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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much More Ado about Nothing

The InterAcademy Council has released its independent review of the IPCC and provided a number of recommendations aimed at tightening up what it acknowledges to be a generally rigorous process. As with the other various reviews that have emerged in the wake of 'Climategate', the council's report found no evidence of conspiracy, fraud, or incompetence. The measures that are recommended, which, if applied, would place an additional (but not necessarily unwarranted) burden on the IPCC and its authors, are indicative of the lofty expectations placed on the IPCC and the powerful influence it wields in policy circles (not that such influence is evident within actual policy). The greater the stakes in the climate policy debate, the greater the scrutiny the IPCC will receive.

Meanwhile, the Gaurdian is reporting on an interview with the Skeptical Environmentalist himself, Lomborg, who is releasing yet another book on climate change. This time around, Lomborg appears to have changed his tune a bit regarding the urgency of the climate change challenge. With the Skeptical Environmentalist, he argued that climate change was in fact a real problem, but not necessarily a priority for the global economy and human well-being. Now, in Smart Solutions to Climate Change, Lomborg reportedly has called for annual investments of $100 billion per year for R&D to find technical solutions to climate change, paid for by none other than a carbon tax. Technical solutions alone, of course, don't necessarily address the problem. For centuries we've put our trust in a new technology waiting around the corner to address problems of the present. The promise of a technical fix is thus just one more way of avoiding tough decisions. Still, it's a bit of a shift for Lomborg, which is likely to induce shrugs in all the other so-called skeptics.

The skeptics have also taken a hit in Virginia, where a judge has opted not to play ball with the Attorney General. Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. has set aside a subpoena issued by the AG to the University of Virginia for documents pertaining to the research of former UVA faculty member, Michael Mann, as part of the AG's investigation of potential fraud on behalf of the researcher. The judge ruled that the AG failed to provide a basis for the fraud accusation. One can only wonder what will happen next. . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Energy Adaptation Toolkit

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program administered by the World Bank has produced what it calls a Hands-On Energy Adaptation Toolkit (HEAT), and on can only assume that it's "hands on" because HEAT makes for a more relevant acronym than EAT. In any case, HEAT leads users through the process of assessing the vulnerability of energy systems and developing appropriate adaptation strategies. The tool will look familiar to anyone who's ever seen a risk assessment/management or adaptation planning framework. Apparently, the tool was successfully trialed in Albania and Uzbekistan, so if you have any energy systems or infrastructure that could use some adaptation planning, give it a try.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Climate Adaptation in New Zealand


The New Zealand Climate Change Centre has produced a report entitled Climate Change Adaptation in New Zealand: Future Scenarios and Some Sectoral Perspectives. The report takes a triple bottom line approach to synthesizing adaptation issues across key sectors and interests including primary industries, human health, biodiversity, energy and Maori culture.

Adaptation Costs in the Carribean

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has released the preliminary results of a study on the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) in the Caribbean. The results span eight countries (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, and St. Lucia), but at the moment, the details are limited to a 28-page brochure. In brief, the study finds that climate change could eventually contribute to additional economic losses from severe weather in the Caribbean on the order of 1-3% of GDP (in addition to the current annual average losses of 6% of GDP). However, the study also finds that up to 90% of these losses can be avoided through adaptation mechanisms to reduce vulnerability.