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2012 SkS Bi-Weekly News Roundup #9

Posted on 12 December 2012 by John Hartz

This is a biweekly roundup of selected news articles and blog posts about climate change and its impacts. Readers are encouraged to comment on the posted articles and to provide links to other articles of importance.

Adapting to Climate Change

While world leaders were wrapping up the United Nations conference on climate change (COP 18) in Doha, Qatar this past weekend with the annual vague promise to tackle the enormous crises brought on by extreme weather and global warming, a delegation of youth gathered far from the high-level conference halls to say “no” to advocacy without action.

Youth Call for ‘Change of Course’ to Solve Climate Crisis by Isolda Agazzi, Inter Press Service (IPS), Dec 11, 2012

‘Black Swan’ Storm Surges

Hurricane Sandy offered a grim reminder of how vulnerable coastal cities, such as New York, are in the face of rare, powerful storms. As sea levels rise in response to global warming, this vulnerability is likely to increase, leaving officials across the U.S. and around the world to grapple with increasingly urgent questions regarding how to adapt in a rapidly changing world.

Warming May Bring More ‘Black Swan’ Storm Surges by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Dec 11, 2012

IPCC Ppredicitions: Then Versus Now

Scientists will tell you: There are no perfect computer models. All are incomplete representations of nature, with uncertainty built into them. But one thing is certain: Several fundamental projections found in U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports have consistently underestimated real-world observations, potentially leaving world governments in doubt as to how to guide climate policy.

IPCC Predictions: Then Versus Now by Glenn Scherer, The Daily Climate/Climate Central, Dec 11, 2012 

The Doha "Climate Gateway"

The United Nations climate talks in Doha went a full extra 24 hours and ended without increased cuts in fossil fuel emissions and without financial commitments between 2013 and 2015.

“This an incredibly weak deal,” said Samantha Smith representing the Climate Action Network, a coalition of more than 700 civil society organisations. 

“Governments came here with no mandate for action,” Smith said in a press scrum moments after the meeting known as COP 18 ended and the 195 parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approved a complex package called “The Doha Climate Gateway”.

Doha Climate Summit Ends With No New CO2 Cuts or Funding by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service (IPS), Dec 10, 2012

The World Cannot Wait

“We can’t wait until the 2020s to start cutting emissions. We are going to have to do it this decade,” said Samantha Smith, who heads the Global Climate and Energy Initiative of the World Wildlife Fund, in a telephone interview from Doha.

Ignoring Planetary Peril, a Profound ‘Disconnect’ Between Science and Doha by Christopher Shuetze, International Herald Tribue, Dec 9, 2012 

Uneven Climate Change

Much of the unevenness in warming due to climate change is a result of a variation in the atmosphere's heat capacity. The claim, made by researchers in Norway, is likely to be seen as ammunition against climate sceptics who have questioned why some parts of the world are apparently not warming.

Uneven climate change due to atmospheric heat capacity by Jon Cartwright, Environmental Research Web, Dec 10, 2012

World’s biggest, oldest trees dying fast

Colorado ‘s old lodgepoles aren’t the only forest giants that are dying. Around the world, the biggest, oldest trees that harbor and sustain countless birds and other wildlife, are meeting the same fate.

Three of the world’s leading ecologists say they’ve documented an alarming increase in the death rate of trees between 100 and 300 years old in many of the world’s forests, woodlands, savannahs, farming areas and even in cities.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said lead author Professor David Lindenmayer, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and Australian National University.

Climate: World’s biggest, oldest trees dying fast by Bob Berwyn, Summit County Citizens Voice, Dec 9, 2012

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Science magazine published This article on insurance industry responses to Global warming (this link is a summary, there is a link to the full article). From the article: "Increasingly, multifaceted weather- and climate-related insurance losses involve property damage, business disruptions, health impacts, and legal claims against polluters. Worldwide, insured claims that were paid for weather catastrophes average $50 billion/ year (about 40% of total direct insured and uninsured costs); they have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation. Insurers must also tackle risks emerging from society’s responses to climate change, including how structures are built and energy is produced" How come Pielke Jr says insurance costs are not going up when this article says doubling every decade? This article states that insurance is 7% of the global economy. They discuss market mechanisms where insurance companies are responding to AGW.
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  2. @Michael Sweet #1: Only Roger Pielke Jr. can answer your question. It will be interesting to see whether or not he posts a critique of the Nature paper you have cited on his website. I suspect that he will do so, For purposes of clarification, the link that you embedded in your post is to the article, From Risk to Opportunity 2012: The Greening of Insurance posted on the website Insurance in A Climate of Change. This website is part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division.
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