climate news network: Lumberjacks are selecting different trees, US fishermen are sailing further north to catch black sea bass, desert birds are nesting later in California and Arizona, and one kind of wildflower is changing shape in the Rocky Mountains − and all in response to climate change, according to new research.
None of these responses is simple, or necessarily ominous, and global warming is not the only factor at work. But all are nevertheless examples of adaptation to − so far – very modest changes in temperature.
LANCELOT IS NOW ONLINE
Lancelot is the web application designed and produced by the Euro-Mediterranean Center on climate Change (CMCC) to provide an interactive, dynamic and integrated visualization of climate data on maps for a vast and differentiated audience. Select your indicators and explore hystorical data and climate projections provided by CMCC.
The Earth Institute at Columbia University: Some 56 million years ago, a massive pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In the oceans, carbonate sediments dissolved, some organisms went extinct and others evolved.
Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification played a part in the crisis—similar to today, as manmade CO2 combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.
New Ocean Acidification website launched
A new online resource on Ocean Acidification has been launched that brings together new ocean acidification infographics, publications, background information, presentations and news for researchers, policymakers and the public.
Ocean acidification by numbers:
40%: The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels since the start of the industrial revolution.
26%: The increase in ocean acidity from preindustrial levels to today.
24 million: The number of tonnes of CO2 the ocean absorbs every day.
10 times: The current rate of acidification is over 10 times faster than any time in the last 55 million years.
The website ocean-acidification.net has been developed by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) operated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Environmental Laboratories in Monaco.
AlertNet: The Middle East’s driest winter in several decades could pose a threat to global food prices, with local crops depleted and farmers’ livelihoods blighted, U.N. experts and climatologists say. Varying degrees of drought are hitting almost two thirds of the limited arable land across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Iraq.
“Going back to the last 100 years, I don’t think you can get a five-year span that’s been as dry,” said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) environmental economist. The dry season has already hurt prospects for the cereal harvest in areas of Syria and to a lesser extent Iraq. Several of the countries under pressure are already significant buyers of grain from international markets.
climate news network: By 2100, vegetation patterns will be shifting in almost half the land area of the planet, according to new research in the journal Global and Planetary Change.
Song Feng of the University of Arkansas in the US and colleagues in Nebraska, China and South Korea have taken a long cool look at what the projected patterns of warming are likely to do to the planet’s mosaic of climate types. And they predict dramatic changes.
University of Arkansas: Climate Study Projects Major Changes in Vegetation Distribution by 2100
CGIAR: Big Facts is a resource of the most up-to-date and robust facts relevant to the nexus of climate change, agriculture and food security. It is intended to provide a credible and reliable platform for fact checking amid the range of claims that appear in reports, advocacy materials and other sources. Full sources are supplied for all facts and figures and all content has gone through a process of peer review.
The Big Facts project is led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS is a strategic partnership of CGIAR and Future Earth, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CCAFS brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research, climate science and Earth System science, to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security.
Potsdam: Ambitious greenhouse-gas mitigation consistent with the 2 degrees target is likely to require substantial amounts of bioenergy as part of the future energy mix. Though this does not come without risks, global food markets would be affected much more by unmitigated climate change than by an increased bioenergy demand, a study led by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now finds. Agricultural prices could be about 25 percent higher in 2050 through direct climate impacts on crop yields in comparison to a reference scenario without climate change. By way of contrast, a high bioenergy demand as part of a scenario with ambitious mitigation appears to raise prices only about 5 percent.
WRI: The world is projected to hold a whopping 9.6 billion people by 2050. Figuring out how to feed all these people—while also advancing rural development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting valuable ecosystems—is one of the greatest challenges of our era.
So what’s causing the global food challenge, and how can the world solve it? We begin to answer these questions through a series of graphics below. For more information, check out the interim findings of Creating a Sustainable Food Future, a report produced by WRI, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Development Programme, and the World Bank.
NYT: Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.
The warnings come in a leaked draft of a report under development by a United Nations panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The document is not final and could change before it is released in March.
Parts of Pacific Warming 15 Times Faster Than in Past 10,000 Years
Columbia University: A recent slowdown in global warming has led some skeptics to renew their claims that industrial carbon emissions are not causing a century-long rise in Earth’s surface temperatures. But rather than letting humans off the hook, a new study in the leading journal Science adds support to the idea that the oceans are taking up some of the excess heat, at least for the moment. In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000.
