Tag Archives: ipcc

The U.N. report calls for better farming. Which 2020 candidates have a plan for that?

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The U.N. report calls for better farming. Which 2020 candidates have a plan for that?

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IPCC report: Planting trees isn’t enough to save us from the climate crisis

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IPCC report: Planting trees isn’t enough to save us from the climate crisis

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Despite the U.S. cold snap, January was hot hot hot

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This January should be remembered for its unusual warmth, not its cold.

Yes, it’s so cold right now that even hardy Minneapolis is shutting down schools, but even with these few days of extreme cold, Minnesota should end up with a near “normal” month thanks to weeks of unusual warmth. It was in the 70s and 80s as far north as Maryland on New Year’s Day. Alaska has been so warm that they’re canceling sled dog races. So far this month, there have been 651 record daily highs across the United States, compared to 321 record daily lows — a roughly 2-to-1 ratio. And that’s just in the U.S.

Globally, the ratio of record highs to lows was about 20-to-1, with new all-time records in Namibia, Chile, and Reunion Island.

It’s summer in the southern hemisphere, and a brutal heat wave in Australia is melting roads and killing wildlife on a mass scale. On January 18, one town never dropped below 96.6 degrees F — marking the hottest night in Australian history. Thursday was the hottest day so far in relatively mild Sydney, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees F and knocking out power for tens of thousands of people.

Ongoing bushfires in Tasmania are threatening a World Heritage site with thousand-year-old pine trees — parts of the same area burned in 2016. Fires in this protected alpine wilderness were once unheard of; now they’re becoming routine.

To put it bluntly, events like this can’t happen in a normal climate. The harsh truth is we are not only losing the weather of the past, but there’s no hope of it stabilizing any time soon.

Underlying this warmth and extreme weather is the irreversible heat buildup of the oceans. The waters in the South Pacific are off the charts right now, triggering the highest alert for coral bleaching and boosting the likelihood of significant mortality in marine ecosystems. Sea ice on both poles is near record lows, with profound effects for the world’s weather. Current temperatures in the Arctic are likely the warmest they’ve been in at least 115,000 years, with melting ice beginning to reveal plants and landscapes buried for at least 40,000 years, according to new research.

Climate change is the sum effect of changes to daily weather, and our weather these days is bordering on indescribable. We are pushing the atmosphere into uncharted territory. That means what happens next is inherently unpredictable.

According to the Trump administration’s just-completed National Climate Assessment, “positive feedbacks (self-reinforcing cycles) within the climate system have the potential to accelerate human-induced climate change and even shift the Earth’s climate system, in part or in whole, into new states that are very different from those experienced in the recent past.”

The real danger of climate change is not that we are proving ourselves unable to heed scientists’ warnings, but that those warnings are inherently too cautious and we’ve already gone past the point of no return. Even the bombshell IPCC report, which recently kicked off an unprecedented youth movement advocating for a Green New Deal, may have underestimated how dire things truly are.

This is the core truth of our time: We have left the stable climate era that gave rise to civilization. Our society is brittle, and our new context — for generations to come — will be constant change. Even if we manage to rapidly stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years or so, as the IPCC report says we must, weather will continue to worsen for decades and the seas will continue to rise for hundreds of years.

With this extreme month as yet another warning sign, we need to wrap our heads around what it will take to match our solutions with the scale of the problem.


Despite the U.S. cold snap, January was hot hot hot

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The debate is over: The oceans are in hot, hot water

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The Earth’s surface is 70 percent water, but even that underestimates how vital ocean health is to our planet’s ability to maintain life. Recent results from scientists around the world only further confirm that our waterworld is in serious danger.

Last week, a bombshell study confirmed that the oceans are warming 40 percent faster than many scientists had previously estimated. The finding partially resolved a long-running debate between climate modelers and oceanographers. By measuring the oceans more directly, scientists again came to a now-familiar conclusion: Yes, things really are as bad as we feared.

The ocean stores more than 90 percent of all excess heat energy due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. From the standpoint of heat, global warming is almost entirely a story of how rapidly the oceans are changing.

Warming oceans work to melt polar ice, of course, thereby raising sea levels. But hotter oceans change how the atmosphere works, too. More heat energy in the oceans means more heat energy is available for extreme weather: Downpours of rainfall are happening more often, hurricanes are shifting in frequency and growing in intensity, freak ocean heat waves are spilling over into temperature records on land. Melting Arctic and Antarctic sea ice is also increasing wave height, which is accelerating coastal erosion — worsening the effects of sea-level rise.

