In 2017, a string of climate disasters – six big hurricanes in the Atlantic, wildfires in the West, horrific mudslides, high-temperature records breaking all over the country – caused $306 billion in damage, killing more than 300 people. After Hurricane Maria, 300,000 Puerto Ricans fled to Florida, and disaster experts estimate that climate and weather events displaced more than 1 million Americans from their homes last year.
More than 1,200 global businesses, including U.S. companies such as Disney, Shell and General Motors, are moving to embrace a carbon price — even if President Trump isn’t, according to a new report by a Washington climate think tank. While the president has suggested that tackling climate change will undermine the economy and hamstring businesses, and announced his intention to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, chief executives have been busy voluntarily putting a price on their own carbon dioxide emissions.
A study published in the journal World Development calculates that global fossil fuel subsidies were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later. According to the authors, these subsidies are important because first, they promote fossil fuel use which damages the environment. Second, these are fiscally costly. Third, the subsidies discourage investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy that compete with the subsidized fossil fuels. Finally, subsidies are very inefficient means to support low-income households.
In 2016, evening newscasts and Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, as well as Fox Broadcast Co.'s Fox News Sunday, collectively decreased their total coverage of climate change by 66 percent compared to 2015, even though there were a host of important climate-related stories, including the announcement of 2015 as the hottest year on record, the signing of the Paris climate agreement, and numerous climate-related extreme weather events. There were also two presidential candidates to cover, and they held diametrically opposed positions on the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, and even on whether climate change is a real, human-caused phenomenon. Apart from PBS, the networks also failed to devote significant coverage to climate-related policies, but they still found the time to uncritically air climate denial -- the majority of which came from now-President Donald Trump and his team.
The world dismisses them as economic migrants. The law treats them as criminals who show up at a nation’s borders uninvited. Prayers alone protect them on the journey across the merciless Sahara. But peel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home. They do it because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land.
Climate change is set to cause a refugee crisis of “unimaginable scale”, according to senior military figures, who warn that global warming is the greatest security threat of the 21st century and that mass migration will become the “new normal”. The generals said the impacts of climate change were already factors in the conflicts driving a current crisis of migration into Europe, having been linked to the Arab Spring, the was in Syria and the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency.
Leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of 2 degrees celsius would actually be quite dangerous. The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.
The two-week United Nations climate conference outside Paris that drew to an end on Saturday focused on many of the physical dangers associated with climate change. But global warming has already had another effect — the large-scale displacement of people — that has been an ominous, politically sensitive undercurrent in the talks and side events here. Scientists have said that climate change can indirectly lead to migration by setting off violent conflicts. Scholars have made this connection since at least 2007, when they cited climate change as a reason for the war in Darfur, Sudan. A drought that lasted from 2006 to 2011 in much of Syria has been cited as a factor in the long-running civil war there, fueling a mass migration to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but also to Europe, Canada and, in small measure, the United States.
Fifty million refugees fleeing hunger and poverty could be created in the next 10 years unless the world's land degradation crisis is addressed, according to a new U.N.-backed report. Louise Baker, of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), says that Africa and the Middle East are particularly liable to experience resource pressures which force people to migrate. She cites the Sahel region of Africa—a semi-arid belt of 10 African countries south of the Sahara Desert from Senegal to Sudan—as an area of extreme concern due to its high rate of population growth -- about 3 percent a year.
Global warming-induced food and water shortages may cause mass migration, competition for resources and state failure, providing fertile ground for conflict and terrorism, analysts warned. The global team of scientists, policy analysts and financial and military risk experts painted a grim picture of mankind's future on a much warmer planet. As rising temperatures and sea levels shrink areas of productive land, humans will have reasons aplenty for warring with one another. "Extreme water stress, and competition for productive land, could both become sources of conflict."
An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future. In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science that determined that humans caused global warming.
Aqeel Ahmed is one of hundreds of other Pakistani Kashmir youth who have joined militant groups as a result of poverty which is often made worse by crop failures linked to extreme weather, experts say. Floods, droughts and other climatic stresses - expected to intensify as the planet warms - are making people poorer and more vulnerable to being enticed into insurgency and militant activity.
Some future impacts of climate change, such as more extremes of heat and sea level rise, are unavoidable even if governments act fast to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank said on Sunday. Past and predicted emissions from power plants, factories and cars have locked the globe on a path towards an average temperature rise of almost 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2050, it said.
Americans largely concur that God created the Earth. But when it comes to how he wants its environment treated, and how much he’s willing to intercede — the agreement ends. A new poll shows major differences between faith groups on topics including concern over climate change, whether natural disasters are a sign of biblical end times and how deeply connected they feel to nature.
China and the United States made common cause on Wednesday against the threat of climate change, staking out an ambitious joint plan to curb carbon emissions as a way to spur nations around the world to make their own cuts in greenhouse gases.The landmark agreement, jointly announced here by President Obama and President Xi Jinping, includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the United States and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030. As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.
From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged. For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.
The Pentagon released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises. The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies.
Hundreds of thousands of people are already migrating because of climate change, and countries urgently need adaption plans to resettle populations and avoid conflict, says a new report. Sea level rise, violent storms and more gradual disasters such as droughts will cause more unplanned mass population movements - either temporary or permanent - and governments need to manage this by planning in advance to protect vulnerable people. The report warns that unplanned movements will lead to conflict and insecurity. Governments need to act regionally to anticipate and facilitate the movement of people.
The Obama administration on Monday announced one of the strongest actions ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change, a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plan. The regulation takes aim at the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States, the nation’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants. If it withstands an expected onslaught of legal and legislative attacks, experts say that it could close hundreds of the plants and also lead, over the course of decades, to systemic changes in the American electricity industry, including transformations in how power is generated and used.
An environmental advocacy group backed by hedge fund tycoon Tom Steyer is set to unleash a seven-state, $100 million offensive against Republican "science deniers" this year, a no-holds-barred campaign-style push from the green billionaire that could help decide which party controls the Senate and key statehouses come November. The Steyer-backed outside group, NextGen Climate, has billed itself as a progressive, pro-environment counterbalance to the wealthy oil and gas industry -- as well as the primary foil to the pro-business Koch brothers and their well-funded conservative donor network.
The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a a leading government-funded military research organization concluded. The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.
From roads and bridges to power plants and gas pipelines, American infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a pair of government reports. The National Climate Assessment, a major review that is expected to be released in April, warns that climate-fueled storms, flooding and droughts could cause "cascading system failures" unless there are changes made to minimize those effects.
Huge areas of the world are drying up and a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. Watering crops, slaking thirst in expanding cities, cooling power plants, fracking oil and gas wells – all take water from the same diminishing supply. Add to that climate change – which is projected to intensify dry spells in the coming years – and the world is going to be forced to think a lot more about water than it ever did before.ced to think a lot more about water than it ever did before.
Global economic losses caused by extreme weather events have risen to nearly $200 billion a year over the last decade and look set to increase further as climate change worsens, a report by the World Bank showed. A United Nations' panel of scientists has warned that floods, droughts and storms are likely to become more severe over the next century as greenhouse gas emissions warm the world's climate.
In 2012, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were at their lowest level since 1994 and more than 12 percent below the recent 2007 peak, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced. U.S. emissions of CO2 declined 3.8 percent in 2012, despite economic growth, according to the EIA. A large drop in energy intensity helped drive the 2012 decrease. Energy intensity means energy per dollar of gross domestic product, or GDP.
For the first time, the world’s top climate scientists on Friday formally embraced an upper limit on greenhouse gases while warning that it is likely to be exceeded within decades if emissions continue at a brisk pace, underscoring the profound challenge humanity faces in bringing global warming under control.
A new report from the U.S. Center for Naval Analyses and the London-based Royal United Services Institute, two of the NATO alliance's front-line strategy centers, recommends putting more effort into fighting global warming than securing reliable supplies of fossil fuels. The authors call the habitual American fixation on winning energy independence through expanded North American production of oil and natural gas "misguided." They say the "only sustainable solution" to the problem of energy insecurity is not through more drilling, but through energy efficiency and renewable fuels, like biofuels to replace oil.
The world should stop arguing about whether humans are causing climate change and start taking action to stop dangerous temperature rises, the president of the World Bank said. Kim Jim Yong Kim said there was 97 to 98 percent agreement among scientists that global warming was real and caused by human activity. "It is time to stop arguing about whether (climate change) is real or not," he said.
Coal technologies continue to dominate growth in power generation.This is a major reason why the amount of CO2 emitted for each unit of energy suppliedhas fallen by less than 1% since 1990. Thus the net impact on CO2 intensity of all changes in supply has been minimal. Coal-fired generation, which rose by an estimated 6% from 2010 to 2012, continues to grow faster than non-fossil energy sources on an absolute basis.
Europe, which led the world in creating a system of emission permits to combat greenhouse-gas emissions, dealt a potential death blow to that system on Tuesday. Focusing on immediate economic concerns over future environmental ones, the European Parliament narrowly rejected a proposal to cut the number of pollution permits. Fewer permits would have raised companies’ costs to emit greenhouse gases, which scientists have linked to global warming. In voting down the changes, lawmakers seemed less worried about the global environmental implications than on holding down energy costs as Europe continues to emerge from a deep economic slump.
Less than three weeks after two U.S. researchers called for global agreement on the governance of geoengineering research, British meteorologists have provided a case study in potential geoengineering disaster. Jim Haywood from the Met Office Hadley Center and colleagues report in Nature Climate Change that fine particles concentrated in the stratosphere could precipitate calamitous drought in the Sahel region of Africa.
Human-induced climate change contributed to low rain levels in East Africa in 2011, making global warming one of the causes of Somalia's famine and the tens of thousands of deaths that followed, a new study has found. It is the first time climate change was proven to be partially to blame for such a large humanitarian disaster, an aid group said.
America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change. Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
That loss of human productivity due to heat and high humidity has already cut the world’s working capacity by 10 percent since humans began burning large amounts of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels at the start of the Industrial Revolution, found the analysis, which was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that dive will continue, reshaping daily life in the most populated areas of the planet as climate change intensifies.
The U.S. government is at high risk of financial exposure from climate change, the Government Accountability Office said, two days after President Barack Obama vowed to tackle the issue with or without Congress' help.For the first time, the non-partisan congressional watchdog added fiscal exposure from climate change to its "High Risk List" of measures the federal government needs to fix. "Climate change is a complex, crosscutting issue that poses risks to many environmental and economic systems — including agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems, and human health — and presents a significant financial risk to the federal government," the agency said.
Oil and gas multinationals could lose up to 60 percent of their market value if the world cuts its carbon emissions to limit climate change, according to the world's second-largest bank. This is the first time the financial sector has been warned by one of its own that shares could plummet if the necessary action is taken to prevent disaster.
Nearly four in 10 Americans say the severity of recent natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy is evidence the world is coming to an end, as predicted by the Bible, while more than six in 10 blame it on climate change, according to a poll. The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service found political and religious disagreement on what is behind severe weather, which this year has included extreme heat and drought. Most Catholics (60 percent) and white non-evangelical Protestants (65 percent) say they believe disasters like hurricanes and floods are the result of climate change. But nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say they think the storms are evidence of the "end times" as predicted by the Bible.
Almost 200 nations extended a weakened United Nations plan for combating global warming until 2020 on Saturday with a modest set of measures that would do nothing to halt rising world greenhouse gas emissions. Many countries and environmentalists said the deal at the end of marathon two-week U.N. talks in OPEC-member Qatar would fail to slow rising temperatures or avert more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels. Environment ministers extended until 2020 the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges about 35 industrialized nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions until the end of 2012. That keeps the pact alive as the sole legally binding climate plan.
If the United States has entered an era in which mega-storms, perhaps related to climate change, are becoming the “new normal,” it will create new spending pressures at a time when federal revenues every year are falling roughly $1 trillion short of outlays. If you factor in a growing population and development in coastal areas, then storm damage is likely to become even more expensive over time.
The World Bank warned that the Earth will be warmer by four degrees Celsius this century, causing 'calamitous effects', unless immediate action is not taken to mitigate the imminent climate change crisis that may have serious consequences for countries like India. In a major report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, the rise in temperature will trigger a cascade of cataclysmic changes that include extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks and a sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people.
U.S. droughts, floods and heat waves likely fueled by climate change in the last two years hit the people who can afford it the least - the poor and middle class, a report said. In affected areas of U.S. states hit by five or more extreme weather events in the last two years, the median annual household income was a bit over $48,000, or 7 percent below the national median, according to the report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the White House.
Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation’s top scientific research group said in a report issued Friday. The group, the National Research Council, says in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems.
Experts have appealed to President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to address climate change when they debate in Florida, saying the coastal state is already hit by rising water levels. More than 120 Floridians who either serve on official bodies on sea level or hold advanced degrees on the issue signed a letter to the two candidates ahead of their third and final debate October 22 in the coastal city of Boca Raton.
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use in the first quarter of this year fell to their lowest level in the U.S. in 20 years, as demand shifted to natural gas-fired generation from coal-fired electricity due to record low gas prices, the energy department said.
From highways in Texas to nuclear power plants in Illinois, the concrete, steel and sophisticated engineering that undergird the nation’s infrastructure are being taxed to worrisome degrees by heat, drought and vicious storms. On a single day this month here, a US Airways regional jet became stuck in asphalt that had softened in 100-degree temperatures, and a subway train derailed after the heat stretched the track so far that it kinked — inserting a sharp angle into a stretch that was supposed to be straight. In East Texas, heat and drought have had a startling effect on the clay-rich soils under highways, which “just shrink like crazy,” leading to “horrendous cracking,” said an engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. In Northeastern and Midwestern states, he said, unusually high heat is causing highway sections to expand beyond their design limits, press against each other and “pop up,” creating jarring and even hazardous speed bumps.
Scorching heat and the worst drought in nearly a half-century are threatening to send food prices up, spooking consumers and leading to worries about global food costs. The government said it expected the record-breaking weather to drive up the price for groceries next year, including milk, beef, chicken and pork. The drought is now affecting 88 percent of the corn crop, a staple of processed foods and animal feed as well as the nation’s leading farm export.
China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 percent higher than previously thought, a new analysis of official Chinese data showed, suggesting the pace of global climate change could be even faster than currently predicted. China has already overtaken the United States as the world's top greenhouse gas polluter, producing about a quarter of mankind's carbon pollution that scientists say is heating up the planet and triggering more extreme weather. But pinning down an accurate total for China's carbon emissions has long been a challenge because of doubts about the quality of its official energy use data.
Drought, floods and a lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades, as developing countries scramble to meet demand from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate change, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a report.
Texas agriculture producers lost $7.62 billion to the state's 2011 drought, which experts said makes it the costliest drought in the state's history and possibly the most expensive drought ever suffered by any state. "No one alive has seen single-year drought damage to this extent," said Travis Miller, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University. While the figures confirm it was the costliest drought ever for Texas, Miller said it was likely the worst drought ever in the United States in terms of agriculture losses, but that is difficult to confirm because states use different metrics in determining drought losses.