Pacific Ocean Heat Content During the Past 10,000 Years
Science 1 November 2013: Vol. 342 no. 6158 pp. 617-621 DOI: 10.1126/science.1240837
The Overseas Development Institute : This report examines the relationship between disasters and poverty.
* Extreme weather linked to climate change is increasing and will likely cause more disasters. Such disasters, especially those linked to drought, can be the most important cause of impoverishment, cancelling progress on poverty reduction.
* Up to 325 million extremely poor people will be living in the 49 most hazard-prone countries in 2030, the majority in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
* The 11 countries most at risk of disaster-induced poverty are Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
* Disaster risk management should be a key component of poverty reduction efforts, focusing on protecting livelihoods as well as saving lives. There is a need to identify and then act where the poor and disaster risks are most concentrated.
* The post-2015 development goals must include targets on disasters and climate change, recognising the threat they pose to the headline goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.
read more: http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/7491-geography-poverty-disasters-climate-change-2030
Alfred Wegener Institute: As a result of climate change the Atlantic cod has moved so far north that it’s juveniles now can even be found in large numbers in the fjords of Spitsbergen. This is the conclusion reached by biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), following an expedition to this specific region of the Arctic Ocean, which used to be dominated by the Polar cod. The scientists now plan to investigate whether the two cod species compete with each other and which species can adapt more easily to the altered habitats in the Arctic. more
PLOS Bio: More than two-thirds of the planet is covered by ocean, and we humans extract a large proportion of our food and other resources from the sea. Awareness of the influence of increased atmospheric CO2 on oceanic resources is typically limited to concerns over loss of sea ice and rising sea levels from warming temperatures. However, the higher temperatures that result from increased atmospheric CO2 can also change oceanic circulation and stratification, as well as increase the rate of photosynthesis by algae, altering the productivity of the system upon which the entire food web is based.
Mora C, Wei C-L, Rollo A, Amaro T, Baco AR, et al. (2013) Biotic and Human Vulnerability to Projected Changes in Ocean Biogeochemistry over the 21st Century. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001682
Princeton: Scientists expect climate change and warmer oceans to push the fish that people rely on for food and income into new territory. Predictions of where and when species will relocate, however, are based on broad expectations about how animals will move and have often not played out in nature. New research based at Princeton University shows that the trick to more precise forecasts is to follow local temperature changes.
The researchers report in the journal Science the first evidence that sea creatures consistently keep pace with “climate velocity,” or the speed and direction in which changes such as ocean temperature move. They compiled 43 years of data related to the movement of 128 million animals from 360 species living around North America, including commercial staples such as lobster, shrimp and cod. They found that 70 percent of shifts in animals’ depth and 74 percent of changes in latitude correlated with regional-scale fluctuations in ocean temperature. read more
Marine Taxa Track Local Climate Velocities
Science 13 September 2013: Vol. 341 no. 6151 pp. 1239-1242 DOI: 10.1126/science.1239352
New research from the University of Exeter and the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorous. Plankton plays an important role in the ocean’s carbon cycle by removing half of all CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and storing it deep under the sea – isolated from the atmosphere for centuries.
Findings published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveal that water temperature has a direct impact on maintaining the delicate plankton ecosystem of our oceans. The new research means that ocean warming will impact plankton, and in turn drive a vicious cycle of climate change. read more
University of Exeter: A new study has revealed that global warming is resulting in the spread of crop pests towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change and carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford, shows a strong relationship between increased global temperatures over the past 50 years and expansion in the range of crop pests. Currently 10-16% of global crop production is lost to pests. Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes. The diversity of crop pests continues to expand and new strains are continually evolving. Losses of major crops to fungi, and fungi-like microorganisms, amount to enough to feed nearly nine percent of today’s global population. The study suggests that these figures will increase further if global temperatures continue to rise as predicted.
Read more: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_316965_en.html
Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world
Daniel P. Bebber, Mark A. T. Ramotowski & Sarah J. Gurr
Nature Climate Change (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1990
Guardian: Hundreds of crop pests are advancing away from the tropics at a rate of nearly two miles a year, research has shown. The mostly likely explanation for the trend is said to be climate change as rising temperatures make new habitats more inviting. Pest invasions driven by global warming have serious implications for agriculture and food security, according to scientists. Already, between 10% and 16% of global crop production is lost to pests such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects and worms.
