Brace yourself for more record heat

DW

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.

    
Bildergalerie : Sommer / Abkühlung (picture-alliance/dpa)

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.
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Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

NYtimes

Editor’s Note

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

Bản đồ hoá hiện trạng nước mặt toàn cầu: Mapping long-term global surface water occurrence

ec.europa.eu_In an article published in Nature on 7 December 2016, JRC scientists describe how, in collaboration with Google, they have quantified changes in global surface waters and created interactive maps which highlight the changes in the Earth’s surface water over the past 32 years.

The data show that the impacts of climate on where and when surface water occurs can be measured, and that the presence of surface water can be substantially altered by human activities.The data show that the impacts of climate on where and when surface water occurs can be measured, and that the presence of surface water can be substantially altered by human activities.
©EU/Google 2016

Based on over three million satellite scenes (1 823 Terabytes of data) collected between 1984 and 2015, the Global Surface Water Explorer was produced using 10 000 computers running in parallel. The individual images were transformed into a set of global maps with a 30-metre resolution, which enable users to scroll back in time to measure the changes in the location and persistence of surface water globally, by region, or for a specific area. The maps are available for all users, free of charge. Tiếp tục đọc “Bản đồ hoá hiện trạng nước mặt toàn cầu: Mapping long-term global surface water occurrence”

The Food Security Solution

May 20, 2016

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.

National Security Risks Tiếp tục đọc “The Food Security Solution”

How to protect infrastructure from a changing climate

blog.worldbank

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).

Examples like these are endless.

Alongside these increasing climatic risks to the world’s existing infrastructure assets, the fact remains that many countries desperately need more and better infrastructure. This is particularly true for developing countries.  To meet the future infrastructure demands of these economies would require investment of at least an estimated additional $1 trillion a year through 2020. Tiếp tục đọc “How to protect infrastructure from a changing climate”

UN calls for global response to effects of El Nino weather extremes

DW

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.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) chief Stephen O’Brien on Tuesday called on governments, organizations and regional bodies to increase their efforts at tackling the ensuing crises from the atmospheric phenomenon known as “El Nino.” Tiếp tục đọc “UN calls for global response to effects of El Nino weather extremes”

Meeting Southeast Asia’s ambitious clean energy targets

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.

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Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for Greater Mekong Sub-Region

01.02.2016

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.

Download PDF

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Climate Change Vulnerability Mapping for Greater Mekong Sub-Region
Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok; Khon Kaen: Water Resources & Environment Institute, Khon Kaenn University, 2015, 49p.

TH/SC/15-01

Viet Nam’s farmers suffer as El Niño contributes to widespread drought

Published: 4 April 2016 11:48 CET
A Red Cross staff conducts an assessment with a household in Ben Tre province in Viet Nam. Photo credit: Viet Nam Red Cross Society
IFRC – By Ly Nguyen, IFRC

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.”

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The Effects of Fukushima Linger after Five Years, but Not from Radiation

While hundreds died in the evacuation, none perished as a result of exposure to radiation.

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.

A Greenpeace report released this week, Nuclear Scars: The Lasting Legacies of Chernobyl and Fukushima,” takes a harsher view, saying that “the health consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes are extensive.” But most of the report dwells on Chernobyl, and it notes that the primary effects of Fukushima were “mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Put another way: fear and panic resulting from the accident (and from the loss of homes and livelihoods) were more dangerous than the radiation.
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Vietnam Plans Move Away From Coal

January 28th, 2016 by

cleantecnica – Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has announced his government’s intention to “review development plans of all new coal plants and halt any new coal power development.”

Vietnam prime minister

Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Prime Minister of Vietnam

According to Solarplaza, the Premier stated that Vietnam needs to “responsibly implement all international commitments in cutting down greenhouse gas emissions; and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.”

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.
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2015 Was the Warmest Year on Record, and It Wasn’t Even Close

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 is we’re already half way to that 2 °C target. Worse, the figures released today could be underestimates, and even if the Paris agreement is upheld we could be headed for much more warming, unless we get even more ambitious in our emissions targets.

(Source: New York Times, Guardian, New Scientist)

2016 will be even hotter than 2015 – the hottest year ever

2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say

2015 smashes record for hottest year, final figures confirm

 

This Buddhist Monk Is An Unsung Hero In The World’s Climate Fight

 01/22/2016 04:04 pm ET
  • Jo ConfinoExecutive Editor, Impact & Innovation, The Huffington Post

The architect of the historic Paris climate negotiations credits the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh with helping broker the deal.

huffingtonpost – DAVOS, SWITZERLAND — One of the guiding forces behind the scenes of theParis climate agreement is an 89-year-old Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk.

Christiana Figueres, who led the climate talks, has credited Thich Nhat Hanh with 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.

CYRUS MCCRIMMON VIA GETTY IMAGES
Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

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.

“This has been a six-year marathon with no rest in between,” she said. “I just really needed something to buttress me, and I don’t think that I would have had the inner stamina, the depth of optimism, the depth of commitment, the depth of the inspiration if I had not been accompanied by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.” Tiếp tục đọc “This Buddhist Monk Is An Unsung Hero In The World’s Climate Fight”

In Asia, supporting women farmers crucial to fighting poverty, hunger and climate change

Oxfam International – Tue, 12 Jan 2016 11:35 GMT

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.”

To put faces to numbers, participants of the forum shared their struggles and, most importantly, their stories of courage in the face of unfavorable odds. Tiếp tục đọc “In Asia, supporting women farmers crucial to fighting poverty, hunger and climate change”