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Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse'

Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse' | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Nicholas Stern ar newid hinsawdd: "Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one?" http://t.co/HHJNWX8n

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."

He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.

"This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential."

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Climate change is turning my sport upside down ("vanishing ice turning snow skiing an obsolete sport")

Climate change is turning my sport upside down ("vanishing ice turning snow skiing an obsolete sport") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

Freestyle skier and devoted WWF supporter, Luke McCarthy got in touch with me back in 2013 with a simple but urgent question: “I’m worried about the future of my sport. How can I help you to spread the word about climate change?”

Today, he’s channeling his energy, enthusiasm and talent into creating a film about the impacts of global warming on snow sport. This is his story…

The mountains have been a huge part of my life since learning to ski at the age of five. My love for the sport has taken me down many different routes, firstly as an international ski racer and more recently as a sponsored freestyle skier. One thing that has never changed over my many years as a skier is my love for the mountains and a passion for everyone to be able to enjoy them in all their glory. This is a passion that is under threat by ever rising global temperatures.

Skiing to me is not just a sport. It is a lifestyle – and one worth fighting to protect. Having spent much time emphasising the importance of global warming to my peers and the effects it is having on the mountains, I feel I must act. So I’m going to be using what I do best – freestyle skiing tricks – to create a film that can help reach out to the UK’s 1 million skiers about the threat of climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Even skiing in the snow can become an obsolete sport because of global warming. This freestyle skier has seen the transformation of the climate and is now an advocate for climate action.

"Luke is currently editing his film for release in the autumn. Luke is a keen supporter of our ‘For the love of’ campaign which is urging politicians to take immediate action on climate change in the name of all the things we hold dear."

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Stronger Local and Trans-border Policies Needed to Tackle Air Pollution

Stronger Local and Trans-border Policies Needed to Tackle Air Pollution | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Tougher treaties that penalize polluters while also providing incentives to stop, as well as new tech solutions, are vital for improving global air quality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently sounded the alarm about global air quality. In the 1,600 cities it monitors, only 12 percent of people breathe air that falls within its quality guidelines. In February of this year, the concentration of pollutants in the air in Beijing and Shanghai was more than 20 times WHO limits. But Delhi was the city found to have the world’s highest annual average concentration of PM2.5 – fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 microns, and considered the most harmful form of air pollution to human health, the WHO reported in May.

These are just the statistics we know about: The WHO recently told the Guardian some of the worst cities for air pollution “are not collecting data regularly.”

The good news is that the policies and technologies that are needed to address the two main causes of all this air pollution – heavy industry and vehicles – have been tried and tested for decades now. “Effective policies restrict the amount [of pollutants] that various polluters can emit, and then companies have options about how they choose to do it,” says Deborah Seligsohn, an environmental policy analyst specializing in China and India, based at the University of California, San Diego.

Tom Morton, director of ClimateCare, makes the point that “companies that wish to take action to improve air quality should seriously consider offsetting their carbon emissions through innovative climate and development projects, which make a measurable and immediate difference on the ground, improving air quality and saving lives.” Such projects, he says, can help to dramatically reduce air pollution at a local, household level – as in the case of ClimateCare’s Clean Cookstoves initiative, which aims to reduce the 2 million deaths caused each year by household air pollution from inefficient coal and biomass stoves.

Bert Guevara's insight:

In the 1,600 cities it monitors, only 12 percent of people breathe air that falls within its quality guidelines.

"Part of the problem with air is that we don’t see it. We breathe over 20,000 times a day, on average, but pay little attention to the steady rise and fall of our lungs – unless we are struggling to inhale, of course.

"More research is needed into the economic impacts of poor air quality on health and productivity. Meanwhile, policy-makers need to pre-empt incidents of smog, not just react to them."

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OUR OPINION: Cellulosic ethanol production holds promise for nation ("turning agri waste into fuel")

OUR OPINION: Cellulosic ethanol production holds promise for nation ("turning agri waste into fuel") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
In a ceremony fit for a king (King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was in fact, in attendance, joining city and state dignitaries), leaders of Poet, a South Dakota-based ethanol company,

The plant will produce 25 million gallons of ethanol each year from corn plant residue left in the field such as cobs, leaves, stalks and husk.

For the industry, this state and, indeed, the nation, cellulosic ethanol production represents a significant, if not historic advancement and holds substantial future promise.

