Tag Archives: UN

Climate Risk Index

Lima, Peru, site of the 2014 UN Climate Summit has been impacted heavily by climate change.  And Peru is not alone. According to a recent study, unveiled today at the UN Climate Summit by environmental group Germanwatch, “extreme weather from climate change impacts poorer nations more than rich ones.” Which is a sad state of affairs, given that the poorer nations contribute significantly less to the human-driven contributors to climate change than do their richer counterparts.

While the report doesn’t address the how and why of it, it does lay out an ambitious get of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to what can be done to reduce loss due to climate change in the future.

Goal Outcome Document OWG

Content related to reducing climatic losses

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Target 1.5 – reduce exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events.

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food secu- rity, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Target 2.4 – sustainable food production systems, resilient agricultural capacity for adaptation to climate change and extreme weather events.

Goal 9.* Build resilient infrastructures, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Target 9.1 and 9.3 – sustainable and resilient infrastructures and retrofitting industries.

Target 9.a – financial and technical support to African countries, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS to facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development.

Goal 10: Make cities and human set- tlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Target 11.5 – reduce deaths and economic losses from disasters

Target 11.b – create integrated policies that include resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change and DRR, in line with the upcoming Hyogo Framework for Action.

Target 11.c – support LDCs for sustainable and resilient buildings.

Goal 13. Ensure sustainable consump- tion and production patterns

Target 13.1 – strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
Target 13.2 – Integrate measures for climate change into national policies, strategies and planning

Target 13.3 – improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacities on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

Target 13.a – implement the commitment made to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by those in developed countries to a goal of mobilizing jointly and from all sources $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible

Target 13.b – promote mechanisms for raising the capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in the least developed countries, including a focus on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

According to the authors, “The SDGs are expected to become the world’s defining development narrative.” The question is, how?

The Global Climate Risk Index 2015 is available for your viewing pleasure in PDF format at Germanwatch.org.


* Note that the above table was pulled directly from the report in its entirety. Missing numbers were not included in the original.

U.N. Climate Change Conference 2014

Today representatives of more than 190 nations began talks as the U.N. Climate Change Conference opened in Lima , Peru.

The ultimate goal of the talks is to restrict the rise of global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the pre-industrial (1861-1890) average. However, scientists have reportedly said that the goal is now unrealistic, as average global temperatures have already risen 0.8 degree Celsius and could rise by another 3 degrees in coming years.

Avaneesh Pandey, “Global Warming: U.N. Climate Summit to Begin in Peru Amid Dire Predictions by Scientists,” International Business Times

Peru is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change:

  • 70% of the world tropical glaciers are in Peru. They have lost more than 20% of their mass in just 30 years.
  • Andean cloud forests have been losing plants and animals to extinction at alarming rates.
  • Although some industrial farms flourish in the warmer weather, subsistence farming suffers.

According to geographer Jeffrey Bury of UC Santa Cruz, “The people with the least intensive climate lifestyles are suffering the most.”

To learn more about why, check out this NASA video “A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2.”

Climate Change

On Sunday November 2, 2014 the UN panel on climate science issued a new report on global warming. Its goal: To help drive participation in and completion of a new international climate agreement.

Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here Sunday.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

Justin Gillis, “U.N. panel issues its starkest warning yet on global warming,” The New York Times

Climate change is no longer some distant uncertainty. It is here now. And as governments continue to delay action, the window of opportunity for slowing looming catastrophe is rapidly closing.

If our governments don’t act, what can we as individuals do? It’s pretty clear that recycling cans and shortening showers, doesn’t amount to even a drop in the bucket. What we’re going to need is a rapid, widespread grassroots movement in which we find a way to end, cold-turkey, our addiction to fossil fuels. But the truth is, that kind of change is hard, even for those of us who want to change. So where, if anywhere, does our hope lie? Quite possibly with our kids.

GWE 110214 2 from StoryPortrait Media on Vimeo.

Connecting Climate and Human Health

During last month’s UN Climate Summit, an important connection was drawn between climate change and human health.

It is critical to understand that climate change has both immediate and future consequences for human health. Already today we are seeing threats to health that range from waterborne diseases in degraded, polluted watersheds to the emergence of novel diseases transmitted from wildlife. Grave future threats include changes in temperature and rainfall patterns that can result in the spread of diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and West Nile virus, to higher latitudes and shifting altitudes. And rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere may cause substantial declines in the nutritional content of key crops.

Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

Acknowledgement of this link between the planet and our individual health may finally be the push global leaders need to raise the priority of climate change and related issues. Read more at Time.com: Climate Action is a Health Priority.