Friday, October 25, 2013



During Sept. 23-26, Working Group 1 (WG1) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met in Stockholm and approved the Summary for Policy Makers of the WG1 contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC.  It’s 36 pages are now available in PDF format, dated Sept. 27, 2013,  at:  I pulled out a few of its key findings, below:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”  (emphasis added)
“Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.

On Bill Moyers’ broadcast of Sept. 27, the charismatic Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo  talked about the politics of global warming and the urgency of environmental activism - even if it means civil disobedience.  He spoke these profound words: 

“If there’s injustice in the world, those of us that have the ability to witness it and to record it, document it and tell the world what is happening have a moral responsibility to do that. Then, of course, it’s left up to those that are receiving that knowledge to make the moral choice about whether they want to stand up against the injustice or observe it.”  At: 

The NY Times for Sept. 29, 2013 had an article titled Climate Change Has Reached Our Shores, by Christopher Loeak, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands - a low-lying coral atoll nation of about 1000 islands a short plane ride from Hawaii.  He wrote, “As one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world, we are increasingly panicked by recent scientific reports suggesting that the world is currently heading for a three- to six-foot rise in sea levels by the end of the century. If such predictions are accurate, my country will be lost forever.”  It has already had two climate-related disasters this year: an unprecedented drought that left thousands of people without food or water and a “king tide” that inundated the runway of the airport of the capital, Majuro, and nearby neighborhoods, including the president’s.  He wrote, “Some have suggested that we move to higher ground, but in the Marshall Islands there isn’t any — and we are not prepared to abandon our country. Our land is our home, our heritage and our identity.”  He went on to say, “Even as the danger looms large, we in the Pacific are doing much more than waving our arms in distress. Earlier this month, the region’s leaders gathered in Majuro for the Pacific Islands Forum to consider our response to the climate challenge. On Sept. 5, we adopted the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, which outlines the ambitious targets of our island states to accelerate their transition to low-carbon economies. The Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are all striving for 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, and Tonga, 50 percent by 2020. Our motive is not purely environmental. It comes from a common-sense realization that renewable energy is good for our economies, our energy security and the health of our populations. The message to the bigger countries is this: if we can do it, so can you.”  At:

Beginning on Sept. 30, Dr. Sarah Burch and Dr. Sara Harris of the University of British Columbia are offering a free 10-week on-line course titled, Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations.  They write, Climate Literacy tackles the scientific and socio-political dimensions of climate change. This course introduces the basics of the climate system, models and predictions, human and natural impacts, mitigative and adaptive responses, and the evolution of climate policy.”  The workload for active participation during the course is expected to be 3-5 hours per week.  At:

Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee has completed three years of work with the publication of its final report on Oct. 7 titled, Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide - Recommendations for Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Delaware, by Susan Love, Tricia Arndt, and Molly Ellwood of
Delaware Coastal Programs as the lead authors.  The Committee consisted of representatives from 25 different stake-holders, including state agencies, city and county governments, and citizen, business and environmental organizations.  I represented the Delaware LWV.  The final ca. 100-page report contains 55 recommendations and 9 Guiding Principles for Adaptation, which are:
  • Begin adaptation planning and implementation; adjust and make improvements as more information becomes available.
  • Avoid unnecessarily prescriptive adaptation actions; empower decisions at the local level.
  • Incorporate adaptation into existing programs and mechanisms, so as to not create a new bureaucracy.
  • Incorporate adaptation into existing programs and mechanisms, so as to not create a new bureaucracy.
  • Engage broad public participation in adaptation decisions.
  • Use the best available science and technology for decision-making and adaptation actions. 
  • Coordinate and consider consequences of adaptation among jurisdictions and among resource types. 
  • Strike a balance between protection of homes, infrastructure and conservation of natural resources. 
  • Strive for equity in selection and funding of adaptation measures. 
  • Encourage development of funding mechanisms for adaptation based on fairness, equity and justice for all citizens.
Delaware is especially vulnerable to sea level rise (SLR) and coastal storms because it has the lowest average elevation (60 feet) of any state in the country, and has no land more than 10 miles from tidal water.  Based on a study of the best science available, a technical work group published three plausible scenarios in 2009 for SLR in Delaware - reaching 0.5, 1 or 1.5 m (about 20, 40 or 60 inches) by 2100.  A tide gauge in Lewes showed an average rate of SLR during the 20th Century of 13 inches/century.  At:
The SLRAC assessed the impacts of these three scenarios on nearly 80 of Delaware’s human and natural resources in an earlier report published in 2012 titled, Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment for the State of Delaware.  It found that for the high SLR scenario Delaware would lose about 5% (17,000) of its homes, 11% of its land area, 72% of the area of the Port of Wilmington, and 99% of its saltwater tidal wetlands at high tide - not including the additional effects of storms.  At:  
Note: Whether SLR reaches 1.5 m or more by 2100 will depend primarily on how soon and how seriously humanity reduces its global warming emissions, and on how fast ice now on land near the poles melts or slides into the sea.  The September issue of National Geographic had an article titled, Rising Seas, with NOAA’s four scenarios of SLR to 2100.  It’s highest was 2 m (6.6 feet).
On Oct. 9 the NY Times published an article by Justin Gillis titled, By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say.  He wrote, “If greenhouse emissions continue their steady escalation, temperatures across most of the earth will rise to levels with no recorded precedent by the middle of this century, researchers said Wednesday.”  “To put it another way, for a given geographic area, “the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past,” said Camilo Mora, the lead scientist on a paper published in the journal Nature.”  At: 

