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Climate change and the dramatic plunge in insect numbers

Climate change on track to cause major insect wipeout, scientists warn
Insects are vital to ecosystems but will lose almost half their habitat under current climate projections ,
Guardian, Damian CarringtonEnvironment editor @dpcarrington Fri 18 May 2018 

Global warming is on track to cause a major wipeout of insects, compounding already severe losses, according to a new analysis.Insects are vital to most ecosystems and a widespread collapse would cause extremely far-reaching disruption to life on Earth, the scientists warn. Their research shows that, even with all the carbon cuts already pledged by nations so far, climate change would make almost half of insect habitat unsuitable by the end of the century, with pollinators like bees particularly affected.

However, if climate change could be limited to a temperature rise of 1.5C – the very ambitious goal included in the global Paris agreement – the losses of insects are far lower.

The new research is the most comprehensive to date, analysing the impact of different levels of climate change on the ranges of 115,000 species. It found plants are also heavily affected but that mammals and birds, which can more easily migrate as climate changes, suffered less.

“We showed insects are the most sensitive group,” said Prof Rachel Warren, at the University of East Anglia, who led the new work. “They are important because ecosystems cannot function without insects. They play an absolutely critical role in the food chain.”

“The disruption to our ecosystems if we were to lose that high proportion of our insects would be extremely far-reaching and widespread,” she said. “People should be concerned – humans depend on ecosystems functioning.” Pollination, fertile soils, clean water and more all depend on healthy ecosystems, Warren said.

In October, scientists warned of “ecological Armageddon” after discovering that the number of flying insects had plunged by three-quarters in the past 25 years in Germany and very likely elsewhere……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/17/climate-change-on-track-to-cause-major-insect-wipeout-scientists-warn

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May 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Worst-case climate change scenario could be more extreme than thought, scientists warn

Economic growth could prompt greater greenhouse gas emissions than previously forecast, study says, Independent UK Harry Cockburn , 18 May 18

Scientists may have to recalibrate their projections of what a “worst case” climate change scenario is, as new studies take into account greater global economic growth than previously forecast.

Climate scientists forecasting how the earth’s climate will change over time examine trends in greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely dependent on how the global economy behaves. As countries get richer, the amount they consume goes up, and so too do greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists use four scenarios called representative concentration pathways (RCPs) that attempt to depict possible futures for our planet.

  • The standard worst case scenario, RCP 8.5, assumes rapid and unrestricted economic growth which will see rampant burning of fossil fuels. In addition, it also assumes no further action will be taken to limit warming than the policies countries are already pursuing.

    However, scientists at the University of Illinois say there is a one-in-three chance that by the end of the century emissions will have exceeded those estimated in the RCP 8.5 scenario.

    “Our estimates indicate that, due to higher than assumed economic growth rates, there is a greater than 35 per cent probability that year 2100 emissions concentrations will exceed those given by RCP8.5,” Peter Christensen told the New Scientist.

    Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate Research in Norway points to the rise in carbon emissions in Europe over the past four years as economic growth has sped up. In 2017, EU emissions rose by 1.8 per cent……..https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-model-scenario-rcp85-global-warming-illinios-study-a8353346.html

May 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Global 2 degrees C rise doubles population exposed to multiple climate risks compared to 1.5 degrees C  

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR APPLIED SYSTEMS ANALYSIS EUREKALERT, 16 MAY 18 

New research identifying climate vulnerability hotspots has found that the number of people affected by multiple climate change risks could double if the global temperature rises by 2°C, compared to a rise of 1.5°C.

The team, led by IIASA Energy Program researcher Edward Byers, investigated the overlap between multiple climate change risks and socioeconomic development to identify the vulnerability hotspots if the global mean temperature should rise by 1.5°C, 2°C and 3°C by 2050, compared to the pre-industrial baseline. Since those in poverty are much more vulnerable to climate change impacts, knowing where and how many vulnerable people are at high risk is therefore important for creating policies to mitigate the situation.