The now-inevitable loss of nearly all coral reefs — home to a quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity — is the most charismatic of the impacts. The changes to the world’s oceans are shifting marine ecosystems on a grand scale, all the way down to phytoplankton, the base of the planet’s food web.

Last month, a study found that the “Great Dying,” the worst mass extinction in Earth history, was triggered by a period of global warming comparable to what’s predicted for us under business-as-usual conditions. The study asked: Could we be on a similar path as 252 million years ago, when most marine life was snuffed out after the warming seas lost most of their oxygen?

The answer, almost entirely, comes down to what we collectively decide to do in the next decade or so.

CO2 sticks around in the atmosphere for about 100 years. The lag time of ocean heating — the amount of time it takes for the energy of a particularly warm day at the sea’s surface to reach all the way to its deepest depths — is about 2,000 years. Oceans act as a massive storage system to retain that heat over very long timescales.

It’s why, if we’re going to limit warming to less than 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F), the IPCC says that not only do we need to cut emissions immediately — with a 50 percent reduction globally by 2030 — but we also need to work to draw down the greenhouse gases that are already in the atmosphere, through massive reforestation and other means. We simply don’t have time to wait for them to dwindle on their own.

By changing the atmosphere to capture more of the sun’s energy, we’re adding the equivalent of four Hiroshima bombs of heat energy every second to the oceans. In 2018, the oceans gained about 9 zettajoules of heat energy. (For reference, annual energy use for all of human civilization is about 0.5 zettajoules.) There’s just no way to remove that heat once it’s there. It will inevitably end up leaking into the atmosphere, intensifying our experience of a warming planet even further.

Even if a future human civilization decided to embark on a geoengineering project to offset the atmospheric effects of climate change, there is no practical physical mechanism to cool down the 325 million cubic miles of ocean water on the planet.

Combined with other stressors like overfishing, acidification, plastic pollution, and nutrient runoff, the oceans are already experiencing geological-scale changes. This is the grandest of possible wake-up calls: We are in the emergency phase of climate change. In order for things to get back on track and avoid further radical changes to our planetary life-support system, we have to make radical changes to our culture and society.


The debate is over: The oceans are in hot, hot water

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The science of self-care: How climate researchers are coping with the U.N. report

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The phrase “point of no return” may sound hyperbolic. But one month after the IPCC’s blockbuster report awakened the world to the urgency of climate change, the mood among top climate scientists has become increasingly restless.

I spoke with more than a dozen scientists about how their lives have changed since the release of the report in October. That report, assembled with input from thousands of scientists and signed off by representatives of every nation on Earth, reached a stark conclusion: We have to cut emissions in half by 2030 or risk a Mad Max-esque planet.

Their responses reflect the same internal tensions many of us have felt: relief that the true stakes of climate change are finally out there, grief and fear over our lack of action, impatience with leaders who continue to shirk their responsibilities, and excitement to get to work on a problem that affects us all.

Take Georgia Tech’s Kim Cobb, a climate scientist who studies corals near small island states. The IPCC report found that without a radical shift, those nations could disappear beneath the waves in our lifetimes. Cobb sees the findings putting into stark terms how much we need to step up: “Isn’t it so wonderful that science isn’t giving us a pass?”

Earlier this year, she pledged to sharply reduce her air travel. Cobb bikes to work in all kinds of weather, and recently trekked to Atlanta City Hall to advocate for bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Before the midterm elections, she spent a weekend campaigning for environmentally friendly politicians. Cobb is a testament to what she calls an “all-of-the-above” approach to bring about radical change.

Climate scientists like Cobb live in a world that’s still caught between where we are and where we need to be. Watching how they’re responding to the IPCC report is a good barometer for how thinking, feeling people with full knowledge of our society’s existential problem are coping with being alive at a moment when we’ve got 12 years to remake everything.

Ryan Jacobson

The scientists I talked to are doing more biking, meditating, wine drinking, and worrying about their children’s futures. They’ve tuned out the news, they’ve tweeted, and they’ve campaigned. They’ve purchased electric cars and talked from the heart about the stakes our civilization finds itself in. In short, they’re handling this new reality a lot like the rest of us.