Coastlines, working patterns, and even the country’s most famous meal are under threat from climate change, Britain said in its first-ever national assessment of the likely risks. In a gloomy forecast for Britain’s environment department, a panel of independent analysts predicted as many as 5,900 more people could die as a result of hotter summers — but also claimed there will be a sharp reduction in deaths currently due to cold weather by the 2050s. Infrastructure and businesses will be badly affected by more frequent floods, with the cost of damage likely to rise from 1.3 billion pounds ($2 billion) to as much as 12 billion pounds ($18.8 billion) by the 2080s, if adequate preparations aren’t taken.
The IEA estimates that direct subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by artificially lowering end-user prices for fossil fuels amounted to $312 billion in 2009. The IEA estimates that, in the absence of reform, spending on fossil fuel subsidies is likely to reach almost $600 billion in 2015, or 0.6 percent of the global gross domestic product. As Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute, put it, "The world's governments are spending $1.4 billion a day to destabilize the climate."
The most detailed data yet on emissions of heat-trapping gases show that U.S. power plants are responsible for the bulk of the pollution blamed for global warming. Power plants released 72 percent of the greenhouse gases reported to the Environmental Protection Agency for 2010, according to information released Wednesday that was the first catalog of global warming pollution by facility. The data include more than 6,700 of the largest industrial sources of greenhouse gases, or about 80 percent of total U.S. emissions.
Today, Siberia’s thick icy crust, or permafrost, which has held the remains of predators and herbivores alike in an epochal deep freeze, is beginning to melt. And the bones of prehistoric rhinos, bison, reindeer, horses – and yes, mammoths – are rising to Yakutia’s surface at an amazing rate.
Media coverage of climate change continued to tumble in 2011, declining roughly 20 percent from 2010's levels and nearly 42 percent from 2009's peak. The declining coverage came amid bouts of extreme weather across the globe – historic wildfires in Arizona, drought in Texas, famine in the Horn of Africa – and flashes of political frenzy. Australia's approval of a carbon tax, the U.S. presidential election, a Congressional inquiry into the failed solar startup Solyndra all generated significant coverage within the mainstream press, but it was not enough to stem the larger trend.
Climate negotiators agreed a pact on Sunday that would for the first time force all the biggest polluters to take action on greenhouse gas emissions, but critics said the action plan was not aggressive enough to slow the pace of global warming. "It's certainly not the deal the planet needs -- such a deal would have delivered much greater ambition on both emissions reductions and finance," said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
An all-encompassing climate deal "may be beyond our reach for now," the U.N. chief said Tuesday as China and India delivered a setback to European plans to negotiate a new treaty that would bind all parties to their pledges on greenhouse gas emissions.Political differences, the worldwide financial crisis and a divergence of priorities among rich and poor countries are barriers to an agreement on a future negotiating path, Ban said.
Of the 20 fastest growing cities in the world, eight are at “extreme risk” from climate change, including Kolkata, Manila, Kabul and Karachi, the group says. A further 11 are at “high risk” and just one – Cairo – is at “medium risk”.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized world leaders for failing to take bold action on climate change, which he said threatens to worsen the food crisis that has already left a billion people hungry. Speaking at Stanford University, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said rising temperatures and rainwater shortages are having a devastating effect on food production. Failing to address the problem will have repercussions on health, security and stability, he warned.
The world's governments and relief agencies need to plan now to resettle millions of people expected to be displaced by climate change, an international panel of experts said. Resettlement is already occurring at the rate of some 10 million people a year, said the report's lead author, Alex de Sherbinin. Climate-related resettlement projects are under way in Vietnam, Mozambique, on the Alaskan coast, the Chinese territory of Inner Mongolia and in the South Pacific.
? A large majority of Democrats (72%) worry about global warming, compared to 53 percent of Independents, 38 percent of Republicans, and 24 percent of Tea Party members. Over half (51%) of Tea Party members say they are not at all worried about global warming.
? Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise, Likewise, they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind.
Hurricane Irene's rampage up the East Coast has become the tenth billion-dollar weather event this year, breaking a record stretching back to 1980, climate experts said Wednesday. The storm, which damaged infrastructure, left 2.5 million without power and thousands of water-logged homes and businesses from North Carolina through New England, has been blamed for at least 44 deaths in 13 states. Estimates put the toal cost at up to $10 billion. The National Climate Data Center said on its website that 2011 had been a particularly bad year for storm damages.
Three days after Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused climate scientists of manipulating global warming data for profit, the Inspector General's office of the National Science Foundation concluded its investigation into the unnamed object of Perry's allegation, Dr. Michael Mann, declaring it found "nio research misconduct" on Mann's part.
The United States has already tied its yearly record for billion-dollar weather disasters and the cumulative tab from floods, tornadoes and heat waves has hit $35 billion, the National Weather Service said. And it's only August, with the bulk of the hurricane season still ahead.
Climate change could exponentially increase the scale of natural disasters while at the same time threatening world security, a senior UN official told the UN Security Council. Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environment Program noted, "The scale of the the natural disasters will increase exponentially."
2010 may have been the year when developing countries pulled away from the developed world's fossil-fuel fouled past, toward a future powered by clean renewables. And despite the fact that much of that investment was state-subsidized, we are still at a turning point when renewables such as solar, geothermal and wind (those old whipping posts for critics arguing they won't compete with subsidized oil and coal) began to stand on their own two feet, especially in the parts of the world where they are often the only source of power available.
By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Environmental Outlook to 2030 report. Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency. The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius -- which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" -- is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Faith Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.
Devastating tornadoes, floods, earthquakes overseas and a busier-than-usual hurricane season have U.S. insurance companies bracing for record losses in 2011. Insurers could suffer as much as $10 billion from weather-related losses in the United States in 2011, which is up from the average of $2 billion to $4 billion, according to EQECAT Inc, which provides disaster and risk models to insurance companies.
Experts say climate change is contributing to more and more conflicts around the world, especially in Africa. They said that, beyond raising the alarm on the link between climate change and conflict, researchers must now help governments, civil society groups and aid agencies prevent natural disasters from turning into war.
The world's biggest international aid agency has warned that tens of millions of the world's poorest people are threatened by an unprecedented wave of freak and extreme weather, and that aid workers may be unable to cope with the global humanitarian crisis that might result.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, trying to revive long-stalled climate talks, told world environment ministers he is "deeply concerned" that many years of negotiation have proven largely fruitless."The pace of human-induced climate change is accelerating. We need results now, results that curb global greenhouse emissions," Ban declared at the opening of high-level talks at the annual U.N. climate conference. "Nature will not wait while we negotiate," he said. "Science warns that the window of opportunity to prevent uncontrolled climate change will soon close."
Once the coal-fired Medupi Power Station in Lephalale, South Africa, is fully operational in 2015, it will emit 26 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. And when the Tata Ultra Mega plant in western India is fully serviceable in 2012, its annual carbon dioxide emissions are expected to total 23.4 million tons. Both plants, which will rank among the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gases — together producing about as much carbon dioxide as nations like Ireland and Norway — are being built thanks to more than $4 billion in financing from the World Bank.
After a decade of waging wars in remote corners of the globe where fuel is not readily available, senior commanders have come to see overdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies — which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past few years — as providing a potential answer.
The effort to advance a major climate change bill through the Senate this summer collapsed Thursday even as President Obama signed into law another top Democratic priority — a bill to restore unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who have been out of work for six months or more. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, said the Senate would not take up legislation intended to reduce carbon emissions, but would instead pursue a more limited measure focused on responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and tightening energy efficiency standards.
Conflict brought on by droughts, famine and unwelcome migration are as old as history itself. Yet a growing number of military analysts think that climate change will exacerbate these problems worldwide and are encouraging countries to prepare to maintain order even as shrinking resources make their citizens more desperate. Said one British admiral: "We see climate change as a threat multiplier, as a catalyst for conflict. We're trying to understand this threat, like any other threat that we look at. It's about trying to reduce risk of the threat of conflict."
The world economy spends more than $550bn in energy subsidies a year, about 75 per cent more than previously thought, according to the first exhaustive study of the financial assistance devoted to oil, natural gas and coal consumption.
The federal government took its first formal step to regulate global warming pollution on Thursday by issuing final rules for greenhouse gas emissions for automobiles and light trucks. The new tailpipe rules, jointly written by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, set emissions and mileage standards that would translate to a combined fuel economy average for new vehicles of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Most drivers will see lower mileage figures in actual driving. It is the first time the federal Clean Air Act has been applied to carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants.
Top U.N. climate change official Yvo de Boer told The Associated Press he was resigning after nearly four years, a period when governments struggled without success to agree on a new global warming deal. His departure takes effect July 1, five months before 193 nations are due to reconvene in Mexico for another attempt to reach a binding worldwide accord on controlling greenhouse gases.
A steady drip of unsettling errors is exposing what scientists are calling "the weaker link" in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning series of international reports on global warming. The flaws — and the erosion they've caused in public confidence — have some scientists calling for drastic changes in how future United Nations climate reports are done. A push for reform comes on top of a growing clamor for the resignation of the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A divided U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted to encourage companies to disclose the effects of climate change on their business, bringing a partisan debate over global warming into a new arena. Democrats and Republicans split over approving the guidance in a 3-2 vote. Democrats portrayed the action as clarifying existing disclosure requirements. Republicans said the SEC appeared to be more interested in supporting an environmental agenda than in addressing more pressing issues stemming from the aftermath of a financial crisis.
Leaders here concluded a climate change deal that the Obama administration called “meaningful” but that falls short of even the modest expectations for the summit meeting here. The agreement addresses many of the issues that leaders came here to settle, but the answers are bound to leave many of the participants unhappy. The accord drops the expected goal of concluding a binding international treaty by the end of 2010, which leaves the implementation of its provisions uncertain. It is likely to undergo many months, perhaps years, of additional negotiation before it emerges in any internationally enforceable form. (FACTBOX of Copenhagen agreement.)
The Environmental Protection Agency took a major step toward regulating greenhouses gases, concluding that climate changing pollution threatens the public health and the environment. The announcement came as the Obama administration looked to boost its arguments at an international climate conference in Copenhagen that the United States is aggressively taking actions to combat global warming, even though Congress has yet to act on climate legislation.
Experts fear the conflicts involving cattle, water and land may be just the beginning of climate-driven violence in Africa. At least 400 people have died in northern Kenya this year, and experts worry that it's just the beginning of a new era of climate-driven conflict in Africa.
President Barack Obama is to pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the US in several stages, beginning with a 17% cut by 2020, the White House has said. The offer will be made at December's UN climate talks in Copenhagen, which Mr. Obama will attend. He does not plan to be there for the crucial last days.
The US Senate will act in early 2010 on legislation to battle climate change, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday, ending hopes of a breakthrough by next month's global talks. The decision confirms that the US Congress will not adopt legislation to combat climate change before the December 7-18 global climate change talks in Copenhagen. It also pushes what is likely to be a bitter debate to a mid-term election year, potentially making it harder to corral some of the swing-vote Senators needed to ensure passage of the bill.
Global warming will force up to 150 million "climate refugees" to move to other countries in the next 40 years, a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) warns.
Australians may have to leave coastal areas as rising sea levels threaten homes, according to a government report. The parliamentary committee report says urgent action is needed, as seas are expected to rise by 80cm (31 inches). About 80 percent of Australians live in coastal areas, and the report recommends banning further development in coastal regions.
The United Nations lowered expectations for clinching a legally binding agreement at a U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, saying it might take longer to secure a final deal.
The industrialized world again in 2007 boosted, rather than reduced, its emissions of global-warming gases, the U.N. reported . Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases rose by 1 percent between 2006 and 2007 among 40 nations. It was the seventh consecutive year of an upward trend, it said.
When a cyclone destroyed her home two years ago, Shahana Begum joined the swelling ranks of Bangladeshi "climate refugees" who, experts say, could one day overwhelm the capital Dhaka.
U.N. climate talks ended in a whimper Friday without progress on the pressing issues of emission cuts for wealthy nations or financing for the developing ones, both of which are crucial to reaching a global warming pact.
Adapting to impacts of climate change will cost $75-100bn per year in the developing world from 2010, a World Bank study concludes.
The recession has resulted in an unparalleled fall in greenhouse gas emissions, providing a “unique opportunity” to move the world away from high-carbon growth, an International Energy Agency study has found.
While virtually all of the largest developed and developing nations have made domestic commitments toward creating more efficient, renewable sources of energy to cut emissions, none want to take the lead in fighting for significant international emissions reduction targets, lest they be accused at home of selling out future jobs and economic growth.
Rich nations will need to reconsider making growth the goal of their societies, according to Lord Nicholas Stern, the economist who wrote the British government's report on climate change.
The world is speeding towards a climate catastrophe, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned on Thursday, urging rapid progress in talks to cut emissions and tackle global warming. "Our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss," the UN Secretary General said.
Twenty five percent of Africa experiences shortage of drinking water due to global warming, which is increasing at a higher rate now than in earlier decades, says noted environmentalist R.K. Pachauri.
Global warming will bring increased summer heat waves nationwide that are especially harmful to low-income and minority populations in urban areas and the elderly.
The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics, military and intelligence analysts say.
A majority of peoples around the world want their governments to put action on climate change at the top of the political agenda, a new global public opinion poll suggests. Unfortunately , Americans are not necessarily among them.
The House narrowly passed an ambitious climate bill yesterday that would establish national limits on greenhouse gases, create a complex trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to alter how individuals and corporations use energy.
Climate change will aggravate natural disasters and people in developing nations such as Dominica, Vanuatu, Myanmar and Guatemala are most at risk, a U.N.-backed study showed.
People displaced by global warming -- one estimate puts the number at one billion by 2050 -- could dwarf the nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people already fleeing wars and oppression.
U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide related to energy use fell 2.8 percent last year, driven down by high oil prices and the sagging economy. The drop in carbon dioxide emissions was the steepest since 1982.
Global warming is shrinking Europe's alpine glaciers with such dramatic acceleration that Italy and Switzerland must now redraw their mountain borders, says a proposed law approved by the lower house of the Italian parliament at the end of April.
In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor.
Former Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia says dealing with climate change is a national security issue that must be addressed.
Emergency organisations could be overwhelmed within seven years by the rising number of people in poor countries affected by floods, droughts, heatwaves, wild fires, storms, landslides and other climate hazards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shifted course and deemed carbon dioxide a health risk on Friday, in a turnabout important to global warming-related regulation.
The global warming situation has become so dire that Barack Obama's chief scientific adviser has raised with the president the possibility of massive-scale technological fixes to alter the climate known as "geo-engineering."
Lord Nicholas Stern, the economist who produced the single most influential political document on climate change, says he underestimated the risks of global warming and the damage that could result from it. The situation, he added, was worse than he had thought when he completed his review two-and-a-half years ago, but politicians still do not grasp the magnitude of the threat.
