Here are two recent and highly relevant updates. The National Academy of Sciences just released a report on Abrupt Impact of Climate Change. As the temperature of the Earth continues to rise, we need to be prepared for very sudden changes in weather patterns and eco systems. Many species were very well adapted to a climate that had been fairly constant for the last 10’000 years or so. When the climate changes rapidly, they will either have to migrate – which is kind of difficult if you are a tree – or go extinct. Kate Sheppard has a well written article on this topic in the Huffington Post: Climate Change’s Biggest Threats Are Those We Aren’t Ready For.
On a more positive note, the world’s largest investors are seriously considering if it is smart to invest in oil, coal, and gas, as most of it will have to be left in the ground anyway. Investors worth some 3 trillion USD now support the Carbon-Asset Risk project. More information can be found in this excellent blog entry from the Carbon Tracker Initiative.
Although this is undoubtedly good news, it does not solve all the problems. If private investors become more reluctant to invest in fossil fuel, this will either lead to higher prices or else governments will have to step in. Either way, the investors win and the poor lose. In our view, a global sustainability fee as proposed by GISEco is the only way to ensure a soft landing without breaking the backs of the poor.
An interesting article in the international version of the Der Spiegel illustrates how differently communities respond to the threat of global warming: A Tale of Two Cities: America’s Bipolar Climate Future. Whereas New York City is planning for rising sea levels, New Bern in North Carolina ignores it. Actually, the state of North Carolina passed a law forbidding coastal communities to account for global warming when trying to predict future sea levels. In other words, they are trying to make increased sea levels illegal (House Bill 819). See the characteristically brilliant comment by Stephen Colbert here.