Moving Our Endowment Beyond Fossil Fuels | Harvard Faculty For Divestment

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Faculty Forum on Divestment
Sunday, 26 October
4:00-6:00PM
Fong Auditorium
Boyleston Hall
* * *

Boyleston-Hall… (read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Beijing Blastoff footage: China’s first lunar mission launches


RT

Published on Oct 24, 2014

Beijing has launched the third phase of its lunar exploration program – an experimental spacecraft is set to fly around the moon and back, ahead of China’s first unmanned landing on the lunar surface in 2017.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium

Symposium Rescheduled for January 7-9, 2015 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

ACCO’s 4th annual Defense, National Security & Climate Change Symposium will focus upon the growing efforts of U.S. defense, intelligence and national security communities on assessing and responding to climate change. With the recent publications of President Obama’s executive order, a suite of Federal agency adaptation plans and recommendations from the Hurricane Sandy Task Force, this year’s program will specifically address preparedness and resilience and the national security implications of climate change. The Symposium will also address operational and installation energy considerations and greenhouse gas reduction activities throughout the Department of Defense.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Adaptation to Environmental Change: Contributions of a Resilience Framework

Adaptation is a process of deliberate change in anticipation of or in reaction to external stimuli and stress. The dominant research tradition on adaptation to environmental change primarily takes an actor-centered view, focusing on the agency of social actors to respond to specific environmental stimuli and emphasizing the reduction of vulnerabilities. The resilience approach is systems orientated, takes a more dynamic view, and sees adaptive capacity as a core feature of resilient social-ecological systems. The two approaches converge in identifying necessary components of adaptation. We argue that resilience provides a useful framework to analyze adaptation processes and to identify appropriate policy responses. We distinguish between incremental adjustments and transformative action and demonstrate that the sources of resilience for taking adaptive action are common across scales. These are the inherent system characteristics that absorb perturbations without losing function, networks and social capital that allow autonomous action, and resources that promote institutional learning.

…(read more).

Food-Matters
Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate Change and Food Systems

Food systems contribute 19%–29% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, releasing 9,800–16,900 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2008. Agricultural production, including indirect emissions associated with land-cover change, contributes 80%–86% of total food system emissions, with significant regional variation. The impacts of global climate change on food systems are expected to be widespread, complex, geographically and temporally variable, and profoundly influenced by socioeconomic conditions. Historical statistical studies and integrated assessment models provide evidence that climate change will affect agricultural yields and earnings, food prices, reliability of delivery, food quality, and, notably, food safety. Low-income producers and consumers of food will be more vulnerable to climate change owing to their comparatively limited ability to invest in adaptive institutions and technologies under increasing climatic risks. Some synergies among food security, adaptation, and mitigation are feasible. But promising interventions, such as agricultural intensification or reductions in waste, will require careful management to distribute costs and benefits effectively.

…(read more).

Food-Matters
Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Environmental Costs and Benefits of Fracking

Unconventional oil and natural gas extraction enabled by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is driving an economic boom, with consequences described from “revolutionary” to “disastrous.” Reality lies somewhere in between. Unconventional energy generates income and, done well, can reduce air pollution and even water use compared with other fossil fuels. Alternatively, it could slow the adoption of renewables and, done poorly, release toxic chemicals into water and air. Primary threats to water resources include surface spills, wastewater disposal, and drinking-water contamination through poor well integrity. An increase in volatile organic compounds and air toxics locally are potential health threats, but the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation will reduce sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, and particulate air pollution. Data gaps are particularly evident for human health studies, for the question of whether natural gas will displace coal compared with renewables, and for decadal-scale legacy issues of well leakage and plugging and abandonment practices. Critical topics for future research include data for (a) estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of unconventional hydrocarbons, (b) the potential for further reductions of water requirements and chemical toxicity, (c) whether unconventional resource development alters the frequency of well integrity failures, (d) potential contamination of surface and ground waters from drilling and spills, (e) factors that could cause wastewater injection to generate large earthquakes, and (f) the consequences of greenhouse gases and air pollution on ecosystems and human health.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Implications of Arctic Sea Ice Decline for the Earth System

Arctic sea ice decline has led to an amplification of surface warming and is projected to continue to decline from anthropogenic forcing, although the exact timing of ice-free summers is uncertain owing to large natural variability. Sea ice reductions affect surface heating patterns and the atmospheric pressure distribution, which may alter midlatitude extreme weather patterns. Increased light penetration and nutrient availability during spring from earlier ice breakup enhances primary production in the Arctic Ocean and its adjacent shelf seas. Ice-obligate marine mammals may be losers, whereas seasonally migrant species may be winners from rapid sea ice decline. Tundra greening is occurring across most of the Arctic, driven primarily by warming temperatures, and is displaying complex spatial patterns that are likely tied to other factors. Sea ice changes are affecting greenhouse gas exchanges as well as halogen chemistry in the Arctic. This review highlights the heterogeneous nature of Arctic change, which is vital for researchers to better understand.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice