Current high temperatures in the northern hemisphere are set to continue. Climate change means we’re likely to experience very hot summers more often — even though we’re already struggling with health consequences now.
Europe is in the throes of a heat wave, and it’s not letting up — on the contrary. More hot air is coming over from Africa, and is even bringing desert dust with it.
Southwestern European countries are being hit especially hard. Authorities in Portugal issued a nationwide health warning, including for dust from the Sahara. Warnings were also issued for 40 of Spain’s 50 provinces. The southeastern Portuguese town of Beja is expected to see a peak of 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday. Tiếp tục đọc “Brace yourself for more record heat”→
By Nathaniel Rich
Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz
This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it. Jake Silverstein
CSIS – In a world that has become increasingly interconnected and chaotic, with more displaced persons since World War II, and with an array of humanitarian disasters that has outstripped the international community’s budgets and capacity to respond, why should global food security remain an imperative development priority? Why has the United States invested so heavily, to the tune of $5.6 billion over the past five years, in agricultural development and nutrition to reduce extreme poverty?
Agriculture’s Economic Power
Agriculture is the primary source of employment and income for 70 percent of the world’s rural poor, and it contributes more than a third of gross domestic product (GDP) in many of the least developed countries. In light of evidence that GDP growth originating in agriculture can be four times more effective than growth in other sectors in raising incomes of the extremely poor, the economic leverage of agriculture for development is hard to dispute.
Aligning foreign assistance with country-led strategies for agricultural growth is the most effective approach to achieving results for vulnerable smallholder farmers, their families, and their communities. Government ownership is critical to sustaining development investments and to ensuring a sound policy environment for private-sector engagement. In order for agriculture to reach its potential to generate employment, raise smallholder incomes, and catalyze markets, both the will of country leadership to dedicate resources and the ability of local and international private companies to invest along the value chain are required. In some cases, this translates into tough policy reforms that take time to understand, to implement, and to enforce.
Every other month the news seems to flash images of extreme weather – disastrous heat waves, floods of biblical proportions, and epic storms. On the rise as a result of a changing climate, these weather events can cause a myriad of damages and put the world’s critical infrastructure at risk. This costs money. The devastating 2010 floods in Pakistan caused close to $2 billion in damages to physical infrastructure, according to World Bank estimates. And Hurricane Sandy wreaked $1.13 billion in damages on New York City’s infrastructure alone (New Jersey and other parts of New York State saw significant damages as well).
Over 60 million people are affected by the atmospheric phenomenon, the head of UN’s humanitarian response agency said. But billions of euros are needed to stave off the deadly catastrophes caused by El Nino.
Southeast Asian countries have set themselves renewable energy targets that are even more ambitious than some European countries, but they are behind schedule in reaching these goals. Government policies and private money are key to its progress.
eco-business – Southeast Asia, along with Asian giants China and India, is shifting the centre of gravity of the global energy system to Asia. Its population boom, along with economic growth, is set to fuel energy demand and send it rising by 80 per cent by 2035, predicts the International Energy Agency.
UNESCOBKK – Thailand’s adaptive capacity to climate change is high among Mekong countries, while the western coastline of Myanmar and the Cambodian Mekong lowland region are the areas of the sub-region most vulnerable to the phenomenon’s effects.
These were among the key findings of the report, “Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for the Mekong River Basin”, based on a study carried out by UNESCO Bangkok and the Water Resources and Environment Institute (WREI) of Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Engineering in Thailand.
The study sought to identify the areas most vulnerable to climate change and climate-induced water problems in five Mekong countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The study used a framework developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which conceptualizes vulnerability to climate change by looking at the exposure to and sensitivity of a system to a climate hazard and the ability of the system to cope with, adapt to or recover from the effects of hazardous conditions.
The study finds that Mekong countries are adversely affected by major natural hazards, such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts. The study also mapped adaptive capacity and areas that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which can be a useful tool for determining degrees of adaptation and mitigation responses at the provincial level. The findings of this study will be valuable for the five Mekong countries in ensuring sustainable adaptation to climate change.
Since the end of 2015, unusually dry conditions and a shortage of rainfall have seriously affected Viet Nam. These conditions which are associated with El Niño, have led to severe drought in parts of the central, central highlands and southern regions of the country, including the Mekong Delta. Some water levels are at the lowest recorded in 90 years.
“In 2015, there was lower than average rainfall during the rainy season which ended two months earlier than in previous years. Water shortage has been compounded by saltwater intrusion. Salinity is four times higher than seasonal averages,” said Phan Duy Le, Vice Chairman of Quoi Dien commune in Thanh Phu district, Ben Tre province. “The consequences are very concerning. The drought and salty water have been threatening crops and agricultural production, and most importantly, access to drinking water for local people.”
technologyreview : The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, which began on March 11, 2011, uprooted thousands of Japanese people, set the worldwide nuclear power industry back a decade, and caused a run on potassium iodide (said to help ward off thyroid cancer). What it didn’t do was kill anyone from radioactive fallout.
The announcement comes in advance of the Solar PV Trade Mission, scheduled April 18 – 22 in Hanoi and Bangkok. It is hoped the trade missions will assemble diverse high-level delegations of stakeholders from around the world into emerging markets to jointly explore and create business development opportunities. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam Plans Move Away From Coal”→
Warming oceans and a sharp rise in air temperatures show that climate change is in full effect – and may be outstripping predictions.
By Michael Reilly on January 20, 2016
technologyreview – The numbers are in, and they are unforgiving: 2015 was the hottest year on record, and it wasn’t even close. The announcement was expected—scientists monitoring global temperatures predicted before the end of the year that 2015 would set a record for warmth, in part because of the massive El Niño event currently under way in the Pacific Ocean. But the data released today confirm that human-induced global warming is pushing temperatures higher at an alarming rate: 2014 was the previous record holder for global average surface temperature, clocking in at 0.57 °C above the 1960 to 1990 average, but last year was 0.75 °C above that average.
If that doesn’t sound like a big jump, consider that the agreement reached at the U.N. climate summit in Paris last year aims to limit warming to 2 °C above preindustrial levels. The good news is that the agreement represents the first global effort to try to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions. The bad news iswe’re already half wayto that 2 °C target. Worse, the figures released todaycould be underestimates, and even if the Paris agreement is upheld we could be headed formuch more warming, unless we geteven more ambitiousin our emissions targets.
Christiana Figueres, who led the climate talks, has creditedThich Nhat Hanhwith having played a pivotal role in helping her to develop the strength, wisdom and compassion needed to forge the unprecedented deal backed by 196 countries.
Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, says the teachings of Thay, as he is known to his hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, “literally fell into my lap” when she was going through a deep personal crisis three years ago.
She says the Buddhist philosophy of Thay, who is currently recovering from a serious stroke, helped her to deal with the crisis while also allowing her to maintain her focus on the climate talks.
Figueres said she realized that “I have to have something here, because otherwise I can’t deal with this and do my job, and it was very clear to me that there was no way that I could take a single day off,” she told The Huffington Post this week at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Thomsonreutersfoundation – At the first Asia Women Farmer Forum, women farmers from 14 developing countries came together to exchange experiences on securing their right to land and enhancing their resilience in the face of climate change. Diah Dwiandani/Oxfam
On that same evening, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, women farmers from 14 developing countries – leaders and climate experts in their own right – were getting ready to head back home. They had just attended the first Asia Women Farmer Forum organized by Oxfam as part of its Asia GROW Campaign to bring women together to discuss the challenges they have faced in securing their rights and enhancing their resilience in a changing climate.
“A woman farmer who goes to bed hungry is just wrong,” said Janice Ian Manlutac, Resilience lead for Oxfam in Asia, “But this is a daily reality in many Asian countries, where women make up 50 per cent of the total agricultural workforce.”
Norly Grace Mercado, Oxfam’s Asia GROW Campaign Coordinator, added: “Women have far less access than men to productive resources like land, livestock, education, and agricultural extension and financial services. Our research has also shown that women farmers work up to 16 hours in the field but only share 10 per cent of the profit.”