JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Climate change, uncertainty & security February 2021- May 10, 2023
Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference – November 6-18 2022
Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive Recovery (DRGR) Project
UN Conference on climate change COP21 Paris & aftermath
CO2 levels rise to highest point since evolution of humans (13 May 2019)
What’s the difference between global warming and climate change?
‘Debt-for-nature’ swaps swell in climate finance response
(Reuters) – At least $12 million a year has been freed up to help Ecuador protect the unique ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands with the sealing of the world’s largest-ever ‘debt-for-nature’ swap.
The first such deal was struck in 1987 in Bolivia and around 140 have followed as lower-income countries look to raise funds to help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
Around 140 have followed as lower-income countries like the Seychelles, Belize, Barbados and Ecuador look to raise funds to help tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
In the biggest such deal yet, which was around three years in the making, Ecuador sold a blue bond that will siphon at least $12 million a year into conservation of the ecologically rich Galapagos Islands.
Prior to the new issue, Credit Suisse bought three of Ecuador’s bonds worth $1.6 billion at a discount of nearly 60%, saving the country about $1 billion in repayments over 17 years.
The funding will help protect the islands, which are home to some 3,000 species – including several found nowhere else – from illegal fishing and climate change, the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy project that supported the deal said.
India’s cost of adapting to climate change needs seen at $1 trillion by 2030, report says
(Reuters) – India will spend an estimated 85.6 trillion rupees ($1.05 trillion) by 2030 to adapt its various industries to be compliant with climate change norms, a report by the country’s central bank said on Wednesday.
Investing in Our Planet: Insights from EARTHDAY.ORG’s Earth Week 2023
Addressing the climate crisis requires a holistic approach including innovation, education, funding, and equity. Education is key in creating awareness and promoting sustainable practices, while funding is necessary for research and development of sustainable technologies and initiatives. Additionally, equity is crucial in ensuring the burden of climate change is not disproportionately felt by vulnerable communities. It is essential for governments, private organizations, and individuals to take collective action to address the climate crisis, and by prioritizing green innovation, universal climate education, proper funding, and equity, we can make significant progress in making a sustainable future happen today. To learn more about how to get involved in the environmental movement and Invest in Our Planet, please visit https://www.earthday.org/.
A New Common Framework Toward Guaranteeing Sustainable Development
A new report from the DRGR project analyzes new data on the level and composition of public and private external sovereign debt for emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs).
By Luma Ramos and Rebecca Ray
(DRGR) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that the world stands at a ‘now or never’ moment. In this decade, nations must make the necessary investments to prevent global warming from surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius. Without those investments, the world will suffer severe consequences, including devastating human, ecological and economic losses.
Still, an alarming and growing number of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) have insufficient fiscal space to provide essential services to their citizens and even less to mobilize the necessary resources to meet shared climate and development goals. The macroeconomic scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate shocks and rapid interest rate hikes in advanced economies have depreciated exchange rates and compounded already distressed debt burdens. In 2022, countries began defaulting on their sovereign debt, and more are on the horizon as growth slows and credit conditions worsen. Yet, the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment has been unable to engage all creditor classes or link debt relief to climate and development.
How can emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) find financial and fiscal stability while making the investments necessary to transition to sustainable and low-carbon economies? How does climate vulnerability impact a country’s debt sustainability? What level of restructuring is required across creditor classes for debt distressed EMDEs to achieve debt sustainability? And how could the G20 Common Framework be reformed to provide debt relief for a green and inclusive recovery?
A new report by the Debt Relief for Green and Inclusive Recovery (DRGR) Project reveals EMDEs’ external public and publicly-guaranteed (PPG) debt has more than doubled since the 2008 global financial crisis, jumping from $1.3 trillion in 2008, to $3.6 trillion in 2021.
21 March (UPDATED 28 March)
Debt-for-adaptation swaps: A financial tool to help climate vulnerable nations
Chetan Hebbale and Johannes Urpelainen
(Brookings) In the lead up to the COP27 climate summit, the urgency of climate change had never been clearer. A third of Pakistan had submerged under water, half of China’s landmass was parched by drought, and repeated heatwaves set Europe ablaze with some regions losing up to 80% of their harvest.
Despite this, the global community in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt was unable to muster the financial commitments needed to adequately respond to the climate crisis. Achieving the Paris Agreement’s temperature and adaptation goals requires an estimated global investment of $3-6 trillion a year until 2050, but current investment levels are nearly a tenth of that, just around $630 billion. Further, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), annual climate finance to developing countries needs to increase by four to eight times by 2030, yet COP27’s new finance pledges came nowhere near this target, and no headway was made on a new 2025 finance goal.
Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report
(UNEP) The much-anticipated Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report is based on years of work by hundreds of scientists during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sixth assessment cycle which began in 2015.
The report provides the main scientific input to COP28 and the Global Stocktake at the end of this year, when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals.
The report reiterates that humans are responsible for all global heating over the past 200 years leading to a current temperature rise of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, which has led to more frequent and hazardous weather events that have caused increasing destruction to people and the planet. The report reminds us that every increment of warming will come with more extreme weather events.
World is on brink of catastrophic warming, U.N. climate change report says
A dangerous climate threshold is near, but ‘it does not mean we are doomed’ if swift action is taken, scientists say
(WaPo) The world is likely to pass a dangerous temperature threshold within the next 10 years, pushing the planet past the point of catastrophic warming — unless nations drastically transform their economies and immediately transition away from fossil fuels, according to one of the most definitive reports ever published about climate change.
The report released Monday by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the world is likely to surpass its most ambitious climate target — limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures — by the early 2030s.
Beyond that threshold, scientists have found, climate disasters will become so extreme that people will not be able to adapt.
Monday’s assessment synthesizes years of studies on the causes and consequences of rising temperatures, leading U.N. Secretary General António Guterres to demand that developed countries such as the United States eliminate carbon emissions by 2040 — a decade earlier than the rest of the world.
