Daily Archives: February 16, 2014

Kerry talks climate change during Asia trip

E130. E120,

An Island Not For Sale: Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh – at TEDxPortofSpain


Published on Feb 16, 2014

Wayne Kublalsingh explores the thinning and withering away of organic life. He speaks of the social equations which involves the monetization of organic life so as to convert it to a liquid asset. The social equation discussed also involves global warming and it is the coming together of viral capital and viral warming that will lead to the fragmentation of global life. The idea of fighting back when confronted with threats to organic life was also discussed. An example of Mrs. Yvonne Ashby was given as someone who fought against the monetization of her surrounding area and stood up for the preservation of organic life. He ended with a wonderful sentiment where he expressed that “there is nothing more beautiful than fighting for you and for all organic life.”

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One in four Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun

Feb 14, 2014

This NASA image shows the first color image of the Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts on December 24, 1968

Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.

The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.

Ten questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score—6.5 correct—was barely a passing grade.

Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Fewer than half (48 percent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

The result of the survey, which is conducted every two years, will be included in a National Science Foundation report to President Barack Obama and US lawmakers.

One in three respondents said science should get more funding from the government.

Nearly 90 percent said the benefits of science outweigh any dangers, and about the same number expressed interest in learning about medical discoveries.

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Solving the climate change vulnerabilities jigsaw


May 31, 2013 by Sorina Buzatu

Credit: Massimiliano Franceschini

A new tool to assess the interdependency between climate change and socio-economic factors is now available, mainly for professionals in these fields.

Climate change and socio-economic factors are interdependent. If agriculture intensifies in a particular region, that would have an impact on water sector, resulting from the irrigation use. This means that less water will be available for domestic, industrial or environmental needs. For example, by setting variables such as temperature, rainfall or irrigation‘s efficiency, it is possible to predict how maize yields will be affected by these changes.

To understand how changes in one sector directly affects other sectors, the research team of EU funded project CLIMSAVE created an integrated assessment platform. It has been made available this year to environmental agencies, policy-makers and higher education students as a teaching instrument. Stakeholders can now perform rapid simulations of cross-sectoral impacts. It also allows them to explore adaptation strategies for reducing climate change vulnerability. What is more, it can provide an early warning about the types of crop yields likely to be in difficulty and assess the most profitable crops across Europe.

This tool can be applied to sectors such as agriculture, forestry, biodiversity assessment, coastal surveillance, water resources management and urban development. The tool features climate, social, technological, economic and policy drivers, which can be changed over a period of time stretching to 2020 and up to 2050. The results are displayed in different screens, each covering the impact, adaptation, vulnerability and cost-effectiveness of these changes. According to its designers, the tool is a quick and easy instrument and can be used without a lot of training.

….(read more).

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GOP Deeply Divided Over Climate Change | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

November 1, 2013

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years. While partisan differences over climate change remain substantial, Republicans face greater internal divisions over this issue than do Democrats.

Just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61%of non-Tea Party Republicans.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, finds that most people who see solid evidence of global warming – 44% of the public overall – say it is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels. Just 18% say it is mainly caused by natural patterns in the earth’s environment.

Among the 26% of the public who say there is no solid evidence of global warming, about as many say “it’s just not happening” (13%) as say “we just don’t know enough yet about whether the earth is getting warmer” (12%).

Opinions of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents divide into four roughly equal size groups: 23% say there is solid evidence of global warming and it is mostly caused by human activity; 19% say warming exists but is due to natural patterns; 25% see no solid evidence and say it is just not happening; 20% say there is no solid evidence but not enough is known yet.

Among Tea Party Republicans, the largest share –41% – says that global warming is just not happening, while another 28% say not enough is known. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, just 13% say global warming is not happening and among Democrats and Democratic leaners, just 4% express this view.

Democrats are far less divided over global warming than Republicans, although liberal Democrats are more likely than moderates and conservatives to say that global warming is mostly caused by human activity (75% vs. 58%) rather than by natural patterns.

Trends in Views on Global Warming


Overall, two-thirds (67%) of Americans say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer. These views have changed very little in the last few years.

Far more see solid evidence of global warming than did so between 2009 and early 2011. But when the Pew Research Center first asked this question in 2006, 77% said there was solid evidence that the average temperature on earth had been increasing.

Since 2009, there has been a steady increase in the share of both Republicans and Democrats who say there is solid evidence of global warming. In 2009, 35% of Republicans, 53% of independents and 75% of Democrats said there was solid evidence of rising temperatures on earth. Today, half of Republicans (50%), 62% of independents and 88% of Democrats say this.

….(read more).

Complete Report:
Detailed Tables

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Hell and High Water: Practice-Relevant Adaptation Science

Science 8 November 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6159 pp. 696-698
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239569

Informing the extensive preparations needed to manage climate risks, avoid damages, and realize emerging opportunities is a grand challenge for climate change science. U.S. President Obama underscored the need for this research when he made climate preparedness a pillar of his climate policy. Adaptation improves preparedness and is one of two broad and increasingly important strategies (along with mitigation) for climate risk management. Adaptation is required in virtually all sectors of the economy and regions of the globe, for both built and natural systems (1).

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Kerry announces ‘unique co-operative effort’ with China on climate change

John Kerry torques an engine bolt during a tour of the Foton Cummins Engine plant in Beijing. Photograph: Evan Vucci /AFP /Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday announced a “unique co-operative effort” with China on the issue of combating climate change.