"This is the very tip of the iceberg," Jeff Broin, Poet founder and chairman, said in Emmetsburg. "What we see today is a symbol of what can be accomplished through the miracle of nature, the work of the farmer and the power of human ingenuity."

The reality of cellulosic ethanol production - in the face, we might add, of skeptics like Patrick Kelly, a policy advisor at the ethanol-foe American Petroleum Institute, who called cellulosic ethanol a “phantom fuel” - provides more evidence of the need for continued federal support (including no reduction in the Renewable Fuel Standard) of what remains a young industry undergoing groundbreaking change through science. To, in effect, pull the rug from under ethanol and its potential at this key moment in its evolution not only would devastate the industry and corn states such as Iowa, but would be short-sighted and counterproductive with respect to national priorities like reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy independence.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Without competing for food produce as feedstock, new ethanol technology goes a long way in clean energy and waste management.

"This is the very tip of the iceberg," Jeff Broin, Poet founder and chairman, said in Emmetsburg. "What we see today is a symbol of what can be accomplished through the miracle of nature, the work of the farmer and the power of human ingenuity."

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Global Warming Threatens Organic Coffee ("from coconuts to coffee, fungi infests plants worldwide")

Global Warming Threatens Organic Coffee ("from coconuts to coffee, fungi infests plants worldwide") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Global warming has created the worst outbreak of leaf-rust fungus in 30 years for organic

Farmers can use chemicals to kill the fungus, though they risk losing their organic certification if they do.

Humid conditions and erratic weather for the past two years in Chiapas, Mexico, have allowed the fungus spores to spread much faster than in the past, according to Ruben Bernabe of the Chiapas Federation of Ecologic Indigenous Coffee Producers. The fungus is expected to reduce the crop — both organic and non-organic — by 23 percent this year from 2013, according to local government data.

In Guatemala, the fungus used to only be a threat to coffee plants grown below 3,000 feet. Now the fungus is hitting crops as high as 6,000 feet.

In Colombia, leaf rust devastated crops from 2009 to 2012, which sent prices for the beans to a 14-year high in 2011.

The disease, first found in Latin America in the 1970s, is caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, which disrupts photosynthesis and prevents beans from reaching full maturity.

According to Steve Savage, a plant pathology consultant in Encinitas, Calif., farmers can kill the fungus by using a copper-based fungicide. However, the fungicide can wash off the plants in wet weather, requiring the workers to apply it every few days. This increases the amount that runs off into streams, which can endanger wildlife, and potentially poison soil.

In 2012, researchers at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and scientists in Ethiopia warned that wild Arabica coffee could be extinct in 70 years due to rising temperatures as a result of climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We may end up drinking chemically-laced coffee from our brewer.

"Global warming has created the worst outbreak of leaf-rust fungus in 30 years for organic coffee growers throughout Mexico, Central America and parts of South America, according to Bloomberg.

"Farmers can use chemicals to kill the fungus, though they risk losing their organic certification if they do. ...

"According to a report last year from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming is “unequivocal” and each of the last three decades has been warmer at the Earth’s surface than any previous decade since 1850."

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Clean coal key to combating climate change: Rio Tinto ("self-justification? - is there such a thing")

Clean coal key to combating climate change: Rio Tinto ("self-justification? - is there such a thing") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Mining giant Rio Tinto said Tuesday clean coal was key to tackling climate change and that developing the technology was a challenge greater than the first moon landing.

"The challenge now faced by the whole world is far more urgent and important," Kenyon-Slaney said.

"But it can be solved by the same methodical, determined process. The world has no choice."

Kenyon-Slaney's remarks came ahead of a World Meteorological Organization report released Tuesday that showed global concentrations of CO2, the main culprit in global warming, soaring to a new high in 2013.

The energy boss, who described emissions-driven climate change as "among the world's biggest and most pressing" problems, said he supported the development of all power-generating technologies including renewables.

But he said the abundance of coal meant it would remain the world's main source of "large-scale, reliable, affordable energy".

Advancing research and development in carbon capture storage, known as CCS, to make it commercially viable should therefore be a key goal for governments and businesses, Kenyon-Slaney said.

"(The technologies) can all help to combat climate change but breakthroughs in low-emissions coal generation will be fundamental. They could break the back of this problem," he said.

While CCS has been hailed as a solution to make fossil fuels cleaner, the technology has at this stage been too risky, costly and energy inefficient in its own right.

The technology involves trapping CO2 emissions from power plants and other large sources, liquefying them and storing them deep underground.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The coal industry wants to justify its continued use by saying that we have no choice!