Losses caused by fungi and fungi-like micro-organisms alone amount to enough to feed 8.5% of the global population.
read more: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/02/climate-change-crop-pests
Phys Org: Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet our knowledge of the impact of climate change on marine habitats is a mere drop in the proverbial ocean compared to terrestrial systems. An international team of scientists set out to change that by conducting a global meta-analysis of climate change impacts on marine systems.
Counter to previous thinking, marine species are shifting their geographic distribution toward the poles and doing so much faster than their land-based counterparts.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-08-ucsb-climate-modifications-marine-life.html#jCp
The findings were published in Nature Climate Change:
Global imprint of climate change on marine life
Nature Climate Change (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1958
USC: Climate change may be weeding out the bacteria that form the base of the ocean’s food chain, selecting certain strains for survival, according to a new USC study.
In climate change, as in everything, there are winners and losers. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperature rise globally, scientists increasingly want to know which organisms will thrive and which will perish in the environment of tomorrow. The answer to this question for nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (bacteria that obtain energy through photosynthesis, or “blue-green algae”) turns out to have implications for every living thing in the ocean. Nitrogen-fixing occurs when certain special organisms like cyanobacteria convert inert — and therefore unusable — nitrogen gas from the air into a reactive form that the majority of other living beings need to survive. Without nitrogen fixers, life in the ocean could not survive for long.
“Our findings show that CO2 has the potential to control the biodiversity of these keystone organisms in ocean biology, and our fossil fuel emissions are probably responsible for changing the types of nitrogen fixers that are growing in the ocean,” said David Hutchins, professor of marine environmental biology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and lead author of an article about this research that appeared in Nature Geoscience on June 30.
– See more at: http://news.usc.edu/#!/article/52911/greenhouse-gas-likely-altering-ocean-foodchain/
ScienceDaily: Greenhouse Gas Likely Altering Ocean Foodchain: Atmospheric CO2 Has Big Consequences for Tiny Bacteria
Taxon-specific response of marine nitrogen fixers to elevated carbon dioxide concentrations
David A. Hutchins, Fei-Xue Fu, Eric A. Webb, Nathan Walworth & Alessandro Tagliabue
Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1858
Received 15 June 2012 Accepted 22 May 2013 Published online 30 June 2013
Guardian: If population levels continue to rise at the current rate, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis, argues computational scientist Stephen Emmott in this extract from his book Ten Billion.
Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. In fact, we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. In fact, I believe we can rightly call the situation we’re in right now an emergency – an unprecedented planetary emergency.
UBC: Climate change has been impacting global fisheries for the past four decades by driving species towards cooler, deeper waters, according to University of British Columbia scientists.
In a Nature study published this week, UBC researchers used temperature preferences of fish and other marine species as a sort of “thermometer” to assess effects of climate change on the worlds oceans between 1970 and 2006. They found that global fisheries catches were increasingly dominated by warm-water species as a result of fish migrating towards the poles in response to rising ocean temperatures.
“One way for marine animals to respond to ocean warming is by moving to cooler regions,” says the study’s lead author William Cheung, an assistant professor at UBC’s Fisheries Centre. “As a result, places like New England on the northeast coast of the U.S. saw new species typically found in warmer waters, closer to the tropics. “Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security.”
PEW: Scientists Detect Global Shift in Species
For the first time, scientists have shown that ocean warming has had a global impact on the mix of species caught by fishermen. Previous studies indicated that some species are shifting location in response to temperature increases, with fish gradually moving away from the equator into cooler waters. However, research published in May 2013 in Nature shows that species from warmer waters have also been replacing those traditionally caught in many fisheries worldwide at least since 1970.
The authors found that, except in the tropics, catch composition in most ecosystems slowly changed to include more warm-water species and fewer cool-water species. In the tropics, the catch followed a similar pattern from 1970 to 1980 and then stabilized, likely because there are no species with high enough temperature preferences to replace those that declined. Statistical models showed that the increase in warm-water species was significantly related to increasing ocean temperatures.
Guardian: Potsdam Institute projection suggests population growth would increase imported food, even without climate change.
Although many countries choose to import food right now, the model showed that there are surprisingly few that could not maintain the same diet and still be food self-sufficient. “Today, 66 countries are not able to be self-sufficient due to water and/or land constraints,” said Fader. This equates to 16% of the world’s population depending on food imported from other countries. The countries with the most reliance on imports were found in North Africa, the Middle East and Central America, with over half the population depending on imported food in many of these locations. Outside those locations many countries could become food self-sufficient if they chose to.