California regulators adopted the nation's first comprehensive plan to slash greenhouse gases. The ambitious blueprint by the world's eighth-largest economy would cut the state's emissions by 15% from today's level over the next 12 years, bringing them down to 1990 levels.
Between 1998 and 2007, India lost more people to extreme weather events caused by climate change than any other country, with an average of 4,532 people killed every year, a well-known German NGO has calculated.
An opinion poll in 11 countries has produced what organisers term a "global mandate" for action on climate change. About half of the respondents wanted governments to play a major role in curbing emissions, but only a quarter said their leaders were doing enough.
Just as the world seemed poised to combat global warming more aggressively, the economic slump and plunging prices of coal and oil are upending plans to wean businesses and consumers from fossil fuel. From
Representative Henry A. Waxman of California ousted Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan from his post as chairman of the influential Committee on Energy and Commerce, giving President-elect Barack Obama an advantage in his plans to promote efforts to combat global warming.
Lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a bill committing
As a new administration committed to addressing climate change takes office, intelligence and defense officials are laying plans to address the national security implications of a warmer planet. In recent months,
The Maldives will begin to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue into buying a new homeland - as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees.
The world will have to bet on extreme measures to avoid serious global warming, the International Energy Agency said, adding that an EU target to limit the planet's temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius may not be achievable.
Exxon Mobil Corp. set a quarterly profit record for a
China's dirty and dangerous coal mining industry cost the country a hidden $250 billion last year in lost and damaged lives, wasted energy and environmental devastation, according to a survey.
The Western world needs to rethink its rush to biofuels, which has done more harm pushing up food prices than it has good by reducing greenhouse gases, a United Nations report said.
Underscoring the magnitude of the challenge posed by global warming, new
Worldwide man-made emissions of carbon dioxide -- the main gas that causes global warming -- jumped 3 percent last year.That means the world is spewing more carbon dioxide than the worst case scenario forecast by a Nobel Prize-winning group of international scientists in 2007. Scientists said if the trend does not stop, it puts the world potentially on track for the highest predicted rises in temperature and sea level.Overall, the world's emissions have risen about 38% since 1992.
Chicago mayor Richard Daley rolled out a plan to sharply reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. The plan aims for a 25 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 levels within 12 years, and includes increased investments in public transit and installing additional green roofs.
The Philippines is very vulnerable to climate change and its diverse species will be the first to be wiped out if the temperature warms up, a US-based Filipino physicist said.
For poorer countries, climate change "could be the straw that breaks the camel's back," while the
Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any
Russian scientists are evacuating a research station built on an Arctic ice floe because the ice has melted to a fraction of its original size, a spokesman said.
The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian. The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.
The figure contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises.
U.S. intelligence experts believe fallout from global climate change over the next 20 years will boost global instability and may place new burdens on
World energy use is expected to surge 50% from 2005 to 2030, largely due to an expanding population and rapid economic growth, according to a government report.
The world must spend about one percent of its total income every year to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the IEA said Friday, calling for an "energy technology revolution" to curb global warming.
Billions of pounds are being wasted in paying industries in developing countries to reduce climate change emissions, according to two analyses of the UN's carbon offsetting programme.
Republican John McCain pledged to take the lead in combating global climate change if elected president in a speech that set him apart from the policies of President George W. Bush.The senator said he would seek international accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would offer an incentive system to make businesses in the
As many as one billion people could lose their homes by 2050 because of the devastating impact of global warming, scientists and political leaders were warned today by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Russia will not accept binding caps on its greenhouse gas emissions under a new climate regime, currently being negotiated to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, top officials said.
Members of the Rockefeller family, who founded ExxonMobil's corporate predecessor, announced they would seek a "major change" in the company's environmental policies.
Climate change could spawn the next Osama bin Laden unless industrialized nations aggressively reduce emissions and help those suffering the brunt of weather catastrophes, a new international security report warns. From
The effect of Australia's drought on rice has produced the greatest impact on the rest of the world, so far. It is one factor contributing to skyrocketing prices, and many scientists believe it is among the earliest signs that a warming planet is starting to affect food production.
The Stern report on climate change underestimated the risks of global warming, its author said on Wednesday, and should have presented a gloomier view of the future. "We underestimated the risks ... we underestimated the damage associated with temperature increases ... and we underestimated the probabilities of temperature increases," said Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank.
The collapse of Australia's rice production is one of several factors contributing to a doubling of rice prices in the last three months -- increases that have led the world's largest exporters to restrict exports severely, spurred panicked hoarding in Hong Kong and the Philippines, and set off violent protests in countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Flooded roads and subways, deformed railroad tracks and weakened bridges may be the wave of the future with continuing global warming, a new study says.
The United Nations warned yesterday that it no longer has enough money to keep global malnutrition at bay this year in the face of a dramatic upward surge in world commodity prices, which have created a "new face of hunger".
Low-income community groups in five
Climate change threatens the human rights of millions of people who are at risk of losing access to housing, food and clean water unless governments intervene early to counter its effects, experts said.
Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the pollution caused by producing these "green" fuels is taken into account, two studies published Thursday have concluded.
A meeting of delegates from the nations that emit the most pollutants ended without concrete targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, but participants praised what they saw as a new willingness by the
Nearly nine in 10 businesses do not rate climate change as a priority. Nearly twice as many see climate change as imposing costs on their business as those who believe it presents an opportunity to make money. And the report's publishers believe that big business will concentrate even less on climate change as the world economy deteriorates.
Two-thirds of responding local governments consider climate change to be a low or very low priority, and 57% do not have a climate change program. Where climate data are incorporated into policy decisions, they are mostly used to set municipal greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, for energy conservation, for water management, and for land use planning.
Local governments that identified potential vulnerabilities to climate change most often cited intensified storms (50%), compromised water quality (39%), infrastructure damage (25%), and loss of wetlands (22%).
Primary reasons for not having climate initiatives include skepticism about the accuracy of climate science and practical barriers, such as lack of funding, marginal support from elected officials, and lack of citizen involvement.
We humans are having such a dramatic impact on our planet that some leading scientists think the current era needs a new name. We're no longer in the Holocene epoch, they say. We're now well into what they are calling the Anthropocene.
Bert Bolin, a pioneering Swedish climate scientist and co-founder of the U.N.'s Nobel award-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has died, his colleague Henning Rodhe said Wednesday. He was 82.
Losses to insurers from natural disasters nearly doubled this year to just below $30 billion globally after an unusually quiet 2006, a leading reinsurer said, from winter storms in Europe, flooding in
Fifty-five million years ago the world's climate was catastrophically changed when volcanoes melted natural gas frozen in the seabed. Now
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson yesterday denied
A U.N. climate conference adopted a plan Saturday to negotiate a new global warming pact. European and
A clear climate threat is a mass migration that is sparking renewed conflict in the Indian Northeast among between residents and swarms of refugees from neigbhoring Bangladesh.
A new UN report warns that progress toward prosperity in the world's poorest regions will be reversed unless rich countries promptly begin curbing emissions linked to global warming while also helping poorer ones leapfrog to energy sources that pollute less than coal and oil. The world's poorest regions will also need much more help to avoid what one commentator called "adaptation apartheid."
A sizable fraction of the international business community launched an effort to press for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions yesterday, on the eve of a major round of climate negotiations set to begin Monday in Bali.
Unless the international community agrees to cut carbon emissions by half over the next generation, climate change is like to cause large-scale ecological catastrophes, a United Nations report says.The UN Human Development report issued one of the strongest warnings yet of the lasting impacts of climate change on living standards and a strong call for urgent collective action.
More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study that largely blamed global warming.
Newly elected leader Kevin Rudd moved quickly to bring
Six Midwestern governors and the premier of
All of the leading Democratic contenders for the presidency are committed to a set of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that would change the way Americans light their homes, fuel their automobiles and do their jobs, costing billions of dollars in the short term but potentially, the candidates say, saving even more in the decades to follow.
In unusually urgent tones, the International Energy Agency, which provides policy advice to industrial nations, urged advanced economies to work with
Empty shelves in
Climate change could be one of the greatest national security challenges ever faced by
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans today to announce his support for a national carbon tax. The mayor will argue that directly taxing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change will slow global warming, promote economic growth and stimulate technological innovation even if it results in higher gasoline prices in the short term.
World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown. A study by the German-based Energy Watch Group says that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected.
Public officials in Southern states from
US President George W. Bush infuriated his critics by professing world leadership on climate change at his meeting of the top 16 world economies - while offering no new substantive policy and implicitly rejecting binding emissions controls.
Sixty-two percent of respondents to a national survey believe that life on earth will continue without major disruptions only if society takes immediate and drastic action to reduce global warming. Further, 68 percent of Americans support a new international treaty requiring the
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a one-day high-level meeting on climate change on Monday was a turning point in the battle against global warming. "What I heard today is a major political commitment for a breakthrough in climate change in
The European Union's goal of keeping the global temperature rise to 2C is unlikely to be met, a leading climate researcher has warned.
Professor Martin Parry told BBC News that millions, if not tens of millions, would be at increased risk to their lives from a rise above 2C (3.6F).
Sixteen nations signed a U.S.-initiated pact on Sunday to help meet soaring world energy demand over coming decades by developing nuclear technology less prone to diversion into atomic bomb-making.
are to blame.
Developing countries face serious social unrest as they struggle to cope with soaring food prices, inflation that shows no signs of abating, the United Nations top agriculture official has warned. He said food prices would continue to increase because of strong demand from developing countries; a rising global population; more frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change; and the biofuel industrys appetite for grains.
Western U.S. states and Canadian provinces on Wednesday agreed to cut greenhouse emissions 15 percent by 2020 in the latest regional pact to regulate the gases, an approach opposed by U.S. President George W. Bush. The Western Climate Initiative, led by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, seeks to slash greenhouse emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Mandatory cuts are at odds with the voluntary approach favored by his Schwarzenegger's fellow Republican Bush.
What started in 2005 with the frustrations of one mayor -- Seattle's Greg Nickels -- over the Bush administration's resistance to the Kyoto Protocol has since grown to become a major nationwide movement. The "
The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is supposed to offset greenhouse gases emitted in the developed world by selling carbon credits from elsewhere, has been contaminated by gross incompetence, rule-breaking and possible fraud by companies in the developing world, according to UN paperwork, an unpublished expert report and alarming feedback from projects on the ground.
President Bush called for a meeting of 15 large emitters to fashion a carbon reduction plan by 2008, but critics dismissed the strategy as a diversion and a delaying tactic.
Political tensions between the US and Germany over climate change have worsened sharply, with Washington threatening to no longer "tread lightly" in negotiations on global warming ahead of the Group of Eight rich nations' summit next month. (May, 2007)
Global emissions of carbon dioxide are growing at a faster clip than the highest rates used in recent key UN reports. From 2000 to 2004, CO2 emissions rates almost tripled to 3 percent a year higher than any rate used in emissions scenarios for the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Corn's central role in our diet suggests that Earth's temperature fluctuations, and concerns over emissions that are believed to affect the climate, will become a more intensive focus for the companies that put food in our mouths, as they seek to meet demand with steady supplies and at prices that preserve, or even improve, profit.
A Depression-era program to bring electricity to rural areas is using taxpayer money to provide billions of dollars in low-interest loans to build coal plants even as Congress seeks ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Changes in the carbon content of soils and carbon stocks in forests and peat lands might offset some or all of the benefits of the greenhouse gas reductions, according to a UN panel. The use of large-scale monocropping could lead to significant biodiversity loss, soil erosion and nutrient leaching, according to the report.
"The report shows -- and this is encouraging -- that ambitious climate protection is economically manageable," German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said.
The German Environment Ministry this week unveiled proposals that would lead Germany to become the world's most energy-efficient country. The Ministry proposed an eight-point plan that would cut Germany's CO2 emissions by 40 percent in 13 years.
"The police, the fraud squad and trading standards need to be looking into this. Otherwise people will lose faith in it." -- Frances Sullivan, HBSC environment adviser.
The first Global Warming index is to be launched this week by UBS, allowing businesses most affected by the uncertainty of climate change - from ice-cream salesmen to makers of winter coats - to hedge their profits against it in a simple and transparent fashion. Investors will be able to buy exposure to, or short sell, the index in much the same way they would with the FTSE or Dow Jones stock indices.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg proposed to make
"Developers of affordable housing will lose money on nearly every single project in
Global climate change presents a serious national security threat that could affect Americans at home, impact
World demand for all forms of energy is expected to grow by 54 percent over the next two decades, with oil consumption alone jumping by 40 million barrels a day. The U.S. energy information administration sees oil prices exceeding $50 a barrel.
A day after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases, President Bush said he thought that the measures he had taken so far were sufficient.
The Supreme Court ordered the federal government to take a fresh look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from cars, a rebuke to Bush administration policy on global warming. In a 5-4 decision, the court said the Clean Air Act gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars.
To truly understand the crisis in Darfur -- and it has been profoundly misunderstood --you need to look back to the mid-1980s when sand blew into fertile land, the rare rain washed away alluvial soil and the land could no longer support both herder and farmer.
The former head of one of the largest mining operations in the world has punctured the optimism of the Australian government about clean-coal technology, saying the long-term storage of the carbon waste may be as difficult as dealing with nuclear waste.
Crazy-sounding ideas for saving the planet are getting a serious look from top scientists. How crazy? There's the man-made "volcano" that shoots gigatons of sulfur high into the air. The space "sun shade" made of trillions of little reflectors between Earth and sun, slightly lowering the planet's temperature. The forest of ugly artificial "trees" that suck carbon dioxide out of the air. And the "Geritol solution" in which iron dust is dumped into the ocean.
Leaders of General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler, along with the head of the United Auto Workers union, told a House subcommitteethat proposed increases in gas mileage standards for new vehicles would be extremely expensive and could have calamitous results.
To begin to curb climate change, the US needs to learn in less than a decade how to capture, compress, and then pump carbon dioxide miles underground. The quantities are massive: the liquid CO2 equivalent of 20 million barrels a day -- roughly equal to the amount of oil the US uses every day.
If Congress were to cut $1.4 billion a year in subsidies, as House Democrats urge, the industry would still get more than $37 billion a year from government coffers -- four times the amount spent on the nuclear industry and six times the amount spent on ethanol.
European Union leaders clinched agreement on on a bold long-term strategy for energy policy and climate change aimed at cutting emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
The Bush administration estimates that emissions by the United States of gases that contribute to global warming will grow nearly as fast through the next decade as they did the previous decade, according to a long-delayed report being completed for the United Nations.
Two of the world's leading oil producers, BP and Shell, have almost overnight joined some of the biggest players in wind power in the United States, accelerating a trend of large corporations investing in the rapidly growing alternative-energy field.
