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The European Union proposed cutting the region’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent in 2030 to accelerate efforts to reduce global warming.
The European Commission outlined its strategy to reduce pollution and curb rising energy costs and called for an overhaul of the bloc’s policies in the next decade, the EU’s executive arm said in a statement today. The current goal is to cut emissions by 20 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels.
The proposed design of future policies pits nations including Germany and the U.K., who are seeking stronger efforts to protect the atmosphere, against Poland and its allies, which rely mainly on fossil fuels to keep their economy humming. It also highlights the divide between energy intensive companies, whose gas and power costs are more than double their U.S. and Asian competitors, and green lobbies such as Greenpeace seeking deeper emission cuts.
“Political agreement on a 2030 EU energy and climate framework is absolutely vital for businesses,” Katja Hall, chief policy director at Confederation of British Industry, the U.K.’s main business lobby group, said by e-mail before the commission’s announcement. “We need long-term certainty to drive investment in a secure, low-carbon and affordable energy future for Europe.”
In the package unveiled today the commission asked member states to consider a 2030 framework that focuses on the carbon-reduction target to avoid conflicts with policies subsidizing renewable energy. The strategy is the start of a debate among member states, which may lead to a draft law in early 2015.
Under the new proposal, the EU wouldn’t extend legally-binding renewables targets for individual member states beyond 2020, instead setting an EU-wide goal to boost the share of renewable energy to 27 percent by 2030.
Scrapping renewable energy targets is “good news” for the economy and environment, according to Robert Stavins, director of Harvard University’s Environmental Economics Program. The renewables goal conflicts with the EU emissions trading system and removing it would lower the cost to achieve the pollution cap, he said.
The package will also include an indicative goal to boost energy efficiency by 25 percent, which will be discussed later this year.
As a part of the proposal, the commission will also seek to strengthen its carbon market cap-and-trade program by making the supply of permits more flexible. A carbon market stability reserve to start in 2021 would withdraw permits once allowances in circulation reached at least 833 million, the commission said in a statement.
The cost of emitting a metric ton of carbon dioxide in the EU’s $53 billion carbon market slumped to a record low of 2.46 euros ($3.32) in April and traded at 5.20 euros today at the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once Manhattan is under water, the northern Canadian city of Yellowknife could become North America’s city of the future. Photo: Hyougushi.
As scientists continue to revise their climate predictions for the worse, it’s clear that the time has passed for the world to avoid serious consequences from global warming.
With superstorms and floods competing with droughts and wildfires to break records somewhere around the world year-round, the weather is already getting pretty weird. So now, the real question is how best to prepare for even weirder weather in the future.
Should you move to someplace safer or should you stay where you already have family, friends and connections to the community?
Everybody seems to agree that, if you live in Miami, you should move just about anyplace else except New Orleans, Bangladesh or Kiribati as soon as you can.
In a Rolling Stone piece provocatively titled “Goodbye Miami,” Jeff Goodell writes that “by century’s end, rising sea levels will turn the nation’s urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin.”
But if you live elsewhere, you’ve got a harder decision to make.
Choose hipsters or get hip-waders
Environmental blog Grist offers ten cities that it predicts will be spared the worst impacts of climate change.
Topping the list is Seattle, whose eco-awareness could cancel out the vulnerability to sea-level rise and storms of its coastal location. “Higher tides and a redrawn coastline will requirecoastal cities to adapt, but unlike a lot of U.S. burgs, Seattle is taking it seriously, developing a comprehensive climate action plan [PDF] and working to bolster food security and general resilience for changing times,” writes author Jim Meyer. With tongue-in-cheek, Meyers adds that “Plus, while models foresee flooding [for Seattle], they don’t project the hipster inundation to reach Portlandic levels. And in a worst-case scenario, the Space Needle serves as an escape pod.”
Meyer thinks that climate action plans will also help make coastal cities Homer, Alaska and San Francisco safer than New York, San Diego and of course Miami that are on Grist’s companion list of “screwed” cities that remain unprepared for superstorm hell and high water.
