Food, fiber and forest products

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.

With Rapid Warming in Northern Latitudes, Massive Shift is Underway in Growing Seasons and Vegetation

An international team of researchers has found that rapid warming in northern latitudes has resulted in a decline in temperature seasonality --  the difference between summer and winter temperatures -- which in turn has shifted growing seasons in the region.  "Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982," says NASA in a press release today (10 March 2013).  "This landscape resembles what was found 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 kilometers) to the south in 1982,"  the agency explains.  "It's like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years," said co-author Compton Tucker of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  "The global implications of these large shifts in a region covering a fifth of our planet cannot be understated," says Martin Sommerkorn Head of Conservation for WWF's Global Arctic Programme.

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."

Southwest U.S. Forests Projected by 2050 to See Worst Drought Conditions in at Least 1,000 years, With Extensive Forest Die-off

Scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that the drought-stress currently being experienced by forests in the Southwestern U.S. "is more severe than any event since the late 1500s megadrought" that "probably led to deaths of a large proportion of trees living at the time." They warn that climate projections indicate that "the mean forest drought-stress by the 2050s will exceed that of the most severe droughts in the past 1,000 years."

To Politicians Napping on the Fireline: Wake Up, Smell the Smoke and Act on Climate Change

Extraordinary wildfire conditions are among the indications that climate change is well underway in the Southwestern U.S.  Cities and towns in the region are responding, showing leadership where the federal government does not.  Alas, many of our elected representatives in Washington are napping on the fireline. They need to wake up, smell the smoke and take climate change seriously.

Colorado Congressman Wants Federal Support for Fossil Fuels -- and for Coping with their Climate Impacts

Congressman Cory Gardner, a freshman Republican representing a large part of northern and eastern Colorado, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Gardner along with the majority of committee members, supports expanded U.S. production of fossil fuels. Pollutants released by those fuels are accumulating in the atmosphere and making his state and the rest of the Southwest hotter and drier. Gardner and many of his colleagues deny that fossil fuel use seriously threatens climate, and oppose regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. While they promote policies that undermine Federal efforts to address the threat of climate change, their home states and districts are experiencing weather extremes -- and impacts -- that foreshadow the ultimate consequences of such policies.  The High Park Fire in Gardner's district has torched 87,284 acres, burned 257 houses and has cost $33.5 million to suppress. To the south, in Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed 346 homes this week, and threatens over 20,000 more homes.

IPCC Says Essential Actions Needed to Reduce Risks of Changing Climate Extremes

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) approved on Friday (18 Nov 2011) a report on preparing for weather and climate extremes. The report’s summary warns that a changing climate “can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events” and says that actions ranging “from incremental steps to transformational change are essential for reducing risk from climate extremes.” The U.S. this year has experienced a record fourteen weather-related disasters each in excess of a billion dollars – and many more disasters of lesser magnitudes. Yet the U.S. has no national climate change preparedness strategy; and Federal efforts to address the rising risks have been undermined through budget cuts and other means. Though seriously constrained by the lack of strong and unified leadership in Washington, communities and others around the country nevertheless are taking commonsense actions to address the emerging impacts of increasingly disruptive climate extremes.

White House Reports on Climate Change Adaptation, as Communities Face Rising Impacts Without National Strategy

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on Friday (28 October 2011) released a second annual progress report from the government’s Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.  Despite the significant progress summarized in "Federal Actions for a Climate Resilient Nation," the U.S. still has no national strategy for adapting to climate change, leaving America dangerously unprepared for climate conditions that are becoming more extreme and disruptive. With Washington (and the field of presidential candidates) largely AWOL in responding to climate change, the burden shifts to cities and towns across the country to face these growing extremes mostly on their own.  Fortunately, some communities and businesses around America  are beginning to prepare.  Unfortunately, those cities and businesses are the exception, not the rule.

Join Us for 24 Hours of Reality

This year has given way to record breaking weather extremes. From the Midwest blizzard that shut down Chicago to the Mississippi flooding, Texas drought and Hurricane Irene. It’s been a record year for billion-dollar disasters and these extremes are projected to become more frequent as the climate changes. On Wednesday September 14th (2011) the Climate Reality Project is showing 24 hours of reality on the climate crisis. While 2011 has provided a window into the extreme weather of the future, the event is showing the world in every time zone the reality of climate change, connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change.

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