• AFP hat den nächsten Bericht des IPCC über Meere und Küsten gelesen: Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280m people, UN warns.
The damage caused by catastrophic “superstorms” combined with rising sea levels could increase by a hundred-fold or more, displacing hundreds of millions of people from coastlines around the world unless more is done to limit greenhouse gas emissions, according to a draft report by the United Nations.
According to French news agency AFP, which said it had obtained a copy of the report, the document outlines a grim scenario in which the warming oceans are “poised to unleash misery on a global scale”, with declining fish stocks, the melting of sea ice and glaciers, and increasing levels of human displacement.
Unless there are serious cuts to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, at least 30 per cent of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt within just 80 years, the report warns. This melt would unleash billions of tonnes of carbon stored in what are currently permafrost areas, which will accelerate rates of global warming even more. The upshot would be warming seas and rising coastlines, which could immediately threaten 280 million people, the document says.
Floods are increasing in northwestern Europe because global warming is increasing moisture in the atmosphere, making storms wetter, and shifting the track of incoming storms northward, bringing more rainfall to the region. The storms are also moving slower, so they drop more rain over river catchments, he said.
From Iceland to the Alps, the study found that river flooding had increased regionally by 11.4 percent per decade, with increases of up to 17.8 percent in some areas.
• E.P.A. to Roll Back Regulations on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas: The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change.
• Europe Is Warming Faster Than Even Climate Models Projected: Climate change is raising temperatures in Europe even faster than climate models projected, according to new research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The number of summer days with extreme heat in Europe has tripled since the 1950s, while the number of days with extreme cold more than halved. Extremely hot days in Europe have become hotter by an average of 4.14 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found, while extremely cold days have warmed by 5.4 degrees F. The research examined data from weather stations across Europe from 1950 to 2018, with more than 90 percent of stations showing that the climate was warming.
• NYTimes: How Many People Are Losing Homeowners Insurance Because of Wildfires? Katy Hover-Smoot, who said she lives in Squaw Valley, said in an email that her homeowners insurance rate recently jumped to $6,200 per year from $900 per year.
• The air conditioning trap: how cold air is heating the world: The warmer it gets, the more we use air conditioning. The more we use air conditioning, the warmer it gets. Is there any way out of this trap?
• Climate Activists Plan to Shutdown Heathrow Airport by Flying Toy Drones: A group called the Heathrow Pause has called for activists to create an “exclusion zone” around the airport on September 13th.
• Dow Wants to Turn Piles of Plastic Trash Into Oil: Fuenix Ecogy Group has created a method for breaking down plastic into a form that can be used in a fresh round of manufacturing.
What if climate change turns out to be worse than we think? That anxiety is now commonplace, but a decade ago it took an influential paper by a Harvard professor to convince the insular world of climate economists to focus more of their attention on worst-case scenarios.
Martin Weitzman, who passed away this week at the age of 77, forever connected the notion of “fat tails” to the economics of climate risk. Before his 2009 paper overturned standard thinking, researchers looking at greenhouse-gas pollution and subsequent warming had focused on the climate futures that are most likely to happen. This is the hallmark of traditional cost-benefit analysis: Figure out the benefits of keeping the climate stable, compare that to the costs of preventing change, and then determine which policies make the most sense.
Weitzman used technical math to make the case that climate change is different because what’s most likely to happen doesn’t matter as much when there’s a possibility of total catastrophe. “Even when you have a low probability of a highly consequential event, those consequences—when they’re of a significant enough magnitude—can really overwhelm your thinking,” said Richard Newell, chief executive of the research nonprofit Resources for the Future and a former Weitzman teaching assistant.
• Climate and collapse: Only through the insurrection of civil societies will we avoid the worst – Translation of an interview of Christophe Bonneuil, French historian and research director at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)
The thaw of the Arctic sea ice is accelerating Russian fossil fuel extraction projects with massive Chinese funding, which, incidentally, may further worsen global warming. A new maritime route is opening, the passage of the North-East [which connects the Pacific to the Atlantic through northern Russia and Scandinavia, note]. The first big methane tanker – Christophe de Margerie [named after the former CEO of Total who died in 2014, ed] – sailed for the first time in the summer of 2017 without the necessity of an ice-breaking ship. The Northeast Passage is the equivalent of the Suez Canal or Panama in the 19th century: it brings China closer to Europe by three weeks. Floating nuclear power plants will likely be established by Russia in the Arctic, to provide power to the first cities that are set up in this ‘frozen far-west’, as well as the exploitation of gas and oil fields.
When we see the gap between the richest and the billions of people most affected by climate damage, or the differences in the costs and benefits of the warming depending on regions or states, it is clear that the rhetoric of “We are all concerned, we must act together”, doesn’t hold water. There will be winners and losers to global warming. Some countries – like Russia and the oil monarchies of the Gulf – and some social groups have no interest in this changing. No, we are not all in the same boat, or not in the same class or with the same access to the restaurant and canoes [reference to Titanic]. A “positive ecology” made of concrete alternatives is useful, but it will not be enough without a fight. This is also the lesson to be learned from Nicolas Hulot’s failure in the government [Nicolas Hulot was the French Minister of the Environment under Macron, resigning in August 2018].