France has offered a key concession to the US on the eve of historic climate talks in Paris, saying a new global climate accord will not be called a “treaty” and might not contain legally binding emissions reduction targets. In a significant climbdown, Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, said signatories to the planned deal would still be legally required to meet many of its terms but most likely not the carbon-cutting goals underpinning the agreement. Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images Security measures are seen during final preparations for the COP21, Paris Climate Conference site on November 26, 2015 in Le Bourget, France. “The accord needs to be legally binding. It’s not just literature,” Mr Fabius told the Financial Times. “But it will probably have a dual nature. Some of the clauses will be legally binding.” Mr Fabius, who is to chair the UN climate conference, added: “Another question is whether the Paris accord as a whole will be called a treaty. If that’s the case, then it poses a big problem for President Barack Obama because a treaty has to pass through Congress.” The comments are among the first by a senior official to signal a willingness to accommodate the world’s second largest carbon emitter to achieve a successful deal. John Kerry, US secretary of state, warned in an FT interview this month that the Paris climate change summit could not deliver a treaty that legally requires countries to cut their emissions.
Global warming will progress faster than what was previously believed. The reason is that greenhouse gas emissions that arise naturally are also affected by increased temperatures. This has been confirmed in a new study that measures natural methane emissions. Share: 2188 0 61 45 Total shares: 4588 FULL STORY Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels lead to higher temperatures, which in turn lead to increased natural emissions and further warming. – Linköping University
“As a human, though, passing both the 400 ppm and (potentially) the 1°C threshold within such a short time period makes it clear we are already living in a different world. We have blown past targets that were being considered as viable when I entered graduate school. We have significantly reduced the options available to us in the future. If we aren’t going to blow past the next set of thresholds — 500 ppm and 2°C — within just a few more decades, we have a lot of work to do in Paris in two weeks and beyond.” Katharine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University responding to a question posed by Climate Central. The Scripps CO2 measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii have shown that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels climbed above the 400 parts per million (ppm). Because CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a very long time, some scientists say for millennia, our global fever has reached the point that no one alive today, and those that follow us, will ever know a world below 400 ppm again. Even after the horrific events in Paris, over 120 world leaders will still attend the upcoming climate conference, Though a huge march on Nov. 29 by supporters of an agreement to reduce carbon emissions has been cancelled by the French government. In Paris, the most vulnerable among humanity will be pushing for a UN climate goal of 1.5C.Such a goal would be an ambitious one. Some negotiators and onlookers already seem to have given up hope of limiting warming to less than 2°C, much less 1.5°C. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation and other climate-changing hallmarks of industrialization have elevated temperatures 1°C since the 19th century, pushing tides up more than 8 inches. Pledges submitted by nations ahead of the meeting to take steps to slow climate change could yet allow warming to soar to 3°C or more.The longing by low-lying nations to limit warming to 1.5°C has been overshadowed since 2010 by a preoccupation by many with the less ambitious goal. On Wednesday, the U.N. released the latest report to confirm that goal — to limit warming to 2°C, compared with preindustrial times — could be reached through massive globally cooperative efforts that overhaul energy supply chains and reform farming and forest management.Goddard Media simulates carbon dioxide world wide dispersal.Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.The carbon dioxide visualization was produced by a computer model called GEOS-5, created by scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office.The visualization is a product of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then left to run on its own and simulate the natural behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates January 2006 through December 2006.While Goddard scientists worked with a “beta” version of the Nature Run internally for several years, they released this updated, improved version to the scientific community for the first time in the fall of 2014.
The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.That’s when the world’s oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, — with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama — was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise.”I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are — beyond anything we suspected,” Worm says in a news release.”This isn’t predicted to happen. This is happening now,” study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., says in a news release.”If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all,” Beaumont adds.Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% — a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries.But the issue isn’t just having seafood on our plates. Ocean species filter toxins from the water. They protect shorelines. And they reduce the risks of algae blooms such as the red tide.”A large and increasing proportion of our population lives close to the coast; thus the loss of services such as flood control and waste detoxification can have disastrous consequences,” Worm and colleagues say.The researchers analyzed data from 32 experiments on different marine environments.They then analyzed the 1,000-year history of 12 coastal regions around the world, including San Francisco and Chesapeake bays in the U.S., and the Adriatic, Baltic, and North seas in Europe.Next, they analyzed fishery data from 64 large marine ecosystems.And finally, they looked at the recovery of 48 protected ocean areas.Their bottom line: Everything that lives in the ocean is important. The diversity of ocean life is the key to its survival. The areas of the ocean with the most different kinds of life are the healthiest.But the loss of species isn’t gradual. It’s happening fast — and getting faster, the researchers say.Worm and colleagues call for sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, habitat maintenance, and the creation of more ocean reserves.This, they say, isn’t a cost; it’s an investment that will pay off in lower insurance costs, a sustainable fish industry, fewer natural disasters, human health, and more.”It’s not too late. We can turn this around,” Worm says. “But less than 1% of the global ocean is effectively protected right now.”Worm and colleagues report their findings in the Nov. 3 issue of Science.
