World Bank

Global warming is causing more extreme storms.

Scientists have known for decades (more than a century actually) that increases in greenhouse gases will cause the Earth to warm. What is less clear is how this warming will impact the weather we experience on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. Recent research shows that we are already feeling the changes.

So, how might a warm planet be different from the planet we inherited? Increased temperatures can cause more heat waves, more droughts, more intense rainfall, higher water-vapor levels, sea-level rise, changes to ocean acidity, more intense winds, etc. Of course, some of these are not “weather” (ocean acidification and sea-level rise), but I include them because they are well-known and significant ways in which climate change expresses itself.

It is not correct to think these are future changes that will impact our children or their children. Rather, these changes can be detected now. And, as the years progress, we are detecting more significant changes.

Press link for more: John Abraham |

Four-fifths of global coal reserves ‘must stay in ground’ to tackle climate change

Less than a fifth of the world’s existing coal reserves can be burnt if the world wants to avoid dangerous global warming – while developing oil and gas in the Arctic is “inconsistent” with tackling climate change, government-funded research has found.
A third of existing oil reserves and half of gas reserves must also stay in the ground if the world wants to avert extremes of climate change in the most cost-effective way, the study by scientists at University College London concluded.
UK shale gas development could still be compatible with global warming goals – but only if it is used as a substitute for other more expensive or polluting fossil fuels, the report’s authors said.
The study, published in the journal Nature, is the latest contribution to the debate over the so-called “carbon bubble” – the theory that if global warming is to be limited to within 2C, the stated UN goal, carbon emissions must be capped such that much of the world’s existing fossil fuel reserves can never be burnt.

Press link for more: Emily Gosden |

Are we Heading for a Collapse? Limits to Growth Revisited

The Global Risks 2015 Report from the World Economic Forum (WEF)[1] marks 10 years of reporting by the WEF on the risks facing our global society.
In those 10 years, the risks highlighted by the WEF have shifted markedly.
Prior to 2010, economic risks represented 60 per cent of all listed risks. Since then, economic risks have fallen to 13 per cent of all risks. The marked change is in environmental and climate related risks, up from zero to 37 per cent of all risks. If societal and geopolitical risks are added to the environmental list, it could be argued that 64 per cent of the identified risks are directly related to the destruction of our natural capital, and social disruption.
As much of the ecological loss and changed climate are now considered irreversible, is it not time to seriously rethink our current reliance on economic growth (GDP) as the seemingly only indicator of national well-being? This WEF report shows that economists have at last recognised that global natural and societal systems are in serious decline, and they are calling for change.
Click for more: Professor David Hood |

Of Course Paris Climate Talks Won’t Keep Warming Below The Dangerous 2°C Limit

We have been ignoring climate scientists for so long — more than a quarter-century — that there was never a possibility that one agreement could change our emissions pathway so sharply. That’s particularly true because the individual national commitments are geared toward 2030 (or 2025). To stabilize anywhere near 2°C, you would need firm commitments from all of the major countries for steady post-2030 cuts that ultimately leading to zero global omissions by 2100. That was never going to happen.
So does that mean Paris will be a failure? EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete says no: “2C is an objective. If we have an ongoing process you can not say it is a failure if the mitigation commitments do not reach 2C.” Slate says you can say it is a failure because 2°C “is the entire goal of the U.N. climate negotiations. That’s it. That’s what the world is fighting for. All of the eggs have been put in that basket.”

Press for more: Joe Romm |

The road to Paris: 2015 Make or break for climate change?

In 2015 the international community has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to align the climate change and development agenda. A series of global summits on climate change, disaster risk reduction, financing for development and sustainable development goals could embed into the post-2015 global governance architecture a coherent agenda for tackling interlocking environmental risks.
Convergence among governments on these decisions could kick-start the next generation of sustainable growth and poverty reduction – through catalysing private finance and scaling low-carbon, climate-resilient investment, especially but not only in developing countries. However, the opportunity will be missed if governments continue to value narrow short-term concerns above the prospect of longer-term global prosperity and environmental security. More vulnerable populations will be consigned to the negative spiral of poverty and environmental degradation.
Until recently, the expectation was that governments would struggle to finalize a strong global climate accord in time for the Paris climate conference in December 2015. But is the tide beginning to turn? At the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2014, over 1,000 businesses and investors signalled their support for global carbon pricing. So did some 73 countries, covering 52% of global GDP and 54% of global emissions.
Major consumer companies and financial institutions see the need to reduce global climate risks and have mobilized action along their supply chains, for example through the New York Declaration on Forests and the move towards climate- friendly coolants. The Oil & Gas Climate Initiative signalled refreshed engagement from major energy producers.
The hope is that these coalitions of committed businesses could both inject concrete solutions and create a more positive global atmosphere for governments to collectively make decisions in 2015. A positive signal is the agreement between China and the United States in November 2014. A strong set of clear policy signals to the wider business community is needed from the world’s governments on their ambition to tackle environmental risks. The year 2015 is not an opportunity the world can afford to miss.
Press link for more: Global Risks 2015 |

