Monday, October 31, 2011

China International Forum on Climate Change opens

BEIJING-- The 2011 China International Forum on Climate Change opened in Beijing on Sunday to discuss ways to balance economic and environmental priorities, develop green industry and construct low-carbon cities.

The forum was attended by more than 200 officials, scholars and entrepreneurs from China and European countries, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, co-organizer of the event.
Delegates are expected to suggest new ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions and develop carbon-trading markets in the hope of providing insights for next month's climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
Liu Yanhua, a counselor of the State Council, China's Cabinet, said as climate change has become an issue of economic and political concerns rather than a scientific problem, every country should take their fair share of responsibility in mitigating the impacts it brings.
He said both developed and developing countries should tackle climate change, notably with emission reduction plans in accordance with the principals of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and "respective capacities."
China has maintained that countries should bear "common but differentiated responsibilities" in climate change, with developed countries taking most of the responsibility for reducing carbon emissions blamed for global warming.
But Liu, also the former Vice Minister of Science and Technology, said that China in particular needs to speed up upgrading its low-carbon industries with technological innovation.
"Developed countries in the West have been dealing with their environmental problems over the past 100 to 200 years, but a lot of such problems simultaneously appeared in a much shorter period of time in China, making our situation much more complicated," he said.
"That's why we need to invest more and to expand international cooperation to provide our fight against climate change with stronger technical support." More

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Global warming: Middle East's vital wet winters are disappearing

Global warming is playing a significant role in diverting much-needed wet winter weather away from the increasingly dry Mediterranean, a new study led by a NOAA scientist suggests.

Winter droughts have become increasingly common in the Mediterranean region, particularly over the past 20 years, and a new study finds that global warming has driven at least half of the change.

Winter storms historically have delivered most of the annual rain and snowfall to the already arid Mediterranean region. Yet precipitation measurements from the region and modeling studies point to a relatively rapid shift in the winter rain and snowfall trends that began in the 1970s, according to the study.

That change could signal that the region "has moved into a new climate regime," says Martin Hoerling, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., and the study's lead author. More

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water emergencies grip Tuvalu & Tokelau

As governments and aid agencies scramble to deliver desalination plants and bottled water to drought stricken Pacific Island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau, other Pacific Island nations - Samoa and the Cook Islands - are preparing for a similar fate.
Is this band-aid approach to solving this problem going to be enough?

Redina Auina, spokeswoman for the Tuvalu Faith Based Youth network, who partner with, is in Tuvalu and describes the feelings of people as they face the reality of less than 5 days of drinkable water in the nations capital, Funafuti --
Experts say the past 12 months have been the second driest in Funafuti's 78 years of records. While we do not make any claims to it being solely a climate change related event, the reality is that the line between what is normal climatic variation and what might be extremes resulting from accelerated climate change is being blurred. This is particularly true for the hydrological cycle, which is sensitive to even subtle variations in the global climate and often results in either too much water, or in our case at the moment, too little. With an intense La Nina weather pattern over much of the Pacific, we’re not likely to see rain for months to come. It’s these kind of extremes that we are told will become our new reality for Tuvalu and the Pacific region as a whole. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, October 10, 2011

Water security, green growth in limelight at forum

Policymakers, academics and private experts from around the world united to call for measures to address a looming water crisis and shore up sustainable growth at a forum last week.

Around 800 officials and researchers from some 20 countries and multinational agencies took part in the International Conference on River

Restoration for Green Growth hosted on Friday in Seoul by the Korean government and the state-run Korea Water Resources Corp.

Participants underlined the significance of green growth given increasing water shortages, which are poised to take a huge toll on many parts of global community and their economy.

“Water affects everything ― climate, diversity, pollution, ocean acidification, poverty and others,” said Anthony Cox, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s environment and economy integration division.

“Water and green growth can go together to foster economy and deflate resource-based systemic risks. Water management can preserve ecosystem services, which saves tremendous costs.”

Water security has been catapulted into the foreground of global policy discussions as swift urbanization and desertification stoke demand for drinking water amid global warming. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NASA's top climate scientist: US south could become uninhabitable

Well, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see this statement from NASA’s James Hansen, perhaps the top climate scientist in the world. But

it’s a statement we seem to keep ignoring. Here’s the statement I’m referring to:

“Climate change — human-made global warming — is happening. It is already having noticeable impacts…. If we stay on with business as usual, the southern U.S. will become almost uninhabitable.”
Dr. James Hansen has a new paper out on global warming and climate science (and Monarch butterflies), but aside from tackling the science alone, Dr. Hansen also delves into the problems stopping us from addressing these problems. Here’s a piece of that:

There is ample evidence of growing climate disruption. But despite record or near-record heat and drought in the United States this past summer with simultaneous extreme flooding, and despite comparable extremes in China and elsewhere, there has been little public discussion of the connection of these climate extremes with human-made climate forcing.

The media are partly responsible for the silent summer, as they have mainly chosen not to examine connections between climate anomalies and human-made causes. A cynic may ask whether their silent summer is related to increasing right-wing control of media and large advertising revenues from fossil fuel companies. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

World Food Day, 16 October 2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the

World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pakistan: Another Victim of Climate Change

By Zafar Iqbal ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, September 27, 2011 (ENS) - Environmentalists are blaming climate change for the unprecedented

massive monsoon rains in Pakistan, which so far this year have affected eight million people, claiming 350 lives and damaging 1.3 million homes.
Over the past month, the country's southern region has received the highest monsoon rains ever recorded, local metrological experts confirm.

In August, the southern parts of the country received 270 percent above-normal monsoon rains. And in September, the monsoons rains were 1,170 percent above normal, says Dr. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Adviser Climate Affairs.

The Sindh province, where six million acres of land were inundated in current floods, had experienced severe drought conditions before the monsoon season and had not received any rainfall at all during the past 12 months.

Aid agencies are scrambling to help the multitude of flood victims - more than 1.5 million people are living in temporary camps.

Pakistan has witnessed swift climate change because of rising temperature and flooding downpours in the past two years. Climate experts consider this unexpected change as a part of broader regional climate changes also happening in the neighboring countries. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Film on Climate Refugees Strikes a Chord

During the shooting of his 2010 documentary “Climate Refugees,” the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about

18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.

Click here for film trailer

His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive. (Jeffrey Gettleman’s recent coverage of the Somali refugee crisis in The Times has offered some vivid and disturbing examples, although Somalia’s troubles are also inextricably linked to political turmoil.)

Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands