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  • Climate Change Threatens Thousands of Species in Our Lifetime...

    The unique animal and plant species on Madagascar like this Verreaux's sifaka, a type of lemur, face a changing climate that could make parts of their island unsuitable for the species living there now. Credit: Martina Lippuner/WWF

     

    An alarming study finds at 4.5 degrees warming, the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems could see local extinction of half their plant and animal species...

    Without action to stave off climate change, up to half of the plant and animal species in some of the world's most biologically diverse ecosystems could become locally extinct by the end of the century, according to a new report.

    Imagine coastal East Africa missing seven out of 10 amphibians, six out of 10 birds and more than half of its mammals.

    Or the Amazon missing two-thirds of every kind of species living there today.

    If the world's countries can achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement, that picture changes, according the study, released late Tuesday in the journal Climatic Change. The Paris Agreement calls for reducing global warming emissions enough to have a reasonable chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

    "If you reduce the global temperature rise from 4.5 degrees to 2 degrees, instead of having almost half of the species being potentially lost from each grid cell we studied, that reduces to a quarter," said lead author Rachel Warren.

    The study was conducted by a group of scientists from the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University and the conservation organization World Wildlife Fund. The researchers compared how various levels of warming would impact nearly 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 biodiverse regions around the world.

    "One of the key messages is that if we're going to avoid the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in these priority places, the most effective way of doing that is climate change mitigation—reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Warren, a climate change researcher at the University of East Anglia and a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report.

    As part of the Paris Agreement, countries pledged to cut their emissions significantly in the next decade or so. But those pledges still fall short of the Paris goal, and even if they are achieved, the earth is headed toward roughly 3 degrees Celsius of warming. For this study, scientists looked at various scenarios and assessed what each would mean for species.

    While middling reductions were better than nothing, they found that only a goal like keeping warming to 2 degrees made a big difference.

    In some coastal areas, turtles are altering their migratory routes and nesting sites, the report's authors write. Credit: Jonathan Caramanus/Green Renaissance/WWF-UK

    "In order for even terrestrial biodiversity to persist in places that we hold dear, we have to come in as close to or lower than 2 degrees as possible," said Jeff Price, a co-author on the study.

    Price said the researchers also calculated what would happen at 6 degrees of warming, though that wasn't included in the published study. "Basically everything falls off the edge of the earth," he said. "Sort of the 'here there be dragons' scenario."

    Even at 4.5 degrees, some of the scenarios explored in the study are pretty dire.

    At that amount of warming, the study found that 96 percent of the breeding grounds of Sundarbans tigers in Bangladesh and India could be under water from sea level rise, and that there would be a sharp drop in male marine turtles from temperature-induced sex assignment of eggs.

    One area at high risk of species loss in a warming world is the Miombo Woodlands in south-central Africa, home to African wild dogs. Credit: Martin Harvey/WWF

    Among the most affected areas: the Miombo Woodlands in south-central Africa, which are home to African wild dogs; South West Australia; and the Amazons-Guianas in French Guiana.

    One key question is whether a given species is able to move along with the changing climate. For birds and certain mammals, there's at least a chance that they can follow their ideal habitat as it shifts toward the poles or into higher altitudes. For reptiles and plants, it's less likely. And for those species already at the poles—like the ones living in the Arctic—there's nowhere further north to go.

    Nikhil Advani, the lead specialist on climate communities and wildlife for WWF who provided feedback but wasn't an author of the study, said the findings should be used in conjunction with other research.

    Because the work is based on modeling at a high level to see how species are impacted in their range, it's hard to account for variables that will ultimately make a huge difference for species trying to survive climate change. The responses of humans to climate change—how humans use resources when they become more scarce, or migrate as sea levels rise—will have a major impact.

    About the Author

    Sabrina Shankman is a reporter for InsideClimate News focusing on the Arctic. She joined ICN in the fall of 2013, after helping produce documentaries and interactives for the PBS show "Frontline" since 2010 with 2over10 Media. She is the author of the ICN book "Meltdown: Terror at the Top of the World," and was named a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists for that work. Shankman has a Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

    source: https://insideclimatenews.org/

    original story HERE

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  • Mike Pompeo, Climate Policy Foe, Picked to Replace Tillerson as Secretary of State...

    President Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman who was sworn in last year as CIA director, to replace former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

     

    Trump fired Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO who supported staying in the Paris climate accord. Pompeo is a Koch brothers ally and climate policy critic...

    With Rex Tillerson's firing, President Donald Trump's new choice for Secretary of State—Mike Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman currently serving as director of the CIA—signals a hardening stance against international engagement on climate change.

    Pompeo's career in business and politics was tightly intertwined with the oil magnate Koch brothers, and he has shown a deep disregard for climate science and the need to address the climate crisis.

    As a congressman, Pompeo said the Paris climate agreement amounted to "bow(ing) down to radical environmentalists," and he blasted President Barack Obama for what he called a "perverse fixation on achieving his economically harmful environmental agenda" in the 2015 talks.

    Pompeo's past statements indicate a far more recalcitrant stance than Tillerson's.

    Tillerson, a longtime oil executive, argued that the U.S. should keep a "seat at the table" in global climate talks and unsuccessfully sought to persuade Trump to stay in the Paris accord. Environmentalists noted the irony that the best advocate of their cause in the Trump administration—albeit never an effective one—was the former CEO of Exxon.

    The Trump White House in recent weeks has lost two other supporters of the Paris accord: National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and George David Banks, who was a senior director at the NEC and on the National Security Council. Cohn resigned in a rebuke of Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs. Banks, who had clashed with the White House counsel's office over the legalities of the Paris accord, resigned after learning that he would not be granted permanent security clearance because of his past marijuana use.

    "In a strange kind of way, [Tillerson's] experience at Exxon dealing with energy and heads of state and climate gave him a deeper understanding of the diplomatic, economic and political dimensions of the issue," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "From what we know, that does not seem to be the case with Pompeo."

    Rex Tillerson was the CEO of oil giant Exxon for 10 years before Trump nominated him to be secretary of state. The president fired him a little over a year after he was sworn in. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

    As a congressman, Pompeo described the new 2015 Paris climate pact as a "costly burden" to the United States. "Congress must also do all in our power to fight against this damaging climate change proposal and pursue policies that support American energy, create new jobs and power our economy," he said.

    During the hearings that led to his confirmation as CIA director last year, Pompeo dodged a direct answer on his views on climate change, but he made clear—as Tillerson did during his own confirmation hearing—that he did not view it as a national security issue.

    "I, frankly, as the director of CIA, would prefer today not to get into the details of climate debate and science," he said in response to questions from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) "It just seems—my role is going to be so different and unique from that. It is gonna be to work alongside warriors keeping Americans safe."