NOTE: The Times has a whole series of related articles on the science of global warming and climate change by Justin Gillis.  At: 

On October 8 Paul Thornton, the Editor of the Letters page of the Los Angeles Times published a piece titled, On letters from climate-change deniers.  He wrote, Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.”  Thornton cited the recent finding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of the world’s top climate scientists, that it is 95% certain that human burning of fossil fuels is driving global warming.  At:,0,871615.story
Skeptical Science - Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism, is a web site with with a list of the favorite claims of global warming skeptics - and the responses  by scientists.  On Oct. 21 it also announced a new collaborative approach to media coverage of climate  - with some young freelance reports going to the next Conference of the Parties meeting next month in Warsaw.  At:

The following items are from the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Carol Werner, Executive Director. Past issues of its newsletter are posted on its website under "publications"
EESI’s newsletter is intended for all interested parties, particularly the policymaker community. 

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon Heads Multinational Climate-Economics Study

Seven countries have commissioned a study led by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon to examine the economics of climate change. The $9 million year-long research study will collect data from five continents to analyze the potential economic benefits and costs of cutting carbon pollution. “We have talked about emissions – this time, we will try to talk about profits,” said Felipe Calderon. “The idea is that we can present an economic case.” Britain, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sweden, South Korea and Norway are sponsoring the research, which will look at the ways extreme weather from climate change and greenhouse gas emission cuts have affected companies and governments across the world. Results will be released in September 2014, shortly before a United Nations climate change conference.
For additional information see: Bloomberg, ABC News

Study Finds Children Are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change

On September 23, a report issued by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that more than 600 million children live in the most climate-vulnerable regions of the world. These children are subject to heat waves, natural disasters, disease, and food crises as climate change progresses. Presently, 88 percent of the global burden of disease due to climate change occurs in children under the age of five. Furthermore, changing climates mean rising food insecurity, "The IPCC estimate that there will be 30 million more malnourished children as a result of climate change by 2050." The report notes that the negative impacts of climate change, as projected for the years 2030 and 2050, are most relevant to the children being born now, "A child born in 2012 will be 18 in 2030 and 38 in 2050.” Despite being most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, children are frequently not mentioned in the debate. The UNICEF report urges that children be included in the formation of a climate action plan through consultation mechanisms. Additionally, the report recommends more funding for action and adaptation programs, increased efforts toward low carbon development, climate change treaties, and strict emission reduction targets.
For additional information see: UNICEF Report, Think Progress

