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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47A

Posted on 19 November 2013 by John Hartz

  • Climate change rallies staged across Canada
  • Concerns over role of corporates at climate talks
  • Even in U.S. coal country, most want action on global warning
  • Get off the carbon train soon or the world is stuffed
  • Globe had very warm October; year is 7th-warmest so far
  • Growing clamor about inequities of climate crisis
  • Japan bails out on CO2 emissions target
  • Top U.N. official warns of coal risks
  • UN climate chief slammed for pushing coal as solution in Poland
  • US fears climate talks will focus on compensation for extreme weather
  • UN Secretary General urges Europe to lead climate change fight
  • Warsaw—Day 7: World ‘neglects climate impact on food’

Climate change rallies staged across Canada

Organizers say more than 130 protests against climate change were staged across Canada Saturday, with the largest gathering held in Vancouver where participants showed their opposition to Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The protests were part of a national day of action to "Defend Our Climate." Outside Vancouver's Science World, nearly 1,000 participants held colourful signs while chanting and singing slogans, while others pounded on drums and played the bagpipes.

Climate change rallies staged across Canada, CBC News, Nov 16, 2013 

Concerns over role of corporates at climate talks

As deliberations continue in earnest at the 19th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Warsaw, negotiators from the Global South welcome a focus on financing adaptation – but reject a new emphasis on a role for the private sector.

Climate negotiations have now dragged on for almost 20 years. Talk of “fair, ambitious and binding” agreements to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming appears to be fading, to be replaced by proposals to turn to the private sector for loans and investment to support adaptation to climate change at what has been dubbed the “Corporate COP  (Conference of Parties)”.

Tosi Mpamu-Mpamu, a negotiator for the Democratic Republic of Congo and a former chair of the African Group of negotiators, sees an alarming change emerging in the approach to funding the response to climate change.

Concerns Over Role of Corporates at Climate Talks by Mantoe Phakathi, Inter Press Service (IPS), Nov 15, 2013

Even in U.S. coal country, most want action on global warning

Majorities in 46 states believe climate change is manmade and want the government to do more to fight it, according to a new Stanford University poll.

At least 62 percent of residents are in favor of intervention, including regulating greenhouse emissions, even in those states — such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia — with large coal industries.

“This new report is crystal clear,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said. “It shows that the vast majority of Americans — whether from red states or blue — understand that climate change is a growing danger.”

The House of Representatives passed a “Cap and Trade” plan to limit carbon pollution in 2009. It never got a vote in the Senate.

“Americans are way ahead of Congress in listening to the scientists,” Waxman said.

Even In Coal Country, Most Want Action On Global Warning by Jason Sattler, The National Memo, Nov 15, 2013

Get off the carbon train soon or the world is stuffed

IT IS all downhill from here on. Right now Earth's climate is not warming too much when extra carbon dioxide reaches the atmosphere, but as levels of the gas keep rising, the climate will become ever more sensitive to it. That means emissions in 2100 could be even more dangerous than emissions today.

Despite decades of research, nobody is really sure how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide. Our best guess, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, is that doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would raise global temperatures between 1.5 and 4.5 °C. But there is no consensus on this climate sensitivity.

To estimate how much the sensitivity varies, Gary Russell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and colleagues ran a climate model repeatedly. Each run of the model kicked off with a different concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In each case they ran the model for 100 years to see how much the world warmed as CO2 levels increased.

Get off the carbon train soon or the world is stuffed by Michael Marshall, New Scientist, Nov 13, 2013

Globe had very warm October; year is 7th-warmest so far

The globe had its seventh-warmest October on record, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center. Records go back to 1880.

The global temperature in October was 1.13 degrees F above the average of 57.1 degrees F.

It also marked the 344th consecutive month (more than 28 years) that the Earth had an above-average global temperature.

Most areas of the world's land surface experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, with the most notable warmth across Alaska, northwestern Canada, northwestern Africa, and parts of north central and southern Asia, the climate center reported.

Globe had very warm October; year is 7th-warmest so far by Dolye Rice, USA Today, Nov 18, 2013

Growing clamor about inequities of climate crisis

Following a devastating typhoon that killed thousands in the Philippines, a routine international climate change conference here turned into an emotional forum, with developing countries demanding compensation from the worst polluting countries for damage they say they are already suffering.

Calling the climate crisis “madness,” the Philippines representative vowed to fast for the duration of the talks. Malia Talakai, a negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, a group that includes her tiny South Pacific homeland, Nauru, said that without urgent action to stem rising sea levels, “some of our members won’t be around.”

Growing Clamor About Inequities of Climate Crisis by Steven Lee Myers & Nicholas Kulish, New York Times, Nov 16, 2013

Japan bails out on CO2 emissions target

Japan announced Friday that it will renege on its carbon emissions pledge, likely ending any hope global warming can be kept to 2.0 degrees C.

The shocking announcement comes on the fifth day of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw known as COP19, where more than 190 nations have agreed to a 2.0 C target and are trying to close the carbon emission gap to get there.

Japan will increase that gap three to four percent with its new 2020 reduction target, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT). It amounts to a three-percent increase compared to a 1990 baseline. Japan’s 2009 Copenhagen Accord pledge was a 25 percent reduction by 2020.

