Archive by category | Adaptation

4 Degrees and Beyond: Adaptation to what?

If we are trying to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less but 4 degrees is possible even within some of our lifetimes, which world do we prepare for? Talks at today’s session on adaptation took on the problem of the multiple futures that decision-makers have to face. Mark Stafford-Smith of CSIRO in Australia talked specifically about long-term decisions – such as planting and managing forests – where the best option depends on which way the climate goes later this century. If you expect strong mitigation that holds down warming, then you try to preserve today’s forests and nurse them through, protecting them from fire and other threats.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: To flee the sea, or not to flee?

Immersing yourself in the impacts of extreme climate change can give rise to a certain amount of gallows humor. Conversation among my dinner companions last night turned to whether this week’s 4 Degrees and Beyond conference or March’s Copenhagen Climate Congress provided “more apocalypse for your conference fee”. The far more serious question, of course, is how much upheaval and human suffering would come with the substantial warming that delegates here are contemplating. Some interesting talks today looked at the facets of sea level rise and population displacement.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: How soon is it coming?

Unless major breakthroughs in policy, industry and individual behavior turn around our emissions trajectory pronto, this century could well see average global temperatures 4 degrees Celsius or more above their pre-industrial baseline. That’s the starting point for the 4 Degrees and Beyond conference in Oxford this week. Here, 130 scientists and policy experts are taking a detailed look at a world warmed by twice the amount that’s usually considered dangerous.  Read more

Focussing on sea level

Focussing on sea level

Nature Geoscience’s latest issue highlights the challenges of understanding fluctuating sea level – from 70 million years ago to the future (sea level content free to registered users). A collection of commentaries and research papers look at how sea level has changed in the past and try to project its future evolution. In addition, the issue provides insights into some of the societal impacts of sea level change, and how some countries are planning for the future.  Read more

Report disperses migration myth

Report disperses migration myth

Climate change and other environmental problems worldwide are driving migrants from their homelands – but not necessarily onto European and North American shores, as is commonly assumed. The first worldwide survey of climate refugees suggests that most of the displaced won’t make it further than nearby villages or neighbouring countries. The new findings went into a report released yesterday at UN climate negotiations in Bonn – I’ve covered them in a news feature here.  Read more

Visualizing the assisted migration argument

Visualizing the assisted migration argument

Formerly a taboo topic among conservationists, ‘assisted migration’ or ‘managed relocation’ – literally moving sensitive species to new habitats in order to save them – has recently started to come in for serious consideration. A paper out in PNAS this week offers a quick and innovative way to evaluate candidate species with new visual tools.  Read more

Perestroika and permafrost

Perestroika and permafrost

Russia has been a rather puzzling actor in the complicated diplomatic game which resulted in the Kyoto protocol, and which will be played out again in Copenhagen in December. Climate warming doesn’t make headlines, and has so far not been a big concern, between Moscow and Vladivostok. What prompted Russian leaders to ratify Kyoto was the prospect of making good money from emissions trading, rather than conviction that man-made climate change is a real phenomenon and a threat to society.  Read more