New Kiribati "...will future climate change refugees become a new caste of service sector workers inhabiting a sort of Floating Hotel & Duty Free Mall ... ?" Small island states are on the front line.
Today marks the official 8-language launch of 350.org and the start of global action against climate change. But what does this 350 number even mean? As author Bill McKibben and a chorus of scientific voices suggest, it means everything to the planet. If we want an earth at all, we'll need an Earth at 350.
Earth2100.tv is a project by ABC (video preview) to solicit ideas from the public and experts about the dangers facing world in the next 100 years. "The world’s brightest minds agree that the “perfect storm” of population growth, resource depletion and climate change could converge with catastrophic results. We need you to bring this story to life."
Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green. Last month, Wired published what it called "10 green heresies" which makes the case for urban living, intensive forest management and, er, air conditioning, among other things.
Sucking CO2 out of the air has long been a holy grail for solving global warming; Richard Branson has promised $25m to anyone who succeeds. Of course it's already been done, but the amount of energy required doesn't make it net carbon positive. Now a team in Arizona, led by Klaus Lacknet under the company of Global Research Technologies, says it has made a significant breakthrough that massively reduces the amount of energy required - the "project has reached the stage where it is quite clear we can do it." The planned prototype, which will be finished in two years, will cost $200,000 USD, be smaller than a shipping container and be capable of eliminating around 1 ton of CO2. Even if it works many hurdles remain but it portends a cooler future for air-capture technology.
The U.S. Climate Change Science Program has just released "Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3: The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States." It makes for pretty interesting reading. [more inside]
Meet Joules the climate change-sceptic robot. Joules is employed to teach 8-14 year-old school children in the UK about energy use. Joules says: "oil and gas could be in short supply in about 50 years time. The earth is believed to be getting warmer and sea levels apper to be rising. Energy Chest is funded in part by the world's biggest oil company: ExxonMobil. [more inside]
“I can’t express how extremely disappointed I am that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act," Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski said in a statement issued today. [more inside]
Too much traffic? Can't find parking? Choking on smog? Worried about climate change? Gas prices too high, but you still have to drive? Send your city planner a link to the Online Encyclopedia of Transportation Demand Management strategies. [more inside]
Why bother? "That really is the big question facing us as individuals hoping to do something about climate change," by Michael Pollan.
"We badly underestimated the degree of damages and the risks of climate change," said Lord Stern in a speech in London yesterday. "All of the links in the chain are on average worse than we thought (pdf) a couple of years ago." [more inside]
At TED this past March, Al Gore once again presented the Mother of all Power Point Shows. This time around, there is a renewed sense of urgency, with updated slides about Arctic sea ice loss, among other things. More so than in the past, Gore specifically focuses on the necessity for laws to change, and how before that can happen, politics, especially American politics, must change as well. Another theme of Gore's latest TED appearance is how climate change is also a tremendous opportunity for a new heroic generation, to be remembered as the ones who solved the greatest crisis of human civilization.
Enjoy life while you can. Because we're doomed. Global warming has passed the tipping point, and catastrophe is unstoppable. James Lovelock is still at it. (Previously.)
Some time this month, French wine will once again be transported by sail. As the Guardian reports today, French vineyards concerned about climate change are about to make life much easier for oenophiles wishing to reduce their carbon footprint. Later this month, the Belem, a 19th century barque will sail from Languedoc to Dublin with 60,000 bottles of Bordeaux. [more inside]
New Jersey is drowning, or rather it would if the the future as predicted by David Spratty & Philip Sutton in climate code red comes true. Philip Sutton said in an interview that "within five years the Arctic ice in the summertime will be all gone.". With all the ice melting, the waterlevels rise - will your house be under water?
Biofuels worsen global warming, according to two studies published in Science last week. Current US biofuel policies would double carbon emissions over the gasoline alternative. More details: ScienceExpress fulltext pdf of study #1, powerpoint summary of study #1, abstract of study #2, summary of both, policy recommendations pdf (via: 1, 2). [more inside]
The rock art of the Tassili culture is found throughout North African mountains, the Tassili n'Ajjer. The rock art of Europe is well known around the world. Lesser known but just as amazing and less well-understood is the rock art of North Africa. (prev.,prev.) This tradition is thought to have developed independently of European rock art although researchers agree about very little else about it. This art hearkens back to a time when the Sahara's climate was milder and more wet. This rock art has often been compared to the pre-Nguni San rock art of Southern Africa. There are of course people who believe that aliens did it. The more research that is done about this area and its archaeology, the more we may have to rethink our ideas about the Sahara. . Sadly enough, like many archaeological sites it is becoming endangered.