UAE names oil company chief to lead UN climate talks COP28
(AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Thursday named a veteran technocrat who both leads Abu Dhabi’s state-run oil company and oversees its renewable energy efforts to be the president of the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Dubai, highlighting the balancing act ahead for this crude-producing nation. … al-Jaber also once led a once-ambitious project to have a $22 billion “carbon-neutral” city on Abu Dhabi’s outskirts — an effort later pared back after the global financial crisis that struck the Emirates hard beginning in 2008. Even today, he serves as the chairman of Masdar, a clean energy company that grew out of the project.
Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s
(AP) — Exxon Mobil’s scientists were remarkably accurate in their predictions about global warming, even as the company made public statements that contradicted its own scientists’ conclusions, a new study says.
The study in the journal Science Thursday looked at research that Exxon funded that didn’t just confirm what climate scientists were saying, but used more than a dozen different computer models that forecast the coming warming with precision equal to or better than government and academic scientists.
The Last 8 Years Were the Hottest on Record
By Henry Fountain and Mira Rojanasakul
(AP) The world remained firmly in warming’s grip last year, with extreme summer temperatures in Europe, China and elsewhere contributing to 2022 being the fifth-hottest year on record, European climate researchers said this week.
The eight warmest years on record have now occurred since 2014, the scientists, from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, reported, and 2016 remains the hottest year ever.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also issued analyses of global temperatures for 2022 on Thursday, and their findings were similar. NASA’s analysis ranked 2022 as tied with 2015 for fifth warmest, while NOAA had last year as the sixth warmest.
US storm: freezing week ahead with dozens of lives lost so far
At least 34 dead and most of the United States under weather warnings
Storm leaves tens of thousands in Canada in the dark through Christmas
Thousands of people remain stuck without power Christmas Day in Canada as dangerous winter storm conditions are well into their third day in some areas, also forcing the cancellations of planes and trains.
2 Ontario regions declare state of emergency, thousands stranded by poor travel conditions
Weather warnings or statements remain in place for most provinces and territories early Sunday evening.
Rainfall warnings, flood watches issued in Vancouver and southwestern B.C.; four dead in Southern Interior bus rollover
Thousands of customers still without power in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
Via Rail again cancelled all trains between Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montreal scheduled for Monday.
2 border crossings in Niagara region reopen; two others remain closed.
Extreme cold, travel chaos: Woes from deadly storm continue
(AP) — The deep freeze from a deadly winter storm that walloped much of the United States will continue into the week as people in western New York deal with massive snow drifts that snarled emergency vehicles and travelers across the country see cancelled flights and dangerous roads.
The massive storm has killed at least 34 people across the United States and is expected to claim more lives after trapping some residents inside houses and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
The extreme weather stretched from the Great Lakes near Canada to the Rio Grande along the border with Mexico. About 60% of the U.S. population faced some sort of winter weather advisory or warning, and temperatures plummeted drastically below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.
Airlines cancel thousands of U.S. flights over winter storm
(Reuters) – Airlines canceled nearly 2,700 U.S. flights as of Saturday afternoon after a massive winter storm snarled airport operations around the country, frustrating thousands of holiday travelers.
There were flight delays within, into or out of the United States totaling about 6,200 as of Saturday afternoon, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, which showed total U.S. flight cancellations at around 2,700. The cancellations as of Saturday afternoon included over 750 from Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and nearly 500 from Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N).
Satellite launched to map the world’s oceans, lakes, rivers
Nicknamed SWOT — short for Surface Water and Ocean Topography — the satellite is needed more than ever as climate change worsens droughts, flooding and coastal erosion, according to scientists.
About the size of a SUV, the satellite will measure the height of water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface, allowing scientists to track the flow and identify potential high-risk areas. It will also survey millions of lakes as well as 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) of rivers. …the satellite will reveal the location and speed of rising sea levels and the shift of coastlines, key to saving lives and property. It will cover the globe between the Arctic and Antarctica at least once every three weeks, as it orbits more than 550 miles (890 kilometers) high.
‘Climate scepticism’ and ‘disinformation’ are not the same thing
Why are the people who sign up to the green agenda so quick to label those who don’t as ‘deniers’?
(The Spectator) …it’s not the fact of climate change that I’m sceptical about, but the claim that it’s anthropogenic. I think that could be true, but the evidence isn’t compelling enough to justify the net-zero policy. It’s likely more people than usual will die of cold this winter as a result of the increased cost of heating our homes and disruption to the energy supply, both of which are partly due to intergovernmental efforts to reduce the West’s reliance on coal and gas. Are we confident the cure won’t be worse than the disease, as it almost certainly was in the case of lockdown?
COP27 Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference
World close to ‘irreversible’ climate breakdown, warn major studies
Key UN reports published in last two days warn urgent and collective action needed – as oil firms report astronomical profits
All three of the key UN agencies have produced damning reports in the last two days. The UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that “woefully inadequate” progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.
Current pledges for action by 2030, even if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C, a level that would condemn the world to catastrophic climate breakdown, according to the UN’s climate agency. Only a handful of countries have ramped up their plans in the last year, despite having promised to do so at the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow last November.
The UN’s meteorological agency reported that all the main heating gases hit record highs in 2021, with an alarming surge in emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Separately, the IEA’s world energy report offered a glimmer of progress, that CO2 from fossil fuels could peak by 2025 as high energy prices push nations towards clean energy, though it warned that it would not be enough to avoid severe climate impacts.
The COP of No Return
Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President-Designate and Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Some fear that this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference will be an unintended casualty of the geopolitical tensions and economic challenges the world is facing. I believe the opposite: COP27 represents a unique and timely opportunity for the world to come together, recognize our common interests, and restore multilateral cooperation.