Is there such a thing as "clean coal"? Isn't there another energy plan that does not emit as much carbon as coal?


"But it can be solved by the same methodical, determined process. The world has no choice." (Rio Tinto energy chief Harry Kenyon-Slaney)

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'PH can rely on renewable energy as stable power source' ("reliable and politically immuned source")

'PH can rely on renewable energy as stable power source' ("reliable and politically immuned source") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Petilla says the Philippines can rely on renewable energy in the face of fluctuating global oil prices and threats to energy security

With fluctuating fuel prices in the global market, the Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for renewable energy (RE) to make up a significant portion of the Philippines' energy mix.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the Philippines can rely on RE for a stable source of energy whenever oil prices go up or if there is a shortage in supply in the global market.

“Because RE is indigenous, which means it is locally available, we can depend on it for energy security even if there are political issues such as war in other countries," Petilla added.

Aside from providing a secure energy source, Petilla also cited its benefit to the environment.

“In addition to contributing to our energy sources which ultimately translates to energy security, utilizing RE is needed for environmental reasons. Since it is clean energy, harnessing RE can cushion the effects of climate change,” Petilla said.

The Philippine is harnessing 30% of RE in its energy mix, which is currently dominated by coal and diesel. The country also imports 90% of its fuel needs.

Petilla acknowledged that the infrastructure needed to utilize RE is expensive, but he added that the benefits – especially to private citizens – outweigh the costs.

"The equipment only entails one-time cost, not repeated costs. Also, private citizens can actually benefit more for own-use of RE such as solar, wind and biomass in self-generation of electricity for their own use,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As long as we are importing 90%+ of our fuel, we cannot be stable in our energy, specially now that global politics is shakey. Renewable energy is key to our long-term stability.

"While the cost of electricity from a coal plant can amount to P12.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh), including costs for distribution and transmission, using solar panels can run to about P9.00 per kWh for generation, with no costs for distribution or transmission."

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With falling costs, renewable energy transforms world ("economic sense can change political decisions")

With falling costs, renewable energy transforms world ("economic sense can change political decisions") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Renewable energy can cut 7m annual deaths due to air pollution

Apart from offering environmental and health benefits, renewable energy with its decreasing costs has started playing a larger positive role in socio-economic sectors. Renewable energy provides energy access to millions of people living in energy poverty, creates millions of jobs every year, and contributes significantly to the national income of many countries, they said.

“Today, renewable energy outcompetes coal in South Africa and shale gas in the world market. They [renewable energy sources] are overwhelmingly cheaper than any other energy source,” Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, said.

Renewables have become the economic choice of even some oil-exporting countries. “Here in the UAE solar PV [photovoltaic] cost was

$5 (Dh18.36) per watt in 2008; but today it costs less than $1.5 per watt,” Al Jaber said.

He said renewable energy makes good economic sense now.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The SHIFT to renewable energy now makes economic sense. So what are we waiting for?

"The emissions from solar, wind, nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal sources of energy are, across their lifetime, 10 to 120 times less g than the cleanest fossil fuel (natural gas) and up to 250 times lower than coal.

"About the falling costs, he said solar photovoltaic costs alone fell by two-thirds between the end of 2009 and 2013: a speed of change comparable to that seen in the IT revolution. In Denmark, wind recently became the cheapest energy source of all, beating out even coal. In Germany, almost half of all renewable generation is now owned by households and farmers, marking a profound shift in control, Ameen said."

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The World Is Falling Behind In Its Goal Of Limiting Warming To 2°C, Report Finds ("not serious enough")

The World Is Falling Behind In Its Goal Of Limiting Warming To 2°C, Report Finds ("not serious enough") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
So far, progress toward keeping global warming to 2°C has been slow.

Meeting a goal of limiting warming to 2°C is becoming increasingly difficult as the world falls behind in implementing needed carbon reduction policies, according to a new report.

 The sixth annual Low Carbon Economy Index, published by PwC, examined what progress different countries have made in reducing carbon intensity, or the ratio of emissions produced to GDP. Overall, the report found, progress toward keeping global warming to 2°C has been slow.

“While all governments at the UNFCCC reiterate the goal of limiting warming to 2°C, implementation has fallen short of this goal,” the report reads. “Current total annual energy-related emissions are just over 30 GtCO2 and still rising, a carbon ‘burn rate’ that would deplete the carbon budget for the entire century within the next 20 years.”