Spatial decoupling of agricultural production and consumption: quantifying dependences of countries on food imports due to domestic land and water constraints
Marianela Fader et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 014046
© 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd
Received 12 November 2012, accepted for publication 6 March 2013
Published 26 March 2013
Guardian: Drought, rocketing bread prices, food and water shortages have all blighted parts of the Middle East. Analysts at the Centre for American Progress in Washington say a combination of food shortages and other environmental factors exacerbated the already tense politics of the region. As the Observer reports today, an as-yet unpublished US government study indicates that the world needs to prepare for much more of the same, as food prices spiral and longstanding agricultural practices are disrupted by climate change.
“We should expect much more political destabilisation of countries as it bites,” says Richard Choularton, a policy officer in the UN’s World Food Programme climate change office. “What is different now from 20 years ago is that far more people are living in places with a higher climatic risk; 650 million people now live in arid or semi-arid areas where floods and droughts and price shocks are expected to have the most impact.
By Karen Sanje
MZUZU, Malawi (AlertNet) – Less than three years after Ezelina Nyirongo reluctantly abandoned cultivation of her favourite local maize varieties, the 48-year-old from Rumphi in northern Malawi is thinking of going back to them. Back in 2010, Nyirongo was advised by agricultural extension officers working in her area, near the city of Mzuzu, to switch from late-maturing local maize to new hybrid varieties.
Vietnam.net: Final results of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded study, that were released at a regional workshop in Bangkok, indicate that changes in climate will likely trigger decreases in yields and in the suitability of key commercial and staple crops of the region. The basic staple crop of the region – the rain-fed rice – would see a significant decrease in yield in seven out of eight provinces across the region that had been identified by the study as “hot spots.”
USAID: Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Study for the Lower Mekong Basin
CCRC; Aus: Shallow coral reefs may be even more susceptible to increasing acidity caused by heightened levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans than previously recognised.
In the same way that small increases in global temperature can lead to more extremely hot, record-breaking days, new research published today in Global Change Biology (doi: 10.1111/gcb.12154) has revealed that small increases in overall ocean acidity can lead to extreme localised changes in ocean pH around shallow coastal reefs and ecosystems. More
EEA: There are more than 10 000 alien species present in Europe, and the rate of new introductions has accelerated and is still increasing. At least 15 % of these alien species are known to have a negative ecological or economic impact. However, non-native species – for example, some food crops – can also have huge benefits.
The first report, The impacts of invasive alien species in Europe, details the effects and spread of some species. The second report, Invasive alien species indicators in Europe discusses the methodological approach in bringing this data together.
The most common reason species are introduced elsewhere is for horticulture, while others may be brought into new areas for other reasons including farming, hunting, and fishing, or as pets, the report notes. Transport is not always intentional – for example, zebra mussels have stowed away in the ballast water of ships to proliferate in European lakes. Increasing trade and tourism in recent decades may have led to increasing numbers of alien species. Climate change may also play a role in the spread of these species, the report says, making some areas more favourable to plants and animals originally from elsewhere.
Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said: “In many areas, ecosystems are weakened by pollution, climate change and fragmentation. Alien species invasions are a growing pressure on the natural world, which are extremely difficult to reverse.” More
The University of Adelaide: A worldwide review of global rainfall data led by the University of Adelaide has found that the intensity of the most extreme rainfall events is increasing across the globe as temperatures rise. In the most comprehensive review of changes to extreme rainfall ever undertaken, researchers evaluated the association between extreme rainfall and atmospheric temperatures at more than 8000 weather gauging stations around the world. Lead author Dr Seth Westra said, “The results are that rainfall extremes are increasing on average globally. They show that there is a 7% increase in extreme rainfall intensity for every degree increase in global atmospheric temperature. “Assuming an increase in global average temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, this could mean very substantial increases in rainfall intensity as a result of climate change.” More
Global increasing trends in annual maximum daily precipitation
Seth Westra, Lisa V. Alexander, and Francis W. Zwiers
Journal of Climate 2012 ; e-View doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00502.1
This study investigates the presence of trends in annual maximum daily precipitation timeseries obtained from a global dataset of 8326 high quality land-based observing stations with more than 30 years of record over the period from 1900 to 2009.