Heatwaves account for some of the deadliest disasters and are intensifying, warn the IFRC and the UN humanitarian relief agency ahead of COP27
Record high temperatures this year—which are fueling catastrophes in Somalia, Pakistan and around the world—foreshadow a future with deadlier, more frequent and more intense heat-related humanitarian emergencies, a new report warns.
Released a month ahead of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), Extreme Heat: Preparing for the heatwaves of the future says that, with climate change making heatwaves ever more dangerous, aggressive steps must be taken now to avert potentially recurrent heat disasters.
The report—the first to be published jointly by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)—offers concrete steps that humanitarians and decision makers can take to mitigate extreme heat’s worst effects. 2022 has already seen communities across North Africa, Australia, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East suffocate under record-high temperatures. Most recently the Western United States and China have buckled under severe heat.
Extreme heat could make parts of Asia, Africa uninhabitable in decades
(WaPo) The report adds to the growing number of studies that show climate change is exacerbating the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events. Heat waves in the Western United States this year broke hundreds of records after days of triple-digit temperatures and weeks of dry weather.
Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
(EU Observer) … But there is a much broader discussion over the international financial system reform, led by Barbados with its so-called Bridgetown Agenda.
Barbados has argued that one in five countries is experiencing fiscal and financial stress, adding that there would be deepening hardship, debt defaults, widening inequality, political upheaval and a delayed shift to a low-carbon world if this issue is left unaddressed.
Coping with climate change on Mt Everest
Rising temperatures make it harder for visitors and locals to reach the peak.
(Al Jazeera) Hundreds of climbers arrive at the Everest base camp on the Khumbu glacier every year, but higher temperatures are melting the ice in the Himalayan region. Local guides who are members of the Sherpa community help visitors reach the 8.8km peak, but Nepal’s government is considering moving the camp for safety reasons. So, how dangerous is climate change making the journey to the top of the world’s highest mountain?
… Let’s look at the effects that climate change is having on the mountaineering community and the mountaineering industry. Now, a lot of the local population in the Himalayas are heavily involved in the mountaineering industry and they need the mountains, the glaciers I imagine, to, to remain intact. What are they telling you about the changes that they’re seeing and how it’s affecting them?
Drought hits Germany’s Rhine River: ‘We have 30cm of water left’
As Europe lives through a long, hot summer, one of the continent’s major rivers is getting drier – posing major problems for the people and businesses that rely on it.
Experts have warned that the low water could significantly damage Germany’s economy.
Rhine to Recede Further as Climate Crisis Adds to Energy Crunch
Bloomberg: The Rhine River fell to a new low, further restricting the supply of vital commodities to parts of inland Europe, with the continent facing its worst energy crisis in decades. As climate change dries up Europe’s rivers, it’s only worsening the cost-of-living woes that governments must address.
The Rhine is one of Europe’s great working rivers and industry here relies on barges to fetch and carry raw materials and finished products to and from the power plants and factories that line the riverbank.
The water’s already too low to allow some of the larger vessels through. Others have been forced to reduce their cargo, lighten the load so that they sit higher in the water. And they’re keeping a close eye on the river levels.
Arctic warming 4 times faster than rest of planet: Climate study
Finnish researchers say climate models have underestimated the pace of warming in the Arctic region.
The study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, found significant regional variations in warming rate within the Arctic circle.
The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the globe since 1979
(Nature) In recent decades, the warming in the Arctic has been much faster than in the rest of the world, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Numerous studies report that the Arctic is warming either twice, more than twice, or even three times as fast as the globe on average. Here we show, by using several observational datasets which cover the Arctic region, that during the last 43 years the Arctic has been warming nearly four times faster than the globe, which is a higher ratio than generally reported in literature.
Climate change’s impact intensifies as U.S. prepares to take action
As U.S. prepares to pass landmark bill, the planet isn’t waiting around
The World Is Burning Once Again
We can only adapt so much to extreme heat.
(The Atlantic) In September 2020, the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office published a hypothetical weather forecast for a mid-July day in the year 2050. Forty degrees Celsius in London. (That’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit.) Thirty-eight in Hull (100 degrees F). Thirty-nine in Birmingham (102 degrees F). These were preposterous numbers, never before seen in U.K. weather forecasts, much less felt in reality—until last week. On Friday, the Met Office published an actual forecast for Tuesday that, as several observers noted, looked scarily similar to its 2050 projections. And today, as predicted, the U.K. smashed its previous heat record, registering a provisional reading of 40.3 degrees C, or 104.5 degrees F, in a small village near the eastern coast. From speculative fiction to nonfiction in less than two years.
Commonwealth adopts ‘Living Lands Charter’ for future generations
Document at CHOGM Rwanda comes after 2 years of consultation, engagement and negotiation with Commonwealth members, UN Rio Convention & other stakeholders
The non-binding ‘Living Lands Charter’ mandates that member countries will safeguard global land resources and arrest land degradation while acting against climate change, biodiversity loss and towards sustainable management.
Leaders and their representatives noted with concern in the charter the alarming decline in the health and productivity of global land resources. More than a third of land having been degraded in the last two decades and recognised that the vulnerabilities of the ecosystems to land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are closely interrelated and need to be considered collectively.
Commonwealth ends summit with call for action on climate change, trade
Climate Science Meets Geopolitics
Amid rising geopolitical tensions and accelerating deglobalization, governments will need to ensure that they have the infrastructure and human capital necessary to maintain a comparative advantage in earth sciences. Superiority in this field could prove decisive in any new cold war.
(Project Syndicate) Climate science matters in more ways than you might think. It has set the pace and targets for the most ambitious economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution: the transition to a carbon-free economy. Ever since the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988, climate data and models have been a global public good – an instrument of economic power with growing normative value. Climate targets are increasingly being enshrined in law and cited in jurisprudence.
