(December 8, 2011)
CGIAR Climate Change: Agriculture and Food Security
In an effort to make climate change adaptation more tangible, this new report encourages the exchange of knowledge between communities around the world regarding current agriculture practices that can help farmers maintain productivity in the future, despite potentially dramatic shifts in growing conditions. “With climate change posing a threat to food production around the world, scientists are developing a form of virtual time travel that can offer farmers in many countries a glimpse of their future by identifying regions where growing conditions today match those that will exist 20 years from now.”
(December 11, 2011)
New York Times
The Durban Climate Talks ended with a promise to work toward a new global treaty in coming years and the establishment of a new climate fund. The future treaty deal renews the Kyoto Protocol while beginning a process for a new treaty that will treat all nations equally. The established Green Climate Fund is a new reserve to help poor countries adapt to climate change and for “measures involving the preservation of tropical forests and the development of clean-energy technology”, though the precise source of the money has not yet been determined.
According to AFP (December 14, 2011), in the end, there was little headway in Durban on deforestation, “opening the way to a future carbon market and stressing the need for rules to guarantee emission curbs and protect indigenous communities and biodiversity.” The future challenges of a new global treaty will pose a plethora of challenges for the EU and Climate Chief Hedegaard, who “has a next-to-impossible task ahead of striving to shame the world’s biggest polluters into real action and tackling the EU’s own environmental shortcomings” (Reuters, December 15, 2011).
(December 12, 2011)
New York Times
In a long-expected decision by Canada’s Conservative party government, the nation announced that it would withdraw from the 1997 treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada had until the end of the year to announced it’s intent to withdraw from the treaty, or face huge penalties for failing to meet the treaty’s emission reduction targets.
(December 13, 2011)
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the seemingly ideal answer of simply vacuuming up greenhouse gases from the air is far-fetched and tremendously expensive. Such processes would cost far more than measures to prevent the air from getting dirty in the first place, and using traditional sources such as coal or natural gas, would produce as much or more emissions from the energy needed to run them than they cleaned up.
(December 13, 2011)
United Nations Environment Programme
A new iPhone application allows users to calculate their personal carbon footprint for journeys taken by air, train, or road, and then shows them the equivalent area of a particular ecosystem (such as a tropical forest) that can store this amount of carbon dioxide. The application also provides in-depth information on critical ecosystems and key climate initiatives. It is available for download at the Apple Store.
(December 16, 2011)
According to researchers at at NASA and the California Institute of Technology, “climate change will alter the mix of vegetation on 49 percent of Earth’s land surface by the end of this century, scrambling and shifting existing ecosystems.” 37% of ecosystem types are projected to change to a different type, with the largest changes in the far Northern hemisphere. The study, published in Climatic Change, is based on computer modeling of middle-of-the-road emission projections developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.