Most political garbage gets taken out just before Christmas but a new report slipped through the net – and it deserves notice
When the news is bad, governments love distractions, and this week the Australian Open has been excellent for diverting voters’ attention from more examples of how badly this government is at governing.Continue reading...
Chris Goodall’s list of 15 things you can do to help save the world (G2, 19 January) misses what is surely the most important thing: have fewer children. Without controlling population growth we have to run ever faster to stay in the same place as far as climate change is concerned.
• In an item regarding Gambia, the country was referred to as “the Gambia” (Report, 19 January). I remember from my youth many countries referred to in this way and am interested as to the reason. There was the Argentine, the Levant, the Lebanon etc. Does anyone know why they were prefaced with “the”?
We asked the world’s climate leaders for their messages to Trump ahead of his inauguration as the 45th US president
To fulfil his campaign slogan of “make America great again”, Donald Trump must back the boom in green technology – that was the message from the leading climate figures ahead of his inauguration as president on Friday.
Unleashing US innovation on the trillion-dollar clean technology market will create good US jobs, stimulate its economy, maintain the US’s political leadership around the globe and, not least, make the world a safer place by tackling climate change, the experts told the Guardian.
If I had one minute with president elect Trump my message would be that the best way to ‘Make America great again’ is by owning the clean energy, transportation and infrastructure technologies of the future. Not only will this create countless well-paid, fulfilling jobs for Americans, but will also lock in the US’s geopolitical leadership for another generation.
“Mr President, if you want to make China great again, you have to stay the course you have promised. I think it would be the end of US domination in innovation, in economics. If you try to take the US backwards to the days of mountain top removal [for coal] in West Virginia and all those things, then you will just make sure China becomes No 1 in all respects. In the end, you would produce precisely what you promised to avoid to your electorate.”
If President Trump wants to deliver greater job security for Americans, he should focus on clean and sustainable industries where the US has a competitive advantage. Those are the sectors that are set to prosper. He needs to build an economy for 2050, not one for 1950.
If you want to make America great again, building modern, clean and smart infrastructure makes tremendous commercial and national sense, In the longer term, the low carbon growth story is the only growth story on offer. There is no long-term, high-carbon growth story, because destruction of the environment would reverse growth.
If you’re interested in quality, high paying and skilled jobs for the American middle classes, then renewable energy has to absolutely be the place to look. It’s a sector with more employees now than in the US coal industry and with a long way to grow.
“If [Trump] wants to achieve the things that he claimed he would: improving the situation of the common man, the best way he could do this would be a programme of a rising carbon fee with the money distributed to the public.”
[Mr Trump] you might not realise it yet, but your action, or inaction, on climate will define your legacy as president. The renewable energy transformation is unstoppable and, if the US chooses to turn its back on the future, it will miss out on all the opportunities it brings in terms of jobs, investment and technology advances. China, India and others are racing ahead to be the global clean energy superpowers and surely the US, led by a businessman, does not want to be left behind.
Trump’s stance threatens to diminish America’s standing in the world and to weaken the ability of US companies and workers to compete in the rapidly growing global market for clean energy technologies.
Quit. But if you have to stick around, realise that the clean energy economy is the greatest, biggest job creator in history.
I look forward to working with your new administration to make the world a better place for the people of the US and for peoples everywhere in this very special world.Continue reading...
The former vice president’s latest documentary on the threat to the planet, which opened the Sundance festival, is desultory and surprisingly vainglorious
Al Gore knows everybody. He can whip out his cell phone and dial the treasury secretary or the head of a giant solar panel manufacturer and say things such as “I’ll check with President Hollande” or “Elon suggested I call.” It’s amazing, then, that nowhere in his contacts is the number of a documentary film-maker that knows a thing or two about keeping audiences awake.Continue reading...
From incessant rains to flooded rice fields, the economic impact of global warming has been keenly felt in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar
Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones. At the dry fish yards, close to the airport at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, women are busy sorting fish to dry in the sun. They say the process, which begins in October, can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.
But Aman Ullah Shawdagor, a dry fish businessman who employs 70 people, says high tides and seasonal changes have hit his business hard. Last year there were four cyclones, more than ever before. In 2015, there was only one.Continue reading...
Global Warning: 24 hours on the climate change frontline as Trump becomes president – as it happened
With climate change deniers moving into the White House, the Guardian is spending 24 hours focusing climate change happening now. After reporting from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, we’re now focusing on how warming temperatures will affect the Asia-Pacific region
• Our partner, Univision News, is hosting a parallel event in Spanish today. Follow it here
• The Tumblr community is joining us with personal posts about climate change. See them here
We’re just a few hours from Donald Trump being inaugurated as the president of the United States, and we’re signing off from our 24-hour Global Warning live blog: a marathon effort from our Guardian offices in London, New York and Sydney, as well as our correspondents dotted around the globe.
“For those standing on the precipice of life the impacts of climate change are an ever present reality,” writes Anika Molesworth, a young Australian working at at an agricultural research centre in Cambodia.
Much of the way we discuss climate-change mitigation focuses on supply: how to produce more energy, more cleanly. But some of the most fascinating conversations about climate-change in India are about reducing demand.
Now we move to Mongolia, which is experiencing a disaster called a dzud, an extreme weather phenomenon commonly comprising heavy snow falls and temperatures below -40C.
Suppakorn Chinvanno, at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, has been creating maps that show dramatically how temperature changes will affect the Southeast Asia region, if high CO2 emission continues.
Below is a map of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, as well as parts of Myanmar and Malaysia. It shows the average daily maximum temperature from 1980 and projected to 2090.
We’re reaching the end of our 24 hour blog, so it’s time to check the carbon countdown clock again.
This clock estimates how much greenhouse gas the world is emitting right now – and how much we have left to emit if we want to keep global warming within the 2C band considered crucial by scientists to prevent serious damage to the planet.
Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones.
Karen McVeigh, the Guardian’s global development reporter, filed this report from the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar where the fish-drying process is well underway. It can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.
We’re into the last hour of this marathon effort, and we’d love to hear from you before it’s all over – join us in the comments, and let us know what you think of either the 24-hour blog or the somewhat grim tidings it’s brought.
From 4pm to 5pm Sydney time, here’s what we explored:
Stop the press. First Dog On the Moon has filed a #GlobalWarning cartoon.
Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin says: “This is a call to arms I mean flippers! A call to flippers!”
If the grim statistics and worldwide perspective we’ve been reporting over the past 23 hours haven’t made an impact, perhaps this video with pop culture references put to jaunty music will.
Here’s a video Australia’s Climate Council just released on Facebook:
We’ve had a few posts about the effects of climate change on coral reefs. In particular, earlier in the day we had an interview with coral biologist Anne Hoggett, who lives and works on Lizard Island, in the remote northern part of the Great Barrier Reef.
Australian politicians have been dissembling on climate change for decades, pretending it will be possible to do what we must without any impact on our position as the world’s largest coal exporter or our domestic reliance on brown coal-fired power, or without incurring any costs.
When Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister of Australia, it was hoped there’d be serious action on global warming – but the conservative government continues to fiddle on climate policy while the country burns, writes Guardian Australia’s editor-in-chief Lenore Taylor.
Tamil Nadu’s water crisis is a glimpse at the way climate change is already exacerbating environmental and political tensions in India. For future threats, go 1,300km northwest to Mumbai, India’s flashy financial capital – and the world’s climate-vulnerable megacity.
To start with, much of the city was actually built on water: by rubble poured into the seas and swamps that separated seven islets in the Arabian sea. That process of reclamation continues today, and has severely distorted the terrain’s ability to deal even with unexceptional rainfall. A 2013 study found flooding would cost Mumbai around US$6.4b each year by 2050.
“Waves would be pouring into south Mumbai from both its sea-facing shorelines; it is not inconceivable that the two fronts of the storm surge would meet and merge. In that case the hills and promontories of south Mumbai would once again become islands, rising out of a wildly agitated expanse of water.”
“I’ve been part of the disaster management authority since its inception in 2006. In that time, not a single government, not a single chief minister or chief secretary has taken an interest in disaster-risk reduction. In 2005, we experienced heavy flooding because just one river was choked. And nothing has been done about that. There has been no campaign to clear water bodies or rivers. Nothing is happening systematically.”
Tim Flannery, Australian palaeontologist, environmentalist and member of the Climate Council has penned a sobering opinion piece in the Guardian today, outlining the threat climate change is posing to Australia’s unique wildlife.
...while other countries are winding down their coal use, Australia is attempting to ramp up our production and export of the product, all the while as we watch first-hand the immediate and long term damage coal and fossil fuels are wreaking on our planet, on people and on nature.
Naveen Rabelli, a 35-year-old engineer, wanted to show the power and potential of clean energy, so he designed and built a solar powered tuk-tuk and drove it 9,000 miles from India to the UK.
“The moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown,” he said in September last year after he arrived in Dover following a seven month-long journey.
Two more hours until we’ve gone round the world in 24 hours of climate change – thanks for following along, and particularly for the lively discussion below the line. We’d love to highlight and respond to more of your comments in the final stretch, so keep them coming.
If you’re just joining us, in the past hour:
A reader, witness67, has suggested that a “generational solution” to climate change is to “stop breeding”.
Here's a generational solution:
That isn't as helpful as you think. The biggest polluters are in wealthier nations that have stagnant/stable birth rates.
Here in Thailand, the south of the country has been experiencing unseasonably heavy rains, unusual for what should be the start of the dry season.
More than 25 people have died and close to a million people, or 360,000 households, have been affected, with homes submerged in water. At one hospital, 100 patients had to be evacuated on small boats after the building was hit by overflowing reservoirs.
What happens in Antarctica affects us all, as this video of British Antarctic Survey’s activity at the Rothera Research Station on the western Antarctic peninsula goes to show.
A few commenters have argued that Australia isn’t doing enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
"While the Queensland state government has said it’s doing all that it can to preserve the Great Barrier reef,"
So that obviously includes approving and supporting the Adani coal mine?
Renowned climate scientist Michael E Mann from the University of Pennsylvania will soon be visiting Australia as a guest of the Sydney Environment Institute and speaking at the University of Sydney in February.