The researchers from IIASA, Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the University of Oxford, and the University of Washington, developed 14 impact indicators in three main sectors – water, energy, and food & environment – using a variety of computer models. The indicators include a water stress index, water supply seasonality, clean cooking access, heat stress events, habitat degradation, and crop yield changes. They compared the potential risks at the three global temperatures and in a range of socioeconomic pathways, to compare more equitable, sustainable development with pathways characterized by development failures and high inequality……..https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/iifa-g2r051518.php

May 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Air conditioning units – electricity guzzlers – a threatening contribution to climate change

FT 15th May 2018 , The spread of air-conditioning in hot countries is set to create a huge
increase in demand for electricity, threatening efforts to curb greenhouse
gas emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, the watchdog
backed by consuming countries. Over the next 30 years, air-conditioning
could increase global demand for electricity by the entire capacity of the
US, the EU and Japan combined, unless there are significant improvements in
the efficiency of the equipment, the IEA warned. In a report released on
Tuesday, the agency urged governments to use regulations and incentives to
improve the efficiency of air-conditioning units, to avoid a surge in
demand that could put strains on energy supplies and increase greenhouse
gas emissions.
https://www.ft.com/content/6c062996-582c-11e8-bdb7-f6677d2e1ce8

May 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY | Leave a comment

India’s dust storms intensified by climate change

Climate change could be intensifying dust storms in India, experts say, Mongabay, by Mayank Aggarwal on 14 May 2018   In the past couple of weeks, severe dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning have hit several parts of India, resulting in the deaths of more than 150 people and injuries to at least 300 others.
With the rise in global temperatures, the intensity of dust and thunderstorms is expected to increase in the future, experts say.
But even though dust storms and thunderstorms are a common feature in India, there has been no focused work on studying the trends related to it.

India could witness an increase in the severity and frequency of dust storms and thunderstorms due to rising global temperatures, experts say.

“[The] intensity of sandstorms is increasing across the world,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based think tank. He cited studies from the U.S. Midwest, the Middle East and the Sahara, all of them linking the phenomenon to sudden increases in surface temperature.

“All of them are saying that as the climate gets warmer the temperature gradient is going to become very steep. This steep increase in temperature gradient will lead to two things — heat waves and sand storms,” Bhushan said.

“There is enough research happening [to predict] that the intensity of sandstorms is going to become more intense as the temperature increases further. It is indeed linked to climate change.”

On May 2, severe dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning hit several parts of India, resulting in the deaths of at least 124 people and injuries to 300 others. More than 10,000 utility poles and hundreds of power transformers were damaged, while farmers suffered losses to their cattle and poultry stocks. Similarly, on May 13, fierce dust and thunderstorms led to the deaths of some 40 people, while several others were injured.

Bhushan said the enormity of losses from dust storms was shocking, but that they would only become more intense in the future. With higher global temperatures, he said, the soil would become drier. That will result in an increase in the amount of dust carried by the wind, and consequently the intensity of dust storms.

“Climate change is intensifying all extreme weather events,” Bhushan said…….https://news.mongabay.com/2018/05/climate-change-could-be-intensifying-dust-storms-in-india-experts-say/

May 16, 2018 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

UN climate talks suspended until September

BBC 10th May 2018 , UN talks have been officially suspended as countries failed to resolve
differences about implementing the Paris climate agreement. The
negotiations will resume in Bangkok in September where an extra week’s
meeting has now been scheduled . Delegates struggled with the complexity of
agreeing a rulebook for the Paris climate pact that will come into force in
2020. Rows between rich and poor re-emerged over finance and cutting
carbon. Overall progress at this meeting has been very slow, with some
countries such as China looking to re-negotiate aspects of the Paris deal.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44074352

May 12, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Trump cannot formally pull out of Paris climate deal until 2020 – he has no future plan

“No follow up” from Trump over staying in climate pact-UN by Reuters, 9 May 2018  The rules of the Paris Agreement mean that Trump cannot formally pull out before November 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election

* UN’s Espinosa asked Washington for conditions for staying

* Says still hopes U.S. may stay in Paris pact

* Nearly 200 nations working on ‘rule book’ for 2015 pact

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle   BONN, Germany, May 9 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to outline what changes he wants in a 2015 global climate agreement as the price for dropping his plan to quit, the United Nations’ climate chief said on Wednesday.

