Haiku

Earth Experiences 400th Consecutive Warmer-than-Average Month #auspol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

The last time the world saw a cooler-than-average month was in 1984, according to new reports from NOAA.

The Earth has now had 33 years of rising and above-average temperatures.

According to recent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly global climate report, this marks the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-usual monthly averages.

The last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month was in 1984 when US President Ronald Reagan was in office for his second term, and the Apple Macintosh personal computer had just gone on sale.

The NOAA report also said that the month of April had the third-highest temperatures of any April in NOAA’s recorded history. NOAA started gathering climate data in 1880.

Researchers from around the world have no problem with pointing to specific causes — namely that of human impact on global climate change.

“It’s mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming,” NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. “Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future.”

While there have been efforts to reduce overall CO2 emissions, there still remains pushback from supporters of fossil fuels. There’s also a growing reliance on fossil fuels coming from developing nations with rapidly expanding populations, economies, and technologies. However, those developing nations still don’t use as much fossil fuels when compared to global powers like the U.S.

“We live in and share a world that is unequivocally, appreciably and consequentially warmer than just a few decades ago, and our world continues to warm,” said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt. “Speeding by a ‘400’ sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new.”

Climatologists have used the 20th-century average as a benchmark for their measurements. That allows them to ‘goal post’ when they look through climate data. This type of benchmarking also gives them the opportunity to account for climate variability.

“The thing that really matters is that, by whatever metric, we’ve spent every month for several decades on the warm side of any reasonable baseline,” Arndt said.

These rising global temperatures have hit certain areas harder than others, the report detailed. The heat was most unusually concentrated in Europe. The continent had its warmest April in recorded history. The heat wave also affected Australia and gave it its second-warmest month ever recorded.

There were even particular portions of Asia that saw extreme heat. One particular case was in southern Pakistan. The town of Nawabshah hit an incredibly high 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 50.5 Celsius) on April 30. Climatologists are currently trying to determine if this is the hottest April temperature on record for the entire planet.

There was also another milestone detailed in the NOAA monthly report. Carbon dioxide readings — the gas most closely linked to global warming — hit its highest levels in recorded history. Carbon dioxide now has over 410 parts per million. NOAA’s numbers aren’t the only ones being leveraged against this new data. According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, this high amount of carbon dioxide is the highest amount its been in the past 800,000 years — comparing modern numbers with those found through extensive climatological research.

Press link for more: Interesting Engineering

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Transformation of consciousness #StopAdani #auspol #empathy #ClimateChange

Transformation of consciousness

Excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability

Daniel Christian WahlMay 18

Educator, speaker, strategic advisor — PhD Design for Sustainability, MSc Holistic Science, BSc Biol. Sciences; author of ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’

“The materialistic consciousness of our culture … is the root cause of the global crisis; it is not our business ethics, our politics or even our personal lifestyles.

These are symptoms of a deeper underlying problem.

Our whole civilization is unsustainable. And the reason that it is unsustainable is that our value system, the consciousness with which we approach the world, is an unsustainable mode of consciousness.”

— Peter Russell (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.5)

Many people who have lived relatively conventional and successful lives within the Westernized industrial growth society, that has spread across the planet in the wake of economic globalization and the neoliberal “free”-market agenda, have recently woken up to a feeling of having raced at full tilt aiming for success and getting ahead, only to find out that the goals they were perusing, once reached, seemed shallow, meaningless, and forced them into a life-style or into keeping up a persona that they really felt unhappy with.

Why does this irrational behavior pattern prevail throughout the consumer society? (image)

The last of the economic shock waves that have rippled through the global system in 2008 as a result of the so-called sub-prime mortgage lending put in question whether this experience is in fact an isolated experience of some people, or much rather, the realization that our entire society and its guiding aims has been steaming all engines ahead into an altogether undesirable direction.

Both individuals and the western ‘financial success driven’ society as a whole seem to find themselves in a situation described by Joseph Campbell as “getting to the top of the ladder and finding that it stands against the wrong wall.”