Here are some of the (lightly edited and condensed) email responses I got:

Diana Liverman, University of Arizona (and a co-author of the IPCC report)

I’m still in full IPCC outreach mode, giving talks locally and in Europe as well. Things won’t wind down until Thanksgiving. I am refining my message and getting better at talking about the report and making its findings relevant for where I live.

Teaching my large undergrad class (160 students) is helpful at keeping things positive as they seem engaged and interested. I feel the need to give them hope.

Kate Marvel, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

I don’t think we should give in to despair. There’s no scientific support for the notion that we’re inevitably doomed and should just give up. There’s a lot of bad news, but look at the good news, too: new congresspeople who take climate change seriously, a very engaged and well-informed youth, new ways to talk about climate that link it to other issues people care deeply about.

I’m not saying this to minimize the terrifying reality. I miss California like I miss a person, and it’s devastating to see my beloved home burning.

Andrea Dutton, University of Florida

It is easier to ignore the problem than to take on the emotional burden of accepting something that seems quite scary at times.

The fundamental message has remained the same. The reason why it sounded so much more urgent this time is three-fold: (1) We are now several years further along, and each year makes a significant difference in calculating how much we would need to decrease our emissions to reach any target; (2) the 1.5 C target is lower than 2 C, so obviously trying to reach it means even more rapid and deep cuts to our emissions; and (3) the backwards progress on policies to address this in the U.S. makes the outlook even worse now.

So, what has changed for me? If anything I am working even more frantically than before. I devote even more time to public engagement on this issue.

I hope that we (meaning both scientists and journalists) can encourage others not to get stuck in despair, but to use their concern over climate change as fuel to take us to the next step on this journey to adapt, mitigate, and create a more sustainable and resilient society.

Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

When things started going downhill a few years ago, I started planning for a temporary escape from the U.S. and am now happily in Paris for the fall. One cannot, of course, escape from all the bad news so easily, and it is hard to develop a positive outlook when almost nothing is actually happening to combat all the problems we face, including especially climate change.

Devaraju Narayanappa, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin (France)

I certainly think the report is shouting out loud across the Earth; more and more people are getting alerted. I hope the transformations, discussed in the IPCC report, might at least start to happen in some part of the world. Personally I’m trying my best to be eco-friendly and balancing the time for research, exercise, and for the family and friends.

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, University of New South Wales (Australia)

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The stakes are very different for me. I’m expecting my second daughter in three short months and the latest report is sobering about the future my children will have. I find myself constantly thinking about what the planet will look like in 50 or 100 years’ time when we haven’t curbed our emissions, at least enough to limit global warming to 1.5-2 C. And I don’t like what I see. However, I cannot (and will not) give up hope that changes will be made, at least in my lifetime, and if not that of my children. I’d be drinking (more) wine too if I could, but that’s not advised at 28 weeks pregnant 😉

Jeremy Shakun, Boston College

Everything climate is a long-term story, so I tend/try not to get too worked up/down by any particular moment. I increasingly think the public isn’t going to push for much action, at least on the scale needed, until they see a bunch more climate disruption/impacts. It’s just too theoretical otherwise and can’t compete with other issues.

I haven’t had much hope for 1.5 or 2 C for a while. I tend to think of this in 3 vs 6 C terms. So, bad news in some ways is good news, as it perhaps helps move public perception forward and increase chances of less than 3 C. I’ve been struck by how many people in my everyday life have been commenting this year on how bizarre the weather is. They don’t necessarily connect it to climate change yet, but I think it’s an important step.

Adam Sobel, Columbia University

At this point, I am most terrified by the failure of the United States’ system of democratic government. Of course that is not an entirely separate issue from global warming and the various other environmental catastrophes.

Since the 2016 election, I have had to limit my intake of news to a lower level than before.

Deke Arndt, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

I’m trying to talk with as many people as I can about climate. The solutions lay in the people who haven’t yet acted.

Abigail Swann, University of Washington

The Brazilian election has left a much more unexpected pit in my stomach because it wasn’t really on my radar until this fall. I’d also add to your list of difficult-to-stomach news the ongoing revelations about various academic and STEM #MeToo incidents, and some extremely disappointing responses to them.

