Category Archives: Report

Centuries of Melting Already Locked in for Polar Ice, Scientists Say

By Phil McKenna, InsideClimate News, Dec 17, 2015

If we have a prolonged period of time at 2 degrees, we are probably going to lose Greenland, and that is 7 meters of sea level rise.’

The village of Ilulissat is seen near the icebergs that broke off from the Jakobshavn Glacier on July 24, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. Significantly greater sea level rise will occur with the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, giant masses of ice that are vulnerable to even a slight increase in temperature, a new study finds. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The melting of polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers will likely continue for thousands of years, causing irreversible sea level rise, even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a new report published last week during the climate negotiations in Paris.

Sea levels could rise 13 to 33 feet or more unless far more ambitious steps are quickly taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,according to the report issued by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, a nonprofit research and policy organization based in Burlington, Vermont.

“Even if we stopped all warming today and we stayed at this level, we are looking at about 1 meter [3.3 feet] of sea level rise by 2300,” said Pam Pearson, lead author of the report and director of the ICCI, who presented her findings on the sidelines of the Paris talks. “The temperatures that we are reaching even today, let alone in two or three or four decades, could lock in changes that aren’t going to be reversible on a human timescale.”

…(read more).

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Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty

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Thom Hartmann on Science & Green News: 11/17/15

Nov. 18, 2015 7:28 am

If we don’t strengthen our fight against climate change, 100 million more people may be pushed into extreme poverty within the next 15 years.

That’s Oxfam International’s response to a stunning, new report by the World Bank. That analysis is called “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty,” and it is the first to consider how global warming will be felt at a household level.

In other words, the researchers considered how heat waves, floods, droughts, and public health issues will impact poor people, rather than simply considering how nations as a whole will deal with such problems.

The report explained, “Poor people and poor countries are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks – natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods; waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods, or droughts; crop failure from reduced rainfall; and spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events.”

While those who can afford to withstand these events will be able to adapt to climate change, those who don’t have the means to move or pay higher food prices may suddenly find themselves in a desperate situation.

In order to reduce these risks, and help more people survive on our warming planet, Oxfam and the World Bank insist that we must reduce poverty as we ramp up our climate fight.

They call for “rapid, inclusive, and climate-informed development” to help people cope with short-term climate change, and “pro-poor mitigation policies” to limit the long-term impact.

A senior economist at the World Bank said, “The report demonstrates that ending poverty and fighting climate change cannot be done in isolation – the two will be much more easily achieved if they are addressed together.”

The fact is, we can no longer look at the climate fight and the effort to end inequality as two separate issues. If we want our species to survive, we better get to work and deal with both.
If we don’t strengthen our fight against climate change, 100 million more people may be pushed into extreme poverty within the next 15 years.

That’s Oxfam International’s response to a stunning, new report by the World Bank. That analysis is called “Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty,” and it is the first to consider how global warming will be felt at a household level.

In other words, the researchers considered how heat waves, floods, droughts, and public health issues will impact poor people, rather than simply considering how nations as a whole will deal with such problems.

The report explained, “Poor people and poor countries are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks – natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods; waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods, or droughts; crop failure from reduced rainfall; and spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events.”

While those who can afford to withstand these events will be able to adapt to climate change, those who don’t have the means to move or pay higher food prices may suddenly find themselves in a desperate situation.

In order to reduce these risks, and help more people survive on our warming planet, Oxfam and the World Bank insist that we must reduce poverty as we ramp up our climate fight.

They call for “rapid, inclusive, and climate-informed development” to help people cope with short-term climate change, and “pro-poor mitigation policies” to limit the long-term impact.

A senior economist at the World Bank said, “The report demonstrates that ending poverty and fighting climate change cannot be done in isolation – the two will be much more easily achieved if they are addressed together.”

The fact is, we can no longer look at the climate fight and the effort to end inequality as two separate issues. If we want our species to survive, we better get to work and deal with both.

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Global Climate Change
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Cereal Secrets: The world’s largest grain traders and global agriculture | Oxfam International

The world’s largest commodity traders have a significant impact on the modern agri-food system. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, are dominant traders of grain globally and central to the food system, but their role is poorly understood.

This report considers the traders – collectively known as the ABCDs – in relation to several global issues pressing on agriculture:

  • the ‘financialization’ of both commodity trade and agricultural production;
  • the emergence of global competitors to the ABCDs;
  • and some implications of large-scale industrial biofuels, a sector in which the ABCDs are closely involved.

The report includes a discussion of how smallholders in developing countries are affected by these changes, and highlights some development policy implications. It also highlights the ways in which these four firms are decisive actors in the global restructuring of the overlapping food, feed, and fuel complexes that is now under way, and considers how the firms are evolving as they respond to and shape new pressures and opportunities in the food system.

…(read more).

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Often in the shadows, 12 special interests wage aggressive anti-solar campaigns | Environment America

Blocking-the-SunFor Immediate Release:
Thursday, October 8, 2015

Phoenix, AZ –The Koch brothers, Duke Energy, and Arizona Public Service are among 12 special interest groups waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns across the country, often coordinated and behind the scenes, a new Environment America Research & Policy Center report said today.

