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On the Environment: Flooding Risk From Climate Change, Country by Country

Tue, 2014-09-23 15:41
A new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world offers more evidence that the brunt of climate change will not be borne equally.






Chinese vice premier calls for stronger China-EU climate cooperation

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:54
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that Beijing stands ready to work with the European Union (EU) to turn bilateral cooperation on climate change into a bight spot in their partnership.

Chinese vice premier meets Netherlands' PM on climate co-op, ties

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:54
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that Beijing is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Netherlands on climate change and further advance bilateral ties.

Obama, at U.N. Climate Summit, Calls for Vast International Effort

Tue, 2014-09-23 14:48
The president said the United States was “stepping up to the plate” but warned that its efforts would fail without global cooperation.

China pledges $6m to support South-South climate co-op efforts

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:50
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said Monday that Beijing will offer $6 million to support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in promoting South-South cooperation on climate change.

The Economist explains: Why climate change is back on the agenda

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:50
ON SEPTEMBER 21st Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, joined thousands of people on a march through the streets of New York to demand more action on climate change. Organisers of the march claimed that there were related events in 161 countries. The targets of these global admonitions were more than 100 heads of state and government who will attend a UN summit Mr Ban has convened on September 23rd. The march and the summit come after several years in which climate change has slipped down the international agenda. Why the burst of interest?Since 2009, when the states that are party to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) spectacularly failed to forge the grand deal that some had hoped for at a summit in Copenhagen, the appetite for climate discussions at the highest levels has been scant. This can be put down in part to an unwillingness to repeat the unhappiness of Copenhagen and in part to what sociologists refer to as the “finite pool of worry”­: both politicians and voters have had other things on their minds, from the Arab spring to the euro crisis. The fact that the climate has not been getting noticeably worse over the period probably hasn’t helped.The main reason for the renewed interest is that, six years on from Copenhagen, the UNFCCC is planning to try again to agree a grand bargain when its members meet in Paris towards the end of next ...

By Degrees: Shining Star Power on a Crucial Subject

Mon, 2014-09-22 19:10
“Years of Living Dangerously,” an Emmy-winning documentary series about climate change that ran on Showtime this summer, is now available on streaming services and on DVD.






Basics: Carbon Dioxide, Building Block of Life, Best in Moderation

Mon, 2014-09-22 17:44
Carbon dioxide keeps the earth unfrozen by retaining the sun’s energy, but our use of fossil fuels is extracting it too rapidly.






Climate Change Hunger: World Leaders Must Act

Mon, 2014-09-22 15:55

By Olivier De Schutter, Honorary Advisor to Oxfam International

Discussions on curbing greenhouse gas emissions always seem to proceed excruciatingly slowly, as climate change is forever being brushed aside as a far off concern for a distant future. They fail time and again because politicians of all stripes pay more attention to the short-term horizon of the next election than the world future generations will live in. Future generations – after all – cannot vote.

That was, until now, the conventional wisdom. It is now becoming increasingly obsolete. New reports show that climate disruptions are already affecting people today, leading to mass migration and threatening food security. Not tomorrow. Not in 2050. Today.

Next week, world leaders will meet for the first time in five years to discuss climate change at a special summit convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It is time they started to reflect this new reality.

Small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples the world over have been experiencing the ramifications of climate change inaction for some time now, as their livelihoods depend heavily on land, water and forests. What’s new is that the struggles they face are now becoming obvious to all.

New research commissioned by worldwide organisation Oxfam shows how in the five years since world leaders last met in Copenhagen, several major climate disruptions have threatened the right to food on a massive scale, causing ripples of social disruption beyond national borders.

The summer of 2010 was a clear example of this, when a Russian heat wave prompted an export ban on wheat that wreaked havoc on international markets. Price increases particularly affected Middle Eastern wheat-importing countries and contributed to massive social unrest, culminating in the Arab Spring. The following year, a severe drought in the Greater Horn of Africa led the number of people in the region in need of food assistance to double in a period of six months to 17.5 million. Those two events, combined with the mega floods in Pakistan in 2010 and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 forced around 25 million people from their homes.

The upcoming climate summit is an opportunity for world leaders to show that they understand both the science and the urgent need to act in order to reduce the risk of large-scale social disruptions in the years to come. One concrete step forward they can and should take is to replenish the UN-backed Green Climate Fund – designed to help poorer countries deal with the effects of climate change and curb their own carbon emissions. To send a clear signal that they are serious about taking action, developed countries who have done most to cause this crisis need to commit to at least US$15bn over the next three years.