The everyday of being a professor is hard, but also involves a lot of busy tasks with deadlines this time of year, so some of my coping is just to keep making sure that I don’t let other people down. I also have a toddler. The mundane sometimes feels like a respite, but with both students and family, it also feels really important, and therefore restorative (at least most of the time when dinner doesn’t get thrown all over the room).

Maskot / Getty Images

Valerie Trouet, University of Arizona

I admit that in the context of what we know, at times I find it hard to keep motivated to do my job. I focus more and more on aspects that seem more achievable and that I feel have a bigger chance of getting solved, such as diversity and equality in STEM fields and in academia.

I make more time to meditate, and make sure that I exercise and spend time with the people that I love. I also find that trying to find ways to further reduce my footprint, even in little ways, helps to give me a feeling of being in control.

Sara Vicca, University of Antwerp (Belgium)

Moments like these, when we are strongly reminded that a turbulent future may be ahead of us, do upset me and make me angry. When I put my kids in bed at night, I often catch myself thinking: “Oh dear, what will their life be like when they are adults?” (They are 6 and 9 now.)

On the other hand, news like this also stimulates me to contribute (more) to the solutions where I can. I think it’s really important not to lose hope and to keep on doing all we can to move to a sustainable future in a still friendly climate.

Mark Eakin, NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch

The years 2014-2017 have all been among the warmest years on record, and along with the high temperatures came the longest, most widespread global coral bleaching event on record. At NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch, we’re right at the center of these events and received frequent reports from scientists and resource managers all over the world who reported coral bleaching as it was happening. There were many days I’d just walk away from the computer and look out the window when an especially devastating report of reef damage came in. I think it led to more self-medication as the bad news would literally drive me to drink (fortunately, not too much).

Terry Hughes, James Cook University (Australia)

The IPCC report singled out coral reefs as a vulnerable ecosystem. My worst fear is the growing likelihood of another extreme summer in Australia early next year that could damage the Reef again. Yet, Australian governments still promote the expansion of coal and gas. My personal response – publish our data as quickly as we can, to inform the voting public.

Eric Rignot, University of California-Irvine

Sea-level rise and flooding is one thing, people get wet, immigrate, and create huge problems. Loss of biodiversity means the human species as a whole is threatened to disappear. No joke. This is not discussed enough in the media. My uttermost concern goes to biodiversity more than ice sheets.

Now a lot of countries are pointing the finger at the U.S. but we are doing more in California than in any other country that signed the Paris agreement. I see an increasing concern from the public to do the right thing, so I am more hopeful now than 10 years ago when only visionary people cared and the rest did not.

skynesher / Getty Images

Richard Alley, Pennsylvania State University

Next week, if the rains hold off, I should hit 2,500 miles for the year on my bicycle. A lot of those miles have been down the Spring Creek Canyon, watching the eagles and osprey and mink as the seasons turn, enjoying the beauty that still surrounds us.

In my public presentations, I now generally start with cellphones. Many of our fellow citizens do accuse scientists of not knowing what we’re doing. But, they do so by using cellphones, which are just a little sand, a little oil, and the right rocks, plus science and engineering, design and marketing. The cellphones rely on relativity and quantum mechanics. I think most of our fellow citizens really do know that they couldn’t build a cellphone from the sand, oil, and rocks, and that scientists really do have useful insights, including discovering medicines and medical procedures and devices that save lives and ease suffering. And that knowledge really does mean that there are ways back to using our knowledge more broadly to help us.

If we use our knowledge on energy and environment more efficiently, we will get a larger economy with more jobs, improved health, and greater national security in a cleaner environment more consistent with the Golden Rule.

Not a bad goal, is it?

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The science of self-care: How climate researchers are coping with the U.N. report

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How Brazil’s presidential election could eff up the planet for everyone

As the vast Brazilian rainforest steadily dwindles, so do our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. And with the possible election of Jair Bolsonaro, the so-called “Trump of the Tropics” and far-right frontrunner in the Brazilian presidential election, a crucial part of the planet’s carbon emission-curbing toolkit might be in jeopardy.

Bolsonaro has indicated he may open Indigenous areas up to mining, even potentially introducing a paved highway through the Amazon. The environmental impact of those policies would be “the biggest threat to the Amazon since Brazil was under a dictatorship,” said Doug Boucher, Scientific Advisor for The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Tropical Forests and Climate Initiative. “It’s a threat to the climate of the entire planet.”

