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The Paris Agreement: Have Oil Companies Got The Memo?

By David Powell, associate director, environment, at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This article has been cross-posted from NEF.

If you’re the boss of BP, Chevron or Shell, how worried are you right now? 

171 governments put pen to paper last week, formally signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The New York event was an encouraging, albeit largely symbolic, confirmation of December’s commitment to limit temperature rises to two degrees or lower.

The world has spoken; the science is clear; the likes of Mark Carney continue to warn about the economic risk of drilling like there’s no tomorrow. Paris provokes a very simple acid test: most of the world’s known reserves of oil, coal and gas will have to be kept in the ground – and you can forget prospecting for more.

There’s only one problem: oil companies don’t seem to have noticed.

Will the International Shipping Industry Finally Set a Climate Target?

By Stephen Buranyi, reporting for DeSmog UK at the IMO in London.

Climate change featured heavily at the opening of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) annual marine environment protection meeting in London today.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim called the Paris climate agreement a “landmark achievement” and said that the organisation – which sets shipping regulations, including environmental standards, for UN member states – has “a major role to play in ensuring the Paris agreement translates into a long lasting improvement in people’s lives.”

This is a change of pace for the international shipping industry which, along with aviation, continues to avoid coming under a sector-wide global emissions reduction target.  

Porter Ranch Residents Decry Rush to Reopen Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage

aliso canyon porter ranch

By Larry Buhl

Last Wednesday evening, at a meeting of the Porter Ranch Community Council, a psychologist from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Dr. Pietro D’ingillo, was invited to tell residents how to navigate the emotional impacts they experience when moving back home after being displaced by the nearly four-month gas leak resulting from an October blowout at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
When D’ingillo mentioned that deep-breathing techniques could help with stress and fear, one resident asked how they were supposed to take deep breaths when what they feared was the air itself.
 
“Well, that’s what can make the issue murky here,” D’ingillo replied.

New 'Meta' Study Confirms Consensus: 97% of Publishing Climate Scientists Agree We are Causing Global Warming

By John Cook, The University of Queensland

When we published a paper in 2013 finding 97% scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, what surprised me was how surprised everyone was.

Ours wasn’t the first study to find such a scientific consensus. Nor was it the second. Nor were we the last.

Nevertheless, no-one I spoke to was aware of the existing research into such a consensus. Rather, the public thought there was a 50:50 debate among scientists on the basic question of whether human activity was causing global warming.

Peabody Coal's Bankruptcy: Invisible Hand Pushes Peabody Under

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from Daily Kos.
 

Burning Fossil Fuels is Responsible for Most Sea-Level Rise Since 1970

By Aimée Slangen, Utrecht University and John Church, CSIRO

Global average sea level has risen by about 17 cm between 1900 and 2005. This is a much faster rate than in the previous 3,000 years.

The sea level changes for several reasons, including rising temperatures as fossil fuel burning increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a warming climate, the seas are expected to rise at faster rates, increasing the risk of flooding along our coasts. But until now we didn’t know what fraction of the rise was the result of human activities.

In research published in Nature Climate Change, we show for the first time that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of sea level rise since the late 20th century.

As the amount of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere continues to increase, we need to understand how sea level responds. This knowledge can be used to help predict future sea level changes.

Oil Industry Knew CO2-Climate Link in ‘68

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from EcoWatch.

Decades-old documents unearthed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) show that executives in the oil industry knew fossil fuels posed a risk to the environment as early as 1968, and in the next decades, carried out a campaign to cloud public perception of these risks.

In 1946, a consortium of oil companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron’s predecessors, created the “Smoke and Fumes Committee.” Its purpose was to commission research on smog and air pollution resulting from fossil fuels, which the oil industry would use to shape public opinion on these issues. Out of this committee grew the Stanford Research Institute, which was set up to provide an academic shroud for the industry to fight accusations that its product caused pollution. (The tobacco industry employed a similar strategy in its efforts to hide evidence that smoking causes cancer).

Calculating the Price of Climate Change: How Much Is the Crisis Costing Us?

This is a guest post by Emily Logan of Care2.

When activists talk about climate change, we often focus on impacts. We show how Superstorm Sandy mangled the Jersey Shore, how the severe California drought reduced reservoirs to puddles, and introduce people to children suffering from asthma. We tell folks that climate change makes all of these impacts more likely, more frequent and more severe.
 
But for people skeptical of climate change—either of its science or, like the Chris Christies of the world, of the need for humanity to do anything about it—sometimes these stories aren’t enough. When facing the choice of spending our country’s limited resources on drastically reducing our fossil fuel production and fortifying our cities against sea level rise or investing in economic stimulus or tax cuts, it helps to speak the opposition’s language: dollars.

Climate Change by Industry: Who Is Most at Risk?

This is a guest post by Aaron Viles of Care2.

When we talk about the effects of climate change, often the first place we look is the natural world. There are polar bears dying from starvation for lack of sea ice; there are forests in the American West catching fire and burning rapidly after years of drought have dried out the vegetation. There are human costs too: the damage to homes and communities from extreme weather events that happen with more frequency and severity as the planet warms. And there’s the poor air quality that causes and exacerbates health problems, especially for children and the elderly.
 
These are compelling arguments for those of us already concerned about our changing planet. However, some of the best arguments to win more supporters for climate action aren’t about the environment at all. Climate change is going to cost us real, hard dollars that we just can’t afford. It’s not just taxpayers on the hook for cleanup and resilience investments. Whole industries will have to change dramatically or disappear. Here are a few that are most at risk:

Bjorn Lomborg's Deception About 'Climate and Health Assessment' in Wall Street Journal

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at Daily Kos.
 
new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Bjorn Lomborg misses the mark, and while it’s not as bad as some of Lomborg’s misleading opinions, there can be no doubt that the deception is intentional.

Lomborg attacks the recently released Climate and Health Assessment, a comprehensive overview of how climate change impacts the American public by the US Global Change Research Program. He attacks the report’s finding that heat-related deaths from rising temperatures will outnumber the avoided cold-related deaths, which has been debated among legitimate scientists (see this piece or this piece).

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