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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #43A

Posted on 23 October 2013 by John Hartz

  • China, US could help push new U.N. climate deal - experts
  • Climate is adversely impacting regional water resources in U.S.
  • How 9 major U.S. papers deal with climate-denying letters
  • Keystone XL pipeline could yield $100 billion for Koch brothers
  • One year after Sandy - ignoring climate change at our own peril
  • Super smog hits Chinese city
  • 'The Tipping Points' showcases regions altered by warming climate
  • The United States of drought
  • UN climate chief warns Australia
  • United States urges flexibility in new global climate deal
  • We need to talk about bushfires and climate change
  • Why we don't care about saving our grandchildren from climate change

China, US could help push new U.N. climate deal - experts

The world’s two biggest climate polluters, China and the United States, may have new impetus to push toward a global deal to curb climate change at U.N. negotiations in Warsaw next month, experts told a conference in London on Monday.

Worsening air pollution - which led to the shutdown of Harbin, a city of 11 million, in northern China this week - is putting growing pressure on China’s leadership to curb dirty power plants and cut emissions, experts said, while the United States is finding progress on its emission reduction goals easier as it transitions from coal energy to shale gas.

As negotiators start hammering out a new 2015 deal to tackle climate change, “China is going to set the level of ambition of the agreement,” predicted Nick Mabey, the head of E3G, an independent London-based policy group that aims to accelerate a global transition to sustainable development.

China, US could help push new U.N. climate deal - experts by Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Oct 22, 2013

Climate is adversely impacting regional water resources in U.S.

Population is rapidly rising and agricultural, energy, and industrial demands for water are growing. Those needs are now colliding dangerously with climate change, destabilizing water resources with very different and serious repercussions across the U.S.

Waterworld USA: Climate Is Adversely Impacting Regional Water Resources by Sharon Guynup, Common Dreams, Oct 20, 2013

How 9 major U.S. papers deal with climate-denying letters

The Los Angeles Times took a stand against climate misinformation on its letters page. Will other newspapers follow its lead?

How 9 Major Papers Deal With Climate-Denying Letters by Jeremy Schulman, Mother Jones, Oct 21, 2013

Keystone XL pipeline could yield $100 billion for Koch brothers

Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could generate $100 billion in profits for billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, according to a report released Sunday, which revealed the extent to which the Kochs would benefit from the tar sands development the proposed pipeline would help spur.

A progressive think tank called the International Forum on Globalization completedthe study, which found that the Kochs and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, hold up to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, the proposed starting point of the Keystone XL. Several Koch Industries subsidiaries stand to benefit from the pipeline's construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.

Keystone XL Pipeline Could Yield $100 Billion For Koch Brothers by Jared Gilmour, The Huffington Post, Oct

One year after Sandy - ignoring climate change at our own peril

It’s been one year since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the eastern coast of the United States, affecting twenty-four states and devastating parts of New Jersey and New York. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Millions were left without power. As many as 100 people died; most of whom drowned as the storm surged in Staten Island and Queens. At $65 billion, Sandy was the second costliest storm in US history.

Today, communities that were reduced to rubble are steadily recovering. And yet, one year later, policymakers have yet to address climate change, which undoubtedly contributed to the strength, magnitude and danger of Sandy. There is little discussion of rebuilding in a way that better prepares us for the ravages of future storms. And after Washington’s most recent shameful display of deadlock and dysfunction, it would be wishful thinking to presume that Congress will act on this issue anytime soon.

One Year After Sandy—Ignoring Climate Change at Our Own Peril, Op-ed by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation/Washington Post, Oct 22, 2013

Super smog hits Chinese city

Visibility shrank to less than half a football field and small-particle pollution soared to a record 40 times higher than an international safety standard in one northern Chinese city as the region entered its high-smog season.

The manager for U.S. jazz singer Patti Austin, meanwhile, said the singer had canceled a concert in Beijing because of an asthma attack likely linked to pollution. 

