Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Obama Affirms Climate Change Goals

November 18, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama confirmed on Tuesday that he plans to stick to the aggressive targets he had set earlier for fighting climate change and for spurring the development of clean-energy technology, saying, “Delay is no longer an option.”
A Chinese man cycles past chimney of a coal-burning power plant ... 
A Chinese man cycles past chimney of a coal-burning power plant in Shenyang, north China’s Liaoning province, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. The head of the U.N.’s climate change body said Friday he hopes the United States will take a more active role in fighting global warming once Barack Obama becomes president in January.(AP Photo)

The remarks were striking for being made in what was billed as a “surprise taped statement,” before a bipartisan conference on climate change in Los Angeles that included governors who have battled the Bush administration by trying to pass stricter pollution standards than federal guidelines require.

Officials from at least 10 other countries were also present, and Mr. Obama addressed his comments to them when he said, “Solving this problem will require all of us working together.” He said he had asked lawmakers who will attend a climate-change conference next month in Poland to report back to him.

By Brian Knowlton
The New York Times
.

Mr. Obama’s remarks were sure to be welcomed by Europeans and others who have been urging the administration to take tougher measures ever since President turned his back on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 2001.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, said the call for legislation to cap emissions, one of the first specific policy statements Mr. Obama has made since his election, was a particularly important signal that he will, as he promised during the campaign, make global warming a top priority.

“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all,” Mr. Obama said.

“Denial is no longer an acceptable response,” he added. “The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”

It appeared significant that Mr. Obama, who has stayed largely out of sight at his offices in Chicago since being elected, chose to use such strong language on global warming so early in his transition period. Still, it remains unclear that the current financial crisis and grim economic outlook will allow him to move as quickly as he might like.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/us/politics/19climate.html?_r=1&hp

Advertisements

China says coal addiction makes climate change fight hard

October 29, 2008

China warned Wednesday its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.

by Robert J. Saiget, AFP

Releasing a policy paper on climate change, the Chinese government acknowledged the deep impact global warming had already made on the world’s most populous nation — and warned of much worse to come.

Cyclists passes through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, ... 
Cyclists passes through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 2006. China warned its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)

“Extreme climate phenomena, such as high temperatures, heavy precipitation and severe droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity,” the so-called “White Paper” said.

If not alleviated, these phenomena will increase natural disasters, reduce grain yields and impact livestock raising, hampering the nation’s efforts to feed its 1.3 billion people, it said.

According to the paper, China experienced 21 warm winters from 1986 to 2007, the latter being the warmest 12 months since detailed records began in 1951.

But coal, the cheapest and most plentiful source of fuel in China, will remain the nation’s major energy source.

“(The) coal-dominated energy mix cannot be substantially changed in the near future, thus making the control of greenhouse gas emissions rather difficult,” the paper said.

China is dependent on coal for about two thirds of its energy use, which has caused it to rise quickly in recent years as a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081029/sc_afp/
chinaenergyenvironmentclimate_081029131552

NATO confronting new threats

April 2, 2008
By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writer

BUCHAREST, Romania – NATO‘s latest security worries go far beyond Taliban fighters or al-Qaida extremists: They include computer hackers, threats to global energy supplies and climate change profiteers.
.
World leaders gathered in Bucharest for this week’s NATO summit are debating what role the trans-Atlantic alliance can play in containing “cyberterrorists,” “hacktivists” and other emerging menaces that experts concede are untraditional, but still potentially lethal.

NATO needs to gear up for “iWar” — systematic attacks on the Web that could disrupt commerce worldwide by using crippling computer worms to shut down consumer online services such as Internet banking — warns Johnny Ryan, a researcher with the Institute of International and European Affairs.

“iWar will proliferate quickly and can be waged by anyone with an Internet connection,” Ryan cautioned in an analysis for NATO.

“In the short term, iWar poses a gathering threat to NATO members,” he said. “NATO must approach the problem as an immediate threat and strive to develop practical defensive cooperation.”

NATO member Estonia suffered a series of paralyzing and economically devastating cybercrime attacks last year that it blamed on Russia, which has denied involvement.

The attacks “raise questions about the alliance’s ability to protect its newest members,” said Stanley Kober, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Securing vulnerable energy infrastructure may be an even more pressing concern, NATO officials said Wednesday as the summit got under way.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has been pushing for a new “strategic concept” that would define the alliance’s role in dealing with the threat.

“Many of these challenges will not trigger a classical military response. But they will require allies to support each other — politically, economically, and perhaps also militarily,” de Hoop Scheffer told a security forum in Brussels, Belgium, last month.

His spokesman, James Appathurai, told reporters Wednesday that the 26 NATO allies hoped this week to lay the groundwork for a new blueprint on how to tackle evolving security challenges.

Energy has also become a worry for NATO as Russia tightens control of its most important natural gas fields. Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy monopoly, controls key pipelines that supply gas to Western Europe.

The U.S. is prodding NATO to take a larger role in energy security — something Washington considers a major post-Cold War menace.

“I think there’s an increasing recognition in the United States that these are growing issues,” said Stephen Larrabee, a senior security analyst for the RAND Corp. think tank.

Climate change — already a major concern on a wide range of fronts — is starting to preoccupy NATO as well.

De Hoop Scheffer says the alliance may have to be ready to protect food and water supplies if global warming makes them scarce and tensions create enough economic or political instability to nudge nations to the brink of war.

EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana gave a bleak assessment in a March 3 report warning that climate change threatens to undermine international security.

“It is important to recognize that the risks are not just of a humanitarian nature — they also include political and security risks that directly affect European interests,” the report says, warning: “Unmitigated climate change … will lead to unprecedented security scenarios.”

But any attempt to push the new threats to the forefront likely will run into resistance from allies pressing NATO to get back to basics, said Julianne Smith, Europe program director for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Many countries would like to see NATO return to its core mission,” she said. “I just find it hard to believe that NATO is going to be able to reach consensus on any of these issues.”

NATO’s core function is defined in its 1949 founding treaty, which states that all members will come to each others’ aid if any are attacked by an outside power.

China wants to freeze emissions at 2005 levels: Wen

November 21, 2007

SINGAPORE (AFP) – China will seek to increase cooperation with Asian nations on climate change and will try to freeze its key pollution emissions at 2005 levels, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Wednesday.

Wen said he would propose an international climate change forum in China next year to improve the region’s ability to address global warming.
Photo
A man pedals a cart filled with coal briquettes in
western China’s Shaanxi province.
*****************************

“China in the next five years will be determined to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent (per unit of GDP) to reduce carbon emissions and will strive to keep carbon emissions at 2005 levels,” Wen told journalists.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071121/sc_afp/
aseansummiteasiachinaenvironmentclimate_071121152357