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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Climate adaptation policies are needed more than ever

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2020

Date: 30‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

People are already suffering from catastrophic losses as a result of extreme weather events like cyclone Amphan

On may 16th a telltale anticlockwise spiral of clouds in satellite images taken over the Bay of Bengal warned of impending disaster. Four days later Supercyclone Amphan made landfall, the most powerful storm to do so in the region in 20 years. Winds gusting at up to 185km/hr pounded the coast of the Indian state of West Bengal, which took the brunt of the impact. Huge waves swept over the Indian and Bangladeshi coast. Trees were lifted out of the ground, city streets turned to rivers, tens of thousands lost their homes. Yet the number of deaths was relatively low. As of May 27th there had been around 100 overall, though the number could rise as emergency services reach the more remote areas. In Bangladesh there were just over 20.

For several decades now Bangladesh’s cyclone death tolls have been falling. The storms have not become less brutal; and rising sea levels, combined with the country’s flat‑as‑a‑pancake coastline and growing population, have put ever more people at risk. But Bangladesh has developed a layered adaptation plan to cope with these disasters. It now has an early‑warning system offering precious extra minutes for people to evacuate to concrete cyclone shelters, and sea walls to protect stretches of coastline. In 2019, Cyclone Fani—not a storm on Amphan’s scale, but one which at its peak would have been a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic—killed dozens. In the late 20th century and early 21st, death tolls for powerful storms were in the thousands to hundreds of thousands. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Learning the Lessons of the Pandemic

Posted by hkarner - 24. Mai 2020

Date: 22‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Javier Solana

Javier Solana, a former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Secretary‑General of NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain, is currently President of the Esade Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution. 

Many fear that the pandemic invites national withdrawal, but the world’s scientists are showing us a better way forward. They are not only putting their research at everyone’s disposal, but also modeling a cooperative way of working that enables them to produce more and better output.

MADRID – Among its many other effects, the COVID‑19 crisis has intensified the pre‑existing geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States. This tension has led many to warn of the “Thucydides trap,” a term coined by Harvard’s Graham T. Allison to refer to the heightened risk of conflict when an emerging power threatens to displace an established one. Allison’s theory takes its name from the ancient Greek historian Thucydides’ chronicle of the Peloponnesian War, in which Sparta defeated the rising city‑state of Athens.

One important detail of this historical touchstone has passed largely unnoticed, however, even amid the ongoing pandemic: the determining factor in Sparta’s victory was a plague that killed about one‑third of Athens’s population, including Pericles, the city’s leader.

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How modelling articulates the science of climate change

Posted by hkarner - 5. Mai 2020

Date: 03‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

From paper and pencil to the world’s fastest computers

To imagine earth without greenhouse gases in its atmosphere is to turn the familiar blue marble into a barren lump of rock and ice on which the average surface temperature hovers around ‑18ºC. Such a planet would not receive less of the sunlight which is the ultimate source of all Earth’s warmth. But when the energy it absorbed from the sunlight was re‑emitted as infrared radiation, as the laws of physics require, it would head unimpeded back out into space.

Greenhouse gases block that swift exit. Transparent to incoming sunlight, they absorb outgoing infrared radiation, thus warming the atmosphere and, in so doing, the surface below. The result is an average surface temperature of some 15ºC—warm enough for open seas and oceans and a vibrant biosphere.

In the late 19th century the discovery of the ice ages led scientists to the conclusion that climate could change on a global scale. Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist, wondered if a weakened greenhouse effect might be to blame. Carbon dioxide was known to be a greenhouse gas: Eunice Foote, an American scientist, had found in the 1850s that the rate at which a sealed jar of air warmed up in sunlight depended on the level of carbon dioxide in that air. So Arrhenius—recently divorced, somewhat melancholy and in need of a project—began laboriously to calculate the effects on the climate of halving the atmosphere’s level of carbon dioxide. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Building a Post‑Pandemic World Will Not Be Easy

Posted by hkarner - 2. Mai 2020

Date: 01‑05‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Jean Pisani‑Ferry

Jean Pisani‑Ferry, a senior fellow at Brussels‑based think tank Bruegel and a senior non‑resident fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, holds the Tommaso Padoa‑Schioppa chair at the European University Institute.

Both the COVID‑19 crisis and the climate crisis highlight the limits of humanity’s power over nature. But while both remind us that the Anthropocene epoch may jeopardize our continued existence, and that benign everyday behavior can result in catastrophic outcomes, such similarities must not obscure crucial differences.