    Meyer predicted that Pompeo will not be able to evade discussing his views on climate change so easily at his next confirmation hearing, before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, which is chaired by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

    Pompeo's Koch Brothers Connections

    Pompeo, who graduated first in his class at West Point and served in the mechanized cavalry during the Gulf War, earned a law degree at Harvard and built a business career as founder of an aerospace and security firm with an investment from Koch Industries. He later became president of the oilfield services firm Sentry International, which partnered with Koch.

    Pompeo was among the Tea Party class that was swept into office in 2010 and helped the Republicans regain control of the U.S. House. The Koch advocacy group Americans for Prosperity was among the right-wing groups that spent tens of thousands of dollars to attack his opponent in the primary and secured him the Republican nomination. Every year after that, the Kansas congressman was the No. 1 recipient of money from the political action committee of Wichita-based Koch Industries, with more than $375,000 in contributions.

    Pompeo's close ties to the Koch brothers and his dismal environmental voting record have raised alarm bells with climate advocates. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said replacing Tillerson with Pompeo amounts to turning "our global diplomatic efforts over from Exxon to the Koch Brothers."

    "Every single other world leader accepts climate science, and every single other nation wants to be a part of the Paris Agreement, yet Trump wants to give the stewardship of our international relations to an extremist," Brune said.

    Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, said that, "with a history of questioning the science of climate change, a close relationship with the polluter Koch brothers and lifetime LCV score of 4 percent, Mike Pompeo has no business becoming the next secretary of state."

    Influence Over Future Climate Efforts  

    Meyer said that if Pompeo is confirmed, one of the big questions is how much attention he will give to climate change at all, given the pressure of addressing upcoming talks with North Korea and the international trade disputes arising in the wake of Trump's tariff decisions.

    Meyer, who has more than 30 years of experience as an observer of international climate talks, described Tillerson's approach as akin to "benign neglect."

    "He allowed career diplomats to continue to engage on issues that have had bipartisan support in the past, without backing away from the Trump administration's stand," said Meyer—for example, allowing them to argue for greater transparency and reporting, and against the divide between developing and developed nations.

    "To me, it's an open question whether Pompeo will continue that, or does he actively try to shift U.S. policy?" Meyer said.

    About the Author

    Marianne Lavelle is a reporter for InsideClimate News. She has covered environment, science, law, and business in Washington, D.C. for more than two decades. She has won the Polk Award, the Investigative Editors and Reporters Award, and numerous other honors. Lavelle spent four years as online energy news editor and writer at National Geographic. She also has worked at U.S. News and World Report magazine and The National Law Journal. While there, she led the award-winning 1992 investigation, "Unequal Protection," on the disparity in environmental law enforcement against polluters in minority and white communities.

    She can be reached at marianne.lavelle@insideclimatenews.org. PGP key: bit.ly/PGPML15  

    source: https://insideclimatenews.org/

    original story HERE

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  • 22 National Science Academies Urge Government Action on Climate Change...

    The Commonwealth "has the potential, and the responsibility, to help drive meaningful global efforts and outcomes that protect ourselves, our children and our planet," 22 national science academies wrote in a joint statement. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

     

    The scientists, from the UK, Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries, warn that stronger measures are needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees...

    Updated March 13 with the U.S. National Academies review of the National Climate Assessment.

    As some of the world's biggest polluters resist efforts to address climate change—most glaringly, the United States—thousands of scientists from countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations say their governments need to take bolder steps to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

    On Monday, the national science academies of 22 Commonwealth countries, including from the UK, Canada, India and Australia, issued a "Consensus Statement on Climate Change," declaring that the "Commonwealth has the potential, and the responsibility, to help drive meaningful global efforts and outcomes that protect ourselves, our children and our planet."

    The statement comes one month before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, where leaders intend to discuss sustainability and climate change.

    Monday's statement warns that countries need to adopt stronger measures to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels—the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The statement points out that, even if countries meet their existing greenhouse gas reduction targets under the agreement, a recent report from the United Nations projects "a global temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."

    In the statement, scientists from 22 national academies of sciences call on the government leaders to use the "best possible scientific evidence to guide action on their 2030 commitments" under the agreement and "take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions during the second half of the 21st Century."

    Getting to Net Zero Emissions

    The academies say that the Commonwealth countries will have to hit net zero emissions by midcentury to meet the Paris goals, though developing countries might need a longer time frame.

    "Recognising different capacities, challenges and priorities, the approaches of each nation will not be the same," David Day, secretary of science policy at the Australian Academy of Science, said in a statement. "But, they must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation."

    The 53 countries of the Commonwealth comprise former territories of the British Empire, including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and are home to about 2.4 billion people.

    "This joint consensus statement is an important step as we work together to showcase the best scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation on climate change," Chad Gaffield, president of the Royal Society of Canada, said in a statement. "By coming together under the common voice of the Commonwealth nations, we are leveraging the dedication, expertise and insight of experts from all around the world to help inform action on climate change and improved sustainability."

    The U.S. National Climate Assessment

    Despite the Trump administration's ongoing efforts to rollback climate policies, a federally mandated scientific report on climate risks to the United States is on track, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says. A National Academies panel reviewed the draft of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which assesses climate risks to regions, communities and sectors of the economy, and gave the draft report mostly positive marks this week. 

    Among its recommendations, the panel encouraged the government's scientists to add more examples of solutions being undertaken by the private sector and governments to address climate change risks. It also suggested more attention to the complex nature of climate change when discussing the impact of global warming on cities, energy, wildfires, ecosystems and coastal areas. 

    The first volume of the National Climate Assessment, the Climate Science Special Report, was released last year by 13 federal agencies. It describes climate changes that are already happening and clearly states that humans have directly contributed to global warming.

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  • The government is nearly done with a major report on climate change. Trump isn’t going to like it...

    The intersection of Eighth Street and Atlantic Avenue is flooded in Ocean City, N.J., on Oct. 30, 2012, after the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded much of the town. (Mel Evans/AP)

     

    The country’s top independent scientific advisory body has largely approved a major climate report being prepared by scientists within the Trump administration — suggesting that another key government document could soon emerge that contradicts President Trump’s skepticism about climate change and humans’ role in driving it...

    The U.S. National Academies on Monday released a public peer review of a draft document called the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a legally required report that is being produced by the federal Global Change Research Program. The document, which is in its fourth installment, closely surveys how a changing climate is affecting individual U.S. states, regions, and economic and industrial sectors. The final version is expected later this year; the last version came out in 2014 during the Obama administration.

    The process highlights how despite the changing political context — and even hints that the Trump administration may try to subject federal climate science to additional, adversarial reviews — technical government studies of climate science continue.

    The report, 1,506 pages long in draft form, says U.S. temperatures will rise markedly in coming decades, accompanied by many other attendant effects. It predicts that Northeastern fisheries will be stressed by warmer ocean waters, that the Southeast will suffer from worsening water shortages, that worse extreme-weather events will tax water and other types of infrastructure, and far more.