The report found that, if countries want to get on track in lowering their emissions toward a 2°C goal, the world needs to cut its carbon intensity by 6.2 percent each year from now until 2100 — more than five times the current rate for the global economy. That rate would also be “double the decarbonisation rate achieved in the UK during the rapid shift to gas-fired electricity generation in the nineties,” the report notes.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The planet's report card is failing!

“Overall, to stay within the global carbon budget, annual energy-related emissions by the G20 bloc need to fall by one-third by 2030 and just over half by 2050,” the report states. “Much of the debate in climate negotiations has centred on responsibility and how to share the burden between developed and developing countries, as defined in 1992 in the UNFCCC. Regardless of how the carbon budget is split, it is clear that both developed and emerging economies face the challenge of growing their economies whilst radically curbing emissions.”

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‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense | Climate Central ("the law is for good of man")

‘Urgency of Climate Change’ to Debut as Legal Defense | Climate Central ("the law is for good of man") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The necessity defense will be used in the case of two men who blockaded a coal shipment.

The men’s attorneys are planning to deploy a novel strategy. It’s called the necessity defense. They will argue that the urgency of climate change and greenhouse gas pollution was so great that their clients’ actions were legally justifiable.

The trial’s outcome could have far-reaching implications, with fossil fuel blockades growing in popularity around the world as a form of climate-related protest. And the trial could grab national headlines. Former NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen and prolific climate writer Bill McKibben told Climate Central that they plan to testify in Ward’s and O’Hara’s defense.

“The necessity defense is a defense that justifies a particular criminal act,” Gertner said. “You’re saying the harm created by the criminal act is outweighed by the harm to be avoided. It’s saying it isn’t a crime.”

If the men’s attorneys do win in court using the necessity defense, “it would create a precedent,” Gertner said. “That’s probably something that would be in the judge’s mind. Would this enable people, or encourage people, to do other acts — to block coal shipments, or nat gas?”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Can we outlaw certain acts in the name of the good of the environment and of man?

“If there is a threat that’s looming to property or life, to yourself or a loved one, or, in this case, to all of our loved ones, you can act in ways that would otherwise be considered criminally illegal.”

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India's Severe Ozone Pollution Kills Enough Crops to Feed 94 Million People ("dirty air kills crops")

India's Severe Ozone Pollution Kills Enough Crops to Feed 94 Million People ("dirty air kills crops") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
India's ozone pollution is a growing problem and now, scientists have announced that it's damaged millions of tons of the country's major crops. In fact, it's caused losses of more than a billion dollars and has destroyed enough food to feed tens of millions of people.

Rising emissions are causing severe ozone pollution in India's most populated regions, like Delhi, where pollution has reached levels comparable to Beijing. Currently, there are no air quality standards in India that are designed to protect agriculture from the effects of ground-level ozone pollution, which is formed when nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and organic compounds react with sunlight.

That's why the researchers decided to calculate the total damage the pollution was doing to crops. They compared emissions estimates from 2005 with data about how much ozone each of four crops could withstand. Plants start to exhibit damage when they are exposed to ozone levels that reach 40 parts per billion or above. Then, the scientists used a computer model to calculate ozone levels during crop growing seasons.

So what did they find? It turns out that surface ozone pollution damaged 6.7 million tons of India's wheat, rice, soybean and cotton crops in 2005. In fact, India could feed 94 million people with the lost wheat and rice crops, which is about a third of the country's poor.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Cleaning the air produces more food for the hungry in India.

"The findings reveal the importance of putting emission regulations into effect. Damage to crops means that less food is being produced; this, in turn, means that those near India's poverty line suffer for it. By making some changes, it's possible to potentially increase crop yield. Hopefully, the new study will help spur the action need in order to create new air quality standards."

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Climate-related disasters rising in PH: ADB - YouTube ("preparedness the only viable response for now")

Typhoon "Yolanda", "Glenda", and even Habagat. All of these caused great effect in the country. According to the study made by Asian Development Bank, the cl...
Bert Guevara's insight:

Deadly super-typhoons like Yolanda may hit the Philippines every 2 years. We can only increase our preparedness to meet this climate challenge. 

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News - Leaked IPCC draft report highlights risk of 'abrupt and irreversible change' as carbon emissions continue - The Weather Network

News - Leaked IPCC draft report highlights risk of 'abrupt and irreversible change' as carbon emissions continue - The Weather Network | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
A leaked draft report from the IPCC is warning of 'abrupt and irreversible change' if we continue to delay action on climate change.