Climate Change Causing World Hunger Rates to Increase

On September 22, Oxfam released a paper discussing the connection between climate change and rising world hunger. The 4 degree Celsius warming that is predicted by mid-century under “business as usual” emission scenarios will lead to a cascade of events that will impact food security. Increases in extreme weather such as droughts and floods will lead to crop loss, damage food distribution systems as well as affect water supplies. Additionally, farmers in poorer nations will be largely unable to cope with changing precipitation patterns and temperatures. These events can result in depleted food stores, food scarcity and unstable food prices. Oxfam predicts that by 2050, the percentage of global population at risk for hunger may reach as high as 20 percent. They also predict that the price of food staples could double in the next 20 years, unless serious cuts to current greenhouse gas emissions levels are achieved in the near term. The worst effects to food security will be felt by developing nations in tropical and subtropical regions, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia. Oxfam predicts that crop yields in those areas may fall as much as 20 percent in the next 40 years. Warming has already threatened the gains made in the global fight against hunger in the last decade, with Oxfam emphasizing that “a hot world is a hungry world.”
For additional information see: Bloomberg, Oxfam Report

Renewable Energy Cheapest When Factoring in Climate Change

On September 13, a study published in Springer's Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences found that renewable energy is the cheapest source of power for Americans, once the costs of fossil fuel power plants are factored in. The research also discovered that it is less expensive to retrofit existing power plants to produce renewable energy than to keep the current plants producing fossil fuel power. The study's conclusions were based in part on the "social cost of carbon," a metric various government agencies released that puts the price of the effects of releasing 1 metric ton of carbon pollution at $33. Coal-burning power plants are the source of 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. "Burning coal is a very costly way to make electricity," explained study co-author Laurie Johnson, chief economist of the Climate and Clean Air Program at Natural Resources Defense Council. "Transitioning to cleaner energy won't just help protect us and our children and grandchildren from climate change, it's also good economics."
For additional information see: PV Magazine, EE News, Study

Combating Climate Change Would Save Millions of Lives

On September 22, a report published in Nature Climate Change stated that transitioning to clean energy to combat climate change would save millions of lives by decreasing air pollution. By the year 2030, 300,000-700,000 premature deaths from air pollution could be averted – a number that would climb to 1.3 million by the year 2050, and 1.4-3 million by the year 2100. “It is pretty striking that you can make an argument purely on health grounds to control climate change,” said lead author Jason West, researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The researchers calculated that based on society’s value of human life, the average marginal co-benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would be $50-$380 per ton of CO2. Those numbers reveal that the cost of continuing to burn polluting fossil fuels is greater than the cost of switching to clean energy. “Air pollution benefits are local, tangible and near term, with air quality improving within weeks. That strengthens the argument for taking immediate action,” explained Jason West.
For additional information see: New Scientist, The Guardian, Study

Study Finds Higher Severe Storm Risk Due to Global Warming

On September 20, a study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates an increase in potential severe weather days over the next century. The study, led by Noah Diffenbaugh and Martin Scherer of Stanford and Robert Trapp of Purdue University, used a group of complex physics-based climate models to examine how atmosphere reacts to global warming. It finds that rising temperature contributes to atmospheric conditions that favor severe weather, including storms and tornadoes, thus increasing the risk of damage caused. "We’re seeing that global warming produces more days with . . . severe thunderstorms," Diffenbaugh said. The research predicts a 40 percent increase of severe weather in springtime over the eastern U.S., and an overall 25 to 30 percent increase in annual occurrence. The most significant increase, about 2.4 additional storm days per the Spring season, is predicted to occur across areas of Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.
For additional information see: Stanford, New York Times, Study

Climate Threat from Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Upgraded by IPCC in 5th Assessment

On September 30, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth assessment, which significantly upgraded the climate threat posed by short-lived climate pollutants. Short-lived climate pollutants have relatively shorter life spans in the atmosphere, from a few days to a few decades. The main short-lived climate pollutants are methane, black carbon (soot), tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. When feedbacks are included, the IPCC found that the global warming potential (GWP) of methane, the number two climate warming gas, increased by as much as 30 percent over estimates from 2007 and 60 percent over 2001. This is the first time the IPCC has included a GWP for black carbon. The IPCC estimates that over a 100-year timespan, black carbon is 900 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere. While the previous IPCC assessment did not include numbers for the GWP of black carbon, calculations based on the data provided would have produced a GWP of 460 over a 100-year timespan, about half the new number. The GWP for methane was increased from 25 to 28 over a 100-year timespan and from 72 to 84 over a 20-year timespan. “Even before the new IPCC assessment, we knew that cutting these climate pollutants could cut warming in half and by two-thirds in the vulnerable Arctic for many decades,” stated Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Now we know that this strategy is even more important.”
For additional information see: E&E Publishing, IGSD Press Release