“The dominant worldview of the Western industrial civilization does not serve either the collective or the individual.

Its major credo is a fallacy.

It promotes a way of being and a strategy of life that is ultimately ineffective, destructive, and unfulfilling.

It wants us to believe that winning the competition for money, possessions, social position, power, and fame is enough to make us happy. … that is not the true.”

Stanislav Grof (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.65)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, suggests in his book The Evolving Self (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993): “To know ourselves is the greatest achievement of our species.”

He argues that in order to understand ourselves “ what we are made of, what motivates and drives us, and what goals we dream of — involves, first of all an understanding of our evolutionary past;” we need to reflect “on the network of relationships that bind us to each other and to the natural environment” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993, p.xvii).

He acknowledges the importance of the emergence of self-reflective consciousness and its role in freeing us from genetic and cult.

The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggest that commitment to conscious evolution gives people deep meaning an personal satisfaction.

He is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity and for his notion of flow with years of research and writing on the topic. (image left; image right)

Csikszentmihalyi believes that the next big evolutionary change in human consciousness may simultaneously acknowledge the self as separate from and fundamentally interconnected with the complexity from which it emerges.

The individual, its culture, and the natural environment are simultaneously differentiated from each other and united into a larger complexity.

“If it is true that at this point in history the emergence of complexity is the best ‘story’ we can tell about the past and the future, and if it is true that without it our half-formed self runs the risk of destroying the planet and our budding consciousness along with it, then how can we help to realize the potential inherent in the cosmos?

When the self consciously accepts its role in the process of evolution, life acquires a transcendent meaning.

Whatever happens to our individual existences, we will become one with the power that is the universe.”

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1993

Jeremey Rifkin suggest in The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis that human nature is fundamentally empathic rather than selfish and competitive.

He reviews recent evidence from brain science and child development studies that show how selfishness, competition and aggression are not innate parts of human behaviour but learned and culturally conditioned responses.

Our very nature is far more caring, loving, and empathic than we have been educated to believe.

While being empathic may have initially extended primarily to our family and tribe, our ability to empathize has continued to expand to include the whole of humanity, other species and life as a whole. Rifkin suggest that we are witnessing the evolutionary emergence of Homo empathicus:

“We are at the cusp, I believe, of an epic shift into a climax global economy and a fundamental repositioning of human life on the planet. The ‘Age of Reason’ is being eclipsed by the ‘Age of Empathy’.

The most important question facing humanity is this: Can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?”

— Jeremy Rifkin (2010, p.3)

The change that Rifkin speaks about resonates with Albert Einsteins’ conviction that our task must be to “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.”

While this change is needed at a global scale of the human family, the first step lies in the awakening and transformation of consciousness of each and every one of us.

This section will explore both the personal and the collective dimension of this transformation. …

‘The Empathic Civilisation’, by Jeremy Rifkin. In this ambitious book, bestselling social critic Jeremy Rifkin shows that the disconnect between our vision for the world and our ability to realize that vision lies in the current state of human consciousness.

The very way our brains are structured disposes us to a way of feeling, thinking, and acting in the world that is no longer entirely relevant to the new environments we have created for ourselves.

Note: This is an excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability. In 2012 I was asked to rewrite this dimension as part of a collaboration between Gaia Education and the Open University of Catalunya (UOC) and in 2016 I revised it again into this current version. The next opportunity to join the course is with the start of the Worldview Dimension on May 21st, 2018. You might also enjoy my book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’.

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Press link for more: Medium.com

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows | InsideClimate News

By Jack Cushman

Jack Cushman is an editor and reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN, he worked for 35 years as a writer and editor in Washington, D.C., principally with the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Cushman has written extensively about energy, the environment, industry and military affairs, also covering financial and transportation beats, and editing articles across the full spectrum of national and international policy. He served on the board of governors of the National Press Club and was its president in the year 2000. He is the author of “Keystone and Beyond: Tar Sands and the National Interest in the Era of Climate Change.”

