Search Results for Tag: migration
Of Extreme Weather and a Time Machine
Thank you Dr. Koko Warner for a long and very informative comment on the Ice Blog.
(See comment to last entry. It’s hard to read a long entry like that in the blog comment small print, so I suggest copying and pasting into your usual text editing programme. It’s well worth an attentive read and has more references for further reading).
You certainly give us plenty of food for thought about the implications of climate change in terms of migration and the challenges of developing the mechanisms to cope with them. Let me just quote one section here:
“By 2050 when human population is projected to peak, some 9 billion people will live on Earth. The majority of them will live in urban areas with crushing environmental footprints. Many megacities are located in areas prone to sea level rise.Climate change will visit urban and rural areas alike with incrasingly frequent and violent hazard events. Flooding, intense storms, or droughts (…)Mitigation of greenhouse gases will likely be insufficient to avoid global temperature increases of 2°C or more, making adaptation a necessity at all scales.”
And that brings to me to the “Extreme Weather Congress”, taking place in Bremerhaven, Germany, at the moment. The organiser, Frank Böttcher, draws attention to the fact that climate change is happening far faster than most of the models have been predicting. He calls for a rapid shift to renewable energies.
More about the congress online
At the same time, a group of environment and development organisations have sent an open letter to the heads of the EU countries, warning them not to neglect the climate crisis because of the current financial crisis. They say financial support for the countries hardest hit by climate change is a moral obligation.
With the next round of UN negotiations taking place in Bonn at the end of March and an EU summit meeting earlier next month to agree on the EU’s position for the Copenhagen climate conference at the end of the year and the next UN climate agreement, it’s certainly a good time to launch this kind of initiative. Here’s hoping the open letter will get the attention it deserves.
I’m having a few days off during Germany’s Karneval holiday here. Let me leave you faithful Ice-Blog followers with a link to a marvellous “Climate Time Machine” I’ve found, created by NASA.
NASA climate change site
Click on the Climate Time Machine on the right-hand bar for brilliant visualisation of how key factors such as sea ice, sea level, Co2 emissions and, global temperature have changed in recent history.
DateFebruary 19, 2009 | 2:27 pm
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
Back on the Blog
The only Arctic areas I’ve seen in the last few weeks have been from the air.
(Doesn’t this remind you of a dino in the snow?)
Exactly one month since the last entry, I’m back at my desk in Deutsche Welle in Bonn and raring to blog.I’ve been in the USA during an interesting time, with the election campaign in full swing – and climate change high on the agenda. People are finally accepting that global warming is not just a figment of somebody’s imagination.
(Pools forming from melting snow in the Arctic).
It’s interesting to see both candidates falling over each other to be the one to save the planet from global warming. With oil prices as they are, the debate over opening protected areas, like the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, for oil exploration,has been a real eye-opener. At the beginning of my trip, Republican contender John McCain was still opposing offshore drilling. During it, he changed his mind and approved President Bush’s decision to lift the ban, supposedly to make more oil available and have an impact on prices. It seems to me the only likely impact is to appeal to any gullible, undecided voters, who might be fooled into thinking this is the way to give them cheap gas.
Barack Obama stood firm in opposing further offshore drilling. And his fellow Democrat Al Gore issued a challenge to the nation to make a complete shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy within 10 years. Well, that is, indeed, an ambitious goal, but then – as Gore said – so was putting a man on the moon. Where there’s a (political) will, there’s a way.
One of the interesting things I came across while travelling in the US state of Washington was the Western Climate Initiative, a group of North American states seeking ways of reducing emissions. It shows that a lot can be done at regional level, even if there is a national government which refused to sign Kyoto or introduce binding emissions targets.
More info on the Climate Alliance of US and Canadian states
If anyone living in a country with a “developing economy” and working on a local sustainable energy project is reading this, by the way, you might be interested in applying for an award. You’ll find the details here:
Global Green Energy Awards 2008
During a conference at Stanford University in California, I felt the effect of the forest fires, creating smog over the whole area. In fact smoke from forest fires is being measured even in the remote areas of the Arctic. One measuring station is in Barrow, which I visited just last month:
The other is on Svalbard, in the Norwegian Arctic, which I visited for a programme last year, as part of our National Science Foundation-funded international radio collaboration to mark the International Polar Year:
More Arctic and Climate News from the NSF
Picture Gallery from Ny Alesund, Svalbard
I found it a bit bizarre to read this morning that there is something like a positive side-effect of all this: it could temporarily reduce the melting rate of the Arctic’s ice, because less solar radiation gets through. Researchers from the University of Colorado and NOAA are analyzing how smoke influences the Arctic climate relative to the amount of snow and ice cover.
Read a summary on the website, CIRES and University of Colorado
One of the big topics at the conference I was attending at Stanford a month ago was how climate change will result in increasing migration, with people forced to move to escape flooding, drought or extreme temperatures and weather conditions. I was interested to read today that there are some optimists who see climate change not only as a huge threat to the planet, but also as an opportunity to turn politics into “collective action” – by including ALL countries in tackling the challenge, not just the rich.
I’ll sign off today with that piece of food for thought. Here’s the link to the article. (Go on, it’s a shortie, I promise).
Climate Change as an Opportunity for Cosmopolitan Action? (By Ulrich Beck)
DateJuly 23, 2008 | 10:39 am