A delegation of Inuit has filed a legal petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, demanding that the US limits its emission of greenhouse gases, The group is charging that US climate policies violate their human rights.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and four other Western governors vowed to join forces to reduce emissions of planet-warming pollution. The leaders of Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California and New Mexico formed the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative.
Texas' largest electric utility tentatively approved a record $45 billion takeover bid by two private equity firms in a deal hailed by environmentalists as a major turning point in the battle against global warming. The prospective owners of the TXU Corp. have told environmental groups they would cancel eight of 11 proposed coal plants snd also back legislation for mandatory reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Aa new report by Carbon Trade Watch shows that the carbon offset industry is using the same sort of future value accounting that caused the collapse of energy giant Enron.
Australia will be the world's first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs in a bid to curb Greenhouse gas emissions, with the government saying on Tuesday they would be phased out within three years.
World leaders have reached a new agreement on tackling climate change at a meeting in the US. Delegates agreed that developing countries will have to face targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions as well as rich countries. The meeting of the G8+5 Climate Change Dialogue also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions. The group is a discussion forum that is part of British-led environmental group Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe).
Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Tuesday nations should work toward a global policy to fight climate change -- another sign the oil giant is softening its stance on global warming.
New Zealand's leader set her people the ambitious goal of becoming the world's first greenhouse gas-neutral country, and pledged big emission cuts by government and set compulsory targets for biofuel use as initial steps.
Former Vice President Al Gore, along with Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier, has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming.
Poor countries will suffer most from global warming even though they pollute less than developed countries, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns.
President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the United States sign both the Kyoto climate protocol and a future agreement that will take effect when the Kyoto accord runs out in 2012. He warned that if the US did not sign the agreements, a carbon tax across Europe on imports from nations that have not signed the Kyoto treaty could be imposed to try to force compliance.
Corporate America lags the largest global companies in disclosing climate change risks to investors. Only 47 percent of the largest US companies listed in the S&P 500 fully answered a survey on climate risks sent to the companies last year. compared with 72 percent of FT 500, which lists the largest global companies, that responded.
All Australian states will be forced to use purified waste water for drinking if the current 100-year drought continues.
It was just a couple of dozen words out of more than 5,000, uttered so fast that many in the audience missed them at first. But President Bush's commitment to fight global warming in his State of the Union address this week has echoed around the world and provoked debate about whether he is shifting his view of climate change.
Anxiety about environmental change has climbed so quickly within Canadians' consciousness that it now overwhelms terrorism, crime and health care as society's greatest threat.
According to the Pew Center, less than half of Americans (47%) say that human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, is mostly to blame for the earth getting warmer.
Global warming could exacerbate the world's rich-poor divide and help to radicalise populations and fan terrorism in the countries worst affected, security and climate experts said.
The biggest question going forward no longer is whether fossil-fuel emissions should be curbed. It's who will foot the bill for the cleanup and that battle is heating up.
World business leaders welcomed U.S. President George W. Bush's acknowledgment of climate change as "a serious challenge," but called for long-term emissions standards to help them plan. While supporting the White House nod to alternative energies such as ethanol, wind, solar and nuclear power, corporate executives said they wanted Washington to lock in stricter U.S. emissions standards.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to introduce a bill that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.
As the world heats up, the coal industry is racing to build more than 150 new power plants before Congress decides to crack down on global warming
The European Commission presented "the most ambitious policy ever" to fight climate change, challenging the world to follow Europe's lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Europe, the richest and most fertile continent and the model for the modern world, will be devastated by climate change, according to the European Union. The ecosystems that have helped European civilisation gain global pre-eminence, will be disabled by remorselessly rising temperatures, according to a remarkable report which is as ominous as it is detailed.
Never has good weather felt so bad. Never have flowers inspired so much fear. Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous. The weather is sublime, it's glorious, it's the end of the world.
House Democrats are crafting an energy package that would roll back billions of dollars worth of oil drilling incentives, raise billions more by boosting federal royalties paid by oil and gas companies for offshore production, and plow the money into new tax breaks for renewable energy sources.
Foreign businesses have embraced an obscure United Nations-backed program as a favored approach to limiting global warming. But the early efforts have revealed some hidden problems. The huge profits from that will be divided by the chemical factorys owners, a Chinese government energy fund, and the consultants and bankers who put the deal together.
Asia's greenhouse gas emissions will treble over the next 25 years, according to a report commissioned by the Asian Development Bank.
It says that its estimate of future levels of greenhouse gas could even be an optimistic assessment.
Mainstream parties in Germany, Britain, France, Canada, the United States and Austria believe tackling climate change is a vote winner while established Green parties in Germany and Austria are experiencing a renaissance.
Prime Minister John Howard has embraced a key climate change forecast, warning Australians to prepare for more extreme weather events such as the current bushfires. When Mr. Howard was asked whether he accepted scientists' predictions on extreme weather, he said, "I think the country should prepare for a continuation of what we are now experiencing."
Climate change is a human rights issue, according to Mary Robinson, former head of the UN Human Rights Commission. "Climate change has already begun to affect the fulfilment of human rights and our shared human rights framework entitles and empowers developing countries and impoverished communities to claim protection of these rights," she said
Climate change is said to pose a bigger threat than wars or terrorism. Yet governments remain reluctant to address this threat because any country acting alone to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, without similar commitments by other governments, risks damaging the competitiveness of its industries.
Half of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a recent Zogby International post-election survey.
Representatives of more than 10,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists are calling on Congress to take immediate action against global warming. Their petition also calls for an end to censorship of agency scientists and other specialists on topics of climate change and the effects of air pollution.
While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation's largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.
The EU's "environmental leadership could significantly undermine the international competitiveness of part of Europe's energy-intensive industries and worsen global environmental performance by redirecting production to parts of the world with lower environmental standards."
There is no deal on another round of mandatory cuts in emissions to follow the Kyoto Protocol, and no firm timetable for negotiating cuts. Environment and development groups say the measures presented here do not match the scale of the problem.
If the sun warms the Earth too dangerously, the time may come to draw the shade. The "shade" would be a layer of pollution deliberately spewed into the atmosphere to help cool the planet. But Paul J. Crutzen, the Nobel laureate who first made the proposal is himself "not enthusiastic about it," saying, "It was meant to startle the policymakers."
Losses from extreme weather could top $1 trillion in a single year by 2040, a partnership of the United Nations Environment Programme and private finance institutions (UNEP FI) warned on Tuesday.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin proposed introducing punitive taxes on imports from countries that refused to sign the UN's Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at curbing global warming. While 35 developing are on board, the world's top polluter, the United States, has not signed the pact.
"The stakes are high. Climate change has profound implications for virtually all aspects of human well-being, from jobs and health to food security and peace within and among nations. Yet too often climate change is seen as an environmental problem when it should be part of the broader development and economic agenda."
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2005 and are still increasing, the U.N. weather agency said Friday. The measurements coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization show that the global average concentrations of carbon dioxide, or CO2, and nitrous oxide, or N2O, reached record levels last year and are expected to increase even further this year.
Global warming could cost the world's economies up to 20 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) if urgent action is not taken to stop floods, storms and natural catastrophes, according to Sir Nicholas Stern, a former World Bank economist, who added that the world would have to pay 1 per cent of its annual GDP to avert catastrophe. But doing nothing could cost 5 to 20 times that amount.
For all the enthusiasm about alternatives to coal and oil, the challenge of limiting emissions of carbon dioxide, which traps heat, will be immense in a world likely to add 2.5 billion people by midcentury. The challenge is all the more daunting because research into energy technologies by both government and industry has not been rising, but rather falling.
China will invest 1.5 trillion yuan (US$187.5 billion) to increase the ratio of renewable energy consumption. Currently, 7.5 per cent of China's energy comes from renewable sources. The country's goal is to make it 10 per cent by 2010 and 16 per cent by 2020, revised from its initial goal of 20 per cent.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will warn Europe on Tuesday to tackle climate change or risk terrorists seizing on famine, water shortages and failing energy infrastructures to threaten global security.
A new book, Carbon Trading: A Critical Conversation on Climate Change, Privitisation and Power, says that the "carbon trading" approach to the climate crisis is both ineffective and unjust. The book, published by Sweden's Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, argues that trading prolongs the world's dependence on oil, coal and gas -- even as it dispossesses ordinary people in the South of their lands and futures without resulting in appreciable progress toward alternative energy systems.
One Australian farmer commits suicide every four days, defeated by the country's worst drought in 100 years which has left them with dust-bowl paddocks and a mountain of debt.
"The key question is how close are we to a 2*C rise, and when will we get there? The first thing to admit is that nobody knows for sure, but many who understand the science say the answer to this twin question is, first, that we are already very close, and second, we might get there terrifyingly soon." -- Author Paul Brown
Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said on Friday.
US wheat prices struck a 10-year high on Tuesday on fears of a further decline in global production at a time when world stockpiles are near 20-year lows. Wheat harvests from Australia to Argentina, Europe and North America have been affected by drought, heatwaves and, in the case of Ukraine, infestation from the Eurygaster beetle. Global wheat supplies have fallen about 5 per cent or 30million tonnes from last year.
Climate talks between the world's top 20 polluters have ended with an unusual level of agreement on the urgent need to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. But delegates at the Mexico talks also stressed the massive gap between the politics and science of climate change.
For those who love New England's mild summer weather, scientists have some advice: enjoy it while you can. If greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current course, Massachusetts may feel more like sultry South Carolina by century's end, researchers said on Wednesday in a report on clear signs of global warming in the US Northeast.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law on Wednesday aimed at reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 -- a cut of about 25 percent.
Sir Richard Branson is to invest $3bn (£1.6bn) to fight global warming. The Virgin boss said he would commit all profits from his travel firms, such as airline Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains, over the next 10 years.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands fell by around 2 percent in 2005 from a year earlier and were at approximately the same level they were in 1990, a government agency said Monday.
The insurance business is in the midst of a sea change.
Unpredictable weather, American migratory patterns, and soaring real estate values are increasing risks for insurers and putting pressure on their financial prospects. In response, companies are changing the rules of engagement with their customers.
Dozens of new insurance activities, such as 'green' building credits and incentives for investing in renewable energy, are emerging to tackle the causes of climate change and rising weather-related losses in the U.S. and globally, according to a major new report issued today by the Ceres investor coalition. But the report also states that more insurance companies need to be offering similar services to minimize losses and make the most of business opportunities related to climate change.
Seven northeastern U.S. states haveagreed on a model rule that would create the country's first market for heat-trapping carbon dioxide by curbing emissions at power plants.
The UK and California are to work together on reducing greenhouse gases and promoting low carbon technologies. The agreement came after a climate change meeting in Long Beach of Tony Blair, the US state's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and business leaders. A "mission statement" said the two would, among other things, "share experiences" and "find new solutions".
From 2002 until this year, NASA's mission statement read: "To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers..." In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted.
French President Jacques Chirac warned on Sunday that mankind faced an inferno unless the world tackles climate change seriously, in a rebuke to fellow Group of Eight leaders.
Scientists testing the deep geologic disposal of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are finding that it's staying where they put it, but it's chewing up minerals. The reactions have produced a nasty mix of metals and organic substances in a layer of sandstone 1550 meters down, researchers report this week in Geology. At the same time, the CO2 is dissolving a surprising amount of the mineral that helps keep the gas where it's put.
A new British government adviser on climate change has hit out at the US for what he says is its unhelpful stance on global warming.
"The policy of the Bush administration on climate change has not been helpful . . ." said John Ashton of the Foreign Office. "We would have been further forward on climate change had there been a more engaged US position."
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today joined Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and other Democratic House members in introducing sweeping legislation that would require a dramatic cut in the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The Safe Climate Act of 2006 is a comprehensive measure that would require an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
Global emissions of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide will rise 75 percent from 2003 to 2030, with much of the growth coming from coal burning in developing countries, the U.S. government forecast.
NASA is canceling or delaying satellites which provide critical information on the earth's changing climate. The agency has shelved one mission designed to measure soil moisture -- a key factor in understanding the impact of global warming and predicting droughts and floods. A second program to observe climate factors such as solar radiation, ozone, clouds, and water vapor also has been canceled.
Insurers must do more to understand the implications of climate change on their businesses or risk going out of business, Lloyd's of London said.
The US hurricane season kicked off Thursday with another gloomy prediction: major storms could cause US$100 billion worth of property loss, and wipe out 20 to 40 insurers.
ExxonMobil now admits global warming is real and poses risks but the company has not yet taken steps -- such as meaningful alternative energy investments -- that would demonstrate that ExxonMobil is managing the risks to its shareholders.
Investment funds are now betting that Washington will clamp down on emitters of carbon dioxide. And they are certain that there is money to be made in holding the shares of low emitters and shorting the shares of big ones.
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, signalled on Monday it would help the fight against global warming through research on cutting carbon dioxide emissions in the oil and gas industry.
Global warming is killing vineyards in southern Spain, threatening a 2 billion-euro ($2.4 billion) wine industry and forcing grape growers to move to cooler climes of the Pyrenees.
American International Group Inc. this week became the first major US insurer to adopt a policy on climate change, saying it would develop projects to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
Alarmed at the sharply rising cost of hurricanes and other disasters, home insurers are pulling back from some U.S. coastal markets, warning of gathering financial storm clouds over how the United States pays for the damage of catastrophe.
U.S. companies that have come out in support of national limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions are now being joined by Republican lawmakers who have parted company with President George W. Bush on the issue.
For reasons that range from economics to ethics, a confluence of Christian leaders, corporations, environmentalists and investors are turning up the heat for legislative action on global warming.
At the dawn of the automobile age, Henry Ford predicted that "ethyl alcohol is the fuel of the future." With petroleum about $65 a barrel, President Bush has now embraced that view, too. But Brazil is already there.
Environmentalists and their opponents have spent far too much time debating whether global warming is caused by humans, and whether the transition to cleaner energy sources will be good or bad for the economy. Whatever the causes, warming is a genuine risk.
During the fall of 2005, climbing natural gas prices pulled conventional electricity costs above those of wind-generated electricity, the source of most green power. This crossing of the cost lines in Austin and several other communities is a milestone in the U.S. shift to a renewable energy economy.
After failing to predict how costly Hurricane Katrina would be last year, companies forecasting catastrophes are now saying U.S. damage from large storms will rise as much as 60 percent in some regions in coming years. This boost in anticipated hurricane losses could also push the cost of insuring coastal areas much higher and have serious implications for the insurance industry.
Just days after President George W. Bush announced the U.S. would invest more in R&D for renewable energy technologies, one of the world's largest investment firms, the Carlyle Group, said it would substantially boost its stake in renewables. Coincidentally, former President George H. W. Bush was a special consultant to the Carlyle Group for 10 years before his retirement two years ago.
The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years. The Interior Department anticipates the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.
Global warming isn't just a "blue state" issue anymore.
From the Rocky Mountain West to the Southeast, influential red-state voices are beginning to call for more concerted efforts at local, state, and federal levels to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.