Climate science is also a necessarily global discipline, because it uses mathematical physics to predict the combined behavior of the planet’s atmosphere and ocean – two commons that know no borders. Over the last two decades, the field has expanded to incorporate hydrology, ecology, and biogeochemistry in an interdisciplinary earth-systems science that requires substantial infrastructure – from observational systems to monitor the state of the whole planet, to vast computational resources to integrate ever more sophisticated models.
Surviving a Future of Extreme Heat
Kristie L. Ebi
(Project Syndicate) Unprecedented extreme-heat episodes like the heatwave in India and Pakistan this spring and the 2021 heat dome in the Pacific Northwest are a preview of what awaits us on a warming planet. Unless we improve our early-warning and response systems, the number of excess deaths each year will increase.
A much warmer future requires urgent and immediate investments that capitalize on best practices and lessons learned from existing heat adaptation plans. Proven models need to be scaled up to enhance resilience and sustainability. Unprecedentedly higher temperatures are survivable, but not unless we prepare for them.
Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021
(WMO) – Four key climate change indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021. This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Extreme weather – the day-to-day “face” of climate change – led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses and wreaked a heavy toll on human lives and well-being and triggered shocks for food and water security and displacement that have accentuated in 2022.
The WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 report confirmed that the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. 2021 was “only” one of the seven warmest because of a La Niña event at the start and end of the year. This had a temporary cooling effect but did not reverse the overall trend of rising temperatures. The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 (± 0.13) °C above the pre-industrial level.
Criticizing “the dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres used the publication of the WMO flagship report to call for urgent action to grab the “low-hanging fruit” of transforming energy systems away from the “dead end” of fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Montreal Climate Security Summit to highlight the link between global security and climate change
Global security and climate change are inextricably connected. This is the overall theme of the Montreal Climate Security Summit to be held in Montreal from May 10 to 12. The event will bring together representatives from Canada, the European Union, Australia, NATO, the World Bank, the International Committee of Red Cross and experts from around the world to reflect on strategies and solutions for the international community to better address the climate crisis and its geopolitical ramifications.
The City of Montreal will host its first climate summit on May 3 at the Bonsecours Market.
(CTV) Montreal business, philanthropic, political, community and environmental leaders are invited to the first edition of the Montreal Climate Summit to accelerate climate action in the city.
In a news release issued Monday afternoon, the Montreal Climate Partnership and the City of Montreal announced that the Montreal Climate Summit will be the place to “take stock of what is being done and what the next steps are for the City of Montreal to achieve its climate goals, while building resilience.” (28 March)
Biodiversity and ecosystem protection highlighted on Mother Earth Day
(UN News) Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems.
Looking Ahead to Earth Day
This week, as we commemorate Earth Day, we’re underlining the urgency of the situation with a series of pieces from some of our finest writers on the environment. In The Climate Expert Who Delivered News No One Wanted to Hear, Elizabeth Kolbert profiles James Hansen, the NASA scientist who offered an early warning about the ramifications of global warming. In “How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet,” the science writer Bill McKibben explores some of the ways that radical environmental changes are making parts of the earth uninhabitable. In “Big Foot,” Michael Specter reports on new technologies aimed at reducing our carbon footprint.
In When the Earth Moved (2013), Nicholas Lemann chronicles the history of Earth Day and ongoing challenges to the environmental movement in America. Finally, in Silent Spring, Rachel Carson considers the calamitous effects of chemical pollutants on nature and humanity.
No obituary for Earth: Scientists fight climate doom talk
It’s not the end of the world. It only seems that way.
(AP) Climate change is going to get worse, but as gloomy as the latest scientific reports are, including today’s from the United Nations, scientist after scientist stresses that curbing global warming is not hopeless. The science says it is not game over for planet Earth or humanity. Action can prevent some of the worst if done soon, they say.
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just issued its third report in six months. The first two were on how bad warming is and how it will hurt people and ecosystems, with today’s report focusing on how the extent of disruption depends on how much fossil fuels are burned. It shows the world is still heading in the wrong direction in its fight to curb climate change, with new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and forests falling to make way for agriculture.
After decades of trying to get the public’s attention, spur action by governments and fight against organized movements denying the science, climate researchers say they have a new fight on their hands: doomism. It’s the feeling that nothing can be done, so why bother.
UN warns Earth ‘firmly on track toward an unlivable world’
(AP) — Temperatures on Earth will shoot past a key danger point unless greenhouse gas emissions fall faster than countries have committed, the world’s top body of climate scientists said Monday, warning of the consequences of inaction but also noting hopeful signs of progress.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed “a litany of broken climate promises” by governments and corporations, accusing them of stoking global warming by clinging to harmful fossil fuels.
“It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track toward an unlivable world,” he said.
UN chief names panel to probe companies’ climate efforts
It will be chaired by Catherine McKenna, who was Canada’s minister of environment and climate change from 2015 to 2019.
The panel includes prominent Australian climate scientist Bill Hare, South Africa-based sustainable finance expert Malango Mughogho and the former long-time governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan.
Middle East and North Africa Climate Week 2022
MENACW 2022 will be held from 28 to 31 March in Dubai hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
Juxtaposition: Opulent resort hosts climate summit in Dubai
By AYA BATRAWY
(AP) — The Middle East is the most water-scarce region in the world, but participants at an upcoming climate summit in Dubai will be ensconced in a resort with one of the world’s largest water parks.
It’s a striking backdrop for a climate summit aimed at tackling lack of water and other pressing issues facing the region due in part to warming global temperatures from the very fossil fuels produced by Gulf Arab states and others. The Arabian Peninsula, where Dubai sits, is grappling with menacing sand storms, rising temperatures and dangerous humidity levels.
As major world powers vow to shift to greener forms of energy, oil producers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates say they too will cut emissions within their borders, even as they vow to keep pumping oil and gas for export to fuel their economies.
Across the Middle East, people are living with the impacts of climate change. Farmers in rural Egypt face severe water shortages along the Nile River. Millions of people in Syria and Iraq are at risk of losing access to water, electricity and food amid rising temperatures and record low water levels due to drought.
