World Is Locked into ~1.5°C Warming, Action is Needed Now
November 24 2014
New "Turn Down the Heat" report explores the risks worsening climate change poses to lives and livelihoods across three regions and highlights that globally, warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times is already locked into Earth’s atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions. We can act now to deal with the impacts, which will particularly affect the poor, and transition to a low carbon future by putting a robust price on carbon, phase out harmful subsidies, accelerate renewable energy and energy efficiency, implement climate-smart agriculture and build low-carbon resilient cities.
Climate Change Resources
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There are a number of great online resources that all show the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that it is due to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases and that we are already experiencing the impacts. The following are a few:
Useful Climate Change Publications
Climate change is happening faster and in a dramatically more visible way in the Earth's cryosphere than anywhere else on earth. Cryosphere is defined as elements of the Earth system containing water in its frozen state. The average temperature has risen here at over twice the global mean in the Arctic, Antarctic Peninsula, and much of the Himalayas and other mountain regions. This report summarizes the changes already being observed in the following five major cryosphere regions: the Andes, Antarctica, Arctic, East African Highlands, and the Himalayas. It then provides a science-based assessment of the impact of addressing methane and black carbon to reduce the risk to the global environment and human societies, especially for the most vulnerable populations.
This book responds to a very real need in African journalists’ reporting of the complex phenomenon of climate change. Climate change poses a clear danger to lives and livelihoods across Africa. Journalists there have critical roles to play in explaining the cause and effects of climate change, in describing what countries and communities can do to adapt to the impacts ahead, and in reporting on what governments and companies do, or do not do, to respond to these threats.
This report presents the World Bank Group's experience in climate and disaster resilient development and contends that it is essential to eliminate extreme poverty and achieve shared prosperity by 2030. The report argues for closer collaboration between the climate resilience and disaster risk management communities through the incorporation of climate and disaster resilience into broader development processes. Selected case studies are used to illustrate promising approaches, lessons learned, and remaining challenges all in contribution to the loss and damage discussions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The introduction provides an overview of the UNFCCC and introduces key concepts and definitions relevant to climate and disaster resilient development. Section two describes the impacts of globally increasing weather-related disasters in recent decades. Section three summarizes how the World Bank Group's goals to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity are expected to be affected by rising disaster losses in a changing climate. Section four discusses the issue of attribution in weather-related disasters, and the additional start-up costs involved in climate and disaster resilient development. Section five builds upon the processes and instruments developed by the climate resilience and the disaster risk management communities of practice to provide some early lessons learned in this increasingly merging field. Section six highlights case studies and emerging good practices in climate and disaster resilient development. Section seven concludes the report, summarizing key lessons learned and identifying potential gaps and avenues for future work.
Scientists and politicians are increasingly using the language of risk to describe the climate change challenge. Some researchers say stressing the ‘risks’ from climate change rather than the ‘uncertainties’ can create a more helpful context for policy makers and a stronger response from the public. But understanding the concepts of risk and uncertainty – and how to communicate them – is a hotly debated issue. In this book, James Painter analyses how the international media present these and other narratives around climate change. He focuses on coverage of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and of the melting ice of the Arctic Sea, and includes six countries, Australia, France, India, Norway, the UK and the USA.
Dealing with Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science - A brief history of attacks on climate science, climate scientists and the IPCC
This report describes organized attacks on climate science, scientists and scientific institutions like the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), that have gone on for more than 20 years. It sets out some of the key moments in this campaign of climate denial started by the fossil fuel industry, and traces them to their sources. The tobacco industry’s misinformation and PR campaign in the US against regulation reached a peak just as laws controlling tobacco were about to be introduced. Similarly, the campaign against climate change science – and scientists - has intensified as global policy on climate change has become more likely. This time though there is a difference. The corporate PR campaign has gone viral, spawning a denial movement that is distributed, decentralised and largely immune to reasoned response. This report updates the March 2010 report, ahead of the forthcoming 2013 release of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment report.
Governments have decided collectively that the world needs to limit the average global temperature increase to no more than 2 °C and international negotiations are engaged to that end. Yet any resulting agreement will not emerge before 2015 and new legal obligations will not begin before 2020. Meanwhile, despite many countries taking new actions, the world is drifting further and further from the track it needs to follow. The energy sector is the single largest source of climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions and limiting these is an essential focus of action. The World Energy Outlook has published detailed analysis of the energy contribution to climate change for many years. But, amid major international economic preoccupations, there are worrying signs that the issue of climate change has slipped down the policy agenda. This Special Report seeks to bring it right back on top by showing that the dilemma can be tackled at no net economic cost. The report:
- - Maps out the current status and expectations of global climate and energy policy – what is happening and what (more) is needed?
- - Sets out four specific measures for the energy sector that can be quickly and effectively implemented, at no net economic cost, to help keep the 2 °C target alive while international negotiations continue.
- - Indicates elements of action to achieve further reductions, after 2020.
- - Demonstrates that the energy sector, in its own interest, needs to address now the risks implicit in climate change – whether they be the physical impacts of climate change or the consequences of more drastic action later by governments as the need to curb emissions becomes imperative.