Sweden has announced one of its most ambitious goals yet: to completely end its dependancy on fossil fuels -- and do it in the next 15 years.
Eighty-six evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors." Signers include the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges, leaders of aid groups like the Salvation Army, and pastors of megachurches.
The world has seven years to take vital decisions and implement measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions or it could be too late, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said. Blair said the battle against global warming would only be won if the U.S., India and China were part of a framework that included targets and timetables.
The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.
Canadians are poised to axe the Kyoto Accord, but seem unaware that's what they will be doing when they elect a Stephen Harper government today. Less than two weeks before voting day, with a majority government in sight, Harper said he would abandon the CO2 emission limits of Kyoto.
Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, including five who served Republican presidents, said Wednesday that the Bush administration needed to act more aggressively to limit the emission of greenhouse gases linked to climate change.
The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life.
France and Spain are ringing alarm bells over the climate, fearing a repeat of last year's drought that sparked deadly forest fires, costly crop failures and widespread water rationing in southern Europe. The European Environment Agency (EEA) says water shortages and soaring temperatures in southern Europe are becoming the norm, and its climate models suggest much of the continent may start to become drier as deserts advance.
ExxonMobil, Rio Tinto and other businesses are expected to dominate the Asia-Pacific climate summit, while environmental groups have been excluded from the meeting.
GE has commited itself to an 'ecomagination' programme, building sales of green technologies to $20bn by 2010. R&D in areas ranging from cleaner coal and power plants to fuel cells and wind turbines, will double to $1.5billion.
A climate change statement, being crafted by several evangelical leaders nationwide, could call for curbs on emissions of greenhouse gases. It also could put evangelicals at odds with the White House and business interests that form another key Republican constituency.
American emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming reached an all-time high in 2004, rising 2 percent from the year before, the Energy Department said, nearly double the average annual rate measured since 1990.
Seven northeastern U.S. states have signed the country's first plan to create a market for heat-trapping carbon dioxide by curbing emissions at power plants, New York Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday.
The United States dropped its opposition early Saturday morning to nonbinding talks on addressing global warming after a few words were adjusted in the text of statements that, 24 hours earlier, prompted a top American official to walk out on negotiations.
Delegates at a UN climate conference in Canada have reportedly agreed on talks to cut greenhouse gases after 2012 but it is unclear if the US is included.
Severe weather around the world has made 2005 the most costly year on record with unprecedented levels of insurance claims on damaged property.
BP unveiled plans yesterday to double its investment in alternative and renewable energy sources, saying it will spend $8 billion over the next decade. The company, which is promoting its green credentials in a high-profile advertising campaign tagged "beyond petroleum", will create a new business that supplies low-carbon electricity.
As of today, the Goldman Sachs Group is officially green. The big investment banking firm has announced a policy that details how its 24,000 employees - be they bankers, analysts or purchasing agents - should promote activities that protect forests and guard against climate change.
Global greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 52% by 2030, unless the world takes action to reduce energy consumption, according to the latest annual World Energy Outlook report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that under current consumption trends, energy demand will also rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years.
Prince Charles says climate change should be seen as the "greatest challenge to face man" and treated as a much bigger priority in the UK. He said climate change was "what really worries me", and he did not want his future grandchildren to ask why he had not acted over the issue.
To New Orleans residents, Hurricane Katrina must seem like an incredibly bad piece of meteorological luck that could only happen once in a lifetime. But to many climate researchers, it looks like a harbinger of things to come-with catastrophic regularity-as the world's atmosphere heats up.
A risk management firm yesterday offered the first estimate of economic losses from Hurricane Katrina - $100 billion - and said that private insurance would probably cover less than a quarter of that.
Gerda Hasselfeldt, a leading conservative candidate to become Germany's environment,said climate change had played a role in Hurricane Katrina and urged the US to join other nations in cutting the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming.
A new U.K. organisation hopes to combat climate change through harnessing the political power of the church, asking the government to cut Britain's greenhouse gas emissions, and to ensure that overseas aid money is invested in clean technologies.
Sir David King, the British Government's chief scientific adviser, has warned that global warming may be responsible for the devastation reaped by Hurricane Katrina. "The increased intensity of hurricanes is associated with global warming," King said, adding: "We have known since 1987 the intensity of hurricanes is related to surface sea temperature and we know that, over the last 15 to 20 years, surface sea temperatures in these regions have increased by half a degree centigrade."
For all its numbing ferocity, Hurricane Katrina will not be a unique event, say scientists, who say that global warming appears to be pumping up the power of big Atlantic storms.
Nine northeastern U.S. states are working on a plan to cap and then reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the first U.S. deal of its kind and one that would see the region breaking with President Bush. The move comes as California, Washington and Oregon are considering a similar pact.
The insured share of the world's total economic losses from weather-related catastrophes is rising, increasing from a negligible fraction in the 1950s to 25 percent in the last decade.
At the close of the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, leaders called on the World Bank Group to work on financing a new framework for climate change. "This is something really brand new for the World Bank," World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said.
A U.S.-led plan to develop clean energy technologies met with surprise in Asia and concern among critics that it may be a ploy to undo the Kyoto pact, the binding accord on controlling global warming that Washington refuses to sign. The initiative brings together the U.S., Australia, China, India, South Korea and Japan with the aim of inventing and selling technologies ranging from "clean coal" and wind power to next-generation nuclear fission as a means of reducing pollution and addressing climate concerns.
A new survey of wind power around the globe has found there's ample energy for all humanity blowing around us. Researchers Christina Archer and Mark Jacobson of Stanford University in California have created a set of world wind-power resource maps that reveal a barely tapped 72 terawatts of power - 40 times the amount of electrical power used by all countries in the year 2000.
An ambitious bipartisan plan to slow U.S. greenhouse gases with an emissions trading program collapsed in the Senate Tuesday after a key Republican threw his support behind a weaker, voluntary plan.
Under U.S. pressure, negotiators in the past month have agreed to delete language that would detail how rising temperatures are affecting the globe, set ambitious targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions and set stricter environmental standards for World Bank-funded power projects. Negotiators met this week in London to work out details of the document, which is slated to be adopted next month at the G-8 annual meeting in Scotland.
BP's reputation as one of the world's most environmentally progressive energy companies is on the line. The oil giant has been privately lobbying in Washington to block legislation to introduce a mandatory curb on greenhouse gases in the US, it has emerged.
Leaders of some of the world's biggest businesses increased the pressure on the Group of Eight industrialised nations ahead of a summit on global warming, urging them to set up a system of emissions trading for greenhouse gases that would extend to 2030 and beyond.
Vowing to lead the world's response to global warming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday announced a series of ambitious targets for cutting California's greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% over the next half-century, but provided few details on how the state could achieve such dramatic reductions.
A group of Britain's leading industrialists has written to the prime minister urgently demanding long-term policies to combat climate change. The heads of the 12 leading firms say climate change is a huge challenge that needs serious investment by business.
Several of the nation's most prominent environmentalists have gone public with the message that nuclear power, long taboo among environmental advocates, should be reconsidered as a remedy for global warming.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has joined 131 other mayors ina bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on the local level, in an implicit rejection of the administration's policy.
Of the $145 billion loss last year, insured losses were around $44 billion, of which $40 billion was due to destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States and typhoons in Japan. In comparison, the economic loss due to the South Asian tsunami was lower but the human cost far higher.
The EIA analysed a set of recommendations made by the National Commission on Energy Policy which found that reducing US greenhouse gas emissions by 4 per cent by 2015 and by 7 per cent by 2025, in accordance with the NCEP's recommendations, would cost 0.15 per cent of gross domestic product.
Developing countries could install hundreds of thousands of megawatts of renewable energy capacity and help relieve poverty and volatile oil bills in those nations, UN officials said.
With 46 percent of Australia now declared to be in drought, the government is providing "exceptional circumstances" assistance to farmers to help with groceries and interest payments on debt.
Automakers and the Canadian government have reached an agreement requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions from all cars sold in the country in an effort to combat global warming. The agreement requires automakers by 2010 to cut tailpipe emissions by 5.3 million tons, about what would be achieved by improving the fuel efficiency of all cars sold in Canada by 25%.
A core group of influential evangelical leaders has put its considerable political power behind a cause that has barely registered on the evangelical agenda, fighting global warming.
French President Jacques Chirac called on developed countries to cut gas emissions to a quarter of current levels by 2050 -- exceeding targets set by the Kyoto pact to combat global warming.
By the end of this century, global warming threatens to raise the sea level enough that a heavy storm would send flood waters into Boston's downtown waterfront, the Financial District, and much of the Back Bay, based on projections in an EPA-funded report.
Islanders on tiny Tuvalu in the South Pacific last week saw the future of global warming and rising sea levels, as extreme high tides caused waves to crash over crumbling sea-walls and flood their homes."Our island is sinking together with our hearts," wrote Silafaga Lalua in Tuvalu News.
Unprecedented hurricane activity helped make 2004 the costliest year ever for US insurers as they paid out $27.3 billion, a survey by a leading industry adviser said.
Floods, storms and droughts. Melting Arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, oceans turning to acid. The world's top scientists warned last week that dangerous climate change is taking place today, not the day after tomorrow.
Africa's poor millions, already suffering grinding poverty and rampant disease, risk bearing the brunt of the global warming crisis unless urgent action is taken now.
The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already. The countdown to climate-change catastrophe, according to a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world, is as close as 10 years or even less.
Global warning has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are designed to avoid.Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC, said the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution if humanity is to "survive".
Congress has eliminated funding for a fledgling network of 110 observation stations intended to provide a definitive, long-term climate record for the United States. The surprise assault on the Climate Reference Network (CRN) was buried in the 3000-page omnibus spending package for 2005 signed last month by President George W. Bush The funding cuts drastically reduce an international "system of systems" for earth observation that the Bush Administration has called essential for resolving uncertainties in the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Sydney needs to more than halve its water consumption to prevent a dire water shortage in 25 years, research by national water utilities concludes. The shortfall was caused by climate change, population growth and more water being used for environmental flows.
The Kyoto Protocol to curb greenhouse-gas emissions hasn't gone into effect yet and already three countries -- the U.S., China and India -- are planning to build nearly 850 new coal-fired plants, which would pump up to five times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce.
Governments from around the world narrowly succeeded in keeping the international bid to combat catastrophic global warming alive, in the face of determined attempts by the re-elected Bush administration to kill it off.
Argentine President Néstor Kirchner accused the countries of the industrialised North of double standards, noting that they relentlessly pursue repayment from their financial debtors, yet do everything possible to delay or completely avoid meeting their environmental debt to the developing world. "We should not accept the double standards implied by demanding that the developing countries strictly comply with the financial obligations stemming from foreign debt, while at the same time, the world's most evolved and powerful societies elude their basic commitment to the preservation of life," he stated.
Natural disasters will cost insurers a record $35 billion this year, after hurricanes lashed the Caribbean and southeastern United States and a record 10 typhoons soaked Japan in events seen as linked to global warming, climate experts said on Wednesday. "2004 will be the costliest year for the insurance industry worldwide, so it will be a new world record even if we adjust all previous years for inflation," said an expert at Munich Re.
A Nepalese Sherpa fears his mountain valley will be flooded by melting glacier runoff high in the Himalayas. A Fiji islander frets about rising sea levels, while villagers cope with the destruction of mangrove swamps in India. "Climate witnesses" told a U.N. environmental conference Friday they are already feeling the heat of the changing weather patterns which are drastically affecting the way of life from the Himalayas to the South Pacific.
Cinergy Corp., a major owner of coal-fired power plants, has voiced support for laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions, saying the move is economically feasible and would end uncertainty over the issue. In a report to shareholders, the company said a national program that capped greenhouse gas emissions but allowed all kinds of industrial facilities to trade emissions reduction credits would be feasible and possibly beneficial for the company
The United States and the seven other countries with Arctic territory today expressed concern about profound changes in the Arctic climate and said they would consider new scientific findings concluding that heat-trapping emissions were the main cause.But, in a move that disappointed environmental and Arctic indigenous groups, they did not agree on a common strategy for curbing such emissions.
For decades, most Asian business leaders have dismissed concerns about the global environment as a western preoccupation of no importance for profits or prestige. Such attitudes are starting to change. Members of the exclusive Asia Business Council (ABC) will hear a British climate expert, explain the threats posed to the region by global warming, including potentially drastic changes to Asian temperatures and rainfall patterns in the coming decades.
The 90-day countdown to the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force was triggered today by the receipt of the Russian Federation's instrument of ratification by the United Nations Secretary-General. The Protocol will become legally binding on its 128 Parties on 16 February 2005."A period of uncertainty has closed. Climate change is ready to take its place again at the top of the global agenda," said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat, which services the UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
Two weeks after the end of a campaign in which he stumped for Mr. Bush's re-election, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is convening a Senate hearing today on the human effect on climate and what to do about it. For three years Mr. McCain has pushed for a bill he wrote with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, that would create the first, modest curbs on greenhouse gases. "This is a very time-sensitive issue," he said in an interview yesterday.
There is a warning that some of Australia's major cities could run out of drinking water. Much of this arid continent is in the grip of one of the driest periods in living memory. "Some of Australia's cities are really in a race at the moment to see who's going to run out of water first," said one Australian scientist.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill confirming Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the Kremlin said Friday, clearing the way for the global climate pact to come into force early next year. Both houses of parliament last month ratified the protocol, which aims to stem global warming by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Bush administration has been working for months to keep an upcoming eight-nation report from endorsing broad policies aimed at curbing global warming, according to domestic and foreign participants, despite the group's conclusion that Arctic latitudes are facing historic increases in temperature, glacial melting and abrupt weather changes.
The Queen of England has made a rare intervention in world politics to warn Tony Blair of her grave concerns over the White House's stance on global warming. She has asked Downing Street to lobby the US after observing the alarming impact of Britain's changing weather on her estates at Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk.
A top NASA climate expert who twice briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming, plans to criticize the administration's approach to the issue, saying a senior administration official told him last year not to discuss dangerous consequences of rising temperatures. "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now," James E. Hansen told a University of Iowa audience.
The greenhouse effect could wreck attempts to lift the world's poorest people out of poverty and reverse human progress. A report by a coalition of environment and aid agencies calls for urgent action to avert the threat.
The long-delayed Kyoto Protocol on global warming overcame its last critical hurdle to taking effect around the world on Thursday when Russia's cabinet endorsed the treaty and sent it to Parliament. The treaty, the first to require cuts in emissions linked to global warming, would take effect 90 days after Parliament's approval, a formality that was widely expected. The treaty, which has already been ratified by 120 countries will take effect if supporters include nations accounting for at least 55 percent of all industrialized countries' 1990-level emissions.
China is already the world's top producer of coal and is expected to pull 1.9 billion tonnes from the ground this year, up 10 percent from last year. In 2010, it aims to raise that to 2.2 billion tonnes. Furthermore, three-quarters of China's 400,000 megawatts of installed power capacity, the world's second-largest after the United States, are fired by the jet black fossil fuel.
