World Bank Flash: Turn Down the Heat II: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience

BackgroundTurn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience builds on a World Bank report released late last year, which warned the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius 4°C or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action now, with dire consequences. This new report looks at the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia:Under current levels of warming, significant climate and development impacts are already being felt.  With temperatures at 0.8°C 1.4 ºF above pre-industrial levels, the last decade has seen extreme weather events resulting in widespread human suffering and increasing economic damage across all regions. Sea levels have been rising more rapidly than previously projected. A rise of as much as 50 cm by the 2050s may already be unavoidable as a result of past emissions. Impacts could be felt much earlier. A rise of 15 cm, coupled with more intense cyclones, threatens to inundate much of Bangkok by the 2030s.A warming of 2°C 3.6 °F above pre-industrial levels, may be reached in 20 to 30 years. In Sub-Saharan Africa, food shortages will become more common. In South Asia, shifting rain patterns will leave some areas under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation or drinking. In South East Asia, the degradation and loss of reefs would diminish tourism, reduce fish stocks, and leave coastal communities and cities more vulnerable to increasingly violent storms and landslides.As warming goes from 2ºC 3.6ºF to 4°C 7.2 ºF, multiple threats of more extreme heat waves, rising sea–levels, more severe storms, droughts and floods will have severe implications for the poorest and most vulnerable. In Sub-Saharan Africa, by the 2030s droughts and heat will leave 40% of the land now growing maize unable to support the crop. Rising temperatures could cause major loss of savanna grasslands threatening pastoral livelihoods. In South Asia, a potential change in the regularity and impact of the monsoon could precipitate a major crisis in the region. Events like the devastating Pakistan floods of 2010, which affected more than 20 million people, could become common place. Across South East Asia, rural livelihoods are faced with mounting pressures as sea levels rise, tropical cyclones increase in intensity and important marine ecosystem services are lost as warming approaches 4°C. Across all regions, the growing movement of impacted communities into cities could lead to higher numbers of people in slums and other informal settlements being exposed to heat waves, flooding, mudslides and diseases.

via World Bank Flash: Turn Down the Heat II: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience.

Climate Change in Atlantic Canada

Across Atlantic Canada, coastlines and communities are being adversely affected by climate change, and as temperature, sea level and storm surge increase, adaptation initiatives are being planned and implemented to navigate the impending storm.

via Climate Change in Atlantic Canada.

Brilliant filmmaker and academic, Canada Research Chair Ian Mauro. An absolute pleasure to meet him in Edmonton last night at the showing of his eye-opening documentary.  His latest documentary is a huge wake-up call to all of us.

The New Abolitionism | The Nation

n 2012, the writer and activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” I’ve read hundreds of thousands of words about climate change over the last decade, but that essay haunts me the most.

The piece walks through a fairly straightforward bit of arithmetic that goes as follows. The scientific consensus is that human civilization cannot survive in any recognizable form a temperature increase this century more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Given that we’ve already warmed the earth about 0.8 degrees Celsius, that means we have 1.2 degrees left—and some of that warming is already in motion. Given the relationship between carbon emissions and global average temperatures, that means we can release about 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by mid-century. Total. That’s all we get to emit if we hope to keep inhabiting the planet in a manner that resembles current conditions.

Now here’s the terrifying part. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a consortium of financial analysts and environmentalists, set out to tally the amount of carbon contained in the proven fossil fuel reserves of the world’s energy companies and major fossil fuel–producing countries. That is, the total amount of carbon we know is in the ground that we can, with present technology, extract, burn and put into the atmosphere. The number that the Carbon Tracker Initiative came up with is… 2,795 gigatons. Which means the total amount of known, proven extractable fossil fuel in the ground at this very moment is almost five times the amount we can safely burn.

Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.

via The New Abolitionism | The Nation.

Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet | Common Dreams

The world in fact has moved on a long way in the last 25 years and not in a direction you’re going to like because we are seeing not only great disparities in income and wealth, but we’re seeing them get entrenched. We’re seeing them become inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we’re nothing like.”

via Krugman: Worried About Oligarchy? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet | Common Dreams.

On the road to reconciliation, tension between miners and Aboriginals grow

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – While Canada has come a long way in reconciling pre-existing Aboriginal sovereignty with assumed Crown sovereignty, tension is rising between the proponents of several new mining projects located on Crown lands, or within Aboriginal reserves, and Aboriginals, who increasingly assert their rights.

In recent weeks, several Aboriginal communities have voiced their concerns regarding proposed mining projects, insisting on their right to self-determination.

For example, this week the West Moberly First Nations were in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, in Nanaimo, where they argued their case against a proposed coal project in an area 34 km north of Chetwynd, in north-east British Columbia, which had been deemed of “critical spiritual and cultural importance” by the community.

Last summer, the Energy and Mines Ministry issued mining permits to Canadian Kailuan Dehua Mines – a Chinese-backed mining company – for its Gething project, authorising the company to remove 100 000 t of material, transport 15 000 t of coal and construct the main components of a mine that would operate for about 30 years.

via On the road to reconciliation, tension between miners and Aboriginals grow.

Dahr Jamail | Evidence of Acceleration of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption on All Fronts

Dahr Jamail | Evidence of Acceleration of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption on All Fronts.

NASA: Earth Could Warm 20 Percent More Than Earlier Estimates | EcoWatch

According to a statement on the study from NASA, researchers developing warming estimates by calculating the Earth’s “transient climate response.” This measure determines how much global temperatures will change as carbon dioxide’s atmospheric presence grows at about 1 percent per year until the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has doubled. Transient climate responses have range from near 2.52 degrees in recent research, to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) estimate of 1.8 degrees. Shindell’s study estimates a transient climate response of 3.06 degrees. He says it is unlikely values would cool below 2.34 degrees.

The global mean temperature change estimates from a new NASA report. The dashed line shows estimates assuming uniform sensitivity to all forcings, while the solid line shows results including the enhanced sensitivity to the inhomogeneous aerosol and ozone forcings. Graphic credit: Nature Climate Change journal

His study also considers how aerosols, or airborne particles contribute to climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. Aerosols are produced by both natural sources like volcanoes and wildfires, as well as by manufacturing, driving automobiles, producing energy  and more. Some aerosols cause warming, depending on their components, while some create a cooling effect. According to NASA, it is necessary to account for atmospheric aerosols in order to understand the role carbon dioxide emissions have on global warming.

via NASA: Earth Could Warm 20 Percent More Than Earlier Estimates | EcoWatch.

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Fresh findings from around the world, compiled and edited by Kev Warburton, School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University

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