And Neela Banerjee

Neela Banerjee is a Washington-based reporter for Inside Climate News. She led the investigation into Exxon’s early climate research, which was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service reporting and the recipient of nearly a dozen other journalism awards. Before joining ICN, she spent four years as the energy and environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau. Banerjee covered global energy, the Iraq War and other issues with The New York Times. She also served as a Moscow correspondent with The Wall Street Journal. Banerjee grew up in southeast Louisiana and graduated from Yale University.

A mere half degree of extra global warming could mean profound risks for tens of thousands of the planet’s species, scientists have found. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Humanity can powerfully improve the survival odds of tens of thousands of species, but only if nations dramatically raise their ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

One key to salvaging plant and vertebrate habitat and protecting the world’s biodiversity is to limit warming to the most challenging benchmark established under the 2015 Paris treaty—1.5 degrees Celsius of warming—not to the treaty’s less stringent 2 degree guardrail, the study found.

The study assessed, in more detail than ever before, a key measure of extinction risk: the shrinking size of each species’ current geographical range, or natural habitat. It projected that for an alarming number of species, their range size would shrink by at least half as temperatures rise past the Paris goals.

If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.

But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk.

Keeping warming to 2 degrees is not nearly as effective, they found. The additional half degree of warming would double the impact on plants and vertebrate species, and triple the impact on insects.

First-of-Its-Kind Biodiversity Study

Conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and James Cook University in Australia, the study builds on their earlier work. For the first time, it examines insects and explores how effectively the extinction risks can be addressed by increasing ambition.

“If warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, then more species can keep up or even gain in range,” said Rachel Warren, the study’s lead researcher, “whereas if warming reached 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, many species cannot keep up and far more species lose large parts of their range.”

The new research adds a compelling layer of evidence to the mounting risks of rising temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently revising a comprehensive draft report on the science behind the 1.5 degree target. This new report on endangered species was written in time to be reflected in the IPCC review, to be published in the fall.

A leaked copy of the latest IPCC draft, circulated for expert comment in the winter, noted in its summary that “local extinction (extirpation) risks are higher in a 2 degrees Celsius warmer world, compared to  1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Race to Bolster Paris Treaty’s Call for Action

At Paris, everyone recognized that the pledges to cut emissions would fall short of meeting the 2 degree target. Even so, the world’s nations decided to shoot for 1.5 degrees, where the dangers become pronounced for small island states and other highly vulnerable people. Since then, talks about increasing ambition have made relatively little headway, and President Donald Trump has renounced the pledges of the Obama administration.

Whether the goal is 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees, scientists say it can only be met by bringing net emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels to zero later in this century. The main difference is that with the more ambitious goal, emissions must be reduced much faster; some say it’s already too late.

This urgency has been highlighted by one peer-reviewed study after another, as scientists explore the consequences of falling short. Hundreds of scientists have filed thousands of comments to the IPCC as it races to bolster the treaty’s call for rapid action.

115,000 Species Studied; Insects Particularly Vulnerable

Since lost species never come back, and since many species perform vital ecosystem services, the growing risks of extinction are an especially profound aspect of climate change.

Until now, these problems have been studied in relatively few species, notably tropical coral reefs, which are already dying off under the approximately 1 degree of warming that’s been observed so far. They may be partly saved if emissions are reduced aggressively enough to stay below 1.5 degrees.

This time, the researchers examined 115,000 species, including 34,000 insects and other invertebrates that previously have not been included in global studies of climate and biodiversity. (Roughly a million species of insects have been named, and there may be many more.)

Insects, it turned out, are particularly sensitive to temperature increases, and these findings are particularly alarming.

They focus attention on pollinators essential to agriculture and insects that serve as food for birds and animals. The researchers found that three groups of pollinators are especially vulnerable to climate risks—true flies, beetles, and moths and butterflies.

The study’s authors concluded that meeting the most aggressive temperature target would most benefit species in Europe, Australia, the Amazon and southern Africa.