Buoyed by initial road-test results and significant technological advancements, UPS has announced the U.S. deployment of its first three large package delivery vehicles utilizing hydrogen fuel cells for power. "UPS now is jumping from a small fuel cell car to a medium-duty truck. We will continue the rapid application of this technology in hopes that in the near future, we can deploy zero-emission engines across our fleet of 88,000 vehicles," said a UPS official.
Tony Blair will today urge the United States to commit itself to tougher action to combat global warming and promise that a list of green policies will be included in Labor's general election manifesto.
Existing technologies could stop the escalation of global warming for 50 years, and work on implementing them can begin immediately, according to Princeton University scientists.
In a striking shift in the way the Bush administration has portrayed the science of climate change, a new report to Congress focuses on federal research indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades. Previously, President Bush and other officials had emphasized uncertainties in understanding the causes and consequences of warming as a reason for rejecting binding restrictions on heat-trapping gases.
The U.K.signalled a tougher British and European stance yesterday against the Bush administration's hostility to the Kyoto treaty when Tony Blair takes over the chair in both the EU and the G8 group of major industrial states next year. Ahead of Mr. Blair's big September speech on climate change - the world's biggest collective challenge, he will say - a minister admitted the time has come for the government "to move from words to delivery" at home. Abroad it must also press Washington "to be more ambitious", he said.
California will become hotter and drier by the end of the century, menacing the valuable wine and dairy industries, even if dramatic steps are taken to curb global warming, researchers said on Monday.The first study to specifically forecast the impact of global warming on a U.S. state also shows the snowpack melting in the Sierra Nevada mountains, more frequent heat waves hitting Los Angles and disruptions to crop irrigation.
Europeans must learn how to live with a changing climate as well as seeking to limit its effects by cutting emissions, the European Environment Agency says. An EEA report says fewer than 50 years remain to act against the threat.
The European Commission suspended trading in greenhouse gas emissions permits on Wednesday for at least a week after the theft of permits worth millions of euros via online attacks. The Emissions Trading System was a target of “recurring security breaches” over the last two months, the commission, the executive agency of the European Union, announced on its Web site. The commission said it needed to shut the system down until at least Jan. 26 because “incidents over the last weeks have underlined the urgent need” for enhanced security measures.
Consensus is growing among scientists, governments, and business that they must act fast to combat climate change. This has already sparked efforts to limit CO2 emissions. Many companies are now preparing for a carbon-constrained world.
El Nino, the dreaded weather anomaly which has killed hundreds and spawned disasters across the Asia-Pacific region over the years, could possibly develop by late 2004, the Climate Prediction Center of the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration said.
Attorneys general from eight states and New York City are stepping into the debate over global climate change, vowing to force the nation's largest power companies to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. Officials from California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin, as well as New York City, were to file a public nuisance lawsuit Wednesday in federal district court in Manhattan.
A lawsuit filed today by attorneys general in eight states and New York City targets jobs in coal-producing states and will result in dramatically higher electricity and consumer energy costs, according to United for Jobs, a jobs advocacy coalition. United for Jobs co-chairman Harry Alford criticized the lawsuit, calling on New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer to drop the suit which targets jobs in coal-producing states.
The head of one of the world's biggest oil companies has admitted that the threat of climate change makes him "really very worried for the planet". Ron Oxburgh, chairman of Shell, says we urgently need to capture emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which scientists think contribute to global warming, and store them underground - a technique called carbon sequestration. His comments will enrage many in the oil industry, which is targeted by climate change campaigners because the use of its products spews out huge quantities of carbon dioxide.
Ten of the nation's top climate researchers warned that policymakers must act soon to address the dangers associated with global warming, which they described as a looming threat that will hit hardest and soonest at the world's poor and at farmers.
"We, Indigenous Peoples, are following the initiatives by States in promoting renewable energies, as an alternative to fossil energy technologies, which are responsible for the violation of our human rights and the deterioration of our environment. As such, we welcome the initiatives to embrace renewable energies provided that they are also beneficial to the Indigenous Peoples and that our rights are fully respected."
Bank of America has pledged to take significant new steps in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, protection of intact forest ecosystems, and transparent public reporting to all stakeholders.
Two recent climatic events are warning signs that climate change may be proceeding much more quickly than previously thought, James Lovelock claimed. They are the increasingly rapid melting of the Arctic ice-sheet covering Greenland, which will raise global sea levels considerably, and the extreme heatwave in western central Europe in the first two weeks of last August.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, bolstered by a breakthrough trade agreement with European leaders, reversed Moscow's position on an ambitious worldwide environmental pact yesterday by promising quick ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
The 30 companies that own most of the dirtiest power plants in the country, and their trade association, have raised $6.6 million for President Bush and the Republican National Committee since 1999, and were given relief from pollution regulations that would have cost them billions of dollars, according to a new analysis. Ten utility industry officials were so good at fundraising for the president that his campaign named them Rangers for bringing in at least $200,000 or Pioneers for bringing in at least $100,000.
Most scientists agree that global warming in the United States is a here-and-now reality. From the drought-parched Rocky Mountains to Florida's beaches to the hardwood forests of New England, early signs of climate change are virtually everywhere.
In late April, Tony Blair challenged George Bush's refusal to confront global warming by announcing the creation of a powerful coalition of big businesses, including several oil giants, to tackle climate change.
Dozens of nations and international organizations have endorsed a 10-year blueprint for a global climate watch system that would let governments share information about the Earth to assess climate change, forecast natural disasters and fight disease.
In "The Day After Tomorrow," a $125 million disaster film set to open on May 28, global warming from accumulating smokestack and tailpipe gases disrupts warm ocean currents and sets off an instant ice age. Few climate experts think such a prospect is likely, especially in the near future. But the prospect that moviegoers will be alarmed enough to blame the Bush administration for inattention to climate change has stirred alarm at NASA, scientists there say.
At a CERES meeting in Boston, the leaders of 13 major public pension funds managing assets of nearly $800 billion called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to require companies to disclose explicitly the financial risks to themselves of global warming in their securities filings.
Investing in renewable energy such as solar, wind and the use of municipal and agricultural waste for fuel would produce more American jobs than a comparable investment in the fossil fuel energy sources in place today, according to a report issued by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Eighty environmental and social justice organizations today delivered a letter of protest to the World Bank, calling for the closure of its four year old greenhouse gas reduction mechanism, the Prototype Carbon Fund.
The United Nations renewed calls for Russia to salvage a landmark plan to curb global warming, 10 years after governments agreed to fight a rise in temperatures threatening life on the planet.
Downing Street tried to muzzle the Government's top scientific adviser after he warned that global warming was a more serious threat than international terrorism. Prime Minister Tony Blair's private secretary told Sir David King, the Prime Minister's chief scientist, to limit his contact with the media after he made outspoken comments about President George Bush's policy on climate change.
Russia is preparing to launch an operation to rescue a group of scientists, after the sinking of their North Pole research base. The incident destroyed 90 percent of the base's structures, leaving the scientists huddled in surviving buildings.
Last year's deadly summer in Europe probably was the hottest on the continent in at least five centuries, according to researchers who analyzed old records, soil cores and other evidence.
The world's second-largest reinsurer Swiss Re warns that the costs of global warming threaten to spiral out of control, forcing the human race into a catastrophe of its own making. Swiss Re said the economic costs of global warming threatened to double to $150 billion a year in 10 years, or the equivalent of one World Trade Center attack annually. "The human race can lead itself into this climatic catastrophe - or it can avert it."
Natural disasters caused by extreme weather claimed seven times as many victims in 2003 as in the previous year and the trend is set to continue, says Munich Reinsurance, the world's biggest reinsurance company.
Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, most of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.
The purpose of this report is to imagine the unthinkable -- to push the boundaries of current research on climate change so we may better understand the potential implications on United States national security. We have interviewed leading climate change scientists, conducted additional research, and reviewed several iterations of the scenario with these experts. The scientists support this project, but caution that the scenario depicted is extreme in two fundamental ways. First, they suggest the occurrences we outline would most likely happen in a few regions, rather than on globally. Second, they say the magnitude of the event may be considerably smaller.We have created a climate change scenario that although not the most likely, is plausible, and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately.
The chief scientist of the United Kingdom launched a withering attack on President George Bush for failing to tackle climate change, which he says is more serious than terrorism. Sir David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser, said: "In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism."
The Weather Channel may soon become the only major media outlet to cover global climate change on a consistent basis. TWC's "Forecast Earth" initiative, which will cover climate change and other environmental issues, is particularly significant because of the station's broad reach. It can be seen in 87 million U.S. households and its Web site attracts 20 million unique users per month.
Two years after President Bush declared he could combat global warming without mandatory controls, the administration has had little success in recruiting companies to voluntarily curb their greenhouse gas emissions.
The World Bank is considering how to respond to an independent report that recommends the institution phase out investment in oil projects by the end of 2008 because of environmental concerns, a bank official said. The report was commissioned by bank president James Wolfensohn after criticism from the non-governmental community about the bank's work in extractive industries. The study, which also recommends the bank stay out of activities in coal mining, was led by former Indonesian environment minister Emil Salim.
Energy companies plan to erect more than 1,000 turbines off England's coast in a $12.4 billion project to build the largest source of wind energy. The wind farms would generate as much as seven gigawatts of electricity enough to supply four million households, or to meet 7 percent of Britain's energy needs. Britain has pledged that 10 percent of its energy will come from renewable resources by 2010.
A U.N. conference on curbing global warming ended Friday with scant progress after 12 days of wrangling about the fine print of the Kyoto global warming protocol, which will collapse if Russia says "No." The 180-nation talks agreed on details of the 1997 U.N. protocol Friday, including a fund to help poor nations adapt to climate change. It also set rules for planting forests to soak up gases blamed for climate change. But overall progress in fighting global warming -- said by many ministers at the talks to be the biggest long-term threat to humanity -- was slim.
Climate change may have cost the world over $60 billion in 2003, triggering a spate of natural disasters from a deadly heat wave in Europe to massive flooding in China. The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) said the cost of natural disasters had risen 10 percent from $55 billion in 2002 and was part of a worrying trend of climate change.
Russia's mercurial behavior toward the Kyoto process, far from being a sign of indecisiveness, is an indication of hard-nosed bargaining, with Moscow trying to use its Kyoto vote as a bargaining chip. Initially, Russia had expected to benefit from the treaty. However, the lack of US participation in the treaty brings down the potential funds available for Russia and so this is being cited as one of the main reasons for its reluctance to ratify the pact.
Confusion grew over Russia's position on the Kyoto protocol as the Kremlin and the economy ministry clashed over the landmark environmental treaty, which Moscow can effectively veto. Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov said he had spoken for President Vladimir Putin two days ago in calling the pact unacceptable, but the economy ministry reaffirmed a deputy minister's statement that the government intended to ratify it. Analysts said the conflict meant Putin had not made up his mind over the pact, which aims to cut emissions of the gases that cause global warming, and was unlikely to do so until after presidential elections in March.
After a 200-year rise driven mainly by human activities, atmospheric levels of methane, the second most important greenhouse gas, have stopped growing, scientists are reporting. Climate experts said the stabilization of methane, though probably temporary, is important evidence that steps to curb emissions could slow global warming even as disputes persist over what to do about carbon dioxide, the dominant greenhouse gas.
Officials controlling some of the nation's largest pension funds announced plans to press regulators, public companies and Wall Street to pay more heed to the potential financial upheaval from climate change. They said that their effort would be coordinated through a new group, the Investor Network on Climate Risk.
Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide, considered a culprit in global warming, are expected to increase by 3.5 billion tonnes, or 50 percent, annually by the year 2020, an executive for ExxonMobil Corp said.
Carbon emissions created when hydrogen is produced from coal or oil -- rather than water -- virtually neutralizes the clean-energy value of the fuel, experts say.
Portland-based Lewis & Clark College announced it is the first campus in the nation to meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol -- carbon reductions of 7 percent below 1990 levels. The student-led initiative was attained through the purchase of offsets which are estimated to cost each student about $10.
Motivated by environmental and economic concerns, states have become the driving force in efforts to combat global warming even as mandatory programs on the federal level have largely stalled. At least half of the states are addressing global warming, whether through legislation, lawsuits against the Bush administration or programs initiated by governors.
Noting that "the United States is already dealing with the harmful effects of global warming," eleven states, the District of Columbia and Samoa have petitioned a federal appeals court to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Tthe Arctic region is warming up and its sea ice cover is diminishing, with implications for further climate change throughout the globe. Compared with the 1980s, surface temperatures across most of the Arctic warmed significantly in the last decade, with the biggest temperature increases occurring over North America with the rate of warming between 1981 and 2001 was eight times the rate of warming over the last 100 years.
Australia's worst drought in a century has throttled agriculture and undermined national wealth.The drought, which has lasted 18 months, slashed farm incomes almost in half, to 7.2 billion Australian dollars ($4.9 billion), in the year ended June 30.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country remains undecided on whether or not to sign the Kyoto agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Russia's approval is vital for the 1997 pact to acquire the force of international law, after the United States pulled out two years ago. Russia's motives could be brinkmanship - waiting for the best possible financial deal; a response to quiet pressure from the Bush Administration keen to see Kyoto collapse; or the result of in-fighting between various parts of the complex government machine
One metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions is worth an average 98 cents this year, dropping to an average 84 cents in 2005, according to the first auction of emission allowances announced this week by the new Chicago Climate Exchange. Richard Sandor, the exchange's chairman and chief executive officer, said the auction marked the first multinational, public trading of greenhouse gases.The sealed-bid auction attracted 22 bidders for 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide allowances for 2003, resulting in 20 successful bids.
The governors of three West Coast states have announced a new partnership to begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. California Gov. Gray Davis, Washington Gov. Gary Locke and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski Monday announced that over the next year they will develop a common regional climate policy to include joint state purchases of fuel-efficient vehicles, reduction of diesel emissions, promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and development of a regional greenhouse gas inventory.
A nasty three-day bout of fever is turning out to be a surprisingly common symptom of West Nile virus infection and may afflict about 100,000 Americans this year. About 20 percent of people who catch the virus get sick this way, while far smaller numbers -- approximately one in 150 -- get severe neurological symptoms. Most of the roughly 500,000 people expected to catch the virus this year will show no symptoms at all.
The European Commission said it would set up an advisory body to help coordinate government, scientific and industry efforts to boost the alternative fuel hydrogen. Commission President Romano Prodi, who has adopted the idea of making the EU a "hydrogen economy" as something of a personal ambition, reaffirmed his commitment to the gas as an emission-free way of powering cars and other machines.
