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Sea level rise, nuclear trash – Pacific islanders tragedy – only New Zealand offers help

Guano, Nuclear Testing, Chemical Weapons   Another guano claim converted for U.S. military use is Johnston Atoll (Kamala), located about 800 miles southwest of Honolulu.

One phase of expansion on Johnston Island involved construction of a launch pad for high-altitude missile tests for Operation Dominic in the 1960s. Two of the tests were aborted, with radioactive contamination falling on the runway. Forty years later, in 2002, the Air Force “finished burying thousands of cubic meters of plutonium-contaminated waste in a 25-acre landfill on the atoll.”

The question, then, is not when will islands be submerged, but when will sea-level rise make life on low-lying islands impossible.

The answer to that question is close at hand for a number of Pacific islands.

Perhaps the biggest legal stride in New Zealand is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent announcement of plans for a special refugee visa for Pacific Islanders, starting with 100 places annually. “We are anchored in the Pacific,” Ardern told reporters. “Surrounding us are a number of nations, not least ourselves, who will be dramatically impacted by the effects of climate change. I see it as a personal and national responsibility to do our part.”

American Polynesia, Rising Seas and Relocation, By Laray Polk, Global Research, January 06, 2018 The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 22 December 2017 In the next 30 to 50 years, rising sea levels caused by global warming will subsume low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean. Inhabitants will have to relocate, but there are few choices. Among nations (with the exception of Fiji and New Zealand) there is little preparation for the inevitable migration of Pacific Islanders. Which nations should commit to the processes of equitable relocation?

 

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January 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Radioactivity of the Arctic ocean increasing due to global warming

Global Warming Is Increasing The Radioactivity Of The Arctic Ocean, IFL Science, Stephen Lundtz, 3 Jan 18 “………what is happening in the polar regions may ultimately be much more important [than the Fukushima radiation] . As Lauren Kipp of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution notes in Science Advances, climate change affects the Arctic region particularly strongly through the “Permafrost thawing on land and on continental shelves, increased river discharge, and reduced ice cover.” The last of these has been extensively tracked, but it is harder to measure the first two. Marine measurements of materials deposited in the ocean from permafrost melt and river discharge could change that.

Sediments on the continental shelves that make up half the Arctic Ocean’s territory contain thorium isotopes, which radioactively decay to radium. “Unlike thorium, radium is relatively soluble in seawater,” the paper notes, so measuring radium concentrations makes it possible to explore the interchange between the sediments and the waters above. In particular, it can provide a measure of the rate at which permafrost melting is releasing soluble materials into the ocean, a process enhanced as higher winds transport more water from coastal waters to the central Arctic.

Unfortunately, systematic records of radium concentrations in the Arctic prior to 2015 don’t exist. However, localized measurements taken in 1994, 2002, and 2007 allowed Kipp to conclude that radium-228 has risen sharply over the 2007-2015 period, and most of this increase must come from sediments at the continental margin.

The permafrost that was previously preventing the incorporation of sedimentary radium into the ocean contains something far more dangerous than tiny quantities of the radioactive element – methane, which would greatly amplify warming. more http://www.iflscience.com/environment/global-warming-is-increasing-the-radioactivity-of-the-arctic-ocean/

January 12, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

U.S. President Trump mocks climate change: delights in showing his ignorance?

Trump’s call for some ‘good old global warming’ ridiculed by climate experts. US president again conflates weather with climate to mock climate change. Experts call comments ‘scientifically ridiculous and demonstrably false’, Guardian, Michael McGowan and Joanna Walters, -30 Dec 17-Donald Trump once dismissed it as a “hoax” created by the Chinese to destroy American jobs, but on a freezing Thursday night in the eastern US the president found himself pining for some of that “good old global warming”.

On holiday in Florida on Thursday, Trump wondered if global warming might not be such a problem after all.

