The 2009 State of the Climate report draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.
As governments, businesses, and homeowners plan for the future, they should assume that the world’s oceans will rise by at least two meters — roughly seven feet — this century. But far too few agencies or individuals are preparing for the inevitable increase in sea level that will take place as polar ice sheets melt.
by Rob Young and Orrin Pilkey
Climate change was a brutal reality for hundreds of millions of people in 2009: the Indian monsoon failed, drought afflicted the Americas, and one morning Australia woke to a vision of climate catastrophe.
credit: Wikimedia Commons
Alliance of Small Island States say any deal that allows temperatures to rise by more than 1.5C is ‘not negotiable’
More than half the world’s countries say they are determined not to sign up to any deal that allows temperatures to rise by more than 1.5C – as opposed to 2C, which the major economies would prefer.
Press Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 10 December 2009, Alliance of Small Island States
Status of negotiations
At the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, the International Geosphere-Biosphere programme launches the IGBP Climate-Change Index.
The index brings together key indicators of global change: carbon dioxide, temperature, sea level and sea ice to give an annual snapshot of how the planet’s complex systems – the ice, the oceans, the atmosphere – are responding to the changing climate
Press Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 9 December 2009, International Council for Science (ICSU):
Climate change index launch (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme).
The climate and development organization Germanwatch published its Global Climate Risk Index 2010 in Copenhagen today, ranking Bangladesh, Myanmar and Honduras as the countries most severely affected by extreme weather events from 1990 to 2008. When only considering the year 2008, Myanmar, Yemen and Viet Nam have been hit hardest. According to Germanwatch, the Index, based on data made available by the NatCatSERVICE database of Munich Re, underlines the need for the current climate summit to step in and to help those countries to adapt to climate change.
The Global Climate Risk Index of 2010 analysed the impacts of weather-related loss events – mainly storms, floods and heatwaves – for all countries currently negotiating in Copenhagen. Sven Harmeling, author of the Index at Germanwatch, comments: “Weather extremes are an increasing threat for lives and economic values across the world, and their impacts will likely grow larger in the future due to climate change. Our analyses show that in particular poor countries are severely affected.”
We must act today to stop treating the atmosphere like an ashtray. Global warming is already claiming 300,000 lives each year, and threatening many hundreds of millions more.
The Climate Orb shows stories collected by Greenpeace and many other organisations that are collaborating this year as part of the TckTckTck campaign. If climate change is affecting you or your region – please submit a story to go on this Orb! If you’re witnessing unusual changes in your environment – whether it’s flooding, droughts or simply noticing the birds that don’t come to your garden anymore – we want to hear about it.
The secret to securing a safe future for everyone is a strong, fair, and binding international deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Our leaders will make decisions this December at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen (COP15). It might seem like the future is in their hands. But really, it’s in ours: If we all speak loudly enough, with one voice, they will know we care about this issue and they will listen.
WWF and Allianz climate report
If tipping points that are mainly triggered by rising global temperatures were unleashed, the world’s diverse regions and ecosystems would suffer from devastating environmental, social and economic changes, according to a new report by WWF and Allianz.
Current discussions consider global warming a process similar to a steady flow of water in our bathrooms and kitchens, where temperature goes up gradually, controlled by a turn of the tap. But the Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector states that warming of global temperatures is likely to take a much more unpredictable turn – one that could cost the world hundreds of billions.
If action is not taken immediately, sea level rise on the East Coast of the USA, the shift to an arid climate in California, disturbances of the Indian Summer Monsoon in India and Nepal or the dieback of the Amazon rainforest due to increasing drought, are likely to affect hundreds millions of people and cost hundreds of billions.
The study explores impacts of these “tipping points,” including their economic consequences and implications for the insurance sector. It also shows how close the world is to reaching “tipping points” in many regions of the world, or rises in temperature that will tip the scales toward disaster.
The Government of Maldives will host a high-level climate change summit to highlight the impact of climate change on vulnerable states from 9-10 November 2009, in Bandos Island Resort, Republic of Maldives.
This meeting will be an important gathering of Heads of States and Government of a geographic selection of ‘climate vulnerable states” and their representatives, and will be the first of its kind to draw attention to the specific challenges, adaptation and green development needs of the most vulnerable states to global climate change.
The Forum is aimed at developing a consensus to amplify the voices of these countries, and will result in a Declaration that will be presented at the Copenhagen UNFCCC COP15. It is anticipated that this declaration will form a valuable contribution for successful conclusion of negotiations at the Copenhagen conference.
Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam, Kiribati, Rwanda, Ghana, Barbados, Bhutan, Tanzania.
Climate Vulnerable Forum issues declaration
“No Place Like Home” highlights the humanitarian plight of an estimated 150 million people whose homes will be lost as a result of climate change by 2050. These ‘climate refugees’ are not recognised under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees and the report calls for a new international legal agreement to help them survive.
The report details the growing economic and humanitarian costs of climate change attributable for the deaths of over 300,000 people and economic losses of US$125 billion annually, reporting that an estimated 500 – 600 million people, around 10% of the planet’s human population, are at extreme risk from the adverse effects of climate change.
The report calls for a new international agreement to address the sheer scale and human cost of climate change, and secure fairer and more equitable long-term solutions.’
A new map illustrating the global consequences of failing to keep temperature change to under 2 °C was launched today by the UK Government, in partnership with the Met Office.
The map was developed using the latest peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading impact scientists. The poster highlights some of the impacts that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4 °C above the pre-industrial climate average.
Ahead of December’s international climate change talks in Copenhagen, the Government is aiming for an agreement that limits climate change as far as possible to 2 °C. Increases of more than two degrees will have huge impacts on the world.
The poster shows that a four degree average rise will not be spread uniformly across the globe. The land will heat up more quickly than the sea, and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases. The average land temperature will be 5.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
The impacts on human activity shown on the map are only a selection of those that may occur, and highlight the severe effects on water availability, agricultural productivity, extreme temperatures and drought, the risk of forest fire and sea-level rise.
Paradise lost? Global warming has all but sealed the fate of the world’s coral reefs. Follow our interactive guide of reefs to see before they die.
Tuvalu, the tiny Pacific island nation halfway between Australia and Hawaii, is set to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world.
The rising tide caused by global warming seemed like it would eventually submerge low-lying Tuvalu’s nine coral islands, five of which are atolls. There was even talk of moving its 12,000-plus inhabitants to Australia.
Tuvalu is one of the places on earth that is most vulnerable to the affects of global warming. The threat of sea level rise may bring complete disaster to the 10,000 Tuvaluans residing on nine extremely low-lying coral atolls.”We live in constant fear of the adverse impacts of climate change. For a coral atoll nation, sea level rise and more severe weather events loom as a growing threat to our entire population. The threat is real and serious, and is of no difference to a slow and insidious form of terrorism against us.”
-Saufatu Sopoanga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, at the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly New York, 24th September 2003