Climate Affairs: Why Bother?

cowyardvioletManagement

Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Michael Glantz
Climate Affairs: Why Bother?

Toyota
Sustainable Mobility
Seminar
La Jolla, California
12-15 April 2010
www.acea.be

A definition of
“sustainable mobility”
**
...mobility that meets the needs of society to move
freely, gain access, communicate, trade and
establish relationships
without sacrificing
other
essential human or ecological requirements
today or in the future.
There is a to food issues through biofuels and
the search for sustainable mobility.

**World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Why a global food crisis
in the 21st century?


The reason for this food crisis is the current structure of global
inequality (as someone noted recently, the rich demand fuel for
their SUVs, turning farmland to biofuel production at the expense of
food needed by the poor) combined with the basic Malthusian
reality of scarcity: The very spread of capitalism in previously closed
economies such as India and China has spurred rapacious demand
for oil and natural gas (whose price rises have an inflationary effect
on food prices), and the emergence of a middle class pretty much
the same size as America’s, who are not only seeking cars and
appliances, but are also eating more meat — and producing a
single calorie of meat protein takes seven to 12 calories of grain,
which has dramatically increased inflationary pressure on grain
prices.


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Climate Affairs is more than just …



Science


Impacts


Politics, policy and law


Economics


Ethics


Statistics


Modeling


It encompasses everything
ccb.colorado.edu

Why Bother?
Environmental Processes that worry me



Models and their outputs are subject to
different views and interpretations


Observations are less so.


Sea level is rising at various rates


The 10 warmest years on record have occurred in
past decade or so.


Warm ecosystems are moving upslope into
formerly cooler areas


Arctic Sea Ice has rapidly been disappearing


Warm climate disease vectors are moving
poleward into the mid-latitudes
Here’s a question no one seems to be able to answer:

What would have to happen for you to switch your view
about whether human activities are or are not causing
global warming?



As a Believer in global warming As a Skeptic on global warming

Climate-related concepts to keep in mind



We have always been at war with climate


Climate change vs a changing climate


There are winners and losers with climate change
and in figuring out how and when best to cope with
it.


Humans are part of the global climate system
Climate-related ideas …
that demand better understanding

1.

Climate-proofing
2.

Food security
3.

Ground zero
4.

Deniers
5.

Extremes
6.

The verb “to be”
7.

Ecosystems goods & services
8.

Drivers (of change)
9.

Mitigation (of greenhouse gas emissions)
10.

Adaptation (to climate change)
11.

Geo-engineering
12.

Purposely changing the atmosphere’s thermostat
Plan B but there is no Planet B !!

My view
on Climate-related ideas …

that demand better understanding

1.

Climate-proofing --- misleading
2.

Food security --- misnomer
3.

Ground zero --- misfocused
4.

Deniers --- misapplied
5.

Extremes --- misdirected
6.

The verb “is” --- misused
7.

Ecosystems goods & services --- misconception
8.

Drivers (of change) --- misdirecting
9.

Mitigation (of greenhouse gas emissions) --- misarticulated
10.

Adaptation (to climate change) --- misunderstood
11.

Geo-engineering --- misadventure
12.

Purposely changing the atmosphere’s thermostat --- misguided
Many Plan B’
s
but there is no Planet B !!

Climate-proofing:
an impossible dream?



This notion is appearing
more frequently


The Netherlands is pursuing
climate-proofing


No place can be 100
protected from climate
variations and extremes


Who would buy a raincoat
that is 60% waterproofed.


It should be expressed as
“toward climate-proofing”

Food security



Food security is a goal of all
countries.
Food insecurity
is the
reality.


Most countries are food insecure,
such as those in sub-Saharan
Africa or Southeast Asia.


Call it what it is --- Food
Insecurity.

Ground zero



This notion refers to places
that consider themselves as
‘ground zero’ for climate
change impacts.


Truth is almost every place on
Earth is ground zero for
climate change impacts which
means that
Planet Earth is
really ‘Ground Zero’.

There’s no place on the Planet to hide.
Climate change deniers



Climate scientists refer to
all skeptics as “deniers.”


This is a mistake. There
are legitimate climate
skeptics.
Extremes



There is a constant search for a
‘dread factor” to get policy makers
and society to act on global
warming.


Scientists talk about extremes as
record-setting extremes, but …


Hurricane Katrina was not record
setting except in impacts.


High-impact climate and
weather events can be as
devastating as record setters.

The verb “to be”:
What a difference a word makes ...
"is"



Is
global warming happening?


Is
the scientific information in hand today strong
enough to prompt societies to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions?


Is
human activity involved in the global warming
trend of the past century and a half?


Is
any country really committed to dealing with
national GHG reductions, even in the absence of
other countries doing so?


Are
climate extremes and other climate-related
anomalies reliably connected to global warming?


Is
global warming the type of “creeping
environmental problem” that can be met with
graduated societal responses?


What a difference a word makes ...
"is"

X
Ecosystems goods and services



The Millennium Assessment guiding
principle: ‘
Ecosystems goods and
service for human well-being
.’


This is ego-centric.


Do you get the same results if you
change it to ‘
Human goods and
services for ecosystem well
being
?’


This is eco-centric.


Do not expect the same answers.
Drivers
(of change)



Climate change reports talk about ‘drivers of change.’


Physical and societal Climate ‘drivers’ are targeted for attention.


But, there are underlying “pressures” on policy makers as well
as on the land though less obvious than drivers.
2004
1987

Shanghai Changes

Mitigation
(of greenhouse gas emissions)



The word ‘mitigation’ has
been redefined by the
climate science community,
applying it only to reducing
GHG emissions.


It was first used normally to
mean softening impacts.


The media use it now for
GHGs, but society uses it to
mean softening of impacts.
Confusion results.

Adaptation
(to climate change)



Originally, for climate issues adaptation
was a response to an impact.


The definition of adaptation by the
UNFCCC (only due to climate change)
was not the same as the one by the IPCC
(response to any impact).


Adaptation now is proactive and reactive.


The concept of adaptation is confusing
to scientists and is also confusing to
the public. Can the media help clarify
it?

Geo-engineering



geo-engineering has been used by
societies through history to cope
with a varying, changing and
uncertain climate.


A few years ago, the concept was
captured by the climate community.


Now it applies only to engineering
modifications of the planetary
climate to counter global warming.


Most stories are descriptive ‘gee-whiz’
stories of geo-engineering science. What of
the down side?

Ratcheting down the atmosphere’s
thermostat: A weighty analogy


Scientists talk of carbon dioxide levels in
ppmv


We are now near 390 ppmv


Preindustrial level was about 270 ppmv


Scientists consider 400+ as a dangerous
level to surpass


You can’t select the climate you liked of
the past and go back to it by lowering
the CO2 ppmv.


“you can’t pick the climate you like. You can’t
go home again!”

Concluding comments



The media’s climate change coverage to the public is both
helping to clarifying issues and is making them confusing.


Humans are part of the climate system, not separate from it!


Is it a responsibility of the media to educate the public ?


While geo-engineering the planet’s atmosphere
is Plan B.


However, there is no PLANET B!