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Whales wield thermometers for climate science

Faced with treacherous conditions and staggering price tags, scientists called in new recruits to measure ocean temperatures in the warming Arctic. It’s no coincidence that these recruits are native to the region, nor that they are natural divers.

Of course, the fact that they’re whales is pretty unique. … Continue Reading

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Climate-smart agriculture to feed the growing world population, FAO says

A new report says developing countries must use “climate-smart” agricultural practices to overcome food security challenges related to climate change.

According to the report, “’Climate-Smart’ Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation, and Mitigation,”   released by the Food and Agriculture Organization, agricultural productivity will have to rise by 70 percent to feed the estimated world population in 2050. … Continue Reading

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Nations lack resources to prep for climate change

The U.S. Climate Action Network’s head of outreach said today that she is hoping a funding plan for billions in dollars promised to help developing countries with climate adaptation and mitigation projects will precede the United Nations climate change summit in Cancun next month.

CAN Outreach Director Jennifer Kurz discussed the funding during a weekly webchat hosted by the U.S. State Department.

More than 25 nations agreed to the Copenhagen Accord last December, which commits developed countries to provide $30 billion from 2010-2012 for mitigation and adaptation investments, and also promises that developed countries will “mobilize” $100 billion a year by 2020. … Continue Reading

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Argentina law gives new hope for glacier protection

In a sign of growing concern for South America’s mountain glaciers, Argentina recently passed a law to protect glaciers from mining and oil and natural gas exploration. Now conservation advocates are hopeful other Andean nations will follow Argentina’s example.

Jorge Recharte, director of Andean program in Peru for The Mountain Institute, which develops conservation and climate awareness programs, says it’s time for the Peruvian government to recognize the importance of the glaciers with national legislation. Lawmakers have drafted a similar glacier protection law, but it hasn’t gained much traction, Recharte said. … Continue Reading

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Economic growth threatened by climate change

Even as some symptoms of global warming may bring an economic boon, like increased shipping in a melting Arctic, some of the world’s fastest growing economies may be the most vulnerable to climate change. … Continue Reading

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Watching changes at the top of the world, looking to security

Everest

Mount Everest (Credit: ilkerender, via flickr)

Melting ice caps and dramatic climate change usually bring to mind images of Greenland and Antarctica, but there’s another significant melt underway in a place that bears far greater consequences for humans in the near-term: the Himalayas.

On Friday, a trio of Indian environmental experts published an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor pointing to the role that black carbon plays in the region’s environmental changes.  Black carbon, spewed from the diesel tailpipes and coal-fired power plants that characterize the region, stays in the atmosphere for only a matter of weeks and is responsible for as much as half of the warming in the region. … Continue Reading

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Beebe outlines “human security” at book launch

Beebe

Lt. Col. Shannon Beebe speaks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about his new book which describes a different view of security.

WASHINGTON — Lt. Col. Shannon Beebe, Assistant Army Attaché for the U.S. Africa Command station, spoke at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about a new security paradigm that emphasizes environmental security and global partnerships, the focus of his new book, The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the New Rules of War and Peace. Beebe joined co-author and London professor Mary Kaldor on Oct. 19 for the book launch. Listen to audio from the talk here. … 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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Friday event: Working with climate change

Friday, the New America Foundation is hosting the authors of “Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World” by Aron Cramer and Zackary Karabell. Cramer is president and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, a research and consulting company that focuses on sustainable business strategies. Karabell is president of Twice River Research and a senior adviser to BSR.

The stories I’m working on for our project focus on the security of our way of life here at home, so I like to see what smart people write about how businesses are handling … Continue Reading

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Military opens discussion on energy security

Navy Vice Adm. William R Burke

Vice Adm. William R Burke, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, speaking Oct. 13 about the Navy's energy conservation

The Department of Defense celebrated its efforts to minimize energy consumption last week at the Pentagon. (Read about the panel and events here.) Considering that DoD accounts for more than 90 percent of the federal government’s oil consumption, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen put it best: “It’s taken us far too long to get to this point.” Read his speech

Moving from the “burn it if you’ve got it” mentality has been hard for the military but recent emphasis on the many sketchy countries the U.S. buys oil from has helped with the transition. And the US military in particular has a real opportunity here to lead. Again, as Mullen put it, “We can either lead the change or be changed by the leadership of others.”

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