Thursday, December 23, 2010

Climate Change and ‘Balanced’ Coverage

In an article this week on the relentless rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, I outlined one of the canonical projections of climate science: if the amount of carbon dioxide doubles, the average surface temperature of the earth is likely to increase by 5 or 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a whopping change. I contrasted that with a prediction from skeptics of climate change who contend that the increase is likely to be less than 2 degrees.

One major voice on climate science, Richard B. Alley of the Pennsylvania State University, told me he gets annoyed by the way this contrast is often presented in news accounts. The higher estimate is often put forward as a worst case, he pointed out, while the skeptic number is presented as the best case.

In fact, as Dr. Alley reminds anyone who will listen, and as he recently told aCongressional committee, the estimate of 5 or 6 degrees is actually mildly optimistic. Computer programs used to forecast future climate show it as the most likely outcome from a doubling of carbon dioxide, but those programs also show substantial probabilities that the warming will be much greater. More >>>

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ireland’s Climate Change Bill Agreed

Mr John Gormley TD Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government today (16 December 16) outlined the details of the proposed Climate Change Bill. 

The bill provides a framework for legislation on the transition to a low-carbon future.  There will be a short-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average 2.5% per year, compared to 2008 emissions.

A further medium-term target will be introduced to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030 and a long-term target of 80% by 2050.  Climate policy objectives and obligations will be integrated into sectoral policy areas, and sectoral mitigation and adaptation plans will be required for relevant sectors.

Mr Gormley said: "The Bill is relatively short but I believe that it represents a milestone step forward for climate policy in Ireland.  "Its balance of clarity and progressiveness will make it easily accessible and highly effective.

"I appreciate that there will be some who have concerns about the Bill but I believe they have nothing to fear from such legislation.  "I look forward to the early publication of the bill and positive engagement from the opposition in order to provide a potent piece of legislation that will serve us into the future." More >>>

Friday, December 10, 2010

NASA: The World is Getting Warmer

The world is getting warmer. Whether the cause is human activity or natural variability, thermometer readings all around the world have risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8°Celsius (1.4°Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade. More >>>

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More support needed for small island developing states (SIDS) - PM Golding

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has called for special differential treatment for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the development process, in access  to loans, and the terms, conditions and costs of these loans.

"Some countries need debt write off and it has been proven what can be done when debt forgiveness is handled properly', Mr. Golding told yesterday's (Dec 7) opening of the 5th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay.

Mr. Golding said the catastrophic effect of disasters on the SIDS must never be under estimated. He cited Grenada as an example of an economy which had been showing significant growth built up over a 10 year period which was all destroyed in just 2 hours by Hurricane Ivan. He appealed to the developed world to carve out some special arrangement for the SIDS because they are subject to natural disasters, some of which are created by what the industrialized world has done to the ecology. More >>>

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Many Strong Voices Holds First Advisory Committee Meeting

Many Strong Voices Holds First Advisory Committee Meeting

30 October 2010: Many Strong Voices (MSV), a collaboration between Arctic and small island developing States (SIDS) that seeks to promote the wellbeing of these areas vulnerable to climate change, held its first Advisory Committee meeting in the Seychelles from 28-30 October. The purpose of the Seychelles meeting was to review the MSV five-year plan (2008-2012) and communications strategy, and to identity opportunities and next steps for the MSV initiative.
The MSV Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from Arctic indigenous organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and SIDS representatives. Meeting participants included representatives from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Organization of American States (OAS), Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Cayman Institute and Government of the Cook Islands, as well as the University of Seychelles and the Sea Level Rise Foundation.
Key outcomes of the meeting included: a revised MSV five-year Strategic Plan with a focus on activities in the next two years; agreement on the coordination of an MSV side event on "Voices from the North and South: Food Security and Human Rights in Small Island Developing States and the Arctic" at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun, Mexico; agreement on the initiation of new projects on food security, ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, and human rights; and the development of a new project on black carbon.
The meeting coincided with an exhibition, titled "Portraits of Resilience," photo and stories on climate change by youth from communities in the Seychelles, Fiji, Tuvalu, Alaska, Greenland, Canada, and Norway. [IISD RS Sources] More >>>

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arctic and small island nations join forces against climate change | Indian Country Today | Latin Indigenous

Arctic and small island nations join forces against climate change | 

Imagine you live on an island, a tropical paradise. 
Turquoise waters rise and fall at the shore’s edge. The ocean’s rhythmic sounds lull you into a sense of security. All feels right in your island home.