SETH BORENSTEIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 11.24.2015.
UN weather agency says 2015 already the hottest year on record, smashing the record set last year. Temperatures have reached their highest point since records began in 1880.
The Scandinavian nation already meets two-thirds of its electricity requirements from non-fossil fuels energy sources, mainly hydroelectric and nuclear.
City of Stockholm, picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
The Swedish government announced that they plan on spending an extra 546 million USD as a part of their climate change action in 2016. It would be too soon to put a ceiling on the time-frame within which this mission will be completed.
Wind energy in Sweden
What you may not know is that this Scandinavian nation already meets two-thirds of its electricity requirements from non-fossil fuels energy sources which are predominately hydroelectric and nuclear. The focus will now shift to increasing the solar and wind energy potential, and at the same time, making its transport industry more sustainable. In order to suffice the budget increase, heavier taxes will be levied on petrol and diesel.
The budget will…
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Reposted from, The Conversation
Australia is in need of a new model for universities.That isn’t the impression you get from the delighted students, contented staff and shining buildings pictured on every university website. But that’s a fantasy.University managers now hire a considerable number of advertising staff to create the pretty picture. Behind the façade are growing signs of trouble.A vital one is the gap between management and staff.The CEOs, still called vice-chancellors, are paid up to A$1.3 million a year. Their average package in 2014 was 14 times the starting salary of an entry-level academic working full-time.Surveys of staff show little belief that these highly paid executives are doing a good job. In the 2015 national survey by the National Tertiary Education Union, over two-thirds of the 7,000 university staff who took part in the survey said changes in the workplace have not been handled well.Managers evidently don’t trust the staff either. There is a growing mass of surveillance and auditing mechanisms, branding requirements and online control systems imposed on the work of university staff, including research.
“Syria can seem an endless black hole of misery, but in the northern, largely Kurdish region of Rojava, it is also the scene of a profoundly democratic and humanist revolution, which places the rights of ethnic minorities and women’s liberation at its centre.
Ironically, given the horror that surrounds it, Rojava is the site of the most profound experiments on grassroots, participatory democracy outside of the revolutionary projects in Latin America. Like in Venezuela, the ideal of “the commune” is at the heart of Rojava’s burgeoning democracy…..
“We believe that a revolution that does not open the way for women’s liberation is not a revolution. There have been revolutions in Libya and Egypt and Tunisia … but the same status for women has persisted.” Because of the war, devastation and isolation that Rojava is subjected to, its economy is largely geared toward survival. However, its socialist-oriented emphasis is on providing universal housing, nutrition, healthcare, childcare and education — none of which were provided by the Syrian government during peacetime. The revolution in Rojava is explicitly a multi-ethnic revolution. In its preamble, the constitution of the Rojava autonomous cantons describes Rojava’s cantons as “a confederation of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians and Chechens”. It continues: “In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognises Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace.”
This animation is based on a supercomputer climate simulation that shows two different sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide — fires (biomass burning) and massive urban centers known as megacities. Scientists are using climate models like this one — called GEOS-5 (Goddard Earth Observing Model, Version 5, created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) — to better understand how carbon dioxide moves around Earth’s atmosphere and how carbon moves through Earth’s air, land and ocean over time. Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are driving Earth’s ongoing climate change. This animation shows a five-day period in June 2006. The model is based on real emissions inventory data and is then set to run so that scientists can observe how the greenhouse gas behaves in the atmosphere once it has been emitted.
Our melting, shifting, liquid world’: celebrities read poems on climate change Actors including James Franco, Ruth Wilson, Gabriel Byrne, Maxine Peake, Jeremy Irons, Kelly Macdonald and Michael Sheen read a series of 21 poems on the theme of climate change, curated by UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Includes two bonus poems from Byrne and Franco