Climate change and Global Warming

Corals added to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 13, 2007

 
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Corals added to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

For the first time in history, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes ocean corals in its annual report of wildlife going extinct.

A comprehensive study of marine life sponsored by Conservation International (CI) and implemented jointly with the IUCN (World Conservation Union) used data from the Galapagos-based Charles Darwin Research Station and other regional institutions to conclude that three species of corals unique to the Galapagos Islands could soon disappear forever.

The Galapagos marine research was conducted by the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA), a joint initiative of IUCN and CI launched in 2005 with the support of dozens of experts and research institutions. The GMSA is studying a large portion of Earths marine species to determine the threat of extinction.  What is significant is that climate change and over-fishing two of the biggest threats to marine life are the likely causes in these cases.

Researchers blame climate change for more frequent and increasingly severe El Nio events that have caused dramatic rises in water temperatures and reduced nutrient availability around the Galapagos Islands in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, off South America. The warmer water harms corals and algae, both of which constitute the structural foundation of unique and diverse marine ecosystems.

Corals build reefs that are habitat for fish and other marine life, and also are a major attraction for divers in the Galapagos, where tourism makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy.

The recovery of algae species following strong El Nio events is harmed by over-fishing of the natural predators of sea urchins, which feed on the algae. Mushrooming urchin populations scour rocks clean of algae, depleting a major food source for other species such as the Galapagos marine iguana.

Marine ecosystems are vulnerable to threats at all scales globally through climate change, regionally from El Nio events, and locally when over-fishing removes key ecosystem building blocks, said Jane Smart, head of the IUCN Species Program. We need more effective solutions to manage marine resources in a more sustainable way in light of these increasing threats.

Source : http://www.conservation.org

Climate change and Global Warming

Weather in Singapore

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 23, 2007

 
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Singapore is getting hotter and wetter. According to the National Environment Agency, average temperatures in the city-state have risen by between 1º and 1.5º Celsius over the past 50 years. The agency, which suggests that global warming may be the culprit, also reported an increase in rainfall, noting that December 2006 was the wettest on record.

The agency is expected to publish a larger study on Singapore’s future weather conditions sometime next year.

Climate change and Global Warming

Aiding Carbon Credit

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 09, 2007

 
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State Bank of India (SBI) plans to create financial instruments to aid carbon credit trading and management and fund and advise clients in the eco-friendly business.

The business opportunity is linked to a growing global market in which industrial polluters in developed countries that cross administered emission limits of greenhouse gases fund clean technology projects in developing countries like India and China under a government-monitored trading regime.

SBI said in a statement that analysts peg the global carbon trading market at $100 billion by 2010 and the Indian carbon market has the potential to supply 30-50 per cent of the projected global market of 700 million CERs by 2012.

Source: Hindustan Times, Aug. 8, 2007

Climate change and Global Warming

International Consumer habits driving global warming

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 08, 2007

 
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Activists have long accused global corporations of being bad environmental citizens. But the problems of climate change and deforestation are part of a larger phenomenon, in which globalization is but one factor among many. As Nayan Chanda, editor of YaleGlobal, discusses in his new book “Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization,” international consumer habits drive environmental devastation more so than globalized corporations. As a result, activists’ efforts could be more productively directed at building an international consensus on pollution reduction, environmental regulation and sustainable development.

Powerful new advances in communications technology relay the realities of environmental degradation and natural disasters to the world’s public more quickly than ever before. Activists are the new preachers in a modern world – and the immediacy of technology gives them unprecedented opportunities to convey their message of morality to a global audience. Building powerful movements with online blogs and instant-chat programs, environmentalists must admit that globalization might not be so bad. – YaleGlobal

Nayan Chanda
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=9366

Climate change and Global Warming

Global Warming and Biodiversity

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 06, 2007

 
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As global warming continues, natural habitats will change. In theory, animals would move as their habitats became too warm, but due to the pace of global warming, experts worry that some animals won’t have time to adjust and could go extinct.

Conservationists therefore propose building biological corridors, natural spaces connecting habitats, that would allow wildlife to relocate. But people and development block some of the most logical routes. Most wildlife-assistance organizations don’t have the money to buy land, and displaced people would add to environmental destruction.

In Costa Rica, wildlife organizations encourage local residents living along the national park La Amistad to grow organic coffee. The arrangement is environmentally friendly and attracts tourists, bolstering local income. Such local and private efforts are small in scale – and slowing the pace of global warming, protecting biodiversity and a way of life for many communities in any lasting way, requires government action and international cooperation.

Source:  http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=9400

 

Climate change and Global Warming

Urban contribution to offset global warming

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 17, 2007

 
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A modest increase in the number of urban parks and street trees in our major cities could offset decades of predicted temperature rise, a new study by researchers from the University of Manchester has revealed.

According to the team, a mere 10 per cent increase in the amount of green space in built-up centres would reduce urban surface temperatures by as much as four degrees Centigrade.