A few people have mentioned the big role land-clearing plays in climate change. In Australia, it’s a big issue, with improvements made in previous years looking like they’re going to be undone, with new laws in Queensland and NSW making land clearing easier.
The folks at The Wilderness Society have just put together this graphic, explaining the issue nicely.
In Australia’s Northern Territory climate conditions are already extreme, with high heat, floods, monsoons, cyclones, and fires, and its economy relies heavily on industries affected by climate, including agriculture, fisheries, and tourism. But it doesn’t have much of a plan to deal with the effects of climate change, says David Morris, head of the Environmental Defenders Office.
We’re in the final stretch now. Here’s what we’ve covered in the last hour:
And here’s the final part of our Q&A with Blair Palese, chief executive of 350.org Australia.
I think it’s important that we all take responsibility for climate change as we’ve all been part of the system that created it. We have the power to decide who governs us and what issues made the priority agenda no matter what vested interests do or say to stymie action. And as consumers we have huge power to decide where our money goes.
Anyone concerned about climate change needs to engage in politics, call your elected officials, email them, meet them at events and tell them you want urgent action or you’ll vote them out. Talk to people about it in your community, take steps together locally to make a difference. And think hard about what you are doing with your money. If you don’t like what your bank or superfund is investing in – say fossil fuel projects – tell them that and move to one that is fossil free.
Here’s another part of the Q&A I did with 350.org Australia’s chief executive Blaire Palese. Here she discusses the recent suceses of the climate movement, and what we’re going to see this year.
The divestment of more than A$6 trillion (US$5.2 trillion) from fossil fuels is something I and the 350.org team are particularly proud of. The campaign started off very much as a symbolic effort. But much to our amazement after three years, it was all about money – and lots of it! – being moved from coal, oil and gas. Some 688 institutions and 58,399 individuals across 76 countries have committed to divest in some way. This is a real indicator that people are frustrated with government inaction and are taking their own steps to be part of the climate change solution.
The Victorian gas ban could not have been achieved without a strong coalition of farmers, rural communities and city progressives that became a force that could not be ignored by the Andrews Government.
While the Queensland state government has said it’s doing all that it can to preserve the Great Barrier reef, a different kind of preservation work has been ongoing far from the reef – even the coastline – in regional New South Wales.
Since 2011, scientists from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Smithsonian Institution have been collecting and freezing coral sperm to store at Taronga’s CryoReserve in Dubbo.
Our correspondents around the region have been monitoring the air quality in their various cities.
While Beijing is usually incredibly smoggy, Tom Phillips is reporting unusually blue skies and remarkably low PM2.5 readings.
Blair Palese is the chief executive of 350.org Australia. I asked her a series of questions about the climate movement here and abroad. Here’s the first question and answer:
Climate change is an incredibly difficult issue for people to get their heads around. Complex, yes, but more importantly, made confusing by media with vested interests questioning climate change science – a tactic straight out of the tobacco playbook. Understanding that science is never 100% certain is not something most of us think much about, so it’s easily exploited. And, as our movement is up against the most cashed up industry in the world – the fossil fuel industry – it’s a David vs Goliath battle to convince people and politicians that the longer we wait, the harder and more expensive are the steps we must take to stop climate change.
That said, those working on the issue do need to reach out more broadly to everyone, everywhere about the importance of the issue and ensure our movement spans the political, race, gender and age spectrum to be truly representative. It’s worth remembering that the People’s Climate Marches of 2015 saw more than 600,000 people take to the streets in 175 countries -- by all accounts the biggest thing of its kind in history.
The Homeward Bound Project aims to take 1000 women working in science around the world to Antarctica to increase their influence and impact in policy and decision-making.
Belinda Fairbrother, the community conservation manager at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, was part of the inaugural contingent of 76 women to spend 22 days in Antarctica in December: the largest-ever female expedition to Earth’s southernmost continent.
We started on Lizard island and went all the way to China, by way of the Tumblrverse and a possible planet populated only by carp.
Been trying to find similar information for the last 5 years. I believe if the general public were to know how climate change will impact on their day to day living, as well as when these changes will occur, there would be many more involved in climate action. But scientists are conservative creatures and putting up such predictions would inevitably be very difficult due to inherent uncertainties in the modelling, which relies on very complex algorithms. There would also be cries from the tired old deniers of alarmism which may cause wholesale derailment of any climate action. And most people I feel, would rather be ignorant of the impending doom that awaits them.
Li Shuo, a Beijing-based campaigner for Greenpeace, is among the activists hoping that China, the world’s largest polluter, will take up a greater leadership role on climate change in a post-Trump world.
Li is an expert in clean energy, air pollution and climate change and also studied US-China relations at Nanjing University in east China.
I recently sat down over Skype with the chief executive of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, David Ritter.
I pressed him on whether or not the election of Trump in the US meant that the public has stopped caring for climate change. He was adamant that was not the case.
The war on global warming is “a responsibility we must assume for future generations,” Chinese president told the world’s economic elite in Davos this week, signalling that Beijing would stay true to its pledge to cut carbon emissions, even if Donald Trump did not.
China has several reasons for sticking to its guns.
Lightning struck bushland east of the coastal Victorian town of Wye River on 19 December, 2015. On 25 December the fire burned the town, destroying 116 homes.
An interesting comment below the line.
What one comes away with from this and many of the comments here, is that it will be the China, unbelievable only a few years ago, that will be the global power leading sustainability. I never thought that in my life time I would see the inevitable decline of the USA and the rise of another superpower; and less so that that would be China. Trump and the altright have done an extraordinary thing in such a short time.
Earlier today I posted an opinion piece I wrote today about panic and despair, and other emotions a lot of people feel when writing about climate change.
Back in 2012, when I began writing the book that would become Clade a lot of what I was writing was science fiction. Although there was no question climate change was an urgent problem, or that its effects were already being felt, most of the direr predictions still lay somewhere over the horizon.
Yet as I wrote a peculiar and discomfiting thing began to occur. Events I was weaving into the fabric of the novel – the release of methane from the seafloor and the permafrost, mass die-offs of wildlife, the breakup of the Antarctic ice sheets, even changes in the Earth’s rotation due to the shifting weight of melting ice – started to move out of the pages of the book and into reality.
Hello from smoggy Hong Kong.
About 20% of Australia’s coastline – 11,000km – is lined with 52 different species of mangroves, with more than a third of it in the Northern Territory.
But last year something extraordinary occurred in the Gulf of Carpentaria, when scientists were informed of a mass dieback along a stretch about 700km long.
When Pubudu Senanayake cycles through the Christchurch CBD he feels a quiet sense of satisfaction that New Zealanders are adapting their island home of 4.5m to be more climate-friendly. A NZ $150m cycle network in Christchurch and increased rail services in Auckland are recent wins.
Senanayake is a member of youth-led lobby group Generation Zero, formed in 2011 with the aim of pushing the New Zealand government to take swifter action on climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by the year 2050. He says successive governments have not “understood the urgency with which we need to act”, with emissions increasing.
My colleague Tom Phillips has just filed this piece from Qinghai province in western China.
Tom is back from spending two (freezing cold) days there on the Tibetan plateau visiting what is reputedly the largest solar farm on earth and one of a growing number of super-sized symbols of China’s quest to transform itself from climate villain to green superpower.
John Connor has been the chief executive of the Climate Institute in Australia for 10 years. In that time, he’s seen federal climate policy begin to be established, only to be dismantled and then replaced by ongoing stagnation.
I spoke with him and asked him whether the lack of movement meant the climate movement had been doing things wrong, whether Trump’s election was the death knell for the Paris Agreement, and what individuals could do to help prevent climate change.
Parched reservoirs, street violence over dwindling water supplies, and the emergence of a “water mafia” sound like some fevered vision of a future dystopia. Except, all three are already happening in parts of southern India, and most acutely in Tamil Nadu.
One of India’s wealthiest and best developed states, Tamil Nadu is nonetheless in the grip of its worst water shortage on record. This year’s monsoon brought less than half the usual rainfall. The reservoirs that supply Chennai, the capital, are at around 13% capacity – and the state still must weather six hot months before the monsoon rains returns in July.
We’ve collaborated with Tumblr to create a “quilt” of user-submitted messages and artwork about climate change for this Global Warning project. Here’s my new favourite submission:
After speaking with Anne Hoggett about the devastating bleaching that hit the Great Barrier Reef, I asked her what she thinks individuals can do to help stop climate change to protect the reef from bleaching.
Let our government know that you want them to take meaningful action to contain carbon emissions - now. There’s no time to lose.
I’ve got to say, the hours are flying by as we steer the live blog back to London. It’s 1pm here in Sydney, it’s pouring down with rain, and Mikey Slezak has just inhaled a cheeseburger in between blog posts.
In the past hour:
@mlle_elle I have a question about climate change, I'm not sure whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
Yesterday I spoke with coral reef biologists Anne Hoggett. She’s lived and worked on Lizard Island in remote far North Queensland for almost three decades. She is now director of the Australian Museum’s research station there.
The business case for adapting to climate change has dawned on a growing number of organisations in Australia, including the stewards of the Sydney Opera House.
AlexMourinho raises an interesting point: could the way forward from our changing climate be posed by philosophy?
Philosophy in school.
Hello from Delhi, India’s heaving capital, where, inside government ministries, plans are being devised for the largest electricity rollout in history. India will need to supply power to nearly 600m new consumers by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. How they choose to do so matters to the entire planet.
Lock the Gate is a large group of farmers and other citizens concerned about coal mining and gas extraction. They’ve successfully fought coal seam gas extraction along the east coast of Australia, and have emerged as a force to be reckoned with.
The group has just released an analysis suggesting coal mining is responsible for about half the dangerous particulate pollution in New South Wales.
As well as dealing with more extreme droughts as global warming worsens, regional communities in Australia are suffering localised impacts of coal mining.
Lock the Gate Alliance, a network of community groups protecting their land and water from coal and gas mining, has today released analysis showing coal mining is responsible for the majority of dangerous particulate air pollution in New South Wales.
A big-picture question posed by CassandrasVoice in the comments: how long have we got?