From the western Sahara in Morocco to the eastern stretches of the Persian Gulf in Iran, drought has sparked anger and street protests against the government. The World Bank has identified 11 countries in the region as among the world’s most water-stressed nations, including all six of the Gulf Arab energy producing states.
While the U.N.-backed climate week is far from the first time the region hosts a summit to tackle global warming, it marks another step toward widening the global conversation around climate change and its impact. The U.N. says similar weeks are planned for Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Africa this year.
The Mideast will draw even more focus as host of the next two U.N. summits to assess progress on the Paris climate agreement, aimed at keeping global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels.
That COP27 global gathering is taking place in November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on the Red Sea coast, where rising temperatures have bleached coral reefs, threatening the ecosystem and local tourism industry that millions of Egyptians rely on. The event will be held in Dubai in 2023.
The region hasn’t hosted a COP meeting since 2012, when Qatar became the first Mideast country to hold the event.
Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists
Antarctic areas reach 40C above normal at same time as north pole regions hit 30C above usual levels
(The Guardian) The danger is twofold: heatwaves at the poles are a strong signal of the damage humanity is wreaking on the climate; and the melting could also trigger further cascading changes that will accelerate climate breakdown.
As polar sea ice melts, particularly in the Arctic, it reveals dark sea that absorbs more heat than reflective ice, warming the planet further. Much of the Antarctic ice covers land, and its melting raises sea levels.
Scientists warned that the events unfolding were “historic”, “unprecedented” and “dramatic”.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, said the extreme weather being recorded was exceeding predictions to a worrying extent.
Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
The Working Group II contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.
Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released today. Report
The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) provides a high-level summary of the key findings of the Working Group II Report and is approved by the IPCC member governments line by line.
Want to fix climate change? This is what it’ll take.
(GZERO) In recent weeks, countries as varied as Canada and the US, Iran, Turkey and Greece have experienced some of the worst heat waves, droughts, and wildfires in decades. Meanwhile, unprecedented torrential rain and floods have hit China and Germany. These climate-related disasters have killed scores of people, left thousands homeless, and cost billions from damaged infrastructure and property.
As Elizabeth Kolbert told us a few months ago, we’re screwed unless we all do something about climate right now.
The IPCC, which represents the world’s top climate scientists and is backed by national governments, published on Monday its first review of climate science since 2013. For the first time, the IPPC now says that climate change is unequivocally caused by humans, and that it’s directly linked to the extreme weather events we’re seeing recently.
First, some bad news. The latest data show that global surface temperatures have risen faster since 1970 than in any other half century in the past two millennia. And the IPCC warns that some of the damage will be permanent: in two decades it’ll be an average 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than during 1850-1900. We’re getting close to various “tipping points” — when the planet undergoes abrupt changes in response to global warming that can’t be reversed no matter what we do, like polar ice caps or coral reefs vanishing.
Now some (sort of) good news. The IPCC says that maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. For that to happen, though, the world must halve its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and for all countries to attain “net zero” emissions — taking as much carbon out of the atmosphere as putting into it — by 2050.
So, what’ll it take to actually get this done?
Between countries, governments will need to work together a lot more closely than they have in a long time to agree on ways for all nations to do their part — and sustain such efforts over time.
Among the top polluters, to meet the IPCC’s 2050 deadline the US and the EU will have to convince China to go “net zero” a decade earlier than Beijing now plans to, and perhaps offer India the cash Delhi has long demanded for poor countries that have polluted far less per capita yet are now being asked to cut emissions by as much as rich industrialized nations. The Chinese and Indians will likely need assurances that Americans and Europeans won’t back out later on (like the US having to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate deal signed by Obama but later cancelled by Trump.)
Climate activists like Uganda’s Vanessa Nakate say nations in Africa — which is barely responsible for causing climate change but will suffer some of its worst effects — will need incentives from wealthy countries to pursue green growth. So will crucial middle-income economies like Brazil (please stop burning the Amazon) or Indonesia.
Within countries, politicians and citizens will need to find on climate the common ground that’s otherwise absent nowadays. That means that French President Emmanuel Macron and the gilet jaunes will have to figure out how to get rid of diesel without unfairly taxing low-wage workers. In the US, some Republicans may have to acknowledge that climate change is real and back a long-term plan that creates green jobs and invests in sustainable infrastructure, although maybe not as much as the Green New Deal.
Importantly, the private sector must be on board. Governments don’t pollute nearly as much as companies, especially those in countries with lax regulations. Businesses must come under intense pressure by both lawmakers and consumers to never put profits over the planet, and that they too must all go “net zero.”
What’s more, they should share all the technology they develop to curb emissions, particularly carbon capture and storage.
Is such cooperation even possible right now? The urgent tone in the IPCC report raises the stakes for COP26, the global climate summit to be held in Glasgow in November. It may be the last opportunity we get in the narrow window we still have to come up with a global consensus on how to save the planet from… ourselves. 9 August 2021
Postcards From a World on Fire
We’ve Failed Our Planet. This Is an SOS.
By Kathleen Kingsbury, Opinion Editor
So many of the conversations about global warming focus on the direst consequences, projected far into the future: images of fires and floods on an increasingly uninhabitable planet if the governments of the world — and especially those of the United States, China and the other leading greenhouse gas emitters — fail to curb their use of fossil fuels. But the truth is that we are already living in a world that is being transformed by climate change. Every single country on Earth is feeling its effects — today.
The New York Times Publishes ‘Postcards From A World On Fire’ As Natural Disaster Deaths Decline By 90 Percent
(The Federalist) The New York Times’ “Postcards” project aims to terrify an audience susceptible to hysterical predictions of a world coming to an end through climate self-destruction. The project comes despite rapid development made possible by cheap, reliable energy from fossil fuels that have transformed a dangerous planet into a manageable one, opening the door to adaptation and environmental stewardship.
