Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

SOURCE: New Zealand Herald DATE: October 11, 2017 SNIP: Climate change is proving a bigger factor in people’s decisions to migrate more than income and political freedom combined, Kiwi researchers say. An analysis by Otago University economics researcher Dr Dennis Wesselbaum and Victoria University Master’s student Amelia Aburn crunched figures around migration flows between 16 OECD destination and 198 origin countries, including New Zealand, across 35 years. Their results suggested it to be a more important driver than even income and political freedom put together. “In combination, the effect of climate change through higher temperatures and an increase in the incidence of disasters is more important than the effects of income and policy at origin [country] together,” they reported. “In conclusion, our results suggest that climate change is a key driver of migration.” “Given the overwhelming evidence about the expected adverse effects of climate change in the future, we can expect that it will become an even more important driver of migration in the future,” the authors...
The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior

The Real Unknown of Climate Change: Our Behavior

SOURCE: The New York Times DATE: September 18, 2017 SNIP: In the 1970s, the experts made a best guess about how sensitive the Earth would be to greenhouse gases, and as evidence accumulates, that early estimate is holding up pretty well. Forecasts from the 1980s and 1990s about the rate of warming have proven fairly accurate, too, give or take 20 percent. In fact, to the degree our scientists have made a systematic error, it has been to understate how quickly things would unravel. The sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing in front of our eyes. Even more ominously, land ice is melting at an accelerating pace, threatening a future rise of the sea even faster than that of today. Huge forest die-offs are beginning, even as the remaining forests work overtime to suck up some of the carbon pollution that humans are pumping out. We are already seeing heat waves surpassing 120 degrees Fahrenheit, sooner than many experts thought likely. Every time some politician stands up and claims that climate science is rife with uncertainties, a more honest person would add that those uncertainties could just as easily go against us as in our favor. The truth is that the single biggest uncertainty in climate science has nothing to do with the physics of the atmosphere, or the stability of the ice, or anything like that. The great uncertainty is, and has always been, how much carbon pollution humans are going to choose to pump into the...
New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats

New Climate Risk Classification Created to Account for Potential “Existential” Threats

SOURCE: Scripps Institution of Oceanography and PNAS DATE: September 14, 2017 SNIP: Researchers identify a one-in-20 chance of temperature increase causing catastrophic damage or worse by 2050. A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity. The risk assessment stems from the objective stated in the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change that society keep average global temperatures “well below” a 2°C (3.6°F) increase from what they were before the Industrial Revolution. Even if that objective is met, a global temperature increase of 1.5°C (2.7°F) is still categorized as “dangerous,” meaning it could create substantial damage to human and natural systems. A temperature increase greater than 3°C (5.4°F) could lead to what the researchers term “catastrophic” effects, and an increase greater than 5°C (9°F) could lead to “unknown” consequences which they describe as beyond catastrophic including potentially existential...
Taking the Long View: The ‘Forever Legacy’ of Climate Change

Taking the Long View: The ‘Forever Legacy’ of Climate Change

SOURCE: Yale Environment 360 DATE: September 12, 2017 SNIP: Although we will unquestionably have a less hospitable climate in 2100 than today, that will be nothing compared to what might lie in store in 2200 and beyond. Yes, in 2100, sea levels might be three or more feet higher than today, which will be bad for low-lying nations like Bangladesh and U.S. states like Florida. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue at roughly today’s levels for another century, that may mean that sea levels 500 years from now would be nearly 50 feet higher as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt. That would mean losing large swaths of coastal areas worldwide. This is not alarmism; this is where the science takes...
Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told

Australia faces potentially disastrous consequences of climate change, inquiry told

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: Aug 10, 2017 SNIP: Military and climate experts, including a former chief of the defence force, have warned that Australia faces potential “disastrous consequences” from climate change, including “revolving” natural disasters and the forced migration of tens of millions of people across the region, overwhelming security forces and government. [Former defence force chief Adm Chris] Barrie said the security threat of climate change was comparable to that posed by nuclear war, and said the Australian continent would be most affected by changing climate. “We will suffer great effects from these changes, such as new weather patterns; droughts, sea-level rises and storm surges, because we have substantial urban infrastructure built on the coastal fringe; ravages of more intense and more frequent heatwaves and tropical revolving...