Climate change, uncertainty & security January 2024-

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UN Climate Change Conference COP28
United Arab Emirates 30 Nov-12 Dec, 2023
Anthropocene Working Group

NATO Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence
(Global Affairs Canada) At the July 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Anita Anand and representatives from 11 other Sponsoring Nations signed the founding document of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence. The Centre will open in Montréal later in 2023.

1 February
NATO Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence to open in Montréal: What does it mean for Canadian security?
Ryan Atkinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Defence Policy, Carleton University
(The Conversation) This year Montréal is set to become the home for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s new Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence (CCASCOE). The CCASCOE, as the name would suggest, is set to provide specific expertise on the environment and the impacts of climate change for NATO security.
When announcing the new centre, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared it will “enable Canada, NATO allies, and other global partners to understand and address the serious security implications of climate change, including in the Arctic.”
The NATO centres of excellence (COE) system provides a valuable network of expertise to support innovation, and to “assist in doctrine development, identify lessons learned, improve interoperability and capabilities, and test and validate concepts through experimentation.”
Amid escalating geopolitical risks, Montréal’s new centre represents a strong commitment to climate security and will be crucial to promoting a co-ordinated global response that strengthens Canada’s capacity to address climate-specific concerns.

27 January
AI is increasingly being used to deal with climate change, but it has its own emissions problem
Transitioning to renewable energy from fossil fuels will help cut AI’s carbon footprint
(CBC) In trying to mitigate and adapt to climate change, artificial intelligence is being used in such areas as agriculture, early warning systems and wildfire predictions.
As the climate changes, farmers are facing more challenges than ever before. From floods, droughts and disease to warmer temperatures and shifts within the growing and harvesting seasons, the agriculture business is rapidly changing, which means farmers — and technology — need to constantly keep up.
But there is an irony: While AI is helping in climate adaptation and mitigation, it has its own emissions problem. And it is one that will only grow as AI is used for more and more applications.
AI takes lots of computers — and energy
“AI is being used in all sorts of ways to address climate action,” said Priya Donti, co-founder and chair of Climate Change AI, a global non-profit organization that examines the use of AI in the climate sphere.
AI runs on computers — a lot of them — that are hosted in data centres around the world. As the AI models run, they need electricity. If that electricity comes from a grid that uses fossil fuels, it is contributing to emissions.

19 January
Annual Meeting 2024: Rebuilding Trust Amid Uncertainty
(WEF) The Forum announced it will hold a special meeting, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on “Global Cooperation, Growth and Energy for Development” on 28-29 April 2024 in Riyadh.
[WEF] Annual Meeting 2024: Rebuilding Trust Amid Uncertainty
Climate, nature and energy

Building on momentum from the UNFCCC COP28 meeting, participants focused their discussions on driving energy efficiencies and addressing energy demand, and protecting and restoring nature.
Initiatives:

  • The First Movers Coalition for Industry has grown to almost 100 companies, providing the world’s largest demand signal for breakthrough climate technologies in high emission industry sectors, such as steel and cement.
  • The First Movers Coalition for Food has launched with 30 partners to aggregate procurement demand for low-emission agricultural commodities and speed up the adoption of sustainable farming, innovations and transitional funding.
  • 1t.org, the World Economic Forum’s trillion trees platform, announced over 100 companies pledging to conserve, restore and grow 12 billion trees.
  • The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders stepped up efforts to reduce Scope 3 emissions, and underscored 10 high-impact measures for governments and businesses in its annual report.
  • The Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA) initiative announced new commitments to unlock billions of dollars to finance climate and nature solutions. It also announced a new Big Bets Accelerator to accelerate innovative public-private-philanthropic partnerships and a corporate philanthropy challenge.
  • The Global Commission on Nature-Positive Cities presented new guidelines for rehabilitating nature in the urban context, kicking off a public consultation process to establish a shared definition of the attributes that make a city nature-positive and a set of common metrics to track progress towards them.
  • The new Network to Mobilize Clean Energy Investment for the Global South was launched to provide a platform for developing economies to raise awareness about their clean energy needs, share best practices and sustainably accelerate their energy transitions, helping to unlock an estimated $2.2-2.8 trillion needed for the energy transition, according to a new report.
  • A community of 35 scientists, influencers and experts launched the Earth Decides community, and Culture Moves was introduced to infuse the vision of a net-zero, nature-positive world into the cultural tenets of food, entertainment, the arts, sport and fashion.
  • The Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) welcomed Colombia, the Philippines and Zambia, bringing the network of national action partnerships to 15.
  • The Transforming Energy Demand report outlined actions for businesses and countries to enhance energy management, efficiency and carbon-intensity reduction. The International Business Council and the Centre for Energy and Materials will support the creation of cross-sectoral accelerator partnerships and policies in the key energy demand areas of industry, buildings and transportation.

