Search Results for Tag: Climate
Climate, Migration and Security
I had an enjoyable short walk early this morning,as soon as it got light, across snow-covered fields – although it is thawing, and the light snowfall was turning into a fine drizzle. It was like a silvery-grey veil over the sky and the landscape and beautifully quiet, just me, one or two dog-walkers and a peckish-looking buzzard.
The bird reminded me of something a visitor from Africa said to me at the weekend. “The Germans even have perches for their birds-of-prey by the motorway”. It’s true – not just by the motorways.The bird was using a perch set up in an orchard.
The visitor, used to hot weather, was also delighted to see some snow, and amazed to feel how cars slither on icy roads. “Is it always like this at this time,is this the height of winter, how long does it last?”
Of course people here are saying it’s time spring came along, this has been an unusually cold and snowy winter… But of course this used to be much more “normal” not so many decades ago. And “extreme” weather events, are becoming more common.
The visitor was one of a group from different parts of Africa and other parts of the world in town for a conference on Migration and Security in sub-Saharan Africa.
More about Migration and Security on the website of the Bonn International Centre for Conversion
I was at the conference, which was looking at the extent of migration, the causes and what we need to do about it.
Climate change is, of course, already a factor, and that will increase tremendously in the years to come.
One of the presentations was by Dr. Koko Warner of UNU-EHS, that’s the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security.
More about the work of UNU-EHS
There were a lot of interesting papers at the conference, but Dr. Warner’s, was on the role of environmental degradation in provoking migration.She stressed the need for climate change and environmental degradation to be tackled together, rather than in separate boxes. One thing that stuck in most people’s minds was what she said about possible numbers of migrants. Everybody wants to know how many people are likely to be affected. There are various estimates, but none is based on real scientific estimates at yet. There’s a huge variation in the estimates. A “conservative” estimate says that after 2050, 200 million people will be pushed by “environmental” factors to migrate. Other forecasts see up to 700 million people on the move.
It’s not hard to work out how that could become a challenge to global security.
DateFebruary 16, 2009 | 9:10 am
Still cycling for the climate
I’ve just had a look at the Living Planet website and am pleased to hear that Amiram and Ragna are still cycling through Africa to draw attention to climate change.
They visited the Ice Blog at an earlier stage in their journey. Now they’re coming towards the end.
Climate cyclists currently in Namibia
And the whole project is presented here:
Cycling Africa for the Climate
DateFebruary 12, 2009 | 3:37 pm
Schwarzenegger for Emperor?
Ammu posted a comment from the USA after attending a seminar where the experts were saying energy efficiency should be our first goal. By that he means reducing our demand for energy, matching our energy output to demand and a more efficient transformation of the resources we put in into the energy we get out. I would agree with that Ammu. But I don’t agree that we should only expand renewables in a second stage. As you say yourself, we need to combine different aspects at the same time to tackle climate change as quickly as possible. That means setting ambitious targets and creating the political and economic climate to achieve them.
I think US President Obama is starting out on the right track there, with his renewable energy targets. And that brings us to your next point. Schwarzenegger as emperor because of his old-car-scrapping policy? Hm. I think he certainly deserves recognition for what he’s doing in California for the environment and the climate, although we know he’s still struggling to sort out the economic problems he inherited. But then the President gave priority to letting Schwarzenegger and the other state governors move ahead faster than the national administration to implement tougher environmental or climate-protecting legislation when they can.
What I think is really remarkable is Obama’s will to rise above party politics in the interests of the environment and the future of the planet. If he really thought everybody else would do that – especially those in the “opposition” – then he’s pretty idealistic. But since he has the majority to push things through, he can get on with it, even if he is getting impatient with the time negotiations are taking to get his legislation package through.
I’ve been following the British media intensively over the past week or so, while I was braving the “Arctic conditions” (!?) of the British midlands. I got a strong sense that people think the new US administration is prepared to move ahead and opt for innovation much more radically than European governments, which are still too tied up with protecting their traditional car and fossil fuel industries.