While this report holds no new information, over and above the already-published parts of the 5th assessment report, it is a simple and direct summary of all the science background, the impacts, and the mitigation strategies to deal with global warming and climate change. It also gives the climate scientists involved another opportunity to emphasize to the world the profound importance of dealing with this issue.

"The risk of abrupt and irreversible change increases as the magnitude of the warming increases."

According to the report: "Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems."

"The report represents a very conservative viewpoint that can be shared by, essentially, all of the scientists contributing to the report, who have various views and various findings," he said, which leads to what he calls a "scientific lowest common denominator" - a message that all the scientists can agree on, regardless of which end of the scale they are at, with respect to the threat of climate change.

Based on the findings of Part 3 of the 5th assessment report, Mitigation of Climate Change, it is still possible to act to limit the impacts of global warming on our climate, and we are at a point now when it it still relatively inexpensive to put those plans into effect.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Another urgent call for action ... in case you forgot!

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Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions")

Global Trash Burning Far More Polluting Than Expected (around 5% of total man-made CO2 emissions") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it

NEW DELHI (AP) — Rampant trash-burning is throwing more pollution and toxic particles into the air than governments are reporting, according to a scientific study estimating more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned....

While many governments tally emissions from incinerators, trash that is burned in backyards, fields and dumps is mostly unregulated and unreported.

Researchers pulled together existing data on population, per capita production of trash and official reports on waste disposal to calculate how much garbage is burned around the world each year. The answer: 41 percent of our global 2 billion-ton annual output goes up in flames.

China and India were found to have the most trash burned by residents, while China, Brazil and Mexico burned the most at garbage dumps.

Much of the world's air pollution can be blamed on burning garbage, including discarded plastics, busted electronics, broken furniture and food scraps.

 

China's trash-burning emissions, for example, are not reflected in official data for slightly larger PM10 particulate matter, though the study shows those emissions are equal to 20 percent of what's reported.

 

The study also showed that global trash burning releases about 5 percent of the world's man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Is trash-burning still happening in your neighborhood? 

"In India, where burning trash is illegal, hundreds of thousands with no garbage pickup have no other choice for disposal. And as temperatures dip in winter, they often have few other options for keeping warm, and many spend their nights huddled around noxious blue flames coming off humble pyres of burning plastic bags, rubber tires and whatever else they can find handy to burn."

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Climate Summit: What to Expect on Pollution Control ("besides carbon, attention needed on other GHG")

Climate Summit: What to Expect on Pollution Control ("besides carbon, attention needed on other GHG") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
At the UN Climate Summit in New York, the issue of short-lived climate pollutants will be high on the agenda.
New partnerships announced at the Summit are expected to provide valuable impetus to international climate action.
The short lived climate pollutants methane, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon (or soot) are greenhouse gases with relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere of a few days to a few decades and highly damaging to human health, agriculture and ecosystems.
Initiatives expect…
Bert Guevara's insight:

Why action on short-termed climate pollutants is important

Methane, for example from coal mines, natural gas and oil systems and landfills, has 86 times stronger global warming potential than heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Hydrofluorocarbons – man-made greenhouse gases used in air conditioning, refrigeration, solvents, foam blowing agents, and aerosols – are also highly dangerous. If left unchecked, they could account for nearly 20 percent of climate pollution by 2050.

And black carbon or soot, produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass impacts, not only impact the climate but human health. Black soot is estimated to have caused almost 7 million premature deaths in 2010 alone.

Fast action to reduce short lived climate pollutants can immediately improve health, and slow down the average global temperature rise expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5 Celsius degrees.

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The Good and Bad Climate News from Permafrost Melt | Climate Central ("findings point to timebomb")

The Good and Bad Climate News from Permafrost Melt | Climate Central ("findings point to timebomb") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Permafrosts are melting away. Scientists are figuring out what's happening to all the soil carbon they contain.

The team took measurements and water samples at 135 lakes and 73 rivers around the Kuparuk River basin in Alaska’s North Slope during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013. The researchers wanted to know how much floating soil carbon was being oxidized into carbon dioxide by bacteria, how much was being oxidized through the effects of sunlight, and how much of the carbon was escaping both of these natural processes — and remaining in the water.

The good news from their analysis, the results of which were published last month in Science: About 45 percent of the soil carbon that’s eroding from permafrost and muddying Arctic waters was found to be remaining in the waterways.