Carbon Capture Projects Decreasing Worldwide

On October 10, the Global CCS Institute released findings from a new survey stating that the number of large-scale carbon dioxide capture projects world-wide has declined from 75 to 65 over the past year. Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is considered by many scientists and engineers to be essential to meet international targets for carbon dioxide emissions reductions to slow the rate of climate change. The study found that in the last year five CCS projects have been cancelled, one has been reduced in size and seven have been postponed. The International Energy Agency projects that by 2050, CCS will be the third most important method of carbon emissions reduction, with only energy efficiency and renewable energy like solar and wind ranking higher. The report warns that “while CCS projects are progressing, the pace is well below the level required for CCS to make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation.” Currently, the United States leads the market in CCS, but China has 12 new plants under planning and construction and will likely be influential in CCS’s future. CCS projects predominantly capture carbon dioxide from coal power plants, but CCS can also be implemented at natural gas plants, oil refineries and other industrial plants.
For additional information see: New York Times, Report

New Climate Initiative Announced to Address Economic Risks of Climate Change

On October 1, the Risky Business initiative revealed its goal to persuade investors, policy makers and the public that it is more economical to curb emissions now than pay for extreme weather in the future. The new climate initiative, launched jointly by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, billionaire ex-hedge fund chief Tom Steyer and George W. Bush-era Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, will “arm decision-makers with the information they need to determine how much climate risk they are comfortable taking on.” The initiative comprises two main components: a risk assessment study to quantify the economic risks the United States faces from the impacts of unmitigated climate change by region and by sector, and an engagement effort helping prepare those economic sectors most at risk for climate change. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and former Secretary of State George Shultz will both be advising the study. Final results will be published in Summer 2014.
For additional information see: The Hill, Bloomberg, The Washington Post Op-Ed

New Study Finds Carbon Pricing is the Most Cost-Effective Way To Cut Emissions

On October 9, the multilateral Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a new report stating that carbon pricing schemes such as carbon taxes and emission trading systems are more cost-effective than most alternative policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Placing an explicit price on carbon could achieve 94 percent cheaper emissions reductions than renewable producer subsidies, according to the OECD report. The researchers examined the cost of carbon reduction policies in 15 countries, including the U.S. and China. These findings suggest that governments should enact sufficient carbon pricing schemes, while reexamining and reforming tax exemptions and subsidies to ensure the achievement of climate goals. OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a explained that carbon pricing instruments should be coherent with other implicit pricing policies in order to effectively price all sources of emissions and achieve “complete elimination of emissions to the atmosphere from fossil fuels in the second half of the century.” The OECD report identified two additional key measures: encouraging additional support for investing in new technologies and infrastructures, and ensuring that any regressive impacts are addressed through complementary measures and explained through clear communications.
For additional information see: The Hill, Bloomberg, OECD, Report

Climate Change Will Increase Water Scarcity Globally for Millions of People

A study published September 12 in the journal Environmental Research Letters estimates that an additional 668 million people will face increased water scarcity by mid-century, if global temperatures increase 3.5°C. Currently, 1.3 billion people already live in regions facing water shortages, with semi-arid regions such as the Middle East, North Africa, Southern Europe and the U.S. Southwest bearing the brunt of both current and future water issues. Climate change will worsen water availability in many regions, since rising temperatures will reduce precipitation amounts and change precipitation patterns. Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact and Research calculated water scarcity for the present international target maximum of 2°C warming, the more likely 3.5°C scenario, and for warming in excess of 4°C. Under a 2°C warming scenario, they calculated that an additional 7 percent of global population will face severe water scarcity. Lead author Dr. Dieter Gerten stressed that even with 2°C of warming, “many regions will have to adapt their water management and demand to a lower supply, especially since the population is expected to grow significantly in many of these regions.”
For additional information see: Climate Central, Study