From 2005 to 2012, Brazil’s forests were doing alright. Deforestation decreased by about two thirds under the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration — from 20,000 kilometers per year before Lula was elected to about 6,000 square kilometers per year. Since then, deforestation has basically remained at the same comparatively low levels, reducing Brazil’s CO2 emissions by more than half, according to Boucher.

Any shift in the country’s administration could endanger that progress — Presidential elections in Brazil tend to coincide with higher deforestation rates, regardless of the candidate. But Bolsonaro’s vision for handling environmental matters is uniquely jarring. Known for his homophobic, racist, and misogynistic views, the controversial politician also has a long track record of opposing an environmental agenda. He’s against taking action on climate change at all, pledging to follow President Trump’s lead by jettisoning the Paris Climate Agreement.

Bolsonaro has also made his views on race blatantly clear: He has criticized the Brazilian government’s commitment to preserving vast swaths of the Amazon for Indigenous people, promising that he will “not to give the Indians another inch of land.” Moreover, Bolsonaro has allied himself with the right-wing ruralista bloc, which represents the interests of agribusinesses and large landholders, and has been trying to strip away environmental protections against deforestation for many years.

Bolsonaro’s proposed environmental hit list goes on. He has promised to scrap the country’s Environment Ministry altogether, putting it under the scope of the Agriculture Ministry, which is led by agribusiness.

“Instead of spreading the message that he will fight deforestation and organized crime, he says he will attack the ministry of environment, Ibama and ICMBio [Brazil’s federal environment agencies],” said Brazil’s current environment minister, Edson Duarte. “It’s the same as saying that he will withdraw the police from the streets.”

In many ways, Bolsonaro, an ex-army captain, seems to want to revert to the Amazonian policies that Brazil employed during the years of the South American nation’s dictatorship. At that time, during the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, the country promoted rapid development of the Amazon, paving roads and converting the forests into farmland and ranchland.

As the global fight against catastrophic climate change ramps up, forests are a necessary front of the action. According to a dire, new report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), halting deforestation could play a vital role in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as forests have a significant capacity to absorb and store carbon.

“We have to take carbon dioxide basically out of the atmosphere in order to prevent a very dangerous increase in temperature, and major increases in floods, severe storms, and heat waves,” Boucher said. “The best way we know to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is to preserve and rebuild forests.”And protecting the last remnants of Brazil’s forests would go a long way. The country contains 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest — by far the largest forest in the world — which uptakes CO2 year-round due to its perpetually wet and warm climate.

This past week, Bolsonaro won the first round of Brazil’s presidential election by a near majority, and yet his success is not yet certain. He will face left-wing second-place finisher Fernando Haddad in the second round later this month.

“Civil society should keep the pressure up — and they already are,” Boucher said. “We have to watch and see what happens.”


How Brazil’s presidential election could eff up the planet for everyone

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Climate science’s official text is outdated. Here’s what it’s missing.

The first-ever courtroom tutorial of climate science this week went about as you’d expect. The scientists representing Oakland and San Francisco had Powerpoint problems, and the oil industry’s lawyer cherry-picked his facts.

For all their differences, both sides drew from a common source: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the gold-standard for mainstream climate science. Problem is, the last IPCC report came out way back in 2013. As it turns out, we’ve learned a lot about our climate since then, and most of that new information paints an increasingly urgent picture of the need to slash fossil-fuel emissions as soon as possible.

It’s convenient that Chevron’s attorney relied on that aging five-year-old report. The next IPCC report isn’t planned for public release until the fall of 2019. Gathering consensus takes time, and the result is that IPCC reports are out of date before they’re published and necessarily conservative.

The climate models used in these reports grow old in a hurry. Since the 1970s, they’ve routinely underestimated the rate of global warming. Some of the most recent comprehensive assessments of climate science, including last year’s congressionally-mandated, White House-approved, Climate Science Special Report, include scary new sections on “climate surprises” like simultaneous droughts and hurricanes, that have wide-reaching consequences. The scientists representing the two cities knew this, and didn’t limit their talking points to the IPCC.

“Positive feedbacks (self-reinforcing cycles) within the climate system have the potential to accelerate human-induced climate change,” says a section from that Climate Science Special report, “and even shift the Earth’s climate system, in part or in whole, into new states that are very different from those experienced in the recent past.” None of this was included in the last IPCC report.