Patricia Espinosa said she had asked Washington for its demands after Trump announced last June that he planned to quit the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century with a shift to cleaner energies.

“There has not been a follow-up” from Washington, she told Reuters during negotiations in Bonn among almost 200 nations on a “rule book” for the 2015 agreement.

Espinosa, a former Mexican foreign minister who leads the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, said she had stressed that the pact was flexible, allowing all countries to set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“I would not like to see the U.S. leaving. I certainly hope there is a reconsideration of this decision,” she said of Trump’s plan to pull out.

Trump doubts the view of mainstream science that man-made greenhouse gases are raising global temperatures.

The rules of the Paris Agreement mean that Trump cannot formally pull out before November 2020, around the time of the next U.S. presidential election.

In announcing the U.S. withdrawal, Trump said Paris was a bad deal that would harm the U.S. economy, but added: “We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”……..

The Bonn meeting, which ends on Thursday, is working on rules for the Paris Agreement due to be in place by the end of the year, such as how to measure and account for greenhouse gas emissions and climate finance for developing nations that is meant to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.

“A good set of rules … should be a way to give comfort and confidence to the concerns they (the United States) could have,” said Espinosa.

Asked if she would be happy for the United States to stay, while watering down deep cuts in emissions promised by former President Barack Obama, Espinosa said: “I think we should not choose between those two scenarios.” (Reporting By Alister Doyle Editing by Gareth Jones) http://news.trust.org/item/20180509154353-w3u79/

May 12, 2018 Posted by | climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

USA, Australia, want to keep fossil fuel lobbyists in climate talks – developing nations want them OUT

US, Australia fight push to bar fossil fuel interests from climate talks https://reneweconomy.com.au/us-australia-fight-push-bar-fossil-fuel-interests-climate-talks-14266/ By Natasha Geiling on 11 May 2018  ThinkProgress  

For nine days, representatives from governments across the globe have been meeting in Bonn, Germany, to hammer out details of the Paris climate agreement.

But participating at the talks alongside diplomatic representatives and environmental groups are some perhaps unexpected parties — like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long opposed climate regulations and is a vocal proponent of fossil fuels.

A coalition of developing nations in Africa and Latin America had hoped to draw attention to the influence that the fossil fuel industry maintains over the climate negotiation process with a formal acknowledgement of conflicts of interest at the conclusion of the talks in Bonn this week.

But developed nations — led largely by the United States — succeeded in preventing such a formal acknowledgement from being included in the meeting’s final notes.

Conflicts of interest within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) — the international treaty that dictates the UN’s annual climate conferences — aren’t a new phenomenon.

In 2015, companies like Engie — a utility company that gets more than 70 percent of its energy output from fossil fuels — were financial sponsors of the Paris climate talks.

But this year, developing nations — alongside environmental groups — have been working to make eliminating conflicts of interest a central part of the climate negotiations moving forward, much to the chagrin of countries like the United States and Australia.

“Every institution, especially of this scale, has some kind of policy to identify and mitigate internal conflict of interests,” Jesse Brag, media director for Corporate Accountability, which has been campaigning to make conflicts of interest within the United Nations climate negotiations a central issue since 2015, told ThinkProgress.

“Right now, there is no acknowledgement [within the UNFCCC] that there could be problems that arise from the financial interests of businesses and NGOs operating here.”

There are a few ways in which fossil fuel companies — or industry groups that represent fossil fuel companies — have already influenced UN climate negotiations.

At the Paris climate negotiations in 2015, for instance, fossil fuel companies that sponsored the talks were given access to “communications and networking” areas in rooms where negotiations were taking place.

The text of the Paris climate agreement, which calls for limiting global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius” (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) doesn’t mention the term “fossil fuels” once, despite the fact that burning fossil fuels is the primary action driving climate change.

