Archive by category | Anna Barnett

Bangkok negotiations: US concedes on funding as accusations fly

At the ongoing pre-Copenhagen climate talks in Bangkok, the US has made a step towards resolving the deal-breaker issue of funds to help developing countries respond to climate change. The Guardian’s all over it, perhaps thirsting for some good news to break up the drumbeat of doubt we’ve heard lately on the climate policy front.  Read more

Must-reads for Copenhagen

At the UN climate conference in Copenhagen this December, talk will turn to scientific, political and economic issues with a global reach and a long history — not easy to pick up from the daily news. We asked select experts on climate change what books we should be reading ahead of the big event.  Read more

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

Google Earth launches climate change tours

A newly launched series of Google Earth tours will map out the projected impacts of climate change worldwide and look at mitigation and adaptation options. Here’s a brief intro, narrated in the light Tennessee drawl of Al Gore:  … Read more

Sunburnt Southern Hemisphere in 2095

Sunburnt Southern Hemisphere in 2095

Global warming doesn’t just change the weather, it also affects the ozone layer. According to a detailed new modelling study, by 2095 the springtime UV index (UVI) could go up by as much as 20% on the southernmost section of the planet, as altered atmospheric circulation pushes more stratospheric ozone into the Northern Hemisphere. That’s nearly half the UVI increase caused by ozone-eating pollutants in the late twentieth century – but coming from climate change alone.  Read more

Interview: Dieter Helm

Interview: Dieter Helm

Oxford economist Dieter Helm co-edits an upcoming book, The Economics and Politics of Climate Change, that he says takes “a colder and harder look at the challenge”. In a Q&A on Nature Reports Climate Change this week, Helm gives his take on a long-term strategy for reducing emissions. Here’s an excerpt:  … Read more