December 30, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

2017 – the year that the world was hit by climate change

 http://www.dw.com/en/2017-the-year-climate-change-hit/a-41944142

The devastating effects of climate change are becoming apparent — and the world has begun taking action. But the frequency of extreme weather events has shown we are starting to run out of time.

“Crazy” weather has been a hot topic for elevator conversations this year — and yes, extremes are starting to become the new normal.

No continent was spared in 2017 when it came to extreme weather. From droughts to hurricanes, from smog to forest fires, these events killed thousands of people — and have been directly linked to climate change.

Read more: Extreme weather on the rise in Europe

Southern Europe, Canada and the United States were among the areas worst hit by devastating wildfires. Both in California and Portugal, 2017 has been the deadliest year on record for wildfires. Even icy Greenland wasn’t spared. Climate change, along with the dangerous combination of a lack of sustainable forest management and careless — or malicious — human activity, has been to blame.

Read more: Climate change sets the world on fire

Hurricanes and high water

Major storms were also responsible for the year’s most catastrophic events. Hurricane Harvey in the US, Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico left destruction in their wake. While hurricanes aren’t unusual in tropical regions, the frequency and intensity of these most recent storms — fueled by warming oceans — were out of the ordinary. But they may be a sign of things to come, if the world doesn’t take action to limit climate change.

At the same time, global sea levels reached a new high in 2017, with the polar ice caps melting at an accelerating pace. Warmer ocean temperatures contributed to the breakaway of a 1 trillion ton iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica in July, at 5,800 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.

Flooding caused the death of hundreds of people in the Philippines, Greece, Germany and Vietnam, to name just a few countries. Meanwhile, drought is increasing the pressure on regions of Africa and Asia, such as Somalia, South Sudan and Pakistan, where armed conflicts are already making daily life a struggle for survival.

Often forgotten, the struggles of the world’s oceans also increased this year. Despite several initiatives protecting the Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching has continued at an alarming rate. Ocean acidification, meanwhile, is on track to make the seas uninhabitable for many aquatic creatures, endangering entire ocean ecosystems.

Read more

— Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching even worse than expected

— Ocean acidification: climate change’s evil twin

Governments across the globe are taking action to address current and upcoming climate threats, and leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, who took office in May and pledged to fund climate research, have been a source of hope for many.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s climate hero?

But 2017 will also, unfortunately, be remembered for the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord, along with President Donald Trump’s other moves away from the fight against climate change.

Read more: Answering unresolved questions from Trump’s climate announcement

As despairing as all of this may sound, it’s actually another call to take action. Weather has always been out of our control — and will remain so. But we can still work to avoid making extremes the new normal.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change will mean three times the number of migrants reaching Europe by 2100

Climate Change To Triple Number Of Migrants Reaching European Union By 2100, Study Predicts, Clean Technica, December 28th, 2017 by James Ayre 


The number of migrants making their way into the European Union will nearly triple by the year 2100 if rapid climate warming occurs, according to a new study published in the journal Science.

The new study — which was actually requested by the European Commission itself — relates directly only to climate warming, it should noted — mass migrations triggered by wars and cultural conflicts would be in addition to those discussed by the study……

the reality is that the findings are likely a vast underestimate of what will be occurring during the second half of the 21st century — as climate warming and weirding intensify; and as the common human activities of projection, scapegoating, and lazy thinking do as well.

According to the new study, asylum applications to the EU (from across 103 different nations) tended “to rise in the 2000–2014 period when temperatures at home were far hotter or colder than the ideal for growing maize.”

The projection put forward by the study is that asylum applications could climb to 1.01 million per year by 2100 (up from an average of 351,000 during 2000-2014) under a scenario that sees temperatures rise fairly fast. The primary driver of this rise would be reduced agricultural productivity (again, the human conflict aspects of what’s coming aren’t being factored into this work).