The study also looked at the ability of different species to migrate outside their normal ranges.

Birds, mammals and butterflies have better chances of relocating than other species as temperatures rise, the researchers found

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

Climate change author still hopeful for future of planet #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Climate change author still hopeful for future of planet

By JEFF DEZORT Newton County Times May 17, 2018

Jeff Dezort/Staff

Acting Buffalo National River Superintendent Laura Miller (left) and Jack Stewart of Jasper were on hand when Dr. Terry L. Root, PhD, professor emerita at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, recently spoke to a group in Harrison about climate change.

A renown scientist studying effects of climate change says she still has hope that many species of birds and other animals will escape extinction brought on by rising world-wide temperatures.

Terry L. Root, PhD, professor emerita of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, was a lead author of assessment reports in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which earned her a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Vice President Al Gore.

The Earth is a fragile planet.

We have to take care of it, but time is running short.

That was Root’s message to a group of people including National Park Service personnel attending an hour-long presentation last week at the Buffalo National River Headquarters in Harrison.

Root is acquainted with Jack Stewart of Jasper, a conservationist who has worked with her on the National Audubon Society’s Board of Directors. Stewart is also a member of the Buffalo National River Partners and made arrangements for Root’s visit.

Temperature studies spanning from the 1800s to the present were used by Root to plot global surface temperature changes well into the future. Temperatures will gradually be nudged higher and higher due to greater concentrations of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect, her studies show.

In 1975, data strongly indicated that one species is causing climate change. Humans are affecting the temperature of the oceans and the atmosphere, she said.

The overall size of the oceans and atmosphere are very small, she showed in one of the graphics.

There are four different “story lines” for global warming in the future. The first proposes what would happen if there are no changes — it’s business as usual. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations will increase from 400 to more than 1,200 parts per million.

Two other story lines show the effects of influences brought on with some types of international cooperation to limit these emissions. Concentrations would increase but only to 400 to 700 parts per million. The fourth scenario shows what would happen if greenhouse gas emissions were suddenly ended. Concentrations would drop, so you would think.

But carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere a long time. Root said 25 percent of the carbon dioxide released today will still be in the atmosphere 50 years from now. And 25 percent of that carbon dioxide will still be in the atmosphere 100 years from now. So even without adding more carbon dioxide its concentration will not disappear entirely.

“What we are doing today is affecting our great-great-great-great-grandchildren. That just really bothers me,” Root said.

Technological advances won’t help. At least not short term. The only things today that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are trees, she said.

Press link for more: Harrison Daily

Faithful choices for a flourishing world #auspol #ClimateChange #StopAdani #Budget2018

The Catholic faithful and climate change: faithful choices for a flourishing world

Britten ThompsonPUBLISHED May 08, 2018

Living the Change calls upon people of all faiths and religious backgrounds to lead the charge in making responsible lifestyle choices in order to preserve the world’s most precious resources and to reduce the acceleration of climate change by making “faithful choices for a flourishing world”.

Part of making “faithful choices” is committing to three key pledges:

• reducing the consumption of meat

• limiting fossil fuel use by limiting air and car transportation

• switching to renewable sources of energy such as solar power

Celebrating an eco-conscious lifestyle

The goal of the Living the Change campaign is to limit the amount of harmful emissions produced by our activities. In addition, special events will be held in October to celebrate collective success in reducing emissions.

Thea Ormerod, the President of ARRCC, had this to say in a recent press release.

“We are excited to be promoting Living the Change in Australia.

Everywhere people are feeling the impacts of climate disruption and time is running out for effective action to put the brakes on.

While we do need to keep up the pressure for structural change, we are not restricted to helplessly waiting for politicians to act.

Ordinary people and communities have the power to do something about their own carbon footprint and thereby help to protect our common home.”

The Living the Change initiative started in the United States and was conceived of by a multi-faith organisation called GreenFaith. According to its website, “GreenFaith believes that all people deserve a healthy environment, regardless of their race or income.”