In the first post-transition decade after the fall of communism, Europe and Central Asia (ECA) moved its economy from plan to market. In the second decade, the 2000s, it moved from social division to inclusion. The region has an opportunity to use the third decade, the 2010s, to move from brown to green growth making production and consumption more sustainable, increasing quality of life, and reducing impacts on the climate. Lowering climate change risks in ECA will involve many different actions that fall broadly into three areas: Some, like energy efficiency improvements, are often economically beneficial regardless of climate concerns. Others, like creating a good business environment for green enterprises, are investments that create new growth opportunities. Finally, actions like expanding wind and solar energy will have net costs for some time but are essential to tackling climate change. A simple framework helps guide climate action. The priorities are to use energy more efficiently, use cleaner energy, and manage natural resources better. Although price instruments like carbon or energy taxes tend to be most effective, climate action will also require regulations and investments such as fuel efficiency standards or research and development spending. Complementary growth, social, and environmental policies promote the broader benefits of climate action while limiting its costs. This report will show that climate action in ECA will benefit from rapid progress in three main areas: (a) large improvements in energy efficiency; (b) a shift to cleaner energy systems that will also improve local health and energy security; and (c) better management of green natural resources that will make the countries more economically productive while keeping more carbon out of the atmosphere.
This report focuses on the risks of climate change to development in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South Asia. Building on the 2012 report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, this new scientific analysis examines the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, and coastal vulnerability for affected populations. It finds many significant climate and development impacts are already being felt in some regions, and in some cases multiple threats of increasing extreme heat waves, sea level rise, more severe storms, droughts and floods are expected to have further severe negative implications for the poorest. Climate related extreme events could push households below the poverty trap threshold. High temperature extremes appear likely to affect yields of rice, wheat, maize and other important crops, adversely affecting food security. Promoting economic growth and the eradication of poverty and inequality will thus be an increasingly challenging task under future climate change. Immediate steps are needed to help countries adapt to the risks already locked in at current levels of 0.8°C warming, but with ambitious global action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many of the worst projected climate impacts could still be avoided by holding warming below 2°C.
This report provides a snapshot of recent scientific literature and new analyses of likely impacts and risks that would be associated with a 4° Celsius warming within this century. It is a rigorous attempt to outline a range of risks, focusing on developing countries and especially the poor. A 4°C world would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on ecosystems and associated services. But with action, a 4°C world can be avoided and we can likely hold warming below 2°C. This report is not a comprehensive scientific assessment, as will be forthcoming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013-14 in its fifth assessment report. It is focused on developing countries, while recognizing that developed countries are also vulnerable and at serious risk of major damages from climate change. A series of recent extreme events worldwide continue to highlight the vulnerability of not only the developing world but even wealthy industrialized countries. No nation will be immune to the impacts of climate change. However, the distribution of impacts is likely to be inherently unequal and tilted against many of the world's poorest regions, which have the least economic, institutional, scientific, and technical capacity to cope and adapt.
Two fundamental questions in the global climate negotiations include: 1. Will the pledges made by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions be sufficient to achieve the 2.0 degree or 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limits by year 2020 or will there be a gap between the level of ambition that is needed and what is expected as a result of the pledges? 2. If a gap exists, in what ways can it bridged? Since 2010, UNEP has been convening scientists and experts to answer these questions through the development of the annual “emissions gap” report. The 2012 report provides the following information:
- - An update of global greenhouse gas emission estimates, based on a number of different authoritative scientific sources;
- - An overview of national emission levels, both current (2010) and projected (2020) consistent with current pledges and other commitments;
- - An estimate of the level of global emissions consistent with the two degree target in 2020, 2030 and 2050;
- - An update of the assessment of the "emissions gap" for 2020;
- - A review of selected examples of the rapid progress being made in different parts of the world to implement policies already leading to substantial emission reductions and how they can be scaled up and replicated in other countries, with the view to bridging the emissions gap.
The report gives an updated estimate of the 2020 emissions gap of 8 to 13 gigatonnes of equivalent CO2, larger than earlier estimates because of higher than expected economic growth. Current global emissions are around 50 gigatonnes per year of equivalent CO2 which is substantially higher than the emissions level in 2020 consistent with a likely pathway of staying within the two degrees climate target. The report also finds that policy actions such as building codes, appliance standards, and bus rapid transit systems are achieving substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions even though they are largely being implemented because of local and national priorities. If scaled up, these and other policies can make a major contribution to closing the emissions gap.
