Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored)

The effects of ‘weird weather’ were already being felt in the 1960s, but scientists linking fossil fuels with climate change were dismissed as prophets of doomby Alice BellMon 5 Jul 2021 06.00 BST

In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on “climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems”. The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest). The new era the agency imagined wasn’t necessarily one of hotter temperatures; the CIA had heard from scientists warning of global cooling as well as warming. But the direction in which the thermometer was travelling wasn’t their immediate concern; it was the political impact. They knew that the so-called “little ice age”, a series of cold snaps between, roughly, 1350 and 1850, had brought not only drought and famine, but also war – and so could these new climatic changes.

“The climate change began in 1960,” the report’s first page informs us, “but no one, including the climatologists, recognised it.” Crop failures in the Soviet Union and India in the early 1960s had been attributed to standard unlucky weather. The US shipped grain to India and the Soviets killed off livestock to eat, “and premier Nikita Khrushchev was quietly deposed”.

But, the report argued, the world ignored this warning, as the global population continued to grow and states made massive investments in energy, technology and medicine.

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How Vietnam came to embrace a new vision of the Mekong Delta’s future

Adopt Science-Based Climate Targets Or We’ll Divest, Says $6 Billion Fund

Bloomberg Quint

January 31 2020, 5:24 PM February 01 2020, 12:30 PM (Bloomberg) —

Liontrust Asset Management Plc is using its leverage as a shareholder to demand that companies set more ambitious targets for reducing their impact on the climate. The London-based firm, which has more than 5 billion pounds ($6.6 billion) in its sustainable investment funds, is telling the companies in those portfolios to adopt emissions targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals on limiting rising temperatures.

And it’s telling firms in fields from education to health care to work with organizations like the Science Based Targets initiative to lend rigor to their plans. Liontrust will use its weight in shareholder votes and the threat of divestment to persuade companies to reduce their carbon emissions to zero, according to a spokeswoman. “We are encouraging them to be bold and raise ambition, because we think that will ultimately make them more successful businesses in a low-carbon economy,” said Mike Appleby, an investment manager at Liontrust. Tiếp tục đọc “Adopt Science-Based Climate Targets Or We’ll Divest, Says $6 Billion Fund”

Gravest threat to Mekong delta today is sediment starvation not rising seas

Posted on 10 December 2019

New research shows that the increasing vulnerability of the Mekong delta to floods, salt intrusion and erosion is caused by insufficient sediment in the river not climate-induced rise in sea levels.

Published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the findings of the Rise and Fall Project at Utrecht University are clear: the growing threat to the Mekong Delta – and the communities, cities, rice fields and biodiversity that depend on it – posed by higher tides and salt intrusion is almost entirely due to the loss of river sediment because of upstream dams and sand mining in the delta.

Rising tides in the delta have major ramifications for flooding in subsiding and increasingly vulnerable cities, and river bank erosion. While sea level rise and climate change have received most attention in relation to the sinking and shrinking of the Mekong delta, the research shows that in the last 20 years, they have driven less than 5% of these trends.
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Vietnam – “Rise and Fall” toward a sustainable Mekong Delta

>> Bài liên quan: Biện pháp đo độ cao mới cho thấy biến đổi khí hậu có thể nhanh chóng nhấn chìm đồng bằng sông Cửu Long

Hanoi, 24 October 2019 – The Mekong Delta is one of the most vulnerable deltas to climate change, particularly sea level rise. However, the social and economic developments in the region also have a significant impact on the land. Urbanisation, land-use transformation, intensification of economic activities and human protection against natural disasters has led to the large-scale extraction of fresh groundwater, heavy loading of infrastructure, upstream dykes and dam construction as well as loss of habitat and biodiversity. These human activities have accelerated the sediment starvation, salinisation, land subsidence and erosion. The Rise and Fall research program, a cornerstone in the Vietnam – the Netherlands delta collaboration, addresses these challenges with the Dutch multi-disciplinary approach in delta management by following four lines of research: fresh groundwater reserves, saline intrusion to surface water, land subsidence and governance. This research program plays an important role in the development of strategies and policies for the sustainable development of Mekong Delta with the significant findings as follow.