“Anyone who portrays today’s world as ‘devastated’ or ‘ruined’ by fossil-fueled climate change is ignorant, anti-human, or both,” Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” told The Federalist. “With the New York Times’ ‘Postcards From a World on Fire,’ it’s almost certainly both.”
The Times published 193 stories, one from each country, to offer a glimpse into the experiences with a changing planet from each corner of the globe. The visuals are striking to the ignorant eye, soaked in the images of fires, floods, death, and destruction.
Yet Copenhagen Consensus President Bjorn Lomborg outlined in the Wall Street Journal last month exactly how the world faces far less danger today than ever before.
Rising From the Antarctic, a Climate Alarm
Wilder winds are altering currents. The sea is releasing carbon dioxide. Ice is melting from below.
By HENRY FOUNTAIN and JEREMY WHITE
(NYT) …the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, by far the largest current in the world… is the world’s climate engine, and it has kept the world from warming even more by drawing deep water from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, much of which has been submerged for hundreds of years, and pulling it to the surface. There, it exchanges heat and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere before being dispatched again on its eternal round trip.
[Scientists] have discovered that global warming is affecting the Antarctic current in complex ways, and these shifts could complicate the ability to fight climate change in the future
Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas: a gas that absorbs and radiates heat. Warmed by sunlight, Earth’s land and ocean surfaces continuously radiate thermal infrared energy (heat). Unlike oxygen or nitrogen (which make up most of our atmosphere), greenhouse gases absorb that heat and release it gradually over time, like bricks in a fireplace after the fire goes out. Without this natural greenhouse effect, Earth’s average annual temperature would be below freezing instead of close to 60°F. But increases in greenhouse gases have tipped the Earth’s energy budget out of balance, trapping additional heat and raising Earth’s average temperature.
Carbon dioxide is the most important of Earth’s long-lived greenhouse gases. It absorbs less heat per molecule than the greenhouse gases methane or nitrous oxide, but it’s more abundant and it stays in the atmosphere much longer. Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are responsible for about two-thirds of the total energy imbalance that is causing Earth’s temperature to rise.
Carbon dioxide concentrations are rising mostly because of the fossil fuels that people are burning for energy. Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain carbon that plants pulled out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis over the span of many millions of years; we are returning that carbon to the atmosphere in just a few hundred years, according to State of the Climate in 2019 from NOAA and the American Meteorological Society (14 August 2020)
The climate conundrum
Dennis J. Snower
(Brookings) The COP26 summit is now over and the question remains, where do we go from here?
Although progress has been made—a “big step forward” said U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and perhaps even “a historic achievement” touted COP26 President Alok Sharma—we can now see, with stark clarity, the long road that lies ahead in restoring the safety of our planet.
The fundamental challenge is not the failure of particular nations or institutions or businesses or civil organizations, but rather the interaction between our economic, political, and social systems, which generates environmental outcomes that are incompatible with the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. Economic prosperity and political success have become decoupled from social and environmental prosperity.
Serious about climate change? Get serious about peat.
Moor, bog, fen, mire, flush, swamp, slough. Peatlands have gotten a bum rap. They’re inhospitable, useless. Too wet to plow, too dry to fish, the old farmers say.
These waterlogged, acidic, low-nutrient ecosystems are the most carbon-dense lands on Earth. You want to safely store carbon for a thousand years? Nothing beats peat. It’s nature’s vault.
From the boreal north to the tropical south, from Scotland’s grouse moors to the vast tracts recently discovered in the Congo Basin, the Earth’s peatlands store twice as much carbon as all the planet’s forests combined — though they cover only a tenth of the landmass.
Climate change is a risk to national security, the Pentagon says
In a report last week, the Pentagon found that “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are exacerbating existing risks” for the U.S.
For example, recent extreme weather has cost billions in damages to U.S. military installations, including Tyndall Air Force Base and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Also, the military has bases on Guam and the Marshall Islands that are vulnerable to rising seas. And China may be able to take advantage of U.S. susceptibility, the Pentagon says.
How to make fragile global supply chains stronger and more sustainable
(The Conversation) Global supply chains also account for large contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and have an impact on air, land and water biodiversity and geological resources. A typical company’s supply chain is responsible for 80 per cent of its greenhouse emissions and more than 90 per cent of its contribution to air pollution generated in the production and distribution of a consumer product.
One billion metric tonnes of emissions could be saved if key suppliers to 125 of the world’s biggest purchasers increased their renewable energy input by 20 per cent.
The Amazon’s Little Tipping Points
The Amazon tipping point would mark a final shift in the rainforest’s ability to sustain itself.
(Reuters special report) Some scientists fear we are nearing a point of no return in the Amazon rainforest, which exerts power over the carbon cycle like no other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. Evidence is mounting that in certain areas, localized iterations of irreversible damage may already be happening. Reuters has tracked three decades-long observations of the region to give a real-world view of degradation once only predicted by computer simulations.
Covering an area roughly the size of the contiguous United States and accounting for more than half of the world’s rainforest, the Amazon exerts power over the carbon cycle like no other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. The tree loss from an extremely dry year in 2005, for example, released an additional quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere equivalent to the annual emissions of Europe and Japan combined, according to a 2009 study published in Science magazine.
As more and more of the forest is cut down, researchers say the loss of canopy risks hitting a limit – a tipping point – after which the forest and local climate will have changed so radically as to trigger the death of the Amazon as rainforest. In its place would grow a shorter, drier forest or savannah.
The consequences for biodiversity and climate change would be devastating, extinguishing thousands of species and releasing such a colossal quantity of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it would sabotage attempts to limit global climate change.
In a First, U.S. Declares Shortage on Colorado River, Forcing Water Cuts
Arizona farmers will take the initial brunt, but wider reductions loom as climate change continues to affect flows into the river.