Oceans Face Deadly Trio of Threats

On October 3, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) released a report warning that oceans are degrading far faster than previously thought. The report stated that ocean warming, water acidification and de-oxygenation are combining in a “deadly trio” to create circumstances that may lead to the next mass extinction. The ocean is more acidic now than it has been for the last 300 million years, including the period when the last major extinction took place, 55 million years ago. “This [acidification] is unprecedented in the Earth's known history. We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure,” the report says. Corals and other organisms that use calcium carbonate in their shells are particularly at risk from increased acidification and warming. A 2°C temperature increase may stop corals from growing, and a 3°C rise could begin to dissolve them. "The health of the ocean is spiraling downwards far more rapidly than we had thought... The situation should be of the gravest concern to everyone since everyone will be affected by changes in the ability of the ocean to support life on Earth,” remarked Alex Rogers, a biology professor at Oxford University. The report was produced in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, a peer-reviewed journal.
For additional information see: Guardian, Reuters, IPSO Report, IPSO Press Release

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to EPA Emissions Rules

On October 15, the Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments that challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s new rules regarding greenhouse gases (GHG) from stationary sources. The case will build on the 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, which states that EPA must regulate GHG emissions from vehicles if they were found to impact public health. Subsequently, EPA found that elevated GHG concentrations are a health threat and set new emissions standards for power plants, in addition to vehicles. The utility industry says that new regulations are an unnecessary burden to U.S. manufacturers, citing costs of regulation at tens of billions of dollars per year. The case will question whether the Clean Air Act provides the regulatory structure to mandate GHG emissions from stationary sources such as power plants, but the ruling may also apply to manufacturers, refineries and apartment buildings. According to Thomas Lorenzeen, former Justice Department official on environmental issues, “the power plant standards will go forward,” but perhaps under a different section of the Clean Air Act, depending on the court’s decision. The court rejected a variety of other cases against the EPA that dispute the agency’s power to address climate change. According to Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, the announcement represents a victory for environmental groups, since “ the U.S. Supreme Court make it abundantly clear, once and for all, that EPA has the both legal authority and the responsibility to address climate change and the carbon pollution that causes.” A decision is expected by June 2014.
For additional information see: The New York Times, Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times

Environmental Nonprofit Sues EPA Over Inaction on Ocean Acidification

On October 16, the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson based non-profit, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The suit claims that the EPA is not taking proper measures under the mandate of the Clean Water Act to protect ocean ecosystems from the impact of ocean acidity. This is the second suit regarding ocean acidity from the non-profit against the EPA: their first suit in 2009 was settled out of court, with the EPA agreeing that the Clean Water Act allows them to address ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is one effect of climate change, occurring when excess carbon dioxide (CO2) and nutrient pollution accumulate in the ocean and react to form a mild acid which raises the water’s pH levels. Acidification contributes to coral bleaching and is also harmful to shellfish. Miyokoto Sakashita, spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity commented, “it really affects the entire ecosystem, from the smallest plankton to the biggest whale.”  
For additional information see: Bellingham Herald, San Francisco Gate

NOTE: About 56 million years ago the release of about 2000 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere in the form of methane gas - which oxidizes to carbon dioxide in a decade or so after its release - acidified the world’s oceans and caused an oceanic extinction event, referred to by geologists as the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). It was called a “Thermal Maximum” because the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases also caused the global temperature to rise by 5-6 degrees C.  See C.A. Tolman, Positive Feedbacks and Climate Runaway - the Need to Act Without Delay.  At:

