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Growing countries should be allowed emissions

Developing countries should have different standards for emission reductions than “developed” countries, to allow for their economic growth, a US Department of State official said Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Jeff Miotke, the department’s climate change coordinator for the U.S. special envoy for climate change, talked about the differences during a discussion about what to expect from climate change negotiations in Cancun next week.

Miotke said developed countries like the US should agree to reduce their emissions on an absolute basis, below a past year’s baseline, while developing countries should be held to more relative standards. For example, the US has committed to reduce their emissions levels in 2020 by 17 percent of what they were in 2005. China is targeting a reduction of the carbon intensity of their economy by up to 45 percent, which means per unit of GDP the amount of emissions would decline but overall emissions will actually grow with the country’s economy.

“Over the short term I think this is something that’s quite feasible and is equitable to allow developing countries that face a very evident development challenge to continue to … Continue Reading

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Climate and military budget comparison lacks depth

In the 2011 fiscal year, the U.S. will spend $41 on its military for every $1 spent combating climate change, according to a recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies that compares the two amounts. But defense experts caution that the assessment of climate change spending isn’t detailed enough, and criticize that the report lacks suggestions for how government money could be redistributed.

Miriam Pemberton, who authored the report, said what prompted her to compare the two budget figures was growing emphasis in the security community that climate change is an issue the United States needs to address.

Two recent strategy documents, the Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Security Strategy, have noted the issue as a security challenge. The QDR calls climate change an “accelerant of instability.” President Barack Obama’s National Security Strategy says climate change “will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources.” (Click here to view the respective section of the document.)

“If it’s as big a problem as they think it is, we need a real shift in the budget to take that into account,” said Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies. “If it’s a security issue then our security resources should be devoted to it.”

… Continue Reading

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What’s the government doing about climate change?

As the national security implications of climate change are slowly being realized, the U.S. government is beginning to weave adaptation measures into its policies. But considering the breadth of issues, federal agencies are looking first at the problems most relevant to them and “mainstreaming,” or integrating, their individual adaptation efforts into their daily activities.

The problem is that it’s becoming harder and harder to keep track of who’s doing what.

Enter the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. … Continue Reading

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Coast Guard admiral wants more resources in Arctic

Healy in the Arctic

Researchers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy doing research in the Arctic this summer (credit: NASA)

The Coast Guard pointman for the High North, Rear Admiral Christopher C. Colvin, wants more equipment, research and preparation for the increasingly traveled Arctic, according to this Associated Press story in the Washington Post today.

Outlining the growing transit of international ships and visitors through the rapidly warming region, the story clearly illustrates how climate change is making operations more complicated and unpredictable for the U.S. military.

According to the story, “CG admiral asks for Arctic resources” : … Continue Reading

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