    For the most part, all of this has received a check mark from a panel of scientific referees at the National Academies.

    “We had 16 experts review it, go through it in detail, see if it meets the congressionally mandated requirements, and we agree that it did,” said Robin Bell of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, chair of the committee that reviewed the report.

    The draft document lays out the current and future effects on the United States at a higher level of resolution than before, Bell said, focusing closely on the Caribbean, looking separately at the northern and southern Great Plains, examining air pollution, and more.

    “Coastal ecosystems are being transformed, degraded, or lost due to climate change impacts, particularly sea level rise and higher numbers of extreme weather events,” the document states.

    “As the pace of coastal flooding and erosion accelerates, climate impacts along our coasts are exacerbating preexisting social inequities as communities face difficult questions on determining who will pay for current impacts and future adaptation strategies and if, how, or when to relocate vulnerable communities,” it continues.

    Regarding agricultural communities, the draft states that “reduced crop yields, intensifying wildfire on rangelands, depletion of surface water supplies, and acceleration of aquifer depletion are anticipated with increased frequency and duration of drought.”

    When it comes to the fundamental science of climate change, the National Climate Assessment is based, in significant part, on another report, dubbed the Climate Science Special Report, that was finalized and released by the Global Change Research Program late last year.

    That document found that there was “no convincing alternative explanation” for climate change other than human activities such as fossil fuel burning. It also said a sea-level rise as high as eight feet is “physically possible” as an extreme by the year 2100, though there was no way to say how probable that is.

    [ Trump administration releases report finding ‘no convincing alternative explanation’ for climate change ]

    Many scientists initially feared that the Trump administration would in some way suppress or otherwise interfere with the release of the Climate Science Special Report, given that it so thoroughly appeared to undermine the president’s personally expressed skepticism of climate change and his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. But the report was released as expected, and there were no significant cries of censorship or political meddling.

    Now, the question is whether the same will occur with the longer National Climate Assessment, which goes beyond the Climate Science Special Report to locate the climate problem within specific U.S. communities and industries, describing both how they will suffer and how they are coping. The National Climate Assessment arguably has more potential for political ramifications, in that it exhaustively describes effects in specific places in the country.

    “There are many stories about the change, and that’s the beauty of this, you can go to the document and find stories in your community no matter where you live in the U.S.,” Bell said.

    Granted, the current review is not a 100 percent endorsement — for instance, it states that when it comes to discussing different types of scientific uncertainty, “improved differentiation and more standardized treatment is needed across the draft report.” The document also contains more than 40 pages of line edits to the longer report.

    But this is not a fundamental undermining of the document — it just means more work has to be done for it to be improved before publication.

    “They are meant to provide clarification and ease of use by the readers but not direction-changing sorts of recommendations,” said Daniel Cayan, a professor at the University of California at San Diego and one of the peer reviewers.

    The report will be revised in light of these critiques by its federal authors — and move toward anticipated final-form publication later this year.

    “There’s a tremendous interest and demand for updated information and also examples of how various communities are approaching climate issues,” Cayan said. “So, I believe that there’s a community of consumers that really are depending on the National Climate Assessment, and I would be very surprised if it does not continue and it is not sustained.”

    By Chris Mooney 

    March 12 at 4:08 PM

    Chris Mooney covers climate change, energy, and the environment. He has reported from the 2015 Paris climate negotiations, the Northwest Passage, and the Greenland ice sheet, among other locations, and has written four books about science, politics, and climate change.

      Follow @chriscmooney

     
     

    source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/

    original story HERE

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  • UK: Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk...

    Severe flooding in Carlisle, north-west England, December 2015. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

     

    Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study...

    The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

    The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable.

    The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s.

    Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”

    The ClimateWise coalition of 29 insurers, including Allianz, Aon, Aviva, Lloyd’s, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich, conclude that the industry must use more of its $30tn of investments to help fund increased resilience of society to floods, storms and heatwaves.

    The ClimateWise report, published on Wednesday, also says the industry must also use its risk management expertise to convince policymakers in both the public and private sector of the urgent need for climate action.

    The industry’s traditional response to rising insurance risks – raising premiums or withdrawing cover – would not help deal with the rising risks of global warming, it said.

    “The insurance industry’s role as society’s risk manager is under threat,” said Maurice Tulloch, chairman of global general insurance at Aviva and chair of ClimateWise. “Our sector will struggle to reduce this protection gap if our response is limited to avoiding, rather than managing, society’s exposure to climate risk.”

    The report said that, since the 1950s, the frequency of weather-related catastrophes has increased sixfold. As climate-related risks occur more often and more predictably, previously insurable assets are becoming uninsurable, or those already underinsured are further compromised, it said.

    The economic impact of these natural catastrophes is growing quickly, according to Swiss Re, with total losses increasing fivefold since the 1980s to about $170bn today. This increase is partly due to an increase in extreme weather but also due to an increase in assets as cities and towns have grown, especially in vulnerable locations such as on coasts.

    “Insurance provides a very important role in providing support for people in their time of need,” said John Scott, chief risk officer at the Zurich Insurance Group and chair of ClimateWise’s “Investing for Resilience” programme. “Finding viable ways to help society adapt and become more resilient to the inevitable changes related to ongoing climate change is vital. It is very clear that as carbon dioxide concentrations increase, we should expect to see more patterns of severe weather disruption.

    “We understand climate change as underwriters, because we are trying to manage the physical consequences of the severe weather we get from climate change, so we can be a really important industry in terms of informing policy makers, either in the public or private sectors, about the pace at which we should make the change from a high-carbon to low-carbon economy.”

    Other actions insurance companies can take are to work with their customers to make them more resilient to extreme weather and encourage the development of insurance markets in poorer nations that are growing rapidly, the report said.

    Carney, who has warned repeatedly of the serious risks posed by climate change, said: “Insurers, including those who are members of ClimateWise, have unique risk-management expertise to help address the protection gap among those who are most exposed to climate risk.”

    Wed 7 Dec 2016 01.00 EST Last modified on Wed 14 Feb 2018 12.08 EST

    This article is 1 year old
     
    source: https://www.theguardian.com/us
     
    original story HERE

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  • More Serious Problems with the IPCC’s Global Warming Predictions and Timetables...

           

     

    Before discussing more of the problems with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) global warming information and predictions, it is necessary to frame this challenge to the IPCC’s reports appropriately. In the criticisms below, we are not in any way criticizing the thousands of climate scientists, many of whom at their own expense provide uncensored, accurate, and up-to-date global warming research to the IPCC’s bureaucrats...

    However, those IPCC bureaucrats are the individuals who, through a highly constrained administrative process, create the final reports and predictions. What follows also does not question the good intentions of the constrained IPCC bureaucrats caught in the slow and conservative bureaucracy of an international entity, which must not only seek member consensus and funding, but also avoid panicking the public.

