World Bank call to “Turn Down the Heat”

The World Bank has released a new report called Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided. It is the first major report to acknowledge we are not likely to succeed in keeping temperatures below 2°C warmer. The report discusses how the poorest countries will suffer most from the devastating impacts of climate change and aims to instill a sense of urgency in world leaders.

From the foreword by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim:

“It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency.

This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.

The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs. The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.”

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ACTION: Send comments to SD on Climate Mitigation & Adaptation Plan (CMAP)

The City of San Diego must put together a climate plan in keeping with AB32 and other state laws. Unfortunately, the plan staff plans to send to the City Council for approval is very inadequate, not even meeting the stated goals and relying on too many voluntary and other measures that are out of their control.

Please send in a comment by October 1, 2012. We will also be posting details of the hearings at City Council where we can comment.

Email Instructions:
– Subject: City of San Diego Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan
– Text Body (Feel free to edit!)

Dear Councilmembers:

The City of San Diego Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan (CMAP) is an important start to addressing the issues of climate change in San Diego. However, the CMAP fails to meet State climate targets in 2035 and beyond, and relies too heavily on voluntary measures and assumptions regarding changes to federal and state mandates to reach the reductions in the plan.

Although the CMAP emissions targets are in line with state mandated goals, there are no strategies outlined in the CMAP that will get us to the 2035 or 2050 targets. The CMAP needs to include bold measures that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions starting now, not in 2020 or 2035.

The CMAP should include measures that strengthens mass transit and bicycling, prioritizes sustainable land use, and follows a better Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

We need to increase energy efficiency and conservation, incentivize renewables, especially rooftop solar, and transition away from fossil fuels.

Building codes should be strengthened to ensure that new homes are as energy and water efficient as possible. Incentives and financing for retrofitting are needed.

We need to explore options to reduce waste, and procure food and products locally.

The City needs to provide education, outreach, and be a leader in climate change.

Thank you for your consideration,

[YOUR NAME]

California launches “Just the Facts” website on Climate Change

According to a new website launched by the California office of Planning & Research, climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to California’s economy, environment, and to public health.

The website goes on to discuss California’s groundbreaking efforts to reduce emissions and prepare for impacts, Climate Change Just the Factsand to refute the arguments of opponents of action on climate change who have mis-characterized the science. The website has links to sections on climate science, scientific consensus, as well as climate deniers and their arguments.

Visit the website here: http://www.opr.ca.gov/s_climatechangefacts.php

Human Wave at Mission Beach Shows Sea Level Rise

Connect the Dots! Dot #1: in the last few years we are seeing higher temperatures worldwide and more frequent and severe weather events. Dot #2: this is climate change. Dot #3: climate change is caused by emissions from burning fossil fuel. Dot #4: with rising temperatures, oceans are expanding which will cause more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying coastal communities such as Mission Beach. The sea level rose 7 inches in the past century in our area, and scientists expect it to rise another 12-18 inches by 2050. This means that much of Mission Beach, including homes and businesses, could have several inches of seawater flooding at high tide, and be inundated during storms. The sandy beaches up and down the coast could be washed away, destroying property values, wildlife habitat, and tourism.

On May 5, about 100 San Diego 350ers gathered at Mission Beach to form a human wave symbolizing these events. Walking up the beach waving blue sheets, we showed expected sea level rise by 2050. After speakers told us what we can do to fight this process, we walked back down the beach to show how we can limit these changes if we act now. It is up to us.

Further photos for our event are here.

Bill McKibben Visits with SanDiego350.org

On May 14, 2012, acclaimed author, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, gave the Keeling Memorial Lecture at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. For an hour prior to his lecture, he met privately with 36 members of San Diego 350.org.

Bill noted that  the fossil fuel industry, the richest industry in the history of the world, is the biggest obstacle to climate action. We have a choice: either a healthy fossil fuel industry or a healthy planet. We cannot match the enormous financial resources of the fossil fuel industry, so we need to build a “people movement” at the grassroots level and put it to work politically. This is what is happening. As 350.org has spread around the world, the movement is made up mainly of “black, brown, Asian, poor, and young people,” which is what most people in the world are.

In light of the upcoming elections, Bill suggested two approaches to confronting the fossil fuel industry in the U.S.: (1) ending oil subsidies which 80% of voters in all parties support and (2) exposing politicians – their financial connections to the fossil fuel industry and their track records on climate change. Perhaps in the next 5 years, a price on carbon may be possible.

Here are a few additional thoughts that came out of the meeting. As happened in the recent fight over the Keystone Oil Pipeline, the climate movement needs to be nimble and agile–able to mobilize quickly to address issues as they come up. We should think globally but act locally and consider doing things that are small enough to be possible but large enough to matter. We have a great resource locally in Scripps Institute where several top scientists are located. We should cooperate with other like-minded groups in the community.

Overall, Bill was encouraging but realistic. He inspired us to keep working for climate change action.

Additional photos from our meeting with Bill are here.