So let’s give President Barack Obama a chance Ammu, before we look for another “emperor”. OK?
DateFebruary 9, 2009 | 8:02 am
Of Climate and Weather
I am currently speeding through the winter wonderland that the English midlands have become, enjoying the beauty of snow-covered fields, sharp reflections in brooks just tipped with ice,sheep trying to graze on regardless and birds of prey perching, watching out for some of nature’s “frozen food”.
My colleague Judith Hartl introduced me on her science programme as one of those strange people who like going to cold places. Iadmit I like ice and snow, although I’m amazed at how it has brought parts of Britain to a standstill.
My sister reckons I am somehow fighting a lost cause. “Everywhere you go, it’s snowing! How are you going to convince people about global warming?” Well, a lot of people make jokes or semi-serious comments about that in the coldish winter we’ve been having in a lot of places.The British media have been trying to explain to people that this is “just weather”. It’s only the long-term trend that makes climate.
I came across a good summary of the facts in an article by Richard Alleyne, science correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (hardly a paper known for “alternative” views).
He says this is the coldest winter in Britain for 30 years, but the extreme weather proves the effects of global warming. Temperatures for the last 2 months were 1C lower than average, and London had more snow than any time since 1960s. But the fact people are surprised by this shows how the climate has changed over the decades.
A Met Office study going back 350 years indicates UK now gets this extreme weather only every 20 years.
I’ve just come from Shrewsbury, where, as it happens, amongst other things I visited rooms where Charles Dickens stayed while working on the Pickwick Papers. In the neighbourhood is Ironbridge, one of the “cradles” of the industrial revolution.
Back in the pre-industrial Dickens days, cold winters like these would have occurred in Britain on average every 5 years, according to the Met Office scientists. If it wasn’t for global warming, this would be more “normal”, we’d be prepared, and able to cope.On various Arctic trips, the ice blogger has had fewer transport problems than on this one. Can anybody in the Midlands lend me a team of huskies?!
(Huskies raring to take off with their sled in Tromso in January)
DateFebruary 5, 2009 | 2:05 pm
Tromsö in the pink
I have arrived in Tromso after one of the most beautiful flights I can remember.
Oslo was dull and greyish, albeit with loads of snow. As we got further north, the skies got clearer and the pilot told us we could expect “perfect” weather conditions, clear skies, just a little scattered cloud. He war right. We were coming in just after midday, so getting the “pink light” hours, before the winter afternoon blackness. Some impressions from the plane window:
On the plane earlier, I had been reading a book called “Climate Code Red” – the case for emergency action, by David Spratt and Philip Sutton. The authors are convinced we need emergency action to REDUCE the temperature of the planet, not just reduce the amount by which we’re increasing it.
Chapter 1 is called “Losing the Arctic Sea Ice”. It is perfect reading material in the run-up to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference. More about the book later. As I looked out of the window, I couldn’t help thinking the beauty of the region itself should make enough of a case for saving it.
Last night I visited some friends with children who are doing a project on the Arctic in primary school. I was delighted at their interest – and at how much they were aware of climate change and, for instance, the problems it causes for polar bears. They looked up Tromsö on their map and their globe. I hope they’ll see these pictures too at some stage.
This is the approach to Tromsö:
From a different angle, the picture is almost black and white:
By the time I went out for a walk it was dark. Tromsö is reasonably busy, as an international film festival has just come to an end – and of course the conference starts tonight. I’m hoping to see some “northern lights” tonight, although it could be too bright here in the town.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed the man-made kind: (The triangle is the famous “Arctic Cathedral”).
The buildings on the wharf also looked very different from last time I saw them in summer, when it was still light when I went to bed..
And I’ve called this one “deflated”. You wouldn’t want to depend on this one to abandon ship at the moment:
DateJanuary 18, 2009 | 4:16 pm