Inland cities including Detroit, Cleveland and Nashville as well as mountain town Leadville, Colorado also score well as climate-safe cities. Not only are they far from rising seas and coastal storms but they also have ample water supplies, a big bonus in a climate where many dry areas will get even drier.
By contrast, desert boomtowns like Phoenix or Las Vegas or even the whole state of Texas are already starting to become uninhabitable as rain disappears, wells dry up, topsoil blows away and wildfires consume brittle forests. And talk about screwed — gas fracking in dry areas is just going to make already stressed water supplies collapse more quickly.
Doomed to wander
A real climate doomer may tell you that we’re all screwed. Since climate change effects on local weather are unpredictable, you can’t predict which places will be winners and losers in a chaotic future either.
Global climate is a system too complex for us to say for sure what will happen in any one place. For example, before it disappears under rising seas, New York City could develop the hot, humid climate of Charleston. Or, if warming seas turn off the Gulf Stream, Manhattan could instead be buried under a glacier, as in the 2004 climate disaster flick The Day After Tomorrow. In climate chaos, all bets are off.
The only certainty for the climate doomer is that most places will become more dangerous. So, the best chance of survival lies in becoming a permanent nomad, ready to move as climate conditions change.
North to survival
But a slightly less doomerish eye seems to have settled on the frozen North as humanity’s last redoubt.
Six years ago, James Lovelock, of Gaia-hypothesis fame, grimly predicted that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”
Since then, Lovelock has backed off, calling his previous view “alarmist” while explaining that “the climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world…[The temperature] has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.”
American Exodus: Climate Change and the Coming Flight for Survival by Giles Slade, New Society, 270pp, $19.95.
Writer Giles Slade is not reassured. In American Exodus: Climate Change and the Coming Flight for Survival, he contends that, unless you already live in northern Canada, you should be afraid-very-afraid of what climate change will do to the place where you live.
“Because we regularly deny or underestimate the reality of climate change’s existence, ” Slade warns, “climate change will, by definition, come sooner than we expect.”
Slade reminds us that history is filled with migrations of peoples across vast stretches of territory. And he contends that many of the most famous migrants, from the Asians who crossed the Bering Straight land-bridge into North America during the last ice age to the Okies of the 1930s Dust Bowl, were actually refugees from climate change crises of the past.
Today, Slade already sees desertification driven by climate change creeping north from Mexico into Texas, California and the Great Plains, destroying farms, stressing local economies and sending waves of environmental refugees to wetter areas.
Coincidentally, California’s governor recently declared a drought emergency in the state.
With rising sea levels and storms set to pummel both East and West Coasts in coming years, Slade worries that his own hometown — painfully eco-friendly Vancouver — may only have a decade or two of glory days left.
Certainly, climate change and economic collapse will drive outmigration from the continental United States into Canada. People will flee for their lives, just as 100,000 Africa-Americans fled the south when the boll weevil changed Dixieland’s cotton-economy. Just as with Mexican migration to the United States, the number of people in motion will be so large it will be impossible to stem the tide.
So, rather than trying to fortify its 5,525 miles of unprotected border with the U.S., Canada should just get used to the idea that it may soon be overrun by millions of Yankees. Indeed, Slade thinks that both nations should start preparing to transfer North American civilization to the one place where it will be safe from the ravages of climate change — inland northwestern Canada.
“The safest places,” Slade writes, “will be significant communities in the north that are not isolated, that have abundant water, that have the possibility of agricultural self-sufficiency, that have little immediate risk of forest fires, that are well elevated, and that are built on solid rock.”
The top candidates?
The obvious choices are the larger towns of Dawson, Whitehorse and Yellowknife because they are accessible, and because western portions of northern Canada will experience less severe temperature rise during the coming century. Most importantly, however, precipitation in the Mackenzie and Yukon River basins will increase by 30 or 40% in the coming years, and winter will remain sufficiently cold to kill off the mountain pine beetles (MPBs) annually (for a few decades, at least).
