Category Archives: Report

The Latest on the Keystone Pipeline


thomhartmann

Published on Nov 18, 2014

Thom Hartmann discusses the Keystone pipleline with Tyson Slocum, Director-Public Citizen’s Energy Program Website: http://www.citizen.org

Global Climate Change
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BBC News – African soil crisis threatens food security, says study

3 December 2014 Last updated at 20:25 ET
By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News

Failure to tackle land degradation will exacerbate Africa’s food security worries, the report warns
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Neglecting the health of Africa’s soil will lock the continent into a cycle of food insecurity for generations to come, a report has warned.

The publication by the Montpellier Panel said the problem needed to be given a higher priority by aid donors.

It added that soil degradation was also hampering economic development, costing the continent’s farmers billions of dollars in lost income.

The study has been published ahead of the 2015 international year of soils.

The Montpellier Panel – made up of agricultural, trade and ecology experts from Europe and Africa – warned that land degradation reduced soil fertility, leading to lower crop yields and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

“In Africa, the impacts are substantial where 65% of arable land, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests are already damaged,” it observed.

Panel chairman Sir Prof Gordon Conway, from Imperial College London, told BBC News: “We spend a lot of time talking about crops and we spend a lot of time talking about livestock. We have big debates about all kinds of agriculture, yet we tend to ignore that it all depends on soils.”

He added that recent measurements had shown that soil degradation levels across the continent were very high.

“Serious land degradation [accounts for] about a quarter of land area of sub-Saharan Africa – it is a vast area,” he said.

“There are about 180 million people who are living on land that is in some way or another degraded. It is really very severe.”

…(read more).

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BBC News – ‘Future Earth’ platform outlines global change strategy

4 December 2014 Last updated at 10:50 ET
By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News
Future Earth plans to focus on what are considered to be the most pressing issues facing the planet
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A global initiative bringing together scientists across different disciplines has launched its strategy to identify key priorities for sustainability.

The document outlines what Future Earth, launched at the 2012 Rio +20 Summit, hopes to contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It has identified eight global challenges, including “water, energy and food for all” and decarbonisation.

The strategy also focuses on the roles of policymakers and funding bodies.

“Future Earth is a global research platform aimed at connecting the world’s scientists across the regions and across disciplines to work on the problems of sustainable development and the solutions to move us towards sustainable development,” explained Future Earth science committee vice-chairwoman Belinda Reyers.

“It really is an unprecedented attempt to consult with scientists across the world as well as with important stakeholders and policymakers,” she told BBC News.

“It will consider what kind of science is needed in the medium-term to really move us towards more desirable futures.”

Dr Reyers – chief scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch, South Africa – said the strategy had been distilled down to eight “sustainability challenges”:

See PDF of Report

http://www.futureearth.org/sites/default/files/future-earth_10-year-vision_web.pdf

…(read more).

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Report

The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030

This report examines the relationship between disasters and poverty. The report’s key messages are:

  • Extreme weather linked to climate change is increasing and will likely cause more disasters. Such disasters, especially those linked to drought, can be the most important cause of impoverishment, cancelling progress on poverty reduction.
  • Up to 325 million extremely poor people will be living in the 49 most hazard-prone countries in 2030, the majority in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The 11 countries most at risk of disaster-induced poverty are Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
  • Disaster risk management should be a key component of poverty reduction efforts, focusing on protecting livelihoods as well as saving lives. There is a need to identify and then act where the poor and disaster risks are most concentrated.
  • The post-2015 development goals must include targets on disasters and climate change, recognising the threat they pose to the headline goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

…(read more).

See also:

 

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Resilience to extreme weather | Royal Society

See BBC Report:

https://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/resilience-extreme-weather/
27 November 2014

How do we reduce the impact of extreme weather today while preparing ourselves for future changes? What can we do to build our resilience?

‘Resilience to extreme weather’ investigates these, and other, key questions to help inform important decisions about adaptation and risk reduction that are being made at global, national and local levels.