(NYT) With climate change and long-term drought continuing to take a toll on the Colorado River, the federal government on Monday for the first time declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, one of the river’s main reservoirs.
The declaration triggers cuts in water supply that, for now, mostly will affect Arizona farmers. Beginning next year they will be cut off from much of the water they have relied on for decades. Much smaller reductions are mandated for Nevada and for Mexico across the southern border.
But larger cuts, affecting far more of the 40 million people in the West who rely on the river for at least part of their water supply, are likely in coming years as a warming climate continues to reduce how much water flows into the Colorado from rain and melting snow.
This disastrous summer is yet another portent of what humanity faces in coming decades if the world does not take dramatic steps to protect ecosystems and curb use of fossil fuels, scientists say
(WaPo) Massive floods deluged Central Europe, Nigeria, Uganda and India in recent days, killing hundreds. June’s scorching temperatures, followed by a fast-moving wildfire, erased a Canadian town. More than a million people are close to starvation amid Madagascar’s worst drought in decades. In Siberia, tens of thousands of square miles of forest are ablaze, potentially unleashing carbon stored in the frozen ground below.
The Economist highlights from the latest issue: The ground under the German town of Erftstadt is torn apart like tissue paper by flood waters; Lytton in British Columbia is burned from the map just a day after setting a freakishly high temperature record; cars float like dead fish through the streets-turned-canals in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou. All the world feels at risk, and most of it is. Six years ago, in Paris, the countries of the world committed themselves to avoiding the worst of climate change by eliminating net greenhouse-gas emissions quickly enough to hold the temperature rise below 2°C. Their progress towards that end remains woefully inadequate. But even if their efforts increased dramatically enough to meet the 2°C goal, it would not stop forests from burning today; prairies would still dry out tomorrow, rivers break their banks and mountain glaciers disappear. And even if everyone manages to honour their pledges, there is still a risk that temperatures could eventually rise by 3°C above pre-industrial levels. Our cover this week explores what that means for the climate and for climate policy.
Using archeology to better understand climate change
(Université de Montréal via Eureka!) Throughout history, people of different cultures and stages of evolution have found ways to adapt, with varying success, to the gradual warming of the environment they live in. But can the past inform the future, now that climate change is happening faster than ever before?
Yes, say an international team of anthropologists, geographers and earth scientists in Canada, the U.S. and France led by Université de Montréal anthropologist Ariane Burke.
In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Professor Burke and her colleagues make a case for a new and evolving discipline called “the archeology of climate change.”
It’s an interdisciplinary science that uses data from archeological digs and the palaeoclimate record to study how humans interacted with their environment during past climate-change events such as the warming that followed the last ice age, more than 10,000 years ago.
What the scientists hope to identify are the tipping points in climate history that prompted people to reorganize their societies to survive, showing how cultural diversity, a source of human resilience in the past, is just as important today as a bulwark against global warming.
The Guardian view on the heat dome: burning through the models
Politicians must respond to the latest warnings that climate science has underestimated risks
(Editorial) Temperatures were broiling from Utah to California as another “heat dome” led Western states to set up cooling centers and issue motel vouchers. The blistering weekend heat, one of the highest temperatures ever recorded on Earth, matched a similar level from August 2020. Those readings could set records if verified, as an earlier record of 134 degrees in 1913 has been disputed by scientists.
Last week’s shockingly high temperatures in the northwestern US and Canada were – and are – very frightening. Heat and the fires it caused killed hundreds of people, and are estimated to have killed a billion sea creatures. Daily temperature records were smashed by more than 5C (9F) in some places. In Lytton, British Columbia, the heat reached 49.6C (121F). The wildfires that consumed the town produced their own thunderstorms, alongside thousands of lightning strikes.
An initial study shows human activity made this heat dome – in which a ridge of high pressure acts as a lid preventing warm air from escaping – at least 150 times more likely. The World Weather Attribution Group of scientists, who use computer climate models to assess global heating trends and extreme weather, have warned that last week exceeded even their worst-case scenarios. While it has long been recognised that the climate system has thresholds or tipping points beyond which humans stand to lose control of what happens, scientists did not hide their alarm that an usually cool part of the Pacific northwest had been turned into a furnace. One climatologist said the prospect opened up by the heat dome “blows my mind”.
The disturbing signs of climate disruption are not limited to north America. Pakistan and Siberia have also had record-breaking high temperatures within the last few weeks, as have Moscow, Helsinki and Estonia. In Madagascar, the worst drought in 40 years has left a million people facing food shortages. The climate author David Wallace-Wells suggested that current conditions should be regarded as heralding a “permanent emergency”. With policymakers struggling to absorb the very serious implications for human societies of current models, it is frankly difficult to take in the suggestion that these models may underestimate the threat. The prospect of the jet stream becoming locked, and weather systems such as tropical storms ceasing to move in the way to which we are accustomed, carries nightmarish possibilities. More hot weather is on its way to California, with the bulk of the wildfire season ahead.
If there is anything positive to be taken from this new information, and reports of the suffering and destruction caused by the heat, it can only be that it intensifies the pressure on policymakers to act. On Wednesday, the Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board issued a warning in advance of a G20 meeting in Venice this weekend. It urged finance ministers and central banks to take more notice of “far-reaching” climate impacts.
Death Valley Hits 130 Degrees as Heat Wave Sweeps the West
(NYT) Temperatures were broiling from Utah to California as another “heat dome” led Western states to set up cooling centers and issue motel vouchers.
Fact Checking Patrick Moore, Climate Skeptic
The ex-Greenpeacer claims his new book is science-based. It’s gaining traction. But when contacted, researchers he cites said he got their work wrong.
(The Tyee) Moore, who doubts the fact human activity and carbon dioxide emissions are the main causes of global warming, said the scientists’ responses were just a “CYA” or cover-your-ass exercise. “The last thing they want is to be associated with climate skepticism. If you’re associated with climate skepticism, you’re all of a sudden a denier. And you’re all of a sudden out of research money.”