The bad news? Looked at from another perspective, 55 percent of it is being oxidized into climate-changing carbon dioxide. The vast majority of that is caused by the effects of sunrays, which break apart chemical bonds that hold carbon molecules together, setting in motion reactions that can produce CO2.

The worrying news, no matter how you dice the de-icing permafrost findings? "There's so much carbon stored in northern permafrost soils that even if, say, 10 percent of that carbon is released through the processes we studied, it would still have a big impact," Cory said. She calculated that "conservative" scenario would raise atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by 75 to 80 parts per million — over and above the effects of continued fossil fuel burning and other causes. And that, she said, would lead to "a lot of warming." 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our knowledge of global warming impacts are only beginning to be discovered. The issue of permafrost began as a red alert flag accepted by a wait-and-see public. Now that it is real, only now can we decide whether to push the PANIC button or not.

“As the Arctic continues to warm, and the permafrost thaw gets deeper, what happens then is you’re bringing out a different kind of carbon,” she said. “It has a different chemical signature.”

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Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

Leonardo DiCaprio named UN Messenger of Peace | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Leonardo DiCaprio's movie roles have made him an international star, but his long and little-known commitment to preserving the global environment has led to his new role — as a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Tuesday that the 39-year-old American actor will join 11 other prominent world figures who advocate on behalf of the U.N. as Messengers of Peace including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, George Clooney, Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, primatologist Jane Goodall and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Ban told a news conference that the Dicaprio "is not just one of the world's leading actors" but he has "a longstanding commitment to environmental causes."

He said DiCaprio will focus his U.N. role on climate change issues.

"His global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge," the secretary-general told a news conference.

Ban said DiCaprio's first act as a Messenger of Peace will be to address the climate summit he is holding next Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, which 120 world leaders are expected to attend. Ban said the aim is to promote commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions and pave the way for a global climate agreement in 2015.

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

DiCaprio established a foundation in 1998 with a mission to promote the Earth's last wild places and build a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world. According to the U.N., the foundation through grants, media projects and public campaigns and appearances by DiCaprio, has brought attention and funds to three areas — protecting biodiversity, conservation of oceans and forests, and climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:

I'm glad he is on our side.

"I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history — it is a moment for action," he said. "How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet." 

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Video - Ozone layer 'shows signs of recovery' ("the planet is winning this battle vs CFCs")

Video - Ozone layer 'shows signs of recovery' ("the planet is winning this battle vs CFCs") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The Earth's protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists.

The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were phased out in the 1980s.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The Earth's protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists.

"The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were phased out in the 1980s."

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World Falls Behind in Efforts to Tackle Climate Change: Report ("world on track for 3 deg C warming")

World Falls Behind in Efforts to Tackle Climate Change: Report ("world on track for 3 deg C warming") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The world's major economies are falling further behind every year in terms of meeting the rate of carbon emission reductions to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C, according to the sixth annual Low Carbon Economy Index report

"The gap between what we are achieving and what we need to do is growing wider every year," PwC's Jonathan Grant said. He said governments were increasingly detached from reality in addressing the 2 degree goal.

"Current pledges really put us on track for 3 degrees. This is a long way from what governments are talking about."

Almost 200 countries agreed at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times to limit heat waves, floods, storms and rising seas from climate change. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.85 degrees Celsius.

Carbon intensity will have to be cut by 6.2 percent a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 1.2 percent from 2012 to 2013.

As the manufacturing hubs of the world, the seven biggest emerging nations have emissions 1.5-times larger than those of the seven biggest developed economies and the decoupling of economic growth from carbon emissions in those nations is seen as vital.

Britain, Italy and China each achieved a decarbonization rate of 4-5 percent, while five countries increased their carbon intensity: France, the United States, India, Germany and Brazil.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There has to be more political will among the participating nations in these UN Climate Conferences. It appears that pledges are not matched by action.

"United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes to gather more than 100 world leaders in New York on September 23 to reinvigorate efforts to forge a global climate deal."

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Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says - New York Times

Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says - New York Times | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
New York Times Climate Change Will Disrupt Half of North America's Bird Species, Study Says New York Times Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change...

The Baltimore oriole will probably no longer live in Maryland, the common loon might leave Minnesota, and the trumpeter swan could be entirely gone.

Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change is likely to so alter the bird population of North America that about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live, feed and breed over the next 65 years. If they do not — and for several dozen it will be very difficult — they could become extinct.