“Japan is taking us in the opposite direction,” Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics, a German climate research organisation, told IPS here in Warsaw.

“Their revision shows the bottom up approach is not working if countries can simply drop their pledges at any time,” Vieweg said.

Japan Bails Out on CO2 Emissions Target by Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service (IPS), Nov 16, 2013

Top U.N. official warns of coal risks

Most of the world’s coal needs to stay in the ground if greenhouse gas emissions are to be held in check, the United Nations’ top climate change official said Monday in a speech to coal industry executives here in Poland, one of the most coal-dependent nations on Earth. 

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, told industry officials here that they were putting the global climate and their shareholders at risk by failing to support the search for alternative methods of producing energy.

“Let me be clear from the outset that my joining you today is neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor is it a call for the immediate disappearance of coal,” Ms. Figueres said at an industry conference timed to coincide with the annual meeting of the United Nations climate body. “But I am here to say that coal must change rapidly and dramatically for everyone’s sake.”

Top U.N. Official Warns of Coal Risks by David Jolly, New York Times, Nov 18, 2013

UN climate chief slammed for pushing coal as solution in Poland

Speaking before an assembly of lobbyists and corporate heads at a global coal industry conference in Warsaw, Poland Monday, United Nations Climate Chief Christiana Figueres has spurred the ire of environmentalists as she characterized the leading greenhouse gas emitters as possible leaders in a clean energy future. 

"The coal industry has the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution," Figueres said in her keynote address before the summit of the World Coal Association.

Complimenting the "knowledge and experience" of the gathered coal executives as an asset to be utilized in the effort to keep global warming beneath the two degree Celsius limit agreed to by the international community, Figueres vowed that her position was not "a call for the immediate disappearance of coal."

Figueres' address defied the request of green groups who asked that she boycott the summit. As Sophie Yeo of reports, climate campaigners have repeatedly said the presence of the coal groups is a provocation and a distraction from the COP19 UN climate conference that is also being held in Warsaw this week.

UN Climate Chief Slammed for Pushing Coal as Solution in Poland by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, Nov 18, 2013

US fears climate talks will focus on compensation for extreme weather 

US officials fear that international climate change talks will become focused on payouts for damage caused by extreme weather events exacerbated by global warming, such as the category 5 Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines last week killing thousands of people and causing what is expected to be billions of pounds of damage.

An official US briefing document obtained by the Guardian reveals that the country is worried the UN negotiations, currently under way in Warsaw, will "focus increasingly on blame and liability" and poor nations will be "seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts".

US fears climate talks will focus on compensation for extreme weather by Stephen Leahy, The Guardian, Nov 13, 2013

UN Secretary General urges Europe to lead climate change fight

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the European Union on Monday to stay at the vanguard of efforts to combat climate change, sweeping aside arguments led by Poland and business leaders that the bloc has to prioritise economic growth.

Talks in Warsaw due to end on Friday are meant to be a step on the way to a new global deal in 2015 on how to limit global warming to the 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) that scientists say would prevent the most devastating effects of climate change.

"We must be committed to contain this global world temperature (rise) within 2 degrees centigrade. And I count on the European Union to lead this campaign," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Lithuania, holder of the EU presidency until the end of the year.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Urges Europe To Lead Climate Change Fight by Andrius Sytas, Reuters/The Huffington Post, Nov 18, 2013

Warsaw—Day 7: World ‘neglects climate impact on food’

Global leaders are failing to respond to the threat posed by climate change to the growing challenge of feeding the world, a leading agricultural researcher says.

They do not treat the problem seriously, and they are ignoring the warnings of science about what is liable to happen.

Yet, she says, there is much more evidence available than there was a few years ago, and the future it describes is cause for great concern.

The criticism comes from Dr Sonja Vermeulen, who heads the CGIAR research programme on climate change, agriculture and food security (CCAFS).

She was speaking to the Climate News Network as the UN climate negotiations – the 19th conference of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 19 – got under way in the Polish capital, Warsaw.

Warsaw—Day 7: World ‘Neglects Climate Impact on Food’ by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network/Truthdig, Nov 17, 2013

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Comments 1 to 1:

  1. “On Thin Ice” at Warsaw climate talks

    Did you know it was the “Day of the Cryosphere” at the Warsaw climate talks COP 19 in Warsaw yesterday? If not, you might be forgiven. I haven’t seen it making the headlines in the mainstream media. That is a pity, given that what climate change is doing to our ice, snow and permafrost has repercussions for the whole planet.

    The cryosphere is a term for the regions of our globe which are covered in ice and snow either seasonally or all year round, from the North Pole to Antarctica. ”Climate change is happening in the cryosphere faster and more dramatically than anywhere else on earth”, says the “International Cryosphere Climate Initiative” (ICCI). It is a network of senior policy experts and researchers working with governments and organisations to bring about initiatives to preserve as much of our ice and snow areas as possible. The group was set up in 2009 immediately after the disastrous COP 15 in Copenhagen.

    “On Thin Ice” at Warsaw climate talks by Irene Quaile, DW (Deutsche Welle) Ice Blog, Nov 18, 2013

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thanks for posting this. I will include it in the next edition of the News Roundup as well.

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