Eager to get started but not quite ready to go straight to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories?
Slade advises would-be migrants to acclimatize themselves to the culture and weather of the Great White North via Vancouver and Edmonton before settling for good in the place that the Canadian government has dubbed its “coldest, sunniest city,” where winter days regularly dip below -40º F with windchill.
Stay put and take root
Madeline Ostrander thinks you’ll have a better chance to survive climate chaos if you stay home.
She writes in YES! Magazine that “sense of place, community, and rootedness aren’t just poetic ideas. They are survival mechanisms.”
Being rooted in a place can make it easier to survive the kinds of weather disasters that will be more common nearly everywhere due to climate change. “Place attachment is one of several factors that can help a community recover from, and individuals cope with, the kinds of social and environmental crises that are becoming ever more common — like climate change-related disasters, large-scale job layoffs, or political turmoil.”
In two separate studies, for instance, individuals who reported higher levels of concern about place were more likely to take steps to prepare for wildfires (in the United States) or floods (in a monsoon-prone region of India). The damage caused by a disaster can be more stressful for individuals who were attached to that place, but those feelings can also motivate people to put the broken place back together, according to a recent book by social workers Michael John Zakour and David F. Gillespie.
While Ostrander concedes that not everybody will be able to stay put — “disasters like drought and flooding that devastate some places and force people to move” — places with strong community will fare better than those with transients in a future of climate chaos.
“As we face this kind of world,” Ostrander writes, “some communities might endure precisely because people have dug in, rooted themselves, and developed the kinds of generosity, adaptiveness, and foresight that come from knowing where they are.”
– Erik Curren, Transition Voice
Can we cool down the Earth? Don’t count on it, say scientists. Photo: KristinaDragana.
In September, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among the most conservative scientific organizations on Earth, issued a report concluding that global warming is irreversible without geo-engineering.
Meanwhile, in December, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences announced that gradual change of the climate is not guaranteed: “The history of climate on the planet — as read in archives such as tree rings, ocean sediments, and ice cores — is punctuated with large changes that occurred rapidly, over the course of decades to as little as a few years.”
Indeed, Earth has witnessed a five-degree Celsius rise in global-average temperature during a span of 13 years.
Writing for the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, John Davies concludes: “The world is probably at the start of a runaway Greenhouse Event which will end most human life on Earth before 2040.” Davies considers only atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, not the abundant self-reinforcing feedback loops triggered on the climate-change front.
Considering only one feedback loop among many, methane release from the Arctic Ocean is expected to increase global-average temperature by more than 4°C by 2030 and 10°C by 2040, according to Sam Carana’s research (see especially Image 24).
Humans have not occupied Earth at 3.5°C above baseline. If this seems problematic to you, I believe you’re paying attention.
– Guy McPherson, Transition Voice
Activists disrupt Harper event RAW 0:42
Two climate change activists managed to sneak up behind Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday just as he was getting ready to start a question and answer session at the Vancouver Board of Trade.
Sean Devlin and Shireen Soofi succeeded in getting past the prime minister’s security detail and onto the stage where Harper was sitting to protest his government’s climate change policies.
Devlin stood behind Harper holding a sign that read “Climate Justice Now.”
Soofi held up a sign saying “The Conservatives Take Climate Change Seriously,” with the sentence crossed out.
She was standing between the prime minister and Iain Black, the president of the board of trade, who was introducing Harper when the activists took the stage.
Both men kept their cool as the pair were escorted off the stage by security.
“I’d like to take a minute and have some folks removed from the stage,” Black said while the prime minister reached for a sip of water.
“It wouldn’t be B.C. without it,” Harper joked.
The crowd of business leaders applauded Harper as security removed the activists from the room.
Former prime minister Kim Campbell was also in attendance, along with Industry Minister James Moore and a handful of Conservative MPs from the region.