Thoreau was into it. Scientists are using it to understand climate change. When Project Budburst starts again on Febraury 15th, you can participate, too. [more inside]
Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies have found that 2007 tied with 1998 for Earth's second warmest year in a century (2005 being the hottest). More here. of course, others disagree.
"Intended to deepen our understanding of disputes over climate change and the human contribution to it," the new 'Climate Debate Daily' is brought to you by the folks who created the well-known 'Arts and Letters Daily'. Links to everything from scientific articles through PR releases down to blog entries, are arranged on the page in 'face-off' format, with pros and cons in side-by-side columns. If you want to keep on top of the debate on climate change, it seems that you'll find no better source of information anywhere ..
"They are happy when they run." So says Kalle Leissner, a Swedish musher, of the Alaskan Husky, a breed of dog best known for pulling sleds over long stretches of unforgiving terrain, as in the world famous Iditarod competition. (Not everyone, it should be noted, agrees with Leissner's assessment.) But with climate change forcing the Iditarod's planners to rework their race, could this sport's days be numbered? Maybe...and then again, maybe not.
"So by this analysis dead-tree magazines have a smaller net carbon footprint than web media. We cut down trees and put them in the ground. From a climate change perspective, this is a good thing" explains Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief. While some decry this type of carbon footprint accounting as "cheating", the paper industry has lately been eager to convince the public that they are carbon-neutral.
The new UN Human Development Report is out. Lots of interesting stuff on climate change. But for me, nothing beats the Human Development Index, a number that means different things to different people.
The historically significant* "4th IPCC report on global warming" was published in full last weekend to wide publicity. Part 1 "The Science". Part 2 "The Impacts" and Part 3 "The Solutions" - each about a 1000 page 6 pound brick, but summaries make it accessible. Beyond its gloomy dire warnings and calls for immediate action, observed global measurements of CO2 levels are already worse than the worse case scenarios and some say the report is overly conservative and already outdated. However there is a surprising idea for "solving" climate change (TED) that may be inevitable.
CARMA, released today, is a map/database that shows the carbon emissions of more than 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies in every country on Earth, showing not only the worst but the best. Find out how much CO2 comes from electricity plants in a particular city, county, congressional district, company, town, ZIP code, or an individual plant.
300,000 people are stranded due to massive flooding in Tabasco, Mexico. More from UNICEF. Video from Reuters. [more inside]
So you've all heard about how global warming will lead to rising sea-levels, but what about falling freshwater levels? [more inside]
In what it calls "the final wake-up call to the international community," a UN report (press release, website, 21 MB PDF) warns that damage to the environment is reaching a "point of no return" and now threatens "humanity's very survival." Oh, c'mon, tell us what you really think.
Georgia's going dry -- and we're not talking liquor stores. Record temperatures in Georgia and a long drought have left many Georgia cities wondering when the taps will run dry. Some towns have only a few weeks of water left, while rivers near Athens have nearly dried up. A broken water main hasn't helped the problem, and some fear that the University of Georgia campus there may shut down for lack of water. What's more, Atlanta itself is already feeling the pressure, as Lake Lanier, a water source for 3 million residents, falls by 1.5 feet per week and has only a three month supply remaining. While there have been more severe (pdf) droughts in Georgia's history, rising population numbers have increased demand to now unsustainable levels.
Video (8MB, MPEG) of arctic sea ice extent, recorded from January to September 2007. [other formats] This summer a dramatic decrease compared to previous years in the extent of the north pole ice cap was observed. Scientists are freaked out [bugmenot]. This summer, the Northwest Passage was open for a few weeks, allowing three ships to traverse it. [more inside]
Albert A. Gore Jr. shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted." Still not running for president.
A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world has been characterized as a climate change "mega disaster" by a senior UN official, a measure based on 13 emergency "flash" appeals (PDF, map) issued so far this year (pic gallery) - three more than in 2005 which held the previous record. Sir John has expressed frustration at how little media attention in the west is being devoted to what he terms a global "creeping climatic catastrophe".
The Catholic Church is traditionally not seen as a progressive institution, but when it comes to global warming, Vatican City is aiming to become the worlds first fully carbon-neutral state, and the Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations next April to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.
Not ones for subtlety, the Death of Environmentalism guys (previously) are at it again with a Manifesto for a New Environmentalism. Their Apollo Alliance is getting early support from both Clinton and Obama. But it's not the only "new environmentalism" out there. There's this New Environmentalism, while others would include both market-based approaches among the the idols of old environmentalism.
"In an average August between 1979 and 2000, the Arctic Ocean was covered with about 3 million square miles of sea ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. By Labor Day this year, the total had shrunk to a little more than half that, shattering the previous record low set in 2005."
