The Climate Project - Global News from The Climate Project enThu, 21 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400Schoolteacher Rekha Goes Beyond the Classroom when Teaching Sustainability<p><img style="float: right; margin: 5px;" src="/media/2011_07_16_16_51_53/content_images/rekha4.jpg" alt="" width="300" />Rekha Lalla, a trained Climate Presenter and District Manager for the Delhi, India region, has realized the power that tomorrow holds. And she uses that power today. Rekha teaches primary school children and works with them to improve the environment and community surrounding their school. As she puts it, what keeps her ticking is the enthusiasm of her students.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Talking about the urgent need for society to act, she says: &ldquo;This is our world and it is being very poorly managed. In order to promote environmentally sustainable development, I feel, the time has come when each of us begins to do their bit for protecting the environment. We have to change our lifestyle and attitude towards our way of living.&rdquo; &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> This talk comes after she&rsquo;s walked the walk. Amongst her various projects, the one that stands out is an effort her school undertook known as Parivartan. Under this project, they organized a mass awareness drive against use of plastic/polythene in the areas adjoining the school. &nbsp;A vast number of locals were involved. Kiosks were setup where cloth bags made by local tailors were distributed. They also collaborated with local municipal bodies so that the program could be replicated elsewhere. The program was a huge success as vendors began to keep paper bags By popular demand, the campaign was repeated after a month.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <img style="float: right; margin: 5px;" src="../../media/2011-07-16-16-51-53/content_images/rekha2.jpg" alt="" width="300" />Rekha has also worked in collaboration with Tetra Pak and The Energy and Resources Institute. As a part of the initiative, she collected tetra packs and other recyclable items like plastic bottles, aluminum foil, cans, paper, etc., convert them into useful products like notebooks, chairs and desks. She feels so strongly about waste management that she composts the biodegradable waste and also got the school its own paper recycling machine. It&rsquo;s now a full-fledged program at the school and a part of the children&rsquo;s curriculum. Tree planting is another initiative that has become a regular feature, thanks to her.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> As a result of all these initiatives and her endeavors, her school has been winning Centre for Science and Environment&rsquo;s national &ldquo;Green Schools&rdquo; awards for the past four years. She wants her students to continuously &ldquo;learn about environment and learn from the environment&rdquo; so that they could replicate what they have learned at a much larger scale. <!--EndFragment--></p>Thu, 21 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Profile: Carolyn Treadway<p><img style="float: right; margin: 5px;" src="/media/2011_07_16_16_51_53/content_images/treadway.jpg" alt="" width="350" /><strong>For over 52 years, Carolyn Treadway has been helping facilitate growth in people's lives through her work as a therapist, pastoral counselor and life coach. Inspired by her grandchildren and determined to leave them with a healthy environment, Carolyn continues to improve the lives of the people and world around her.</strong></p> <h3>1. Why did you decide to become a Climate Presenter?</h3> <p>A few years before <em>An Inconvenient Truth</em> was released, I had a powerful &ldquo;vision quest&rdquo; day. &nbsp;During it, I realized that what I was to do with my remaining years was to speak for planet Earth. I didn&rsquo;t know how or where, but I had a clear sense that this was my calling. I had done a lot of activism against nuclear power, and I wanted something more positive. Then I saw <em>An Inconvenient Truth</em>! I noticed in the movie&rsquo;s credits that The Climate Project would be holding trainings. Immediately, I really wanted to take this training. &nbsp;Before<em> An Inconvenient Truth</em> was available for private purchase, Interfaith Power and Light, a national religious environmental organization, made DVDs of the movie available for presentations in churches. As a presenter for Interfaith Power and Light, I showed An Inconvenient Truth to church groups and then facilitated discussions, so the TCP training was an extension that experience for me.</p> <h3>2. What has been your most memorable experience with TCP?</h3> <p>One of my earliest presentations was to a college science class. After my presentation, a young man came up to me and said, &ldquo;I want to do exactly what you are doing; tell me how I can do it.&rdquo; I had an extraordinary opportunity to encourage him to develop his passion and scientific knowledge and go into the world sharing his concerns. Also memorable was being mentor for a group at the Faith Based Training in Nashville in 2008, and for six months afterwards. Speaking with my U.S. Representative, Debbie Halverson, on a panel about green energy was really rewarding as well.</p> <h3>3. Who are you outside of TCP?</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. My grandchildren are very important to me; they are our future. Professionally, I am a personal life coach, therapist, and pastoral counselor. I have two private practices: a therapy practice in-person and a life coaching practice by phone. I&rsquo;m also a photographer, and I enjoy writing as well. I have written two books, <em>Held in Love: Life Stories to Inspire Us Through Times of Change</em> (co-edited with Molly Young Brown) and <em>Images: Sights and Insights</em> (with Mary Himens), which feature my photography. I&rsquo;m an environmental activist, particularly on nuclear power and climate issues. I&rsquo;m also a Quaker, and Quaker values have undergirded my view of the world, all my beliefs, and all my actions.</p> <h3>4. What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of?</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m proud that my husband and I have raised three children who care deeply about the world and who each make contributions to it in their own ways. I&rsquo;m also proud of being a therapist/pastoral counselor/life coach for hundreds of people over my 52 years of practice (so far). I&rsquo;ve been privileged that my lifework has been to facilitate growth in people&rsquo;s lives. It&rsquo;s been my way of making the world a better place, one person at a time. I&rsquo;m also proud to have co-edited <em>Held in Love</em>. Our book is a collection of stories, poems, and artwork from 72 contributors sharing how they overcame great challenges through the power of love.</p> <h3>5. Who or what inspires you?</h3> <p>My grandchildren. I want to preserve this world and its vast interconnected web of life for them. I want to be able to give them the kind of life that I had as a youth. I grew up playing in the woods and had an island in a creek that was my own kingdom. My grandchildren live a big city and rarely get into wild nature.</p> <h3>6. Are you currently working on a project or activity that you&rsquo;d like to mention?</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve spoken out against nuclear power in the past, and since the disasters in Japan, I feel the dangers of nuclear power even more strongly. I&rsquo;ve been vilified many times for speaking out about my concerns, but the very dangers I have spoken about as possibilities have now unfolded before the eyes of the world. Currently in the USA we have twenty-three nuclear reactors that are the same design and age as the ones that failed in Fukushima. They are accidents waiting to happen. I hope that by learning what truly is happening, people can realize that nuclear plants are potentially and actively lethal. <br /> <br /> I have formed a small Transition Town group here to explore ideas about creating a resilient local community. We tap into our collective creativity to do things locally, such as growing some of our food and protecting the environment in our area. Rob Hopkins in the UK came up with the idea of Transition Towns in his book <em>The Transition Handbook</em>. Now there are a number of Transition communities across the world.<span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><em> </em></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <!--EndFragment-->Wed, 20 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 "Rapid Growth" in Arctic Shipping Mean Rapid Warming?<p>Egypt&rsquo;s Suez Canal was once the only available shortcut for ships sailing between Europe and Asia. Now, as the Arctic warms, <a href="" target="_blank">sea ice melts</a> and circumpolar sea routes open up, the Suez has a new rival. A <a href="" target="_blank">new study</a>&nbsp;shows that in some cases, shipping via the northern route through the Arctic Ocean basin will be more cost-effective. As a result, transit shipping in the Arctic is likely to experience &ldquo;rapid growth&rdquo; in the coming decades.</p> <p>So what&rsquo;s the problem? Ships spew black carbon (or soot), which we know significantly contributes to <a href="" target="_blank">Arctic warming</a>. Black carbon settles onto the ice, then, like a dark shirt on a hot day, it absorbs the sun&rsquo;s rays and <a href="" target="_blank">melts the ice</a>. With less ice serving as the Arctic&rsquo;s reflective sun shield, the region warms more rapidly. It&rsquo;s a troubling feedback loop: more ships, less ice, warmer temperatures, even less ice, even more ships.</p> <p>Through the <a href=";;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Climate+Change+Daily+Feed+-+16+May+2011+-+Climate+Change+Policy+%26+Practice" target="_blank">Nuuk Declaration</a> made earlier this spring, all eight Arctic States officially recognized the threats associated with increased shipping activity. They plan to execute black-carbon-reducing <a href="" target="_blank">demonstration projects</a> and call on the International Maritime Organization to develop mandatory polar ship codes. Without strong support for innovative initiatives like these, transporting goods through the Arctic could make it harder to solve the climate crisis.</p>Wed, 20 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Profile: Kamal Meattle<p>A serial entrepreneur, avid activist, trained Presenter and more, India native Kamal Meattle has donned many hats. But what runs as a common thread across his various roles is his passion for the environment. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> It all started 19 years ago when his doctor told him that he had become allergic to Delhi&rsquo;s air. His lung capacity had gone down to 70%, which was killing him. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> As a consequence, he decided to create his own &ldquo;healthy haven&rdquo; and make a business out of it. So he established Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Incubator Park, which helps office environments &ldquo;mimic nature&rdquo; with the help of three commonly available houseplants. The company&rsquo;s 25-year-old building has been renovated with various innovative water, energy and waste management technologies. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> Kamal&rsquo;s activism is not just confined to his business. He formed an NGO, Nehru Place Greens, which provided shelter for 118 homeless families and converted a desolate plot of land into a green space with more than 2000 newly planted trees. Meanwhile, he campaigned to save trees from being cut down to make wooden apple boxes in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Kamal has received wide recognition for his work, and has presented at the TED Conference in the United States on &ldquo;<a href="">How to Grow Your Own Fresh Air</a>."&nbsp;</p>Thu, 14 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Climate Reality<p>Last week, Vice President Gore shared this message with Climate Presenters around the globe:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The climate crisis is a reality, and we are seeing its impacts in extreme weather all around the world. Yet much as tobacco companies once misled the public about the dangers of smoking, oil and coal companies and their allies are now deceiving the public about climate change. They have nearly unlimited resources to sow doubt, but we have one critical advantage: Reality is on our side.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Here at The Climate Project, we know the value of having reality on our side. So, we&rsquo;re going to leverage that strength by bringing it into our name. From today forward, we will be called The Climate Reality Project. <br /> <br /> Our Climate Presenters will still be out there working every day to share Vice President Gore&rsquo;s slide show with their communities and beyond. In fact, they will be the engine behind this new effort, and their work will be even more important. And this September, 23 of the Climate Presenters are going to have an opportunity to reach more people than ever before.<br /> <br /> On September 14, The Climate Reality Project is launching a 24-hour event with one clear goal: to bring the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream by engaging everyone in a conversation about how to solve it. Our Climate Presenters will be center stage &mdash; giving a new slide show from Vice President Gore in each of 24 locations around the world.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Vice President Gore helped create this video to explain where we are going. You can watch it here:<br /> &nbsp;<br /><a href=""><img style="vertical-align: baseline;" src="/media/2011_07_12_09_19_35/content_images/screenshot_of_video.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="281" /></a><br /> <br /> When you hear from us moving forward, it will be as The Climate Reality Project. Take a moment and &ldquo;like&rdquo; us on Facebook here [link to TCRP Facebook Page]. Already follow us on Twitter? Great, you still do. But we changed our Twitter handle to @climatereality. Follow us now if you don&rsquo;t already. <br /> <br /> Thank you for your continued support.</p>Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 African Droughts Linked to Air Pollution<p>Disastrous droughts are making headlines again this week. <a href="">In Texas</a>, peanut crops are stunted and 4th of July firework celebrations were cancelled. <a href="">In East Africa</a>, famine looms due to the extremely dry conditions. In the shadow of these concerning reports comes new research that sheds light on some of the most severe droughts of last century: those that plagued the Sahel &mdash; a belt of grassland and savanna that cuts across the African continent just south of the Sahara desert.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The scientific community has long debated the causes of the deadly string of Sahelian droughts that occurred between 1940 and 1980. Using global climate models, the authors of <a href="">this recent study</a> find that sulfate aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels are likely to explain most of the dry weather that caused the drought. &nbsp;&ldquo;It is very unlikely that the observed drought was entirely due to natural climate variability,&rdquo; the study concludes.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Sulfate aerosols, unlike greenhouse gases, have a cooling effect on the climate. They scatter (rather than absorb) incoming solar radiation and make clouds more reflective. These pollutants, emitted at high levels in the industrialized north during the second half of the 20th century, caused a cooling in the northern hemisphere relative to the southern hemisphere. Ultimately, this imbalance shifted the band of clouds that influences the wet season <a href="">in the tropics</a>&nbsp;southward, dramatically decreasing the amount of rainfall that reached the Sahel. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> Although focused on the Sahel, this study has broader implications. Geoengineering proponents have suggested injecting<a href=""> sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere</a>&nbsp;to manipulate climate and counteract the effects of global warming. Because we now know that sulfate aerosols can have dramatic effects on regional precipitation patterns, strategies like these may be unnecessarily risky &mdash; especially when they won&rsquo;t address carbon pollution, the root cause of climate change.</p>Tue, 12 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Ice Sheets: Why Coastal Communities Need to Prepare<p>Massive ice sheets, remnants of the most recent ice age, are found only in Greenland and Antarctica. With the ice sheets so far away, should the rest of us be concerned? Absolutely. As the world warms, many scientists are nervously watching those ice sheets shrink &mdash; and trying to figure out how much global sea levels could rise as a consequence.</p> <p>A recent study in <em><a href="" target="_blank">Nature Geoscience</a></em> suggests that ocean warming will play a significant role in ice loss, &ldquo;heighten[ing] the risk of future large sea-level rise.&rdquo;</p> <p>The rate of ice loss in Greenland and some parts of Antarctica has increased over the last decade or two. Increasing air temperatures are partially to blame. But as Jianjun Yin and his colleagues report in the new study, the bigger culprit is increasing ocean temperatures &mdash; specifically 200-500 meters under the surface.</p> <p>The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are constantly flowing toward the sea under their own weight, a bit like lopsided scoops of ice cream oozing over the sides of their sugar cones. Normally, the flow of ice is moderated when individual glaciers or <a href="" target="_blank">ice streams</a> within an ice sheet get jammed against the bottom of the ocean or a <a href="" target="_blank">floating ice shelf</a>. But now, subsurface ocean water is acting like a &ldquo;warm bath,&rdquo; speeding ice melt and the flow of the ice sheet. And there&rsquo;s more to come. The team found that a middle-of-the-road increase in carbon pollution could warm the subsurface waters around Greenland up to 2*C by the end of the century (nearly two times faster than the global average), and warm Antarctic waters by about 0.6*C over the same period.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t breathe a sigh of relief just yet over the slower rate of warming in Antarctica. When you&rsquo;re talking about an ice sheet containing <a href="" target="_blank">30 million cubic kilometers</a> of ice, any shrinkage is worrisome. Take for example, the 40-km long Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, an extension of the <a href="" target="_blank">West Antarctic ice sheet</a>. Another recent study in <em><a href="" target="_blank">Nature Geoscience</a></em> reports that the amount of meltwater from the ice shelf has increased about 50% since 1994, due to a combination of warming and changes in ocean currents. An underwater cavity appears to be opening up under the shelf, allowing a larger volume of warm water to eat away at the bottom of the ice.</p> <p>Together, these studies are a powerful reminder that we need to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the effects of climate change that are happening now. That&rsquo;s a message that leaders from coastal regions around the world already get. <a href="" target="_blank">In California</a>, for example, developers are being told to factor sea level rise into their building projects. And in Australia, the government is working to better communicate the risks of sea level rise to cities and rural areas through a website called <a href="" target="_blank">OzCoasts</a>.</p> <p>Do you live on the coast? Leave a comment about what your community is doing &mdash; or should be doing &mdash; to prepare for sea level rise.</p>Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 World Climate Report<h3>Negotiations<span style="color: #222222; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></h3> <p><strong>South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said &ldquo;dream of a camel, get a goat, be happy with it&rdquo; in reference to climate change negotiations that took place last week in Berlin. </strong>In this case, the camel is a globally binding treaty to reduce carbon pollution, and the goat we should be happy with is an international agreement not ratified by the major emitters. <em><a href="">IPS News</a></em><br /> <br /> <strong>The UN Security Council will debate climate change for the second time in four years later this month. </strong>The German-led effort is supported by an alliance of small island states that wish to discuss the security implications of climate change. <em><a href="">Scientific American</a></em><br /> <br /><span style="color: #111111; font-size: 18px;">Adaptation</span></p> <p><strong>Early last week, Mexico received $7 million (USD) from Germany to fight the effects of climate change. </strong>The money is used, through the bilateral Mexican-German Climate Change Alliance, to reduce pollution and improve energy efficiency in Mexico. <em><a href="">Xinhua</a></em><br /> <br /><strong>Extreme droughts are forcing rural Kenyans to abandon their ancient herding traditions. </strong>Farmers are increasingly switching to crop cultivation to ease their reliance on livestock as droughts devastate their traditional grazing lands. <em><a href="">AlertNet</a></em></p> <h3>Mitigation</h3> <p><strong>Australia is set to unveil a nationwide price on carbon. The plan will start taxing Australia&rsquo;s 500 largest polluters next year, before switching to a more market-based policy in 2015.</strong> The government says this plan will cut 159 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2020, the equivalent of removing 45 million cars from the road. <em><a href="">The Guardian</a></em><br /> <br /><strong>Pakistan is adopting an aggressive clean energy policy to address the country&rsquo;s frequent power outages and help combat climate change. </strong>Pakistan wants to get 5% of its power from clean sources by 2030; currently, less than 0.1% comes from clean energy. <em><a href="">AlertNet</a></em><br /> <br /><span style="color: #111111; font-size: 18px;">Finance</span></p> <p><strong>A new report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimates that almost &pound;50 trillion must be spent on clean energy and energy efficient technology over the coming decades if the world is to avoid a catastrophic disaster. </strong><em><a href="">Telegraph</a></em></p> <p><span style="color: #111111; font-size: 18px;">Technology</span></p> <p><strong>China&rsquo;s most recent 5-year plan outlines its bold strategy to become the world&rsquo;s leader in the number of green buildings and efficient building technology. </strong>Roughly every other building constructed worldwide is in China, and as their energy demand rises, additional emphasis is being placed on energy efficiency and clean energy. <em><a href=",0">Foreign Policy</a></em></p>Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 World Climate Report<h3>Negotiations</h3> <p><strong>UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on countries to take action on climate change outside of international negotiations.</strong> Multiple, independent policies are likely to generate momentum for a comprehensive global climate treaty. <em><a href=";Cr=climate+change&amp;Cr1=">UN News</a></em></p> <h3>Adaptation</h3> <p><strong>Kenya&rsquo;s citizens are offering their suggestions for the country&rsquo;s new climate change adaptation and mitigation law.</strong> Kenyans are expressing concerns over deforestation and unsustainable land use, and many would like to see those topics explicitly addressed in the new legislation. <em><a href="">AlertNet </a></em><br /> <br /> <strong>Australia is closing in on a carbon price. </strong>If lawmakers approve the deal later this year, it will be the second national carbon reduction system outside of Europe. <em><a href="">Reuters</a></em></p> <h3>Mitigation<span style="color: #222222; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></h3> <p><strong>Europe&rsquo;s carbon pollution from tailpipe exhaust fell for the second straight year.</strong> New data show that emissions fell 3.7% in 2010, after falling 5.1% in 2009, putting Europe on track to hit its reduction goal by 2015. <em><a href="">Reuters</a></em><br /> <br /> <strong>As of January 2012, the European Union will require all airlines that fly in and out of the EU to meet a cap on carbon pollution, and is now considering the same rule for the shipping industry. </strong>The European Commission will look at several options to curb the industry&rsquo;s carbon pollution. Shippers tend to favor a tax over a cap-and-trade system. <em><a href="">Wall Street Journal</a></em></p> <h3>Finance</h3> <p><strong>Long-term financing for developing countries to adapt to and fight climate change will be a centerpiece of the COP 17 conference in Durban this December.</strong> <em><a href="">Economic Times&nbsp;</a></em></p> <h3>Technology</h3> <p><strong>The smell of cooking oil is not usually something one associates with airports, but a new KLM plan to power airplanes with recycled cooking oil could change that.</strong> In an effort to cut carbon pollution, KLM uses a mix of recycled cooking oil and jet fuel to power more than 200 flights between Amsterdam and Paris. <em><a href="">Huffington Post</a></em><br /><br /></p>Wed, 06 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Down Under<p>For Maribel Garcia and her new husband Gerardo, The Climate Project has been an integral part of their union. Maribel is the manager for The Climate Project Mexico. She took over from Gerardo, who is still an active Presenter and works as a director at Guascor, a Spanish renewable energy company.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Maribel has been in The Climate Project Australia office on a fact-finding and skill-sharing trip, made possible by the generous support of AusAID&rsquo;s Australian Leadership Awards Fellowships Program. She came to Melbourne straight from her honeymoon, and has begun her married life away from her husband who is at their new home in Mexico City.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;Gerardo knew about the fellowship and encouraged me to say yes to it before he popped the question, so I would not suspect anything!&rdquo; Maribel says.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Her fellowship will see her spend 52 days in Australia. She is based in Melbourne and is traveling to Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;This is the first time I have ever lived on my own,&rdquo; Maribel explains. &ldquo;Before we got married I lived with my Mum.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> When she returns to Mexico City, she will go straight back to work with Gerardo on preparing for Vice President Gore&rsquo;s visit.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t get away from TCP!&rdquo; she adds.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The Climate Project Mexico was established in September 2009 and it now supports 267 trained Presenters.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;My dream goal would be to facilitate 267,000 presentations a year,&rdquo; Maribel explains. &ldquo;But in my hometown, we have a population of 26 million people. Some days the air quality is so bad we are not allowed outside. Climate change is not on the radar for ordinary people. We have other issues like poverty and infant mortality.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> &ldquo;Even with the Deepwater oil rig disaster, the focus in the media was on what a great job the Mexican government was doing in containing the disaster. So at TCP Mexico we are concentrating on education, taking baby steps.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> And so with a renewed spirit of connectedness, Maribel will soon return to her hardworking staff safely back in Mexico City, helping solve the climate crisis one small step at a time.</p>Fri, 01 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Report: Yes, the World is Still Warming<p>This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) released its <a href="">21st annual State of the Climate report</a>, a peer-reviewed look at global and regional climate patterns in 2010. The report confirmed what scientific evidence has shown for some time: The world is getting warmer because humans are pumping more and more carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And along with the increase in temperatures, the seas are rising, ice sheets are melting and frozen ground is thawing.</p> <p>You would be forgiven for thinking that this sounds an awful lot like last year&rsquo;s <a href="">State of the Climate</a>. But despite coming to the same general conclusion, this year&rsquo;s report illustrates the wackiness of 2010. In addition to being one of the two warmest years on record, 2010 saw one extreme weather event after another. Record snowfall in parts of Europe and the U.S. Devastating floods in Australia and Pakistan. Severe droughts in the Amazon and Russia. As meteorologist Jeff Masters recently noted <a href="">on his blog</a>, 2010 may have seen &ldquo;Earth&rsquo;s most extreme weather since 1816.&rdquo; He also raised this question: &ldquo;Has human-caused climate change destabilized the climate, bringing these extreme, unprecedented weather events?&rdquo;</p> <p>According to NOAA, three patterns of natural climate variability were major contributors to the extreme weather in 2010: a major <a href="">El Ni&ntilde;o</a>&nbsp;event, one of the strongest <a href="">La Ni&ntilde;a</a>&nbsp;events on record, and the most negative <a href="">Arctic Oscillation Index</a>&nbsp;since records began in 1950. The NOAA report doesn&rsquo;t directly answer Masters&rsquo; question, or address whether El Ni&ntilde;o, La Ni&ntilde;a and the Arctic Oscillation have themselves been affected by climate change. But as Deke Arndt, one of the lead editors of the State of the Climate report said this week, extreme weather is both a product of short, natural patterns of variability and long-term change.</p> <p>With that in mind, it&rsquo;s hard to imagine that the extreme weather of 2010 has nothing to do with the relentless upward trend of global temperatures over the last century.</p>Thu, 30 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0400"Dead Zones" in Pacific Ocean May Expand in Warming Climate<p>Climate change will certainly transform life on land, and scientists are now discovering more about how a changing climate will transform life in the oceans. Using a computer model of historical ocean circulation and oxygen changes, scientists from the University of California, Colorado State University, and the University of Washington found dead zones &mdash; areas of extremely low oxygen &mdash; will likely expand in the Pacific Ocean because of <a href="">climate change</a>.</p> <p>Dead zones, which currently take up about 5% of the ocean&rsquo;s volume, are created when oxygen-consuming bacteria decompose algae and <a href="">other organic matter</a>.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Dead zones can reshape entire marine ecosystems, forcing some species out of the area and killing other species that can&rsquo;t escape the low-oxygen conditions. In addition to being low in life-sustaining oxygen, dead zones are also low in nitrogen, a critical nutrient for marine plants. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> Using historical ocean circulation records, the scientists found that dead zones in the Pacific have always fluctuated with natural climate variation but are now being influenced by climate change. As water temperatures climb, less oxygen is dissolved in surface waters and circulated to deeper waters. This can allow dead zones to expand throughout the lower levels of the ocean.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> The somewhat good news is that the expansion of dead zones may take a while. As Curtis Deutsch, the <a href="">lead author of the study</a>, said, "Global warming will almost certainly influence the amount of oxygen in the ocean, but we expect it to be a slow effect that takes place over long periods of time." Although we may not see the expansion of dead zones in the immediate future, this is just one example of numerous ways climate change is affecting the Earth&rsquo;s oceans.</p> <!--EndFragment-->Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0400 World Climate Report<h3>Negotiations</h3> <p><strong>Last week, the top British environmental minister accused Poland of blocking the European Union&rsquo;s move to a tougher carbon reduction goal. </strong>Poland voted against the European Commission&rsquo;s proposal to increase the level of cuts from 20% to 30%; the proposed switch was supported by Europe&rsquo;s largest economies, including the United Kingdom. <em><a href="">BBC</a></em></p> <h3>Adaptation</h3> <p><strong>As climate change accelerates desertification in sub-Saharan Africa, the countries in the Sahel region are helping build a &ldquo;green wall&rdquo; of trees. </strong>The trees help replenish soil that has been degraded by years of drought, while providing locals with sustainable jobs and food sources. <em><a href="">Alertnet&nbsp;</a></em><br /> <br /><strong>A recent survey found that 86% of businesses worldwide see responding to climate risks or investing in climate adaptation projects as business opportunities. </strong><em><a href="">UN Global Compact&nbsp;</a></em></p> <h3>Mitigation</h3> <p><strong>India is transforming rural life and fighting climate change by teaching thousands of women how to install and operate solar energy systems in their villages. </strong>India plans to aggressively ramp up its solar energy outlay in an effort to stop the use of dirty kerosene lamps and stoves. <em><a href="">Alertnet&nbsp;</a></em><br /> <br /><strong>A new report from UNESCO-Germany highlights the role UNESCO-protected biospheres can play in climate change policy.</strong> The report argues that these biospheres can act as trial balloons for various mitigation policies. <em><a href="">UNESCO&nbsp;</a></em></p> <p><strong>U.S. mayors recently released survey results that reinforce their support for clean energy technology and carbon pollution reductions. </strong>The UN Secretary-General said cities are &ldquo;key&rdquo; as they account for roughly two-thirds of the world&rsquo;s carbon pollution. <em><a href=";Cr=climate+change&amp;Cr1=">UN News</a></em></p> <h3>Finance</h3> <p><strong>General Electric, along with its venture capital partners, plans to invest $63 million in 10 clean energy companies. </strong>This is GE&rsquo;s second round of investments in sustainable companies and focuses on energy-efficient products for homeowners. <em><a href="">Environmental Finance</a></em></p> <h3>Technology</h3> <p><strong>Egypt has been making significant strides on solar energy over the last few years. </strong>The country is increasing efforts to roll out several utility-scale solar projects, while the international community is helping Egyptians install PV cells and solar-powered water systems in poor neighborhoods. <em><a href="">Al-Jazeera</a></em><br /> <br /><span style="color: #111111; font-size: 18px;">Other</span></p> <p><strong>Ban Ki-Moon was elected to a second term as UN Secretary-General last week.</strong> Secretary-General Moon is widely recognized for his personal devotion to working toward solutions to the climate crisis. <em><a href="">Yonhap</a></em></p>Tue, 28 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Warns of "Permanent, Unprecedented Heat"<p>Temperatures were miserably high across much of the central and eastern U.S. in early June. The <a href="">record-breaking heat</a>&nbsp;is suspected in the deaths of <a href="">people in four states</a>&nbsp;and prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue heat stress<a href=""> warnings for livestock</a>. Get used to it, say Noah Diffenbaugh and Martin Scherer, a pair of American scientists. According to their new study published in the journal <em><a href="">Climatic Change</a></em>, much of the world could permanently shift to hotter weather by the middle of the century if the amount of warming pollution in the atmosphere continues to increase.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Diffenbaugh and Scherer investigated the emergence of a &ldquo;new normal&rdquo; of heat &mdash; when we might expect the lowest summer temperatures of this century to regularly exceed the highest summer temperatures of the last century. The scientists found that &ldquo;a new, permanent heat regime&rdquo; is likely to take hold across much of the world in the next 40 years. The tropics &mdash; particularly tropical Africa &mdash; will get hit first, with parts of the southern U.S., northern Africa and southern Europe and Asia following closely behind.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Readers familiar with maps like <a href=";month_last=05&amp;sat=4&amp;sst=1&amp;type=trends&amp;mean_gen=1212&amp;year1=1900&amp;year2=2010&amp;base1=1951&amp;base2=1980&amp;radius=1200&amp;pol=reg" target="_blank">this</a>&nbsp;or <a href="" target="_blank">this</a>&nbsp;may be surprised by the findings of this study. If the poles and temperate zone are warming faster than the tropics, why wouldn&rsquo;t they experience a &ldquo;new normal&rdquo; first? The key, Diffenbaugh told me, is the amount of variability. The tropics have a narrower baseline temperature (i.e., there is less difference between the lowest and highest temperature). This means it takes a smaller absolute shift in temperature to bump that region of the world into a different heat class. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;<br /> Extreme heat is a threat to <a href="">human health</a>, <a href="">agriculture</a> and infrastructure like <a href="">roads and railways</a>. As the study authors write, &ldquo;imminent, permanent emergence of unprecedented heat &hellip; is likely to result in substantial human impact[s]&rdquo; &nbsp;&mdash; in developing tropical nations first, but eventually in more northerly developed nations as well.</p> <!--EndFragment-->Fri, 24 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0400 Lead Charge on Clean Energy<p><img style="float: right; margin: 5px;" src="/media/2011_06_23_16_04_15/content_images/Tabitha_Kaylee_Hawk_2.jpg" alt="" width="225" />In late May, we gave you an <a href="../../news/article/446">example</a>&nbsp;of how cities and towns are not waiting for their national governments to lead on climate change &mdash; they are taking matters into their own hands. There is momentum around the globe for cities to choose the clean energy of the future over the dirty energy of the past. Now, a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors reveals American mayors&rsquo; strong support for switching to clean energy technologies and preparing for the dangerous impacts of climate change.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> In the report, a majority (75%) of the mayors surveyed believe their use of clean energy will increase, and more than a quarter (27%) say this increase will be &ldquo;significant.&rdquo; Roughly three in four (76%) mayors believe LED light bulbs and other efficient lighting technology have the most potential to cut carbon pollution and reduce energy consumption. This is not a misplaced faith in LED technology; 85% of cities have implemented energy-efficient lighting <a href="">programs</a>&nbsp; and are enjoying the benefits of energy savings.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> New lighting technology is not the only strategy cities are employing. From the cafes of Paris to Hong Kong&rsquo;s gleaming towers, cities are using efficient building technologies and clean energy sources to reduce energy use and cut carbon pollution. For example, the city of Seoul is following a <a href="">master plan</a>&nbsp; aims to cut carbon pollution by 40% while creating 1 million jobs by 2030, by using sustainable technologies to transform transportation, buildings, and urban planning. Stateside, Los Angeles wants to trim its carbon <a href="">pollution by 30%</a>&nbsp;by boosting solar and wind energy deployment and converting the city&rsquo;s vehicles to cleaner, more efficient models. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> Cities are using clean energy technologies to attract new business, keep money in their local economy and reduce pollution. The leaders of these cities realize that clean energy does more than preserve our environment &mdash; it helps drive our economies. Do you live in a clean energy city? Leave a comment and tell us what your city is doing.&nbsp;</p>Fri, 24 Jun 2011 00:00:00 -0400