Chastising the White House for not doing enough to combat global warming, Entergy Corp.'s chairman Robert Luft said his company supports a clean air proposal offered by Democrats in Congress as an alternative to President Bush's proposed "Clear Skies" initiative. "How are we ever going to break the cycle of inaction and address this looming climate catastrophe if we don't even have a handle on how big the problem is?"
This summer's heatwave has drastically cut harvests across Europe, plunging the world into an unprecedented food crisis, startling new official figures show.The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a 32-million-ton drop from the July estimate of the the world grain harvest. Prices of wheat, rice, and corn jumped on grain futures markets. This 32-million-ton drop, equal to half the U.S. wheat harvest, was concentrated in Europe where record-high temperatures have withered crops. The affected region stretched from the United Kingdom and France in the west through the Ukraine in the east. The searing heat damaged crops in virtually every country in Europe.
The White House collaborated heavily with corporations in developing President Bush's energy policy but repeatedly refused to give congressional investigators details of the meetings, according to a federal report issued yesterday.
After more than two years of internal deliberation and intense pressure from industry, the Bush administration has settled on a regulation that would allow thousands of older power plants, oil refineries and industrial units to make extensive upgrades without having to install new anti-pollution devices, according to those involved in the deliberations. The new rule would constitute a sweeping and cost-saving victory for industries, exempting more than 17,000 industrial plants and refineries from part of the Clean Air Act.
The Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions will not stop climate change, a leading think tank has warned. The report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the UK, which has close links to the government, comes as some experts cite Britain's heat wave as further evidence of global warming. Even if the Kyoto agreement is fully implemented, greenhouse gas emissions worldwide will still increase by 70%, says the IPPR. The think tank wants a new approach instead of the "horse trading" over emissions allowed under the treaty, which the government stresses is the only agreement in place.
Expanding the production of nuclear power in the United States and around the globe would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, according to a study released yesterday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The two-year study, led by former CIA director John Deutch and Ernest J. Moniz, a former undersecretary of energy, recommended promoting nuclear energy through increased safety, economic incentives, waste management, and better antiproliferation measures.
Governor Mitt Romney and five other Republican governors this week joined forces to tackle an issue that environmentalists say their fellow Republican, President Bush, has ducked: Curbing carbon dioxide emissions to control global warming. A total of 10 eastern states, convened by New York Governor George E. Pataki, plan to spend two years developing a regional market-based system to limit carbon emissions, in an acknowledgment that global warming is a current problem.
The Bush administration today released a 10 year research strategy for developing knowledge of climate change and its potential impacts on the environment and human lives. The strategic plan builds on the expertise of 13 federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Critics say the comprehensive study should not replace action to curb U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases. Many complain it focuses on natural causes of climate change.
The European Council of Ministers have adopted an emissions trading law for the European Union. The new legislation will give carbon dioxide a market value across the European Community from January 2005. Next May 10 new countries will join the 15 current EU member states, and the bloc will extend from Poland in the east to the United Kingdom in the west.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs. The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.
Widespread use of the hydrogen fuel cells might not be as environmentally friendly as many believe. Scientists say the new technology could lead to greater destruction of the ozone layer that protects Earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet rays. Researchers said in a report that if hydrogen replaced fossil fuels to run everything from cars to power plants, large amounts of hydrogen would drift into the stratosphere as a result of leakage and indirectly cause increased depletion of the ozone.
Greenhouse gas emissions from industrialised nations are likely to grow over the next few years, despite international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, says a United Nations report. The report says emissions in industrialised nations are estimated to grow by around 10% by the year 2010.
More than 80 percent of Americans think the United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new survey conducted at the University of Oregon. The survey, funded by the National Science Foundation, was completed in February, 2003.
Australia, the world's largest coal exporter, reaffirmed its opposition to ratifying the Kyoto treaty on combating climate change, saying it was not in the national interest. "If we sign Kyoto under present conditions we would run the risk of losing investment that would otherwise be in Australia to countries like China and Russia," said Prime Minister John Howard.
Exxon Mobil is the poorest performer among leading world energy producers in responding to global climate change and disclosing greenhouse risks to investors, social investment groups said. They cited the fact that unlike BP and Shell, Exxon Mobil does not support carbon trading,and that unlike ChevronTexaco and Shell, Exxon does not participate in carbon pricing, which factors in the cost of carbon emissions when deciding whether to go ahead with projects.
With all the talk of potential shareholder lawsuits against industrial emitters of so-called greenhouse gases, Zurich-based insurance powerhouse Swiss Re is considering denying coverage, starting with directors-and-officers liability policies, to companies it decides aren't doing enough to reduce their output of the gases.
The first fuel cell-powered submarine began its maiden voyage this week after decades of development, weaving silently between passenger ferries and freight ships in the northern port of Kiel before heading out into the Baltic Sea.
A century-long dry trend may have been the killing blow in the demise of the Mayan civilization that once built pyramids and elaborate cities in Mexico.
A panel of experts has strongly criticized the Bush administration's proposed research plan on the risks of global warming, saying that it "lacks most of the elements of a strategic plan" and that its goals cannot be achieved without far more money than the White House has sought for climate research. The 17 experts, in a report issued yesterday, said that without substantial changes, the administration's plan would be unlikely to accomplish the aim laid out by President Bush in several speeches: to help decision makers and the public determine how serious the problem is so that they can make clear choices about how to deal with it.
Tony Blair tomorrow will announce plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Britain by 60 per cent by 2050. Blair will pledge the investment of more than £350 million in the research and development of renewable forms of energy, including wind, wave, solar and tidal power. He will also call on the leading industrialised nations to forge a "new covenant" to protect the environment from climate change.
Weather balloons and weather forecast models show that there has been a pronounced increase in the height of the global tropopause over the last two decades. This increase is due to two factors: warming of troposphere, which is caused by increasing greenhouse gases, and cooling of the stratosphere, which is mainly caused by depletion of stratospheric ozone. Tropopause height changes provides independent evidence of the reality of recent warming of the troposphere.
In his State of the Union address last week, President Bush seemed to embrace the holy grail of the environmental movement: a push to the so-called hydrogen economy. But acccording to the Energy Department, 96 percent of hydrogen produced in the world today comes from natural gas, oil and coal -- rather than solar and wind enegy -- the same fossil fuels that environmentalists would like to abandon. These industries are not only poised to become the main producers of hydrogen, but they are also likely to control the networks that distribute it.
President George W. Bush used his State of the Union Address to propose $1.2 billion in research funding to develop hydrogen fuel technologies. With those funds, "America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen powered automobiles," he said. The President's first State of the Union speech to mention the environment focused on his goal of promoting energy independence for the country, while "dramatically improving" the environment. Environmentalists called the investment "too modest" to be effective.
A branch of the Danish Research Agency has concluded that Prof. Bjorn Lomborg, an author whose upbeat analysis of environmental trends has been embraced by conservatives, displayed "scientific dishonesty" in his popular book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
In an aggressive effort to show that President Bush's voluntary climate strategy can work, senior administration officials are collecting written promises from industries to curb emissions of gases linked to global warming. The administration and industry leaders plan to unveil a broad array of pledges at the White House on Feb. 6.
The Parliament of Canada voted today to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, bringing the treaty to limit greenhouse gases one step closer to entry into force. Environmentalists cheered the vote, but industry remains opposed to the binding emissions limits.
Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions will exacerbate world poverty and could make millions of people more open to extremism, the chief of the United Nations' climate advisory body said. Rajendra Pachauri told Reuters the effects of climate change were likely to affect the developing world disproportionately and make the poor even poorer and more bitter.
Across wind-swept Northern Europe, hundreds of high-powered turbines are being planned or are under construction offshore, beyond the easy reach of engineers. ciation. Power companies are staking out suitable tracts of sandbanks, reefs and shallow open waters from the shores of Ireland to the Baltic Sea. They are joining with traditional offshore oil and gas companies, including giants like Shell, that have the capability to drill and rig up the 100-ton towers at sea.
In the U.S., consumption of renewable energy fell 12 percent to what the department said was the lowest level in more than 12 years, accounting for only 6 percent of the energy consumed in the country in 2001.
President Bush has called for a decade of research
before anything beyond voluntary measures is used to stem tailpipe and
smokestack emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are contributing
to global warming. But many climate experts say talking
about more research will simply delay decisions that need to be made now to
avert serious harm from global warming.
President Bush has called for a decade of research before anything beyond voluntary measures is used to stem tailpipe and smokestack emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are contributing to global warming. But many climate experts say talking about more research will simply delay decisions that need to be made now to avert serious harm from global warming.
The Bush administration, saying there are still many uncertainties about threats posed by human-caused climate change, has outlined a broad, years-long research agenda on global warming. The proposal was lauded by industry officials and some scientists who have long questioned the mainstream view that global warming is mainly caused by people and poses big risks. But many climate experts said the proposal mainly rehashed issues most scientists consider settled.
California, home to the nation's toughest smog-limiting laws, this week became a proving ground for the first commercial cars to run on pollution-free fuel cells. Japan's top two automakers - Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. - delivered a handful of market-ready models employing fuel cells, which emit only water vapor, in California as well as Japan.
TOKYO - It sounds too good to be true: a car that runs on an inexhaustible power source and doesn't harm the environment. But that's exactly what two Japanese automakers put on the road yesterday, with the launch of the world's first fuel cell cars. Toyota Motor and Honda Motor are leasing a handful of the cars to the Japanese government and several public establishments in the United States in an experimental programme that marks the biggest step yet towards the mass marketing of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).
The Bush administration relaxed clean air rules that limit emissions from utilities, refineries, and manufacturers, and mandate when they must upgrade pollution control equipment. The administration also proposed additional rule changes that, if adopted, would further ease federal restrictions on the largest polluters.
BP,the world's third-largest oil company, has pulled out of a major lobbying group that is spearheading the campaign to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling, a company spokesman said yesterday. BP's decision to drop out of the drilling debate underscores the growing concern among many oil companies that the matter has become a public relations liability, both critics and supporters of oil production in the refuge said.
With the Bush administration and Congress deadlocked over how best to combat the mounting threat of global warming, state officials across the country are taking matters into their own hands.
The global climate is changing in big ways, probably because of human actions, and it is time to focus on adapting to the impacts instead of just fighting to limit the warming. That, in a nutshell, was the idea that dominated the latest round of international climate talks, which ended on Friday in New Delhi. The previous focus of environmental activists, industry lobbyists and government officials had been the fight over whether to cut smokestack and tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Many environmentalists had long avoided discussing adaptation for fear it would smack of defeatism. Experts espousing the views of industry were thrilled with the shift in New Delhi.
The final bill for this year's natural disasters could be over US$70 billion, according to financial experts at Munich Re, one of the world's largest re-insurance firms. Their analysis found that natural catastrophes, most of which have been weather related, have cost countries and communities an estimated $56 billion during the period January to September 2002.
Weather catastrophes around the world show there is little doubt the Earth's climate is changing, the outgoing head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change warned Wednesday. The Earth is facing a "worrisome situation, with catastrophes occurring daily, causing enormous damage and making climate change an undeniable reality," said Mohamed Elyazghi of Morocco, the outgoing president of the U.N. Convention, at a conference aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming.
The latest round of international talks on global warming has delegates focused more on ways to adapt to changes than on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases. The shift in focus is to some extent motivated by the Bush administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. Without the United States, the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, the Kyoto treaty is so weak, experts and government officials say, that it may have little effect. Others say the treaty has in any case been so watered down through years of negotiations that it is likely to be of limited benefit.
More frequent and more devastating storms caused by climate change could cost $150 billion a year within the next ten years, possibly bankrupting financial services firms, a United Nations-backed report warned yesterday. "The increasing frequency of severe climatic events...has the potential to stress insurers, reinsurers and banks to the point of impaired viability or even insolvency," the report said.
In a change in its public rhetoric, ExxonMobil has for the first time conceded that "The risk of climate change and its potential impacts on society and the ecosystem are widely recognized." In an advertisement on the op-ed page of the New York Times (Oct. 4, 2002), the company declared: "Doing nothing is neither prudent nor responsible…" This ad differs markedly from previous ExxonMobil statements on climate change.
From an interview with Lee Raymond, CEO of ExxonMobil, Chief Executive Magazine (Oct. 2002)In early November, ExxonMobil announced plans to invest $100 billion on prospecting, drilling and oil production projects.(Nov. 2002)
If the West Nile virus works like a tornado, this little area of southeastern Louisiana has been the hardest hit in the country -- with 11 verified cases, none fatal, among a rural population of 22,000. Nationwide, it has been a frightening summer for West Nile. The death toll stood at 89 today, with 1,852 verified cases. The virus has spread to 42 states, with Illinois leading the nation in deaths.
Russia announced it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol, joining China and Canada in assuring enough signatories to make the treaty binding for most of the world and prompting more criticism of the United States for opposing it.
The United States, in partnership with Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, pushed through a final deal on sustainable energy last night that preserves the primacy of fossil fuels and blocks time-based international commitments to develop renewable energy sources in poor countries.
Pacific island nations, most at risk of sinking beneath rising sea levels, chided the United States yesterday for not signing the Kyoto Protocol and urged Australia to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions.Six island states met at the start of the annual Pacific Islands Forum and expressed their grave concern about climate change. In March, the head of Tuvalu said that island nation might sue the United States and its climate policy sidekick Australia over their failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the
City of Boulder, Colorado filed a lawsuit on Aug. 27, 2002 against the
Export Import Bank (ExIm) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
(OPIC). The action alleges that OPIC and Ex-Im
illegally provided over $32 billion in financing and insurance for oil fields,
pipelines and coal-fired power plants over the past ten years without assessing
their contribution to global warming and their impact on the U.S. environment as
required under key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Carlos Joly, head of the insurance industry's environmental initiative, said the industry had been frozen out of
the Earth Summit and called for tougher measures against climate
changes which risk costing insurers billions of dollars. Carlos said politicians had not listened to proposals from the world's biggest
insurers, adding political leaders lacked the courage to compel companies to clean up
their operations, leaving insurers exposed to the devastating storms which some
believe are increasingly common because of rising levels of greenhouse gases.
The ''Asian Brown Cloud,'' a 2-mile-thick blanket of pollution over
South Asia, may be causing the premature deaths of a half-million people in
India each year, deadly flooding in some areas, and drought in others, according
to one of the biggest scientific studies ever of the phenomenon. Sweltering under soaring temperatures and
pestered by swarms of grasshoppers, many farmers on Canada's Prairies are
conceding defeat as acres of anxiety rather than fields of grain thrive on their
parched land. Instead of the lush pastures and crops that turn the Canadian plains into a
verdant patchwork, vast areas of north and central Saskatchewan as well as
eastern and central Alberta are dry and dusty, unable to sustain farmers or
their livestock. When global leaders gather next month at an
environmental summit in Johannesburg, the Bush administration will try to block
discussion about heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming, said Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) the head of the
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Insurers Complain They Were Locked out of WSSD
Asia Haze Impacting Local Climate
Grasshoppers, Drought Threaten Canadian Grain Supplies
Jeffords: Bush To Block Climate Talks at Summit
California Takes Giant Step Toward Clean Cars
California has enacted legislation that for the first time will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases coming from all passenger vehicles sold in the state, even the beloved SUV, in a move that could change the kinds of cars Americans drive in coming years. The new law, to be signed July 22, is the first in the United States to directly affect consumers and to enlist American drivers in reducing the potential of global warming.