The four Audubon Society scientists who wrote the report projected in it that 21.4 percent of existing bird species studied will lose “more than half of the current climactic range by 2050 without the potential to make up losses by moving to other areas.” An additional 32 percent will be in the same predicament by 2080, they said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

While birds go extinct, the rest of nature will not be far behind. Are we just going to watch and wait?

“The notion that we can have a future that looks like what our grandparents experienced, with the birds they had, is unlikely,” said Gary Langham, the study’s chief author, in an interview. The impact of climate change, he said, will not just harm birds already considered endangered — it is as likely to decimate birds that have robust populations now.

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The Climate Change Defense? Citing Global Warming, DA Drops Charges Against Anti-Coal Activists - YouTube

In a surprise move, District Attorney Sam Sutter of Bristol, Massachusetts, has dropped criminal charges against two climate activists who were set to go on trial Monday for blocking a shipment of 40,000 tons of coal. In May 2013, Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara used their lobster boat to prevent a delivery of the coal to the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. For their trial, Ward and O'Hara had planned to invoke the "necessity defense," arguing that their actions were justified by how the coal industry worsens the climate change that threatens our planet. In an unprecedented announcement, District Attorney Sutter all but adopted their reasoning and dropped the charges. "Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter said outside the courthouse, explaining his decision. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking.” 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a legal breakthrough in climate change activism! I see this as a precedent of bigger things to come.

The District Attorney in Massachusetts cites Global Warming as a sufficient reason for dropping charges against 2 climate activists who used their small boats to block the delivery of coal by a tanker.

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Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So ("let's just get ready; no-win debates later")

Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So ("let's just get ready; no-win debates later") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, some community leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: Just change the...

Big cities and small towns are shoring up dams and dikes, using roof gardens to absorb rainwater or upgrading sewage treatment plans to prevent overflows. Others are planting urban forests, providing more shady relief from extreme heat. Extension agents are helping farmers deal with an onslaught of newly arrived crop pests.

But in many places, especially strongholds of conservative politics, they're planning for the volatile weather linked to rising temperatures by speaking of "sustainability" or "resilience," while avoiding no-win arguments with skeptics over whether the planet is warming or that human activity is responsible.

The pattern illustrates a growing disconnect between the debate still raging in politics and the reality on the ground. In many city planning departments, it has become like Voldemort, the arch-villain of the Harry Potter stories: It's the issue that cannot be named.

"The messaging needs to be more on being prepared and knowing we're tending to have more extreme events," said Graham Brannin, planning director in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Sen. James Inhofe — a global warming denier and author of a book labeling it "The Greatest Hoax" — once served as mayor. "The reasoning behind it doesn't matter; let's just get ready."

Bert Guevara's insight:

While the climate change debates rage on, the more prudent city and political leaders continue preparing for a warming world without the arguments.

Even the insurance experts have accepted the reality and have included climate change in their actuarial computations. Architects and engineers have included climate resiliency in their designs. Government budgets have set aside enormous disaster preparedness funds. Potable water, irrigation and power utilities are scrambling for dwindling resources.

Do we have time for climate debates?

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Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ... - Daily Mail

Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ... - Daily Mail | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Daily Mail
Why you could suffer from more pollution while driving a car than walking on ...
People in cars exposed to up to 15 times pollution of walkers and cyclistsEmissions are highest in the centre of the carriageway, where the cars areDirty air is sucked in through car air filters and breathed in by passengersStudy run by Environmental Audit Committee - cross-party group of five MPsMPs inhaled average of 50 million soot particles per breath in London cab Those who live in big cities have lower life expectancies because of pollution

By far the highest levels of tiny particles of ‘black carbon’ or deadly soot breathed in by the MPs was during taxi journeys in cities.

On average each inhaled around 50 million particles per breath while inside a cab in London, around seven times more than the six to seven million particles per breath inhaled while walking around Whitehall or Oxford Street, and 15 times greater than levels recorded outside their eventual destination City Hall where, on leaving the cab, levels fell to three million particles per breath.

The findings are worrying because persistent inhalation of air pollution and traffic emissions have been linked to lower life expectancy and serious illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, as well as low birth weights and stunted lung development in children. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The biggest concern is the tiny bits of carbon - around 30 times smaller than a human hair - which are so small they can get into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream, passing through major organs, such as the heart and brain.

"They can have immediate effects on people with existing health conditions, triggering asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.