    Additionally, do not misconstrue the following criticism of the IPCC's bureaucratic process results in any way as a criticism of the underlying valid science of global warming being presented by the thousands of climate scientists contributing their research to the IPCC reports or the vast 97 percent (2) consensus of climate scientists who, as a whole, agree that global warming has human causation and one of the largest human causes is the burning of fossil fuels.

    Now that you have this background, let's look at more IPCC problems.

    In their 5-7 year climate update reports and predictions for politicians and policymakers, the IPCC has a repeated history of significantly underestimating how much of a problem global warming could become, as well as its time frames. (3)  Before expanding upon the IPCC’s climate data underestimation problem, it is essential to understand how they create their 5-7 year global warming and prediction scenario updates for the world’s politicians and policymakers.

    What surprises many individuals is that the IPCC itself does not do original global warming research. Working as unpaid volunteers, thousands of scientists from around the globe sift through the most current scientific literature on global warming and the climate. After completing this review, these unpaid scientists identify trends, write a draft report, and submit it to the IPCC.

    Next, the IPCC reviews the submitted research from these scientists. This typically takes five to seven years to complete. Then, in a tediously slow and bureaucratic process, the IPCC creates comprehensive reports and assessments, including global warming prediction scenarios. Then, in the near to last step, other scientists once again take the assembled draft and review and revise it as needed.

    Finally, a summary for national politicians and policymakers is written. This condenses the science even further. This new and final summary report is then subjected to a line-by-line review and possible revision by non-scientist national representatives from more than 100 world governments—all of whom must approve the final summary document before it is signed and presented to the public.

    Now that you understand the process for how the IPCC creates its reports, the following will not seem so surprising. A growing number of studies (referenced elsewhere,) claim that across two decades and thousands of pages of IPCC climate reports, the IPCC has consistently understated the rate and intensity of global warming, as well as the danger that it represents. (4)

    Since the IPCC 2007 assessment, these studies have shown that the speed and ferocity at which the climate is destabilizing are at the extreme edge of, or are outpacing, IPCC projections on many fronts, including temperature rise, carbon emissions, sea level rise, continental ice-sheet melt, Arctic sea ice decline, ocean acidification, and thawing tundra.

    One glaring example of IPCC underestimation can be found in the IPCC’s previous 2007 report (5) that concluded the Arctic would not lose its summer ice before 2070 at the earliest. But the ice pack has shrunk far faster than any scenario IPCC scientists felt politicians and policymakers should consider.

    Just a few years after that report, a new study predicted that by 2016-2020, the Arctic's Northwest Passage will be completely ice-free during the summers. This means that in 2007, the IPCC was off by an incredible 50-54 years on a key climate prediction over an estimation prediction period of only 63 years!

    Another glaring example of the dangerous IPCC underestimation problem surfaced from James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who originally warned the world about global warming nearly 30 years ago. Hansen's new study says sea levels could rise by as much as 10 feet (3 meters) by 2050.

    The IPCC has repeatedly and consistently predicted that sea levels should rise only 3 feet (0.9 meters) by 2100. That's a 60-70% underestimation by the IPCC occurring 50 years earlier! Over its history, the IPCC’s global warming consequence and timetable scenario predictions are regularly underestimated by anywhere from 25 to 40%.

    Why the IPCC’s global warming underestimation problem is critical to you, your business, and your nation’s future

    All underestimation by the IPCC is dangerous. First, because the organization is treated as the most recognized authority on global warming and is charged with advising national politicians and policymakers on the most relevant and accurate climate science so they can make the necessary laws and policy changes to keep us safe.

    Next, the IPCC’s overly conservative reading and underestimation problems means that national governments, businesses, and the public will be grossly unprepared and blindsided by the more rapid onset of higher flooding, extreme storms, drought, and other global warming impacts and consequences far beyond what they are currently prepared for. (6)  Worse yet, a society blind to the full range and speed of potential global warming outcomes can remain unconscious of or apathetic to the growing emergency, causing them to push the hard but necessary global warming reduction decisions farther and farther off into the future.

    Probably the greatest loss caused by IPCC’s underestimation problem is that it quells, if not removes, the appropriate sense of urgency essential to motivating the world and its nations to deal with escalating global warming’s present and future threats. For example, what if the global warming disasters projected by the IPCC to start arriving in 2060-2080 begin in 2030-2040? If that happens, we won’t be prepared for the true scale, severity, and frequency of the disasters to come. (Graphs shown below in the underestimation correction section will help you visualize what this means in shortened time frames.)

    Conflicts of interest and the IPCC’s underestimation problem

    Because the IPCC's final summary report is subjected to a line-by-line review/revision by representatives from more than 100 world governments, all of whom must individually approve and sign off on the final summary document before it is presented to the public, it is only reasonable to consider that inherent national conflicts of interest will also act to water down, delay, or delete those sections of each global warming report that directly and significantly impact the overall military, security, economics, or other key well-being factors of the sign-off nation.

    For example, countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Iran have huge portions of their annual gross domestic product (GDP) dependent upon producing and/or exporting fossil fuels. If there were a sudden and significant mandated reduction in use of global fossil fuel, some of these countries, particularly the ones with large national debts or without large financial reserves like Russia, Venezuela, the United States, Iraq, and Iran, could plunge into rapid economic decline and in some cases, possibly even social and political unrest or collapse. (7)  Unless something shifts radically, these serious conflicts of interest in sign-off nations will be a continuous source of watered-down or missing key facts.

    The IPCC’s unconscionable groupthink illusions further affecting the validity and usefulness of their calculations and predictions

    Unconscionable groupthink illusions and delusions were used and held by our global warming authorities at the most recent Paris Climate Conference concerning possibilities of currently nonexistent atmospheric carbon removal technologies, which may or may not be discovered and successfully implemented until sometime after 2050!

    Instead of being honest with the public and telling us we needed to immediately make difficult and costly fossil fuel use reductions and sacrifices for ourselves, our children, and future generations, the world's leading global warming authorities took the cowardly and easy way out. As the essential part of their calculations for the critical reductions of fossil fuel carbon pollution in our atmosphere, our global warming authorities have included, used, and even relied upon the projected potential effects of currently non-existing atmospheric carbon removing technology.

    Inventing this atmospheric carbon removal "miracle cure" occurring sometime after 2050 was the only way to force their current atmospheric carbon reduction calculations to ever work to keep global warming at or below the acknowledged and very dangerous 2° celsius level by 2100.

    These miracle cure calculations also allowed them to tell us all to go on as we are now without making significant changes or sacrifices. These miracle cure calculations were politically correct, expeditious, and allowed the world's global warming authorities to make everyone believe the most dangerous falsehood possible about our future. These miracle cure new technology calculations were fully relied upon for our current reduction planning in spite of these new technologies:

     

    • not currently existing,
    • impossible to scale up adequately in time for removing massive amounts of atmospheric carbon, which are conservatively estimated at about 100 gigatons just to keep us below a 2 degree celsius temperature rise. (1 gigaton or metric gigaton [unit of mass] is equal to 1,000,000,000 metric tons. 100 gigatons would equal 100 billion metric tons.)
    • catastrophic projected side effects that would make their desperate use far worse than the original problem they were intended to solve!

