlier this month, NOAA put out an “El Niño Watch,” so record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record. Nore >>>

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

World disaster toll faces new threat from global warning: Red Cross

GENEVA - Natural and man-made disasters killed nearly a quarter of a million people in 2008 and warnings about looming disasters, particularly climate change, are not being heeded, the Red Cross said Tuesday.

In 2008, disasters ranging from the Chinese earthquake to a devastating cyclone in Myanmar wrought the second most devastating annual toll of the past decade, 242,662 deaths, according to a report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. More >>>

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Letter From Baghdad

10 JUNE 2009 20:27 - A couple of weeks back the peak oil community received a letter from an officer serving with our forces in Iraq.
Despite numerous distractions in Iraq these days, this officer is so concerned that peaking world oil production will soon become a serious problem that he began discussing the future of America's energy supply with soldiers in his unit. What he concluded has a message for us all.

He found that most people have no trouble accepting the premises of peak oil- that there is a finite amount of crude underground, that the easy and cheap to extract oil is nearly gone and that world production will go into an unstoppable decline. The disconnect from reality, however, comes when contemplating the consequences of this event, for nearly all believe there are many obvious alternatives to oil. We know what they are: nuclear, solar, wind, waves, tides, shale, oil sands, coal-to-liquid, biomass, etc., etc. In the mind of most, it is a rather simple matter of switching from oil to any or all of the alternatives so that life-as-we-know-it can continue without missing a beat. More >>>

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Prince’s Rainforest Trust

Even though tropical forests seem a long way away from most of us, they play a vital role in all our lives, every day.

In fact, rainforests are essential for the wellbeing of everyone, because they are the world’s natural air-conditioning and thermostat systems. They act as the cooling belt around the centre of our planet and they generate much of the rainfall that is essential around the world for producing food to meet the demands of our growing global population.

Rainforests are also undeniably linked to our ability to prevent catastrophic climate change, and that is why His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales established his Rainforests Project. Read More >>>

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Global warming could be twice as bad as forecast

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) - Global warming's effects this century could be twice as extreme as estimated just six years ago, scientists reported on Tuesday.

Earth's median surface temperature could rise 9.3 degrees F (5.2 degrees C) by 2100, the scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found, compared to a 2003 study that projected a median temperature increase of 4.3 degrees F (2.4 degrees C).

The new study, published in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, said the difference in projection was due to improved economic modeling and newer economic data than in previous scenarios.

Earlier climate warming may also have been masked by the global cooling effect of 20th-century volcanoes and by the emission of soot, which can add to warming, the scientists said in a statement.

To reach their conclusions, the MIT team used computer simulations that took world economic activity as well as climate processes into account, they said in a statement. More >>>

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Climate Change Displacement Has Begun – but Hardly Anyone Has Noticed

Friday, May 8, 2009 - The first evacuation of an entire community due to manmade global warming is happening on the Carteret Islands.

Journalists - they're never around when you want one. Two weeks ago a momentous event occurred: the beginning of the world's first evacuation of an entire people as a result of manmade global warming. It has been marked so far by one blog post for the Ecologist and an article in the Solomon Times*. Where is everyone?
The Carteret Islands are off the coast of Bougainville, which, in turn, is off the coast of Papua New Guinea. They are small coral atolls on which 2,600 people live. Though not for much longer.

As the Ecologist's blogger Dan Box witnessed, the first five families have moved to Bougainville to prepare the ground for full evacuation. There are compounding factors - the removal of mangrove forests and some local volcanic activity - but the main problem appears to be rising sea levels. More >>>

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wealthy nations must lead on climate change: Economist

The citizens and leaders of rich countries who aren't willing to ditch their SUVs and embrace other facets of a low-carbon lifestyle will sabotage attempts at reaching a global deal for tackling climate change, prominent British economist Lord Nicholas Stern is warning.

"This has to be the biggest international collaboration in history if we are to tackle this challenge," Stern told an audience of Toronto's business elite during a speech today at the Economic Club of Canada.

If we're not prepared to show developing countries such as China and India that we're serious about doing our part, he said, "then get a hat, some suntan lotion and write an apology letter to your grandchildren." More >>>

Monday, April 27, 2009

Time running out in global warming fight: Charles

ROME: 27 Apr 2009, _ Time is quickly running out in the battle against global warming, and history will judge the world's response to the crisis, Prince Charles of Britain told Italian lawmakers Monday.

"If we are to bequeath to our children a world that is fit to inhabit, then I fear we must act now," said Charles during a visit to Rome. "What on earth is the point of procrastinating?

"History will judge us by how we respond to climate change. Do we want our children and grandchildren to ... see this as the time we allowed a new darkness to sprawl across our future?" he asked Italian lawmakers and other government leaders.

Speaking in parliament's elegant Sala della Lupa, the prince said only 98 months remained before experts predict irreversible effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and "the clock is ticking away inexorably." More >>>

Friday, April 24, 2009

Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate

April 24, 2009 - For more than a decade the Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels, led an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign against the idea that emissions of heat-trapping gases could lead to global warming.

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.
But a document filed in a federal lawsuit demonstrates that even as the coalition worked to sway opinion, its own scientific and technical experts were advising that the science backing the role of greenhouse gases in global warming could not be refuted. More >>>

WikiPedia article on Global Climate Coalition

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Summit of Americas Leaders Pledge Environmental Cooperation

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, April 20, 2009 (ENS) - Government leaders of countries across the Americas reached new spirit of friendliness and cooperation at the Summit of the Americas that concluded here Sunday.

Symbolized by the friendly handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that smoothed a prickly relationship, the leaders signed a declaration with many environment-friendly provisions. Obama proposed a new Energy-Climate Partnership of the Americas, "a voluntary and flexible partnership ... that will enhance energy efficiency, improve our infrastructure, and support investments that can make energy more affordable." More>>>

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Expert: Don't 'rinky-dink around the margins' of climate change

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Auden Schendler is blowing a metaphorical raspberry at the kind of hybrid-driving, plastic bag-banning environmentalists for which Seattle is known.

"The problem is, too many Americans are saying: 'I've got my Prius and that's all I need to do,'" Schendler, the executive director of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co., said during a luncheon in downtown Seattle Friday.

Then, from Schendler's new book, "Getting Green Done," there's this commentary on a Colorado group's effort to eliminate plastic bags in grocery stores.

"The polar ice caps are melting, and the Midwest in the spring of 2008 experienced flooding consistent with 20 years of climate modeling; Denver was experiencing record drought, with only three inches of rain through July 2008; and Grand Junction was about to break a record for consecutive days over 90 degrees. And we're banning plastic bags," he wrote. "To quote John McEnroe: 'You have got to be kidding me!'" More >>>

Friday, April 10, 2009

Progress on Global Warming Remains Elusive

Friday, Apr. 10, 2009 - Yvo de Boer spends most of his time on the move, so it makes sense that he has a predilection for running metaphors. The head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

De Boer was in Bonn, Germany, over the past two weeks, helping to run the latest round of international negotiations on global-warming action, which concluded April 8.

More than 2,700 delegates from 180 countries met for the talks, which are intended to set the stage for the main event: the U.N. summit in Copenhagen in December, where nations are expected to hammer out a successor to the expiring Kyoto Protocol. "If this were a marathon, I think I'd say the runners were gathering their stamina for the final sprint," De Boer told reporters on the closing day. More >>>