Wednesday, September 30, 2009
ABC News Online,
It has underscored the need for solid results in UN-backed climate talks currently underway in Bangkok.
Financing to assist developing countries in dealing with climate change is at the heart of the two-week long talks in Bangkok.
The World Bank expects that about 30 per cent of its projected expenditure - or as much as $35 billion - will be needed every year by East Asian and Pacific countries alone to adapt to the effects of climate change.
The costs would include improving infrastructure to mitigate flooding, protecting coastal areas and similar projects.
The World Bank report centres on one of the most comprehensive studies of the economics of adapting to climate change.
The figures are based on a 2 degree warming over the next 40 years.
Additional money will then be needed to help developing nations cut carbon emissions.
These talks are aimed at setting the framework for the Copenhagen meeting in December.
Posted by Steve Meacher at 10:05 PM
Crikey.com 30 Sept 2009
Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne writes:
With all the focus on the chaos in the Liberal Party, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that the fundamental decision on what climate path Australia takes will be made by the Government, not the Opposition.
It is up to the Government to decide whether to wedge Malcolm Turnbull, or give him enough rope to hang himself, or, tragically least likely, actually take meaningful action to avert the climate crisis.
If Prime Minister Rudd and Minister Wong decide that the best political outcome for them is to tick the climate change box with a weak scheme, they will do any deal they need to do with the Opposition. The dodgy deal they made over the Renewable Energy Target and the noises recently made about a Morgan Stanley report recommending even more handouts to polluters, show that the Government will sell their own grandmothers to get the scheme through if they decide that is where the best politics lie.
On the other hand, if Rudd and Wong want to keep wedging Malcolm Turnbull by refusing to negotiate, they are perfectly capable of doing that.
The stark reality, of course, is that both of those options condemn Australia, our region and the planet to a future that none of us want to live in.
The UK Met Office's warning overnight that "if we get a weak agreement at Copenhagen then there is not just a slight chance of a 4C rise, there is a really big chance" should be a wake up call to all those who still argue that we just need to do something about climate change, regardless of how weak and insubstantial that something might be.
At both the Australian domestic and global levels right now, we are heading for an agreement to fail. The political and media pressure to reach an agreement – any old agreement – is in serious danger of swamping the pressure to reach an agreement that will actually deliver a safe climate outcome.
Thankfully there is now, at the eleventh hour, a growing chorus of voices joining the Greens in saying that a weak deal is worse than no deal at all as it will lock in failure. Last week, Sir David King and Lord Stern told the Financial Times that it would be far better that no global climate deal is reached this year than that we get a weak deal that will be very difficult to unravel.
Now, the Global Humanitarian Forum meeting in Geneva, involving Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Rajendra Pachauri, James Wolfensohn and many other global luminaries, has come to the same conclusion, that: "No deal is better than a bad deal": it would be more constructive to avoid conclusion at the 2009 UN Climate Conference at Copenhagen of any climate change agreement that would not provide for basic levels of safety, equity and predictability.
Just as the theatre of Liberal Party disintegration distracts us from the fact that it is Labor's job to govern, the prospect of some kind of agreement distracts us from the main game. We have to remember that our goal is not simply to reduce carbon pollution. Our goal must be to pass on to our children, and our children's children, the safe climate that has nurtured us and made human civilisation possible.
As Winston Churchill said, "It's no use saying we are doing our best, we have to succeed in doing what is necessary."
At last week's UN meetings, it was China and India who held out the olive branch by clearly committing to action if rich countries lead. The leaders of the developed world, including Prime Minister Rudd, failed to move. Now is the chance – China and India have given us an open invitation. If countries like Australia move to serious emissions targets and commit to meaningful financing, Copenhagen could still deliver the outcome we need.
Likewise, at home, the Greens have offered five clear Senate votes in favour of the kind of strong scheme that the climate needs and the community wants. With the Opposition so fractured, the Government could find the support it needs for such an outcome in the Senate.
The climate change ball is in Mr Rudd's court.
Posted by Steve Meacher at 9:09 PM
BY 2055, climate change is likely to have warmed the world by a dangerous 4 °C unless we stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the way we do now. This is the startling conclusion of a study by the UK Met Office, unveiled at a conference in Oxford this week.
The Amazon - gone
Water lifeline cut
Fire down under
Posted by Steve Meacher at 5:23 PM
Monday, September 28, 2009
ABC News Online, Mon Sep 28, 2009
Global temperatures may be 4 degrees Celsius hotter by the mid-2050s if current greenhouse gas emissions trends continue, a new study says.
The study, by Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre, echoed a United Nations report last week which found climate changes were outpacing worst-case scenarios forecast in 2007 by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"Our results are showing similar patterns [to the IPCC] but also show the possibility that more extreme changes can happen," said Debbie Hemming, the co-author of the research which was published at the start of a climate change conference at Oxford University.
In July leaders of the main greenhouse gas-emitting countries recognised a scientific view that temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, to avoid more dangerous changes to the world's climate.
The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its fourth assessment report, or AR4. One finding was that global temperatures could rise by 4 degrees by the end of the 2050s.
Today's study confirmed that warming could happen even earlier, by the mid-2050s, and suggested more extreme local effects.
"It's affirming the AR4 results and also confirming that it is likely," Ms Hemming said, referring to 4 degrees warming, assuming no extra global action to cut emissions in the next decade.
One advance since 2007 was to model the effect of "carbon cycles".
For example, if parts of the Amazon rainforest died as a result of drought, that would expose soil which would then release carbon from formerly shaded organic matter.
"That amplifies the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere and therefore the global warming. It's really leading to more certainty," Ms Hemming said.
Some 190 countries will try to reach an agreement on how to slow global warming at a meeting in Copenhagen in December.
'I don't think it's hit home'
Temperature rises are compared with pre-industrial levels. Scientists say the world warmed 0.7 degrees last century.
A global average increase of 4 degrees masked higher regional increases, including more than 15 degrees in parts of the Arctic and up to 10 degrees in western and southern Africa, Monday's study found.
"It's quite extreme. I don't think it's hit home to people," Ms Hemming said.
"There are potentially quite big negative implications."
As sea ice melts, the region will reflect less sunlight, which may help trigger runaway effects.
Ms Hemming said such higher Arctic temperatures could also melt permafrost, which until now has trapped the powerful greenhouse gas methane, helping trigger further runaway effects.
The study indicated rainfall may decrease this century by a fifth or more in parts of Africa, Central America, the Mediterranean and coastal Australia, a finding worse than the IPCC's findings in 2007.
"The Mediterranean is a very consistent signal of significant drying in nearly all the model runs," Ms Hemming said.
She says a decrease of 20 per cent or more is "quite a lot in areas like Spain already struggling with rainfall reductions in recent years".
Posted by Steve Meacher at 5:36 PM
Posted by Steve Meacher at 5:17 PM