Actually, a helluva lot has changed in our understanding of the Earth’s climate system since the 2013 IPCC report. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Sea-level rise is going to be much worse than we thought. Like, potentially a lot worse. In the last IPCC assessment, the worst case scenario for sea-level rise this century was about three feet. That’s now about the midpoint of what’s expected; the worst-case has ballooned to about eight feet. That’s largely because …
  1. Antarctica’s massive ice sheets could collapse much more quickly than we thought. Newly discovered mechanisms of collapse in some of the planet’s largest and most vulnerable glaciers in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are beginning to capture the attention of the scientific community. Should these mechanisms kick in over the next few decades, they’d unleash enough meltwater to flood every coastal city on Earth.
  1. Extreme weather is here and can now be linked to climate change in real time. From the Arctic to the tropics, wildfires, intense storms and other extreme weather events have been increasingly fierce in recent years, and climate change has played a measurable role. A 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences opened the floodgates, so to speak, of the burgeoning field of extreme weather attribution. From last year’s Hurricane Harvey to last month’s nor’easter-linked floods in Massachusetts, nearly every weather event now bares a traceable connection to human-caused climate change.
  1. Global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius is pretty much locked in. A forthcoming special report of the IPCC will say that meeting the 1.5 degree target — one of the most ambitious commitments of the Paris Agreement — looks “extremely unlikely.” Humanity’s shift to zero-carbon energy sources is moving about 10 times too slowly. At this point, it would probably take geoengineering to prevent it. Researchers have started testing ways to do that.
  1. We’ve already lost entire ecosystems, most notably coral reefs. During a record-breaking El Niño event in 2015, the world lost massive swaths of coral in a global bleaching event “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.” More than 90 percent of the world’s coral will surely die by 2050 without rapid emissions reductions. That means one of the richest stores of biodiversity on the planet is already in jeopardy.

The climate system is moving much more quickly than we thought, and human action to curb climate change is moving much too slowly. Nasty surprises are increasingly possible, and hopeful surprises are more necessary than ever. But there’s some solace to take from this week’s events. The hearing this week is just one of the many courtrooms in which Big Oil has been forced to defend itself. Challenging polluters directly through the courts might result in one of those hopeful surprises people weren’t betting on five years ago.

Originally from:

Climate science’s official text is outdated. Here’s what it’s missing.

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France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

oui-ling and dealing

France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

By on Jun 15, 2016Share

France on Wednesday became the first global power to formally join the U.N. climate deal, after it was negotiated in Paris late last year.

While 177 parties have signed the deal at the U.N. headquarters in New York so far, only 17 have gone all the way by ratifying the text in their home countries. To kick the agreement into action, 55 parties accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions will need to ratify it.

There’s a catch with the French ratification, too: It won’t count for anything if the rest of Europe doesn’t do the same. The 28-member European Union negotiated and adopted the Paris Agreement as a bloc, and therefore must ratify it as such.

As you might expect, that’s a little complicated. Citing the need to finalize implementation details, Germany and the United Kingdom currently oppose swift ratification.

Other industrialized countries like the United States and China — which account for a greater percentage share of global emissions — have said they intend to ratify the deal by year’s end. Even without Europe’s participation, India could theoretically push the world over the 55-percent mark by the end of the year if it, too, chooses to seal the deal.

France will continue to put pressure on the rest of the Europe, undeterred by the usual slow grind of E.U. politics. As French President François Hollande said: “Signing is good, ratifying is better.”

Bon mots, François.

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France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

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Marco Rubio keeps digging himself a deeper hole on climate change

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks during a campaign event in North Charleston, South Carolina February 19, 2016. Reuters / Chris Keane

Marco Rubio keeps digging himself a deeper hole on climate change

By on 11 Mar 2016commentsShare

Less than 12 hours after the Miami Republican presidential debate, Marco Rubio found himself grilled for a second time by CNN on climate change. The night before, Rubio responded to a question on climate from Miami Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado, who, as an appropriately concerned Floridian, acknowledges and cares about the science and policy causing his city’s flooding. “Well, sure, the climate is changing and one of the reasons why the climate is changing is the climate has always been changing,” Rubio said Thursday night. Which is really all you need to know to get a sense of his position on climate.