     

    The near-complete reliance upon these non-existent new technologies by the world's global warming authorities to miraculously save us at the last moment is both irresponsible and irrational beyond belief! These projections and calculations are especially unconscionable because the survival of humanity is held in the balance by the validity of these calculations.

    Worse yet, these illusionary calculations have given the public a false sense of safety. They have stolen the necessary and accurate sense of urgency about the real dangers that are here today, not sometime off in the second half of the 21st century.

    Without the correct sense of urgency, the public has been prevented from both understanding and making the critical changes that should have been made decades ago to prevent the current global warming emergency. (The new Climageddon book published by Job One for Humanity describes in detail all of the dangerous groupthink illusions and delusions currently held by the world's leading global warming authorities.)

    Please see the following for more verification on the truth of the above section concerning the IPCC’s illusions and delusions:

    (See Wikipedia contributors. "Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bio-energy_with_carbon_capture_and_storage&oldid=801806293 (accessed January 18, 2018).)

    (See Abby Rabinowitz and Amanda Simson. “The Dirty Secret of the World’s Plan to Avert Climate Disaster.” Wired. December 10, 2017. https://www.wired.com/story/the-dirty-secret-of-the-worlds-plan-to-avert-climate-disaster/)

    (See Jason Hickel. “The Paris climate deal won’t save us – our future depends on de-growth.” The Guardian. July 3, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jul/03/paris-climate-deal-wont-work-our-future-depends-degrowth)

    (Also see that the mathematical, scientific, and mechanical feasibility to adequately scale up the non-existent miracle technology as well as the unknown negative side effects of this non-existent, “miracle technology” has already been debunked by respected climate scientists like Kevin Anderson.)

    What can we do

    The IPCC’s underestimation presents an absolute nightmare for anyone trying to do long-term planning, whether it be personal, business, local, regional, or national. When we take into account the IPCC underestimations and come up with new temperature and timetable predictions, it appears any mid-term to long-term future planning based on the IPCC's predictions will put us in a world of hurt.

    When we reach 5 to 6° Celsius (9-10.8° Fahrenheit) it will be the end of the world as we know it and, as you can see from the above data, it is not far off in the future. When you factor in crossing more global warming tipping points (which is highly probable and which was completely absent from the IPCC predictions, our world is in serious peril, not 40 or 80 years from now, but right now and over the next 20-40 years.

    It is illogical beyond all comprehension to assign full responsibility for evaluating and predicting the single greatest security threat of the 21st-century to a group of volunteer and underfunded climate scientists with the best of intentions who submit their research to an bureaucratic and underfunded United Nations agency. But who should be doing this work?

    If not the IPCC, who is most qualified to do needed tipping point research and prediction?

    It is clear the IPCC is not doing its job. The world's current leading authority on global warming is no longer the appropriate agent we can trust to manage the research, analysis, and planning necessary to save us from the escalating global warming emergency. The danger is so great and imminent that we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

    We have no other rational choice but to bypass any existing failed authorities, structures, and processes that have not worked and are not working. That is the only way we will have any honest hope of handling the global warming emergency. The new book Climageddon proposes there are organizations far more qualified to give us more accurate predictions…

    A Quick summary

    The unfortunate, widespread, and gross misinformation of the public about how bad global warming has become irreversible has occurred in significant part because of:

    1. major miscalculations from the world’s leading global warming authorities by about 20-40% or more concerning how fast and severe the consequences of global warming will be.
    2. we have continuously failed to effectively slow or reverse global warming. This is in spite of 30+ years of loud and detailed warnings by credible climate scientists, verified scientific research, and 22 international conferences on how to solve the global warming crisis.
    3. we are now trapped by the reality of the minimum time needed to convert all global fossil fuel energy generation systems into green energy generation systems (currently about 35-50 years, but probably much more). This means carbon in the atmosphere will reach 500 ppm where all ice and glaciers on the planet will begin and continue melting.
    4. we have crossed too many known and unknown important global warming tipping points over the last 30+ years within our climate systems and subsystems that the public still does not know about. This tipping point crossing process invariably locks us into crossing even more dangerous known and unknown global warming tipping points at faster and faster rates, which once again spikes up average global temperature far beyond what has been predicted by our global warming authorities. After we hit carbon 500 ppm which is currently inescapable, we will hit carbon 600 ppm which will most probably trigger a massive release methane from the methane clathrate crystals found on the coastal ocean shelves and that will trigger another massive temperature increase and the end of civilization in a massive extinction event, exactly as it has happened before.
    5. unconscionable groupthink illusions and delusions used and held by our global warming authorities at the Paris Climate Conference concerning possibilities of currently nonexistent atmospheric carbon removal technologies, which may or may not be discovered and successfully implemented until sometime after 2050!
    6. the complexity of the global climate: the massive number of interconnections, interactions, interdependencies, tipping points, and nonlinear reactions within the climate's many complex adaptive systems and subsystems, making the big picture crisis of falling into irreversible global warming invisible to all but a few scientists and big data analysts capable of processing such massive data complexity.

    Published peer-reviewed research:

    1. Glenn Scherer. "How the IPCC Underestimated Climate Change." Scientific American. December 6, 2012. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-science-predictions-prove-too-conservative/
    2. "Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming." Climate.Nasa.Gov. Last modified January 24, 2017. http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
    3. Dana Nuccitelli. "Vision Prize: scientists are worried the IPCC is underestimating sea level rise." The Guardian. February 18, 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/feb/18/scientists-worried-ipcc-underestimate-sea-level-rise
    4. Bill McKibben. "The IPCC is stern on climate change - but it still underestimates the situation." The Guardian. November 2, 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/02/ipcc-climate-change-carbon-emissions-underestimates-situation-fossil-fuels
    5. Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller, eds., "Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar4/wg1/
    6. Chris Mooney. "The world's climate change watchdog may be underestimating global warming." The Washington Post. October 30, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/10/30/climate-scientists-arent-too-alarmist-theyre-too-conservative/?utm_term=.8e8e665ddf76
    7. Nicholas Stern. "Economics: Current climate models are grossly misleading." Nature.com. February 24, 2016. http://www.nature.com/news/economics-current-climate-models-are-grossly-misleading-1.19416

    From the research and editorial team at Job One for Humanity.

    source: http://www.joboneforhumanity.org

    March 11, 2018

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  • Hotter, Drier, Hungrier: How Global Warming Punishes the World’s Poorest...

