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reeves report: New ‘Tipping Point’ Model Could Help Predict Species Extinction

Snowshoe hares are facing increasing challenges as snow patterns shift dramatically as a result of climate change.

ENVIRONMENTAL “TIPPING POINTS” can provide researchers with valuable clues to detect when species . . . → Read More: reeves report: New ‘Tipping Point’ Model Could Help Predict Species Extinction

The Disaffected Lib: Hey, Think You’re Resilient?

“Resilience.”  It’s the new climate change buzz word.  It applies to individuals, communities, institutions, and infrastructure.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from repeated climate change impacts. It’s the ability to withstand repeated floods, for example.  That might require making your home resilient by having it mounted on stilts well above ground . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Hey, Think You’re Resilient?

The Disaffected Lib: We Need To Do What These Guys Are Doing

“These guys” are the Brits.  What they’re doing is taking an inventory of their transportation infrastructure to assess its vulnerability to severe storm events caused by ‘early onset’ climate change.  The good news is that the Brits get it. They know climate change is real and that they’re going to have to adapt or . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: We Need To Do What These Guys Are Doing

The Disaffected Lib: Hurricane Sandy Task Force or The Three Little Pigs

Little pig, little pig Let me come in Not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in. Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has released a report urging Americans to be like the little pig who built his house of bricks, . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Hurricane Sandy Task Force or The Three Little Pigs

The Disaffected Lib: Americans Want Climate Change Protection, Just Not the Bill

Stanford researchers have found Americans believe in climate change and acknowledge the risks but just don’t want to pay for the measures that would be needed to deal with them.

The survey, commissioned by two departments at Stanford University, the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Center for Ocean Solutions, was the first . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Americans Want Climate Change Protection, Just Not the Bill

The Disaffected Lib: We’ll All Be Singing This Tune Before Long

It goes like this:

“If we had had more ambition [on emissions cuts from rich countries], we would not have to ask for so much [money] for adaptation. If there had been more money for adaptation [to climate change], we would not be looking for money for loss and damage. What’s next? Loss of . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: We’ll All Be Singing This Tune Before Long

The Disaffected Lib: The Narrow Scope of Climate Change Adaptation

The rearguard argument of the fossil fuelers is that “we’ll adapt.”   Don’t make a big deal out of this, we’ll find ways to cope.It’s the same argument that we, the major emitters, are making to the poorest and most vulnerable nations – learn… . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Narrow Scope of Climate Change Adaptation

The Disaffected Lib: If It Looks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck, It’s Probably Global Warming

You may have heard about the waves of wildfires sweeping across Colorado for the past several weeks that continue to rage with no end in sight.   Welcome to the new era, the era of Global Warming.

“‘What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Princeton University’s Michael Oppenheimer,  . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: If It Looks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck, It’s Probably Global Warming

openalex: Canadian Cities Lead on Planning for Climate Impacts

[I was suprised to see Canadian cities come out in the lead on adaptation.  But also a bit disturbed to see just how nascent these efforts are, not just here, but globally.  We’ve got a long way to go… @ sustainable cities canada]
Canadian cities are world leaders in preparing for the impacts of climate change. That is according to a new report from M.I.T. [.pdf] . The report provides the first global survey of what cities are doing to prepare for a more volatile climate. But while Canadian cities may be leaders, action everywhere is still in its infancy. There is a striking gap between the serious risks cities need to prepare for and the resources available for the job.

Not long ago people didn’t want to talk about adapting to climate change. In some cities – particularly in wealthy Northern countries – there was a sense of optimism and invulnerability. Discussing adaptation was also taboo; it was seen to take away from efforts to reduce our emissions. It was like admitting defeat.

But with global efforts to cap emissions failing, that began to change.

Iconic metropolises like New York and London began assessing the serious impact that an unstable climate would have on them. Late in 2010 planning guides were released in both the US and Canada to help all cities to identify their vulnerabilities and plan for new conditions.

