UN Security Council eyes climate change challenges

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Rising temperatures raise a host of global security issues.

Global security threatened by rising sea levels, shifts in weather patterns

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — For only the third time, the UN Security Council will discuss climate change risks this week (Feb. 15) at a special meeting convened at the request of the UK and Pakistan.

The high-level meeting will include a briefing from Hans Joachim Schellhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Other speakers include Tony DeBrum, Minister-in-assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands, Rachel Kyte, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank, and Gyan Acharya, Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the least developed countries.

Some of the issues to be debated are climate change impacts on food security, sustaining cooperative management of freshwater supply in the face of glacial melting and reduced runoff, and possible large-scale displacements of people across borders. The meeting could help to firmly establish climate change as a security issue on the Council’s agenda. Continue reading

City cuts are the key to curbing global greenhouse gases

Large cities could be the key to controlling global greenhouse gas emissions. Bob Berwyn photo.

Reducing emissions in large cities could be the key to controlling global greenhouse gas emissions. Bob Berwyn photo.

New study outlines path toward 70 percent reductions

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The greenhouse gas cuts needed to curb global warming at 2 degrees Celsius sometimes seem daunting when taken as a whole, but engineers and scientists have shown repeatedly that it can be done — and with existing technology, not some farfetched science fiction scheme.

Most recently, a University of Toronto Civil Engineering professor and a World Bank climate change specialist teamed up for a case study, showing how Toronto and other major cities could reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 70 percent in the long term by implementing aggressive but practical policy changes.

“Cities are where people live, where economic activity flourishes,” said the World Bank’s Lorraine Sugar. “Cities are where local actions can have global impact.”

“This is the sort of reduction the international community is calling for, so we can avoid the potentially serious consequences of climate change,” said Professor Kennedy. Continue reading

World Bank president invokes ‘moral responsibility’ to act on global warming

On pace to see climate disruption outside the realm of human experience

Warmer and warmer …

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — You can almost hear global warming deniers gnashing their teeth and pulling out their hair as staid organizations like the World Bank take a hard look at the economic and environmental realities of climate change.

In a report prepared for the global financial institution, the Berline-based  Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics warned that, without a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases, the world is on a path to warm at least four degrees Celsius, which could result in a “world of risks beyond the experience of our civilization — including heat waves … sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people, and regional yield failures impacting global food security.

“The planetary machinery tends to be jumpy, this is to respond disproportionately to disruptions that come with the manmade greenhouse effect,” PIK’s director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber said. “If we venture far beyond the 2-degree guardrail, towards 4 degrees, we risk crossing tipping points in the Earth system. Continue reading

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