Adaptation News 2014
NEW: Are Canadian local governments ready for the impacts of climate change? It is is an image of a nation unprepared. The results of the NMAP Survey of Canadian Local Governments has been released. Click here to see the Canada fact sheet.
The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears
to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming
accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists
have reported. The
finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means
that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be
inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the
next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it
will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis.
is really happening,” said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs
on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research. “There’s nothing
to stop it now. But you are still limited by the physics of how fast the
ice can flow.” From the NYT.
Arguments that the climate is relatively insensitive to the increased
greenhouse effect have become the last best chance for climate
change contrarians, but a new study from Texas A&M University hammers a big nail in the coffin of that argument. From the Guardian.
Unilever, Shell, BT, and EDF Energy are among 70 leading companies
calling on governments across the globe to step up efforts to
tackle climate change. The companies, which have a combined
turnover of $90bn, say the world needs a "rapid and focused response" to
the threat of rising global carbon emissions and the "disruptive
climate impacts" associated with their growth. From the Guardian.
A United Nations IPCC report
warns that climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control. From the NYT
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, has released a stark report Tuesday on climate change. The report
warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are
already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and
that the window to do something about it is closing. From the NYT.
U.S. federal officials are proposing sweeping new requirements
for American health care facilities — from large hospitals to small
group homes for the mentally disabled — intended to ensure their
readiness to care for patients during disasters. From the NYT.
Efforts to tackle climate change
must urgently focus on implementing low carbon technologies such as
wind and solar power rather than discussions of the science and quarrels
over policy, the former United Nations climate chief has said. From the Guardian.
US President Obama’s annual budget request to Congress will propose a
significant change in how the government pays to fight wildfires,
administration officials said, a move that they say reflects the ways in
which climate change is increasing the risk for and cost of those fires. From the NYT.
The Jakobshavn Glacier - widely thought to have spawned the
iceberg that sank the Titanic - is moving about four times faster than
it was in the 1990s. The Greenland Ice Sheet has seen record melting in recent years and would raise sea levels 6m were it all to vanish. Details of the research are published in The Cryosphere journal. From the BBC.
With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities providing water to 40,000
people are in danger of running out within 60 to 120 days. California state
officials said that the number was likely to rise in the months ahead
after the State Water Project, the main municipal water distribution
system, announced on Friday that it did not have enough water to
supplement the dwindling supplies of local agencies that provide water
to an additional 25 million people. From the NYT.
Climate change and the impacts on business. After a decade of increasing damage to Coca-Cola's balance sheet as
global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the
company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically
disruptive force. Coke reflects a growing view among American business leaders and
mainstream economists who see global warming as a force that contributes
to lower gross domestic products, higher food and commodity costs,
broken supply chains and increased financial risk. Their position is at
striking odds with the longstanding argument, advanced by the coal
industry and others, that policies to curb carbon emissions are more
economically harmful than the impact of climate change. From the NYT.
Drought conditions in the US Far West intensified last year, government scientists said Wednesday, adding to concerns about water supplies in the region. From the NYT.
The spate of severe weather disruptions across Canada over the past year caused insurers to pay out a record $3.2 billion in claims, the industry says. The ice storm that hit southern Ontario and then Eastern Canada caused $200 million worth of insured losses, bringing the total to $3.2 billion for all of 2013. That's the highest level the insurance industry has ever seen. From the CBC.
Scientists point to unmistakable evidence that global sea levels are rising and could increase as much as three feet by end of century, particularly if greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked; rising tides pose enormous risk for United States, particularly along East Coast, where much of population and economy is concentrated. From the NYT.
Climate scientist tells US Senate that climate change is a 'clear and present danger. In a Senate hearing on President Obama's Climate Action Plan, Andrew Dessler (Texas A&M University) summarised the science behind the climate threat before the Senate committee hearings about the proposed climate action plan. From the Guardian.
The UK's run of rain-drenched summers could be ended by a slow-down in major Atlantic currents which bring warm, wet air to Europe, according to research. The currents were known to have weakened since 2004 but the new work suggests the trend began in the 1990s and shows no sign of ending. From the Guardian.
Severe drought in California leads to emergency declaration. From the NYT.
One year before flooding devastated Calgary, officials were given a study that warned the next big flood to hit the city would bring higher water levels and more widespread damage than was previously thought, From the CBC.
Polar bear population may collapse in less than 20 years. Climate change is thinning sea ice, cutting off the dwindling population of polar bears from their food source. Scientists predict that with ice-free season lengthening every year in west Hudson Bay, its polar bear population will collapse in 17 years. From the Guardian.
Most of the world's coal reserves should be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming, the UN's climate chief has said. In a speech to a gathering of industry executives, Christina Figueres challenged the industry to urgently transform itself, diversify into renewable energy and "radically change … rapidly and dramatically for everyone's sake". From the Guardian.
Developing nations have launched an impassioned attack on the failure of the world's richest countries to live up to their climate change pledges in the wake of the disaster in the Philippines. From the Guardian.
Atmospheric volumes of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change hit a new record in 2012, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Wednesday.
"For all these major greenhouse gases the concentrations are reaching once again record levels," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told a news conference in Geneva at which he presented the U.N. climate agency's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. From the CBC.
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. From the CBC.
Insurance executives say homeowners will never have access to comprehensive flood insurance in Canada unless there are new maps of flood-prone areas that take climate change into account. From the CBC.
The fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is due out on September 27th, and is expected to reaffirm with growing confidence that humans are driving global warming and climate change. In anticipation of the widespread news coverage of this esteemed report, climate contrarians appear to be in damage control mode, trying to build up skeptical spin in media climate stories. Just in the past week we've seen: From the Guardian.
The scientists' statement is unequivocal, and is not based on whatever the IPCC may publish. They say: "The body of evidence indicating that our civilisation has already caused significant global warming is overwhelming."
The statement comes from 12 members of the recently established Earth League, which describes itself as "a voluntary alliance of leading scientists and institutions dealing with planetary processes and sustainability issues". From the Guardian.
Sea levels could rise by 2.3 metres for each degree Celsius that global temperatures increase and they will remain high for centuries to come, according to a new study by the leading climate research institute, released on Monday. From the Guardian.
While no single wildfire can be pinned solely on climate change, researchers say there are signs that fires are becoming bigger and more common in an increasingly hot and extremely dry West. From the CBC.
There is evidence that western fire seasons are getting longer and more destructive, and that this is tied to more extreme heat and drought. But does the same dynamic make the act of wildland firefighting riskier? There are reasons to suspect that it does. From the Guardian.
The World Meteorological Organization says the planet "experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes" in the ten years from 2001 to 2010, the warmest decade since the start of modern measurements in 1850. From the Guardian.
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