Living the Change has grown into a global initiative which partners with a number of different faith traditions. The ARRCC join the Bhumi Project, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Global Muslim Climate Network, Hazon, One Earth Sangha, World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Alliance in this global movement.

The Director of the Berlin arm of Living the Change, Caroline Bader said: “This is the first time in history that such a broad coalition of religious organisations from around the world in cooperating to promote sustainable lifestyles and behaviour change. We are convinced that, together, we can bring our commitments to scale, and work towards a flourishing world.”

A significant decline in carbon dioxide emissions

Living the Change is underpinned by the findings of scientist, Kevin Anderson.

In his research, Kevin hypothesised that “if the world’s top 10% of carbon emitters were to cut their emissions to the level of the average European Union citizen, global emissions would decline by 33%.”

To learn more about Living the Change, visit their website.

Follow mnnews.today on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Press link for more: MNNews

The World’s bleak climate situation. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange a traumatic picture.

The world’s bleak climate situation, in 3 charts

We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

David RobertsMay 1, 2018, 10:27am EDT

Every so often it’s helpful — and by helpful I also mean traumatic, so buyer beware — to pull the lens back and take a look at the big picture on climate change and what’s necessary to avert its worst consequences.

In the journal Nature, journalist Jeff Tollefson recently offered that magisterial overview of the climate challenge and the progress that’s been made so far. He finds, as such sweeping looks tend to, that both optimists and pessimists have a case. There is a revolution in clean energy … but it’s not happening fast enough.

I’ve boiled it down to three key graphics, adapted from Tollefson’s piece (which you should read, seriously).

We’re currently heading for around 3 degrees of warming

Javier Zarracina/Vox

Global average temperatures have risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius since preindustrial times. At current rates, they could exceed 1.5 degrees by 2030. And global greenhouse gas emissions, after a brief lull from 2014 to 2016, are rising again.

The worst-case scenarios, nudging up to 4 or 5 degrees, seem unlikely at this point. The political and economic winds have shifted; the curve is bending.

If all the world’s countries can live up to their pledges in the Paris climate agreement, we’ll hit the year 2100 somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 degrees. So far every country has done at least a little, though very few are on track to meet their commitments.

Suffice to say, 3 degrees is worse than 2 degrees. There’s no way to pin such differences down with precision, but this graph gives you a sense and this piece (drawn from Mark Lynas’s book Six Degrees) has a good description.

How close are we to replacing fossil fuels?

Not very close! As of 2015, renewable energy provided 19.3 percent of final global energy consumption. Excluding traditional biomass (burning wood for heat and cooking), it was 10.2 percent. Without hydro, that was 6.6 percent. Wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass electricity together accounted for 1.6 percent.

Renewables are growing faster than any other source of energy, but they’ve got a long, long way to go. As things currently stand, “because so much energy comes from coal,” Tollefson writes, “slight fluctuations from year to year can wipe out massive gains in renewables.”

The most consequential climate decisions will happen in developing nations

Javier Zarracina/Vox

The big carbon story of the 21st century thus far has been China’s miraculous spurt of economic growth, fueled almost entirely by coal, and its equally miraculous plateauing of emissions in the last few years, driven by a wide range of efforts to curb coal use.

In the US and the EU, emissions have largely decoupled from economic growth, trending mildly down, mostly due to decarbonization in electricity.

But emissions are on the upswing in India, and more importantly, in “all other” countries. It is rapidly developing countries like Turkey, Indonesia, and Vietnam where key decisions about 21st-century infrastructure are being made. A growing share of global coal demand comes from those countries, though the coal boom climate hawks feared seems to be slowing somewhat.

In a nutshell, hitting Paris targets will mean both that developed nations start rapidly reducing toward net-zero emissions by mid-century and that developing nations find a different path to prosperity than the one traveled by the countries around them holding all the wealth and still, on a per-capita basis, emitting the most carbon.

It’s a long shot.

Press link for more: Vox.com

Goal 13: Take Urgent Action To Combat #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.

People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events.

The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise.