While American solar power has increased four-fold since 2010, state by state, utilities and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at key policies that helped spur this solar boom, according to the analysis, Blocking the Sun: 12 Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests That Are Undermining American Solar Power.

“Fossil-fuel interests and their allies have been using the same playbook to undermine solar power across the country,” said Bret Fanshaw, the solar program coordinator for Environment America. “And they’ve largely been operating in the shadows.”

The playbook: a national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks provides funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns. The report examines five of these major national players — Edison Electric Institute, American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch brothers and their front group Americans for Prosperity, the Heartland Institute, and the Consumer Energy Alliance.

Then, in state after state, electric utilities use the support provided by these national anti-solar interests, supplemented by their own ample resources, to attack key solar energy policies. The report features seven utilities — Arizona Public Service, Duke Energy, American Electric Power, Berkshire Hathaway Industries, Salt River Project, FirstEnergy, and We Energies.

“We found that most attacks on solar energy happenbehind closed doors in utility agencies, or in dense regulatory filings — away from public view,” said Gideon Weissman of the Frontier Group, co-author of the report. “That’s probably because they’re aimed at very popular policies that give regular consumers the chance to go solar.”

Charles and David Koch have an enormous financial stake in the fossil fuel industry through their company Koch Industries and its many subsidiaries. Koch Industries alone operates around 4,000 miles of pipeline, along with oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas.

…(read more).

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Climate change report: Hotter summers, worse storms, and more pollen for Pa.

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/08/climate_change_report_hotter_s.html

By Daniel Simmons-Ritchie | simmons-ritchie@pennlive.com
on August 27, 2015 at 3:39 PM, updated August 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM

By 2050, as the earth warms, Philadelphia’s climate will be similar to present day Richmond, Va. and Pittsburgh will be closer to present day Washington D.C.

Those are the conclusions of the latest update, released Thursday, to a pivotal 2009 report from Pennsylvania State University on how climate change will impact the Keystone State.

Overall, the updated report says, Pennsylvania’s average temperature has increased two degrees over the past 110 years. By 2050, the average temperature is expected to be five degrees warmer than in 2000.

If those changes sound small – or if warmer temperatures in Pennsylvania sound like a pleasant alteration – the report warns that they bear serious impacts.

Among its key findings, the report warns that allergy and asthma sufferers are in for a rough ride. As temperatures warm, pollen and mold concentrations are likely to increase.

Pennsylvania, like the rest of the northeast, is also expected to get wetter. That increased precipitation may increase the risk of floods and threaten drinkable water supplies.

Storms, too, are expected to be severer, which may increase the risk of power outages and impact other electrical infrastructure.

The changes will be a mixed bag for Pennsylvania farmers. On one hand, warmer temperatures will mean longer growing seasons and opportunities to grow new crops. On the downside, those warmer temperatures will also mean better conditions for weeds and pests.

And those increases in certain types of pests may have other unpleasant consequences. More mosquitoes may increase the spread of West Nile virus. More deer tricks may increase the spread of Lyme disease.

…(read more).

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The US Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad • CNS

Jon Wolfsthal
January 7, 2014

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) convened an event to release its latest report “The Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad: US Strategic Nuclear Modernization Over the Next Thirty Years.” The report concludes that the United States will likely spend over $1 trillion during the next three decades to maintain its current nuclear arsenal and purchase their replacement systems. The necessary level of procurement spending, as a percentage of the defense budget, will peak at levels comparable to the Reagan-era build-up of nuclear forces.

To date, few senior officials from the White House or Department of Defense or in the Congress have publicly acknowledged or laid out the full scale of these costs to the American public. This lack of public debate will likely lead to sticker shock as the full cost of these programs come due, leading to budget cuts and program delays.

“The strategic and financial challenges facing our country are enormous,” said Jon Wolfsthal, CNS Deputy Director and former nuclear advisor to Vice President Joseph Biden. “Policy makers lack the basic information needed to make smart choices about our nuclear arsenal, putting both our deterrent and future reductions at risk.” The report cites particular concern over the pace of planned construction of strategic systems to replace systems that are set to retire starting in 2030. The United States plans, from 2024-29, to build five strategic submarines, 72 strategic bombers, and 240 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). This represents more delivery vehicles than the combined nuclear forces of China, the United Kingdom, and France. It is unclear that the industrial and management capabilities in the United States are capable of this production rate in times of budget constraint.

The report relies on the government’s own budget projections, including planned investments:

  • $100 billion for 100 long-range strategic manned nuclear bombers. An additional $30-40 billion will be needed to provide the nuclear weapons and cruise missiles to be deployed on these airplanes. This includes some $45 billion in previously unacknowledged funds required to build the new airplane.
  • $20-120 billion for a new generation of land based ICBMs. The highest end projection includes a few tens of billions of dollars to make new ICBMs mobile or implement other exotic basing schemes—a plan considered and rejected in the 1980s because of its extreme cost, but under consideration again according to Air Force solicitations.
  • Some $350 billion in funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration for maintaining current and building more modern nuclear weapons. This averages over $11 billion per year, despite Congress’s refusal to provide more than $8 billion in any of the most recent budgets.

….(read more).

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