But, worryingly, pollution can also cause diseases in healthy individuals, such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even cancer."

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Cut air pollution in half by taking road less travelled - Telegraph ("staying away from main roads")

Cut air pollution in half by taking road less travelled  - Telegraph ("staying away from main roads") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
Simply avoiding main roads and switching to side streets can halve the amount of air pollution commuters breath in, Dr Rossa Burgha, has found

The most recent statistics from Public Health England (PHE) suggest that 5.3 per cent of all deaths in over-25s are linked to air pollution, but that leaps to 8.3 per cent in inner London.

However Dr Burgha found that pollution, primarily caused by traffic, falls off rapidly just a few metres away from main roads.

He tested the theory while walking the two miles between Waterloo Station in London and the British Library, and found that by switching to side streets, the recorded level of air pollution he experienced fell by half.

“The most important thing is being away from the traffic,” he said.

“If you are walking home from work at rush hour or when you’re walking to your office in the morning, veer off into the side streets and the air will be cleaner.

“You can cut air pollution by half by going a different route, which will have incremental health benefits.”

Dr Burgha claims that pollution in cities can be the equivalent of smoking half a cigarette per day and is particularly damaging for children, because their lungs are still developing.

He advises parents to look carefully at routes to school to avoid the busiest roads.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Try this: using side roads, away from the traffic, can reduce air pollution intake by half.

In congested Metro Manila, there are some side roads available but may not be always safe. Use your Waze (using "shortest" route or Google Map to get guidance).

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For Air Pollution, Trash Is a Burning Problem | Climate Central ("double whammy to environment")

For Air Pollution, Trash Is a Burning Problem | Climate Central ("double whammy to environment") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
The open-air burning of trash contributes surprisingly large emissions of several air pollutants.

Ghana, Nepal, Mexico and other developing countries often lack the tax bases and infrastructure needed to put such systems into place. So residents and governments often burn piles of their trash in the open; removing the garbage from the land but transferring it to the skies. Some 40 percent of the world’s waste may be dealt with in this way.

Wiedinmyer set out to produce the first global estimates of burn-related pollution. The result, detailed in July in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that burning trash isn’t just bad for human health -- it could pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than had been realized.

What she found was that some 1.1 billion tons of waste, more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage, is burned in open piles, contributing more emissions than is shown in regional and global inventories.

An estimated 40 to 50 percent of the garbage is made up of carbon by mass, which means that carbon dioxide is the major gas emitted by trash burning. Those emissions are dwarfed by others sources on the global scale, such as cars and power plants, amounting to just 5 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions. But the carbon dioxide that comes from trash burning can be a significant source in some countries and regions, and it is one not reflected in the official greenhouse gas inventories for those places.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The right approach is still to manage solid waste from the source, not at the disposal level.

“It’s expensive to get rid of garbage cleanly,” ...

"But, “you need to make a small step to make a big step,”

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Coal Plants Lock In 300 Billion Tons Of CO2 Emissions ("try doing the math and figure what CO2 can do")

Coal Plants Lock In 300 Billion Tons Of CO2 Emissions ("try doing the math and figure what CO2 can do") | Climate Change Watch | Scoop.it
This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

It seems straightforward to say that when you buy a new car by taking out a loan, you’re committing to spending a certain amount of your income per month on that car for a specific period of...

That’s a huge problem for the climate because more new coal-fired power plants have been built worldwide in the past decade than in any previous decade, with no sign of slowing down, the study says.

Those existing coal-fired power plants emit billions of tons of CO2 each year and account for about 26 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — double that of the transportation sector. In the U.S. alone, burning coal emitted 1.87 billion tons of CO2 in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Worldwide, coal-burning released 14.4 billion tons of CO2 in 2011.

But the study extends those emissions out to the full lifespan of each of the existing power plants — 40 years per plant — and estimates that together they will spew out 300 billion tons of CO2 before they are retired, up from 200 billion tons of CO2 emissions that were committed from the power plants that existed in 2000, the study says.

In other words, the power plants operating today are committed to emitting 300 billion tons of CO2 in the future, enough to contribute an additional 20 ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere globally, Princeton University professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering and study co-author Robert Socolow told Climate Central.

Bert Guevara's insight:

If we are nervous about 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere (350ppm is the desired level), then coal alone can raise it to 440ppm in a new more years. 

“If we can account for committed emissions over a lifetime of a plant at the time it is built, this may change the equation about what type of power plants it makes sense to invest in,”

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