We have examined people’s resilience to weather- and climate-related extreme events, in particular, floods, droughts and heatwaves. We look at how improvements can be made to protect lives and livelihoods by comparing the options available and considering the fundamental building blocks for resilience.

In 2015, important international agreements will be reached on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. Our report will help those negotiating and implementing the new agreements to decide what action to take to most effectively build resilience.

Recommendations
  • Governments have a responsibility to develop and resource resilience strategies
  • Governments should act together at the international level to build resilience; sharing expertise, co-ordinating policy and pooling resources to confront common risks
  • To limit the need for costly disaster responses, more national and international funds will need to be directed to measures that build resilience to extreme weather
  • The purpose, design and implementation of policy frameworks covering climate change, disaster risk reduction and development should be aligned and consistent regarding extreme weather
  • Those who make and implement policies need to take practical measures to protect people and their assets from extreme weather.
  • The risks posed by extreme weather need to be better accounted for in the wider financial system, in order to inform valuations and investment decisions and to incentivise organisations to reduce their exposure
  • Information about extreme weather should be suitable for users’ needs. Funders should encourage collaborations and ongoing dialogue between producers and users of knowledge
  • Research to improve the understanding of risks from current weather and to model accurately future climate change impacts should be increased to provide relevant information for decision-makers, particularly at regional and local levels.
Interactive content

Download

Summary report  PDF, 1.3 MB
Additional downloads  Full report  PDF, 4.2 MB

Mapping methodology   PDF, 136.7 KB

Sample of literature reviewed for chapter 3: Defensive options

PDF, 206.3 KB

Resilience to extreme weather

Final report, Interactive option chart
Trend maps 2010 & 2090

Side event at UN climate change conference (PDF)
Published November 2014

Call for evidence
Closed November 2013

Statement for UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
Published May 2013

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Farms, Stores, and Dinner Tables: How to shape healthy food policy in your community


Union of Concerned Scientists

Streamed live on Nov 24, 2014

This online discussion using Google+ Hangouts offers a unique opportunity to meet local food policy advocates and experts to learn about the decisions and influences behind the policies that shape your access to healthy food. Through their stories, lessons learned, and answers to your questions, presenters will help demystify the often overwhelming world of food policy and provide practical advice on how to be an effective advocate for healthy food policy in your neighborhood.

UCS-Food-KitYou have the opportunity to be a part of the decisions that shape access to healthy, affordable food in your community—join this online discussion to learn how.

The discussion will be moderated by Pallavi Phartiyal, program manager and senior scientist, Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists. Participants include:
– Katherine Bishop, nutrition policy associate, Center for Science in the Public Interest;
– Paula Daniels, founder and executive director, Los Angeles Food Policy Council;
– Dwayne Wharton, director of external affairs, The Food Trust; and
– Parke Wilde, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition and Food Policy.

See: YouTube Channel

Global Climate Change
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NEF Review of the Year 2013 – 2014 | New Economics Foundation

November 24, 2014  A NEF publication

It’s been a fantastic year for NEF. Our powerful message, that a fair and sustainable economy is possible, is resonating with more and more people across the country and, indeed, around the world.

Building the movement

No one organisation or think-tank can single-handedly fix the economy. But we know if we collaborate, there’s no limit to what we can do. That’s why we’re teaming up wherever we can, most recently in a ground-breaking project to align and empower those fighting for social, environmental and economic justice.

Money creation: the truth is out

Society and policy is plagued by a misunderstanding of where money comes from. Politicians, journalists, even top economists get it wrong. But after meeting our experts, the Bank of England this year made its most plain and public admission yet that the vast majority of money in circulation is created by commercial banks chasing private profits.

How to future-proof a city

In a world threatened by escalating inequality and environmental degradation, we need to get real about the way in which we manage our cities, resources, and transport. This year we changed the face of the UK aviation capacity debate by making the economic, environmental, and social case for closing London City Airport and completely regenerating the area.