Super Smog Hits Chinese City As Air Pollution Soars To 40 Times Higher Than International Safety Standard by Louise Watt, Oct 21, 2013

'The Tipping Points' showcases regions altered by warming climate

There's a lot of scary Halloween programming this month, but a new Weather Channel series might be the most frightening of all. “The Tipping Points: 6 Places on Earth Where Climate’s Changed” is scary because it’s real, showing what global warming will do to the planet if it proceeds at the current rate — starting with the Amazon rain forest, where drought, fires, changes in carbon dioxide, and loss of biodiversity due to climate change are converging with disastrous consequences.

Premiering Oct. 19, the series is hosted by polar explorer, former rafting instructor, and climate journalist and lecturer Bernice Notenboom, who holds an MBA and a master's degree in geography and communications science and who hopes to reach a wider audience via television. “Over the years I became more interested in reporting about climate change,” she tells MNN. With 'Tipping Points,' "My quest is to educate big audiences including children, businesses and general public."

'The Tipping Points,' New Weather Channel Series, Showcases Regions Altered By Warming Climate by Gerri Miller, Mother Nature Network, The Huffington Post, Oct 18, 2013

The United States of drought

As the planet heats up and larger populations demand larger water supplies, the United States will be left high and dry if it fails to address a worsening water shortage.

By 2060, the gap between water supply and demand could grow to nearly four billion cubic metres per year – 10 times the amount of water used by the desert-bound city of Las Vegas.

The United States of Drought by Ramy Srour, Inter Press Service (IPS), Oct 21, 2013

United States urges flexibility in new global climate deal

The United States called on Tuesday for a more flexible approach to a new United Nations' climate deal which balances the needs of all countries and has a better chance of success.

Two years ago, some 190 countries agreed to develop a pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol which would force all nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The deal is to be signed by 2015 and come into force in 2020.

Countries will meet again next month to work on the content and design of the new deal in Warsaw but progress this year has been slow.

United States urges flexibility in new global climate deal by Nina Chestney and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, Oct 22, 2013

UN climate chief warns Australia

The United Nations climate change agency is warning Australia against repealing the carbon tax.

The executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change says the New South Wales bushfires can't be directly linked to climate change, but increasing heatwaves will continue to cause similar disasters.

Christiana Figueres says Australia could pay dearly for not keeping the carbon tax. 

UN climate chief warns Australia by Tony Eaterly, ABC News, Oct 22, 2013

We need to talk about bushfires and climate change

According to a creeping conservative political correctness, it is allegedly improper to discuss the link between climate change and the increased risk of devastating bushfires like the ones still burning across New South Wales.

Columnists start by attacking suggestions such as those made in an article written for the Guardian by the Greens deputy leader, Adam Bandt, that by repealing the carbon tax, Tony Abbott is failing to protect the Australian people from climate change risk. Then they move quickly to the accusation that it amounts to politicising a disaster to discuss the connection between climate change and bushfire at all.

But report after report has pointed to climate change increasing the likelihood of conditions that pose the greatest risk for fire.

We need to talk about bushfires and climate change – if not now, when? by Lenore Taylor, The Guardian, Oct 21, 2013

Why we don't care about saving our grandchildren from climate change

A new study shows that human beings are too selfish to endure present pain to avert future climate change. That's why we need win-win solutions now.

Why We Don't Care About Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change by Bryan Walsh, Time, Oct 21, 2013

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. The link to "We need to talk about bushfires and climate change" is messed up.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Link fixed. Thank you for bringing this glitch to our attention. 

  2. An excellent comment on the latest statement by australian env minister worth sharing here:

    greg hunt terrible at his job

    Greg Hunt (env minister in new AUS gov) like the PM Tony Abbott, is a "lukewarmer" not denying radiative forcing of CO2 but he certainly denies the extent of AGW problem, including the economics of mitigation of that problem (CTax  or ETS). Probably he would deny the AGW altogether (like Abbott used to do couple years ago) if resonated well in his electorate.

    Now he's shown us where and how he sources his scientific knowledge: poorly read and misunderstood wikipedia! Greg's gaffe is perhaps not as big as some of american REPs (e.g. sen. Inhofe) who openly live in a "flat earth society", but it's nevertheless the first step in that direction. I had a good lough, it'd be really funny if we did not have this man manage the env of our country. I expect more errors like that to follow until the end of this government.

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