As I noted above, the reality is that even that figure is likely a vast underestimate of what’s coming — based on a look back at earlier periods of rapid climatic change and/or ecological collapse (soil fertility loss included) and taking into account more factors than the research did………

won’t rising temperatures and falling agricultural yields lead directly to weakening civil institutions (self-consumption), political repression, and civil war? Isn’t that exactly what’s happened in Syria over the last decade?

I’ll end things here with the study’s assertion that “our findings support the assessment that climate change, especially continued warming, will add another ‘threat multiplier’ that induces people to seek refuge abroad.”https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/28/climate-change-triple-number-migrants-reaching-european-union-2100-study-predicts/

December 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Five important lawsuits about climate going on

On the boil: five climate lawsuits to watch in 2018 Reuters

December 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Legal | Leave a comment

Cold weather in USA in no way refutes climate change

A Response For People Using Record Cold U.S. Weather To Refute Climate Change, Forbes, 

 “……..Weekly or daily weather patterns tell you nothing about longer-term climate change (and that goes for the warm days too). Climate is defined as the statistical properties of the atmosphere: averages, extremes, frequency of occurrence, deviations from normal, and so forth. The clothes that you have on today do not describe what you have in your closet but rather how you dressed for today’s weather. ……
our weather is governed by a series of undulations or wave patterns. The “valleys” (troughs) in those waves allow cold, dense air to ooze into the U.S. The “hills” (ridges) in the waves are typically associated with warm conditions. If you search Arctic Amplification on the Internet, there is some evidence that climate change is causing more wavy, high amplitude “valleys” and “hills” in the jet stream pattern. This could be associated with more extreme cold events and more extreme heat/drought events. The science is still emerging on this process, but it should be monitored and not dismissed.

The other thing to point out is that because one part of the world is cold (in that valley), there is likely another part of the world experiencing abnormally warm conditions (in the hill part of the wave pattern). In the temperature map tweeted by long-time weather observer Joe Stepansky, it is clear that on December 28th the United States and parts of Canada are experiencing the anomalously cold weather. …..

there are some studies that suggest that a warming climate (because more water vapor is available to a warmer atmosphere) may fuel bigger blizzards or snowstorms. That science is also emerging…….https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2017/12/28/a-response-for-people-using-record-cold-u-s-weather-to-refute-climate-change/#4a0c5c6a5680

December 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New research shows that climate change is speeding up, and weather extremes worse than expected

Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme
New research suggests human-caused emissions will lead to bigger impacts on heat and extreme weather, and sooner than the IPCC warned just three years ago.
BY BOB BERWYN, INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS DEC 26, 2017 IN THE PAST YEAR, THE SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS SHIFTED TOWARD A GRIMMER AND LESS UNCERTAIN PICTURE OF THE RISKS POSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.

When the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its 5th Climate Assessment in 2014, it formally declared that observed warming was “extremely likely” to be mostly caused by human activity.

This year, a major scientific update from the United States Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: “There is no convincing alternative explanation.”

Other scientific authorities have issued similar assessments:

  • The Royal Society published a compendium of how the science has advanced, warning that it seems likelier that we’ve been underestimating the risks of warming than overestimating them.
  • The American Meteorological Society issued its annual study of extreme weather events and said that many of those it studied this year would not have been possible without the influence of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)said recent melting of the Arctic was not moderating and was more intense than at any time in recorded history.

While 2017 may not have hit a global temperature record, it is running in second or third place, and on the heels of records set in 2015 and 2016. Talk of some kind of “hiatus” seems as old as disco music.

‘A Deadly Tragedy in the Making’

Some of the strongest warnings in the Royal Society update came from health researchers, who said there hasn’t been nearly enough done to protect millions of vulnerable people worldwide from the expected increase in heat waves……..

One of the starkest conclusions of the Royal Society update is that up to 350 million people in places like Karachi, Kolkota, Lagos and Shanghai are likely to face deadly heat waves every year by 2050—even if nations are able to rein in greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as per the Paris climate agreement.