This is a question I'd love answered by any expert who wants to weigh in:
Since a friend who works in sustainable agriculture said to me that she thought we had a 50:50 chance of becoming grandparents (i.e., that we had perhaps another 25 years before the world stops supporting human populations) I've been trying to find anything at all that quantifies the impending disaster. And it's hard to find! I read about increasing temperatures, rising seas, the sixth extinction, but it's still hard to find anybody willing to say: according to this model, if nothing changes, we have X years left before Specific Bad Things affect our daily lives.
We’ve heard about the impact of rising sea levels in Kiribati, and Guardian Australia’s Mike Bowers’ personal recollection of his visit there – now David Tong, now a campaigner at WWF in New Zealand, has written about his time in South Tarawa, an atoll of only 16 sq km of land, last September.
Victoria, the most fire-prone state in Australia, overhauled its emergency management model following the devastating Black Saturday bushfires of 9 February 2009, which killed 173 people and destroyed two small alpine towns.
We’re going to wrap up our Q&A with Jason Roberts in Antarctica now. Thanks to everyone for all the excellent questions. And thanks especially to Jason for taking the time out of his research down there to engage with us all. Apologies to those answers we didn’t get to.
@MikeySlezak Is Antarctic volume being affected by climate change. The deniers all say ant ice is increasing.
This is a question that we hear often, and it’s great that people are still asking it, and want to know the answer. There is some confusion around this due to the changing amount of sea ice, and confusion between it and grounded ice.
The area of sea ice is changing, due mainly to changes in the ocean currents and wind, moving the sea ice around and packing it together in areas. The ice on Antarctica (the so called grounded ice) is decreasing.
Kiribati: The 33 atolls and reef islands straddle the equator and are spread across an area of over 3 million square miles. The eastern Line Islands are the first place in the world to greet the sun everyday as the international date line has to bend around them so that they are on the same day as the rest of the group.
Over the last 60 minutes –
I see we are being offered access to some poor scientist stuck out in Antarctica.
As Matthew2012 references below the line, a British research station in Antarctica has decided to relocate its 16 staff who were due to stay there over winter due to uncertainty over growing cracks in the ice.
Yeah, I saw in the news about Halley VI research station having to close down over winter. The biggest factors working in Antarctica are safety and looking after the environment. You are a long way/time away from any outside help, so you need to do things properly and in a safe manner.
I have never visited Halley, but imagine that it has been designed so that it can be closed down over winter and then brought back into operational order next summer, when conditions will be more favourable. The three Australian Antarctic research stations are built on rock, so luckily we don’t have to deal with this issue. I wish our British colleagues every luck with the relocation of Halley.
Do you remember when we couldn't get access to the Guardian journalists Alok Jha and Laurence Topham because they were stuck in ice while reporting on, er, the lack of ice and they had to be rescued from the ice whose absence they had gone to report?
Related: Rescue from Antarctica | Alok Jha
I’ve been in touch with Australian Jellyfish expert, Lisa-Ann Gershwin – Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services.
Another answer from Antarctica.
@ Jason Roberts
“The last time we were in what’s called an interglacial - when we didn’t have the big ice sheets in the northern hemisphere – that was about 120,000 years ago when the climate was about what it’s like now,” Roberts says.
That’s a very good question, and slightly outside my field of study, which is strictly Antarctica, but I’ll have a go at answering it. I think there is some evidence of older ice in Greenland than 123,000 years, but none that has been successfully recovered in an ice core, and more importantly dated. In general Greenland is much closer to the equator than Antarctica, and is more sensitive to warming air temperatures, so we think that during extended warm periods it would be a much smaller ice sheet and not extend to the coast like it currently does.
When you drill an ice core, because of the way the ice had flowed over tens of thousands of years, the layers of ice that fell in any year get thinner and thinner, making it much more difficult to date the bottom of an ice core. In addition, the ice slowly moves so it can get folded up (think of the patterns your can see in rocks in road cuttings), and this disturbance in the ice at the bottom can make it very hard to use the very bottom of an ice core.
Below the line, Erik Frederiksen has responded to a quote from Dr Sharon Hornblow, a natural risks analyst from the Otago Regional Council, in Eleanor Ainge Roy’s report from Dunedin, New Zealand.
From the article:
Dr Sharon Hornblow, a natural risks analyst for the Otago Regional Council.
“With the issue of sea-level rise we are looking at big storms increasing in frequency and severity...so people that would ordinarily have a fairly low risk of being flooded by the sea may now expect that adverse event to happen every ten years rather than every 100 years.”
I don’t normally write about personal things, but recently I’ve been thinking about people’s emotional responses to the devastation that climate change has been causing – and will cause in the future.
For years I’ve understood the crisis we’re facing, but I’ve managed to maintain a kind of professional distance from it – not feeling enormously strong emotions about it.
A question from Twitter this time, about a reported increase of ice and snow in Antarctica.
@MikeySlezak Hello. A question for Jason Roberts in Antarctica: Is there actually an increase of ice/snow there or was that just a 'blip'?
Like anything involving such a big area as Antarctica, things vary a lot across the continent. From an Australian context, just think about floods and bushfires happening at the same time.
In general Antarctica as a whole is losing some ice, with this mainly happening in West Antarctica (the bit on the South American side of the Trans Antarctic Mountains). On the larger East Antarctic side, things are a bit more in balance, with some areas losing ice, and some currently gaining ice through extra snowfall.
In Sydney Australia, there is going to be a march on the first full day after Trump is inaugurated. Greenpeace and other NGOs will be there marching to demonstrate on both climate change, and women’s rights.
Another missive from the Casey Station on Antarctica.
I have another set for Jason!
Also in the news, there appears to be more sea ice around Antarctica. Can you please explain how a warming climate can cause "more" sea ice to be present? What does this mean to the ice on the continent?
That’s an interesting question about the sea ice, and one that keeps coming up.
While the air temperature and temperature at the surface of the ocean is important in forming sea ice, probably the biggest factor controlling how much sea ice is around Antarctica is the ocean currents (and the wind patterns over the water). These move the sea ice around, and can cause it to build up in certain areas as it all gets pushed together. Once this happens, it can influence the ocean, for example waves get damped out by the sea ice, which stop them breaking up the sea ice. So it is more to do with the changes in ocean and wind patterns than temperature.
WWF Australia has jumped on the penguin awareness day bandwagon too, and included a some punny jokes in their Facebook post.
Jason Roberts of the Australian Antarctic Division has replied to CgGc13’s question below the line on the impact of the breaking up of the Lambert ice sheet.
Questions for Jason Roberts when he comes on. In recent news, the Lambert ice sheet (shelf) is setting up to break apart again. When this goes, what will the result be for West Antarctica? Do you see this having any impact on the much larger East Antarctic ice sheet?
The ice shelf that has a major rift in it is the Larsen ice shelf. Parts of this ice shelf collapsed around 10 years ago, that time is just disintegrated, while this time in looks like calving a big iceberg. The previous collapse reduced the forces holding back the glaciers that feed this ice shelf, and the speed up (more than doubling their speed) in the following years, although I think the most recent studies are showing that they are starting to slow back down. We can probably expect similar behaviour when this shelf calves this time.
On a global scale, the glaciers feeding the Larsen are fairly small and don’t contain a huge amount of ice. But their significance is more that they are the canary in the coal mine, showing us how vulnerable these ice shelves are to changes in the surrounding ocean.
Another hour has passed – here’s what we’ve covered:
As mentioned below, we have Jason Roberts on standby at Casey Station in Antarctica ready to answer your questions about his work (see previous post), about Antarctica, or anything else!
Jason Roberts is currently living and working at the Australian Antarctic Division’s Casey Station on Antarctica.
Speaking exclusively with the Guardian this week, Roberts explained why he takes a plane out over Antarctica each day, measuring what’s underneath the ice.
This comment, from NoMoreMrNice, praises the live blog form as a means of capturing the complexity of climate change. (In the interests of balance, I’ll try single out some critical comments soon, don’t worry!)
Thank you for this; I've had a full on day at work, so am only catching up on it now, but it's very worthwhile and has been well done.
One benefit of this approach is that it reflects the complexity of climate change. Stories on one aspect are often bedeviled by comments of the 'what about....' nature. It's very hard to keep seeing the issue in the round, as a political, personal, societal, scientific and economic risk and opportunity. But it's so important to see how the parts do fit into the whole. Thank you.
St Clair beach in Dunedin is threatened by sea level rise.
The first seawall was constructed in 1880 to protect the homes and businesses of low-lying South Dunedin, land which experts say should never have been built upon.
Thanks for all your comments below the line – it’s great to see so lively a discussion. This, from Uli Nagelb, was interesting in light of earlier debate over reference to “climate deniers” in the US:
Very good initiative! I think the conversation here in the US is shifting - it seems that even previous climate deniers (Pruitt, Zinke, Perry) are now saying that climate change is real, however, they are not willing to say that it is entirely human induced and can be controlled by changing our behavior fast. We need to address that point more than just the fact that the climate is changing. And the idea of showing positive actions around the world is very good! Maybe another 24 hours! Thanks for all you do!
I'm told even the word 'sceptic' is extremely toxic in the US
Great effort by the Guardian, but there's obviously a problem of preaching to the converted. What are the best ways to persuade the skeptics?
Last year five islands in the Solomon islands were consumed by rising oceans. The impoverished Oceanic nation, home to 640,000 people, has seen annual sea levels rise by as much as 10mm in the last 20 years; Choiseul Province, home to 20,000 people, was forced to relocate its provincial hub.
According to Sydney Aquarium, today is penguin awareness day.
Good morning from Sydney, Australia – my name is Elle Hunt and I’m helping Mikey Slezak co-pilot the blog in its final eight-hour stretch.
In the past hour, we’ve learned about:
Here in Australia, there’s been a toxic debate about renewable energy. The fossil fuel industry, conservative media and the coalition government have been trying to link blackouts in South Australia, which have been caused by extreme weather, to the high proportion of renewables in that state.
This clock estimates how much greenhouse gas the world is emitting right now – and how much we have left to emit if we want to keep global warming within the 2C band considered crucial by scientists to prevent serious damage to the planet.
I’ve calculated that in just the 24 hour lifespan of this blog, the world will pump out more than 112m tons (CO2-e).
