These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.
They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.
Nicholas Stern: Climate inaction risks a “global war”
Climate Progress has the story:
The temperature increases, the temperature changes of this kind, transform where people can be. In the upwards direction, you’re going to get some areas that become deserts, probably most of southern Europe. Others that are inundated: Florida, Bangladesh, and so on.
What we’re talking about here — this the cost of inaction, the cost of not doing much — is a transformation of where we can be. Over a hundred, 120 years, we can’t be that precise, a serious risk of global war, really, because you’ve got hundreds of millions of people, perhaps billions of people moving. That’s the cost of inaction. It’s potentially immense.
It should be noted that Stern is not a security analyst, but Gwynne Dyer who is told us three years ago that security establishments were gaming scenarios where they saw mass migration due to climate change. And troubles over major river systems, like the Nile, the Mekong, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the numerous rivers on which Pakistan depends.
On polls and media disinformation campaigns
There are several stories in this post at Climate Progress. First there’s this:
A new Gallup poll finds Americans (accurately) believe global warming is due more to human activities than natural changes by 52% to 43%, up from 50 to 46 last year. Only 36% of Republicans acknowledge this.
Secondly, a Stanford poll came up with remarkably different results.
a remarkable 60% of those who watched Fox News almost daily believe that “Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring,” whereas only 30% who never watch it believe that.
This could be the reason:
as of December 2009, Fox News managing editor Bill Sammon had required reporters and producers that report on even the most unequivocal scientific facts about global warming to dispute those facts ” IMMEDIATELY.”
This article gives some more detail.
Casting a critical eye on climate models
The New Scientist takes a look at climate models.
Towards the end we are told that if we want to predict the weather a decade ahead the greatest uncertainty will be natural variation in major climate systems.
If we are concerned about 50 years hence, decadal variations will even out and differences in climate models become an important factor.
If our focus is a century ahead the important variable is us, and what we will do about emissions.
Natural gas might not be so green friendly
For the second time in two days natural gas has been challenged as being more environmentally friendly than coal on a life-cycle basis.
Apart from leaking and intentional venting for safety reasons, it seems older power plants may only save 25% of emissions compared to coal.
Coal is not so cheap
According to Skeptical Science:
the externalities are sufficient to triple the cost of coal power, if they were reflected in its price. If we include the coal externalities, it increases the levalized costs to approximately 28 cents per kWh, which is more than hydroelectric, wind (onshore and offshore), geothermal, biomass, nuclear, natural gas, solar photovoltaic, and on par with solar thermal (whose costs are falling rapidly). Suddenly coal doesn’t look like such a good deal. (Emphasis added)
Sea level rise: coming to a place near you”
This article has a series of links showing a one-metre rise (red) and a six-metre rise (tan). Many experts are now forecasting a midpoint result of a metre or a little more by 2100. Check out Brisbane, Sydney and Singapore.
Data from crop trials underline the threat climate change poses to farmers
Climate change denialists/sceptics/contrarians often say that CO2 is life and the more the better for plant growth, neglecting other factors such as temperature and water availability.
A study on maize (corn, to Americans) in Africa shows the adverse effects of temperature:
…peak, rather than average, temperatures are what matter most to maize.
Days above 30°C are particularly damaging. In otherwise normal conditions, every day the temperature is over this threshold diminishes yields by at least 1%. Moreover, days where the temperature exceeds 32°C do twice the harm of those at 31°C. And during a drought, things are worse still. Then, yields take a hit of 1.7% per day over 30°C.
The research predicts that a 1°C rise in average temperature will reduce yields across two-thirds of the maize-growing region of Africa, even in the absence of drought. Add drought and that effect spreads over the entire area.
An earlier study
was based on actual harvest data rather than crop trials and suggested yield losses of 20% or more for African maize by the middle of the century.
New Commission Confronts Threats To Food Security From Climate Change
Experts from 6 continents are set to produce policy recommendations for boosting food production in face of harsher climates, increasing populations, scarce resources.
Recent droughts and floods have contributed to increases in food prices. These are pushing millions more people into poverty and hunger, and are contributing to political instability and civil unrest. Climate change is predicted to increase these threats to food security and stability. Responding to this, the world’s largest agriculture research consortium today announced the creation of a new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.
Chaired by the United Kingdom’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, the Commission will in the next ten months seek to build international consensus on a clear set of policy actions to help global agriculture adapt to climate change, achieve food security and reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions.
U.S. Navy prepares for climate change
While republicans in Congress deny climate change and try to knacker the EPA the military gets on with practical planning. The US navy has commissioned a study from the National Research Council on the implications of climate change for there operations. Press release here and stories here and here.
Concerns include more operations in the Arctic to protect US interests, more demands for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in response to a range of predicted crises created by climate change, including floods, droughts, intense storms, and geopolitical unrest, plus an estimated $100 billion of Navy installations would be at risk from sea-level rise of 1 meter or more.