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This page includes content from the Climate Change News blog, which is maintained daily by David Landskov, and content from our old SA blog archives.

  • The Paris Climate Problem:  A Dangerous Lack of Urgency

    Climate Change News Nov 8, 2019 | 05:30 am

    The Paris Climate Problem:  A Dangerous Lack of Urgency Most countries aren’t cutting emissions fast enough, and their pledges for the next 10 years fall far short of what's needed, a new analysis warns. While nearly all of the world's countries have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, the reductions they're planning in the short term—over the next 10 years—aren't nearly enough, leading scientists warn in a new report. Nearly two-thirds of the pledges under the Paris climate agreement are "totally insufficient" to meet critical climate targets, the report by scientists who have been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found. To keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) compared to pre-industrial times, the IPCC has found that global greenhouse gas emissions need to fall by about half by 2030 and then reach net zero by mid-century.  The longer countries stall, the steeper the necessary emissions cuts become. Read more at The Paris Climate Problem:  A Dangerous Lack of Urgency.

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  • Thursday 7

    Climate Change News Nov 8, 2019 | 04:30 am

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  • Despite a Warmer, Wetter World, There May Be Less Water Available for Human Use, Study Finds

    Climate Change News Nov 7, 2019 | 05:30 am

    Despite a Warmer, Wetter World, There May Be Less Water Available for Human Use, Study Finds In a warmer world, plants could consume more water than they currently do, leaving less for human consumption and activities, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.  This future shortage is despite an increase in precipitation in places like the United States and Europe. As carbon dioxide gathers in the atmosphere, plants have the ability to photosynthesize the same amount while partially closing the pores on their leaves, meaning less plant water loss to the atmosphere and more water left in the land.  As a result, scientists have long expected that an increase in CO2 concentrations would lead to more freshwater availability. But the new research, led by scientists at Dartmouth College and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, found that as global temperatures increase, growing seasons are becoming longer, lengthening the time that plants have to grow and consume water.  Ultimately, this could leave less for the land, and less for human use. “Approximately 60 percent of the global water flux from the land to the atmosphere goes through plants, called transpiration,” Justin Mankin, a climate scientist at Dartmouth College and lead author of the new study, said in a statement.  “Plants are like the atmosphere’s straw, dominating how water flows from the land to the atmosphere.  So vegetation is a massive determinant of what water is left on land for people.  The question we’re asking here is, how do the combined effects of carbon dioxide and warming change the size of that straw?”[…]

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  • Wednesday 6

    Climate Change News Nov 7, 2019 | 04:30 am

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  • New Land Height Metric Raises Sea Level Rise Risk

    Climate Change News Nov 6, 2019 | 04:30 am

    New Land Height Metric Raises Sea Level Rise Risk Millions of us now live in danger:  we could be at risk from future high tides and winds, says a new approach to measuring land height. Researchers have taken a closer look at estimates of coastal land height – and found that the numbers of people already at risk from sea level rise driven by global heating have multiplied threefold. More than 100 million people already live below the high tide line, and 250 million live on plains that are lower than the current annual flood heights.  Previous estimates have put these numbers at 28 million, and 65 million. And even if the world takes immediate drastic action and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, at least 190 million people will find themselves below sea level. If the world’s nations continue on the notorious business-as-usual track and go on burning ever greater volumes of fossil fuels, then around 630 million will, by the year 2100, find themselves on land that will be below the expected annual flood levels. Read more at New Land Height Metric Raises Sea Level Rise Risk

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  • Tuesday 5

    Climate Change News Nov 6, 2019 | 03:13 am

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  • Study: Here’sWhat Oil Giants Need to Do to Avoid Climate Catastrophe

    Climate Change News Nov 2, 2019 | 23:30 pm

    Study: Here’sWhat Oil Giants Need to Do to Avoid Climate Catastrophe The world’s largest oil and gas companies need to slash their production by more than a third by 2040 to meet global climate targets, according to a new report. The seven listed oil majors — including ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell — would need to cut the total amount of oil and gas they produce every day by 35 percent to avoid driving temperatures 1.5 degrees C higher than pre-industrialized levels. Global governments would also need to stop issuing new oil and gas licenses for fossil fuel exploration, according to the report. The study was produced by Carbon Tracker, a financial think tank, using publicly available oil company data to measure their carbon footprints today and by 2040. It showed that global oil projects that have already been approved are almost enough to meet demand in a 1.6 degrees C scenario and there is “very little headroom for new fossil fuel projects.” Mike Coffin, an analyst at Carbon Tracker, said:  “The industry is trying to have its cake and eat it — reassuring shareholders and appearing supportive of Paris, while still producing more fossil fuels. “If companies and governments attempt to develop all their oil and gas reserves, either the world will miss its climate targets or assets will become ‘stranded’ in the energy transition, or both.  This analysis shows that if companies really want to both mitigate financial risk and be part of the climate solution, they must shrink production.” U.S. supermajors ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, and ConocoPhillips[…]

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  • Friday 1

    Climate Change News Nov 2, 2019 | 23:19 pm

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  • Spain Steps Up for Cop25

    Climate Change News Nov 1, 2019 | 22:45 pm

    Spain Steps Up for Cop25 It’s 31 days until climate delegates from around the world will gather in… Madrid. In breaking news, UN Climate Change has confirmed the event will move from Santiago, Chile to the Spanish capital. Quite how Spain will pull it off is anyone’s guess.  Shifting the climate talks to a new continent with just over four weeks to go is a massive logistical puzzle.  Meanwhile, Spain has a general election on the 10 November. It seems likely the consequence will be a scaled down conference, which raises questions over who will be left out.  Will we see the normal business and civil society jamboree?  African and Asian delegates are worried about access to EU visas.  How can South American NGOs, strapped for cash, afford to attend the fifth European climate talks in seven years (and next year in Glasgow on top)? It is clear Spain didn’t know the answers to these questions when it threw itself forward. The UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa was quick to frame the offer as an example of nations coming together.  On the face of it, it is an astonishing gesture, demonstrating the radical fraternity so often absent from climate talks and wider diplomacy. Read more at Spain Steps Up for Cop25 

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  • In the Fight Against Climate Change, Not All Forests Are Equal

    Climate Change News Nov 1, 2019 | 22:42 pm

    In the Fight Against Climate Change, Not All Forests Are Equal Forests are a great bulwark against climate change, so programs to reduce deforestation are important.  Those efforts usually focus on stopping the destruction in areas where it is already occurring. But a new study suggests these programs would do well to also preserve forests where deforestation and degradation haven’t begun.  Gradual loss of these largely pristine, intact forests has a much greater climate impact than previously accounted for, the researchers said. Globally, forests take more than a quarter of the carbon emissions from human activities out of the atmosphere every year.  Intact forests are especially effective at storing carbon — although only about 20 percent of tropical forests are considered relatively pristine, they are responsible for about 40 percent of carbon storage in the tropics. The study, by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland in Australia and other institutions, analyzed carbon emissions from the loss of intact tropical forests worldwide from 2000 to 2013. Immediate clearing of intact forests, what might be considered “classic” deforestation, over that period accounted for about 3 percent of global emissions from deforestation in all tropical forests, the researchers said.  But when they looked at other, more gradual types of loss and disturbance — forests that had been opened to selective logging for firewood, for example, or road-building that exposed more trees to drying or windy conditions — they found that the carbon impact increased sixfold over the period. Read more at In the Fight Against Climate Change, Not All Forests Are[…]

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