12 January
Scientists explain why the record-shattering 2023 heat has them on edge. Warming may be worsening
(AP) The latest calculations from several science agencies showing Earth obliterated global heat records last year may seem scary. But scientists worry that what’s behind those numbers could be even worse.
The Associated Press asked more than three dozen scientists in interviews and emails what the smashed records mean. Most said they fear acceleration of climate change that is already right at the edge of the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) increase since pre-industrial times that nations had hoped to stay within.
“The heat over the last calendar year was a dramatic message from Mother Nature,” said University of Arizona climate scientist Katharine Jacobs. Scientists say warming air and water is making deadly and costly heat waves, floods, droughts, storms and wildfires more intense and more likely.

11 January
2023 was the hottest year in history — and Canada is warming faster than anywhere else on earth
Gordon McBean, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Environment, Western University
Leading scientists are predicting that 2024 will be even warmer as the global mean temperature continues to rise.
(The Conversation) These rising temperatures are leading to more extreme weather events that impact societies around the world and across Canada. The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have continued to increase and reached record levels in 2023, reaching 419 parts-per-million (ppm) of carbon dioxide concentrations, which was 2.4 ppm higher than in 2022.
Climate warming is not uniform due to a range of factors, including internal climate variability and regional variations in climate feedback and heat uptake.
In general, warming has been strongest at high northern latitudes and stronger over land than oceans. Global average temperature is greatly influenced by the oceans, which cover about 70 per cent of the planet and have large heat capacity, so they warm much slower than land areas.
Since Canada has a large land mass, much of which is located at high northern latitudes, warming across Canada has been about twice the global average and in the Canadian Arctic, the warming has been about three times higher. Loss of snow and sea ice reduces the reflectivity of the surface, resulting in stronger warming of ecosystems and increased absorption of solar radiation.
Drought Touches a Quarter of Humanity, U.N. Says, Disrupting Lives Globally
The crisis, worsened partly by climate change, has been accompanied by soaring food prices and could have consequences for hunger, elections and migration worldwide.
(NYT) Olive groves have shriveled in Tunisia. The Brazilian Amazon faces its driest season in a century. Wheat fields have been decimated in Syria and Iraq, pushing millions more into hunger after years of conflict. The Panama Canal, a vital trade artery, doesn’t have enough water, which means fewer ships can pass through. And the fear of drought has prompted India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, to restrict the export of most rice varieties.
Some of the current abnormally dry, hot conditions are made worse by the burning of fossil fuels that cause climate change. In Syria and Iraq, for instance, the three-year-long drought would have been highly unlikely without the pressures of climate change, scientists concluded recently. The arrival last year of El Niño, a natural, cyclical weather phenomenon characterized by warmer-than-normal temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean, has also very likely contributed.

9 January
Copernicus: 2023 is the hottest year on record, with global temperatures close to the 1.5°C limit
Global temperatures reached exceptionally high levels in 2023. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the EU, monitored several key climate indicators throughout the year, reporting on record-breaking conditions such as the hottest month on record and daily global temperature averages briefly surpassing pre-industrial levels by more than 2°C. Unprecedented global temperatures from June onwards led 2023 to become the warmest year on record – overtaking by a large margin 2016, the previous warmest year. The 2023 Global Climate Highlights report based mainly on the ERA5 reanalysis dataset presents a general summary of 2023’s most relevant climate extremes and the main drivers behind them, such as greenhouse gas concentrations, El Niño and other natural variations.

8 January
The AI Revolution in Climate Science
Giulio Boccaletti
As we grapple with the implications of the digital revolution and a rapidly changing natural environment, AI may hold the key to unraveling some of the complexity that has exceeded our comprehension. But with the means of research firmly in industry hands, policymakers will need to ensure that new tools provide public goods.
(Project Syndicate) We have just witnessed the start of a paradigm shift in earth science. A paper published in Nature in July showed that a neural network (artificial intelligence) predicted weather better than the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, which has the world’s most advanced forecasting system. Then, in November, Google’s DeepMind announced that its weather-forecasting AI had produced even stronger predictions.
Weather forecasting determines when and where planes fly, which routes ships take, and helps manage all manner of civilian and military risks that come with a variable environment. It matters. While these are still relatively early days for AI applications in this field, and much still needs to be worked out, as in other sectors, AI-driven forecasting may displace skilled labor, since neural networks don’t require knowledge of dynamical meteorology (the authors of the Nature paper are engineers with no such background). But the implications hardly stop there.

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