Rapid carbon emission cuts vital to stop severe impact of climate change, UN IPCC Report saysMost important assessment of global warming yet warns carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon -- Report says solutions are available and affordable.
Climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the most important assessment of global warming yet published.
The stark report states that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heatwaves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts. But it also found that ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable.
“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message,” said the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, attending what he described as the “historic” report launch. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.” He said that quick, decisive action would build a better and sustainable future, while inaction would be costly.
Ban added a message to investors, such as pension fund managers: “Please reduce your investments in the coal- and fossil fuel-based economy and [move] to renewable energy.”
The report, released in Copenhagen on Sunday by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the work of thousands of scientists and was agreed after negotiations by the world’s governments.
It is the first IPCC report since 2007 to bring together all aspects of tackling climate change and for the first time states: that it is economically affordable; that carbon emissions will ultimately have to fall to zero; and that global poverty can only be reduced by halting global warming. The report also makes clear that carbon emissions, mainly from burning coal, oil and gas, are currently rising to record levels, not falling.
Read more at the The Guardian.
The IPCC's Summary Report intended for policymakers is Here.
The Military Takes on Climate Change DeniersThe idea that climate change poses serious risks to U.S. national security, long contested in conservative circles, is now an integral part of Pentagon planning.
On Oct. 13, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made it official with the release of the Pentagon’s 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, a 16-page document that lays out the effects of extreme weather events and rising temperatures on military training, operations, acquisitions, and infrastructure.
Two previous editions, issued in 2012 and 2013, treated climate change as a future threat, but this year’s cast it as a reality that must be dealt with quickly. “Climate change will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks,” the document begins.
The Pentagon’s move sets up a showdown between the military, a cautious institution run by some of the most conservative people in the U.S. government, and congressional Republicans, who continue to deny that climate change is real, let alone that it requires action.
Read more at BusinessWeek.com
The Pentagon's 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap is Here.
The IPCC is stern on climate change – but it still underestimates the situationBy Bill McKibben
UN body’s warning on carbon emissions is hard to ignore, but breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry won’t be easy.
At this point, the scientists who run the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change must feel like it’s time to trade their satellites, their carefully calibrated thermometers and spectrometers, their finely tuned computer models – all of them for a thesaurus. Surely, somewhere, there must be words that will prompt the world’s leaders to act.
This week, with the release of their new synthesis report, they are trying the words “severe, widespread, and irreversible” to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola. It’s hard to imagine how they will up the language in time for the next big global confab in Paris.
But even with all that, this new document – actually a synthesis of three big working group reports released over the last year – almost certainly underestimates the actual severity of the situation. As the Washington Post pointed out this week, past reports have always tried to err on the side of understatement; it’s a particular problem with sea level rise, since the current IPCC document does not even include the finding in May that the great Antarctic ice sheets have begun to melt. (The studies were published after the IPCC’s cutoff date.)
But when you get right down to it, who cares? The scientists have done their job; no sentient person, including Republican Senate candidates, can any longer believe in their heart of hearts that there’s not a problem here. The scientific method has triumphed: over a quarter of a century, researchers have reached astonishing consensus on a basic problem in chemistry and physics.
And the engineers have done just as well. The price of a solar panel has dropped by more than 90% over the last 25 years, and continues to plummet. In the few places they have actually been deployed at scale, the results are astonishing: there were days this summer when Germany generated 75% of its power from the wind and the sun.
Read more at The Guardian.
Giving Up Fossil Fuels to Save the Climate: The $28 Trillion Writedown
“We’re not going to be able to burn it all.” With those 10 words, Barack Obama uttered one of the most stunning, far-reaching statements ever made by a U.S. president. He also completely contradicted his own energy policy. Yet no one seemed to notice.
Obama was asked about the international goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 deg.F) since the start of the industrial era. Going past 2 degrees, noted the interviewer, NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, would “cross into some really dangerous, unstable territory: Arctic melting, massive sea-level rise, disruptive storms.”
The International Energy Agency has concluded that meeting the 2 deg.C target will require leaving two-thirds of the earth’s known reserves of oil, gas, and coal underground, unburned, Friedman said. Did Obama agree with that conclusion?
“Well, science is science,” the president replied. “And there is no doubt that if we burned all the fossil fuel that’s in the ground right now, that the planet’s going to get too hot and the consequences could be dire.”
This new scientific imperative—to leave the bulk of earth’s fossil fuels in the ground—has not yet penetrated most government or private-sector policy discussions, much less mainstream media coverage or public awareness. Its political and economic implications, however, are huge.
Read more at BusinessWeek.com
'This Changes Everything,’ by Naomi Klein: Book Review
Naomi Klein’s latest book may be the manifesto that the climate movement — and the planet — needs right now. Mainstream environmental groups and politicians alike support the notion of “green growth,” in which the world can continue with largely unfettered markets and still manage to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. Klein argues that this is a fallacy, that capitalism and the climate are fundamentally at odds.
Because of its focus on the economic system, “This Changes Everything” stands
out from most books on climate change. Klein has spent the past couple of decades steeped in the fight against corporate power and free-market ideology, writing two best-selling books, “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine.” She shows how free-market, growth-above-all ideology has been built around World Trade Organization deals that stymie local action on cutting emissions, and into laws and norms that make corporations obligated to continue extracting more fossil fuels, as long as there’s profit in it. “The bottom line,” Klein writes, is that “our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. … Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”
Those who deny the existence of climate change grasp this better than most liberals, Klein argues. The battle over climate change cuts to the heart of “the central ideological battle of our time — whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.” Deniers have to reject climate action — otherwise they’d lose this ideological battle.
Read more at SFGate