Livelihoods, Ecology and Climate Change, 8th September 2018

“They’re easy to overlook, and often hard to find, but urban trees are every bit as important to cities as water, sewer and transportation systems.”   


Heads of state must intervene to fix climate process

Former UN climate chief Yvo De Boer says trust underpinning global negotiations can only be restored at the highest political level. He says climate action is faltering because of “the perception that rich nations have not met their ‘obligations’”

“We cannot build a tower of ambition on a bedrock of broken promises,” he says, and outlines his views on what needs to be done for trust to be rebuilt. …

Bangkok Bulletin: UN calls for more time

The UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa wrote to governments on Thursday to let them know that the Katowice COP24 would start a day earlier than scheduled – on 2 December. “An early opening of the session will provide an opportunity to make the best use of the time available to finalize negotiations,”

1.50C carbon budget

One of the key findings in an upcoming report from the UN science panel, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is worrying climate spin doctors in Bangkok.

The IPCC will publish a special report in October on the tougher 1.50C temperature target, which will set the tone for Katowice.

A key question is: what level of emissions will tip the world over the 1.50C threshold? There is a range of estimates of that “carbon budget” and the judgement of which to foreground has big political implications. As Climate Home News reported, that choice changed between the first and second drafts, with no explanation.

If the scientists pick a low number, it kills vulnerable communities’ hopes of staying within the safer limit. If they go high, it implies the 20C outer edge of ambition is achievable without further effort – not an easy message.

(Climate Home News email bulletin of 6th September)

Armed with faded copies, four diplomats write the rules of the Paris climate deal

A journey from 5°C to 2°C

5°C is the temperature increase above pre-industrial levels we are heading for if we follow our path of limited or no climate policy. 2°C is the temperature increase above pre-industrial levels that most countries around the world have agreed would prevent dangerous climate change.

There will be climate impacts at 2°C, but we believe we can manage them. This journey will describe how the energy system must change if we go from 5°C to 2°C.

So is getting to 2°C feasible?

– Yes, says Peters.

– But only in the models.

The models that take us to a world where global warming is limited to 2°C, are much too optimistic, according to Glen Peters at CICERO (Center for International Climate Research).

Summer sees heat and extreme weather

The summer of 2018 was marked by heat, floods, drought and fire. A trend which is consistent with climate change. WMO (World Meteorological Organization) summary is here. 

You’ve heard of outsourced jobs, but outsourced pollution? It’s real, and tough to tally up

Over the past decade, both the United States and Europe have made major strides in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions at home. That trend is often held up as a sign of progress in the fight against climate change.

But those efforts look a lot less impressive once you take trade into account. Many wealthy countries have effectively “outsourced” a big chunk of their carbon pollution overseas, by importing more steel, cement and other goods from factories in China and other places, rather than producing it domestically.

Don’t be fooled: Weather is not climate

Weather is affected by climate

…Because of this, many people are nervous when talking about extreme weather events in a climate context. But a changing climate can “load the dice” on weather, making certain kinds of extreme event more likely. For example: the amount of water vapor that the atmosphere can hold increases with temperature. Heat it up by 1° F, and the moisture content increases by about 3 percent. The result? More intense rainstorms. Similarly, heat waves happen more often when the planet as a whole gets warmer.

‘Archived’ heat has reached deep into the Arctic interior, researchers say 

Arctic sea ice isn’t just threatened by the melting of ice around its edges, a new study has found: Warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic.

That “archived” heat, currently trapped below the surface, has the potential to melt the region’s entire sea-ice pack if it reaches the surface, researchers say.

Greenhouse gases are bubbling up in Arctic lakes

From Bad to Worse. The bad news: Global warming is thawing Arctic permafrost. And that’s releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The really bad news: It’s happening faster than we previously thought.

That’s the conclusion of a NASA-funded research project undertaken by researchers from the University of Alaska. They published their study in the journal Nature Communications on August 15.

Tropical forests are flipping from storing carbon to releasing it

Illegal logging and land seizures are driving this ominous yet overlooked scientific trend.

Mismanaged plastic waste

Mismanaged plastic waste is defined as “plastic that is either littered or inadequately disposed. Inadequately disposed waste is not formally managed and includes disposal in dumps or open, uncontrolled landfills, where it is not fully contained. Mismanaged waste could eventually enter the ocean via inland waterways, wastewater outflows, and transport by wind or tides.”

From 1950-2015 the world produced ~8.3 billion tonnes of plastics. Where did it go?

– 55% straight to landfill

– 30% still in use

– 8% incinerated

– 6-7% recycled.

Of 5.8 billion tonnes no longer in use, ~9% recycled. and 

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers.

UN treaty would protect high seas from over exploitation

These waters, defined as the open ocean far from coastlines, are threatened by deep-sea mining, over-fishing and the patenting of marine genetic resources.

Over the next two years, government representatives aim to hammer out a binding agreement to protect them against over-exploitation.


Rainfall anomalies and flooding of the Siang

India’s traditional wisdom in coping with extreme weather

In large parts of the subcontinent where floods or droughts are annual or recurring events, people in rural areas have evolved location-specific strategies to deal with the disasters and unusual weather.

Gujarat’s water crisis rooted in years of misplaced priorities

West Bengal, where erosion leads to land loss

2018 State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report

New National Wildlife Action Plan from WII (Wildlife Institute of India)

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