In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles. But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz.
The U.N. climate panel concluded last month that carbon emissions should be capped at a trillion tons, a total the world is rapidly approaching. Now comes the hard part: How will we decide how the remaining emissions are apportioned? The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the first time sets a cap on the amount of carbon emissions we can allow into the atmosphere before calling a complete and permanent halt if, that is, we are serious about keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius.
After a Throne Speech that pledged a focus on the North, Environment Minister and Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq is Yukon-bound to kick off Canada’s term at the helm of the international Arctic Council. She’ll use it to push for expanded resource development and more indigenous involvement in research on subjects such as climate change.
When the IPCC's new report on the physical basis of climate change was released in late September, media attention focused on a conclusion from the Summary for Policymakers that the world had emitted just over half of the allowable emissions if global warming is to be kept to 2 degrees Celsius (2°C) of warming. Unfortunately, because many people think if you have a budget you should spend every last dollar, the "carbon budget" message could be interpreted as saying there is plenty of budget left to spend.
For years, energy analysts had been anticipating an imminent decline in global oil supplies. Suddenly, they’re singing a new song: Fossil fuels growing scarce? Don’t even think about it! The news couldn’t be better: fossil fuels will become ever more abundant. And all that talk about climate change? Don’t worry about it, they chant. Go out and enjoy the benefits of cheap and plentiful energy forever.
Scientists from the University of Hawaii claim man-made global warming is now inevitable as the Earth is going to dangerously heat up over the next 50-years. Major cities including New York and London will fight to survive the rise in temperatures the likes of which humans have never experienced before. By 2043, 147 cities, more than half of those studied, will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records, says the study. ...more
The aims of international climate negotiations and of the global climate action movement are to "prevent" dangerous climate change. But what do we do if global warming is already dangerous? In a concluding section, this report argues that with clear evidence that climate change is already dangerous, we are in an emergency and face "...an unavoidably radical future".
Already, a thousand blogs and columns insist the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's new report is a rabid concoction of scare stories whose purpose is to destroy the global economy. But it is, in reality, highly conservative. Reaching agreement among hundreds of authors and reviewers ensures that only the statements which are hardest to dispute are allowed to pass.