Global warming from greenhouse gases affects rainfall patterns in the world differently than that from solar heating, according to a study by an international team of scientists in the January 31 issue of Nature. Using computer model simulations, the scientists, led by Jian Liu (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Bin Wang (International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa), showed that global rainfall has increased less over the present-day warming period than during the Medieval Warm Period, even though temperatures are higher today than they were then. More
Nature: Divergent global precipitation changes induced by natural versus anthropogenic forcing, Nature 493, 656–659 (31 January 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11784
As a result of global warming, precipitation is likely to increase in high latitudes and the tropics and to decrease in already dry subtropical regions
Global Crop Diversity Trust: New Pact Invests US$109 Million to Secure Raw Genetic Material Critical to Maintaining Food Production Worldwide
Concerned that inconsistent funding eventually could weaken a global network of seed banks at a time when farmers face unprecedented challenges, two of the world’s leading agriculture organizations announced today a bold new effort to secure what many consider the foundation of food security in the developing world.
“With climate change greatly intensifying demands on plant breeders to develop new heat-, drought- and flood-tolerant crops, it is particularly important for the samples conserved in the CGIAR’s genebanks to be readily accessible and in optimal condition,” said Åslaug Marie Haga, incoming executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. “The viability of agriculture depends on the incredible treasure of crop diversity housed in the CGIAR genebanks.” More
* Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.
* Food losses and waste amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
* Industrialized and developing countries dissipate roughly the same quantities of food — respectively 670 and 630 million tonnes.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Today, we produce about four billion metric tonnes of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach. Furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands. More
AlertNet : As glaciers melt in the Andes, western areas of South America can expect a period of repeated, extreme flooding that will later give way to drought conditions, creating new challenges for millions of people, researchers warn. Tropical Andean glaciers and high-altitude ecosystems are vital to the economies of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia. The 8 million inhabitants of Peru’s capital Lima depend on them for drinking water. The Bolivian capital, La Paz, takes 30 to 40 percent of its drinking water from glaciers in the Cordillera Real. Glacial water powers hydro-electric generation and feeds agriculture in all four countries, while supporting biodiversity in the high Andes. More
The Climate Reality Project:
Dirty energy has created a world of Dirty Weather. Today, climate disruption affects us all. And it will take all of us together to solve it. Join us for 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report, when together we will stand up and demand real solutions to the climate crisis.
24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report officially launches at 8 p.m. EST on November 14. In the first hour, experts will discuss Dirty Weather, its origins, and what it means for all of us. Within the context of Superstorm Sandy, this hour will also include a special focus on the increasing costs associated with inaction on climate change.
Guardian: Storms have battered ancient towns and left large swaths of farmland in Tuscany under water, prompting a warning from the region’s governor, Enrico Rossi, that “climate change is making us get used to ever more violent flooding”.
guardian: As the UN and Oxfam warn of the dangers ahead, expert analyst Lester Brown says time to solve the problem is running out
CIAT: Higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns could transform the agricultural landscape of Central America, threatening the livelihoods of one million maize and bean farmers, according to a pioneering report released today that for the first time takes a specific look at the impact of climate change on a local level. Continue
NASA: Nearly two thirds of the contiguous United States was experiencing some level of drought by the end of August 2012, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 39 percent of the nation suffered from severe to extreme drought. Though the numbers changed a bit in mid-September, the drought parched much of the interior United States and left both domestic and wild animals scrounging for food. Continue
(AlertNet) – Climate change is a major threat to the world’s food supply and to biodiversity, and prompt action to deal with it is crucial, environmental experts said at the close of the World Conservation Congress. Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that shifts in weather patterns suggest that problems for people and the environment will multiply if no action is taken on climate change.Continue
Oceana’s new report, Ocean-Based Food Security Threatened in a High CO2 World ranks nations to show which are most vulnerable to reductions in seafood production as a result of climate change and ocean acidification. While seafood is currently a primary source of protein for more than a billion of the poorest people in the world, carbon dioxide emissions are causing the oceans to warm and become more acidic, threatening fisheries and the people who depend on them. Continue
LONDON (AlertNet) – Malnutrition is likely to be the most serious health threat linked to climate shifts in the coming decades, as farmers struggle to cope with more unpredictable weather, a top health expert has said.
Linkages between climate change, extreme weather and health have so far focused mainly on an expected increase in deaths from disasters and heat waves, as well as rising cases of malaria, dengue fever and diarrhoea. Continue
TED Talks: Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
Tristram Stuart sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps. Continue
InterAction Council: The world today confronts a water crisis with critical implications for peace, political stability and economic development, experts warn in a new report issued jointly by the InterAction Council (IAC), a group of 40 prominent former government leaders and heads of state, United Nations University, and Canada’s Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
“The future political impact of water scarcity may be devastating,” says former Canadian Prime Minister and IAC co-chair Jean Chrétien. “Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future. The IAC is calling on the United Nations Security Council to recognize water as one of the top security concerns facing the global community.”