Mekong delta is much lower than previously assumed

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(River of no return: Mekong faces grim future)

Luke Hunt – Bình Yên Đông lược dịch

UCANews – August 21, 2019

Hình chụp ngày 14 tháng 4 cho thấy một du khách đi ngang đụn cát hay “Toppathatsay” trên bờ sông Mekong đánh dấu năm mới ở Lào hay “Pi Mai” tổ chức ở Luang Prabang. [Ảnh: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP]

Một lần nữa, sông Mekong xuống thấp đến mức kỷ lục, đe dọa việc sản xuất hoa màu, ngư nghiệp và sinh kế của 70 triệu người giữa việc phát triển thái quá và những báo động tàn khốc.  Nhưng hạn hán năm nay, lần thứ hai trong vòng 3 năm, có thể đánh dấu một bước ngoặt và một tương lai đen tối.


New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta

The surprise revelation means 12 million Vietnamese may need to retreat

New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta
Ground truthing shows the vast Mekong Delta averages only 0.8 meter above sea level instead of the 2.6 meters officially quoted. Credit: Linh Pham Getty Images

A stunning 12 million people could be displaced by flooding in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta within half a century, according to new research led by Philip Minderhoud, a geographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Minderhoud and his colleagues arrived at that surprising conclusion after analyzing ground-based measurements of the Mekong’s topography that the Vietnamese government shielded from Western scientists  for years. The results, published today in Nature Communications, show the Mekong’s elevation over sea level averages just 0.8 meter, which is almost two meters lower than commonly quoted estimates based on freely available satellite data.
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Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing MRC Council Study recommendations

Read and download Council Study >>

Illegal Fishing – Ben Tre

Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing Council Study recommendations

MRC Vientiane, Lao PDR, 31st Oct 2018

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 31 October 2018 – Cambodia and Viet Nam have recently held consultations to begin the process of considering and implementing recommendations from the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council Study into national policies and programs, while these are forthcoming in Lao PDR and Thailand. They aim to take advantage of the suite of new processes, tools, and datasets provided by the study to improve decision making on future sustainable development in the lower Mekong basin. Tiếp tục đọc “Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing MRC Council Study recommendations”

An integrated system for real-time monitoring of rice production and climate risks – Hệ thống giám sát tức thời sản lượng gạo và rủi ro khí hậu

In the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam, a map-based system is being develop for real-time monitoring of rice production and raising the alarm for various climate-related risks. Photo: Eisen Bernardo (CCAFS SEA)
(view original)ccafs.cgiar

May 29, 2018

For quick response to the climate-related impacts to rice production in the Mekong River Delta, an integrated GIS-based system is being developed.

In 2017, the Department of Crop Production (DCP) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam, in cooperation with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), developed and implemented the Climate-Smart Maps and Adaptation Plans (CS MAP) project. CS MAP maps drought, flooding, and salinity intrusion, and develop long- and medium-term adaptive plans in the Mekong River Delta (MRD). The methodology used promotes stakeholders’ participation in identifying feasible solutions to address specific local problems for sustainable rice production at provincial level. Tiếp tục đọc “An integrated system for real-time monitoring of rice production and climate risks – Hệ thống giám sát tức thời sản lượng gạo và rủi ro khí hậu”

Over 100 corporate giants align with UN climate goals

At EU level, a high-level group on sustainable finance issued its final recommendations earlier this year, calling on the 28-country bloc to stop pouring public money into polluting fossil fuels and focus spending on clean energies instead. [Jeff Kubina / Flickr]

L’Oreal and Electrolux today (17 April) joined the likes of McDonald’s and Sony in aligning their emission goals with the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

103 global companies have now signed up to emission reduction goals in line with what climate scientists say is required to prevent dangerous global warming, said the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The 100+ companies’ combined emissions are equal to the annual CO2 emissions from 100 coal-fired power plants, representing US$3.4 trillion in market value, roughly equivalent to the London Stock Exchange, the SBTi said in a statement.
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Secretary-General Appoints Michael R. Bloomberg of United States Special Envoy for Climate Action

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Michael R. Bloomberg of the United States as his Special Envoy for Climate Action.

