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Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective (PDF)
Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Attribution of extreme events is a challenging science and one that is currently undergoing considerable evolution. In this paper, 20 different research groups explored the causes of 16 different events that occurred in 2013. The findings indicate that human-caused climate change greatly increased the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in this report. How human influence affected other types of events such as droughts, heavy rain events, and storms was less clear, indicating that natural variability likely played a much larger role in these extremes. Multiple groups chose to look at both the Australian heat waves and the California drought, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. There was considerable agreement about the role anthropogenic climate change played in the events between the different assessments. This year three analyses were of severe storms and none found an anthropogenic signal. However, attribution assessments of these types of events pose unique challenges due to the often limited observational record. When human-influence for an event is not identified with the scientific tools available to us today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability.

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Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change
Source: CDP

A new global index based on companies that exhibit leadership through action to mitigate climate change outperforms The Bloomberg World Index by 9.6%. So finds analysis released today by CDP, an international NGO that drives sustainable economies.

The research is published in The A List: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014, which has been created at the request of 767 investors who represent more than a third of the world’s invested capital.

Information provided by nearly 2,000 listed companies has been independently assessed against CDP’s widely-respected scoring methodology and ranked accordingly.

187 businesses from around the world, including BMW AG, Centrica, Samsung Electronics and Unilever, demonstrate a superior approach to climate change mitigation. Awarded an A grade for their performance, they earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change. Collectively the climate performance leaders have reduced their total (absolute) emissions by 33 million metric tons in the past reporting year, equivalent to turning London’s car owners into cyclists for two and a half years.

Fact Sheet: Polling the American Public on Climate Change (2014)

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Polling the American Public on Climate Change (2014)
Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)

This fact sheet provides information on climate change polling in the United States over the last year from a variety of sources. Overall, the studies show:

  • Belief that climate change is happening and is caused by human actions is continuing to rise, but it still has not reached a level comparable to the 2007 peak
  • There is a large disparity among party lines when it comes to climate change, with a large majority of Democrats believing that human actions are changing the climate, while fewer Republicans hold the same belief
  • However, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon dioxide regulations for power plants have widespread support, even across party lines
  • There is also support for somewhat higher electricity bills if it means decreasing carbon dioxide pollution

Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 16, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Insurance and Climate Change: Do Governments Have a Duty to Protect Property Owners?, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Federal and private insurers are well aware that if the scientific consensus is correct that climate change will cause more frequent extreme weather events, they may be making substantially increased payments in the future. Commentary on the link between climate change and insurance has become voluminous.

One of the many insurance company concerns was recently in the news: whether government can be held liable for not putting in place adequate infrastructure—or maintaining existing infrastructure—to protect against property damage from climate-change-related extreme weather.

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action
Source: Georgetown Climate Center

The Georgetown Climate Center released 100 recommendations today to improve federal programs that could be used to prepare for climate change. The new report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

The report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, draws from a series of workshops with leading federal, state and local officials and builds upon lessons learned post-disaster in New Orleans (following Hurricane Katrina), New York (following Hurricane Sandy) and Vermont (after Hurricane Irene). The report identifies more than 30 federal programs, initiatives and laws that can be used to prepare for extreme events such as storms, floods and heat waves as well as rising seas.

The report recognizes that recent extreme weather events and the mounting economic losses from such events have shown how vulnerable many states and communities are to climate change. Although state and local governments will be the primary actors when it comes to preparing for climate change impacts, the federal government can boost – or impede – preparedness.

See also: State and Local Adaptation Plans

New From the GAO

October 16, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Climate Change: USDA’s Ongoing Efforts Can Be Enhanced with Better Metrics and More Relevant Information for Farmers. GAO-14-755, September 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-755
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665809.pdf

2. Specialty Metals: DOD Dissemination of National Security Waiver Information Could Enhance Awareness and Compliance with Restrictions. GAO-15-133, October 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-133
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666533.pdf

A Low-Carbon Energy Transition Can Save the Global Economy Trillions over the Next 20 Years

October 15, 2014 Comments off

A Low-Carbon Energy Transition Can Save the Global Economy Trillions over the Next 20 Years
Source: Climate Policy Initiative

Two reports released October 9th by Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) clearly demonstrate that, with the right policies, a low-carbon energy system consistent with avoiding the most damaging effects of climate change could free up trillions of dollars over the next 20 years to invest in better economic growth.
The first report, “Moving to a Low Carbon Economy: The Financial Impact of the Low-Carbon Transition,” compares the costs of low-carbon electricity and low-carbon transportation systems with current systems. The second, “Moving to a Low Carbon Economy: The Impact of Different Policy Pathways on Fossil Fuel Asset Values,” focuses on the risk of losses in the financial value of existing fossil fuel assets (so called “asset stranding”). A loss in assets’ value is critical because it constrains governments and businesses’ ability to borrow against them to finance growth and investment, including investment in a low-carbon transition. The reports were commissioned by the New Climate Economy project as part of the research conducted for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

+ Both reports

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