No forest too wide or mountain too high in the fight against global warming

From undersea meetings by Maldives’ ministers to debates in the US Senate, talk of climate change is echoing around every corner of the globe. The message: needs are great and growing fast, while resources remain few and far between.  Read more

Bangkok negotiations: US concedes on funding as accusations fly

At the ongoing pre-Copenhagen climate talks in Bangkok, the US has made a step towards resolving the deal-breaker issue of funds to help developing countries respond to climate change. The Guardian’s all over it, perhaps thirsting for some good news to break up the drumbeat of doubt we’ve heard lately on the climate policy front.  Read more

Must-reads for Copenhagen

At the UN climate conference in Copenhagen this December, talk will turn to scientific, political and economic issues with a global reach and a long history — not easy to pick up from the daily news. We asked select experts on climate change what books we should be reading ahead of the big event.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: Adaptation to what?

If we are trying to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less but 4 degrees is possible even within some of our lifetimes, which world do we prepare for? Talks at today’s session on adaptation took on the problem of the multiple futures that decision-makers have to face. Mark Stafford-Smith of CSIRO in Australia talked specifically about long-term decisions – such as planting and managing forests – where the best option depends on which way the climate goes later this century. If you expect strong mitigation that holds down warming, then you try to preserve today’s forests and nurse them through, protecting them from fire and other threats.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: To flee the sea, or not to flee?

Immersing yourself in the impacts of extreme climate change can give rise to a certain amount of gallows humor. Conversation among my dinner companions last night turned to whether this week’s 4 Degrees and Beyond conference or March’s Copenhagen Climate Congress provided “more apocalypse for your conference fee”. The far more serious question, of course, is how much upheaval and human suffering would come with the substantial warming that delegates here are contemplating. Some interesting talks today looked at the facets of sea level rise and population displacement.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: How soon is it coming?

Unless major breakthroughs in policy, industry and individual behavior turn around our emissions trajectory pronto, this century could well see average global temperatures 4 degrees Celsius or more above their pre-industrial baseline. That’s the starting point for the 4 Degrees and Beyond conference in Oxford this week. Here, 130 scientists and policy experts are taking a detailed look at a world warmed by twice the amount that’s usually considered dangerous.  Read more

ICESat’s eye on runaway glaciers

ICESat's eye on runaway glaciers

Many glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica are speeding up their slide into the sea. But this type of ice loss – known as dynamic thinning – is so ill-understood and difficult to predict that the IPCC, in their 2007 assessment report, threw up their hands and refused to guess how much it would contribute to future sea level rise.  Read more