There’s also an increasing chance global warming will affect a key North Atlantic current that carries ocean heat from the tropics toward western Europe, according to a 2016 study. It shows the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current weakening by 37 percent by 2100, which could have big effects on European climate and food production.

Melting Ice and Risks to Oceans and Ecosystems

The Royal Society report also notes:

  • An increasing risk that ocean acidification will rapidly and significantly alter many ecosystems and food webs;
  • A concern that crops grown in high-CO2 conditions could be less nutritious, leading to mineral deficiencies;
  • That the commonly accepted wet-areas-wetter and dry-areas-drier scenario has regional nuances with important implications for local water management and food production planning; and,
  • That scientists are finding more links between melting Arctic sea ice and weather extremes like heat waves, droughts and blizzards.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program, an interagency group whose work went through exhaustive peer review and emerged from the Trump administration’s political review mostly unscathed, also cited several emerging conclusions that are much clearer today than five years ago…..https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26122017/climate-change-science-2017-year-review-evidence-impact-faster-more-extreme

December 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

With climate change, higher temperatures impede forest recovery after wildfires

Forests destroyed in wildfires not recovering due to climate change, scientists reveal http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/forests-wildfires-climate-change-california-australia-not-recover-global-warming-regeneration-a8122501.html

Study suggests higher temperatures in the Rocky Mountains are preventing trees from growing back following wildfires  Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent 21 Dec 17 A new study suggests hotter climates resulting from global warming may prevent forests from regenerating after wildfires.

Recent wildfires in California were the most destructive on record, with governor Jerry Brown warning climate change could make such fierce events “the new normal”.

In hot, dry climates like those found in the western US, wildfires are often a natural part of the environment, contributing to the cycling of nutrients and growth of new plants.

However, a new study published in the journal Ecology Letterssuggests increasing global temperatures may be preventing this natural cycling from taking place.The result could be long-term damage to areas of forest destroyed by wildfires.

Led by Dr Camille Stevens‐Rumann, an ecologist at Colorado State University, the study involved testing fire-struck areas of forest for signs of regeneration.

The scientists examined 1485 sites in the Rocky Mountains, all of which had been affected by fires between 1985 and 2015.

They looked for seedlings growing in the examined sites, comparing growth with nearby unburned forests to determine how well forests in each area were able to regenerate.

The team found the proportion of sites in which no post-fire tree regrowth had taken place increased from 19 to 32 per cent when comparing earlier years of the analysis to the more recent years.“Significantly less tree regeneration is occurring after wildfires in the start of the 21st century compared to the end of the 20th century,” the scientists wrote in their paper.

Comparing these findings with information on the region’s changing climate suggested increases in global temperatures were influencing forest regeneration, particularly in the driest regions.

“Dry forests that already occur at the edge of their climatic tolerance are most prone to conversion to non-forests after wildfires,” the scientists wrote. Natural disasters are increasingly being linked to climate change, and according to Todd Gartner, a senior associate at environmental think tank World Resources Institute, climate change is a “contributing factor” to the recent events in California.

Scientists have linked changes in temperature, levels of rain and soil moisture – all of which are influenced by global warming – to increased risk of wildfires.

This new study suggests the impact of climate change on wildfires may have longer term consequences as well.

“As scientists, managers and the public aim to understand and plan for increasing fire activity, our results suggest a high likelihood that future wildfires will facilitate shifts to lower density forest or non-forested states under a warming climate,” the scientists concluded.

December 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Worse wildfires – the new climate normal

WILDFIRES MARK THE NEW REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN 2017
As fire conditions intensify around the globe, scientists are helping countries prepare for a fiery new normal. 
Pacific Standard, BOB BERWYN, DEC 20, 2017

Sometimes the effects of climate change seem to creep up, as when sea levels rise an inch every few years, or when temperatures break records by a tenth of a degree. But when your backyard is on fire, you feel global warming breathing down your neck.

