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NEWS UPDATE #74 (Climate special)



Climate change makes past five-year period the warmest on record: WMO

The Guardian
Climate change made 2011-2015 the warmest five-year period on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) state of the global climate report. This year is set to be the single hottest ever registered, with planetary temperatures passing the symbolic milestone of 1C above pre-industrial levels. The WMO’s stock-take attributes the sweltering conditions to a cocktail of man-made global warming and the effects of the El Niño oceanic phenomenon. (Also read: Here’s why 2015 will be the warmest year on record)

El Niño, explained: A guide to the biggest weather story of 2015
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
The El Niño currently brewing in the Pacific is shaping up to be one of the strongest ever recorded. This phenomenon is expected to peak between October and January, with far-reaching impacts all winter and spring… This El Niño is also playing out in the context of record warm ocean temperatures, so it could have unpredictable impacts. “Our scientific understanding of El Niño has increased greatly in recent years. However, this event is playing out in uncharted territory,” said Jarraud. “This naturally occurring El Niño event and human induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced.”

Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Eric Mann, Counterpunch.org
The Republican Senate just voted to reject plans by President Obama and the EPA to dramatically reduce emissions from coal power plants. This is reactionary politics. It is also political theater that plays right into the hands of the President. This allows President Obama to create the illusion that he is the embattled climate warrior—going to Paris slaying the Republicans with one sword and the Koch brothers with the other. But both parties and the Democratic-dominated Beltway environmental groups are complicit in a charade. The Republicans are simply carrying out election-year posturing while the president will veto the Republican bill and they don’t have the votes to override him.

What’s really at stake at the Paris climate conference now marches are banned
Naomi Klein, The Guardian UK
The French government’s decision to ban protests, marches and other “outdoor activities” during the Paris climate summit is disturbing on many levels. The one that preoccupies me most has to do with the way it reflects the fundamental inequity of the climate crisis itself – and that core question of whose security is ultimately valued in our lopsided world. Here is the first thing to understand. The people facing the worst impacts of climate change have virtually no voice in western debates about whether to do anything serious to prevent catastrophic global warming.

The math on staying below 2°C of global warming looks increasingly brutal
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
The science here is pretty straightforward: If we want decent odds of avoiding more than 2°C (or 3.6°F) of global warming — which has long been the stated goal — then there’s only so much more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere. The world’s annual CO2 emissions will need to shrink to zero to stay within this “carbon budget.”

The Tough Realities of the Paris Climate Talks
Steven E. Koonin, New York Times
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas of greatest concern, accumulate in the atmosphere and remain there for centuries as they are slowly absorbed by plants and the oceans. This means modest reductions in emissions will only delay the rise in atmospheric concentration but will not prevent it. Thus, even if global emissions could be reduced by a heroic average 20 percent from their “business as usual” course over the next 50 years, we would be delaying the projected doubling of the concentration by only 10 years, from 2065 to 2075.

Will the Paris Climate Talks Deliver the World We Need? Not likely.
Janet Redman, Foreign Policy In Focus
We need to leave more than 80 percent of known oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground to avoid triggering catastrophic climate change. That means shifting away from an economy driven by digging, pumping, and burning fossil fuels to one that puts people and the planet first. On this the science is simple, but the politics are fraught. Even as governments set climate targets, they’re working hard to expand the extractive global economy with measures that could deepen the climate crisis.

CSE projections show world is on a temperature path of more than 3 degrees
Down to Earth
Commenting on the synthesis report released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which has analysed the climate action plans submitted by countries so far, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has said that aggregate climate contribution is insufficient to keep the world safe. While Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, has called the submissions a “significant achievement” and an “unprecedented engagement” by all countries, CSE’s analysis of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) shows that developed countries are doing very little. These countries will misappropriate more carbon budget by 2030 and beyond, says the Delhi-based non-profit.

Paris is the last best chance for the world to save itself
Ben Adler, Grist.org
We are out of time to start swiftly cutting emissions and regrowing our forests and grasslands. There may be ways in which climate change isn’t as dangerous as nukes, but one way in which it is even more so is its irreversibility. If you fail to strike a nuclear non-proliferation deal with Iran in 2014, you can make one in 2015. As long as they don’t yet have nukes, the crisis has been averted for the time being. Climate change doesn’t work like that. If you fail to strike a climate deal and coal plants and tankers and cars keep spewing carbon pollution, you cannot undo those emissions. The failures of Kyoto and Copenhagen and the years that followed have left us up against a wall. The countries of the world must come together now or they will suffer together later.

Can This Group Of Kids Force The Government To Act On Climate Change?
Think Progress
21 youth activists are suing the federal government in order to force action on climate change. “Our generation has the most to lose, therefore our generation has the greatest opportunity to change the world,” Martinez said. “Just because we can’t vote doesn’t mean that we can have an impact on the way that our world is going to be left for future generations.”

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