Utilities and Infrastructure

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.

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."

Rising Temperatures Expose Cities' Vulnerable Electrical Supplies

A report  from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) released last week highlights the many ways infrastructure critical to American cities is vulnerable to weather extremes -- with some vulnerabilities well beyond city limits.  That infrastructure includes the electrical supply, transmission and distribution systems. Extreme summer heat drives up electricity demand for cooling; and can strain the systems and increase the risks of very costly and disruptive blackouts.

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.

Pay Now, Pay Later: A State-by-State Assessment of the Costs of Climate Change

The American Security Project on 19 April 2011 released a series of 50 reports -- one for each state -- on the economic consequences of not sharply curbing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the pace of climate change.  "There will be costs to our economic security from climate change—and significant ones at that—if we do nothing but continue business as usual," says Christine Todd Whitman, President of The Whitman Strategy Group and co-chair of the Republican Leadership Council.

Pakistan Flood Provides Warning for Growing Climate Disasters

A new report released from Refugee International addresses the rising threat of climate change on vulnerable countries and populations. The report draws from the Pakistan flood as an example of the coming increase in extreme weather events from climate change and as a lesson of inadequate response and preparedness. 

Leading Reinsurer Reports Unusually High Number of Weather-Related Disasters in First Nine Months of 2010

Noting the exceptionally high number and magnitude of weather-related disaster losses so far in 2010, leading reinsurer Munich Re yesterday (27 Sep 2010) linked the trend to socio-economic factors -- and to climate change.  “It’s as if the weather machine had changed up a gear," says Prof. Peter Höppe of Munich Re.  "Unless binding carbon reduction targets stay on the agenda, future generations will bear the consequences.”  Among those hardest hit: Mexico, host of the United Nations Climate Change Conference later this year.

Pakistan Floods "a Case Study of a Climate Disaster" Showing Need to Slow Climate Change, Prepare for Impacts

"What is happening in Pakistan cannot be described in a single word – like disaster or catastrophe," says Professor Richard Rood of the University of Michigan's Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. "We are watching a combination of climate, weather, population, societal capacity, and geopolitics whose scope and ramifications are far beyond a `historic flood.'"

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