In the last three years, as global temperatures spiked to new records, it sometimes felt like the whole world was ablaze, as a series of “worst-ever” fires damaged and destroyed ecosystems and human communities on nearly every continent, under new climate conditions that will be the norm by 2050.

Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, fire conditions will become even more persistent in areas already at risk, and will spread to new regions as warming drives vegetation patterns and land-use changes. Without rethinking our relationship with nature, landscapes, and wildfire, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, with the same catastrophic results.

The past few years have shown how bad things can get, fire experts say. In the super-heated El Niño years of 2015 and 2016, there were late-summer tundra fires in Greenland, peat fires in Indonesia, and hardwood forests in the southeast United States that burned on an unprecedented scale.

By early 2017, El Niño had faded, but parts of the Southern Hemisphere were scorched by record heat and fires, including Australia, where fire experts made statements similar to the bulletins coming out of Southern California right now: “This is the worst day we have seen in the history of New South Wales when it comes to fire danger ratings and fire conditions,” Shane Fitzsimmons, the state’s rural fire chief, told the BBC in February, with almost 100 bushfires burning………..

Scientists have been warning for 20 years that climate change would increase the risk of damaging fires, and that many of these fires can’t be stopped. Communities in less developed countries are most at risk right now. They need more resources to manage landscapes to prevent fires, and they need better weather and climate forecasting services—and the ability to put people and tools on the ground.

At times, the growing risk already seems to be outpacing society’s capacity to adapt. In 2016, the GFMC sent a team of experts to South America to warn of fire risks and help communities prepare. Six months later, before any measures were taken, deadly fires burned across parts of Chile and Argentina following a record heat wave.

Alexander Held, a resilience expert at the European Forest Institute, says that hubris is the biggest problem in the face of a growing fire threat. “It’s all coming down to failed land management and that our societies have forgotten how to live with fire,” Held tells Pacific Standard via email.

Held advocates shifting resources from fire suppression to fire prevention, including managed fires, which are scientifically proven to be the best way to minimize catastrophic effects on communities and natural resources.

“Look at Western Australia. They had a large-scale prescribed burning program, and for decades there was nothing like a disaster fire. Only when they reduced the area that was supposed to be burned by prescription did disaster fires start to happen,” he says. “The biggest challenge is how to influence policymakers and political decision making,” Held says. https://psmag.com/environment/2017-the-year-in-wildfires

December 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The humanitarian climate disaster – here already – climate refugees

governments and organizations such as the United Nations should consider modifying international law to provide legal status to environmental refugees and establish protections and rights for them.

The scale of this challenge is unlike anything humanity has ever faced

Climate change will displace millions in coming decades. Nations should prepare now to help them, https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-displace-millions-in-coming-decades-nations-should-prepare-now-to-help-them-89274  The Conversation, Gulrez Shah Azhar Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School, 20 Dec 17, Wildfires tearing across Southern California have forced thousands of residents to evacuate from their homes. Even more people fled ahead of the hurricanes that slammed into Texas and Florida earlier this year, jamming highways and filling hotels. A viral social media post showed a flight-radar picture of people trying to escape Florida and posed a provocative question: What if the adjoining states were countries and didn’t grant escaping migrants refuge?

By the middle of this century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people. If this group formed a country, it would be the fourth-largest in the world, with a population nearly as large as that of the United States.

Yet neither individual countries nor the global community are completely prepared to support a whole new class of “climate migrants.” As a physician and public health researcher in India, I learned the value of surveillance and early warning systems for managing infectious disease outbreaks. Based on my current research on health impacts of heat waves in developing countries, I believe much needs to be done at the national, regional and global level to deal with climate migrants.

Millions displaced yearly

Climate migration is already happening. Every year desertification in Mexico’s drylands forces 700,000 people to relocate. Cyclones have displaced thousands from Tuvalu in the South Pacific and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. Experts agree that a prolonged drought may have catalyzed Syria’s civil war and resulting migration.

