Archive for the 'Climate Change' Category

Society won’t be able to adapt to climate change unless carbon emissions are reduced significantly

November 18th, 2013 by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Tacloban, Philippines (click image to expand - image courtesy of Praveen Agrawal, World Food Programme/ EU-Humanitarian-Aid-and-Civil-Protection)

Damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Tacloban, Philippines (click image to expand – image courtesy of Praveen Agrawal, World Food Programme/ EU-Humanitarian-Aid-and-Civil-Protection)

From 19 to 22 November 2013 some of the world’s environmental ministers will meet for the ‘high level segment‘ of the International climate negotiations in Warsaw.

Anders Levermann, co-chair of the research domain “Sustainable Solutions” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said “by emitting greenhouse gases, we have already caused global-warming impacts, such as sea-level rise, which will remain with us for several centuries to come.” Continue reading

International report concludes that C02 emissions from human activity causes ocean acidification

November 15th, 2013 by International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme

(click report cover to go to the report download page)

(click report cover to go to the report download page)

Ocean acidification may increase 170% this century with substantial costs expected from coral reef loss and declines in shellfisheries. Cold water corals also at risk.

In a major new international report, experts conclude that the acidity of the world’s ocean may increase by around 170% by the end of the century bringing significant economic losses.

People who rely on the ocean’s ecosystem services – often in developing countries – are especially vulnerable.

A group of experts have agreed on ‘levels of confidence’ in relation to ocean acidification statements summarising the state of knowledge.

The summary was led by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and results from the world’s largest gathering of experts on ocean acidification ever convened. Continue reading

No business plan for a world where temperatures could increase by 2°C

November 14th, 2013 by PwC

Jonathan Grant, director, PwC, said of the latest Climate Change Committee latest report “Fourth carbon budget Review” that “the Committee is right to highlight the danger of changing tack or rolling back regulations, as it could undermine business and investor confidence that long term UK government policy will deliver what is needed to tackle climate change.

“The costs of many forms of low carbon energy are coming down quite rapidly, but whichever path you choose to get to a low carbon future, it still requires substantial investment, and that requires clear, long term policies,” Mr Grant said.

“In the short term, UK energy emissions increased 2.6% last year, much higher than GDP growth, because of an increased use of coal in power generation.” Continue reading

Haiti, Philippines and Pakistan most affected by weather catastrophes

November 14th, 2013 by Germanwatch

(click image to expand)

Destruction caused by typhoon Haiyan in Leyte province photographed on 10 November 2013 (click image to expand – image ©EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection by Joelle Goire)

Germanwatch presented the 9th annual Global Climate Risk Index at the onset of the Climate Summit in Warsaw (COP 19) while overshadowed by the ongoing human catastrophe in the Philippines.

“The index shows that the most severe weather related catastrophes in 2012 occurred in Haiti, Philippines and Pakistan,” said Sönke Kreft, Team Leader International Climate Policy at Germanwatch and co-author of the index.

“The landfall of Hurricane Sandy in the US dominated international news in October 2012.

Yet, it was Haiti – the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – that suffered the greatest losses from the same event.” Continue reading

Report criticises governments for global fossil fuel subsidies of over $500 billion per year

November 12th, 2013 by Overseas Development Institute

(please click report cover to go to ODI report download page)

(please click report cover to go to ODI report download page)

Just two years ahead of a crucial UN climate change summit, many of the world’s richest countries continue to pour finance into fossil fuel subsidies, with average spending running at US$112 per adult according to a report from the Overseas Development Institute.

The report ‘Time to change the game’ notes that fossil fuel subsidies cost over half a trillion dollars globally every year.

It says that these subsidies create perverse incentives favouring investment in carbon-intensive energy.

The author Shelagh Whitley calls for bold action led by the G20 to phase out these subsidies by 2020, with rich countries making the deepest and earliest cuts.

Ms Whitley said “the rules of the game are currently biased in favour of fossil fuels.” Continue reading

OECD report finds carbon taxes and emission trading least costly option to reduce CO2 emissions

November 9th, 2013 by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

(please click report cover to go publisher's page - image courtesy of OECD)

(please click report cover to go publisher’s page – image courtesy of OECD)

According to a new OECD study, carbon taxes and emission trading systems are the most cost-effective means of reducing CO2 emissions, and should be at the centre of government efforts to tackle climate change.

Effective Carbon Prices shows that taxes and trading systems are preferable to other policies, such as feed-in tariffs, subsidies and other regulatory instruments.

For example, the average cost of reducing a tonne of carbon emissions in the road transport sector can be up to eight times higher when instruments other than fuel taxes are used, according to the report.

Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, said “countries are pricing carbon in a multitude of ways, not always the most effective.” Continue reading

Health benefits from climate change mitigation

September 22nd, 2013 by Nature Climate Change

The Guernsey Electricity oil fired power station in St Sampson on 25 July 2013 (click image to expand - image ©RLLord)

The Guernsey Electricity oil fired power station in St Sampson on 25 July 2013 (click image to expand – image ©RLLord)

Global abatement of greenhouse gas emissions could save between 1.4 and 3 million premature deaths in the year 2100, reports a paper “Climate Change: Health benefits of mitigation” published this week in Nature Climate Change.

These findings stress the value of improved air quality, which has previously been underestimated in studies of how reductions in greenhouse gas emissions decrease co-emitted air pollutants.

Reduced health impacts from air pollution are a co-benefit of climate mitigation, but there are concerns about how these effects are evaluated. Continue reading

University of Exeter offering free online course on Climate Change

September 19th, 2013 by University of Exeter

FutureLearn, a multi-institution provider owned by the Open University, has announced the details of 20 massive open online (pilot) courses (MOOC) including the schedules for eight which are set to begin between October and December 2013.

Most of the FutureLearn courses will last six to ten weeks and are aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web.

The University of Exeter, one of the British universities involved in this new learning initiative, is offering a free online course on climate change: challenges and solutions, which begins on 13 January 2014.

The University of Exeter’s MOOC is presented by an interdisciplinary team of academics from the University of Exeter and the UK Met Office led by Professor Tim Lenton, who is the Chair of Climate Change and Earth System Science at the University.

Professor Tim Lenton (image courtesy of the University of Exeter)

Professor Tim Lenton (image courtesy of the University of Exeter)

Continue reading

Food security threatened as pests move poleward with global warming

September 18th, 2013 by University of Exeter

Colorado potato beetles, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, mating on a potato plant in the Netherlands. This important pest of potato crops was introduced to Europe from North America (click image to expand - image ©RLLord)

Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, mating on a potato plant in the Netherlands. This important pest of potato crops was introduced to Europe from North America (click image to expand – image ©RLLord)

A paper ‘Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world‘ published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that global warming is resulting in the spread of crop pests towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year.

The research by scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford, shows a strong relationship between increased global temperatures over the past 50 years and expansion in the range of crop pests. Continue reading

Social cost of carbon emissions makes renewable energy cheaper

September 18th, 2013 by Springer

A German coal fired power station and a wind turbine feeding into the European electricity grid (click image to expand - image ©RLLord)

A German coal fired power station and a wind turbine feeding into the European electricity grid (click image to expand – image ©RLLord)

It’s less costly to get electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than coal-fired power plants when climate change costs and other health impacts are factored in, according to a paper ‘The social cost of carbon: implications for modernizing our electricity system‘ published in Springer’s Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

Using the official U.S. government estimates of health and environmental costs from burning fossil fuels, the research shows it is cheaper to replace a typical existing coal-fired Continue reading