Beyond crime and punishment

Whether it’s drug addiction, mental illness or homelessness, the underlying causes of crime are often too complex to be dealt with by punishment alone. Better Courts is a pioneering new programme to help courts across England and Wales cut crime by unpicking the issues underpinning the cases before them.

Time and time again

From top business leaders to senior medics, more and more people are catching on to the idea that a shorter working week is more than wishful thinking: it is a serious economic proposal that could bring transformative benefits to our wellbeing, family life, economy and planet.

…(read more).

This is, in effect, an important “progress report” for the necessary paradigm shift required in “transition studies.”  See:

Download Annual Report

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Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal (Vol. 2 of 2) : Main report (English)

Abstract This third report in the Turn Down the Heat series covers three World Bank regions: Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC); the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and parts of Europe and Central Asia (ECA). The focus is on the risks of climate change to development. While covering a range of sectors, special attention is paid to projected impacts on food and energy systems, water resources, and ecosystem services. The report also considers the social vulnerability that could magnify or moderate the climate change repercussions for human well-being. The report complements the first Turn Down the Heat report (2012) that offered a global overview of climate change and its impacts in a 4 degrees Celsius world and concluded that impacts are expected to be felt disproportionately in developing countries around the equatorial regions. Also, it extends the analysis in the second report (2013) that focused on the consequences of climate change for present day, 2 degrees Celsius, and 4 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial levels in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia and demonstrated the potential of early onset impacts at lower levels of warming.

….(read more)

See:

 

Read report:

Complete Report in English Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

Global Climate Change
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World Bank Issues Climate Change Warning

The new report from the World bank. Courtesy: World Bank Group

A new report from the World Bank warns of severe impacts on agricultural production, water resources and ecosystems as well as increased vulnerability to coastal flooding as a result of global warming.

Key findings of the report, entitled Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal, include warnings of: heat extremes in Latin America and the Caribbean which could impact soybean and wheat yields; water shortages across north Africa and the Middle east; and the risk of torrential flooding in Central Asia.

Here is the text of a press release issued by the World Bank regarding this report:

“New Climate Normal” Poses Severe Risks to Development—World Bank Report

WASHINGTON, November 23, 2014 – As the planet warms further, heat-waves and other weather extremes that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, would become the “new climate normal,” creating a world of increased risks and instability. The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk, according to a new scientific report released today by the World Bank Group.

…(read more).

See report:

 

Global Climate Change
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Overcoming obesity: An initial economic analysis

The world has made huge advances in containing infectious diseases, but that progress is being partiallyoffset by a sharp rise in the incidence of heart and lung disease, diabetes, lifestyle-related cancers, and othernon-communicable diseases. One of the major drivers of the increase in these diseases is the rising prevalence
of obesity.

Obesity is a complex, systemic, multi-causal problem, rooted in the sedentary nature of modern post-industrial life, more widely available and more affordable food, a change in the nature and mix of diets, psychological stimuli such as stress and epigenetic triggers, and
potentially even physiological disruption to the gut microbiome. There is considerable ongoing academic research into the scale and causes of the rapidly rising obesity epidemic. Researchers are digging deep into specific questions and analyzing potential solutions. However, there is a lack of integrated analysis of the holistic program that would be needed to reverse rising obesity, and what it would take to start to deliver such a program.

This discussion paper seeks to start to close this gap.  We set out to learn as much as possible from existing research and build on it with our own understanding of micro- and behavioral economics, and McKinsey’s
experience and research across sectors, including consumer-facing, public, and health-care sectors. Our aim then has been to step back and attempt to develop
a perspective on what might be the building blocks of a societal response that could overcome rising obesity. As with all MGI research, this has not been funded by any company, government, or external organization but by the
partners of McKinsey.

…(read more).

Full Report:  http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi

Food-Matters
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