Between 2008 and 2015, an average of 26.4 million people per year were displaced by climate- or weather-related disasters, according to the United Nations. And the science of climate change indicates that these trends are likely to get worse. With each one-degree increase in temperature, the air’s moisture-carrying capacity increases by 7 percent, fueling increasingly severe storms. Sea levels may rise by as much as three feet by the year 2100, submerging coastal areas and inhabited islands.

The Pacific islands are extremely vulnerable, as are more than 410 U.S. cities and others around the globe, including Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lisbon and Mumbai. Rising temperatures could make parts of west Asia inhospitable to human life. On the same day that Hurricane Irma roared over Florida in September, heavy rains on the other side of the world submerged one-third of Bangladesh and eastern parts of India, killing thousands.

Climate change will affect most everyone on the planet to some degree, but poor people in developing nations will be affected most severely. Extreme weather events and tropical diseases wreak the heaviest damage in these regions. Undernourished people who have few resources and inadequate housing are especially at risk and likely to be displaced.

Recognize and plan for climate migrants now

Today the global community has not universally acknowledged the existence of climate migrants, much less agreed on how to define them. According to international refugee law, climate migrants are not legally considered refugees. Therefore, they have none of the protections officially accorded to refugees, who are technically defined as people fleeing persecution. No global agreements exist to help millions of people who are displaced by natural disasters every year.

Refugees’ rights, and nations’ legal obligation to defend them, were first defined under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which was expanded in 1967. This work took place well before it was apparent that climate change would become a major force driving migrations and creating refugee crises.

Under the convention, a refugee is defined as someone “unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” The convention legally binds nations to provide access to courts, identity papers and travel documents, and to offer possible naturalization. It also bars discriminating against refugees, penalizing them, expelling them or forcibly returning them to their countries of origin. Refugees are entitled to practice their religions, attain education and access public assistance.

In my view, governments and organizations such as the United Nations should consider modifying international law to provide legal status to environmental refugees and establish protections and rights for them. Reforms could factor in the concept of “climate justice,” the notion that climate change is an ethical and social concern. After all, richer countries have contributed the most to cause warming, while poor countries will bear the most disastrous consequences.

Some observers have suggested that countries that bear major responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions should take in more refugees. Alternatively, the world’s largest carbon polluters could contribute to a fund that would pay for refugee care and resettlement for those temporarily and permanently displaced.

The Paris climate agreement does not mention climate refugees. However, there have been some consultations and initiatives by various organizations and governments. They include efforts to create a climate change displacement coordination facility and a U.N. Special Rapporteuron Human Rights and Climate Change.

It is tough to define a climate refugee or migrant. This could be one of the biggest challenges in developing policies.

As history has shown, destination countries respond to waves of migration in various ways, ranging from welcoming immigrants to placing them in detention camps or denying them assistance. Some countries may be selective in whom they allow in, favoring only the young and productive while leaving children, the elderly and infirm behind. A guiding global policy could help prevent confusion and outline some minimum standards.

Short-term actions

Negotiating international agreements on these issues could take many years. For now, major G20 powers such as the United States, the European Union, China, Russia, India, Canada, Australia and Brazil should consider intermediate steps. The United States could offer temporary protected status to climate migrants who are already on its soil. Government aid programs and nongovernment organizations should ramp up support to refugee relief organizations and ensure that aid reaches refugees from climate disasters.

In addition, all countries that have not signed the United Nations refugee conventions could consider joining them. This includes many developing countries in South Asia and the Middle East that are highly vulnerable to climate change and that already have large refugee populations. Since most of the affected people in these countries will likely move to neighboring nations, it is crucial that all countries in these regions abide by a common set of policies for handling and assisting refugees.

The scale of this challenge is unlike anything humanity has ever faced. By midcentury, climate change is likely to uproot far more people than World War II, which displaced some 60 million across Europe, or the Partition of India, which affected approximately 15 million. The migration crisis that has gripped Europe since 2015 has involved something over one million refugees and migrants. It is daunting to envision much larger flows of people, but that is why the global community should start doing so now.