First up, we’re starting in the low-lying island of Kiribati. My colleague Eleanor Ainge Roy has filed this from New Zealand:
Kiribati’s climate change officer Choi Yeeting says there are no climate deniers in his island home - because the population of 100,000 people in the central Pacific ocean see the devastating effects of climate change everyday, which in this low-lying atoll nation include rising sea-waters, extensive coastal erosion, increasing temperatures, prolonged droughts and severe fresh water shortages.
Before we move on – a quick update for new readers about what we’re doing here.
Hello from Sydney, Australia.
As Amanda Holpuch and Ashifa Kassam reported earlier, climate change will have cascading effects from forests in the American south-east to the far reaches of Canada. Brazil’s leading monitor of the Amazon told Jonathan Watts about the threat of cattle ranchers to the Amazon, and attorney Lauren Kurtz told Alan Yuhas about a campaign to help climate scientists protect themselves under the administration of Donald Trump.
More from Paulo Barret, head of Imazon, the world’s leading monitor of the Amazon rainforest.
It has been argued that indigenous reserves have the best protected forest. Is that true from what you have observed?
The Amazon contains half the world’s remaining rainforest, with an estimated 390bn trees doing the work of storing carbon and regulating the climate. Deforestation is removing those natural air filters.
Early this century, an area the size of Albania was being cleared every year. Since then, the good news is that Brazil, which contains 60% of the Amazon, has taken action to slow deforestation. But pressures on the forest are growing again. I asked Paulo Barreto, the head of Imazon, the leading independent Amazon monitoring organisation, to give me an update on the situation.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to “save” coal mining, holding rallies where he mimed shoveling and accused Barack Obama of doing “everything he can to kill the coal industry”. Surrounded by advisers who oppose climate regulations, Trump will soon be able to hack through the rules put in place by Obama to curtail pollution. Saving coal, however, is likely out of beyond his powers.
The free market, far more than regulations, has done the work of killing coal. Despite Trump’s insistence that the US is struggling for energy, the natural gas industry has created a supply glut so significant it has cut deeply into the economies of entire nations, Saudi Arabia and Russia among them.
Clean energy is a hot topic for the political and business bigwigs who gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum this week. The forum has added more sessions on the subject (along with climate change) than ever before.
That’s not surprising, given that solar and wind energy no longer represents mostly a badge of environmental activism. We are seeing an increasing number of companies, including Google, Apple and Ikea, that sign contracts to buy renewable electricity or even build their own solar and wind farms. That’s because the prices for these once-expensive sources of energy have dived since 2009, with 63% drop for solar contracts in the US over the past five years.
Ashifa Kassam, the Guardian’s Canada correspondent this week sent us this dispatch from Lennox Island, off the coast of Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada. On Lennox, she wrote, the island has lost 400 acres in just a few generations and the First Nations community is wondering if it has a future.
Kassam reports that over the past three decades, Danny Tuplin has watched the island’s shoreline inch closer to his two-storey house. Only a few years ago, his home sat 10ft from the water. Then in 2004, a hurricane-strength nor’easter blizzard brought the ocean to his doorstep.“I went out the back door, I took five steps and I was in salt water,” said the 58-year-old.
“Many believe the fight to combat climate change hinges on the aligned interests of capital and state. Give the Elon Musks of the world enough time and resources and they will innovate us out of impending climate catastrophe. Get the G20 in a room and they will hammer out a deal and create regulations to enforce it. Or so the thinking in some circles goes. Yet throughout history, the interests of the state have slid into alignment with big oil and big profits rather than lining up with our rivers, our air, our wildlife and our people.
On Friday, men who disavow climate change and profit mightily from fossil fuels will take charge. In a global race to the bottom, there’s no telling how far downriver these shortsighted profiteers will sell our future generations.
At the largest gathering of earth scientists in the world last month, a few lawyers had set up a booth stacked with small books for any researcher who would take it: legal advice for how to protect yourself from political persecution. “We’re worried about a lot of things,” said Lauren Kurtz, executive director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, adding that some scientists had received legal and even death threats.
Scientists: Do you have a US .gov climate database that you don't want to see disappear?
Add it here:https://t.co/IEN8OUc4Tr
After Donald Trump was elected in November, the mayors of more than 60 US cities sent an open letter to the president-elect urging him to work with them on combating climate change. Trump’s team has yet to respond to the letter, said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, a co-founder of the Mayor’s National Climate Action Agenda.
Garcetti, who is in DC for the US Conference of mayors, said he is encouraged by the conversations he’s had this week.
As climate change causes parts of the earth to grow hotter and drier, it has also led to a recent surge in extremely destructive wildfires.
It is difficult to link specific events, like the devastating wildfires in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains last year, directly to climate change, but scientists found that a drier and warmer planet can increase the likelihood of wildfires.
So far, Donald Trump has said extremely little about how he would lead Nasa, whose administrator reports directly to the president, or the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, whose officials report to the secretary of commerce. Late in the campaign, Trump said he hoped to “free Nasa” from its logistics work in low-Earth orbit (which Nasa does little of) and instead “refocus its mission on space exploration”.
As Ucilia Wang and Jonathan Watts reported earlier, climate change will affect just about every detail of daiy life, from your morning coffee to chocolate to a glass of wine. Later on we’ll hear how this increasing aridity is going to affect your meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Renewable energy has long been considered a liberal cause championed by tree huggers on the ground and Democrats in governments. That political divide showed up in election campaign contributions historically as well. But during the 2016 election cycle, the solar and wind trade groups gave more money to Republicans than Democrats running for federal offices for the first time, reported Reuters.
Encroaching into homes and dinner tables, rich and poor alike, climate change plays no favorites – it will take your chocolate.
Climate change has already encroached into grocery stores and restaurant menus, as it kills crops and makes it harder to keep fruit, vegetables and livestock alive. Global warming is also draining our drinks, including one of the oldest human libations: wine.
In London, the live panel debate is underway off at Guardian headquarters. A room full of members, readers and activists joins host Mark Rice-Oxley, the actor and entrepreneur, Lily Cole, the author and academic, Dr Jonathan Rowson, and the Green party’s science and technology spokesperson, Esther Obiri-Darko. Also on the panel are the chief executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett and the “renegade economist” Kate Raworth.
One of the main areas I’ve focused on is how I spend my money. I’m not perfect with it, I’m as guilty as most westerners of buying too much... But, because the world is so driven by economics and so driven by money right now, the only way you’re going to communicate to businesses is by starving their bottom line.
It was only when the campaigns to abolish slavery were doing really well that the pro-slavery movement formed. They said ‘this will harm my competitiveness, we can’t possibly afford this, it’s going to cost jobs’. Almost identical arguments to those used now by people campaigning against action on climate change.
The cup of coffee that millions of us woke up with this morning was more likely to have come from Brazil than another nation. But this ritual will become rarer and more expensive, according to forecasts that climate change will cut the bean-growing belt by half here and across the world over the next 35 years.
As Jonathan Watts reported earlier, the end of the world is looking not just warm but dry, from the mountainous lakes of South America up to the disappearing snowpacks of California. Later on we’ll hear how this increasing aridity is going to affect your meal: – breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
Sea levels could rise by six to nine metres over time, new study warns https://t.co/MjFXqJ9J59
Michael Ingui, an architect at Baxt Ingui Architects, specializes in creating passive houses – “super-insulated houses that use a fraction of the energy” of a traditional home.
… We have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but far fewer are paying for it. And advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
What happens in Antarctica does not stay there: the icy waters off the southernmost continent are an engine for life around the world, and they are warming faster than anywhere else – a threat to the global food supply.
For decades, scientists have been diving underneath the quickly melting ice in a race to learn the consequences of warming on the ecosystem.
For six years of increasingly withering heat, Californians have rationed resources, fought with celebrities and watched as precious reservoirs and snowpacks, so important to the state’s economy and daily lives of its residents, disappeared to historic lows. When it rained, it was never enough – though hope has partially returned with massive storms of the last three weeks.
According to the US Drought Monitor, about 42% of the state is out of drought, thanks to a series of heavy rains around the Bay area and blizzards over part of the Sierra Nevada, where snowpack provides critical water for the state in the spring and summer. The heavy rains also replenished the state’s largest reservoir, Lake Shasta, back to 82%, and even Los Angeles saw flash flood warnings as storms stretched across the state.
Over on Tumblr, we’ve been running a blog collecting young people’s experiences, hopes and fears on climate change. You can submit your own messages or artwork here. We’ll be highlighting some of the posts throughout the day.
The end of the world is dry. That is not a prophesy of doom, but an increasingly evident fact as I learned during a recent trip to Patagonia.
As Lauren Gambino reported earlier, mayors in US cities are making plans to fight climate change themselves if they have to. Later on we’ll also hear how the financial rewards – the money that can be made in renewables – also holds out hope for the future even if our political leaders fail us.
New York City and the wider state are embracing renewable energy as the state’s leaders take steps to resist Donald Trump’s rollback of green initiatives.
This morning the Guardian caught up with a couple of big city mayors to discuss their concerns about the incoming administration’s climate change agenda.
The takeaway: who needs Washington?
Much of the international fretting over the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the US presidency is focused on the real estate magnate’s pledge to “cancel” the Paris climate deal.
Tearing up a central plank of Barack Obama’s climate legacy by removing America from the agreement would cause shockwaves that could badly damage the global climate effort. But will that actually happen?
I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table in the conversation on how to address threats of climate change. They do require a global response.
In partnership with the Guardian, Univision Noticias is highlighting the urgency of climate action around the world. Join Univision and Fusion environmental correspondent Nicolás Ibargüen as he discusses on Facebook Live.
We’ve heard from Jonathan Watts how experts in Brazil are anxious at the indigenous territories and fears there around a government move to change how their land is demarcated. We’ll have more on this theme later.
Shortly we’ll have live video from our partners Univision in Miami. Before that, its worth reflecting that Trump has a home in Florida which he regularly spends time at.
2016 was the warmest year, globally, on record and the second warmest year on record in the US, following the long-term warming trend. As Trump assumes the presidency, there are signs that these numbers are starting to translate into tangible consequences for Americans:
4) Where are the public on this issue? Is there is an ideological dividing line as in the US, or is there a broad consensus about the science?
In 2015, 28% of Brazilian municipalities entered into emergency or calamity due to extreme weather – droughts, floods, storms, landslides. This affected millions of people so that are aware things are changing.
