I devoured Lord Stern’s now famous report six years ago (has it been that long!?). At the time Stern’s report was very controversial. It focused primarily on the economic impacts from climate, and had included some incredibly high numbers. It was widely thought to be out-of-touch with reality - that his numbers were wildly overestimated and his analysis of the models was flawed. True, this reception has softened somewhat over the years.
Now Stern says he didn’t go far enough.
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more “blunt” about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”
The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are “on track for something like four “. Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, “I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.”
He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.
“This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential.”
As I am about to spell out, the funders, experts, professional environmentalists, and cooperative business leaders who labored during the 2000s to prepare the way for a legislative push for cap and trade when a friendly president and Congress took office were not noticing the overall shifts in American politics that would make their insider-bargaining effort virtually impossible to pull off.
From the report, “NAMING THE PROBLEM What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight against Global Warming” written by Harvard political professor Theda Skocpol. Her new climate change report can be read, here(PDF).
The report documents and analyzes the recent history the U.S.’s failure to adopt a federal climate policy. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll form an opinion in a bit. However, the climate investigators at Desmogblog
. are reporting Skocpol’s report lays the foundation for a solution and a way forward. I’ll check it out and get back to y’all…
In its annual report, State of the Climate, NOAA reported that the average annual temperature was 55.3 degrees — 3.3 degrees greater than the average temperature for the 20th century.
It’s an easy to read report, and well worth checking out. Also, follow the LATimes tumblr for some solid journalism.
The Congressional Research Service has confirmed what we’ve known all along,” said Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans. “The Senate coal ash bill is a sham that will not protect communities from toxic coal ash or prevent another Kingston disaster. Congress must get out of the way and let EPA do its job.
Pending Bills Fail to Protect Communities from Toxic Coal Ash — EcoWatch (via coalashchronicles)
When government bows to industry.
Embarrassing report on how coal power plants pollute more in black and poor communities than in white, middle-class areas. The Fourcorners Power Plant in New Mexico, for example, is located in one of the poorest communities in the United States - the average income is just over $6,000 per year. Over 66% that live near the plant are Native Americans. And nearly 20% of the people that live near the plant have a various forms of lung disease.
This report exposes environmental injustices in the U.S. Not only are these polluting plants allowed, politicians defend them from being regulated by fighting for pollution loop-holes, light penalties, and weak permitting.
The NAACP’s powerful report is well worth your time.
Report: “The Deadliest, Costliest, and most Intense U.S. Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010 (and other frequently requested hurricane facts)”
Nifty PDF. Technical, but easy to read and focused on U.S. storms. Shows the rank, year, paths on maps, deaths, damage, and economic impacts of several storms over the past century. 46 pages. Looks like Hurricane Sandy will be ranked 6th.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a sexy environmental non-profit that helps save endangered species and habitats, has had a very successful year. In their annual report, the CBD lists some fantastic wins:
- Signed the largest agreement in history to speed up protections for 757 animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.
- Obtained new, final critical habitat protection on more than 2 million acres in Alaska, California and beyond, as well as proposed protected habitat on another 9 million acres — from Hawaii to Mississippi.
- Helped kill an “extinction rider” that would have done away with funding for new species listings and habitat protection.
- Launched a campaign, 7 Billion and Counting, making a public connection between human overpopulation and species extinction; we gave away 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms across the country and published a report on the 10 U.S. species most threatened by human population growth.
- Instrumental in securing from the Obama administration a 20-year ban on new uranium mining across 1 million Grand Canyon acres.
- After 10 years of fighting, we also won new protections for more than 40 threatened and endangered species on four national forests in Southern California.
- Launched the Climate Law Institute, an innovative national campaign, Clean Air Cities, that’s had stellar success to date in rallying 27 cities across the United States to sign resolutions in support of clean air and a healthy climate.
- In the high-profile fight against the destructive Keystone XL Pipeline, we led a lawsuit to halt illegal construction along a 100-mile corridor of Nebraska.
- Filed to protect more than 200 species from hundreds of pesticides — the most comprehensive legal action ever brought under the Endangered Species Act.
- Helped supporters take 1.3 million online actions to save wildlife and wild places; we launched our new Species Finder Android app, containing instantly accessible information on more than 1,000 imperiled plants and animals.