They are now at their highest levels in history.

Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more.

The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.

Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.

The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.

But climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders.

Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere.

It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.

To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015.

The Agreement entered into force shortly thereafter, on 4 November 2016.

In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

You can learn more about the agreement here.

Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.

See which countries have signed it and which ones have deposited their ratification instruments. 

Press link for more: UN.ORG

Australian Academy of Science on #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Earth’s climate has changed over the past century.

The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, sea levels have risen, and glaciers and ice sheets have decreased in size.

The best available evidence indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause.

Continuing increases in greenhouse gases will produce further warming and other changes in Earth’s physical environment and ecosystems.

The science behind these statements is supported by extensive studies based on four main lines of evidence:

• Physical principles established more than a century ago tell us that certain trace gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour, restrict the radiant flow of heat from Earth to space. This mechanism, known as the ‘greenhouse effect’, keeps Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere considerably warmer than they would otherwise be. The gases involved are called ‘greenhouse gases’. An increase in greenhouse gas concentrations raises the temperature of the surface.

• The record of the distant past(millions of years) tells us that climate has varied greatly through Earth’s history. It has, for example, gone through ten major ice age cycles over approximately the past million years. Over the last few thousand years of this period, during which civilisations developed, climate was unusually stable. Evidence from the past confirms that climate can be sensitive to small persistent changes, such as variations in Earth’s orbit.

• Measurements from the recent past (the last 150 years) tell us that Earth’s surface has warmed as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases increased through human activities, and that this warming has led to other environmental changes. Although climate varies from decade to decade, the overall upward trend of average global surface temperature over the last century is clear.

• Climate models allow us to understand the causes of past climate changes, and to project climate change into the future. Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell us that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.

This document aims to summarise and clarify the current scientific understanding of climate change by answering nine key questions.

1 What is climate change?

The term ‘climate’, in its broadest sense, refers to a statistical description of weather and of the related conditions of oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets. This includes consideration of averages, variability and extremes. Climate change is an alteration in the pattern of climate over a long period of time, and may be due to a combination of natural and humaninduced causes.

2 How has climate changed?

Global climate has varied greatly throughout Earth’s history. In the final decades of the 20th century, the world experienced a rate of warming that is unprecedented for thousands of years, as far as we can tell from the available evidence. Global average temperature rise has been accompanied by ongoing rises in ocean temperatures, ocean heat storage, sea levels and atmospheric water vapour. There has also been shrinkage in the size of ice sheets and most glaciers. The recent slowdown in the rate of surface warming is mainly due to climate variability that has redistributed heat in the ocean, causing warming at depth and cooling of surface waters. Australia’s climate has warmed along with the global average warming.

3 Are human activities causing climate change?

Human activities are increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This increase is extremely likely to have caused most of the recent observed global warming, with CO2 being the largest contributor. Some observed changes in Australia’s climate, including warming throughout the continent and drying trends in the southwest, have been linked to rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

4 How do we expect climate to evolve in the future?

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow rapidly, it is expected that, by 2100, the global average air temperature over the Earth’s surface will warm by around 4°C above mid-19th century temperatures. There are many likely ramifications of this warming. However, if emissions are reduced sufficiently rapidly, there is a chance that global average warming will not exceed 2°C and other impacts will be limited.

5 How are extreme events changing?

Since the mid-20th century, climate change has resulted in increases in the frequency and intensity of very hot days and decreases in very cold days. These trends will continue with further global warming. Heavy rainfall events have intensified over most land areas and will likely continue to do so, but changes are expected to vary by region.

6 How are sea levels changing?

Sea levels have risen during the 20th century. The two major contributing factors are the expansion of sea water as it warms, and the loss of ice from glaciers. Sea levels are very likely to rise more quickly during the 21st century than the 20th century, and will continue to rise for many centuries.

