Blessed be the poor sounds like a quote from the Bible, but it’s not. I just liked it as a title.
Many say that the old divisions between left and right, and of social class, are no longer valid. These divisions are not as clear-cut as they once were. However, it is undoubtedly true that while some are wealthy enough to go anywhere and do what they please, at the other end of the wealth scale some are stuck in a place and struggle daily with finding the basic needs of shelter and sustenance.
During the first quarter of a century after World War II Western society generally achieved for the first time in history a situation where most households could own a car and take an annual holiday of several weeks on pay. Tony Judt in his Postwar: a History of Europe Since 1945 tells how German per capita GDP from 1950 to 1973 more than tripled in real terms. In France it improved by 150%, while Italy, from a low base, did even better. In Britain in 1957, PM Harold Macmillan told the people:
“Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good.”
Scientists have found that waters around Totten Glacier are warmer than expected and that it is melting from below. Amazingly the glacier, in East Antarctica, has never been studied before.
A team of scientists on the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis has recently taken a look. They don’t have comparative historical data to go by, but the concern is large. Totten is the biggest of the big and holds enough water to raise the sea level 6 metres. That’s somewhere between West Antarctica and Greenland!
For the rest of the report, it seems on a quick look to be much as expected – less rainfall in southern Australia, more extreme hot days, less snow, continued ocean acidification, more worries about sea level rise and so on. I’ll take a closer look if I get time.
Graham Readfearn points out that in 1995 at Amberley near Brisbane the mercury climbed above 35C on 12 days per year on average. That could become 55 days per year.
It has been a year since extreme heat wreaked havoc at the Australian Open, with players forced to endure temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius on the courts.
Some athletes said the conditions were akin to “tap-dancing on a fry pan”.
Unfortunately Tennis Australia are not on their lonesome in forcing athletes to perform in dangerous conditions. There are concerns also for spectators and venues, for example subject to flooding. The Climate Institute has produced a report analysing the vulnerability amongst sports like AFL, tennis, cricket and cycling as well as winter snow sports.
Part of The Climate Institute’s ongoing research into climate risk and resilience, this report will form the basis of ongoing discussions in the sporting world, including with the newly formed Sports Environment Alliance, chaired by former International Cricket Council CEO Malcolm Speed.
4. Keystone showdown and American climate opinion
The Senate has passed legislation approving the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline on a 62-36 vote.
asked Thursday about the vote, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that Obama would veto.
The Senate requires 67 votes to overturn a presidential veto.
Meanwhile Carbon Brief takes a look at the gap in opinion between scientists, the public, and politicians on climate change from Pew Center research. This is how it pans out:
A case of the blind leading the partially sighted.
Across the ditch Hot Topicposts about a book that meticulously goes through the development of climate science from the time of Arrhenius. Seriously, there isn’t an argument any more about the basic science.
current economic models… generally conclude that the economically optimal pathway results in a global surface warming around 3–3.5°C.
Current economic models mainly treat economic growth as an external factor. In these models, global warming and its impacts via climate change don’t significantly affect the rate at which the economy grows.
A new study finds:
while the economies of rich countries continue to grow well in a warmer world, the economic growth of poor countries is significantly impaired.
That’s not so surprising.
The authors find that:
the best path for society would limit temperatures to between 1.6 and 2.8°C warming in 2100, with a best estimate of around 1.7°C warming.
In particular, the nexus between climate protection and development is a striking conclusion of the World Bank analysis: without climate stabilization at still manageable levels, development advances, especially in the poorest countries, are set to be reversed. Indeed, development work of past decades (involving significant financial resources) is at risk and with it the well-being of the most vulnerable citizens on Earth.