And the UNFCCC’s Climate Technology Network, which promotes the adoption of low carbon technology in developing countries, includes a member of the World Coal Association.

Developing nations, alongside NGOs like Corporate Accountability, had hoped to get parties on the record this year acknowledging that conflicts of interest exist within the climate negotiations.

They had also hoped that such acknowledgement would be followed by policy suggestions aimed at helping root out conflicts of interest within the process.

That effort was largely waylaid due to intense opposition from the United States, which refused to allow any mention of conflicts of interest or fossil fuel companies into the meeting’s official notes.

But a coalition of governments representing 70 percent of the world’s population — largely from developing countries in Latin America and Africa — did succeed in getting parties to agree to keep talking about the issue at climate negotiations next year.

That might seem like a small victory, but Bragg argues it’s an important signal that the culture of the talks — as well as general recognition of the issue of conflicts of interest within the negotiations — is starting to change.

“Three years ago, no one wanted to talk about the fossil fuel industry’s role in climate denial in these talks,” Bragg said. “Now, it’s a discussion that is happening in every area of these halls. As the process advances, so does the culture around what needs to be done.”

It is unsurprising that the United States — which is still a party to the UNFCCC even as President Trump has promised to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement — would oppose efforts to draw attention to conflicts of interest between environmental treaties and fossil fuel companies.

Under the Trump administration, several high-profile environmental regulator posts have been filled by people who previously represented the industries that they now oversee.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, for instance, came to the EPA after working as a lobbyist for Murray Energy, the largest privately-owned coal firm in the United States.

Nancy Beck, who is currently the highest-ranking political appointee at overseeing regulation of the chemical industry at the EPA, used to work for the American Chemical Council , the chemical industry’s main lobbying organization.

And over at the Department of the Interior, Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt came to the agency after working for years as a lobbyist in the natural resources department of the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

 

May 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Global warming is melting Antarctic ice from below 

Warming oceans melting Antarctic ice shelves could accelerate sea level rise, Guardian,  John Abraham, 9 May 18,  “……With global warming, both of the poles are warming quite quickly, and this warming is causing ice to melt in both regions. When we think of ice melting, we may think of it melting from above, as the ice is heated from the air, from sunlight, or from infrared energy from the atmosphere. But in truth, a lot of the melting comes from below. For instance, in the Antarctic, the ice shelves extend from the land out over the water. The bottom of the ice shelf is exposed to the ocean. If the ocean warms up, it can melt the underside of the shelf and cause it to thin or break off into the ocean.

 A new study, recently published in Science Advances, looked at these issues. One of the goals of this study was to better understand whether and how the waters underneath the shelf are changing. They had to deal with the buoyancy of the waters. We know that the saltier and colder water is, the denser it is.

Around Antarctica, water at the ocean surface cools down and becomes saltier. These combined effects make the surface waters sink down to the sea floor. But as ice melt increases, fresh water flows into the ocean and interrupts this buoyancy effect. This “freshening” of the water can slow down or shut down the vertical mixing of the ocean. When this happens, the cold waters at the surface cannot sink. The deeper waters retain their heat and melt the ice from below.

The study incorporated measurements of both temperature and salinity (saltiness) at three locations near the Dalton Iceberg Tongue on the Sabrina Coast in East Antarctica. The measurements covered approximately an entire year and gave direct evidence of seasonal variations to the buoyancy of the waters. The researchers showed that a really important component to water-flow patterns were ‘polynyas.’ These are regions of open water that are surrounded by ice, typically by land ice on one side and sea ice on the other side.

When waters from the polynya are cold and salty, the waters sink downwards and form a cold curtain around the ice shelf. However, when the waters are not salty (because fresh water is flowing into the polynya), this protective curtain is disrupted and warm waters can intrude from outside, leading to more ice melt.
Based on this study, we may see increased ice loss in the future – sort of a feedback loop. That concerns us because it will mean more sea level rise (which is already accelerating), and more damage to coastal communities. I asked the lead author, Alesandro Silvano about this work:

 Lead author Alesandro Silvano.