7 What are the impacts of climate change?

Climate change has impacts on ecosystems, coastal systems, fire regimes, food and water security, health, infrastructure and human security. Impacts on ecosystems and societies are already occurring around the world, including in Australia. The impacts will vary from one region to another and, in the short term, can be both positive and negative. In the future, the impacts of climate change will intensify and interact with other stresses. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to be high, it is likely that the human-induced component of climate change will exceed the capacity of some countries to adapt.

8 What are the uncertainties and their implications?

There is near-unanimous agreement among climate scientists that human-caused global warming is real. However, future climate change and its effects are hard to predict accurately or in detail, especially at regional and local levels. Many factors prevent more accurate predictions, and some uncertainty is likely to remain for considerable time. Uncertainty in climate science is no greater than in other areas where policy decisions are routinely taken to minimise risk. Also, the uncertainty means that the magnitude of future climate change could be either greater or less than present-day best estimates.

9 What does science say about options to address climate change?

Societies, including Australia, face choices about how to respond to the consequences of future climate change. Available strategies include reducing emissions, capturing CO2, adaptation and ‘geoengineering’. These strategies, which can be combined to some extent, carry different levels of environmental risk and different societal consequences. The role of climate science is to inform decisions by providing the best possible knowledge of climate outcomes and the consequences of alternative courses of action.

Press link for more: Science.Org.Au

Climate Change & Terror Security Risks. #auspol qldpol #StopAdani

While the risks of terrorism should not be downplayed, the extensive nature of climate change risks should not be downplayed either.

Often times, the impacts are less visible but more significant, argues Janani Vivekananda.

Janani Vivekananda is a senior project manager at the international think tank adelphi, where she specialises in climate change and peacebuilding.

World leaders on international security policy meet in Munich this week to discuss the most pertinent security risks facing the world today.

High on the agenda will be the big ticket risks: nuclear proliferation, the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, the new world order vis-à-vis the U.S., Russia and the EU.

Also on the agenda is climate change.

The inclusion of non-traditional security risks such as climate change is very welcome.

It is a step towards better understanding the inter-linked risk landscape we face.

However, whilst climate change-related security risks are on the table for discussion, the extent of the risks climate change poses to international security is not matched by the financial resourcing which goes towards tackling these risks.

A look at defence balance sheets reflects this asymmetry.

Terrorism was responsible for 265 deaths in OECD countries in 2016.

In the same year, 688.5 million people or 9.3 percent of the world’s population suffered from severe food insecurity, exacerbated by climate-related events, and 24.2 million people were displaced as a consequence of slow-onset climate disasters.

The EU budget contributing to counter terrorism was €4,052 million in 2016.

Spending on climate-related security risks by the EU in 2016 was €5 million in 2016.

Policy makers in Munich deciding security and foreign policy budgets need to balance low probability, high impact risks (such as terror attacks) with high probability, low impact risks (such as climate change) – especially when the latter can actually catalyse the risk of the former.

Recent research shows that climate change-related drought in the Lake Chad region contributed to the worsening of livelihood prospects for young people in Northeastern Nigeria.

With few other prospects available, securing a decent job to put food on the table or afford to marry, and no support from the national government which had neglected and marginalised the region for decades, these unemployed young people were left ripe for recruitment by armed groups such as Boko Haram, who offer cash, loans and food.

While the risks of terrorism should not be downplayed, the extensive nature of climate change risks should not be downplayed either.

Whilst the impacts are often less visible than a terror attack, they are a highly pervasive and significant risk to international security, interacting with various other risks, with the potential to catalyse or accelerate their impacts.

The Munich Security Report – the annual synthesis of international security risks which accompanies the conference, rightly notes that climate change impact on international relations will go beyond natural disasters and should be a major factor when states consider security risks.

The report notes that “while climate change will affect economic, security and political systems all over the world, it will mainly act as a ‘threat multiplier’ in those states with limited capacities to deal with it”.

However, this consideration should go on to be reflected in actions: starting with the adequate financing of measures to address these risks, and also, importantly, including climate change risks in other security engagements such as post-conflict reconstruction and ex-combatant reintegration processes.