PARIS – Die‑hard green militants regard it as obvious: the COVID‑19 crisis only strengthens the urgent need for climate action. But die‑hard industrialists are equally convinced: there should be no higher priority than to repair a ravaged economy, postponing stricter environmental regulations if necessary. The battle has started. Its outcome will define the post‑pandemic world. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Covid‑19 and the climate

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2020

Date: 23‑04‑2020

Source: The Economist

The pandemic should neither distract people from action on climate change nor confuse them about it

April 22nd was doubly disrupted. If it had not been messed up by the covid‑19 pandemic, as all days now are, parts of it would have been brought to a halt by activism about the climate. This was the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, a festival of demonstrations, marches and teach‑ins that took place mostly in America and is widely seen as marking the birth of modern environmentalism. Organisers had hoped that this year’s would see hundreds of millions take to the streets around the world. A huge school strike of the sort pioneered by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist, was planned, as well as who‑knows‑what by way of direct action. A new generation of environmental activists intended to demand a better future more loudly than ever. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Will COVID‑19 Put Us Right with Nature?

Posted by hkarner - 19. April 2020

Date: 17‑04‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Robert Skidelsky

Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords, is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University. The author of a three‑volume biography of John Maynard Keynes, he began his political career in the Labour party, became the Conservative Party’s spokesman for Treasury affairs in the House of Lords, and was eventually forced out of the Conservative Party for his opposition to NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999. 

The COVID‑19 virus, as frightening as it now seems, may ultimately fail to jolt humanity out of its profligate habits. But instead of regarding the pandemic as merely another problem requiring a technical fix, the world should see it as an opportunity to rethink humanity’s relationship with the planet. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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US’s global reputation hits rock‑bottom over Trump’s coronavirus response

Posted by hkarner - 14. April 2020

Date: 13‑04‑2020

Source: The Guardian

International relations expert warns policy failure could do lasting damage as president insults allies and undermines alliances

Donald Trump answers a question about hospitals and frontline healthcare workers reporting shortages of masks and coronavirus tests.

Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he once dismissed as a hoax, has been fiercely criticised at home as woefully inadequate to the point of irresponsibility.

Yet also thanks largely to Trump, a parallel disaster is unfolding across the world: the ruination of America’s reputation as a safe, trustworthy, competent international leader and partner.

Call it the Trump double‑whammy. Diplomatically speaking, the US is on life support.

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A Very Hot Year

Posted by hkarner - 24. Februar 2020

Date: 23‑02‑2020

Source: Bill McKibben

This year began with huge bushfires in southeastern Australia that drove one community after another into temporary exile, killed an estimated billion animals, and turned Canberra’s air into the dirtiest on the planet. The temperatures across the continent broke records—one day, the average high was above 107 degrees, and the humidity so low that forests simply exploded into flames. The photos of the disaster were like something out of Hieronymus Bosch, with crowds gathered on beaches under blood‑red skies, wading into the water as their only refuge from the flames licking nearby. But such scenes are only a chaotic reminder of what is now happening every hour of every day. This year wouldn’t have begun in such a conflagration if 2019 hadn’t been an extremely hot year on our planet—the second‑hottest on record, and the hottest without a big El Niño event to help boost temperatures. And we can expect those numbers to be eclipsed as the decade goes on. Indeed, in mid‑February the temperature at the Argentine research station on the Antarctic Peninsula hit 65 degrees Fahrenheit, crushing the old record for the entire continent.

It is far too late to stop global warming, but these next ten years seem as if they may be our last chance to limit the chaos. If there’s good news, it’s that 2019 was also a hot year politically, with the largest mass demonstrations about climate change taking place around the world.

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Jeff Bezos Pledges $10 Billion to Tackle Climate Change

Posted by hkarner - 19. Februar 2020

Date: 18‑02‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Amazon CEO says fund will aid scientists, others to fight ‘biggest threat to our planet’

Jeff Bezos’s $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund aims to provide financial backing to scientists, activists, non‑government organizations and others trying to counter effects of climate change on the natural world.

Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says he is committing $10 billion to start a new fund to fight climate change, the biggest philanthropic move to date for the world’s richest man.

Mr. Bezos, who announced the new fund on his Instagram account on Monday, said the Bezos Earth Fund would help back scientists, activists, non‑government organizations and any other effort that “offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.”

Mr. Bezos, who provided few details about the fund, said he would start issuing grants this summer.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

Mr. Bezos didn’t specify whether he plans to set up a philanthropic foundation or seek to provide grant funding through another entity. A spokesman for Amazon confirmed that the pledge is genuine but declined to provide any additional details on Mr. Bezos’s plans. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Earth just had hottest January since records began, data shows

Posted by hkarner - 15. Februar 2020

Date: 13‑02‑2020

Source: The Guardian

Average global temperature 2.5F above 20th‑century average

Antarctic has begun February with several temperature spikes

Chinstrap penguins in Antarctica, which at the weekend broke 20C for the first time in its history.

Last month was the hottest January on record over the world’s land and ocean surfaces, with average temperatures exceeding anything in the 141 years of data held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The record temperatures in January follow an exceptionally warm 2019, which has been ranked as the second hottest year for the planet’s surface since reliable measurements started. The past five years and the past decade are the hottest in 150 years of record‑keeping, an indication of the gathering pace of the climate crisis. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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