Carlos Joly, head of the insurance industry's environmental initiative, said the industry had been frozen out of the Earth Summit and called for tougher measures against climate changes which risk costing insurers billions of dollars. Carlos said politicians had not listened to proposals from the world's biggest insurers, adding political leaders lacked the courage to compel companies to clean up their operations, leaving insurers exposed to the devastating storms which some believe are increasingly common because of rising levels of greenhouse gases.
The ''Asian Brown Cloud,'' a 2-mile-thick blanket of pollution over South Asia, may be causing the premature deaths of a half-million people in India each year, deadly flooding in some areas, and drought in others, according to one of the biggest scientific studies ever of the phenomenon.
Sweltering under soaring temperatures and pestered by swarms of grasshoppers, many farmers on Canada's Prairies are conceding defeat as acres of anxiety rather than fields of grain thrive on their parched land. Instead of the lush pastures and crops that turn the Canadian plains into a verdant patchwork, vast areas of north and central Saskatchewan as well as eastern and central Alberta are dry and dusty, unable to sustain farmers or their livestock.
When global leaders gather next month at an environmental summit in Johannesburg, the Bush administration will try to block discussion about heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming, said Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) the head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Attorneys general from 11 states sent a letter yesterday to President Bush calling on him to end the administration's ''regulatory void'' and address the growing threat of global warming. The letter from the 11 Democrats criticizes the Republican president for failing to set a national policy to curb carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and power plants that contribute to global warming.
Three-fourths of voters surveyed want the U.S. government to require power plants and industry to cut emissions linked to global warming, and not rely on voluntary cuts endorsed by the White House, according to a poll released by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season. It means high water eating away so many houses and buildings that people will vote next month on moving an entire village inland. It means coping with mosquitoes in a place where they once were nonexistent, and rescuing hunters trapped on breakaway ice at a time of year when such things once were unheard of.
All 15 European Union nations on Friday ratified the Kyoto Protocol intended to combat global warming and the EU used the occasion to goad Washington -- which has turned its back on the treaty -- to do its part. They were joined the following day by Japan. The protocol requires industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent over the period 2008-2012. Both the European Union and the United States -- the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases -- are parties to the framework convention, but President Bush shunned the treaty, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy.
In a stark shift for the Bush administration, the the administration mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. But while the report says the United States will be substantially changed in the next few decades it does not propose any major shift in the administration's policy on greenhouse gases.It recommends adapting to inevitable changes.
There is increasing evidence that the Arctic, this desert of snow, ice and killing cold wind, one of the most hostile and fragile places on Earth, is thawing. Glaciers are receding. Coastlines are eroding. Lakes are disappearing. Fall freezes are coming later. The winters are not as cold. Mosquitoes and beetles never seen before are appearing. Thunderstorms roll where it was once too cold for them.
Two days after his election to head the IPCC, Indian energy economist Rajendra Pachauri made clear his strong concerns about climate change, particularly as it affects small island nations and food crops in the world's tropical areas.
The United States has ruled out any possibility of taking part in the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gases for at least another 10 years, its senior climate negotiator said yesterday.Even though the Kyoto agreement is due to be renegotiated in 2005, America will take no part in those talks and is unlikely to have anything to do with the treaty before 2012, said Harlan Watson, one of President George Bush's most trusted advisers.
Planet earth is warming up faster than previously
expected. Dying forests, expanding deserts and rising sea levels would wreak havoc to
human and animal lives sooner than anticipated as global warming was
accelerating, said Geoff Jenkins, head of the Hadley Center for Climate
Prediction and Research.
Watson Out as IPCC Chair Following ExxonMobil Memo to Bush
Dr. Robert Watson, the outspoken chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), was ousted with American support but against European wishes. In a secret ballot of 125 governments, 61 percent voted against Dr. Watson and for Indian engineer economist Rajendra Pachauri, currently the IPCC's vice chairman.
Southern Africa's worst food shortage in a decade is spreading and more than five million people across the region may now need help. Erratic weather for the last few years, marked by alternating periods of flooding and drought, has laid the foundations for the current crisis in what are already some of the world's poorest countries.
The Bush administration this week moved to oust the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who had been targeted by ExxonMobil in a confidential memo to the White House. Papers released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reflects a brazen, behind-the-scenes effort by ExxonMobil and other energy giants to oust Dr. Robert Watson, head of the IPCC. The administration is opposing Watson's appointment to a second term as IPCC chair.
European environment ministers slammed U.S. rejection of the Kyoto Protocol and its policies on greenhouse gas emissions Sunday, (April 14) calling them political maneuvers to preserve the energy-burning American lifestyle that have nothing to do with economics.
The Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves are cracking up and, on the face of things, it is the most serious thaw since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago. The break-up of the ice shelves in itself is a natural process of renewal, but the size and rate of production of icebergs -- some the size of major cities -- is alarming scientists, some of whom blame global warming.
President Bush's alternative to the Kyoto agreement offers businesses incentives to voluntarily reduce the rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years and sets mandatory targets for businesses to reduce power plant emissions by 70 percent by 2018. Under the plan, emissions will continue to grow but at a lower rate. The president's plan is dramatically lower than the estimated 33 percent reduction that the Kyoto agreement sought for the United States, the world's largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientists say press coverage of recent findings about the regional warming in West Antarctica highlights "carelessness" of media treatment of climate science.
The undergraduate students of Lewis & Clark College have approved an increase in student fees to fight global warming. The fee hike will raise enough money to allow the college to meet the specifications of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Global Climate Coalition, which represented U.S. industry groups opposed to implementing mandatory greenhouse gas emission reductions, has been dissolved. "We have achieved what we wanted to accomplish with the Kyoto Protocol," said a spokesman. The coalition had been the most active U.S. industry voice opposing U.S. involvement in the global treaty to curb greenhouse gases.
While diplomats and lobbyists continue to ignore the oncoming disintegration of the global community from escalating climate change with endless evasive games, Anil Agarwal represented the humanity's conscience.
Natural disasters caused at least 25,000 deaths worldwide in 2001, more than double the previous year, the world's largest reinsurer said on Friday. Putting total economic losses at $36 billion, Munich Re said catastrophes related to extreme weather were a result of continued global climate change. It said the 2001 figures compared with 10,000 deaths the previous year and losses of around $30 billion.
International delegates agreed on Nov. 10, 2001 to the first-ever rules aimed at stopping global warming -- a pact the United States, the world's biggest polluter, has rejected.Negotiators meeting in Marrakech, Morocco emerged from more than 19 hours of haggling behind closed doors early Saturday and said they had smoothed over differences in how to enforce the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which calls for cuts in carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" suspected in global warming.
A new World Wildlife Fund study, done with the Tellus Institute, indicates that energy efficiency policies and development of renewable energy resources could result in 750,000 new jobs nationwide over the next nine years and 1.3 million new jobs by 2020. According to the study "Clean Energy: Jobs for America's FutureClean Energy: Jobs for America's Future" the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would also increase by $23 billion by 2010 and continue to grow under such conditions. The net increase in U.S. GDP would be $43.9 billion by 2020.
HERSCHEL ISLAND, Yukon --Here on Herschel Island, a windy mound of land off the northwestern tip of Canada, graves are pushing up from the ground as the ice within the carpet of permafrost melts...Said one researcher: "We all know one way or another it is connected to global warming. You can see it happening on a day-to-day basis."
Using mineral bands in stalagmites from New Mexican caves to track climate change over the past 4,000 years, scientists have found that wet and dry periods helped drive major cultural shifts among ancient people in the American Southwest. Agricultural advances, such as the introduction of corn and cotton in the region, the debut of ceramics and the abandonment of the famed pueblo cliff dwellings, all correlate closely to changes in climate.
Global warming will cause a massive increase in weather-related disasters such as hurricanes in coming decades, major insurance companies said yesterday. Big insurers and banks like Swiss Re, Munich Re and UBS told delegates at a United Nations climate change conference yesterday that they had already seen a huge increase in the number of floods and hurricanes.
Climate-related changes could have a huge impact on many sectors of the travel and tourism business. That industry is now the world's largest, accounting for 11 percent of the world's gross economic product in 1999, with $3.5 billion in direct and indirect receipts, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), an industry trade association based in London. "Tourism is an industry harmed by any harm to the environment. Period," says Bill Maloney, executive vice president of the American Society of Travel Agents in Alexandria. "Global warming is definitely on our radar screen of concerns."
As chairman of the Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford Jr. said all the right things about the environment. As its new chief executive officer, he'll have the power to put his words into action. His challenge is to prove that an enlightened executive can turn Ford into a responsible corporate citizen.
The U.S. should make a large investment in wind farming to help meet the nation's electricity needs and address global warming, two energy experts from Stanford's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have concluded. They note that wind power is an abundant, clean and affordable alternative to coal and other fossil fuels.
This year, with shortages appearing in places that have never doubted the future of their supply, many parts of the country have discovered water may indeed be a commodity more precious than oil...Global warming, which has been blamed for increased evaporation rates of surface water and low mountain snowpack that feeds major rivers like the Colorado and the Columbia, is cited by many scientists as the biggest single culprit in some of the emerging water shortages.
With President Bush continuing to oppose international or domestic restriction on gases linked to global warming, among the losers are energy companies that favor government action and have already spent millions on voluntary efforts to cut emissions.
West Nile virus is spreading and could soon jump to other parts of the country. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus, which can cause deadly encephalitis or meningitis in birds, humans and other mammals, was turning up at levels double those found in bird populations last year.
Even as EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced the U.S. would "do its own thing" on global warming, Congressional opponents vowed to pass emissions-reducting legislation.
With the Bush administration on the sidelines, the world's leading countries hammered out a compromise agreement today finishing a treaty that for the first time would formally require industrialized countries to cut emissions of gases linked to global warming.The agreement, approved by 178 countries after three days of marathon bargaining, rescued the Kyoto Protocol, the preliminary accord framed in Japan in 1997, that was the first step toward requiring cuts in such gases.
While the Bush administration debates whether man-made pollution causes global warming many industries are trying to cope with the realities of extreme weather.
As tens of thousands of demonstrators marched toward the center of Genoa and occasionally clashed with the police, the United States' leading allies told President Bush today that they intended to move ahead and ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming by next year, even without American participation.
A majority of Americans favor conservation over more oil and coal production and would be willing to pay higher energy prices to protect the environment, according to a New York Times / CBS News poll.
China's emissions of carbon dioxide have shrunk by 17 percent since the mid-1990's, while its economy grew by 36 percent.
Royal Dutch/Shell yesterday said it would renew its renewable energy investment programme with a further $500 million to $1 billion spend earmarked for the next five years. The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant's existing five year $500 million spending plan is due to end in autumn 2002.
President Bush laid out his long-awaited energy plan, proposing looser regulations on oil and gas exploration, conservation-minded efforts like a review of gas mileage standards and a $4 billion tax credit for a new generation of highly fuel efficient cars. And he urged a reconsideration of a quarter-century ban on the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
America's Roman Catholic bishops voted unanimously to issue a statement calling for immediate action to mitigate the effects of global climate change. "Historically, the industrialized countries have emitted more greenhouse gases that warm the climate than have the developing countries. ffluent nations such as our own have to acknowledge the impact of voracious consumerism instead of simply calling for population and emissions controls from people in poorer nations."
Ford Motor Co. said yesterday the fight against global warming is its single biggest corporate challenge. "There will be many ways to judge Ford in this first decade of the 21st century, many measures of success," Ford said in its second annual so-called "corporate citizenship" report. "None will be greater than our response to the issue of climate change."
Americans are growing increasingly concerned about the environment and believe that protecting it should take precedence over economic development, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. The nationwide survey found strong sentiment that pollution is getting worse and that President Bush is on the wrong track on issues such as global warming, wilderness protection, and allowable levels of arsenic in drinking water.
The Bush administration is reversing new efficiency standards for central air conditioners, despite pleas from the nation's second biggest producer. Analysts said the energy loss could require construction of 30 to 50 new generating plants.
Worldwide energy consumption will grow by 59 percent over the next 20 years, according to an annual forecast released today by the U.S. Department of Energy. Carbon dioxide emissions linked to global climate change are expected to nearly double by the year 2020.
The White House said yesterday the United States had effectively abandoned the 1997 Kyoto treaty to fight global warming, seen in Europe as central to U.S.-EU relations. "The president has been unequivocal. He does not support the Kyoto treaty," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters. "It is not in the United States' economic best interest," he said.
Four days after he vowed to cut CO2 emissions from power plants, President Bush, under pressure from coal interests, reversed that campaign pledge and said his administration would not seek to regulate emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
The European Union has told President George W. Bush a global strategy to tackle climate change is an integral part of relations with the United States. In a letter to the White House, the EU urged Bush to show "political courage" in addressing increasing climatic instability and stressed the importance of pushing ahead with the Kyoto Protocol.
The effects of climate change - flooding, desertification and drought - are increasingly being felt by the world's agricultural sector, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. The Agency urged governments to prepare for more weather extremes to avoid potential food shortages in the future.
The collapses of several early societies occurred quite suddenly. New evidence indicates climatic events, which occurred abruptly, were highly disruptive, leading to societal collapse. (Jan. 2001)
One of the world's largest insurers warns climate change could cost the world more than $300 billion dollars each year in damages. (Feb. 2001)
El Niño and La Niña have almost never before reached the sustained intensity of the late 20th century, suggesting that more warming will intensify the the ENSO cycles and generate more destructive weather.(Jan. 2001)
The FAA announced that 2000 set a new record for flight delays and cancellations, and extreme weather was blamed for a majority of them. (Feb. 2001)
The "100-year reign" of the internal combustion engine is coming to an end, according to Ford ChairmanBill Ford, who said it will soon be by hydrogen fuel cells which emits no pollution and can reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases causing climate change. (Oct. 2000)
The worst flood on record prompts U.K.'s Tony Blair to call on the world to deal with climate change. (Nov. 2000)
The greatest challenge facing the world at the beginning of the century, according to hundreds of business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, is climate change. (Feb. 2000)
The IPCC predicts brutal droughts, floods and violent storms across the planet over the next century because surface temperatures, which are rising faster than anticipated, could increase as much as 10.4 degrees in this century. (Jan. 2001)
Global warming is likely to take place 50 per cent faster and result in much more damage than previously thought, according to new computer predictions by British scientists. (Nov. 2000)
CGNU, the world's sixth largest insurance company, has warned that damage to property, crops and infrastructures from global warming could bankrupt the global economy by 2065.(Nov. 2000)