December 20, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA’s National Security Strategy now excludes mention of climate change

Trump Drops Climate Threats from National Security Strategy, Scientific American, The president claimed yesterday that the true danger to U.S. security is not climate change, but regulations By Jean ChemnickClimateWire on December 19, 2017 President Trump argued yesterday that the true threat to national security is not climate change but regulations that get in the way of U.S. economic and energy “dominance.”

Trump introduced his first National Security Strategy, in which he broke from the Obama administration in not listing climate change as a chief threat. His remarks at times sounded like an economic address, frequently veering into discussion of tax and trade, industrial deregulation, and a celebration of the stock market. Trump insisted that wealth and national security go hand in hand.

“Economic vitality, growth and prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad,” he said in an address that heavily focused on global competition over cooperation……

It was a sentiment that permeated the 56-page security strategy, and in particular the section titled “Embrace Energy Dominance,” which dealt with energy and climate issues…….

Sherri Goodman, a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, said Trump’s dismissal of climate change was misguided and could undermine U.S. competitiveness……. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-drops-climate-threats-from-national-security-strategy/

December 20, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

The Arctic is melting with no turning back

Climate Change Is Already Wreaking Havoc on Our Weather, Scientists Find, http://time.com/5064577/climate-change-arctic/  By JUSTIN WORLAND   The Arctic is melting with no turning back. Climate change increased rainfall during Hurricane Harvey by at least 15%. And several extreme weather events that occurred in 2016 would not have been possible without man-made global warming.

These are among the findings being discussed this week at this fall’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, the largest gathering of Earth scientists in the world. Taken together, the findings show the deepening urgency of the fight against climate change.

“Climate change is hurting us without a doubt,” said James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge who studies climate change, at a press conference. “Houston, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, British Columbia — worst fire season ever. California, I think they declared it the worst fire season.”

Scientists have explored the link between climate change and extreme weather events for years, but many of the conclusions have relied on forecasts of potential future damage. This year, scientists say, the findings are no longer theoretical. Man-made global warming is causing problems here and now.

Take the American Meteorological Society’s report on extreme weather events in 2016, the sixth annual iteration of the report. In the past, the group found that likelihood had increased the chances of certain extreme weather events. But this year scientists found that 2016’s record global temperatures and historic warm waters in the Bering Sea “would not have been possible” in a world without human-caused climate change.

“These events were not just influenced by human-caused climate change,” said Jeff Rosenfeld of the American Meteorological Society at a press conference. “Some of the events in 2016 could not have happened without climate change.”

The report also highlighted global heat waves, an extreme occurence of El Niño and bleaching of coral reefs. These extreme events are all closely tied to climate change, though they remain theoretically possible in a world without the phenomenon.

Another report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the state of continued ice melt, loss of snow cover and warm temperatures will be the “new normal” in the Arctic. The signs of climate change in the region have been pronounced for years as air temperatures have risen there at twice the rate as they have globally.

The effects of a melting Arctic — and the strong likelihood that it will not return to a normal state anytime soon — has significant implications far beyond its boundaries. Arctic sea ice plays an important role moderating global temperatures as it reflects sunlight back into space. And scientists say that the swift warming in the Arctic is a concerning sign of what’s to come globally. “Unlike Vegas what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said Tim Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, at a press conference. “It affects the rest of the planet.”

Two separate studies presented at the conference showed that climate change worsened rainfall when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston earlier by somewhere between 15% and 38%. That storm brought nearly 50 inches of rain to some areas and caused billions in damages. The research comes as scientists increasingly try to draw explicit conclusions about the effect of climate change and individual storms, a practice unthinkable just a decade ago.