But this story is about more than just a conflict between mainstream experts and those who doubt them, a narrative that defines modern politics as we lurch between environmental and health disasters that threaten to overwhelm us. It’s about more than how those doubters continue to find purchase in the mainstream media and supporters on the political right.
Instead, it’s about how they can appropriate mainstream and sometimes out-of-date science to support their arguments, while trying to discredit findings, conclusions and scientists that counter them. And when such appropriation goes unchecked, as it often does, the resulting credibility they gain with their followers remains unchallenged.
19 April, Updated 12 May
The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof
Definitive answers to the big questions.
(NYT) The science of climate change is more solid and widely agreed upon than you might think. But the scope of the topic, as well as rampant disinformation, can make it hard to separate fact from fiction. Here, we’ve done our best to present you with not only the most accurate scientific information, but also an explanation of how we know it.
Watching a coral reef die as climate change devastates one of the most pristine tropical island areas on Earth
(The Conversation) The Chagos Archipelago is one of the most remote, seemingly idyllic places on Earth. Coconut-covered sandy beaches with incredible bird life rim tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from any continent. Just below the waves, coral reefs stretch for miles along an underwater mountain chain.
It’s a paradise. At least it was before the heat wave.
In 2015, a marine heat wave struck, harming coral reefs worldwide. … As the water temperature rose, the corals began to bleach. To the untrained eye, the scene would have looked fantastic. When the water heats up, corals become stressed and they expel the tiny algae called dinoflagellates that live in their tissue. Bleaching isn’t as simple as going from a living coral to a bleached white one, though. After they expel the algae, the corals turn fluorescent pinks and blues and yellows as they produce chemicals to protect themselves from the Sun’s harmful rays. The entire reef was turning psychedelic colors.
We were witnessing the death of a reef.
The devastation of the Chagos Reef wasn’t happening in isolation. In 2015, the ocean heat from a strong El Niño event triggered the mass bleaching in the Chagos reefs and around the world. It was the third global bleaching on record, following events in 1998 and 2010.
Bleaching doesn’t just affect the corals – entire reef systems and the fish that feed, spawn and live among the coral branches suffer. One study of reefs around Papua New Guinea in the southwest Pacific found that about 75% of the reef fish species declined after the 1998 bleaching, and many of those species declined by more than half.
Biden readies ambitious pitch to make the U.S. the global climate leader
The two-day Climate Leaders Summit represents the return of the U.S. to the climate diplomacy it abandoned under President Donald Trump, and Biden is eager to demonstrate his resolve by laying out an aggressive set of targets that will move the country closer to the goals set by the European Union — and try to set the pace for nations like China and India to follow.The two-day Climate Leaders Summit represents the return of the U.S. to the climate diplomacy it abandoned under President Donald Trump, and Biden is eager to demonstrate his resolve by laying out an aggressive set of targets that will move the country closer to the goals set by the European Union — and try to set the pace for nations like China and India to follow.
Biden Will Pledge to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Nearly in Half
The president will commit the United States to deep cuts in emissions at an Earth Day summit meeting that starts on Thursday, according to people familiar with the plan.
Carney, Kerry launch global finance plan to boost climate action
(Reuters) Launching the plan on the eve of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Head of State Climate Summit alongside Carney and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Kerry – the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate – said the world’s biggest financial firms recognised energy transition was a “vast” commercial opportunity.
EU reaches major climate deal ahead of Biden climate summit
The European Union has reached a tentative climate deal to put the 27-nation bloc on a path to being “climate neutral” by 2050, with member states and parliament agreeing on binding targets for carbon emissions on the eve of a virtual summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Weatherwatch: latest sea level rise forecast alarms scientists
Warming of oceans due to greenhouse gas absorption may accelerate rise to beyond 1 metre by 2100
(The Guardian) …ice is disappearing ever more rapidly from glaciers and the poles but another major factor, the warming of the oceans, also appears to have been underestimated. With most of the heat generated in the atmosphere by excess greenhouse gases being absorbed by the sea, warm water expansion is a major contributor to sea level rise. New European research demonstrates that this rise is expected to accelerate.
What climate change will mean for US security and geopolitics
John R. Allen and Bruce Jones
(Brookings) On January 27, newly-installed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin broke new ground for the Department of Defense. He declared that under his leadership, the department would treat climate change as a national security priority. “There is little about what the Department does to defend the American people that is not affected by climate change,” Austin argued. “It is a national security issue, and we must treat it as such.” It’s a very welcome step.
In a piece soon to be published in the American Defense Policy journal, we lay out a number of direct effects that a rapidly changing climate can have on security and conflict, as well as on the wider dynamics of American leadership of the international order.
The most immediate effect of climate change will be on internal conflict. Careful modeling suggests that changing climate patterns could drive an up to 50% increase in conflict in sub-Saharan Africa alone. This would result in several hundred thousand additional battle deaths, and the displacement of millions. And the patterns of war tell us that the effects of this will not be limited to the individual countries affected, but will spread both within Africa and beyond by the vectors of transnational terrorism and by mass migration.
Perhaps the most systematic, though not the most immediate, security consequences from a warming climate will come from sea-level rise. This will have several major effects. We are likely to see substantial migration from low-level island states, whose populations may migrate to coastal areas in Southeast Asia, with destabilizing effects.
Sea-level rise is very likely to directly affect the physical survival of several small island states. This is a security risk in its own right for those countries, but could also have wider implications. … And beyond the simple rise of sea levels, as the seas continue to warm, the resulting cyclones and hurricanes will be fed more energy from the warmer surfaces, making them more destructive in an absolute sense but also more destructive because these storms will drive surges of higher sea levels farther and farther inland — creating greater human misery, destruction, and economic stress. These intersecting climate effects will be devastating, with obvious security implications.