Anti-Harper protester behind disruption
The two activists had the help of Brigette DePape, who immediately issued a press release following the security breach bragging about the pair’s exploits.
DePape was fired as a Senate page in 2011 after walking onto the Senate floor carrying a “Stop Harper!” sign during the speech from the throne to protest against Harper’s policies.
“This morning two people directly intervened in a high-security question and answer session with Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” the release said.
“The group managed to make their way past police undetected and into the secured Vancouver Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.”
Reached by telephone following the disruption, DePape said she was proud of the protest.
DePape told CBC News “it was very empowering” for the activists to get that close to the prime minister.
No comment from PMO
Despite the security breach, the Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment publicly.
Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for the prime minister, told CBC News in an email, “we don’t comment on security-related matters.”
Following the event, the president of the board of trade Vancouver Board of Trade was asked by reporters how the protesters got on stage.
“I would defer that to the Prime Minister’s Office,” Black said.
The head of the board said that when high-profile guests are invited to speak, security is handled by a number of agencies, from the Vancouver police to the RCMP.
Both protesters were initially detained by Vancouver police, but were later released.
Vancouver police told CBC News that no charges have been laid against the protesters, but that could change.
“We will be working with the protection detail of the RCMP at the event to determine if charges are going to be laid,” the police said.
The RCMP said it was reviewing the incident and would take “appropriate action,” but referred questions on charges to Vancouver police.
Harper ‘shrugged it off’
Black said he wasn’t shaken by the event and that he took his cue from the prime minister.
“I didn’t really get rattled by it. First of all, it happened very quickly. We all saw how quickly it was handled. I took the lead from the prime minister’s response, to be honest.”
“He didn’t seem rattled. He’s got full confidence in the team around him and that showed. He kind of shrugged it off, and there was no reason for me to do anything else,” Black said.
Richard Zussman, who was at the event reporting for CBC News, said in a post on Twitter that the activists “looked to be dressed as wait staff.”
DePape, in her press release, hinted that other events may be disrupted.
“These actions are taking place as part of a global movement of groups of who are directly confronting the fossil fuel industry, from First Nations legal challenges and blockading projects on their territories, to other forms of non-violent direct action.”
Harper did not take any questions from the media.
Many of the ills of the modern world — starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease — are likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change, a leaked draft of an international scientific report forecasts.
The report uses the word “exacerbate” repeatedly to describe warming’s effect on poverty, lack of water, disease and even the causes of war.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a report next March on how global warming is already affecting the way people live and what will happen in the future, including a worldwide drop in income.
A leaked copy of a draft of the summary of the report appeared online Friday on a climate skeptic’s website. Governments will spend the next few months making comments about the draft.
“We’ve seen a lot of impacts and they’ve had consequences,” Carnegie Institution climate scientist Chris Field, who heads the report, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “And we will see more in the future.”
Cities, where most of the world now lives, have the highest vulnerability, as do the globe’s poorest people.
“Throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts will slow down economic growth and poverty reduction, further erode food security and trigger new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” the report says. “Climate change will exacerbate poverty in low- and lower-middle income countries and create new poverty pockets in upper-middle to high-income countries with increasing inequality.”
For people living in poverty, the report says, “climate-related hazards constitute an additional burden.”
The report says scientists have high confidence especially in what it calls certain “key risks”:
People dying from warming- and sea rise-related flooding, especially in big cities.
- Famine because of temperature and rain changes, especially for poorer nations.
- Farmers going broke because of lack of water.
- Infrastructure failures because of extreme weather.
- Dangerous and deadly heat waves worsening.
- Certain land and marine ecosystems failing.
“Human interface with the climate system is occurring and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems,” the 29-page summary says.
Exacerbating current health problems
None of the harms talked about in the report is solely due to global warming nor is climate change even the No. 1 cause, the scientists say. But a warmer world, with bursts of heavy rain and prolonged drought, will worsen some of these existing effects, they say.