    On the outskirts of Kakuma in northwestern Kenya. Always arid, the area has become hotter and drier with the onset of climate change. Joao Silva/The New York Times

     

    KAKUMA, Kenya — These barren plains of sand and stone have always known lean times: times when the rivers run dry and the cows wither day by day, until their bones are scattered under the acacia trees. But the lean times have always been followed by normal times, when it rains enough to rebuild herds, repay debts, give milk to the children and eat meat a few times each week...

     

     

    Times are changing, though. Northern Kenya — like its arid neighbors in the
    Horn of Africa, where Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson paid a visit last week,
    including a stop in Nairobi — has become measurably drier and hotter, and scientists
    are finding the fingerprints of global warming. According to recent research, the
    region dried faster in the 20th century than at any time over the last 2,000 years.
    Four severe droughts have walloped the area in the last two decades, a rapid
    succession that has pushed millions of the world’s poorest to the edge of survival.
    Amid this new normal, a people long hounded by poverty and strife has found
    itself on the frontline of a new crisis: climate change. More than 650,000 children
    under age 5 across vast stretches of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are severely
    malnourished. The risk of famine stalks people in all three countries; at least 12
    million people rely on food aid, according to the United Nations.

    A woman washed near a water distribution point in Kakuma. Four droughts have hit the region in the last 20 years. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    A grandmother named Mariao Tede is among them. Early one recent morning, on
    the banks of a dry stream, with the air tasting of soot and sand, Ms. Tede stood over
    a pile of dark embers, making charcoal. A reed of a woman who doesn’t keep track of
    her age, she said she once had 200 goats, enough to sell their offspring at the market
    and buy cornmeal for her family. Raising livestock is traditionally the main source of
    income in the region, because not much food will grow here.
    Many of her goats died in the 2011 drought, then many more in the 2017
    drought. How many were left? She held up five fingers. Not enough to sell. Not
    enough to eat. And now, in the dry season, not even enough to get milk. “Only when
    it rains I get a cup or two, for the kids,” she said.
    The most recent drought has prompted some herders to plunder the livestock of rival
    communities or sneak into nature reserves to graze their hungry droves. Water has
    become so scarce in this vast county — known as Turkana, in northwestern Kenya —
    that fetching it, which is women’s work, means walking an average of almost seven
    miles every day.
    Ms. Tede now gathers wood to make charcoal, a process that is stripping the
    land of its few trees, so that when the rains come, if the rains come, the water will
    not seep into the earth. On the roadside stood what were once sacks of food aid, now
    stuffed with charcoal, waiting for customers.

    Charcoal for sale along the main road in Turkana County. Production is stripping the land of its few trees. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Further along that same road, in a village blessed with a water pump, a herder
    named Mohammed Loshani offered up his ledger of loss. From 150 goats a little over
    a year ago, he had 30 left. During the 2017 drought, 10 died one month, a dozen the
    next.
    “If we get rain I can build back my herd,” he said. “If not, even the few I have
    will die.” He knew no one who had rebuilt their herds to pre-2011 drought levels.
    “If these droughts continue,” Mr. Loshoni said, “there’s nothing for us to do.
    We’ll have to think of other jobs.”

    Women near Kakuma. Food is hard to grow in the region, so raising livestock is the main source of income. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Poor Rains and You’re ‘Done’...

    When Gideon Galu, a Kenyan meteorologist with the Famine Early Warning Systems
    Network, or FewsNet, looks at 30 years of weather data, he doesn’t see doom for his
    country’s herders and farmers. He sees a need to radically, urgently adapt to the new
    normal: grow fodder for the lean times, build reservoirs to store water, switch to
    crops that do well in Kenya’s soil, and not just maize, the staple.
    Rainfall is already erratic. Now, he says, it’s getting significantly drier and
    hotter. The forecast for the next rains aren’t good. “These people live on the edge,” he
    said. “Any tilt to the poor rains, and they’re done.”
    His colleague at FewsNet, Chris Funk, a climatologist at the University of
    California, Santa Barbara, has linked recent drought to the long-term warming of the
    western Pacific Ocean as well as higher land temperatures in East Africa, both
    products of human-induced climate change. Global warming, he concluded, seems to
    produce more severe weather disruptions known as El Niños and La Niñas, leading
    to “protracted drought and food insecurity.”
    Jessica Tierney, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona, took the
    longer view. By analyzing marine sediments, she and her colleagues came to the
    conclusion that the region is drying faster now than at any time in two millenniums
    and that the trend may be linked to human activity. That rapid drying in the Horn of
    Africa, she wrote, is “synchronous with recent global and regional warming.”

    A woman collected water from a pit dug in a dry riverbed near Kakuma. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    It falls to James Oduor, the head of Kenya’s National Drought Management
    Authority, to figure out what to do about the new reality. “In the future,” he said
    flatly, “we expect that to be normal — a drought every 5 years.”
    Mr. Oduor keeps a postcard-size, color-coded map of his country to explain the
    scale of the challenge: dark orange for arid zones, light orange for semiarid zones,
    and white for the rest.
    More than three-fourths of the land, he points out, is dark or light orange, which
    means they are water-stressed in the best of times and during droughts, dangerously
    so. “The bigger part of my country is affected by climate change and drought,” he
    said. “They’re frequent. They last long. They affect a big area.”

    Water is so scarce in Turkana County that fetching it means walking almost seven miles every day, on average. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    Ethiopia is even worse off. FewsNet, which is funded by the United States
    government, has warned of continuing “food security emergency” in the country’s
    southeast, where rains have failed for the last three years in a row and political
    conflict has displaced an estimated 200,000 people.
    In Somalia, after decades of war and displacement, 2.7 million people face what
    the United Nations calls “severe food insecurity.” During the 2017 drought,
    international aid efforts averted a famine. In the previous drought, in 2011, nearly
    260,000 Somalis died of hunger, half of them children, the United Nations reported.

    Women waited in the the shade in Turkana Country as an aid group evaluated children for malnutrition. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    ‘Five Are Dead, Then 10’

    I traveled across Turkana and neighboring Isiolo County in northern Kenya last
    month. Off the main highway, sandy paths led through sandy plains. A cluster of
    round twig-and-thatch huts emerged. Dust whipped through the air.
    Pastoralists have walked these lands for centuries. The older ones among them
    remember the droughts of the past. Animals died. People died. But then the rains
    came, and after four or five years of normal rains, people living here could replenish
    their herds. Now, the droughts are so frequent that rebuilding herds is pretty much
    impossible.
    “You wake up one morning and five are dead, then 10,” said David Letmaya, at a
    clinic in Isiolo County where his family had come to collect sacks of soy and
    cornmeal.

    Drawing water in Turkana County. CreditJoao Silva/The New York Times

    These days, shepherds like Mr. Letmaya range further and further, sometimes
    clashing with rivals from Turkana over pasture and water, other times risking a
    confrontation with an elephant or a lion from the national park next door.
    Almost every night, park rangers can hear gunshots. Herders raid each others’
    livestock to replenish their own.
    At the Isiolo health center, everyone kept precise count of their losses. One
    woman said she lost all three of her cows last year and was left now with only three
    goats. A second said her husband was killed a few years ago in a fight with Turkana
    herders over pasture, and then, last year, the last of her cows died. A third said she
    lost 20 of her 30 goats in the last drought.