The M.I.T. report, lead by Dr. JoAnn Carmin a top expert on urban adaptation planning, gives us our first view of the overall state of affairs. Based on survey responses from 468 cities on six continents the report provides interesting big picture conclusions, as well as more specific regional insights.

Climate Change Has Landed, But Resources Are Lacking
The first is that climate change has landed. Fully 79% of cities surveyed report that they are already feeling the impacts of stronger storms, longer droughts, flooding, and higher temperatures. This is leading to concerns over their ability to deal with increased future risks ranging from damage to municipal infrastructure, to the emergence of new diseases and declining housing safety.

Overall, despite having identified high levels of vulnerability, cities globally report that they lack the financial, institutional, and political resources that they need to respond effectively. Even basic preliminary work – like creating a vulnerability assessment – is stretching available resources. Sixty percent of cities are receiving no support whatsoever for their adaptation work. This is exacerbated by difficulty winning support for adaptation from local officials, and a perception that national governments know little about the impact that climate change will have on their cities.

Canadian Cities Leading (Minus the Feds and Business)
Canadian cities stand out in a number of ways. They report the second highest rate of engagement with adaptation planning. They also report relatively high rates of support for adaptation work from local politicians and government departments. As a result Canadian cities lead their peers in various aspects of planning for the impacts of climate change. Canadian cities also stand out for the relatively high level of financial support they receive from the Provinces.

While the Provinces may be supportive, the story is different when if comes to the Federal government. Seventy percent of Canadian cities reported that national government had only a partial grasp of the local impacts of climate change; 30% reported that the federal government had no understanding at all. The only country reporting lower confidence in national government was the United States.

Interestingly, Canada is also the only country where not a single municipality reported involving business in the adaptation planning processes. Our cities are also exceptionally unconcerned with the economic impacts of climate change. Only a small minority report being worried about potential losses of revenue, tourism, or jobs. Put those two together and it seems to me we may be overlooking both valuable partners and important risks.

Working Alone
While these last two may be troubling for Canadians, overall the report draws attention to a much bigger challenge. Cities around the world are only just beginning to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Most are conducting preliminary meetings with local government departments, doing on-line research, and forming commissions or task forces to support adaptation planning.

Going from there to creating strategies and integrating them into municipal operations will be a huge leap. Everything indicates that cities currently lack the political, financial, and institutional resources that they need to accomplish that critical work.

[I’ve covered work on urban adaptation quite a lot over the past few years. If you are interested in more, see these past articles.] . . . → Read More: openalex: Canadian Cities Lead on Planning for Climate Impacts

openalex: Canadian Cities Lead on Planning for Climate Impacts

[I was suprised to see Canadian cities come out in the lead on adaptation.  But also a bit disturbed to see just how nascent these efforts are, not just here, but globally.  We’ve got a long way to go… @ sustainable cities canada] Canadian cities are world leaders in preparing for the impacts of . . . → Read More: openalex: Canadian Cities Lead on Planning for Climate Impacts

DeSmogBlog: NRDC Report Predicts 150,000 Heat-Related Deaths Due To Climate Change

Melting Ice People WWF Rosa Merk.jpg

Chances are, if you're already concerned about being off'ed by climate change, it's probably because you imagine being swept away by a super-charged hurricane, drowned by rising sea levels, starved because of drought-induced crop failure, or set aflame by roaring wildfires. But as it turns out, . . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: NRDC Report Predicts 150,000 Heat-Related Deaths Due To Climate Change

openalex: Republicans and Democrats Together on Climate Change…in Florida

It’s easy to forget that climate change hasn’t always been  such a partisan issue. This is Mitt Romney, current Republican front-runner, in 2003: “I think the global warming debate is now pretty much over and people recognize the need associated with providing sources [of energy] which do not generate the heat that is currently . . . → Read More: openalex: Republicans and Democrats Together on Climate Change…in Florida