If the world is to get emissions under control, Brazil will be a key player. Over the past decade, it has played a mostly positive role, both in taking domestic action to reduce the rate of deforestation of the Amazon, and also in constructive diplomacy in international climate talks. But economic recession and political turmoil have led many to fear this might change in the future. For an insight into what might come next, I approached Carlos Rittl, associate researcher of the Brazilian Climate Observator, an umbrella organisation that represents more than 40 environment NGOs. Here’s our Q&A:
Over the next few hours we’ll also be hearing from our Latin American correspondent, Jonathan Watts. First up he’s been speaking to a key expert in Brazil, a key country.
Later we’ll hear about his trip to Patagonia, and how climate change is affecting something a lot of people hold dear: coffee.
Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is the outgoing chief executive of ExxonMobil, the oil giant under investigation for possibly defrauding investors about what it knew and did about climate change.
Shortly after Barack Obama’s election in 2009, Tillerson announced his support for a carbon tax – if only because he considers it preferable to cap and trade policies – but environmental groups have denounced Tillerson’s nomination. Tillerson does not deny that climate change is real, but in a hearing with Congress last week refused to answer a question about whether ExxonMobil had tried to sow doubt about the science.
As we’ve pointed out in the previous post, Obama’s legacy is far from perfect.
But it’s fair to say there are greater fears around the Trump administration’s key cabinet posts relating to climate change. Alan Yuhas is about to post on the pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Also ahead we’ll have more video from New York’s rooftops.
Barack Obama has banned drilling in the Arctic, fought to reduce pollution and power plant emissions, and preserved more marine territory than any previous president. Yet researchers at Columbia University say that his legacy is tarnished by the work of the US Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that has handed out nearly $34bn of taxpayer-funded loans to corporations and foreign governments for fossil-fuel projects.
The team at Columbia collaborated with the Guardian last year on a report that showed how Obama’s the obscure agency within his own administration quietly spoiled his record by helping fund a steady outpouring of new overseas fossil fuel emissions – effectively erasing gains expected from his headline clean power plan or fuel efficiency standards.
As Rick Perry’s rather polite confirmation hearing rolls on, it’s worth recalling the more combative hearing faced by Scott Pruitt yesterday. Pruitt is Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA was founded by a Republican administration with a mission to keep America’s water clean, its air free of toxic pollution, and help towns around the country keep their fields, roads and rivers safe. Pruitt has used his post as Oklahoma’s attorney general to sue the EPA 14 times in seven years, 13 in alliances with energy, agriculture and other large corporations.
Pruitt sues EPA challenge CleanPowerPlan. Who's Pruitt's lawyer? Energy industry corporate attorney-Southern Co etc--who "working for free" pic.twitter.com/TAlwLn98qu
One of the themes we are looking at is how the impact of climate change does not affect everyone equally.
Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, is currently facing questions from US senators in his confirmation hearing as Donald Trump’s secretary of energy.
Perry rather sheepishly told the senators that he regrets calling for the department of energy to be scrapped. Famously, Perry ran for president in 2012 only to call for the abolition of three government departments in a televised debate. The problem was he couldn’t remember the name of the third agency – energy – leading him to flounder briefly and then mutter “oops”.
I believe the climate is changing. I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity. The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs.
We’ve picked up the climate blog in the US, and have heard from outgoing EPA boss Gina McCarthy who says staff there are nervous about the incoming administration’s attitude to science and climate change. We’ve also published the first of our three videos from solar panel clad buildings in New York City.
Coming up later we also have a live video from our partners Univision who are blogging live in Spanish today on climate change. At around 1pm ET (6pm GMT) we’ll host a live video report from them in Miami on the climate change threat. Miami is just one of the places on the US coast already being impacted by rising sea levels.
Brooklyn Navy Yard, a huge industrial park located across the water from Manhattan in New York City, installed a 3,152 solar panel field on top of one of its buildings in September.
We’re looking at all of the issues around climate change – including the solutions. And both New York City – and the wider state – are among the trailblazers in the US when it comes to solar power. In New York City there are thousands of buildings which have been fitted with solar panels.
During the US hours of our climate change blog, we’ll have three videos for you from Adam Gabbatt, who we sent to the top of skyscrapers and other buildings in the city to find out how they make that work.
One of the big areas of concern around the incoming Trump administration is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
We’ve published a story earlier Thursday on an interview with the agency’s outgoing administrator, Gina McCarthy.
Hello and welcome to the American portion of our climate blog, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Oliver Milman in New York and Alan Yuhas in San Francisco will see you through.
The new president will forever be reminded of his tweet that claimed that global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”. But that conspiracy theory was expounded four years ago now and Trump’s attitude to climate change, like much else, has wobbled in the wind.
So that’s about it from this part of the world. We are off for a lie down in a dark room. Stay tuned though for much, much more from the Americas, hosted by Oliver Milman and Alan Yuhas.
For anyone just tuning in, highlights of this blog so far today include:
A quick interruption with some breaking news: Scotland has just unveiled some of the world’s most ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions, aiming at a reduction of 66% within 15 years.
Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is up next, talking to Juliette.
We are continuing to emit greenhouse gases and if unabated this will cause further warming and changes to the climate system. This increases the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Substantial and sustained reduction in emissions are needed to limit climate change.”
Individuals can do many things, depending on their local and personal circumstances. One example is improving energy efficiency. Ultimately [though] tackling climate change is a global problem, so individuals should encourage their governments to take action.
I’d like to congratulate Mr Trump on his forthcoming inauguration as President of the United States. We look forward to continuing to work with the new administration, and with American scientists and institutions, on improving our understanding of climate change and how to tackle its impacts and risks, as we have done for nearly 30 years, since the inception of the IPCC.”
Mark Campanale, founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative thinktank and who conceived the idea that many fossil fuel reserves will be unburnable if the world beats climate change, talks to Damian now:
There is no doubt now that we’re in the middle of a major technological revolution in the transportation and power sectors. Electrification of the transport fleet and the rise of cheap solar isn’t going to be reversed, actually it will accelerate.
The real question right now is whether technological leaps and cost reductions in renewables can accelerate adoption rates fast enough. The scale of the challenge is enormous – not helped by new investments in fossil fuels exceeding tens of trillions of dollars over the next few decades.
If you’re interested in quality, high paying and skilled jobs for the American middle classes, then renewable energy has to absolutely be the place to look. It’s a sector with more employees now than in the US coal industry and with a long way to grow.
Switch to a clean energy supplier like Good Energy, or maybe a community utility and project developer like Mongoose Energy.
May Boeve, head of climate campaign group 350.org, is next up:
I think we’ve entered into a new chapter in the climate fight. Renewables have become cheap and widespread enough to represent a real threat to the fossil fuel industry, so they’re beginning to fight back. If we can make it beyond the political barriers coming up worldwide and elect governments who take climate change seriously, we have all the technology we need to make rapid progress and succeed in keeping global warming as close to 1.5C as possible. But it’s going to be a real fight. The work of the climate movement is more important than ever.
Organize. We can’t solve climate change alone. Get together with people and change your community, your country, and the world.
Quit. But if you have to stick around, realise that the clean energy economy is the greatest, biggest job creator in history.
Former climate secretary and Liberal Democrat MP now talks to Juliette Jowit
The Paris agreement surpassed my expectations about what’s possible - although it’s still not enough, given where we are. We have had president Obama’s leadership, Xi Jinping’s (China’s) leadership, and president Modi’s (India’s) leadership. Then we had technological break-throughs, particularly solar.”
To fight Isis and make America great again, invest in solar. Where does Isis’ power come from? They are funded by oil and gas, particularly oil.”
It would be wrong to think that Donald Trump’s views on climate change reflect those of the American people. While the incoming president is dismissive of the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is real, serious and driven by human activity, the US population is not. A survey in November for the Yale program on Climate Change Communication found that 70% of Americans think climate change is real, and just over half, 55%, believe humans are mostly to blame.
Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell plc, now:
It’s good news for all of us that [the Paris climate agreement] came into force. The scenarios that we and others have done clearly show that a future of net-zero emissions is technically feasible near the end of the century. And not only can the world achieve it technically, but it also makes economic sense in a societal way. In other words, we don’t have to sacrifice economic growth. That’s the good part.
The remaining challenge is: can it be done commercially? Economically is about the way society can bear it, commercially is about how to make sure the main actors – consumers and companies – can, and will, do the right thing. And if society, through government, doesn’t ensure it makes commercial sense to move to a net-zero emissions energy system, nobody will make the next step.
Craig Bennett, head of Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, talks to Damian ...
The climate impacts of global temperature rises of just 1C have already triggered melting ice-caps, unleashed killer storms and droughts, bleached the world’s coral reefs, choked our cities with pollution and displaced people from their homes. The case for urgent action is now universally accepted by governments, scientists, business and ordinary citizens around the world.
Whilst trillions of dollars are being invested in the renewable energy sector and building a low carbon economy, this is still too little and too slow. This is ‘decade zero’: The decisions we make now on meeting our energy needs, producing our food and protecting our forests will determine if we can keep temperature rises well below 2C and prevent catastrophic climate change. We’re sitting in the last chance saloon but governments still seem unable to break their addiction to dirty energy – unless people power can make them.
Renewable energy and the low carbon economy is the world’s greatest job creator. Be smart, and lead from the front. Clean energy, owned by American citizens, acting in the interests of American citizens will not only make ‘America Great Again’, it will save lives and protect your nation too.
Be part of the movement to ‘keep fossil fuels in the ground’. It’s as simple as that. Divest your money from banks that fund it, switch energy suppliers to green energy, support communities saying no to fracking, demand our politicians act now before it’s too late. And join an environmental organisation like Friends of the Earth.
Prof Dame Julia King, an eminent engineer and one of the UK government’s official advisers at the Committee on Climate Change is next up, talking to Damian Carrington.
To have a good chance of keeping global temperature rise to below 2C the world will need to reverse the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero within the next 50 years or so. This involves switching to clean forms of electricity, transport, cooling and heating, and finding ways to avoid – or mop up – emissions from industry, agriculture, shipping and air travel. We are not currently on track to achieve this, but global momentum is building quickly. What is encouraging is that many companies, cities and citizens are now taking a leading role, alongside pledges and action from governments around the world.
