Monday, March 15th, 2010
More than 235 U.S. scientists, including some of the nation’s most prominent climate researchers, are recommending new procedures for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including acknowledging errors on the organization’s website as soon as they are known.
In an open letter, the scientists, some of whom have contributed to IPCC reports, defend the quality and transparency of the panel’s research. But they suggest the IPCC should become more responsive in acknowledging mistakes and should publish an erratum online that corrects any errors discovered after publication. (more…)
Friday, March 5th, 2010
As the climate crisis accelerates, farmers are placed in the ever more precarious position of growing food for an increasing population in the face of increasingly bizarre weather patterns. Weather patterns are shifting due to the increasing amount of energy trapped in our atmosphere by greenhouse gases.
And yet, farming offers the fastest way to slowthe climate crisis. This is because farmers manage photosynthesis, the biological process within green plants that pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and stores it in a stable, useful form: organic carbon. Organic carbon is the chemical basis of leaves, shoots, roots, fungi and all the other living things that make up healthy soils.
Good farmers can accelerate this process and pull huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the air into soil organic matter. Increased soil organic carbon can help us manage dry and wet years better by storing water. And the practices that build soil organic carbon require more diverse cropping systems, making farmers (and us) less reliant in any one crop. (more…)
Friday, March 5th, 2010
Although they have grown up during an era when global warming has emerged as a major issue, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are relatively apathetic about the threat, according to a new survey.
And even when they do think about it, young Americans are just as divided as older Americans about whether global warming is real, according to results of the survey conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
Adults under 35 are significantly less likely than older Americans to say they have thought about global warming, with 22 percent saying they have never thought about the issue. (more…)
Sunday, February 14th, 2010
This post comes from Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, the founder of the San Francisco-based Interfaith Power & Light, a national campaign with affiliates in 30 states. The group is organizing the Valentine’s Weekend Preach-In on Global Warming.
Valentine’s Day typically conjures up images of roses and sweets for our loved ones, a time when we recognize the many virtues of romantic love. Yet this coming Valentine’s Day, leaders of communities of faith throughout the United States will be bringing forth a different kind of love — a deep, abiding love for God’s creation and our neighbors now threatened by the calamity of global climate change.
Hundreds of congregations of many faiths have signed up for a National Preach-In on Global Warming on Valentine’s Day weekend. We are showing our love for the poor, disadvantaged and most at-risk peoples and creatures of the world on this traditional day of love.
Friday, February 12th, 2010
We’re in for some climate chaos. The Copenhagen Accord means at least two to four degrees of warming over the next fifty years — and who knows how much “global weirding.” As greenhouse gases trap more heat, or energy, close to the earth, and that energy is used by large weather systems, which move faster and are more intense than ever.
This means more Category 5 hurricanes. More likelihood of Florida snow. My biggest concern about all this change? Eating. If crop yields drop 80 percent as they’re expected to, if we don’t adapt to a changing climate, I might get hungry.
So how do we produce food in a changing climate? How do we produce food with shortages of oil and fuel around the corner? Well we might start, like Joel Salatin’s family-owned Polyface Farm in Virginia, by decreasing inputs to the farm.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Todd Stern, the United States’ chief climate negotiator, said that China, India, Brazil and other rapidly developing countries have been making “ambiguous” statements about their intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that further foot-dragging could leave the Copenhagen climate accords “stillborn.”
Speaking at a think tank in Washington, Stern said, “The statements we have seen from China and the other [rapidly developing] countries do evince a desire to limit the impact of the accord.”
China, India, Brazil, and South Africa have refused to make binding commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and Stern warned that without such pledges “there is simply no other way to head off the coming [climate] crisis.”
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
The Obama administration is creating an office to coordinate and report the latest climate change data, a unit analogous to the National Weather Service that officials hope will help planners, businesses, and the public better understand and prepare for the effects of global warming.
The office, which will be part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will assemble about 550 scientists already working on climate issues under one roof. All data will be accessible on a website, www.climate.gov. (more…)
Sunday, February 7th, 2010
“All indications are that we should be alarmed about the future of sea level rise and should be doing something about it now.”
So say Orrin Pilkey and Rob Young, eminent coastal scientists, who wrote The Rising Sea to provide substance for that alarm and to offer suggestions as to how we can plan ahead to reduce the severity of the impact of the rising sea.
The authors begin by reminding us that it’s not a distant prospect. They describe what is happening to Alaskan shoreline villages such as Kivalina and Shishmaref, the Pacific atoll nations such as Kiribati, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Tuvalu, and the city of Venice, places already grappling with rising sea level.
Rising tide gauge data and an increase in coastal erosion along many of the planet’s shorelines provide clear evidence of the rising sea and of the warming of the planet.
Friday, February 5th, 2010
Friday, December 18th, 2009 was one of the saddest days of my career. The Copenhagen Climate Conference had ended with a non-binding Copenhagen Accord. And no one knew what it meant. When I returned to the negotiating center, it was as empty as the Copenhagen Accord. The NGO and government leaders had abandoned the center. And the accord’s emission reduction commitments were blank.
On January 31st, we got to see what the pledges are. The small island nation of the Maldives has committed to 100% mitigation by 2020. The Maldives foreign minister announced, “The Maldives’ submission of its mitigation action is voluntary and unconditional…The Maldives looks forward to its mitigation action being registered and publicly available.” That’s leadership.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Not much in terms of effective policy came out of the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, or COP15. In fact, the best that can probably be said is that nations agreed to disagree; poor ones unwilling to take on carbon emission reductions that would stunt their industrial growth, and rich ones unwilling to take the blame for emissions that have, to date, caused most of the problems and benefited rich nations most of all.
To highlight this ambivalence, on January 26 Yvo de Boer, United Nation’s senior climate change official, noted that governments could either comply with proposed emissions limits by the deadline, or later if they preferred – a paradox that has led many to ask what the purpose of the deadline was?