    It was a blazing afternoon, with no respite in sight. One by one, hauling boxes of
    soy and cornmeal bearing a World Food Program stamp, the women walked back
    home across the dry plains and the dry riverbeds, resting sometimes under an acacia
    heavy with nests that weaver birds had made from the dry brush.

    By SOMINI SENGUPTA

    MARCH 12, 2018

    Follow @NYTClimate on Twitter

    A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the
    headline: Fastest Drying in 2,000 Years Imperils Millions.

    source: https://www.nytimes.com/

    original story HERE

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  • Climate change is a disaster foretold, just like the first world war...

    ‘The extraordinary – almost absurd – contrast between what we should be doing and what’s actually taking place fosters low-level climate denialism’ Photograph: Guido Dingemans/Alamy Stock Photo

     

    The warnings about an unfolding climate catastrophe are getting more desperate, yet the march to destruction continues...

    “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time...”

    The mournful remark supposedly made by foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey at dusk on 3 August 1914 referred to Britain’s imminent entry into the first world war. But the sentiment captures something of our own moment, in the midst of an intensifying campaign against nature.

    According to the World Wildlife Fund’s 2016 Living Planet Report, over the last four decades the international animal population was reduced by nearly 60%. More than a billion fewer birds inhabit North America today compared to 40 years ago. In Britain, certain iconic species (grey partridges, tree sparrows, etc) have fallen by 90%. In Germany, flying insects have declined by 76% over the past 27 years. Almost half of Borneo’s orangutans died or were removed between 1999 and 2015. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% in a decade, with on average one adult killed by poachers every 15 minutes.

    We inherited a planet of beauty and wonders – and we’re saying goodbye to all that.

    The cultural historian Paul Fussell once identified the catastrophe of the first world war with the distinctive sensibility of modernity, noting how 20th century history had “domesticate[d] the fantastic and normalize[d] the unspeakable.”

    Consider, then, the work of climate change.

    In February, for instance, scientists recorded temperatures 35 degrees above the historical average in Siberia, a phenomenon that apparently corresponded with the unprecedented cold snap across Europe.

    As concentrated CO2 intensifies extreme events, a new and diabolical weather will, we’re told, become the norm for a generation already accustomising itself to such everyday atrocities as about eight million tons of plastics are washed into the ocean each year.

    It may seem impossible to imagine, that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we’re now in the process of doing.”

    This passage from the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert concluded a piece on global warming, which was published way back in 2005. Over the 13 years since, the warnings from scientists have grown both more specific and desperate – and yet the march to destruction has only redoubled its pace.

    The extraordinary – almost absurd – contrast between what we should be doing and what’s actually taking place fosters low-level climate denialism. Coral experts might publicize, again and again and again, the dire state of the Great Barrier Reef but the ongoing political inaction inevitably blunts their message.

    It can’t be so bad, we think: if a natural wonder were truly under threat, our politicians wouldn’t simply stand aside and watch.

    The first world war killed 20 million people and maimed 21 million others. It shattered the economy of Europe, displaced entire populations, and set in train events that culminated, scarcely two decades later, with another, even more apocalyptic slaughter

    And it, too, was a disaster foretold, a widely-anticipated cataclysm that proceeded more-on-less schedule despite regular warnings about what was to come.

    As early as 1898, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia initiated a conference to discuss international arbitration and limit the arms race taking place in Europe. At its opening session at The Hague, he noted that the competition between nations, in which each country was building up its forces to defend against its neighbors, had “transform[ed] the armed peace into a crushing burden that weighs on all nations and, if prolonged, will lead to the very cataclysm that it seeks to avert.”

    Over the next years, the rivalries intensified, leading to further militarization and a complex series of (often secret) treaties, as, between 1908 and 1913, the military spending of the major powers increased by 50%.

    In 1912, the international socialist movement had staged an emergency meeting in Basel in Switzerland in which representatives from almost every nation spoke out for peace.

    “The great European peoples are constantly on the point of being driven against one another,” the congress resolved, “although these attempts are against humanity and reason cannot be justified by even the slightest pretext of being in the interest of the people.”

    Yet in early 1914, Winston Churchill noted that “the world is arming as it has never armed before”. The eventual declaration of war in August that year was still a shock – but only in the sense that those attending a patient expiring from a long illness might be startled by the death rattle.

    The appeals to humanity and reason did not move states jostling for trade and commercial advantages. For the people of Europe, the arms race was disastrous; for specific governments, it made perfect sense, for those who did not compete risked falling behind.

    The same might be said today.

    From a global perspective, the necessity to abandon fossil fuels cannot be denied. But for individual economies, change risks undermining comparative advantages.

    If we don’t sell coal, says Malcolm Turnbull, our competitors will – which was, of course precisely the logic of the British fleet expansion in 1908.

    The devastation of the first world war eventually engendered a wave of revolt from a populace appalled at the carnage their politicians had wrought.

    Climate change has not yet spurred an equivalent of the mutinies in France or the revolution in Petrograd or the uprising in Berlin.

    Yet Labor’s appalling equivocation over the Adani mine – a piece of environmental vandalism for which there can be no justification – illustrates the urgency with which we need a new and different type of politics.

    The stakes could not be higher. Lamps are going out all over the natural world … and no one will ever see them lit again...

    Sun 11 Mar 2018 21.02 EDT

    • Jeff Sparrow is a Guardian Australia columnist

    source: https://www.theguardian.com/us

    original story HERE

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  • In Iceland, global warming no longer a joke - says president...

    A view shows an ice flow floating on a lake in front of the Solheimajokull Glacier, where the ice has receded by more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931, Iceland October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Thibault Camus/Pool

     

    "The common joke in Iceland is to say that ... global warming is something we should cheer for - but it's no longer funny."

    PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico, March 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Icelanders have long joked that global warming was something people on the chilly Nordic island could look forward to, but as ice caps and glaciers melt at record speeds, that gag is wearing thin, according to the country's president.

    Warming oceans around the North Pole are harming biodiversity and fish stocks, and causing acidification in the world's northern regions, forcing countries like Iceland to adapt to a new reality, said President Gudni Johannesson.

    "The common joke in Iceland is to say that on this cold and windy, rain-swept island, global warming is something we should cheer for - but it's no longer funny," Johannesson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

    "Climate change affects us all on this globe, but you can see the effects in particular in the northern regions - the ice cap around the North Pole is melting at record rates, the oceans there are getting warmer," he said.

    On the flip side, climate change could bring some economic benefits to the country of just 340,000 people, which would become a natural trade hub if new routes opened up from Asia to the Atlantic due to melting Arctic ice, he said.