If President Trump wants to deliver greater job security for Americans, he should focus on clean and sustainable industries where the US has a competitive advantage. Those are the sectors that are set to prosper. He needs to build an economy for 2050, not one for 1950!
The Committee on Climate Change recently looked at how to reduce UK emissions over the next 15 years. We found that some of the best things people can do to reduce their household-level carbon footprint are:
Now it’s Michael Liebreich, founder of analyst firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance and who has advised the UN and World Economic Forum on energy, speaking to Damian Carrington.
The past decade gives us enormous cause for optimism. Relentless growth in global CO2 emissions has been brought to a halt much earlier than anyone thought possible. Wind and solar power have become the cheapest new power sources in much of the world; natural gas is outcompeting carbon-intensive coal; LEDs and other energy efficiency solutions are being installed at scale; and electric vehicles are starting to fly out of showrooms.
But it’s not enough to stabilise emissions: to stay within a 2C carbon budget we have to see emissions cut dramatically and quickly, which remains a staggering challenge. The Paris agreement set out ambitious long-term aspirations, but its near-term commitments don’t add up to much. In particular, if Asian countries build all the coal-fired power stations currently in their plans, then kiss goodbye to the 2C warming target.
If I had one minute with president elect Trump my message would be that the best way to ‘Make America Great Again’ is by owning the clean energy, transportation and infrastructure technologies of the future. Not only will this create countless well-paid, fulfilling jobs for Americans, but will also lock in the US’s geopolitical leadership for another generation.
Focus on a few big things. If you are renovating, insist on lots of insulation, good windows, a good boiler and efficient appliances. You can cut your fuel bills by 75% – I know because I’ve done it. If you live in a city, get rid of your car: join a car club, walk or cycle more, use cabs and public transport. Again, I know because I haven’t owned a car in London for 22 years. And don’t fly short-haul, use trains – you’ll get there quicker too.
Prof John Schellnhuber, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and who has advised Angela Merkel, the Pope and the EU, now speaks to Damian Carrington.
We are now at a watershed in history I think, because the traditional industrialised countries – US, UK, parts of Europe, Australia – are now more or less giving up being pioneers for climate action and it is emerging economies [like China and India] that are doing the bold steps. The world is upside down really. The old developed world has more or less lost faith in saving the planet and it is the new economies who seem to take the lead. This is the hope we have.
Politicians can’t do it on their own. The political process is so slow and dysfunctional almost everywhere. There are two factors that can accelerate our transition to sustainability. One is clearly technological progress, which is often much faster than anybody expects. The other is civil society, you have to put pressure on your politicians. You have to raise the moral bar much higher. You have ask them ‘do we want to save this planet for our descendents or not?
Try to avoid using airplanes. Whenever you do a carbon balance sheet, you see flying is just the worst thing you can do regarding your carbon footprint and often it is more convenient to take a train these days. Second is to reduce your meat consumption, if you eat any, and that is also good for your health.
The third one is follow the money: the fossil fuel divestment movement. Tell your bank manager you would like your money be invested into renewables instead of coal, oil and gas industry. At least become a pain in the neck. What companies fear like hell is loss of reputation, as that can break even the big companies’ necks.
Leading climate change economist Lord Nicholas Stern, at the London School of Economics, has also spoken to Damian Carrington for this blog.
It was agreed by everybody and applies to everybody. That is extremely important and quite extraordinary when you think how difficult it is to put together a global agenda with 196 countries.
The next very big question is how do we ramp up those ambitions. China, the biggest emitter, is ahead of the game. It said it would peak [its carbon emissions] by 2030, but my guess is it will peak not very long after 2020. That is the key example. I have been working in China for 30 years and the change over the last six to seven is quite remarkable.
India is starting to get much more committed too. So if you look at the two countries with the biggest populations, you do see changes. But the US and Europe will matter greatly to this. It is very important Europe raises its game.
If you want to make America great again, building modern, clean and smart infrastructure makes tremendous commercial and national sense, In the longer term, the low carbon growth story is the only growth story on offer. There is no long-term, high-carbon growth story, because destruction of the environment would reverse growth.
Demand explicitly and directly strong action from the politicians, particularly in cities where we know action can be extremely rapid. Do your shopping at firms that are responsible. It does need political, business and civil society push. The reason is that the urgency and scale is not sufficiently understood. We will double the world economy in the next 20 years or so. If we build this new world economy anything like the old one, then we are not going to get down to the [emissions] we have to be. There has to be radical change.
Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, and ‘father of climate change awareness’ spoke to the Guardian after winning the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award.
Photographs of the melting Greenland ice sheet by Timo Lieber are a beautiful but chilling reminder of the impact of climate change.
All photographs use three colours. Each represents a symbolic value: pristine white is the ice sheet, blue is water and black is dirt. These colours form the chromatic point of view and are the clue to reading them. Beyond this simplicity, the pictures are scientific documents that reveal and link the two global phenomenons: global warming and atmospheric pollution.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - the UN’s climate chief – today gives her views on climate change to our head of environment Damian Carrington.
There are very positive actions and signals from all areas of society post-Paris [climate agreement] including from governments and cities to business, investors and citizens. But the reality is also that greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere continue to rise and thus national and international ambition needs to rise even more. The world needs to peak global emissions urgently and trigger a steady but significant de-carbonisation of the global economy so that year on year and decade on decade the total achievement is in line with the science. We are on the way towards a better, climate-secure world, but it will be a long journey and only a sense of urgency will get us to the ‘well below 2C target’.
I look forward to working with your new administration to make the world a better place for the people of the US and for peoples everywhere in this very special world.
There is a lot all of us can do to bend the curve towards the world we want and need. Get informed and get involved. Be a conscious-consumer for example: there is wealth of information on the environmental footprint of goods and services. Think about how you travel, and try to choose a lower emissions form of transport while offsetting those emissions you cannot avoid right now.
2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development – take time to do so research on the sustainability of your holiday and leisure activities.
Thanks Damian. I hope that hour answered lots of your questions. If not, keep them coming. New York will take over from us within the next hour, and our US environment correspondent Oliver Milman will be at the helm.
Here’s another fact for you:
Last question I’m afraid, but it’s a good one, from @takvera.
@dpcarrington what's probability of multi-metre sealevelrise this century with Greenland, West Antartcica & now Totten glacier unstable?
@OisinMoriarty asks about electric car takeup.
On Twitter, @FourTwoThreeOne asks:
@dpcarrington Hi Damian, how bad (& how soon) will climate change Australia? A country which already has wild weather and long droughts.
MercuryBen asks a political question.
Why is it that climate change scepticism is so popular with those on the right-wing?
ID5865653 asks an important question about whether aviation can be made greener.
Does anyone know what, if any, progress is being made on making flights more carbon neutral? I know there was a successful round-the-world solar flight in 2016, but that doesn’t seem likely to bear fruit commercially any time time soon. Are the fuel requirements just too large for electric planes etc to be practical?
The livestock industry causes about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions, and CordTrousers asks:
Any suggestions other than vegetarianism?
PeppermintSeal wants to know what the impact of ocean acidification might be. Much of the world’s CO2 emissions end up being absorbed by the oceans, which become more acidic as a result.
Regarding the increased acidity in the oceans, what follows from this? More coastal erosion and threat to sea life I’m guessing, but are there other things happening? Does acidity affect salt levels?
Lots of commenters, for example greensocialist147, are arguing that overpopulation is the fundamental problem.
The world’s population is set to rise to 9 or 10 billion by 2050, which definitely makes beating climate change tougher. But the critical thing is the size of their carbon footprints.
Crucial question next from yourcomment.
Is it compulsory for every article on global warming to feature a photo of a polar bear? Why?
Reader rokealy wants to know how climate change will affect the UK and Europe.
This is such an important matter and delighted that you are covering this in such an excellent way. Really educational yet at the same time quite unsettling. With the rise in temperatures, and various reports coming to conclusions that Europe will get warmer or colder, can you give a clearer picture of what we (Ireland, UK, Europe) can expect to see in our climate in the near future?
Next up is a question from Clare Rudkin, on whether global warming can be blamed for specific events.
I would like to know the percent of increase in likelihood of events that seem to be linked to climate change.
Hi! I’m Damian Carrington, head of environment at the Guardian, and I’ll be tackling your climate questions for the next 45 minutes or so. Please post anything you’d like to ask in the comments below or tweet me @dpcarrington.
Here’s the first one, from Sandie Elsom.
Congratulations on deciding to focus on this most important of all issues. I’d like to see clear explanations of what the science is saying and just how serious the outcomes will be. I have difficulty convincing family members that climate change is a clear and present danger.
Journalism often tends to focus on the problems, and as such can often give a glum view of the world. But during this hour we’ve heard from:
When it comes to green tech, the electricity sector has seen the biggest focus so far, with the cost of solar, wind, LED lighting and batteries plummeting in the last decade. The cost of conventional nuclear power has not, but so-called “small modular reactors” (SMR) are now attracting a lot of attention: smaller, cheaper and mass produced is the promise.
I’ve been looking at all kinds of technology that promises to help us battle climate change in the decades to come.
Of course, science is a vital part of our understanding of climate change, and down at the bottom of the earth, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are conducting a range of experiments and observations to keep tabs on any changes in conditions.
The BAS collaborated with us to get exclusive video back from the Antarctic, and my colleague Irene Baqué put together this short package to show what’s going on.
While flood defences are often criticised and the government is regularly accused of failing to account sufficiently for how much climate change is making it worse, the UK’s Thames barrier has been a real, unsung success story. Built in eight years, its six gates have never failed to protect London.
Across the Middle East and north Africa, global warming means record temperatures, which in the summer can make life unbearable from Tehran to Tripoli.
A final three tips on positive individual action here from Chris Goodall:
• For a decade, investors ignored the movement that advocated the divestment of holdings in fossil fuel companies. Large fuel companies and electricity generation businesses were able to raise the many billions of new finance they needed. Now, by contrast, money managers are increasingly wary of backing the investment plans of oil companies and switching to renewable projects. And universities and activist investors around the world are selling their holdings in fossil fuels, making it more difficult for these companies to raise new money. Vocal support for those backing out of oil, gas and coal helps keep up the pressure.