“Starting to manage water resources more effectively and efficiently now will enable humanity to better respond to today’s problems and to the surprises and troubles we can expect in a warming world.”
In her foreword to the report, “The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue,” IAC member and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, underlined the danger in many regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa or West Asia and North Africa, where critical water shortages already exist. Continue
AlertNet: Twenty more “Niles” needed to feed growing population.
The world needs to find the equivalent of the flow of 20 Nile rivers by 2025 to grow enough food to feed a rising population and help avoid conflicts over water scarcity, a group of former leaders said on Monday.
Factors such as climate change would strain freshwater supplies and nations including China and India were likely to face shortages within two decades, they said, calling on the U.N. Security Council to get more involved. Continue
CNN: STORY HIGHLIGHTS
* Ukraine to Yellowstone, in Pakistan and Kazakhstan, the earth is parched
* Drought in the Black Sea region has led to decrease in wheat, raised export prices
* Late monsoon season in India and Pakistan has put plants at risk
Guradian: Climate change’s impact on future food prices is being underestimated, Oxfam warned in a report on Wednesday. The development charity predicts that massive price spikes will be a devastating blow to the world’s poorest people who today spend up to 75% of their income on food, and will also adversely affect UK consumers.
Its report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Price, suggests extreme weather events such as droughts and floods – made more likely by global warming – could drive up future food prices. Previous research has tended to consider gradual impacts of rising global temperatures, such as changing rainfall patterns. Continue
UN: Joint statement from FAO, IFAD and WFP on international food prices:
The current situation in world food markets, characterized by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices, has raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 world food crisis. But swift, coordinated international action can stop that from happening. We need to act urgently to make sure that these price shocks do not turn into a catastrophe hurting tens of millions over the coming months. Continue
World Bank: Global food prices soared by 10 percent in July from a month ago, with maize and soybean reaching all-time peaks due to an unprecedented summer of droughts and high temperatures in both the United States and Eastern Europe, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Food Price watch report
From June to July, maize and wheat rose by 25 percent each, soybeans by 17 percent, and only rice went down, by 4 percent. Overall, the World Bank’s Food Price Index, which tracks the price of internationally traded food commodities, was 6 percent higher than in July of last year, and 1 percent over the previous peak of February 2011.
“Food prices rose again sharply threatening the health and well-being of millions of people,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly.” Continue
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies: Life in the world’s oceans faces far greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, a team of the world’s leading marine scientists has warned. The researchers from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK have compared events which drove massive extinctions of sea life in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today.
Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were associated with global warming and acidification of the oceans – trends which also apply today, the scientists say in a new article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from seawaters, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing – or a combination of these factors. “Currently, the Earth is again in a period of increased extinctions and extinction risks, this time mainly caused by human factors,” the scientists stated. While the data is harder to collect at sea than on land, the evidence points strongly to similar pressures now being felt by sea life as for land animals and plants. Continue
The 2012 Marine Climate Change in Australia Report Card demonstrates that climate change is having significant impacts on Australia’s marine ecosystems.
Key findings show:
warming sea temperatures are influencing the distribution of marine plants and animals, with species currently found in tropical and temperate waters likely to move south
new research suggests winds over the Southern Ocean and current dynamics are strongly influencing foraging of seabirds that breed in south-east Australia and feed close to the Antarctic each summer
some tropical fish species have a greater ability to acclimatise to rising water temperatures than previously thought
the Australian science community is widely engaged in research, monitoring and observing programs to increase our understanding of climate change impacts and inform management
adaptation planning is happening now, from seasonal forecast for fisheries and aquaculture, to climate-proofing of breeding sites for turtles and seabirds.
FAO: The severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States following extensive drought damage pushed up maize prices by almost 23 percent in July. International wheat quotations also surged 19 percent amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies. Continue
NOAA: July 2012: hottest month on record for contiguous United States
AlertNet: U.S. drought, food prices fan fears of new crisis
Oxford Research Group: Rising food prices point to a potential crisis later this year as poor communities across the world find themselves unable to afford basic foodstuffs. The crisis now unfolding has some similarities to the major problems that occurred in 2008 that led to food riots in many countries. It also has echoes of the much more severe World Food Crisis in 1973/74. This time, though, there is mounting evidence that climate change is playing a role. Continue