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Climate change: Evidence and Policy

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Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences
From the Press Release:
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., released a joint publication today in Washington, D.C., that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change, and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science.

“As two of the world’s leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change,” said NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone.

“Our aim with this new resource is to provide people with easy access to the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including where scientists agree and where uncertainty still remains,” added Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society. "We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations."

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well-understood, and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen to levels not seen for at least 800,000 years, and observational records dating back to the mid-19th century show a clear, long-term warming trend. The publication explains that measurements that distinguish between the different forms of carbon in the atmosphere provide clear evidence that the increased amount of CO2 comes primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, and discusses why the warming that has occurred along with the increase in CO2 cannot be explained by natural causes such as variations in the sun’s output.

The publication delves into other commonly asked questions about climate change, for example, what the slower rate of warming since the very warm year in 1998 means, and whether and how climate change affects the strength and frequency of extreme weather events...

Link to report
(27 February 2014)


The GLOBE Climate Legislation Study

Globe International
From the website:
On 27 February 2014, the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE International) released the 4th edition of the GLOBE Climate Legislation Study – produced in partnership with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.

The Study is the most comprehensive audit of climate legislation across 66 countries, together responsible for around 88% of global manmade greenhouse gas emissions. The new study (4th edition) was formally launched at the 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit held at the Senate of the United States of America and at the World Bank, Washington D.C

The 700 page study reviews almost 500 pieces of legislation that have been passed in the 66 study countries.

Link to the Executive Summary or full report from this page
(27 February 2014)


Potential climate engineering effectiveness and side effects during a high carbon dioxide-emission scenario

David P. Keller, Ellias Y. Feng & Andreas Oschlies, Nature Journal
Abstract:
The realization that mitigation efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have, until now, been relatively ineffective has led to an increasing interest in climate engineering as a possible means of preventing the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change. While many studies have addressed the potential effectiveness of individual methods there have been few attempts to compare them. Here we use an Earth system model to compare the effectiveness and side effects of afforestation, artificial ocean upwelling, ocean iron fertilization, ocean alkalinization and solar radiation management during a high carbon dioxide-emission scenario. We find that even when applied continuously and at scales as large as currently deemed possible, all methods are, individually, either relatively ineffective with limited (<8%) warming reductions, or they have potentially severe side effects and cannot be stopped without causing rapid climate change. Our simulations suggest that the potential for these types of climate engineering to make up for failed mitigation may be very limited.
(25 February 2014)

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