When it comes to risks, we know that prevention is better – and cheaper – than cure. But prevention means truly understanding all the linked issues which underlie conflict and risk – including climate change, and adequately factoring them into responses. This needs the right kind of analysis.

It also requires the right kind of resourcing. If the decision makers in Munich really want to have a serious shot at addressing some of the most serious risks we are facing today, they need to be ready and willing to put in the funding required to address the lower impact risks like climate change, which often catalyse bigger shocks.

Fear or the perceived need to respond to the most visible risks might drive some countries to spend vast amounts of money on low-probability risks like terrorism. But far-sighted foreign policies, which invest sufficiently in preventing risks such as vulnerability to climate change, would have great and lasting rewards.

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Arctic Temperatures Soar 45F #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides

By Jason Samenow February 21 at 2:28 PM Email the author

The temperature difference from normal over the Arctic averaged over the next five days in the GFS model forecast. (University of Maine Climate Reanalyzer)

While the Eastern United States simmers in some of its warmest February weather ever recorded, the Arctic is also stewing in temperatures more than 45 degrees above normal.

This latest huge temperature spike in the Arctic is another striking indicator of its rapidly transforming climate.

On Monday and Tuesday, the northernmost weather station in the world, Cape Morris Jesup at the northern tip of Greenland, experienced more than 24 hours of temperatures above freezing according to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

“How weird is that?” tweeted Robert Rohde, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley. “Well it’s Arctic winter.

The sun set in October and won’t be seen again until March.

Perpetual night, but still above freezing.”

This thaw occurred as a pulse of extremely mild air shot through the Greenland Sea.

Warm air is spilling into the Arctic from all sides.

On the opposite end of North America, abnormally mild air also poured over northern Alaska on Tuesday, where the temperature in Utqiaġvik, previously known as Barrow, soared to a record high of 31 degrees (minus-1 Celsius), 40 degrees (22 Celsius) above normal.

The warmth over Alaska occurred as almost one-third of the ice covering the Bering Sea off Alaska’s West Coast vanished in just over a week during the middle of February, InsideClimateNews reported.

Temperatures over the entire Arctic north of 80 degrees latitude have averaged about 10 degrees (6 Celsius) above normal since the beginning of the calendar year, sometimes spiking over 25 degrees  (14 Celsius) above normal (the normal temperature is around minus-22, or minus-30 Celsius).

These kinds of temperature anomalies in the Arctic have become commonplace in winter in the past few years. “[T]he *persistence* of the above average temperatures is quite striking,” tweeted Zack Labe, a PhD candidate in climate science at the University of California at Irvine.

Some of the most extreme warmth of the year so far is forecast to flood the Arctic in coming days, with a number of areas seeing temperatures that exceed 45 degrees (25 Celsius) above normal (dark pink shades below) and up to 60 degrees (34 Celsius) above normal. The mercury at the North Pole could well rise above freezing between Thursday and Sunday.

This next batch of abnormally warm air is forecast to shoot the gap between Greenland and northern Europe through the Greenland and Barents seas. Similar circumstances occurred in December 2016, when the temperature at the North Pole last flirted with the melting point in the dark, dead of winter. We documented similarly large jumps in temperature in November 2016 and December 2015.

An analysis from Climate Central said these extreme winter warming events in the Arctic, once rare, could become commonplace if the planet continues warming.

A study in the journal Nature published in 2016 found the decline of sea ice in the Arctic “is making it easier for weather systems to transport this heat polewards.”

Arctic sea ice was at its lowest extent on record this past January, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I have sailed boats through [the Arctic Sea] but never this time of year,” tweeted David Thoreson, an Arctic photographer. “It’s amazing to watch this unfold.”

The record-setting temperatures and lack of ice is exactly what scientists have projected over the Arctic for years and it’s fundamentally changing the landscape.

“Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades,” NOAA concluded in its Arctic Report Card, published in December.

Jason is The Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang’s chief meteorologist. He earned a master’s degree in atmospheric science and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association. Follow @capitalweather

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