As the global climate changes, agriculture is sure to be affected. The Stern Review explains that "developing countries - in particular the poorest - are heavily dependent on agriculture, the most climate-sensitive of all economic sectors." Working Group II of the IPCC says that: "Smallholder and subsistence farmers, pastoralists and artisanal fisherfolk will suffer complex, localised impacts of climate change (high confidence)." Meanwhile, some important staple crops are especially threatened by rising temperatures (though genetic engineering may help). You can experience a taste of it yourself, with a climate change awareness fast, taking place on Tuesday, September 4th.
The "Great Climate Change Debate" finally on the cover of Newsweek - what's new, you ask? This is the story of the denial that global warming exists and how exactly the science behind the undeniable facts of increasing hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts, heatwaves and monsoons was muddied for profit. Bonus links from the same issue: Timeline of global warming and its denial and a slideshow of images from around the world on the effects but its one of those fancy interactive thingamajigs that doesn't allow it to be linked by an URL so be sure to take a look at it. Extra bonus! Quiz your knowledge on global warming
HighWater Line is a public art installation in New York City that will be a 70-mile chalk line marking the boundary of a 10-foot sea level rise. More pictures under Timeline.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard dipped his toe in the waters of new media this week by releasing his climate change policy via youtube, however which is the real clip? Unfortunately Labor was ready with their own message. Rumours abound (via crikey- login req’d) that the PM’s staffers are censoring comments, or are they?
The IDIOM Media Watch on Climate Change aggregates web content from 150 sources, accessible in the form of semantic maps, on which the topology of the Earth is redrawn as mountains and valleys according to the density of available information, or a three-dimensional 'knowledge planet' viewable in NASA World Wind. [Via Information Aesthetics.]
John Doerr: Seeking salvation and profit in greentech. This is a grim talk from a man who is well-connected with the tech industries best and brightest. He spent a year talking with scientists, experts, and politicians the world 'round about industry and the atmosphere. And as a result he has put a few hundred million dollars toward disruptive technologies... because he is scared -- scared shitless -- about what lies ahead. He also calls us to action.
The Canadian government has released its new Turning the Corner plan for regulating greenhouse gases, setting mandatory intensity-based emission targets (18% reduction over three years) for major industrial sectors. Firms exceeding their targets will be required to pay $15/tonne starting in 2010. Expected cost: $7-8B per year, offset by an expected $6B benefit from improved health. Kyoto targets won't be reached until 2020, eight years late. Reaction from industry, Alberta, the Opposition. Previous proposal from Opposition leader Stephane Dion. Previously.
Connie Meskimen of Hot Springs, Arkansas has a down-to-earth explanation for climate change! What the scientists and the Fifth Column environmentalists bent on wrecking American industry hope that you'll overlook!
Climate change fruitful for fungi: more than one third of the species recorded have started to fruit twice per year.
In a 5-4 opinion [pdf], the Supreme Court concluded today that the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases that may contribute to global warming, and must examine the scientific evidence of a link between those gases contained in the exhausts of new cars and trucks and climate change. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Scalia wrote a dissent, joined by Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. ScotusBlog summary here.
A contrarian documentary on climate change produced by UK Channel 4 called "The Great Global Warming Swindle (Google Video) has been making the rounds in the internets. Prominent among the scientists featured in the documentary is one of the most highly regarded physical oceanographers active today, Carl Wunsch (MIT). Unlike his colleague Richard Lindzen, though, it seems that Prof. Wunsch is not exactly pleased with being cast as a global warming skeptic. It turns out that selective editing made him seem to be saying exactly the opposite of what he was hoping to convey. Wunch is pissed.. Also, reviews of the documentary: Real Climate, The Guardian (Monbiot).
Want to increase your energy efficiency and use more renewable energy? Want to install solar panels on your roof, buy a hybrid car, put in new storm windows, or make any number of other green improvements to your home or business? Want to save money doing it? DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Just click on your state and take it from there.
Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. What are the climate change policy options? Paul Krugman on tax-shifting. William Nordhaus on carbon taxes vs. cap-and-trade (PDF). Mark Jaccard, Nic Rivers, and Matt Horne note that in Canada, voluntary measures and subsidies haven't worked, and propose a detailed policy package (PDF). [more inside]
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has endorsed the recent IPCC report, reversing the White House stance on the existence of global warming. Bodman claims that the Bush administration has always accepted scientific studies pointing to man-made climate change, even as Henry Waxman, House oversight committee chair, has been holding hearings on the White House's misleading the public on global warming for the last six years; hearing documents. Bodman also rejects caps on CO2 emissions, claiming that the US is "a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world," when in fact it's the largest contributor worldwide (and has an even greater share of cumulative CO2 emissions). Previously: IPCC, Waxman.