Climate policy - July 4
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Rescuing reporting in the global South
James Fahn, Nature
... Jeff Hodson, a Thailand-based journalism trainer, recently led a workshop on climate change in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region, an area that scientists say could disappear under water if sea levels rise by a metre or more. "A majority of Vietnamese journalists in the workshop had never heard of the Bali conference," says Hodson. "Even local officials involved in managing natural resources admitted they know very little about climate change. One said he just couldn't believe the sea might actually rise that high."
Throughout most of the developing world, media coverage of global warming is woefully inadequate. Although there is a general realization that the climate is changing, ignorance about the causes and projected impacts is widespread. This deficit is especially worrying given that developing nations, collectively known as the global South, are usually the most vulnerable to impacts such as worsening drought and rising sea levels.
Yet it isn't lack of commitment from journalists on covering complex science that's the problem, but rather the inordinate number of obstacles they face in reporting the issues for local media.
(26 June 2008)
Climate: 'think big'
AAP, Sydney Morning Herald
An effective response to climate change must take shape and be in place in the next few years, the federal government's top climate change adviser says.
Professor Ross Garnaut 600-page draft report on climate change, of which the make-up of an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is a major focus, was released today.
Speaking at the report's launch in Canberra, Prof Garnaut said climate change was a "diabolical'' policy problem.
"While an effective response to the challenge would play out over the many decades, it must take shape and be in place over the next few years,'' he said.
"Without early and strong action, some time before 2020 we will realise we have indelibly surrendered to forces that have moved beyond our control.''
Prof Garnaut said climate change was the hardest policy problem in living memory.
(4 July 2008)
Contributor Shane writes:
The link in the text is to a copy of the report hosted on the SMH site.
A copy can also be found at the website Garnaut Climate Change Review along with other submissions etc.
My brief skim is this... they appear to have gone to some effort to use clear uncluttered accessible language.
Chapter 3 for example would serve as a very useful introduction (if one is still needed) in a balanced, nuanced not overly technical way to climate science.
The introductory sections also introduce the concepts of risk and uncertainty nicely, and gently deflates the significance of the more dogmatic of those who choose to deny the views of the majority.
India reveals its first climate change plan
Hanna Sistek, c/net
In the wake of next week's G8 meeting in Japan, India released its first action plan for climate change (PDF) earlier this week.
The plan outlines eight national "missions" for sustainable development, including:
* solar energy;
* energy efficiency;
* creating a sustainable habitat;
* conserving water;
* preserving the Himalayan ecosystem;
* creating a green India;
* creating sustainable agriculture;
* and establishing a platform of "strategic knowledge for climate change."
The plan lacks a budget and plan of action at this point, but a Council on Climate Change, with stakeholders from the government, industry, and civil society, has been formed to come up with directives and funding.
Among the eight missions, the strongest focus seems to be on solar power.
"We will pool all our scientific, technical, and managerial talents, with financial sources to develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power our economy and to transform the lives of our people," India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who chairs the council, said during the announcement of the plan.
"Our success in this endeavor will change the face of India," he continued.
(3 July 2008)
Related at the Guardian: India tackles climate change with renewable energy
Contributor Shane writes:
The original contains links to some of the solar technologies mentioned and also to many of the companies being promoted in this article.
Climate change is no longer just a middle-class issue
Mark Lynas, Guardian
Today's poll shows that public concern about climate change has reached a critical mass and now includes the less well-off
The news was depressing, to say the least. Two weeks ago, a poll conducted for the Observer found that a majority of the British public still think that the scientists are arguing about the causes of climate change. The reality, as I and many others have repeated more or less ad nauseum, is that the debate was settled a long time ago, and that the major areas of scientific uncertainty are about how far and how fast, not whether climate change is happening at all.
... The second headline finding from the Observer poll further underlines this confusion. An equal number of people (about 40% in each case) think that "climate change might not be as bad as some people say". Again, the frequent cries from the anti-environment right about global warming "alarmism" have clearly hit home.
There is further bad news on the environment versus economy debate. While concern about the economy is seeing its highest score since 1993, concern about the environment is flatlining in the June 23 Mori poll, and is well down from the higher levels seen during the launch of the Stern and IPCC reports in early 2007.
But with polls, detail is everything. Today's new poll result shows that a clear majority favours government action on the environment v the economy, while an even larger majority supports the introduction of green taxes. So why the contradiction? The discrepancy may lie with different techniques used by different pollsters
(2 June 2008)
I've seen the effects of climate change - and if people won't face up to it, governments must make them
Tahmima Anam, Guardian
... Unfortunately, as I come from Bangladesh, I do not have to envisage the horror of what is to come because climate change has already arrived in Bangladesh. I must simply describe what I see before me: the sight of fresh water turning to salt, leaving the paddy fields yellow and withered; the rivers eroding at lightning speed; the water slowly gnawing away at the land, so that people can point to the sea and say, "When I was a child, our village was over there." In a few weeks, I will be travelling to Bangladesh to stay with families who have had to build their homes on plinths to stop them being washed away. I will return to dry land and write about them, and hope to fire the imagination: to frighten people into believing that this may someday happen to them. I will attempt to perform a feat of wordsmithing that will make people suspend their disbelief once and for all.
But though I have staked much on the power of words, I know that the imagination has its limits. And when the imagination fails, it is the duty of those who govern us to set the rules. They must make us give up our cars and cheap holidays, our lightbulbs and draughty windows. I don't say this easily, because I come from a country that regularly flirts with dictatorship. I know the dangers of a heavy-handed government. But if these two surveys have anything in common, it is in the fact that people want the government to take the lead.
(4 July 2008)