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Posts Tagged ‘environmental policies’

What should be good news about global warming, is getting environmentalists very worried. Nature magazine just released a study by German climate scientists, stating:

Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.

The danger is that such short-term trends will be taken out of context and perceived as license to ease up on the climate fight. According to Noel Keenlyside, climate researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences who led the study:

“The natural variations change climate on this timescale and policymakers may either think mitigation is working or that there is no global warming at all. . . Natural changes as opposed to human causes may play a bigger role in the short term . . . This is important because policies are made in the short term. Our results show we might not have as much change in climate over the next 10 years.”

Back in January, Real Climate had a great article explaining the difference between short term and long term temperature trends, and why we should never lose sight of the reality of global warming as a long term problem. The following chart from the NASA website tells the story:

Next time a climate skeptic gives you a hard time, show him – or her – the facts . . .

 

 

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Larry Page, Tony Blair, Jimmy Wales, Vinod Khosla, Shai Agassi, Elon Musk, Runt Ramsbottom, William McDonough, and a bunch of other very, very rich, and powerful men recently congregated for a weekend on Richard Branson‘s island. The event was organized in part by the the Climate Group, and aimed to discuss ‘the war against carbon‘. Lots of talks on new technologies, policy, and finances. And none about the human factor and conservation strategies. Have these high-powered folks so pessimistic about themselves and their fellow human beings that they have given up on the idea altogether? After all, Larry Page jet-pooled to the event . . .

I have said it before. Technologies, policy, financing do have an enormous role to play in our war against climate change. No question. However, they should work in tandem with some well thought out conservation strategies, including the financial support of local conservation efforts, and global communication campaigns about desired behavioral changes.

It strikes me that the whole climate change narrative is heavily skewed with patriarchal language. Listen to the words: policy, technology, power, war, . . . The threatened warriors are taking out their big guns.

Maybe the outcome would be different, if women in high places got involved?

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It’s good to confess all my eco-sins, like I do, and to explore remedial actions. It’s good, and it can only go so far. Higher up in the decision chain, are investors in corporations. These people have tremendous power to influence big business environmental decisions. They can vote with their wallets, and decide which companies get funded. Today’s New York Times has this article in the Business Section, about ‘Gas Emissions Rarely Figure in Investors Decisions’:

Corporations have become better about disclosing their greenhouse gas emissions and somewhat better about curbing them. But few investors are using that information to decide where to put their money. That was the gist of the fifth annual report of the Carbon Disclosure Project, a nonprofit group that monitors corporate disclosure related to climate change. The group, which gathers its data through surveys, represents 315 institutional investors that manage a total of $41 trillion in assets. “Large companies are finally taking their jackets off, rolling up their sleeves and examining how they use energy and otherwise deal with climate change,” said Paul Dickinson, chief executive of the project. . . But there was little agreement among companies within industries on the effect of climate change . . . More troubling to the project’s executives, though, is that few companies include climate-related data in their filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The result, the report said, is that the ramifications of climate change have not yet translated into “concrete investment decisions of any scale.”

The reports also cites the issue of the reliability of the information provided by corporations. Currently there is no independent body to verify the information provided to investors. None of this stuff is sexy, but given the tremendous power of investors to influence corporate environmental policies, it may be a good idea to legislate the whole process. First step should be that companies collect mandatory climate-related data. Second, data should be verified by independent body. Third, companies should be mandated to include climate-related data in their SEC filing.

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