Weekly climate disasters give new urgency to resilience

July 9, 2019 by  
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Somewhere in the world, there is a climate disaster unfolding every week. According to the leading disaster risk reduction adviser for the United Nation’s secretary general, climate related disasters are affecting thousands of people every week, whether or not they get media coverage. The U.N.’s adviser, Mami Mizutori, told reporters that governments need to adjust their policies to not only prioritize but mandate disaster-resilient infrastructure immediately. According to Mizutori, a 3 percent budget increase for all new infrastructure projects could cover the additional cost of making such projects resilient to storms, floods and other climate-related crises. That 3 percent rise in spending equates to a total of $2.7 trillion USD by 2040. While anything in the trillions might seem like a lot of money to the average person, when it is spread around the world’s nearly 200 countries across 20 years, the price tag is actually quite modest. In comparison, the U.N. estimates that these climate disasters cost the world at least $520 billion USD every year, so it seems logical to invest a little into reducing not only that cost but also the loss of lives. Related: Disaster-resilient housing saves lives and dollars “Resilience needs to become a commodity that people will pay for,” warned Mizutori. “This is not a lot of money [in the context of infrastructure spending], but investors have not been doing enough.” Most of the discussion about climate change at the international level revolves around reducing carbon emissions per nations’ Paris Climate Agreement commitments. While mitigation is important, curbing future emissions to reach a target and limit global warming does nothing to reduce the suffering of those impacted yesterday and today. According to the World Bank, there will be 143 million people displaced by climate-related incidences by 2050, and that’s only counting those from Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Low-cost, nature-based adaptation strategies are promising, such as restoring mangrove forests that protect coastal residents from sea-level rise, erosion and flooding. In order to adequately address the scale of these disasters though, a combined natural and built infrastructure approach will be necessary. According to Mizutori, these resilient solutions will require not only international collaboration but unlikely partnerships within governments as well. For example, most governments have separate departments for the environment and for infrastructure, but progressing toward resilience will require unprecedented collaboration at a scale that matches the unprecedented threat of climate change. Via Eco News and The Guardian Image via Jim Gade

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Weekly climate disasters give new urgency to resilience

Hard-won Paris climate agreement officially goes into force

November 4, 2016 by  
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The Paris climate change agreement officially goes into force today. Under the agreement, governments around the world must now work to limit temperatures to an increase of under 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels. While environmental groups applaud the occasion, many still call for stronger action to avert disastrous climate change . The world’s biggest polluters – China, the United States, the European Union, and India – all ratified the historic agreement, and along with other countries around the world, committed to limit their carbon emissions . The goal of such commitments is to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius greater than they were before the industrial revolution. Related: UN warns of 3C global temperature increase without swift and aggressive global leadership While Greenpeace described today as a “momentous occasion,” they and several other groups said governments of the world must take stronger action to truly avoid the kind of catastrophic destruction resulting from climate change. ActionAid global lead on climate change Harjeet Singh told The Guardian, “The Paris agreement sends a much-needed signal to politicians and industry that we have to build a new world, and this has to start now. However, the deal is not enough to keep people and the planet safe.” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Morocco Minister of Foreign Affairs, and COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar acknowledged the challenges ahead in a joint statement. They noted the World Meteorological Organization confirmed carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere hit the 400 parts per million milestone , which means we’re already behind in trying to reach the 2 degrees Celsius goal. At COP22 , which will take place in Marrakech, Morocco November 7-18, governments will work on a rule book to provide accountability for climate commitments. Espinosa and Mezouar were still hopeful, saying “Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future.” Via The Guardian Images via UNclimatechange on Flickr and PublicDomainPictures.net

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Hard-won Paris climate agreement officially goes into force

The fight over the future of carbon pricing has arrived

January 25, 2016 by  
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The Paris Climate accord and an uptick in clean energy are just two factors pushing carbon pricing into mainstream economic arguments.

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The fight over the future of carbon pricing has arrived

John Kerry says Paris agreement must include legally binding system

December 10, 2015 by  
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At the COP 21 conference in Paris this week, US Secretary of State John Kerry demanded that any climate agreement include a legally binding “transparency system.” He said this would keep world governments accountable and demonstrate that participating nations are truly committed to fighting climate change. What makes this request especially interesting is Kerry’s motivation: he explained Wednesday this added reassurance isn’t just for the sake of the participating governments, but also for private investors who may be interested in clean energy . Read the rest of John Kerry says Paris agreement must include legally binding system

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U.K. announces plan to shut down all its coal power plants by 2025

November 20, 2015 by  
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In a big win for the environment, the British government announced this week that all coal power plants in the country will be shut down within the next 10 years . The decision comes less than two weeks in advance of the United Nations Climate Conference , where world leaders will convene to develop a global strategy for combatting global warming. Details about the proposal won’t be issued until spring, but this announcement sets the bar high for other world leaders. Read the rest of U.K. announces plan to shut down all its coal power plants by 2025

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U.K. announces plan to shut down all its coal power plants by 2025

Obama committed to climate deal, despite Republican attempts to weaken his position

November 20, 2015 by  
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In the days leading up to the Paris climate talks , Republicans in the Senate are attempting to throw a wrench in President Obama’s efforts to protect the environment from further drastic effects of climate change. Twice in a 24-hour period, conservatives in Congress moved to weaken Obama’s position, by opposing a climate deal at the summit and threatening to block $3 billion in aid pledged to developing countries. Will the President deemed as having ‘ zero f—ks left ‘ change his approach to an international climate deal in light of Republican attempts to water down his mission? Read the rest of Obama committed to climate deal, despite Republican attempts to weaken his position

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