Such a commitment would prepare the ground for all countries to agree on binding greenhouse gas emission cuts. China and the United States now appear willing to move in this direction even before an international agreement is reached. Europe will also have an opportunity to lead by example when deciding its 2030 climate and energy policy in October. If they agree to slash emissions by at least 55 per cent, reduce energy use by at least 40 per cent and source 45 per cent of the EU’s energy from sustainable renewable sources, they will strongly encourage people in all countries to demand more from their governments.

Despite this, emissions targets will achieve little if trade flows continue to increase and provide an easy escape route for countries to outsource pollution abroad. This ‘carbon leakage’ sabotages climate change negotiations by allowing governments to make toothless and benign pledges. Furthermore, in their Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade negotiations with the US, the EU may lift restrictions on exports of natural gas and oil, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Unless the trade agenda is aligned with the climate change agenda we will continue to lie both to ourselves and the next generation.

The good news is that in the past, only a few visionary politicians ever talked about climate. Now, even the most short-sighted cannot ignore that society’s expectations are mounting. The public understands that to ignore climate change is to remain blind to the sufferings of entire populations and to accept the risk of social disruptions on a large scale. Democracy used to be seen as the problem – it is now our best hope that the political systems will finally respond.

Olivier De Schutter, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, is an Honorary Advisor to Oxfam International

Nature In the Balance: On a Warmer Planet, Which Cities Will Be Safest?

Mon, 2014-09-22 13:49
Scientists trying to predict the consequences of climate change say that they see few safe havens from future storms, floods and droughts. But some regions, will fare much better than others.






Dot Earth Blog: Humanity’s Long Climate and Energy March

Mon, 2014-09-22 12:46
The giant climate march in Manhattan was just one facet of humanity’s long climate and energy march.






Nature in the Balance: Testing Future Conditions for the Food Chain

Mon, 2014-09-22 12:41
Researchers are trying to mimic the growing conditions expected to arise decades in the future as the air fills with heat-trapping gases and other pollutants from human activity, with some worrisome results.






Misplaced obsession with climate change

Mon, 2014-09-22 03:46
While it is important to find smart solutions to the real problem of global warming, claiming that on “top of the priority list is climate change” is misplaced.

Scientists Report Global Rise in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sun, 2014-09-21 13:01
The report on the emissions growth, 2.3 percent last year, showed that the world remains far off track in efforts to control global warming and came on the eve of a United Nations summit meeting on tackling climate change.






In Overhaul, New York Vows to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Its Buildings

Sat, 2014-09-20 21:00
The de Blasio administration will announce a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from city buildings by 80% by 2050, and to pressure private landlords for similar improvements.






Op-Ed Contributor: To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees

Fri, 2014-09-19 16:33
Reforestation might seem like a simple solution to climate change, but the science shows it could make global warming worse.






Dot Earth Blog: Michael Bloomberg, Now a U.N. Climate Envoy, Presses the Case for Urban Action

Fri, 2014-09-19 13:08
Michael Bloomberg, a mayor turned U.N. climate envoy, explains what cities can do to blunt climate change and its impacts.






Religion and climate change: Competing to save the earth

Fri, 2014-09-19 12:26
WHEN heads of government from across the world convene in New York next week to consider ways of cooling the planet, a crescendo of religiously-inspired voices, as well as secular green rallying cries, will be resounding in their ears. During the 48 hours before the big meeting opens on September 23rd, two worthy inter-faith organisations—the World Council of Churches and Religions for Peace—will host a "summit" of their own, backed by 30 prominent faith leaders. Meanwhile, it is hoped that millions of people of "faith and moral belief" from across the world will have signed up to an e-petition, ourvoices.net, which urges the world's political leaders to act boldly on climate change, both in New York and at next year's "make-or-break" session in Paris.The petition, organised by the British pioneer of green investment, Tessa Tennant, has won backing from a series of "ambassadors" who are already familiar figures in the world of faith and religion. They include: Sally Bingham, a California-based Episcopal cleric whose energy-saving initiatives have drawn in 15,000 communities and parishes; Mary Evelyn Tucker, who runs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University; Seraphim Kykkotis, an Orthodox archbishop based in southern ...

China approves plan to combat climate change

Fri, 2014-09-19 04:37
The Chinese central government approves a plan that maps out major climate change goals to be accomplished by 2020.

Matter: For Trees Under Threat, Flight May Be Best Response

Thu, 2014-09-18 17:24
A refuge won’t save the threatened whitebark pine from climate change, so scientists are pondering a radical idea: moving the trees to where they will be more comfortable.






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