Suddenly, reality strikes.

You’re a lifelong resident of an island in theSeychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean, and you’ve got 10 days of drinking water left.

Monday, December 6, 2010

At climate summit, they're feeling like deserted islands

Members of the Alliance of Small Island States, already suffering the ill effects of global warming, are furious that the large nations that are the big emitters of greenhouse gases aren't doing more to ensure their survival. 

December 04, 2010
Reporting from Cancun, Mexico — In the scrum of 9,000 negotiators gathered in Cancun to wrangle over a globalclimate treaty Ronny Jumeau has no patience for diplomatic niceties.
"I won't shut up," said the pugnacious chief of the three-member delegation from Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago. "Even when we're underwater, when the bubbles pop, you'll hear us  yelling.
Jumeau is a member of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a negotiating bloc of 43 nations already suffering the ill effects of climate change: longer droughts, bigger floods, stronger hurricanes and rising seas. The countries circle the globe from the Pacific to the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, and they are furious that the industrial nations — the big emitters of greenhouse gases — are not moving fast enough to ensure their survival. More >>>

Outside Cancún climate conference, Caribbean Sea testifies to global warming

2010 was one of the deadliest years on record for coral reefs. The Caribbean Sea just outside the Cancún climate conference offers evidence of global warming's negative effect. 

This summer’s extreme heat may seem like a distant memory as winter approaches the United States.

But the summer that broke heat records across the Northern Hemisphere is still being felt below the surface of the Caribbean Sea: 2010 will likely be one of the most deadly years on record for coral reefs.

If diplomats attending the two-week global climate change talks that opened Monday in Cancún, Mexico, want more evidence of the negative and potentially devastating affects of warming temperatures, they need look no further than the blue sea outside their hotels. Researchers say that throughout the Caribbean coral reefs are “bleaching,” a condition that occurs when they are under extreme stress due to warmer-than-normal sea temperatures. More >>>

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Modelling the Transformational Impacts and Cost of Sea Level Rise in the Caribbean

This study provides the most detailed analysis to date of the damages and costs associated with SLR for the CARICOM nations, and builds on work completed in Phase I in 2009. 
Previous economic studies as well as recent developments identified in the Economics of Climate Change Working Group (ECA) study in estimating impacts due to climate change.  The methodology incorporates top-down and bottom-up approaches (i.e., macro, meso- and micro-scales analyses) to model impacts on the economies of each CARICOM country individually.  A unique strength of this economic study is that it is based on the most detailed geographic reality of coastal geomorphology and development that determine vulnerability to SLR. 
The economic implications of the impacts of climate change and required adaptation are being increasingly quantified to better inform international negotiations regarding adaptation assistance. 
Such in-depth information is essential for the Caribbean States, SIDS and LDCs to strategically reduce vulnerability through investment, insurance, planning, and policy decisions, and inform negotiations regarding adaptation assistance under the Copenhagen Accord that was agreed at COP15 in Copenhagen.
OutputsKey Points Document - Download
Summary Document - Download

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Future at Risk on a Hotter Planet

We are entering a new era, one of rapid and often unpredictable climate change. In fact, the new climate norm is change. The 25 warmest years on record have come since 1980. 
And the 10 warmest years since global recordkeeping began in 1880 have come since 1998. The effects of rising temperature are pervasive. Higher temperatures diminish crop yields, melt the mountain glaciers that feed rivers, generate more-destructive storms, increase the severity of flooding, intensify drought, cause more-frequent and destructive wildfires, and alter ecosystems everywhere. We are altering the earth's climate, setting in motion trends we do not always understand with consequences we cannot anticipate.