We found that freshwater from melting ice shelves is already enough to stop formation of cold and salty waters in some locations around Antarctica. This process causes warming and freshening of Antarctic waters. Ocean warming increases melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing sea level to rise. Freshening of Antarctic waters weakens the currents that trap heat and carbon dioxide in the ocean, affecting the global climate. In this way local changes in Antarctica can have global implications. Multiple sources of evidence exist now to show that these changes are happening. However, what will happen in Antarctica in the next decades and centuries remains unclear and needs to be understood.

This is just another reason to take scientists seriously and act to slow down climate change before it is too late.   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/may/09/global-warming-is-melting-antarctic-ice-from-below

May 11, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

The world needs to hear, repeatedly, the simple message on urgency of climate change (and of nuclear threat, too)

SELLING THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE , Climate One, 4 May 18, The scientific consensus is that human activity is cooking the planet and disrupting our economies. Yet many people still don’t  believe that climate change will affect them personally. Or they deny that the problem is urgent enough to take action that would disrupt their lifestyles. Why has communicating the facts about climate change to the public been such a challenge?

“Facts don’t work by themselves,” says David Fenton, founder and chairman of Fenton Communications. “Facts only really work when one, they’re embedded in moral narratives.  Secondly, facts don’t work unless they’re embedded in stories. And third, the brain only absorbs messages that are simple and that are repeated.”…….

“Part of my job,” he explains, “is to help scientists speak English and acceptable accurate drama.”

Fenton believes in exploiting the findings of cognitive science to deliver otherwise complex messages. “Only campaigns work,” he stresses, “Only the repetition – I’m repeating myself I know – of simple messages changes public opinion and affects the brain.”

Fenton notes that while it’s hard to be optimistic when you hang out with climate scientists, he remains so because the climate movement has never really tried to reach the general public at a scale similar to a national advertising campaign – let alone the disinformation campaign of the fossil fuel industry…….    Climate One is presented in association with KQED Public Radio.   https://climateone.org/audio/selling-science-climate-change

 

May 5, 2018 Posted by | climate change, media | Leave a comment

For the entire month of April, atmospheric Co2 levels exceeded 410 parts per million 

Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold,  May 3 For the first time since humans have been monitoring, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have exceeded 410 parts per million averaged across an entire month, a threshold that pushes the planet ever closer to warming beyond levels that scientists and the international community have deemed “safe.”

The reading from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii finds that concentrations of the climate-warming gas averaged above 410 parts per million throughout April. The first time readings crossed 410 at all occurred on April 18, 2017, or just about a year ago.

Carbon dioxide concentrations — whose “greenhouse gas effect” traps heat and drives climate change — were around 280 parts per million circa 1880, at the dawn of the industrial revolution. They’re now 46 percent higher…….

The rate of growth is about 2.5 parts per million per year, said Ralph Keeling, who directs the CO2 program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which monitors the readings. The rate has been increasing, with the decade of the 2010s rising faster than the 2000s. ……

“As a scientist, what concerns me the most is not that we have passed yet another round-number threshold but what this continued rise actually means: that we are continuing full speed ahead with an unprecedented experiment with our planet, the only home we have,” Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, said in a statement on the milestone.

Planetary carbon dioxide levels have been this high or even higher in the planet’s history — but it has been a long time. And scientists are concerned that the rate of change now is far faster than what Earth has previously been used to.

In the mid-Pliocene warm period more than 3 million years ago, they were also around 400 parts per million — but Earth’s sea level is known to have been 66 feet or more higher, and the planet was still warmer than now.

As a recent federal climate science report (co-authored by Hahyoe) noted, the 400 parts per million carbon dioxide level in the Pliocene “was sustained over long periods of time, whereas today the global CO2 concentration is increasing rapidly.” In other words, Earth’s movement toward Pliocene-like conditions may play out in the decades and centuries ahead of us.