World Bank Report Says Businesses Need to Help Save the Ocean

On October 16, the World Bank released a report urging businesses to take action to reverse damage to oceans that includes depleted fish stocks, ocean acidification, habitat destruction and ocean warming. The report was the product of the Blue Ribbon Panel of the Global Partnership for Oceans, a team of 21 experts from 16 countries which includes government ministers, environmental conservationists, academics and the CEOs of some of the world’s largest seafood companies. The report finds that piecemeal solutions that leave out social, economic, political, and ecological interactions will not be sufficient to solve the current decline of ocean health. Instead, the report recommends a global strategy utilizing public-private partnerships that leverage companies, local communities and governments to both protect and sustainably invest in the ocean. “Getting to healthy oceans is a global challenge that needs the concentrated effort of big and small business, government and science,” said panel chair Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia. The study explains that the ocean has so far hidden the full impact of anthropogenic climate change by absorbing 25 percent of carbon dioxide released by human activities. “Ocean change is climate change and vice versa,” Hoegh-Guldberg remarked. “With looming threats of rising sea levels, warmer waters and a growing human population we need healthy oceans and coasts to mitigate climate change, feed billions and protect coastal communities.”
For additional information see: Environmental Leader, World Bank, Reuters, Infozone, Report

Climate Change is Altering North American Forests

On October 14, a new study found that forests in North America are experiencing multiple changes due to global warming. Researchers at Dartmouth University cite climate change as the agent behind increased insect outbreaks, wildfires, and plant diseases – but they also explain that climate change has caused many forests to grow faster and increase their resilience to pests. “We need to also start focusing on what could be – I don’t want to say ‘benefits,’ but the opportunities here,” said study lead author Aaron S. Weed, a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth. The increased tree growth rate may positively impact the timber and wood pulp industries and allow for greater absorption of carbon dioxide, broader forest acreage and water recycling, as well as other benefits. The study authors suggested that while some areas may see forest recovery because temperatures have increased high enough to kill off some insects, warmer winters have allowed other insect species to survive longer and do more damage than expected. The changing distribution of pests presents a challenge to forest management, which the authors regard as “one of our prominent challenges . . . [is] to cope with unprecedented changes in pest pressure.” The research, published in the journal Ecological Monographs, covered 500 scientific studies of forests in North America from the 1950s to today.
For additional information see: Washington Post, Red Orbit, Nature World News, Study

Extreme Weather Most Important Cause of Poverty

On October 15, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a report finding that extreme weather, and especially drought, will continue to be a driver of poverty in the developing world. Dr. Tom Mitchell, ODI’s head of climate change, commented on the findings, stating “We've often heard that ill health is the biggest cause for impoverishment [ . . . ] But in the data, in drought prone areas, the biggest cause is the drought - in areas exposed to these hazards, they are the key causes of impoverishment.” Using climate change models and population projections, ODI studied the relationship between extreme weather and poverty, concluding that by 2050, 325 million people will be living in regions with higher than average extreme weather events. Weather events most linked to poverty are drought, heavy rainfall and flooding. The report found that the countries most at risk from extreme weather include Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The report recommends a shift of post-2015 development goals to climate change and weather-related disasters, and suggests that without focusing on these two issues, meeting the 2030 poverty irradiation targets will be impossible. Dr. Mitchell remarked on the link between poverty and weather, stating "if the international community [is] serious about ending extreme poverty they need to get serious about reducing disaster risk for the poorest people [ . . . ] We know that disasters entrench poverty – they don’t just end lives, they destroy shops, roads, crops, houses and hospitals in places where there are no safety nets such as insurance or social security.”
For additional information see: Blue and Green Tomorrow, Study

Study Finds Climate Change Will Affect Entire World Ocean System By 2100

Published October 15 in the journal PLOS Biology, a new study warns that unmitigated global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will cause substantial marine ecosystem degradation and threaten hundreds of millions of people’s lives by 2100. An interdisciplinary collaboration of climate modelers, biogeochemists, oceanographers and social scientists led the study, gathering climate, biological and socioeconomic data to quantify the impacts of ocean biogeochemical changes on marine habitats and organisms, and eventually humans. Camilo Mora, lead author and ecologist at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, said the results suggested that most of the world’s oceans “will suffer simultaneous effects of warming, acidification, and reductions in oxygen and productivity.” Notably, the study also addressed the social ramifications of oceanic changes, and estimated that between 470 to 870 million people who live in coastal areas that depend heavily on oceans for their livelihoods will be severely impacted.
For additional information see: IPS News, Press Release, Study, Synopsis

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Chad A. Tolman
New Castle County Congregations of Delaware Interfaith Power and Light

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