    "The fact that the ice cap in the north is melting is no source for joy (but) the undeniable fact is that where there was ice, there will be a free waterway," he said. "Who knows, as the century goes on, maybe we will see increased traffic via the North Pole with Iceland as a hub."

    Johannesson was speaking on the sidelines of the World Ocean Summit in the Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen on Friday, where environmentalists, politicians and business leaders met to discuss how to improve the state of the oceans.

    While warmer temperatures are driving greater stocks of mackerel towards Iceland's coasts, the cod that was once a mainstay of its fishing industry is likely to head north, said Johannesson, who wore a pink tie made of cod skin at the summit.

    Changing patterns of fish migration will make it essential to reach deals with neighbouring nations over fish catches, said the president, a former academic who has written about Iceland's "cod wars".

    Iceland clashed with other states in the region several years ago as it upped the amount of mackerel it hauled in.

    Iceland's relations with places like the Faroe Islands and Norway are usually amicable, and "the only source of potential conflict lies in the distribution of fishing quotas", Johannesson noted.

    In 2016, mackerel was the third-largest catch for Iceland and its third most valuable fish, netting $103 million, or 8 percent of the nation's total catch value.

    Iceland is also weighing up how to expand its salmon-farming industry, while considering its potential environmental impact.

    "Fish farming is a part of the blue economy now and... will expand," said Johannesson. However, it has to be "as safe as possible because nature comes first", he added.

    As one of just a handful of countries in the world that permits commercial whale hunting, Iceland's whale catch is "sustainable", said Johannesson, who declined to comment on whether he personally supported the industry.

    Whale-watching has boomed alongside the tourism that has underpinned Iceland's economic rebound, he said, with no sign visitors are staying away in protest at Iceland's continued hunting of minke and fin whales.

    "Sustainability and the miniscule amount of whales being caught in recent years (are) based on scientific advice and way below any figures potentially threatening the future of the two whale stocks in question," he said.

    by Sophie Hares | @SophieHares | Thomson Reuters Foundation
     
    Saturday, 10 March 2018 16:24 GMT

    (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/)

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    source:  http://news.trust.org/

    original story HERE

     

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  • What did NZ's hottest summer do to our glaciers?

    View southwest toward the head of Mueller Lake and terminus of Mueller Glacier notice stream dissecting stagnant ice at head of lake.  Picture is from Noel Potter, UMaine,  2/2018 

     

    Climate scientists expect to find some "pretty pathetic" glaciers when they make this year's aerial survey of the South Island's ice-starved, post-summer snowline.

    What they find could be one of the biggest "melt years" yet seen...

    Niwa this week confirmed New Zealand's summer had been the hottest on record and this would have put a major dent in the amount of snow amid the postcard Southern Alps.

    The Niwa-led annual survey, which has now been running 40 years, each March recorded the snowline altitude of up to 50 glaciers across the South Island.

    It revealed how much of the previous winter's snow remained to contribute to long-term glacial ice accumulation.

    This time, the glaciers might likely be in a grim state...

    "We have seen preliminary photos of some of them and they look sad and dirty," said Niwa climate scientist and survey leader Dr Drew Lorrey.

    "At this time of year we can see the effects of the summer melt but following such an extreme summer the layers really start to peel back and you can see how harsh the effect has been on the glaciers.

    "Where it becomes a concern is if there is a succession of seasons like this within a decade or two – that's when it can cause the overall volume of the glacier to decline."

    Glacier fluctuations are among the clearest signals of climate change, because they are highly sensitive indicators of atmospheric temperature and precipitation levels.

    Scientists believe it was a warming planet that had partly caused New Zealand's glaciers to shrink in total volume by one third in just four decades.

    Victoria University glaciologist Professor Andrew Mackintosh said he was also expecting one of the largest melt years ever recorded.

    "Our team has previously investigated the relationship between the South Island glaciers and sea surface temperatures," Mackintosh said.

    We have seen that when the Tasman Sea is warmer than normal, you tend to lose a great deal of snow and ice in the Southern Alps.

    "The marine heatwave this summer, where temperatures have been up to 6C higher in some parts of the Tasman Sea, means we are expecting to see a much higher snow line."

    The survey was undertaken every March at the end of summer and carried out using specialised cameras from a light aircraft.

    Lorrey said the information gathered over the past four decades has produced a unique and incredibly valuable dataset that provides an independent measure of how climate change and variability are affecting our water resources.

    "We look at the surface of each glacier and the line of demarcation where there is snow from the previous winter above, and exposed bare ice below.

    "That line can tell you about the amount of snow gained versus the amount lost since the start of the glacier year in April."

    The five scientists on board the snowline flight – Lorrey and Trevor Chinn, together with Dr Huw Horgan, Dr Brian Anderson and PhD student Lauren Vargo from Victoria University - will take thousands of photos from different angles that will then be used to build 3D models of glaciers that can be compared year on year to give an accurate depiction of the volume of ice that has changed.

    Mackintosh said powerful computing methods were used to process the photos, enabling precise measurement of snowlines, and the glacier surfaces.

    Over the 40 years of the survey, the precision has evolved to the point it now "takes the guesswork out of expert judgement".

    Analysis of the photographs provides absolute numbers on how the snowline had changed which act as the benchmark for evaluating computer models of the glaciers.

    "It is a tremendous resource that gives us quantitative digital information on how glaciers have changed," Mackintosh said.

    It also allows us to reconstruct length changes for glaciers that have never been measured on the ground."

    Image / SuppliedImage / Supplied

    For the first time this year a thermal imaging camera will be used that Lorrey hoped will reveal more about the debris-covered ice.

    "While it is experimental, we hope it may tell us something about the thickness and extent of the debris cover and the properties of the ice underneath it."

    The survey comes after scientists revealed New Zealand's total glacier area had shrunk from 1240 sq km to 857 sq km - a decrease of 31 per cent since the late 1970s, or just under one per cent of loss each year.

    The number of glaciers also fell slightly from 3283 to 3180, while mean altitude climbed from 1859m to 1939m above sea level.

    Those figures followed a 2014 analysis by Chinn and other scientists which showed ice volume in the Southern Alps had shrunk by 18.4cu km or 34 per cent since the 1970s, and ice losses had been accelerating rapidly since the turn of the new century.

    Whether the overall trend of ongoing loss continued was dependent on how the world acted on climate change.

    One scenario that assumed future warming could be limited only to another 2C - the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change - would see glaciers keep retreating but stabilizing by the middle of the century.

    But if emissions continued to ramp up without any efforts to curb them, glaciers could become virtually unrecognizable by 2100.

    Around the world, glaciers were already melting at an unprecedented rate, losing on average between half a metre and metre of ice thickness every year.

    An interactive juxtaposition of the Brewster Glacier, pictured in 2016 and 2017, can be viewed here.

    Jamie Morton
     
     
    original story HERE

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