Have we really been going five hours? We’re just getting warmed up. No pun intended. If you’re waking up in America, stay tuned: our New York office will be taking over this running article in a couple of hours, with the focus switching to the inauguration tomorrow.
In the past hour, we’ve really only had time to skim the surface of some of the good things going on in this time zone:
This month sees the launch in Stockholm of the world’s first urban carbon sink. The project will trap carbon from garden waste and store it in the ground, thereby compensating for the emissions of around 700 cars.
This is the world’s first urban carbon sink. We want other cities to be inspired by Stockholm and start their own biochar production.
It is just the beginning. This natural carbon sink will not save the world but we must begin to pay off our carbon debts.
Israel has long experience of dealing with some of the pressing demands of climate change.
There has long been an interest here in water recovery. Water shortages are a world issue. California has suffered six years of successive droughts. We are working on a new plant north of San Diego as well as a facility in Tienjiang south of Beijing in China which also has water shortage issues – a thermal extraction plant in this case. In India we are working on a plant for an industrial concern.
Terry Macalister, formerly the Guardian’s energy editor and now on the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series steering committee, has just sent this blog post in to us:
Afghanistan is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change – but some people are trying to make a difference.
In most villages where I go, they actually understand. Climate change is visible to them now. There is not enough snow, and not enough rain.
Back to more positive actions that individuals can take. For obvious reasons most of these tips (again from Chris Goodall) focus on what wealthier citizens (which includes most westerners) can do. Here are three:
• The CO2 impact of goods and services is often strikingly different from what you’d expect. Mike Berners-Lee’s book How Bad Are Bananas? takes an entertaining and well-informed look at what really matters. Bananas, for example, are fine because they are shipped by sea. But organic asparagus flown in from Peru is much more of a problem.
Over the next hour we’re going to try to focus on the positive. We’ll look more at what we can all do as individuals, and at inspirational work both locally and internationally to combat manmade climate change.
It’s really easy to feel despairing and overwhelmed about climate change. Personally I found this piece by Chris Goodall today to be both inspiring and cheering. He writes about how he used to believe that only massive government subsidies would make clean energy a success, which basically meant it would be a failure. Now he admits he was “completely wrong” about that, and argues that the end of the fossil-fuel era is already in sight:
In fact, optimism about successfully tackling climate change has never been more justified, because 2016 was the year in which it finally became obvious that the world had the technology to solve the problem. Even as the political environment has darkened, the reasons have strengthened for believing that a complete transition to low-carbon energy is practical and affordable within one generation.
The full article is here.
So Europe might not be on the frontline of climate change but it’s already feeling the depradations of flooding, drought, and rising sea levels.
Over the past hour we’ve reported on:
Of course, different parts of Europe face different challenges.
Last year we had one week to make the snow. We use a lot of water, and a lot of technical expertise, to make as much snow as possible, because usually after that there is a warm period.
For the passionate skier, the product is perfect. For the romantic skier, something is missing,” he says.
What we tell the people here in the Netherlands is, if the country is flooded the damage will be at least €700bn.
If you instead spend every year one billion euros, you spread the bill over 700 years. That is, I think, the Dutch way.”
For years, the biggest problem facing vineyard owners in Tuscany’s Chianti region has been the prevalence of scavaging wild boars in the area, a relatively modern phenomenon in the ancient winemaking region.
The other issue that looms for Europe is that of climate refugees. War and persecution have forced more people to flee their homes than at any time since records began. But droughts, flooding and storms are also having a catastrophic effect.
Europe is also surrounded by regions that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and we can definitely not afford to ignore the links between climate change and migration.
The Guardian has published a leader article on Trump and climate change today.
It makes the point that while Trump may be able to wreak a lot of damage on the climate front, it’s not all going to be up to him:
There’s no doubt the world will lose out if America decides to relinquish global leadership on battling climate change. But Mr Trump’s fossil fuel plans are likely to flounder without higher hydrocarbon prices. No one will frack for gas unless profits can be made. Coal mines won’t reopen while shale gas is cheap. Instead, self-interest will undergird the fight against global warming. China will decarbonise to ensure its citizens don’t choke to death in its cities. The costs of clean energy are tumbling too, keeping nations on the path towards decarbonisation. The price of electric vehicles is dropping; offshore wind power has become dramatically cheaper. For the first time, the costs of wind and solar power have dropped to match those of fossil fuels. Last year was the first in which renewable energy surpassed coal as the world’s biggest source of power-generating capacity. Countries such as India have ambitious plans for renewable energy.
More on Europe in a minute, including Belgian flood defences, poor snow at ski resorts (boo hoo) and the grave threat to Chianti ...
But first something completely different. We’re going over to Facebook live to watch people draw climate change. You may laugh. This might not work. You may get a better view of what’s going on by going here.
If global warming has a canary in the mine, perhaps it’s the insurance industry. After all, they are the people who have to pay out when extreme weather events hit.
In Europe, we’ve seen a steep increase in flood events related to severe convective [thunder] storms. The frequency of flash floods has increased much more than river floods since 1980.
Now then, something a bit different. Yesterday, the world’s leading temperature authorities announced that yes, 2016 was the hottest year on record, and that the world was on average 1.1C warmer than in pre-industrial times.
The idea of rising temperatures can be hard to visualise. So why not sit back and listen to it instead:
So the UK is by no means immune to climate change, and in the next hour, we’ll discover that that goes for Europe too.
Do keep your comments coming – there’s a really vibrant debate going on below the line. If you would prefer a Spanish version, have a look at what our partners Univision are doing here. And if you fancy contributing something more artistic or visual, then Tumblr is the place to go.
The UK’s attempts to cut its CO2 emissions are in real danger of being undermined unless ministers tackle the continuing erosion of peatlands, which store several billion tonnes of carbon, Scottish environment campaigners have warned.
Recent studies estimate that damaged peatlands – most frequently found in upland areas, already release about 16m tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year through erosion, burning for grouse shooting and overgrazing. Scientists expect that to worsen dramatically as rising temperatures dry out peatland in rain-starved areas, and extreme weather events increase, without concerted effort to protect and conserve them. That in turn will increase flash flooding of lowland towns and villages.
Peatlands are just not in good enough health to withstand the effects of climate change in the coming decades.
Watching peatland landscapes washed away due to climate change sounds like a dystopian nightmare. Yet climate modelling predicts it to be a very real threat, leading to the loss of millions of tonnes of carbon and the destruction of an entire living ecosystem.”
Here are three more tips on individual action you can take to help, courtesy of Chris Goodall:
Turning our attention to the UK, climate change is already affecting parts of Britain, principally by increasing the risk of extreme flooding and heatwaves, and on Wednesday the government accepted almost all of the current and future risks set out by its official advisors, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
Our changing climate is one of the most serious environmental challenges that we face as a nation and that is why we are taking action, from improving flood defences across the country to securing our critical food and water supplies.
Acting on climate change can also boost people’s health. If we get it right, our efforts to tackle climate change avoid some of these risks, and directly benefit health: renewable power doesn’t generate health-damaging pollutants, for example, while walking or cycling improves health.”
We’ve had some great comments below the line this morning. If you have any questions for our head of environment, Damian Carrington, please post them there. We’ll hold an answer session at 1pm.
Thank you for this front page rolling update. The importance of your constant reminder of the topic is really crucial. In a recent series of studies we saw that people rarely talk about climate change at home or with friends even though they are extremely worried about it. https://medium.com/if-you-want-to/silence-about-climate-change-doesnt-mean-behaviours-aren-t-changing-56b1cbdbf440#.rs589m3my.
This "spiral of silence" is brought about by the feeling that people around us don't share the concern and it could be embarrassing to raise the issue. Your articles therefore not only inform but reassure many of us that the topic is important and we are not alone in our concern. Interestingly we also found that people are silently changing their habits much more than they publicly discuss. This at least is encouraging.
Thanks Guardian for putting climate change so prominently centre stage for this troubling regime change.
I've been banging on in comment for a while now, that while this transition is extremely depressing there is also are also valuable opportunities.
I haven't flown anywhere for some years for personal or financial reasons. My last trip was to Paris on Eurostar. Most people fly because its cheaper. I would travel everywhere by train if fares were more reasonable. My partner is Norwegian and we did the trip there on the ferry from Newcastle but it no longer runs and he can fly cheaper to Oslo than we can travel from Yorkshire to London. I know several people who have relatives In Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They have to fly. Maybe if alternatives were as cheap as flying we could cut down short haul significantly.
I haven't eaten meat since 1979. I don't miss it. Many people I know have cut down on meat but more for health reasons.
My problem is my house built in 1916. Its been a financial struggle to maintain let alone insulate it or put in double glazing which seems very poor in the UK. People I know who have it are always complaining that it fails and often needs fixing. I have no cavity walls. I have thick or insulated curtains in most rooms and I don't have heating all day. In the winter I often sit in bed if I'm reading or on the laptop to keep warm. I don't actually like central heating. It bungs up my nose and makes my eyes dry.
Before we move on to Europe and the UK, this is a neat piece of work from my colleague Nick Evershed, the Guardian’s head of data and interactives in Australia. It shows how much carbon we are emitting right now – and how much we have “left to burn” if we want to keep global warming within the 2C band considered crucial by scientists to prevent serious damage to the planet.
Nick’s calculated that in just the 24 hour lifespan of this blog, the world will pump out more than 112m tons. Hard to visualise? Well let’s let the doomsday clock do the work:
So in summary, we’ve been focussed on Africa over the past hour:
In South Africa meanwhile, an interesting distinction: while you might find plenty of climate change denial in western countries or oil powers, or even in the White House (from tomorrow), it’s not a common feature of local conversation here.
In South Africa, there has been very little of the climate denialist narrative you still see in the US and elsewhere. The South African government has been vocal in its commitment to the fight against climate change for many years, and there is a genuine popular understanding of the problem and consequences of climate change.
One reason for that is that ordinary people can already see the effects of climate change very clearly. The devastating drought that has plagued South Africa for the past two years, with ruinous knock-on effects on the rural economy and food prices, is a very real and tangible reminder of our vulnerability to climate change. We really are at the coalface of climate change, so to speak.
I’ve been talking to Johannes Wedenig, country representative for Unicef in Malawi about the situation there.