……Keeling said that the planet, currently at 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, is probably not yet committed to a warming of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, but it’s getting closer all the time — particularly for 1.5 C. “We don’t have a lot of headroom,” he said.“It’s not going to be a sudden breakthrough, either,” Keeling continued. “We’re just moving further and further into dangerous territory.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/03/earths-atmosphere-just-crossed-another-troubling-climate-change-threshold/?noredirect=on&utm_source=rss_energy-environment&utm_term=.650775eb0646

 ,WP

May 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate Change Turns Coastal Property Into a Junk Bond

Climate Change Turns Coastal Property Into a Junk Bond, The returns can be great, unless the investment winds up under water. Bloomberg, By  Noah Smith, May 3, 2018   “……… Even in the worst-case scenario, sea level rise will be moderate by 2050 — perhaps 1 or 2 feet along most U.S. east coast locations. And there’s a good chance it will be much less.

A rise of that magnitude doesn’t sound like a lot. But it would inundate a number of low-lying coastal areas. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s sea level rise viewer app lets you play around with the data and look at maps. Even a moderately bad climate-change scenario could swamp some pieces of coastal real estate within a few decades.

But sea level rise isn’t a gradual, steady thing. The ocean is not a still bowl of water, but a roiling mass tossed around by winds and tides. Long before coastal areas are permanently underwater, they’ll experience increased risk of catastrophic flooding. Hurricane Harvey, which last year flooded much of the city of Houston and became the second most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history (behind another wind-induced coastal flood, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina), is probably a harbinger of more frequent storm-driven disasters.

So for the next few decades, climate change probably won’t send coastal real estate prices crashing, but it does create a tail risk for buyers. Increased probability of coastal flooding makes waterfront real estate a bit like a junk bond — something that will probably go up in value, but has a small to moderate chance of going to zero. Junk bonds generally don’t have a value of zero, but the risk of devastation definitely does depress their selling price.

Recent research confirms that the climate threat is already showing up in prices. Economists Asaf Bernstein, Matthew Gustafson and Ryan Lewis have a recent paper showing that houses exposed to sea-level rise of between 0 and 6 feet have been selling at a 7 percent discount relative to houses a similar distance from the beach that aren’t exposed. The time period they look at is 2007-2016 — before the damage from Harvey. They also confirm that the discount is higher in locations where people report more worry about climate change.

Another recent study, by environmental researchers Jesse Keenan Thomas Hill and Anurag Gumber, shows something similar. Focusing on Miami-Dade County, they show that higher-elevation locations have risen in price faster than similar locations at low elevations. That’s consistent with the theory that wealthy buyers pay a premium to escape flooding risk. High-elevation areas could also have other benefits, of course, such as increased safety from crime — but with crime down dramatically in Miami, this is a less convincing explanation of the increased elevation premium.

In fact, the price differences these economists find may be understating people’s worries about climate change, because of flood insurance. The U.S. government insures many coastal properties against floods, mostly in Texas and Florida. The National Flood Insurance Program charges below-market premiums to many of the riskiest houses, effectively subsidizing owners of the properties most vulnerable to coastal flooding.

So evidence shows that landlords, homeowners and real estate investors are now taking climate change seriously. Polls still find a big partisan gap in concern about climate change, with 67 percent of Republicans claiming that they worry only a little or not at all. But in financial markets, the reality of the phenomenon is starting to be felt.     Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.net   https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-05-03/flood-risk-makes-coastal-real-estate-look-like-a-junk-bond

May 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The UN’s climate change body releases its first annual report

 http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/the-uns-climate-change-body-releases-its-first-annual-report,  1 May 18 The UN’s official climate secretariat has launched its first annual report into its work in combatting climate change.

The body is instrumental in delivering the commitments of the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon emissions and prevent the rise in global temperatures.

“Climate Change is the single biggest threat to life, security and prosperity on Earth,” said executive secretary Patricia Espinosa.

“This annual report shows how UN Climate Change is doing everything it can to support, encourage and build on the global response to climate change,” she added.