Read the report, here (it’s short and easy to read!). Check out the section on climate change on page 12!
This terribly reported and frankly lazily written article shows that old-dog journalists are not only out of touch with readers, they have utterly lost their way. The story should be about the United States’ first wind turbine testing facility. Here’s a video. Here are photos of the facility’s ribbon cutting, with none other than Deval Patrick (Obama’s friggin reelection campaign co-chair) and other state politicians and leaders.
The facility will save millions of dollars for wind turbine manufacturers in the US. MILLIONS. Like an airplane wing, wind turbine blades have to be stress-tested in wind tunnels. The only viable tunnels for stress testing are in Europe. So, a US manufacturer would have to ship their blades - by boat, then rail - to Denmark or Germany for testing.
This is the first and only wind turbine testing facility in the United States. THAT’S HUGE NEWS!
Read the article - did the above come through? No. But, you do get to hear some random critics’ opinions without the reporter questioning, challenging, researching, or cross-referencing to their claims - or stating their relevance to the story (aka “the other side” - you know, to “balance” the article. Bullshit).
This so-called “balanced reporting” methodology is a trend that started in the ’90s and for cry-eye it has to stop! Report the f&cking story. Stop giving the mic to any Joe-blow opposition to fill requisite space because yrr too darn lazy to dig deep.
I love my home state, but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to read garbage articles on important issues that affect the entire fucking country’s economy. Manufacturing is down. And this early-home-run project adds to the nation’s upswing (hint: that’s the nut, Globers).
This story demonstrates why I’m increasingly turning to the hotties at Los Angeles Times (great tumblr!), Reuters, Slate, Al Jazeera, and even the stodgy The Hill.
Anyway, read the story below if you can bear it… </rant>
Harnessing the winds of change
- The sprawling Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown aims to help the wind industry develop turbines better able to survive blizzards and other tests of nature.
The ocean has been rising slowly and relentlessly since the late 19th century, one of the hallmark indicators that the climate of the earth is changing. The average global rise has been about eight inches since 1880, but the local rise has been higher in some places where the land is also sinking, as in Louisiana and the Chesapeake Bay region.
The rise appears to have accelerated lately, to a rate of about a foot per century, and many scientists expect a further acceleration as the warming of the planet continues.
Rising Sea Levels Threatening Coasts
Now reading: WRI’s new report, Making Adaptation Count, proposes a framework for monitoring and evaluating adaptation. What does this mean?
Countries around the world are bracing themselves for the impacts of climate change, and already learning to manage changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, and sea level rise. Adapting to these conditions will require countries to implement a range of new projects and innovations. The World Bank estimates that these kinds of efforts – including reinforcing critical infrastructure and dramatically improving agricultural productivity - could cost developing countries US$75-$100 billion annually. In many ways these countries are navigating uncharted territory, and they need to know if adaptation initiatives are creating benefits. That’s why finding ways to keep track of these efforts and their effectiveness is crucial.
For development interventions, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a way to see whether actions are actually meeting intended goals. Monitoring involves keeping track of who’s doing what to implement and tracking the results of these efforts. Evaluation can be conducted prior to, during, or after implementation to examine the reasons behind and likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
“Massachusetts Audubon Society ‘State of the Birds’ report: Climate change affecting bird population. Above, the red-bellied woodpecker, primarily a Southern bird, is becoming more common in Massachusetts.”
TURTLE NESTING MAP! From the stunning (STUNNING!) report, State of theWorld’s Sea Turtles. Many amazing photographs of sea turtles. Lots of GIS maps. Chock full of articles covering everything from the Gulf oil leak, climate impacts, egg saving programs, etc. GO NOW!
Where The Turtles Are
Groundbreaking! Or should I say Oceanbreaking?
Scientists and volunteers from around the world have pooled together data of the green turtle and its nesting sites over a seven year stint. It displays a whopping 1,167 nest sites!
The map lists key nesting sites of the endangered sea turtle and landed the top prize in conservation mapping for 2011. Rightly so! It’s pretty tricky trying to save something you don’t know much about, and elusive sea turtles are shrouded in mystery.
For the full article, please click here!