Coastal systems and low-lying areas

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WWF Climate Blog Has Moved to New Location

The WWF climate blog now is located at a different Web address: worldwildlife.org/blogs/wwf-climate-blog.  All posts since May 2013 are at that location, while older posts will remain archived on this site.  The new site will have a single RSS feed at worldwildlife.org/blogs/wwf-climate-blog.rss.

U.S. Unveils Arctic Strategy while Announcing that Atmospheric Concentrations of Carbon Dioxide Have Surpassed Historic Level

The White House on Friday (10 May 2013) released a National Strategy for the Arctic Region, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that daily average atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) had on 9 May surpassed for the first time on record 400.00 parts per million (ppm) at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The rise in CO2 concentrations, largely driven by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, is rapidly warming the Arctic.  The strategy acknowledges that “the current warming trend is unlike anything previously recorded” and that “there may be potentially profound environmental consequences of continued ocean warming and Arctic ice melt.” The document recognizes the Administration’s “global objective of combating the climatic changes that are driving these environmental conditions.” But the strategy also invokes U.S. security interests to argue that that “[c]ontinuing to responsibly develop Arctic oil and gas resources aligns with the United States `all of the above’ approach to developing new domestic energy sources.” In the absence of a U.S. low-carbon development strategy, is not clear how the U.S. ultimately will reconcile expanded fossil fuel production in the region with its commitment to combat climate change.

Dirty Dishes and Climate Change: Taking a Small First Step Toward a Safer Future

"I hate cleaning the kitchen. I put it off until it becomes a growling, reeking monster," says Lou Leonard, head of WWF's climate program in this piece reposted from the Huffington Post.  However, he adds, it doesn't have to be this way. "Even when the job seems too big, take it in chunks, something easy first, build your momentum...It turns out, this approach works for big problems beyond my kitchen -- from eating healthy to getting more exercise to moving away from dangerous fossil fuels and tackling climate change."

San Francisco Named Earth Hour Capital

In recognition of San Francisco’s comprehensive efforts to promote renewable energy and prepare its residents for extreme weather and other consequences of climate change, an international jury has named the city U.S. Earth Hour Capital for 2013. As part of this honor, the city will receive World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour Climate Leaders Award and $30,000 to support its work engaging San Franciscans around climate impacts on the city’s future.

Video (PBS): How Cities Should Prepare for Climate Disruption and Sea Level Rise

Should cities be preparing for the consequences of climate disruption and rising sea levels?  As part of the PBS Newshour series on "Coping With Climate Change," Ray Suarez discusses the question with Joseph Romm of Center for American Progress and American Enterprise Institute's Kenneth Green.

In Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Group Issues Report Saying Observed Climate Change Impacts "Have Little National Significance"

In 2009, a publicly funded assessment of the impacts of climate change, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, warned in its key findings that "coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge." Now, just days after "Frankenstorm" Sandy pushed the most destructive and costly storm surge on record for the U.S. mid-Atlantic into the region's heavily populated coastal areas, the libertarian Cato Institute is treating Americans to a Halloween trick. It released today (31 October 2012) a slick study masquerading as an updated "Addendum" to the Federal report. In its key findings, Cato entirely drops any mention of storm surges and says the "[i]mpacts of observed climate change have little national significance."

Federal Report: Rising Seas and Climate Change Threaten Coasts, as Local Governments Shoulder Much of the Preparedness Burden

A new report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in coastal areas of the U.S. warns that coping with sea level rise and coastal disruption "will be a challenge for coastal economies that contributed $8.3 trillion to the GDP in 2011." It says that local governments will have to shoulder much of the burden of "making the critical, basic land-use and public investment decisions and ...working with community stakeholder groups to implement adaptive measures on the ground."

13th National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Disasters and Environment -- Science, Preparedness, and Resilience

Event Date: 
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (All day) - Thursday, January 17, 2013 (All day)
Event Location: 
Washington, DC

"On January 15-17, 2013, join over 1,200 leaders from the emergency response, scientific, policy, conservation, and business communities, as well as federal and local government officials, to address themes such as cascading disasters, the intersection of the built and natural environments, disasters as mechanisms of ecosystem change, rethinking recovery and expanding the vision of mitigation, human behavior and its consequences and "No Regrets" resilience."

In Alaska's Chukchi Sea: Shell Resumes Offshore Drilling as Nearby Walruses are Forced Onshore

The story of this year's Arctic sea ice decline did not end on 16 September when the sea ice reached its official minimum extent for the Arctic overall. The decline has continued in the Chukchi Sea -- with momentous consequences. While the National Ice Center indicated that a large "marginal ice zone" was present north of Alaska on 16 September, that zone continued to decline and on 24 September the marginal ice zone had been entirely replaced by open water.

"An Unprecedented Planetary Distress Signal": Arctic Sea Ice Extent Bottoms Out at a Record Low

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center today (19 Sept 2012) announced that the extent of Arctic sea ice reached an annual minimum of 1.32 million square miles, the lowest sea ice extent on record (since 1979 when satellites started to regularly monitor the ice). The extraordinary sea ice decline has enormous implications in the region, and has consequences that extend well south of the Arctic. “In a year of record-breaking extremes, shocking has become the new normal," says Lou Leonard, Managing Director for Climate Change at WWF-US. "But what’s happened in the Arctic this summer should be on the front page of every newspaper. This is an unprecedented planetary distress signal.”

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