The report covers what UN Climate Change sees as its key achievements over the past year including its official conference, COP23, in Bonn. The 30,000 people who attended helped ensure action on climate change was maintained, including the importance of commitments before 2020.

The conference also saw financial commitments of almost $1 billion made by member states on partners. Norway led a coalition pledging $400 million to support sustainable agriculture and forest management. Germany, the UK, and others also pledged $153 million to fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

The launch of the Talanoa Dialogues have been a central part of UN Climate Change’s work in 2017. This Fiji-led idea is designed to be a ‘global conversation’ to involve as many people in climate action as possible. The Dialogues aim to inform and inspire member states as they work on their climate commitments. UN Climate Change’s first-ever Gender Action Plan was also launched to increase the participation of women in the response to climate change.

The report also looks to the challenges throughout 2018, including the official adoption of the Paris Agreement’s work programme and procedures in December.

“Throughout 2018 and beyond, let us do all in our power, together, to accelerate action,” said Ms. Espinosa. “Only by doing so can we succeed in protecting our planet from climate change and securing a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

In addition, the report also details the agency’s total funding, with its running costs now reaching $98 million, covering its rolling programmes and activities. $29 million is set aside as part its core budget. Staff costs for its 400 employees are now at $1.5 million.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Global climate change underway – the message from melting Arctic sea ice

Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way, The Conversation,  Mark Serreze, Research Professor of Geography and director, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, 

Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic. This has many reasons, but climate feedbacks are key. As the Arctic warms, snow and ice melt, and the surface absorbs more of the sun’s energy instead of reflecting it back into space. This makes it even warmer, which causes more melting, and so on.

This expectation has become a reality that I describe in my new book “Brave New Arctic.” It’s a visually compelling story: The effects of warming are evident in shrinking ice caps and glaciers and in Alaskan roads buckling as permafrost beneath them thaws.

But for many people the Arctic seems like a faraway place, and stories of what is happening there seem irrelevant to their lives. It can also be hard to accept that the globe is warming up while you are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm.

Since I have spent more than 35 years studying snow, ice and cold places, people often are surprised when I tell them I once was skeptical that human activities were playing a role in climate change. My book traces my own career as a climate scientist and the evolving views of many scientists I have worked with.  When I first started working in the Arctic, scientists understood it as a region defined by its snow and ice, with a varying but generally constant climate. In the 1990s, we realized that it was changing, but it took us years to figure out why. Now scientists are trying to understand what the Arctic’s ongoing transformation means for the rest of the planet, and whether the Arctic of old will ever be seen again.

Evidence piles up

Evidence that the Arctic is warming rapidly extends far beyond shrinking ice caps and buckling roads. It also includes a melting Greenland ice sheet; a rapid decline in the extent of the Arctic’s floating sea ice cover in summer; warming and thawing of permafrost; shrubs taking over areas of tundra that formerly were dominated by sedges, grasses, mosses and lichens; and a rise in temperature twice as large as that for the globe as a whole. This outsized warming even has a name: Arctic amplification.

……….  Indeed, the question is no longer whether the Arctic is warming, but how drastically it will change – and what those changes mean for the planet. https://theconversation.com/melting-arctic-sends-a-message-climate-change-is-here-in-a-big-way-95573

April 27, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Sea level rise will force evacuation of communities from low-lying islands

Guardian 25th April 2018 ,Hundreds of thousands of people will be forced from their homes on
low-lying islands in the next few decades by sea-level rises and the contamination of fresh drinking water sources, scientists have warned.

A study by researchers at the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Deltares Institute in the Netherlands and Hawaii University has found that many small islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans will be uninhabitable for humans by the middle of this century. That is much earlier than previously thought.

Experts say the findings underline the looming climate change driven migration crisis that is predicted to see hundreds of millions of people forced from their homes in the coming years. More than half a
million people around the world live on atoll islands, often extraordinary and beautiful structures based on coral reefs. Their closeness to sea level makes them particularly vulnerable to climate change.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/25/climate-change-to-drive-migration-from-island-homes-sooner-than-thought

April 27, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment