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Global warming: Of cattle and climate …

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases should focus on livestock

Taking a lunch break during a search for orchids in the Austrian countryside.

Too many cows? Scientists say cutting methane emissions from ruminant livestock could help in race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. bberwyn photo.

Staff report

FRISCO — Focusing on livestock to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could help humanity make some headway in the race to prevent catastrophic climate change, according to an international research team that took a close look at methane and nitrous oxide.

Cutting releases of methane and nitrous oxide, two gases that pound-for-pound trap more heat than CO2, should be considered alongside the challenge of reducing fossil fuel use, the scientists concluded in their analysis, published last week as an opinion commentary in Nature Climate Change, a professional journal.

“Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” said Oregon State University forestry professor William Ripple. “We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold,” Ripple said. Continue reading

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Global warming poses huge public health risks

Report calls for grassroots advocacy to raise awareness of the connection between climate and health

April 2012 global temperature anomalies.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Health experts say more botton-up grassroots activism is needed to make it clear that global warming poses a public health risk that’s at least equal to the impact of tobacco.

The international group of researchers published their report last week in the journal PLoS Medicine. The authors included public health experts from institutions in Sweden, Germany and South Africa.

From their report:

“It is becoming increasingly clear that maintaining a sustainable and healthy climate is something that can only be achieved by means of a concerted global effort, including large-scale and small-scale actions, in which the public health community must play an active part … As yet there seems to be a lack of coherence in terms of clear public health messages about climate aimed at populations in general.” Continue reading

Global warming: Inching ahead at Bonn climate talks

‘Science is telling us on a repeated basis … that current mitigation efforts are not sufficient’

NASA’s monthly mapping tool shows temperature anomalies in April 2012.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Two weeks of climate talks in Bonn following up on the last year’s Durban summit didn’t yield much progress in some critical areas, although the delegates did take some steps toward finding a way to extend the Kyoto Protocol and on finding ways to help the most poor and vulnerable countries deal with global warming impacts.

The next round of climate talks is set for Doha, Qatar in November, when delegates are to decide on how long the extension of the Kyoto agreement should be, as an interim step before adopting a legally binding climate treaty in 2015.

The Doha meeting is also aimed at defining the precise emission reduction commitments of industrialized countries that have obligations under the Kyoto agreement.

United Nations climate officials tried to paint the Bonn talks in the best possible light, emphasizing the baby steps toward progress, while downplaying the fact that key players, particularly India and China, are balking. Continue reading

Global warming: Bonn talks focus on developing climate treaty and finding equity among rich and poor countries

Is it getting warmer?

Delegates targeting 2015 for legally binding, enforceable climate deal

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Trying to follow the latest round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany is a reporter’s nightmare, with every press release filled with incredible amounts of bureaucratic jargon or technical information so dense that it’s almost impossible to follow — even for someone well-versed in climate science and policy.

In a way it’s a good thing. The time for grandiose speeches is long past; now’s the time for nitty gritty details. There’s no other way to ensure some sort of meaningful reduction in greenhouse gases.

But if the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change wants to connect with average citizens, it’s going to have to do a much better job of translating some of the information into plain talk to give people an idea of what’s at stake in meetings like the current conference in Bonn.

Luckily, the big picture and the ultimate goal aren’t that complicated. Basically, most of the world has agreed that it’s necessary to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius to prevent irreversible and potentially catastrophic impacts. Continue reading

Global warming: Interim climate talks start in Bonn

Tough path ahead to implement Durban agreements

April 2012 temperature anomalies.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming will once again take the center of the world political stage this week, with interim climate talks in Bonn, Germany, aimed at trying to nail down a few more details on agreements reached in principal at last December’s COP 17 in Durban.

The South African sessions ended with all countries, including China and India, agreeing that worldwide carbon reductions are needed. The hard part is how to get there. That’s what delegates will be discussing in Bonn this week. Continue reading

Climate Leaks: Leadership needed on global warming

Who will show leadership on global warming?

Conservation groups try to spark grassroots activism

By Jon Harrington

The UNFCCC convention in Cancun has officially started. Mexico President Felipe Calderon has addressed the conference with a stirring speech on how the World must come together to address CO2 emissions and the resulting climate change. He said there needs to be a sense of urgency in these reductions as climate change is happening now with devastating effects for Mexico and other countries around the globe.

President Calderón cited last year’s hurricane in Mexico, this year’s floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia as examples of increasing incidences of natural disasters brought about by climate change and already affecting the poorest and most vulnerable.

Calling on negotiators in Cancún to make progress in the interest of their children and grandchildren, he said that the “eyes of the world” were focused on the meeting.

“Climate change is an issue that affects life on a planetary scale,” he said. “What this means is that you will not be here alone negotiating in Cancún. By your side, there will be billions of human beings, expecting you to work for all of humanity.” Continue reading

Climate Leaks: EarthUp covers COP 16 in Cancun

"How do we sleep while the beds are burning?" ~ Midnight Oil

Mexico President Felipe Calderón opens COP 16

Editor’s note: Jon Harrington, renewable energy advocate and owner of Silverthorne’s Alpine Earth Center, is traveling to Cancun this week and will be offering his perspectives on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Harrington will post updates regularly at Summit Voice on the proceedings at COP16.

“There are 194 nations that have signed the Kyoto Accord,” Harrington said. “With the U.S. not being one of them, I will be traveling to Cancun this week to understand what the world is doing to combat climate change, and why the U.S. is on the sidelines.”

The following are the remarks by the President of the United Mexican States, Felipe Calderón during the Inauguration of the 16th International Conference on Climate Change, COP16/CMP6, which is taking place in Cancun, Mexico. Continue reading

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