From 2000 to 2009 droughts effected 8.5 million people in Malawi, and floods affected 1.2 million. From 2010 to 2016 we have already reached 8.4 million people affected by drought and 875,000 by flooding. So we will see at least a third more over the decade if the trend continues.
But I’ve seen from my own experience that it’s the variability of weather phenomena that poses the greatest challenges to farmers in Malawi, especially when combined with an already fragile situation. People are selling their last assets and so are going into the next cycle even poorer, and unpredictability makes it very hard to plan and adapt.
I’ve travelled widely in Africa but when I got here last year I was really shocked by the amount of acutely malnourished children. You wouldn’t necessarily expect to see such a severe impact here but Malawi shows the impact of climate change compounded by other factors such as soil degradation, population pressure and an over-reliance on a single crop (food source) as a result of past policy decisions.
In east Africa, concerns are growing that the continent’s second highest peak, Mt Kenya, could be totally ice free within decades.
You just need to open your eyes. Mt Kenya was once a striking and impressive site and we even named it in reference to the glacial cover. Everything has changed within our lifetime. And that is simply because we human beings do not respect nature.
Guardian columnist George Monbiot is writing today on Trump and climate change.
This is his stark take on things:
Understandably, commentators have been seeking glimpses of light in Trump’s position. But there are none.
Here are three more tips on how to save the planet from author Chris Goodall of Carbon Commentary:
Further west, the contraction of Lake Chad over the past four decades has created a very different set of problems for surrounding countries, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Some experts even blame the rise of Boko Haram on the disruption to traditional ways of life that the changing landscape has brought about.
If the Lake Chad water was normal all these problems [with Boko Haram] would be eliminated economically, because nobody would have time to do all these things,” said Modu Amsami, a displaced person from northeast Nigeria
Our Egypt correspondent Ruth Michaelson has been to Alexandria to investigate the impact of rising sea levels on the city.
On the southern tip of the Mediterranean, the coastal waters are inching closer to buildings and flooded ancient structures, including the Greco-Roman tombs at Anfushi. Seawater seeping into the groundwater has also made the fragile ground more unstable, resulting in the alarming collapse of some of the city’s buildings.
The UN estimates that global sea levels will rise between 13cm and 68cm by 2050, and say that the Mediterranean is particularly vulnerable – by 2080, up to 120,000 people living near the sea could be affected by rising waters if no action is taken to protect them.
You have to do what you have to do, and don’t think about the bad weather – the good weather comes from God,” a local fisherman, Ahmed Mohamed Gowayed, told her. “Last year the storm destroyed palm trees, buildings, cars – older people in their seventies said they’d never seen anything like it in their lives. If the weather continues like this I will build a stronger kiosk.
You can read Ruth’s piece full piece here.
We’re delighted to be working with both Tumblr and Univision today. For a version of this blog in Spanish, check out Univision’s work here. And to contribute to Tumblr’s unique exercise in creating a sort of “climate change quilt”, follow this link.
We’re also on Twitter, using #globalwarning as a hashtag ...
Before we go any further, let’s look at how climate change is actually impacting parts of the world. Run the slider across to see how Arctic temperatures have changed over the past 40 years
Carbon expert Chris Goodall says individual actions DO make a difference. Here are three of his suggestions for individual action that will cumulatively make a real impact on humankind’s carbon emissions:
First things first – the facts. I know this is the post-fact era, and it’s become rather unfashionable to grub around looking for the truth. But here goes anyway:
1) Warming is happening fast. No doubt about it. For most of the 20th century, average global temperatures bimbled around the 13.5C mark. Now they are closer to 15C.
2016 was the year in which it finally became obvious that the world had the technology to solve the problem. Even as the political environment has darkened, the reasons have strengthened for believing that a complete transition to low-carbon energy is practical and affordable within one generation.
Humanity stands at a fork in the road, with one route descending towards disaster and the other climbing towards a brighter future. The route taken depends on whether the world can tame global warming, which threatens a violent end to the mild and stable climate the world has enjoyed since the start of civilisation.
Hello and welcome to this live climate change special, in which we will be reporting from all seven continents on the climate change already underway – and the promise of solutions – in one 24-hour period.
There is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland ...
The road to President Trump was long and bumpy. There were many turns not taken, countless alternative routes that would have spared us this outcome. Instead, we kept going, corruption, infighting and sheer obliviousness stopping us changing course.
What could have been different? There are a thousand possibilities. You could start with the long decay of the US news media into a branch of the entertainment industry, primed to seize on Trump’s celebrity. A wiser society would have demanded better, resisted more vocally, criticised more intelligently.
We need to re-enfranchise people of colour. We need the wild-eyed young radicals to take over the Democratic partyContinue reading...
New Hope project is still waiting on state permits and the outcome of a legal challenge in land court
A controversial $900m expansion of Queensland’s Acland open-cut coalmine has received federal government approval.
The environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, made the announcement on Friday, but the New Hope project is still waiting on state permits and the outcome of a legal challenge in the land court.Continue reading...
On Penguin Awareness Day Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin issues a rallying cry to fight climate change. It’s so easy to fall into despair
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Australia’s conservative government fiddles on climate policy while the country burns | Lenore Taylor
When Malcolm Turnbull deposed Tony Abbott as prime minister, serious action on global warming was hoped for – but almost nothing has changed
Australia’s January news has been full of official reports of record-breaking extreme weather devastating our ecosystems on land and in the sea and government ministers suggesting we build new coal-fired power stations, provide billion-dollar subsidised loans to rail lines for new coal mega-mines, increase coal exports to reduce temperature rises and reduce our ambitions for renewable power.
The disconnect is glaring but perhaps dimmed in the eyes of some readers because Australian politicians have been dissembling on climate change for decades, pretending it will be possible to do what we must without any impact on our position as the world’s largest coal exporter or our domestic reliance on brown coal-fired power, or without incurring any costs.Continue reading...
The economic and environmental cost of pollution will drive Beijing’s policies regardless of what Donald Trump does
Twenty years ago, climate change was believed by many in Beijing to be a conspiracy cooked up by the western world to contain China’s development.
Since then, China has performed an about-turn, not only recognising climate change as a major global challenge but also, ahead of Davos this week, vowing to lead the world’s effort in combating it.Continue reading...
Connor speaks to Guardian environment reporter Michael Slezak about the successes and failures of the climate movement, the future of the Paris agreement during a Trump presidency and how Australia can be pushed to take climate change seriously. Connor cautions the environment movement not to walk away from engaging in domestic politics and says informed, engaged citizens can exert a positive influence on the debateContinue reading...
Publicly funded competition had already cost £100m when it was cancelled by the Treasury amid concerns over cost to consumers
A publicly funded scheme to reduce carbon emissions collapsed, after running up costs of £100m, following a disagreement between government departments, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has concluded.
Ministers launched a competition for developing technology to capture carbon emissions before Treasury officials cancelled the project, a report by the National Audit Office has found.
Kutubdia’s islanders don’t have much of a carbon footprint – most don’t have regular electricity. But they are facing the reality of a changing climate, and soon tens of millions of their fellow Bangladeshis will be at risk
A row of mangrove trees sticking out of the sand, exposed by low tide off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, is all that remains of a coastal village that for generations was home to 250 families. The villagers were forced to flee as their land, which had been slowly eroding for decades, was finally engulfed by the ever-rising tide five years ago.
For the embattled people of Ali Akbar Dial, a collection of disappearing villages on the southern tip of the island in Bangladesh, the distant trees serve as a bittersweet reminder of what they have lost and a warning of what is come. The low-lying island of Kutubdia has one of the fastest-ever sea level rises recorded in the world, placing it bang on the front line of climate change, and the islanders are fighting a battle they fear is already lost.Continue reading...
Each day glaciologist Jason Roberts flies planes over Antarctica to map the terrain under the ice, trying to discover how climate change will affect sea level rise. Roberts, who works for the Australian Antarctic Division, says the point of his work is to look for the ‘canary in the coalmine’, identifying hotspots where warm water is interacting with the east Antarctic ice shelf, making it vulnerable to changing climate conditions that could have drastic implicationsContinue reading...
Writing about climate change: my professional detachment has finally turned to panic | Michael Slezak
I’ve maintained a wall between my job and my emotional response to it, but this month I’ve felt dread rising about looming disaster, and it’s an awakening
Until recently, like a sociopath might have little feelings when witnessing violence, I’ve managed to have relatively mild emotional responses to climate change.
For five years I’ve been covering climate change – the science that underpins it, the things that are driving it, the devastation it is wreaking, and the desperate measures we need to urgently put in place to mitigate it. (Not to mention the reporting I’ve done on the pathetic politics surrounding it.)
One day in his office, he reviewed a new study about the release of methane from the ocean floor and saw, more starkly than ever before, the conundrum the world faced. It wasn’t simply that they needed to consume less, to bring humanity’s impact on the biosphere under control, it was that there were just too many people, and even allowing for technological change and economic restructuring, the planet was on a collision course with disaster. In the United States and India floods covered millions of square kilometres, in Africa and Europe the heat was growing ever more intense and in Indonesia and Brazil and Malaysia the forests were burning, yet he and Ellie were trying to have a baby. What sort of world would that child inherit? Were they really doing the right thing by bringing another life into it?
Australia’s weather was extreme in 2016, driven by humankind’s burning of fossil fuels as well as a strong El Niño, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate statement.Continue reading...
Kutubdia, an island of fishing villages and salt farms, has halved in size in 20 years, with family homes destroyed by ever-encroaching tides. In nearby Cox’s Bazar, more frequent storms have had a severe impact on fishermen’s catches
All photographs by Noor Alam/Majority WorldContinue reading...
The flora and fauna that have made Australia such a remarkable place is under grave threat from a climate changing due to carbon emissions
While Australia bakes through another hot, angry summer, its precious wildlife is increasingly under threat, not just from the extreme weather of fires and floods but by the growing reality of a changing climate.
It is getting hotter. Day by day, month by month, year by year – 2016 is confirmed as the hottest year on record globally, closely following the leads of 2015 and 2014 – and with summer in full swing in Australia we turn our minds and our national concerns to bushfires, ever more intense, and to extreme weather events, flash flooding, cyclonic winds, unexpected parching and flooding of our wide brown land.Continue reading...