“Why not embrace the science though?” asked CNN’s Chris Cuomo Friday morning. “You didn’t speak to that specifically last night. The science to 99 percent of the community is clear. It’s something that’s seen as a future perspective. Why don’t you share it?”

“OK, there is a consensus among scientists around the world that humans are contributing to what’s happening in our climate,” said Rubio. “What there is no consensus on is how much of the changes that are going on are due to human activity, in essence the sensitivity argument.”

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“You know, here’s the bottom line,” Rubio continued. “We don’t know how much of it is due to human activity, and that’s relevant in the policy world because they are asking me to support public policies that, by their own admission of the climate activists, these climate policies they want us to adopt would not have a measurable impact on the ecology or the environment now or for the foreseeable future, meaning in my lifetime, yours, or my children’s.”

It’s the kind of answer that has a whiff of nuance. Unfortunately for the senator, it’s also incorrect. Here’s what the sensitivity argument actually looks like, when adapted from the 2013 IPCC report, the world’s authority on climate science:

The probability density function for the amount of warming since 1950 attributable to human causes.


The IPCC explains: “It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by” greenhouse gas emissions and other human factors. Another way to think about it is the chance that humans are not the major cause of warming is improbably low, at less than 1 in 10,000.

But the science doesn’t tell us which policies to pursue. Climate policy is hard. Because Rubio has one thing right: Something like the Clean Power Plan won’t prevent a certain number of inches of sea level rise in his lifetime. But that’s also not the point. Climate policy requires looking past the immediate-term. For some communities, climate change is here, right now. For others, the effects won’t be felt for a century. Rubio bills himself as taking a courageous stand against consensus, but it’s more courageous to trust the science and stand up for people who haven’t yet been born.



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Marco Rubio keeps digging himself a deeper hole on climate change

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Climate change is gonna be rough on farmers and eaters

Climate change is gonna be rough on farmers and eaters

By on 20 Nov 2015commentsShare

When the apocalypse comes, it’ll be every man and woman for themselves. If zombies attack, then your once friendly neighbor will try to kill you for your food supply. If an epidemic sweeps the nation, then everyone with a sniffle will start to look like satan incarnate. If — god forbid — the internet goes down, then billions of people around the world will suddenly devolve into complete lunatics incapable of functioning without GPS, emojis, and the morphine drip that is social media likes.

And now, according to economists at MIT and Stanford, if IPCC projections for climate change come true, then it’ll be every nation for itself — at least, when it comes to farming. Here’s the scoop from MIT News:

If one country suffers a decline in, say, wheat production but can still grow as much rice as ever, then — in theory — it might grow more rice and trade for its usual amount of wheat instead.

But a new study co-authored by an MIT economist suggests that international trade will do little to alleviate climate-induced farming problems. Instead, the report indicates that countries will have to alter their own patterns of crop production to lessen farming problems — and even then, there will be significant net losses in production under the basic scenarios projected by climate scientists.

“The key is the response within a country, in terms of what those farmers produce, rather than between countries,” says Arnaud Costinot, a professor in the Department of Economics at MIT and expert on international trade issues, who is one of the authors of a paper detailing the study’s results.

Constinot and his coauthors looked at the future farming and trade practices of 50 countries under 11 climate change scenarios proposed by the IPCC. They focused on 10 major crops, including wheat and rice, and in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Political Economy, report that, all-in-all, damage to those crops could lower global GDP by about 0.26 percent. But that’s nothing compared to what happens when one accounts for the climate change impacts on all crops, Constinot told MIT News — in that frightening hypothetical, global GDP stands to decrease by about one-sixth.

And, of course, the burden on individual nations won’t be evenly distributed:

As with many aspects of climate change, the effects on agriculture could vary widely by region and country. In the study’s model — under the baseline IPCC scenario, and given farming and trade adjustments — agricultural productivity declined by over 10 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, and Myanmar, and a whopping 49 percent in Malawi. In other countries, including Germany and the United States, the expected effects in the model were very modest.

Right — so as if we weren’t already huge dicks for causing this mess in the first place, it’s like we just accidentally released a deadly virus from a top secret research lab and then decided to hunker down in the fully equipped government facility to wait out the chaos while the rest of the world burns.


Grow Your Own Way

, MIT News.



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Climate change is gonna be rough on farmers and eaters

Posted in Anchor, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, ONA, Radius, solar, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Climate change is gonna be rough on farmers and eaters