Mr. Bloomberg will support the Secretary-General’s climate strategy and efforts towards the planned 2019 Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters.  The Summit will mobilize stronger and more ambitious action towards 2020 climate targets.  The Special Envoy will leverage efforts in key areas of the Summit to encourage rapid and enhanced implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change in the context of sustainable development.
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Sea-level legacy: 20cm more rise by 2300 for each 5-year delay in peaking emissions

02/20/2018 – Peaking global CO2 emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2°C. A study now published in the journal Nature Communications analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement. Their central projections indicate global sea-level rise between 0.7m and 1.2m until 2300 with Paris put fully into practice. As emissions in the second half of this century are already outlined by the Paris goals, the variations in greenhouse-gas emissions before 2050 will be the major leverage for future sea levels. The researchers find that each five year delay in peaking global CO2 emissions will likely increase median sea-level rise estimates for 2300 by 20 centimeters.

Sea-level legacy: 20cm more rise by 2300 for each 5-year delay in peaking emissions

Every delay in peaking emissions by 5 years between 2020 and 2035 could mean additional 20 cm of sea-level rise (Mengel et al 2018)

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Impacts of 25 years of groundwater extraction on subsidence in the Mekong delta, Vietnam


Many major river deltas in the world are subsiding and consequently become increasingly vulnerable to flooding and storm surges, salinization and permanent inundation. For the Mekong Delta, annual subsidence rates up to several centimetres have been reported. Excessive groundwater extraction is suggested as the main driver. As groundwater levels drop, subsidence is induced through aquifer compaction. Over the past 25 years, groundwater exploitation has increased dramatically, transforming the delta from an almost undisturbed hydrogeological state to a situation with increasing aquifer depletion. Yet the exact contribution of groundwater exploitation to subsidence in the Mekong delta has remained unknown. In this study we deployed a delta-wide modelling approach, comprising a 3D hydrogeological model with an integrated subsidence module. This provides a quantitative spatially-explicit assessment of groundwater extraction-induced subsidence for the entire Mekong delta since the start of widespread overexploitation of the groundwater reserves. We find that subsidence related to groundwater extraction has gradually increased in the past decades with highest sinking rates at present. During the past 25 years, the delta sank on average ~18 cm as a consequence of groundwater withdrawal. Current average subsidence rates due to groundwater extraction in our best estimate model amount to 1.1 cm yr−1, with areas subsiding over 2.5 cm yr−1, outpacing global sea level rise almost by an order of magnitude. Given the increasing trends in groundwater demand in the delta, the current rates are likely to increase in the near future.

Read full article here

Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam


The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is one of Earth’s most agriculturally productive regions and is of global importance for its exports of rice, shrimp, and fruit. The 18m inhabitants of this low-lying river delta are also some of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change. Over the last ten years around 1.7m people have migrated out of its vast expanse of fields, rivers and canals while only 700,000 have arrived.

On a global level migration to urban areas remains as high as ever: one person in every 200 moves from rural areas to the city every year. Against this backdrop it is difficult to attribute migration to individual causes, not least because it can be challenging to find people who have left a region in order to ask why they went and because every local context is unique. But the high net rate of migration away from Mekong Delta provinces is more than double the national average, and even higher in its most climate-vulnerable areas. This implies that there is something else – probably climate-related – going on here. Tiếp tục đọc “Climate change is triggering a migrant crisis in Vietnam”