The White House, as it prepares to announce new limits on carbon emissions, is working to transform the debate from distant threats to issues of here and now.
The only way to shake complacency is to emphasize the threats in terms that people understand.
In new polling by the Climate Change Communication efforts of Yale and George Mason, “global warming” is the winner — across the board:
We found that the term global warming is associated with greater public understanding, emotional engagement, and support for personal and national action than the term climate change.
… the use of the term climate change appears to actually reduce issue engagement by Democrats, Independents, liberals, and moderates, as well as a variety of subgroups within American society, including men, women, minorities, different generations, and across political and partisan lines.
Here’s an even more amazing finding: “Within the Weather category, global warming generates a higher percentage of associations to “extreme weather” than does climate change, which generates more associations to general weather patterns.”
It makes sense. Climate Change does not sound as permanent as Global Warming.
A new carbon dioxide milestone has been reached according to the World Meteorological Agency. Average carbon dioxide measurements at all monitoring stations in the northern hemisphere were above 400 parts per million for the month of April, the first time that’s been recorded in human history.
London has a dirty secret.
Levels of the harmful air pollutant nitrogen dioxide at a city-center monitoring station are the highest in Europe. Concentrations are greater even than in Beijing, where expatriates have dubbed the city’s smog the “airpocalypse.”
It’s the law of unintended consequences at work. European Union efforts to fightclimate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2. However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London, a thriving bike-hire program and growing public-transport network.
An unintended consequence of EU membership?
Japan’s campaign to boost renewable power supplies since the Fukushima nuclear disaster is producing some unlikely winners: vegetable farmers.
Makoto Takazawa and his father Yukio earned 1.7 million yen ($16,700) last fiscal year selling electricity from solar panels that hang in a giant canopy above their farm east of Tokyo. The cash was almost nine times more than they made from the crops growing in the soil below.
Under pressure from trade partners to reduce agricultural subsidies, Japan has found a way round this by giving clean energy subsidies to farmers instead.
The world’s first community-owned tidal power turbine has come online, exporting electricity to the local grid in Scotland.
The turbine sits on the seabed at a depth of over 30m and is driven by the power of the tide as it flows past. The rotating turbine drives a generator that produces electricity, which is transmitted onshore via a 1km subsea cable.
The Green Climate fund set up as a result of United Nations climate-treaty talks to help finance projects that reduce emissions in poorer nations agreed on a set of rules, paving the way for initial capital to be raised.
The design of the fund, how it will raise funds and spend them, was completed at a meeting in Songdo, South Korea, today, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which stewards the UN talks, said today in an e-mailed statement.
Antarctica is shedding 160 billion tonnes a year of ice into the ocean, twice the amount of a few years ago, according to new satellite observations. The ice loss is adding to the rising sea levels driven by climate change and even east Antarctica is now losing ice.
Much to the delight of the residents of Armenis, a small village in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, 17 bison were released into a local acclimation enclosure Saturday. The operation, carried out by the WWF and Rewilding Europe, is part of an international effort to restore the emblematic animal in the region, more than 250 years after it went extinct. The foundations hope the herd will grow to 500 heads by 2025. WWF-Romania said that locally-hired people have already been trained as bison rangers and bison guides.
The Greens’ successes go unrecorded by commentators who would rather have a few rogues to liven up things.
This time around, the Greens are polling higher than at any point since 1989. Their share went from 3% to 8%, in a poll whose results were interpreted, by every paper apart from the Evening Standard, as testament to the fact that voters hate everybody. In a YouGov poll last week asking about voting intentions for the European elections, the Lib Dems were two points behind the Greens, who reached 12%.
Voting Green is still seen as a protest vote rather than a genuine commitment to sustainability.