More climate refugees from Middle East and North Africa | Max Planck Society

Are we prepared for this? Are we prepared to address the fact that global warming is happening faster and more intensely than was predicted five, three, two years ago? Are we prepared to address the fact that a gradual transition from fossil fuel dependence s no longer an option, than carbon credits and other such mechanisms are impotent to address accelerating carbon emissions, and that building more pipelines to ‘finance the transition to a green economy” is morally and environmentally unacceptable?

Climate-exodus expected in the Middle East and North Africa Part of the Middle East and North Africa may become uninhabitable due to climate change May 02, 2016 The number of climate refugees could increase dramatically in future. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have calculated that the Middle East and North Africa could become so hot that human habitability is compromised. The goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, agreed at the recent UN climate summit in Paris, will not be sufficient to prevent this scenario. The temperature during summer in the already very hot Middle East and North Africa will increase more than two times faster compared to the average global warming. This means that during hot days temperatures south of the Mediterranean will reach around 46 degrees Celsius (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit) by mid-century. Such extremely hot days will occur five times more often than was the case at the turn of the millennium. In combination with increasing air pollution by windblown desert dust, the environmental conditions could become intolerable and may force people to migrate. Zoom Image Plagued by heat and dust: Desert dust storms such as here in Kuwait could occur more often in the Middle East and North … [more] © Molly John, Flickr, Creative Commons. More than 500 million people live in the Middle East and North Africa – a region which is very hot in summer and where climate change is already evident. The number of extremely hot days has doubled since 1970. “In future, the climate in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa could change in such a manner that the very existence of its inhabitants is in jeopardy,” says Jos Lelieveld, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and Professor at the Cyprus Institute. Lelieveld and his colleagues have investigated how temperatures will develop in the Middle East and North Africa over the course of the 21st century. The result is deeply alarming: Even if Earth’s temperature were to increase on average only by two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, the temperature in summer in these regions will increase more than twofold. By mid-century, during the warmest periods, temperatures will not fall below 30 degrees at night, and during daytime they could rise to 46 degrees Celsius (approximately 114 degrees Fahrenheit). By the end of the century, midday temperatures on hot days could even climb to 50 degrees Celsius (approximately 122 degrees Fahrenheit). Another finding: Heat waves could occur ten times more often than they do now. By mid-century, 80 instead of 16 extremely hot days Zoom Image Unbearably hot: In the Middle East and North Africa, the average temperature in winter will rise by around 2.5 degrees … [more] © MPI for Chemistry In addition, the duration of heat waves in North Africa and the Middle East will prolong dramatically. Read more…

Source: More climate refugees from Middle East and North Africa | Max Planck Society

Why The Paris COP21 Agreement Could Make Disaster Inevitable

“…The agreement concluding the recent COP21 in Paris could be the turning point toward saving the world from a climate disaster. But it could also breed the complacency that will make this disaster inevitable. The agreement as such solves nothing. The hard work lies ahead. The great positive about the agreement is the shared realization that we must keep the average global surface temperature of our planet from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. The great problem is that there was no agreement on any division of responsibilities toward achieving this task. However much states may emit in the future, none of them will be violating the Paris agreement. How much heat from the sun our planet absorbs depends on how much greenhouse gas is in the atmosphere. The most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), has already increased by 50%, from 270 to over 400 parts per million, and this increase has already raised the average global surface temperature by 1 degree. Even if humanity were to emit no more greenhouse gases at all, the elevated level would continue to heat our planet beyond the 1.5 degree target. But then of course we will emit more greenhouse gases. In fact, global annual emissions may continue to increase even if – improbably – all states were fully to keep their voluntary pledges (their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs) toward averting a climate disaster. It seems inevitable now that atmospheric carbon dioxide will break above 450 parts per million, thus substantially increasing the extra heat our planet will absorb from the sun. One cannot banish a danger simply by agreeing that it won’t materialize. But governments can mollify the world’s citizens with such agreements. This propaganda trick has worked before. At the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, governments agreed to halve hunger, for instance, without agreeing on any specific efforts or division of responsibilities. When the number of undernourished people rose, they repeatedly diluted the promise (in the Millennium Declaration and again in the first Millennium Development Goal). And then, when they were still way off-track in 2012, they revised their method for counting the hungry so as to greatly raise the historical baseline and greatly lower the current count. Last September governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, promising by 2030 to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” This sort of agreement benefits present power holders by producing public appreciation: the widespread feeling that they have solved the poverty problem. The agreement will put some pressure on future power holders, who will predictably resort to creative interpretations of those pledges and to creative accounting gimmicks. We can expect the same to happen with the INDCs. At worst, the COP21 agreement may produce consent and complacency, allowing governments to postpone hard choices until the climate disaster is inevitable. At best, this agreement may inspire action toward formulating and implementing a common plan for averting this disaster. To achieve the latter outcome, citizens must keep up the pressure and insist on a determinate division of responsibilities that will definitely suffice to accomplish the task….”

Read more..

Source: Why The Paris COP21 Agreement Could Make Disaster Inevitable

Warning: your festive meal could be more damaging than a long-haul flight | George Monbiot | The Guardian

A kilogramme of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogramme of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York. This is the worst case, and the figure comes from a farm whose soils have a high carbon content. But the numbers uncovered by a wider study are hardly reassuring: you could exchange your flight to New York for an average of 3kg of lamb protein from hill farms in England and Wales. You’d have to eat 300kg of soy protein to create the same impact.

