|Report Released and Impacts Leading Up to Durban November 21, 2011
One week from now, more than 190 nations will gather in Durban, South Africa for this year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 17th Conference of Parties (COP) in Durban, South Africa. The conference is expected to be a critical juncture for international climate initiatives. Hundreds of public interest organizations and thousands of activists from around the world will join them to advocate for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement that will reduce global emissions, build vulnerable nations’ resilience to climate change and foster a low-carbon green economy globally.
In the lead up to Durban, U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN) and its partner organizations, prepared The Durban Climate Negotiations Briefing Book. This resource makes the complexities of global negotiations simpler to understand and follow. It is designed to help climate advocates, members of the U.S. Congressional delegation, as well as reporters and editors, gain a clear understanding of the international treaty negotiating process. The briefing book provides vital background material, reports on domestic and international climate action, technical background on the key negotiating issues and other valuable information. This book can be found on USCAN’s new Durban specific webpage, designed to compile and feature member blog posts, US government interventions and policy positions, links to member actions and side-events, the CAN-I ECO newsletter, civil society interventions, and much more. Click here to learn more and to follow the negotiations once they begin.
The world needs a successful climate deal more urgently than ever. The severe drought in the Horn of Africa, which has claimed the lives of thousands of children, is a portent of things to come in a world ravaged by climate change. Food security is just one of the many casualties of climate change, including health, forests, glaciers, coral reefs and security. These impacts are happening now as indicated by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change special report released Friday. This report confirms the link between climate change and recent trends in extreme weather. Extreme precipitation, flooding and heat waves are on the rise due to increases in greenhouse gas pollution from smokestacks and tailpipes.
The U.N. weather agency says concentrations of global warming gases are at record levels from emissions that exceed scientists’ worst-case scenarios. The World Meteorological Organization says heat-trapping carbon dioxide concentrations in the air have reached 389 parts per million — the highest such concentrations since the start of the industrial era in 1750. (Source: The Associated Press)
It’s not a surprise, 2011 has brought the costly impact of extreme weather into sharp focus. So far this year, 10 extreme weather events have cost the U.S. more than a billion dollars each nearing almost $50 billion in total costs. In a November 2011 national survey, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications found that a majority of Americans believe global warming made the following events worse:
• Record high summer temperatures in the U.S. in 2011;
• The drought in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011;
• Mississippi River foods in the spring of 2011;
• Record snowfalls in the U.S. In 2010 and 2011;
• Hurricane Irene.
We are seeing progress here in the U.S. Wednesday, the Obama Administration formally proposed the 54.4 miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks by 2025. This important step forward will cut carbon pollution in half by 2025. The standard is also expected to put Americans back to work. For more information, see Natural Resources Defense Council’s blog.
Lastly, for those celebrating Thanksgiving this week, click here to see how extreme weather tried to stand between you and your Thanksgiving dinner! Resource Media has put together an infographic illustrating how extreme weather (and climate change) impacted traditional Thanksgiving foods this year. Check it out and help spread the word with the sample tweets provided.
Marie Risalvato, Communications Coordinator