Increasing concerns over the effects of climate change have heightened the importance of accelerating investments in green growth. The International Energy Agency, for example, estimates that to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by 2050, global investments in the energy sector alone will need to total US$750 billion a year by 2030 and over US$1.6 trillion a year from 2030-2050. Despite global efforts to mobilize required capital flows, the investments still fall far short. Bloomberg New Energy Finance argues that by 2020 investments will be US$150 billion short from the levels required simply to stabilize CO2 emissions. For the East Asia and Pacific region alone, the World Bank study Winds of Change suggests that additional investments of US$80 billion a year over the next two decades are required. Multiple factors affect green investments, often rendering them financially not attractive. Private investment flows, therefore, depend on public sectors interventions and support. As in many countries public sector resources are scarce and spread across many competing commitments, they need to be used judiciously and strategically to leverage sufficient private flows. Many governments, however, still lack a clear comprehensive framework for assessing green investment climate and formulating an efficient mix of measures to accelerate green investments and are unfamiliar with international funding sources that can be tapped. To address this challenge, the World Bank, with support from AusAID, conducts the work on improving the financing opportunities for green infrastructure investments among its client countries.
"Today’s enormous development challenges are complicated by the reality of climate change—the two are inextricably linked and together demand immediate attention. Climate change threatens all countries, but particularly developing ones. Understanding what climate change means for development policy is the central aim of the World Development Report 2010. It explores how public policy can change to better help people cope with new or worsened risks, how land and water management must adapt to better protect a threatened natural environment while feeding an expanding and more prosperous population, and how energy systems will need to be transformed. The report is an urgent call for action, both for developing countries who are striving to ensure policies are adapted to the realities and dangers of a hotter planet, and for high-income countries who need to undertake ambitious mitigation while supporting developing countries efforts. A climate-smart world is within reach if we act now to tackle the substantial inertia in the climate, in infrastructure, and in behaviors and institutions; if we act together to reconcile needed growth with prudent and affordable development choices; and if we act differently by investing in the needed energy revolution and taking the steps required to adapt to a rapidly changing planet."
Young people have made it abundantly clear that they want to be involved in the decisions impacting society and addressing climate change is no exception. Throughout the world, youth have developed creative ways to raise awareness, share information, build capacities, and work together on climate change mitigation and adaptation practices–often achieving impressive results through their own initiatives. Young people can combat climate change not only as members of youth organizations, but also as individuals. Each of the world’s 1.2 billion young women and men has an impact on the environment. Through the choices they make in their everyday lives, they contribute to the preservation or degradation of their natural surroundings. Historically, the younger generation has promoted change and embraced innovative values. In many cases, youth have been the initiators of social movements that have given rise to cultural and social transformations. While the young people of today constitute a major consumer group, many of them are dissatisfied with the consumer societies in which they live and are seeking alternative lifestyles. This could mean a drive for change.
Young people around the world are increasingly making small but important changes that represent essential steps in their transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. Youth can start right where they are, and many...
At a time when the Earth’s resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished, adopting and promoting more sustainable ways of living that are in harmony with our communities and nature has never been more crucial. This guidebook supports young people to become advocates and agents of change for sustainable lifestyles in their respective communities around the world.
From our friends at Earth Journalism Network and Poynter. News University
The e-Institute offers a virtual learning classroom for sharing high quality development learning and knowledge resources.
A focused look at next-generation sustainable materials innovation from the folks at PopTech.
Freely available climate and climate-related data is essential to catalyze the changes in policies, investments and technologies that will be needed if we are to move towards a climate-smart future.
Thinking globally; Acting Locally: Institutionalizing Climate Change within Durban's Local Government
From Cities Alliance-Cities Without Slums
From the International Institute for Environment and Development
The publication takes you on a journey to explore the practical linkages between climate change, access to and sharing of information and knowledge, communication for development and ICTs in general. More specifically, it considers how everyday information and communication tools such as radios, mobile phones, personal computers, the internet and interactive media can help reduce the risks of climate change faced by the most vulnerable segments of the global village through providing access to and the sharing of timely information and critical knowledge.
"A Communication Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Food Security" from FAO and Communication for Sustainable Developmenta Initiative (CSDI)
An issues guide for education planners and practitioners from our partners, UNESCO and UNEP
Communication is a key to promoting sustainable development. Communication for Development or ComDev, an approach applied by FAO that combines a variety of participatory communication processes and tools, ranging from rural radio to the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), is central to this task.
Communication pour le développement de la diffusion des technologies agricoles et forestières au Bas-Congo
Les mesures environnementales pour le développement durable liées à l’adaptation au changement climatique, à la gestion des bassins versants, à la gestion des risques de catastrophes, au développement territorial participatif, etc., nécessitent la mise en place de processus, d’outils et de méthodes de communication pour la sensibilisation, le partage des connaissances et la participation communautaire.
Iniciativa de Comunicación para el Desarrollo Sostenible - ICDS Comunicación para la Innovación y el Desarrollo Rural en el ANMI-PNA del Municipio Yapacaní
Esta Guía del Facilitador está dirigida a promotores, técnicos y extensionistas que realizan tareas de asistencia técnica y capacitación campesina. Su objetivo es orientar la conducción del curso audiovisual de la serie Ganadería Lechera, destinado a capacitar a pequeños productores en “Establecimiento y Manejo de Pasturas para Ganado Tipo Lechero” para que, a través del cultivo de pastos, tengan alimentos durante todo el año destinado a su hato lechero.
The International Committee for the Development of People (CISP) joined the World Bank’s effort in support of the Connect4Climate initiative, to raise awareness about climate change in Somalia.