Source: Warning: your festive meal could be more damaging than a long-haul flight | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

Global warming will be faster than expected — ScienceDaily

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

Source: Global warming will be faster than expected — ScienceDaily

PLOS Biology: Live Fast, Die Young: Experimental Evidence of Population Extinction Risk due to Climate Change

Over the last decades, consequences of global warming on biodiversity have become obvious [1–3], with many species likely to be committed to extinction by 2050 [4]. Climate warming has already led to changes in species phenology [1], physiology (increased metabolic rates [5]), morphology (shrinking body size [6]), life cycle demography [7], and distribution [1], and, as a consequence, in community structure [8]. Because their body temperature, and hence their basic physiological functions, directly depend on environmental conditions, ectotherms are particularly at risk with climate change [5], while the number of studies assessing their response to changing climate is far lower than for endotherms [9]. The evaluation of their vulnerability is therefore urgent. For instance, a recent study predicted local extinctions of populations from various lizard families worldwide to reach 39% by 2080 due to climate change [10]. Theoretical studies predict that climate change will principally threaten tropical ectotherms [11–14], while temperate ectotherms should resist or even benefit from the warmer temperatures [13,15–17]. However, most evidence on the impacts of climate change on species comes from long-term field survey data [1,8], or on the contrary, on short term laboratory experiments lacking ecological realism and complexity [18–20]. Despite the growing evidence on the strong impact of ecological context on species adaptation to temperature [21], there is little large scale realistic experimental evidence on animals, especially on vertebrates [20,22–25]. More importantly, to our knowledge, the impact of climate change on a species’ entire life cycle and population persistence has never been experimentally tested on a vertebrate [26]. This information gap hinders the prediction of future impacts, because unraveling the impact of predicted climate on different demographic parameters is essential for the precise estimation of extinction probability [27,28]. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a global temperature increase between +0.3 and +4.8°C over the next century, depending on the CO2 emission scenarios [29]. Experimental studies should thus implement realistic IPCC climate change projections relying on several greenhouse gas emission scenarios and describe population responses to said scenarios in large field experiments [24,25].

Source: PLOS Biology: Live Fast, Die Young: Experimental Evidence of Population Extinction Risk due to Climate Change

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.

First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers – especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

via We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian.

Inside Paul Hawken’s audacious plan to ‘drawdown’ climate change | GreenBiz

When the activist Bill McKibben wrote the seminal article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” in Rolling Stone in 2012, Hawken asked, “Why aren’t we doing the math on the solutions? Somebody should come up with a list and see what it requires so you get to drawdown.”

The idea of “drawdown” — actually reducing greenhouse gas concentrations so that global temperatures drop — hasn’t been part of the conversation, at least among the United Nations crowd, climate activists or cleantech companies. Most focus on the seemingly pragmatic goal of stabilizing greenhouse gases at some level, expressed in parts per million, or ppm, that would be tolerable — or at least not catastrophic, from economic, environmental and social perspectives.

via Inside Paul Hawken’s audacious plan to ‘drawdown’ climate change | GreenBiz.

Arctic Methane Emergency Group – AMEG – Arctic Sea Ice – Methane Release – Planetary Emergency

Arctic Methane Emergency Group – AMEG – Arctic Sea Ice – Methane Release – Planetary Emergency.


TIME: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:00-12:30 PM

SUBJECT: Arctic meltdown: a catastrophic threat to our survival
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting

WHO: John Nissen, Chair AMEG, supported by Professor Peter Wadhams, Cambridge University, co-founder of AMEG and world-renowned expert on Arctic sea ice, with Paul Beckwith, AMEG blogger.

There is strong evidence of advanced acceleration in: 
• Arctic warming and sea ice decline in a vicious cycle
• Substantial ice loss in Greenland with potential massive loss due to unstable glaciers
• Disruption of jet stream behaviour, with abrupt climate change leading to crop failures, rising food prices and conflict in the Northern Hemisphere
• Rapid emissions of methane from the Arctic seabed, permafrost and tundra.

The tipping point for the Arctic sea ice has already passed.

Our conclusions are:

• The meltdown is accelerating and could become unstoppable as early as Sept 2015 
• Immediate action must be taken to refreeze the Arctic to halt runaway melting
• Greenhouse gas emissions reduction, however drastic, cannot solve this problem
• Calculations show that powerful interventions are needed to cool the Arctic 
• Any delay escalates the risk of failure
• Arctic meltdown is a catastrophic threat for civilisation.

Preventing climate change and adapting to it are not morally equivalent | Grist

Climate hawks are familiar with the framing of climate policy credited to White House science advisor John Holdren, to wit: We will respond to climate change with some mix of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering; all that remains to be determined is the mix.It’s a powerful bit of language. It makes clear that not acting is itself a choice — a choice in favor of suffering.But in another way, Holdren’s formulation obscures an important difference between mitigation reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate effects and adaptation changing infrastructure and institutions to cope with climate effects. It makes them sound fungible, as though a unit of either can be traded in for an equivalent unit of suffering. That’s misleading. They are very different, not only on a practical level but morally.

via Preventing climate change and adapting to it are not morally equivalent | Grist.

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