This 4°C drop in temperature is equivalent to the average predicted rise through global warming by the 2080s, and is caused by the cooling effect of water as it evaporates into the air from leaves and vegetation through a process called transpiration, said Dr Roland Ennos, the lead researcher in the team.

"Green space collects and retains water much better than the built environment. As this water evaporates from the leaves of plants and trees it cools the surrounding air in a similar way to the cooling effect of perspiration as it evaporates from our skin. Urban areas can be up to 12°C warmer than more rural surroundings due to the heat given off by buildings, roads and traffic, as well as reduced evaporative cooling, in what is commonly referred to as an ‘urban heat island’," said Dr Ennos.

For their study, the team took Greater Manchester as their model, and used Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping to build up a picture of the conurbation’s land use.

The team then worked out the impact of an increase in the amount of green space on the urban climate as well as on water retention.

The research also examined the effect an increased green space has on the amount of rainwater urban areas capture and retain; towns and cities lose a large proportion of rainwater through what is termed ‘run-off’ where precipitation quickly leaves the surface and drains away into streams and rivers, eventually returning to the sea.

"We discovered that a modest increase of 10% green space reduced surface temperatures in the urban environment by 4°C, which would overcome temperature rises caused by global warming over the next 75 years, effectively ‘climate proofing’ our cities,” said Dr Ennos.

Source:

Dr Roland Ennos ,Prof. John Handley and Dr Susannah Gill

Built Environment

Climate change and Global Warming

New assaults on nature to combat global warming

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 17, 2007

 
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Capitalism, faced by natural obstacles, sees no alternative to a new assault on nature, employing new, high-tech armaments.


  The ecological irrationality of this response is evident in the tendency to
dissociate global warming from the global environmental crisis as a whole, which includes such problems as species extinction, destruction of the oceans, tropical deforestation, desertification, toxic wastes, etc.


It is then possible, from this narrow perspective, to promote biofuels as a
partial solution to global warming — without acknowledging that this will
accelerate world hunger. Or it is thought pragmatic to dump iron filings in the
ocean (the so-called Geritol solution to global warming) in order to grow
phytoplankton and increase the carbon absorbing capacity of the ocean — without connecting this at all to the current oceanic catastrophe. The fact that the biosphere is one interconnected whole is downplayed in favor of mere economic expediency.


 What all of this suggests is that a real solution to the planetary
environmental crisis cannot be accomplished simply through new technologies or through turning nature into a market. It is necessary to go to the root of the problem by addressing the social relations of production.

We must recognize that today’s ecological problems are related to a system of global inequality that demands ecological destruction as a necessary condition of its existence. New social and democratic solutions need to be developed and rooted in human community and sustainability, embodying principles of conservation that are essential to life. But this means stepping outside the capitalist box and making peace with the planet — and with other human beings.
   
-John Bellamy Foster

Professor of sociology at the University of Oregon in
Eugene, and editor of Monthly Review.   

Climate change and Global Warming

Where does money get spent?

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 09, 2007

 
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If future generations could vote on how foundations invest their money today, would they choose the current allocation?

Only 5 percent of U.S. foundation spending goes to the environment, and a paltry 2.9 percent goes to science and technology. Of the top 50 foundation grantees in 2004, only three were environmental organizations.

Even those foundations that do work on ecosystems spend much of their resources on small-scale land conservation. Government priorities are also skewed to the here and now. As the Oct. 30, 2006, New York Times reports, U.S. federal spending on energy research has fallen to $3 billion – less than half of its level in 1980 – while spending on medical research has quadrupled to $28 billion over the same period.

Human-caused climate change, sharply declining conventional energy sources, and population growth are threatening the very platform of human life. Yet fully two-thirds of U.S. foundation spending goes to current human health and well-being, and seven of the 10 largest U.S. foundations concentrate on human health or the arts, according to the Foundation Center’s latest statistics (from 2004). The world’s second largest foundation (Stichting Ingka, the IKEA fortune) focuses on interior design.

 A management problem that keeps foundations preoccupied with the present is their lack of coordination with other organizations. With family control of many foundation boards and disparate and idiosyncratic board agendas, coordination for achieving bigger aims is structurally difficult.

Source:http://www.ssireview.org

Climate change and Global Warming

Taking a cue from global companies

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 03, 2007

 
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Taking a cue from global companies, our own CII ( Confederation of Indian Industries) is writing to 100 large companies in India to measure, manage and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Around the world, The Carbon Disclosure Project secretariat has requested disclosure on risks and opportunities presented by climate change from 500 largest companies.  

This disclosure is made part of investor relevant information for investors.

 

Climate change and Global Warming

Delhi

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 19, 2007

 
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The CO2 levels are going up by 2ppm per year, with Delhi adding 963 new cars daily to the city’s fleet. To ensure that the temperature does not go up by more than two degrees by the turn of the century, we have to ensure that CO2 levels stay below 450 ppm. Vehicular traffic is the single largest contributor of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Even the trees lining the road cannot help unless we reduce the number of vehicles.

Source: Times of India, May4, 2007

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