For example, in disease, the report says until about 2050 “climate change will impact human health mainly by exacerbating health problems that already exist” and then it will lead to worse health compared to a future with no further warming.
‘Climate change indirectly increases risks from violent conflict in the form of civil war, intergroup violence and violent protests.’– Report
If emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas continue at current trajectories, “the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year will compromise normal human activities including growing food or working outdoors,” the report says.
Scientists say the global economy may continue to grow, but once the global temperature hits about 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than now, it could lead to worldwide economic losses between 0.2 and 2.0 percent of income.
One of the more controversial sections of the report involves climate change and war.
“Climate change indirectly increases risks from violent conflict in the form of civil war, intergroup violence and violent protests by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks,” the report says.
Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn’t part of the international study team, told the AP that the report’s summary confirms what researchers have known for a long time: “Climate change threatens our health, land, food and water security.”
The summary went through each continent detailing risks and possible ways that countries can adapt to them.
For North America, the highest risks over the long term are from wildfires, heat waves and flooding. Water — too much and too little — and heat are the biggest risks for Europe, South America and Asia, with South America and Asia having to deal with drought-related food shortages.
Africa gets those risks and more: starvation, pests and disease. Australia and New Zealand get the unique risk of losing their coral reef ecosystems, and small island nations have to be worried about being inundated by rising seas.
Field said experts paint a dramatic contrast of possible futures, but because countries can lessen some of the harms through reduced fossil fuel emissions and systems to cope with other changes, he said he doesn’t find working on the report depressing.
“The reason I’m not depressed is because I see the difference between a world in which we don’t do anything and a world in which we try hard to get our arms around the problem,” he said.
Bigger than that: (The difficulty of) looking at climate change. (FULL ARTICLE)
Late last week, in the lobby of a particularly unglamorous downtown San Francisco building, a group of passionate but polite activists met with a bureaucrat who stepped forward to hear what they had to say about the fate of the Earth. The activists wanted to save the world. The particular part of it that might be under their control involved getting the San Francisco Retirement board to divest its half a billion dollars in fossil fuel holdings, one piece of the international divestment movement that arose a year ago.
Sometimes the fate of the Earth boils down to getting one person with modest powers to budge.
The bureaucrat had a hundred reasons why changing course was, well, too much of a change. This public official wanted to operate under ordinary-times rules and the idea that climate change has thrust us into extraordinary times (and that divesting didn’t necessarily entail financial loss or even financial risk) was apparently too much to accept….
- IPCC backing for anthropogenic climate change up to 95% (jonathandealblog.com)
- The skeptics were right: Climate changes naturally & these natural changes outweigh any man-made influences (climatedepot.com)
- The Science Is Settled (climatism.wordpress.com)
- Claim: Humans behind record Australian heat, research shows (climatism.wordpress.com)
- 97% Climate consensus ‘denial’: the debunkers debunked (wattsupwiththat.com)
- Papers on global surface temperature since 1998 (agwobserver.wordpress.com)
- How Government Uses Geoengineering Experiments Without Telling You (chemtrailsplanet.net)
- UN Climate Talks Outlines Global Governance on CO2 Emissions (occupycorporatism.com)
- Demonization of Humanity Using Propaganda From Fake Climate Science (lissakr11humane.com)
- Climate Contrarian Badly In Need of Details (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Special Review | Climate Change in Himalayas (jugraphia.wordpress.com)
- Geoengineering: Can We Save the Planet By Messing With Nature? (democracynow.org)
- Engaging with geoengineering: lessons for science policy and governance (ihrrblog.org)
- Strategic incentives for climate geoengineering coalitions (forum.prisonplanet.com)
- US Geoengineering Budget Exceeds Billions (dprogram.net)
- Geoengineering is… (chemtrailskywatcher.wordpress.com)
- Geoengineering & Chemtrails: What In The World Are They Spraying? And Why? (collective-evolution.com)