Can the world live better and curb climate change?

The world can improve living standards for all while cutting climate-changing emissions to keep to an internationally agreed limit for global warming, a team led by the British government said on Wednesday.

It launched an online calculator allowing businesses, governments, researchers and the public to explore how different ways of pursuing economic development to 2050 will shape carbon emissions and rising temperatures.

Even though the world’s population is set to rise to 10 billion by 2050 from 7 billion today, the tool shows it is possible for everyone to eat well, travel further and live in more comfortable homes, without pushing global temperature rise above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

But to achieve that, we must use energy more efficiently, shift away from fossil fuels, protect forests and make smarter use of land, it added.

Press link for more: World Economic Forum

History of Climate Science.

The fact that carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse gas’ – a gas that prevents a certain amount of heat radiation escaping back to space and thus maintains a generally warm climate on Earth, goes back to an idea that was first conceived, though not specifically with respect to CO2, nearly 200 years ago. The story of how this important physical property was discovered, how its role in the geological past was evaluated and how we came to understand that its increased concentration, via fossil fuel burning, would adversely affect our future, covers about two centuries of enquiry, discovery, innovation and problem-solving.

In the beginning…
To pick up the scientific trail of what is today known as the Greenhouse Effect, we need to travel back in time to France in the 1820s. Napoleon, defeated at the Battle of Waterloo just a few years previously, had just died, but somebody who had at one time undertaken significant engineering and academic projects for the late Emperor was now busily engaged on his investigations of the physical world, with a specific interest in the behaviour of heat. This was Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768–1830).

Fourier had calculated that a planetary object the size of Earth should, quite simply, not be as warm as it is at its distance from the Sun. Therefore, he reasoned, there must be something else apart from incoming solar radiation, some other factor that keeps the planet warmer. One suggestion he came up with was that the energy coming in from the sun in the form of visible and ultra-violet light (known back then as “luminous heat”) was easily able to pass through Earth’s atmosphere and heat up the planet’s surface, but that the “non-luminous heat” (now known as infra-red radiation) then emitted by the Earth’s surface could not make it back in the opposite direction quite so readily. The warmed air must, he reasoned, act as some kind of insulating blanket. That was about as far as he got with the idea back then, as the detailed measurements required to explore this hypothesis were not available, given the technology of the day.

Press Link for more:

Earth’s Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening?

Evidence of a human role in climate change keeps piling up. Recent studies of record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels, and high levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere all point to an Earth under stress from a rapidly expanding human presence.

We are burning record levels of coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel modern society. As a result, we are producing record levels of greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere, melt the planet’s ice, and cause the oceans to become more acidic-threatening marine life.

And as our numbers and appetites keep growing, we also keep cutting down tropical forests to expand cropland and decimating native ocean fish populations with industrial-scale fishing. We pollute waterways and coastal regions with nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer runoff from those croplands.

Scientists say it’s as if the gauges on Earth’s environmental dashboard are flashing yellow and red as we put the planet under increasing stress.

Press Link for more:

Dennis Dimick |

Climate Change: What we can do right away and what we still will have to adapt to.

The failure of the climate negotiations, the inertia of the of the global energy system Slowing climate change by working with short-lived climate pollutants.

Why we cannot avoid 2 degC warming at mid-century.


This we know because it no longer works to destroy our habitat. A law of Ecocide can be put in place at the very top, as an international crime, over and above all other laws – to prevent mass damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems. To do this means amending the Rome Statute. This requires a Member State to table it at the next Review Conference (due next year). All nations have been sent a Concept Paper and this website sets out in the public domain the proposal that will change the course of history – should we choose.

Polly Higgins |