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US, China Set Carbon Pollution Goals

Image: President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping. Photo Credit: Pete Souza/White HouseImage: President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping. Photo Credit: Pete Souza/White House

environmentalleader.com - November 13th, 2014

The US and China set ambitious climate change goals on Wednesday, with President Obama pledging to cut US greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Chinese president Xi Jinping announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 or sooner and to increase China’s non-fossil fuel share of energy to around 20 percent by 2030.

The announcement was met with praise from environmentalists and business groups.

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Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC

A photo of smokestacks. The IPCC says fossil fuels without carbon capture should be "phased out" by 2100

Image: A photo of smokestacks. The IPCC says fossil fuels without carbon capture should be "phased out" by 2100

bbc.com - November 2nd 2014 -  Matt McGrath

The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world's electricity can - and must - be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.

If not, the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage.

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Structural Adaptivity, Before and After Thoughts

 

As a means of concluding these writings on Structural Adaptivity and Resilience, following are some of the background thoughts, with recent revision, that led me to my proposals. Originally, my writings were directed at city and regional planning. However now I realize they are also about resilience.  I hope my submittals will be helpful.  I will try to write more soon.

 

Time.  Planners, resilience makers, and all other leaders and professionals dealing with the built environment must focus on long time spans.  In order to have significant impact on the future of our world, we must recognize that only by looking at big chunks of history and big chunks of future time can we really see the reality of what is going on.  Likewise, we need to do so in order to see the reality of what needs to be done.

 

Typical urban or regional plans target a future some 20 years ahead.  Moreover, they typically are based on past trends of 20 years or so.  However, our world does not change in 20-year cycles.  Twenty years is a very short time period in the flow of transformation.

 

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part II

Here is the second part of my Rebalancing by Watersheds Exercise.  I presented the background work recently in my Part I post.  Part II contains a Concept Plan Map and a discussion of the more particular information and data that led me to the Plan. 

 

Both Parts I and Part II are only a condensed version of the full text I prepared.  Within the portions I left out for this version is a considerable amount of technical information that some readers may want to see.  I will provide more of it upon request. 

 

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Structural Adaptivity, Rebalancing by Watersheds - Part I

 

One of the applications of structural adaptivity that I have presented is re-balancing our nation by major watersheds.  The benefits would be two-fold:  (1) growing our nation into urban regions where each would have resilient economic and adaptivity capacities; and (2) tying the regions to ample sources of fresh water by linking them to regional U.S. watersheds.

 

Because it would be such a large departure from recent trends and because I could discover no literature showing its possibility or desirability, I sought to perform an exercise to demonstrate its possibility.  In doing this, I am setting aside my own considerable shortcomings.  I am assuming that criticism of my arrogance in attempting such an exercise is less important than taking a step in a much-needed new direction.

 

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Global Economy Facing Environment, Sustainability Skills Deficit

environmentalleader.com - October 16th, 2014

By 2020 the world economy could be facing a skills deficit driven by mega-trends such as population growth, increasing demand for natural resources, and soaring costs of energy, coupled with the impacts of climate change and ecosystem degradation, according to a report by the Institute of Environmental Management & Awareness.

Although the transition to a sustainable economy presents significant opportunities for business, according to an IEMA survey of over 900 organizations, only 13 percent of companies are fully confident that they have the skills to successfully compete in the sustainable economy.

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Structural Adaptivity Facilitation Examples - Part III

Here are my last three Facilitation Examples, proposed activities by planners and others to influence the development of the built environment toward structural adaptivity and resilience as we progress into an ever more uncertain and unpredictable future. 

 

Rethinking Homeownership.  Conventional owner-occupied land and buildings in the US many times tie the owners into long-term tenures.  It makes moves, to other locations, overly cumbersome even when such moves are in the occupants’ best interests.  Adaptivity requires the ability to make quicker changes than in the past, including the self-initiated movement of people and businesses to other locations when beneficial.  Alternative types of ownership or tenure must be facilitated, types which are more adaptable to quick change.

 

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Get Smarter on Agriculture and Climate

David Cleary Director of Agriculture Nature ConservancyBy David Cleary - Sep 22, 2014 - environmentalleader.com

In a somber scene-setter for the upcoming climate summit in New York, the UN’s meteorological office, The World Meteorological Organization, released a report showing that world carbon emissions in 2013 reached a record high, and atmospheric carbon is increasing at the fastest rate seen in over thirty years. Some hard questions are facing the international order, which has spent much of that period in an interminable round of meetings meant to combat climate change. Against this backdrop, the pertinent question the UN report raises is: why bother? If we appear to be losing the battle, what difference does yet another meeting and round of press conferences make, other than to traffic conditions in lower Manhattan?

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Ban Ki-moon: 'World living in an era of unprecedented level of crises'

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon with actor Leonardo DiCaprio during his designation ceremony as the UN Messenger of Peace. Photograph: EPA

Julian Borger - New York The Guardian
21 Sep 2014 16.55 BST

More than 140 heads of state and government fly in to New York this week for the United Nations general assembly amid apprehension that international order is unraveling at an accelerating pace, while the world's leaders seem ever less willing or able to deal with the proliferating threats.

The UN's humanitarian agencies are in danger of being completely overwhelmed by the multiple crises. Ebola is spreading rapidly across West Africa, swamping rickety national health systems and a thus-far underfunded UN effort to stop its advance. The spread of Islamic State (Isis) extremists in the Middle East, feeding on the destruction of the Syrian civil war and exposing the weakness of the Iraqi state, has similarly outpaced patchy international efforts at containment.

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Global Rise Reported in 2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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