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Energy and Global Warming News: World’s Poorest Women Set To Suffer Most From Climate Change; American Psychological Association Examines the Behavior Behind Climate Inaction
Joe Romm, 10 Aug 09
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World’s poorest women will bear brunt of climate change

President Jacob Zuma has identified climate change and its impact on women as a critical area of concern. “Natural disasters affect women directly and severely because of their social roles and the impacts of poverty. When there are floods, cyclones, or drought, women bear the brunt,” he said recently.

In December this year, leaders from around the world will gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a new global climate deal.

If a fair and effective deal is not reached, the poorest women in developing nations like ours stand to suffer the most.

As things stand now it would appear that leaders, especially from industrialised countries, are not putting the needs of the vulnerable and poor on their agenda. They have made very little substantive commitments within the negotiations….

Currently, up to two billion people live in extreme poverty worldwide (which means they live on less that US2 a day).

Two-thirds of these are women. The reality is that climate change will worsen existing poverty, particularly in developing nations that are heavily dependent on natural resources.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the threats to Africa are severe. It is expected that agricultural yields will decrease by 50 percent by 2050, with a total of 75million–250m people exposed to increased water stress, about 70 million people facing the risk of coastal flooding because of sea level rise by 2080, and there will be a significant increase in health impacts.

Psychological Factors Help Explain Slow Reaction To Global Warming

While most Americans think climate change is an important issue, they don’t see it as an immediate threat, so getting people to “go green” requires policymakers, scientists and marketers to look at psychological barriers to change and what leads people to action, according to a task force of the American Psychological Association.

Scientific evidence shows the main influences of climate change are behavioral – population growth and energy consumption. “What is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behavior,” said task force chair Janet Swim, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University. “We must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.”

The full report is here. See also “Anti-science conservatives are stuck in denial but for climate science activists, the reverse is true.”

Texans’ views on climate aren’t so different, polls show

Texas has not kept pace with many other states in adopting policies that address global warming – a distinction that the Legislature left unchanged in its 2009 session.

Some Texas government and business leaders, meanwhile, have been outspoken in opposing federal regulations to combat climate change, particularly the American Clean Energy and Security (or ACES) Act, which barely won House approval in June.

Still, the recently conducted 2009 editions of a pair of annual polls – the Texas Lyceum Poll and the Houston Area Survey – suggest that Texans’ opinions on various aspects of the climate issue are not very different from those of Americans in general, including support for stepped-up regulatory action.

Utilities rushed to meet deadline for $3.3B from stimulus

The field is set for electric utilities competing for shares of the $3.3 billion being dangled by the Energy Department for smart-grid projects.

The deadline was 8 p.m. yesterday for utilities applying for DOE’s “Smart Grid Investment Program.” Funded by the economic stimulus law, the program is aimed at jump-starting wide development and deployment of smart meters, two-way communication networks and a more responsive electric grid — a key to conserving power and accommodating more renewable energy generation.

Plan urged to save national parks from global warming effects

The federal government must take decisive action to avoid “a potentially catastrophic loss of animal and plant life” in national parks, according to a new report that details the effects of global warming on the nation’s most treasured public lands.

The 53-page report from the National Parks Conservation Assn., a Washington-based advocacy group, details concerns related to climate change in the parks, including the bleaching of coral reefs in Florida and the disappearance of high-altitude ponds that nurture yellow-legged frogs in California.

The group called on the National Park Service to come up with a detailed plan and funding to adapt to temperature-related ecosystem changes.

Downturn hits India renewables; solar plan by Dec

The global financial crisis is hurting India’s hopes of attracting about $21 billion worth of investments in renewable energy by 2012, but a new solar plan expected to be rolled out by December could provide a boost.

Renewables energy officials said on Monday they had already received more than $3 billion worth of investment since 2007, which could generate about 3,000 megawatts (MW) of power, almost half of it from wind energy alone.

UN chief says climate change biggest challenge

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday that climate change is the greatest challenge facing a world beset by crises and called on governments to reach a deal on the environment at a meeting in Denmark later this year.

Ban said the world has “less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet.”

“It is, simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family,” Ban said, referring to climate change, in a keynote speech at a gathering in Seoul of the World Federation of U.N. Associations.

A ‘no coal’ campaign in China

On a hot, humid day in Beijing, the environmental group Greenpeace released a report challenging China’s largest power-generation plants.

In front of a coal-fired power plant, campaigners and volunteers stood at the dry riverbed of Yongding River on the western outskirts of the capital.

They held a huge banner with a symbol for “No Coal”.

Digging for victory: Britain’s food revolution

Britain is to commit itself to a massive increase in domestic food production to feed the population in the next 40 years, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. The UK will announce tomorrow that it intends to “play a full part” in meeting a United Nations target of raising food production by 70 per cent by 2050.

The surge in homegrown crops and meat – which has echoes of the Dig for Victory campaign of the Second World War – is needed to cope with rising global population levels and crop failures and water scarcity caused by climate change.

Australian greenhouse gas levels to soar by 2020

The Federal Government is putting more pressure on the Coalition to support its emissions trading legislation, releasing a report estimating Australia’s output of greenhouse gases would be 20 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020 if the scheme is rejected.

The report, by the Department of Climate Change, concluded Australia would need to avoid the creation of the equivalent of 138 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020 to achieve a 5 per cent reduction target on 2000 levels.

1930s Home Goes Green

A 1930s house built in 2008 is about to undergo the first of three energy efficiency upgrades which will ultimately convert an energy inefficient house into a zero carbon home designed to meet the Government’s 2016 CO2 targets for all new housing. The results of this research will be relevant to millions of householders across the UK.

The University of Nottingham had to seek special planning permission to build the house to 1930s specification. Over the next two weeks it will be upgraded with cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, draft proofing and double glazing together with a host of other energy saving devices and equipment.

Consolidation wave rolling through global solar industry

A shakeout in the solar power industry has begun as low prices for raw materials and a glut of photovoltaic equipment are pushing out smaller startups and expanding market access to a dozen or so major players.

Most energy industry analysts predicted last year that a global shortage of polysilicon, the feedstock material for solar panels, would eventually ease, leading over-optimistic equipment manufacturers to flood the market and force down prices and profits. But the global economic crunch has forced prices down much faster than anyone expected, leading companies that cannot lower costs fast enough to quickly exit the field.

Spectacular Melting Of The Largest French Glacier

Located over 12 000 kilometers from the Alps, the Kerguelen Islands are home to the largest French glacier, the Cook ice cap (which had an area of around 500 km2 in 1963). By combining historical information with recent satellite data, the glaciologists at the Laboratory for Space Studies in Geophysics and Oceanography (Université Paul Sabatier / CNRS / CNES / IRD) have observed increasingly rapid shrinkage of the ice.

Over the last 40 years, the Cook ice cap has thinned by around 1.5 meters per year, its area has decreased by 20%, and retreat has been twice as rapid since 1991. Their work has been just published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Bold soil-mapping venture seen as crucial to efforts on climate, agriculture

Long left in the dust by their peers in climate research, a small group of soil scientists is spearheading an effort to apply rigorous computer analysis to the ground beneath our feet.

Their goal: to produce a digital soil map of the entire world.

It is a daunting task. In many parts of the world, such as Africa and South Asia, knowledge of soil is sketchy at best, relying on fading paper maps. And without accurate soil information, it is difficult for planners to know where crops are best grown, or for climate modelers to predict how much carbon might be released from soil into the atmosphere.

This piece originally appeared on
CC photo credit

Related posts:
The psychology of precommitment
Desertification, Climate Change and the Developing World

What is a Smart Grid?

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