In a press conference at a Beijing car-making factory, the Cummins-Foton Joint-Venture Plant, which he visited as part of an Asia tour, Kerry said he and local representatives had “succeeded in completing our agreement with respect to some steps we are going to take to move the climate change process forward”.

Kerry is scheduled to continue his tour, which started with talks in Seoul at which he heralded China’s stance on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, with visits to Indonesia and Abu Dhabi.

On Saturday, he continued: “One of the most important challenges that we all face here in China, in America, in Europe and other countries … is how do we improve the quality of the air that we breathe and at the same time reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change? To be successful, it is going to take the cooperation of China and the United States – not just our governments, but also our industries.”

Kerry said China and the US, the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas, had a “special role” to play in reducing those emissions, and cited progress made on the issue during vice-president Joe Biden’s visit to Beijing last year.

Earlier this week, a Chinese report said pollution had made Beijing “barely suitable” for living. The report ranked the capital second worst out of 40 global cities for its environmental conditions – behind Moscow. Also this week, the Chinese government announced that it will spend up to 10bn yuan ($1.65bn) to fight air pollution.

In January, overruling opposition from the UK, the European Union pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

Kerry said: “Last year, when I was here, we joined together with … China’s leaders in what we call the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Within this dialogue, we have launched five initiatives as part of our Climate Change Working Group.

…(read more).

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U.S., China agree to cooperate further on climate change – The Washington Post


Video: Secretary of State John Kerry toured a factory in Beijing Saturday and announced a new joint partnership with China to work on curbing emissions and output of greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the atmosphere.

By Simon Denyer, Published: February 15

BEIJING — The United States and China said Saturday they have agreed to intensify efforts to address climate change and to work together on forging a common platform ahead of a global summit on the issue at the end of next year.

The agreement was announced during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, as some of the worst air pollution in almost a year brought visibility down to two or three blocks in Beijing.

Max Fisher              JAN 13

I’ve searched wide and far for maps that can reveal and surprise and inform in ways that the daily headlines might not.

In the past, efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions have often foundered because of disagreements between developed and developing nations over how the burden of adjustment should be shared.

If the United States can find common ground with China, it could potentially help to bridge that divide and make it easier to reach agreements with other developing nations such as India. But it was not immediately clear whether Saturday’s joint statement was a sign of meaningful progress.

“In light of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels, the United States and China recognize the urgent need for action to meet these twin challenges,” the countries said in the statement. “Both sides reaffirm their commitment to contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge.”

The two countries, which established a working group last year to tackle climate change, said they would “devote significant effort and resources to secure concrete results” by the time they meet for a strategic and economic dialogue later this year.

(read more).

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Bill Nye tries to prove climate change exists. Yes, seriously.


In the most unlikely of political talk show face-offs, Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) will debate Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn Sunday on climate change and what’s up with recent weather in Sochi, Russia and the United States (not a joke).

Bill Nye (Michael Okoniewski/AP)

The exchange on “Meet The Press” promises the familiar spectacle of controversy. Nye advocates action to address climate change and is fresh off a high-profile debate with a creationism proponent Ken Ham, while Blackburn is a vocal skeptic and vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

But the meeting also puts in stark relief how much the scientific community has failed to communicate their message on global climate change. Perhaps Nye — who has perfected communicating complex subjects to children — will have more success.

On a core issue, scientists have consistently struggled to convince the public that they (scientists) agree humans are causing global warming. Consider the following:

  • 54 percent in an October 2013 Pew Research Center poll thought “scientists generally agree” the earth is getting warmer due to human activity.
  • 64 percent was Americans’ average estimate of what share of scientists believe global warming is happening due to human behavior, according to a 2012 Washington Post-Stanford University poll.
  • Asked a different way, 36 percent in a 2009 Post-ABC poll said “most scientists agree with one another” that global warming is happening; a majority sensed “a lot of disagreement.”

Those perceptions far underestimate how much scientists actually agree. An extensive review of

nearly 12,000 published papers from 1991 to 2011 led by John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli found 97 percent of those taking a position on the issue endorsed the idea of human-caused global warming. When Pew Research surveyed members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science where they stood in 2009, 84 percent said humans were causing global warming. And an identical 84 percent said this in a separate 2007 poll of members of two professional organizations for climate scientists (gated).

Some of the public’s mistaken perception is understandable, given few people are spending their free time reading up on climatology journals. But Americans also enter the debate with political views, with policy and partisan views helping them decide whether to embrace or reject new information. In one example, support for cap and trade legislation between 2008 and 2009 became a much stronger predictor of whether they expressed a basic belief in global warming, a shift that coinciding with a large drop in belief among Republicans, according to a 2010 paper analyzing Post-ABC polling data.

….(read more).

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U.S., China agree to work on climate change | Reuters


BEIJING Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:16am EST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to a question during a discussion with Chinese bloggers in Beijing February 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Evan Vucci/Pool

(Reuters) – China and the United States, the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, pledged on Saturday to work together to attenuate the effects of global climate change.

“China and the United States will work together … to collaborate through enhanced policy dialogue, including the sharing of information regarding their respective post-2020 plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a U.S.-China joint statement issued at the end of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s whirlwind Beijing visit.

The two sides “commit to devote significant effort and resources to secure concrete results” by the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue later this year, the statement added.

“Both sides reaffirm their commitment to contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge,” the statement said.

International talks to try to agree on a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the first and only international agreement to tackle climate change, are due to be held in Paris next year. The United States never ratified the Kyoto deal.

…(read more).

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