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 >>>