The warning from scientists comes as policymakers across the globe continue to grapple how to stem temperature rise. Countries have committed to trying to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, but recent research shows leaders remain far from meeting that goal.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

We have been underestimating the amounts of sea level rise due to global warming

We may be in for far higher amounts of sea level rise than ever thought before, Mashable, BY ANDREW FREEDMAN, 13 Dec 17, The amount of sea level rise that many of us will experience in our lifetimes may be more than double what was previously anticipated, unless we sharply curtail greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study that factors in emerging, unsettling research on the tenuous stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

 Importantly, the study highlights that cuts we could still make to greenhouse gas emissions during the next several years would significantly reduce the possibility of a sea level rise calamity after 2050.

Published Wednesday in the open access journal Earth’s Future, the study is the first to pair recently discovered mechanisms that would lead to the sudden collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, such as the disintegration of floating ice shelves and mechanical failure of tall ice cliffs facing the sea. The study also goes a step further by showing how the new projections could play out city by city around the world.

Researchers from several institutions, including Rutgers University, Princeton, Harvard, and the nonprofit research group Climate Central found that sea level rise predictions that incorporate a faster — even sudden — disintegration of huge parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet would yield far more dire projections.

 This is especially the case when compared to the consensus put forward by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

The IPCC did not incorporate the possibility that the Antarctic Ice Sheet could become unstable as air and sea temperatures warm, and essentially crumble into the sea, in rapid succession.

 More than 4 feet of sea level rise

Specifically, the new study finds a median sea level rise projection of 4 feet and 9 inches during the 21st Century if greenhouse gas emissions remain on their current high trajectory.

Or, when expressed as a range, the study shows that a high emissions scenario that takes new Antarctic melt mechanisms into account would yield between 3 and 8 feet of global average sea level rise by the year 2100. This contrasts with the projection that does not include the rapid Antarctic melt mechanisms, which shows just 1.6 to 3.9 feet of sea level rise through 2100.

The new study paints a far more alarming picture compared to what the IPCC found, which was a median projection of two feet and five inches of sea level rise by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. Most sea level rise predictions since that report was published have indicated that figure was too low, however.

The study shows that global average sea level is projected to increase by one foot by the year 2050, and several more feet by the year 2100, depending on the significance of any cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. If the temperature targets in the Paris Climate Agreement are met — which is a big if at the moment — then we’re unlikely to trigger a rapid Antarctic meltdown, the study found.

Prior sea level rise projections have not included the recently discovered mechanism of marine ice-cliff instability in Antarctica. Instead, those projections relied on other assumptions of how significantly the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets might melt during the course of the 21st Century. Nor have they included all of the ways that floating ice shelves might disintegrate rapidly, either, weakening inland ice………. http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/sea-level-rise-could-be-double-previous-estimates-climate-change-study/#rZy6GL2FCSqM

December 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The battle against climate change is being lost – Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron says the world is losing the battle against climate change , ABCThe World Today By Connie Agius  13 Dec 17French President Emmanuel Macron has told fellow world leaders that the battle against climate change is being lost.

Key points:

  • Macron says 2015 Paris climate accord is in a fragile state since Trump pulled out in June
  • Summit marks two years since accord was signed in Paris
  • A dozen international projects were announced at the summit

Speaking at the One Planet Summit in Paris, Mr Macron said the 2015 Paris climate accord was in a fragile state after President Donald Trump pulled the US out in June.

“We’re not going fast enough, there lies the tragedy,” Mr Macron said.

“We’ve committed to limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and if we carry on along this path, we’re heading towards 3 or 3.5.

“When I say that we’re losing the battle, I would like you to realise that of the countries represented here, 5, 10 or 15 of them won’t exist anymore in 50, 60 or 100 years.

“It’s as simple as that.”

Mr Macron emphasised that the need for action was now.

“The urgency is permanent and our generation’s challenge is to act, act faster and win this battle against time, and to put in place concrete measures that will change our countries, our societies, our economies.

“So that our children and maybe even ourselves can choose our future and not suffer through global warming.”……. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-13/we-are-losing-the-battle-french-president-tells-climate-summit/9254862

December 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment