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Halcyon's 52:52:52 campaign on this site and on Twitter will start in 2021. It will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

Part consultancy, part thinktank, part social enterprise, Halcyon helps you prepare for and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

A Mundane Comedy is Halcyon's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from the beginning of 2021. Please get in touch with any questions about the book or related Halcyon services.

Halcyon monitors change for more than 150 key elements of life.

What's Changing? - Climate

Climate

 

Please see below recent climate-related change, including key developments regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 - Climate Action.

Imagine a ship that is sinking and needs all the available power to run the pumps to drain out the rising waters. The first class passengers refuse to cooperate because they feel hot and want to use the air-conditioner and other electrical appliances. The second-class passengers spend all their time trying to be upgraded to first-class status. The boat sinks and the passengers all drown. That is where the present approach to climate change is leading - Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard

 

See also:

 

January 2021

  • The coronavirus crisis demonstrated that, when confronted with a significant threat, governments across the world can take decisive action to mitigate the effects. However, despite the very visible devastations of the climate crisis, addressing it has suffered from, among other things, partisan politics and a sometimes disjointed global awareness of where responsibility lies and the extent of action needed. As countries convene in Glasgow for COP26 to update their Nationally Determined Contributions, and the US attempts to re-assert its leadership in climate circles by re-joining the Paris Agreement, Chatham House examined whether there is an opportunity in 2021 to reinvigorate international cooperation on tackling the climate crisis.
  • A 2020 project led by PIRC, NEON and 350.org explored how the public understands climate change and ways to improve communication about it. 

 

December 2020

 

October 2020

 

September 2020

 

August 2020

  • California may have set a new global temperature record. The August 2020 reading of 130°F (54.4°C) in Death Valley could be the hottest ever.
  • A range of experts - including professors, astronomers, authors, and historians examined what climate change looks like, how humans have already and are continuing to contribute to it, how and why it has become politicised, and what needs to happen moving forward for real progress to be made. One noted that the main goal of climate action is not to win over the sceptical minority, but to make those people who are concerned but still fundamentally complacent about the issue to be really engaged in a way that they prioritise climate change in their politics and their voting and make sure that leaders think of climate change as a first-order political priority.
  • Towns across Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East recorded temperatures over 50 degrees C every day for a week. Record highs were posted in 2020 in Baghdad, Basra, Damascus and Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and Nasa declared June 2020 the hottest ever measured. 
  • It’s predicted that, thanks to carbon emissions, Alpine glaciers could lose half of their ice by 2050 – and the people who live there will be affected, too. Experts have warned that 500,000 cubic metres of ice is in danger of breaking off Mont Blanc’s Planpincieux glacier, prompting the evacuation of homes in the nearby town of Courmayeur in Italy.
  • Meanwhile, Greenland lost 586 billion tons of ice in 2019, surpassing the previous annual record by over 15 percent after an unusually warm year. The data confirm that the vast Arctic territory's ice sheet is melting much faster than expected as a result of climate change.

 

July 2020

  • Climate TRACE - which stands for Tracking Real-time Atmospheric Carbon Emissions -comprises organisations from the tech sector that have pioneered some of the most-powerful software-based emissions-monitoring solutions in the world, in part using AI and remote sensing. This first-of-its-kind global coalition will leverage advanced AI, satellite image processing, machine learning, and land- and sea-based sensors to do what was previously thought to be nearly impossible: monitor Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from every sector and in every part of the world. The work will be extremely granular in focus - down to specific power plants, ships, factories, and more. The goal is to actively track and verify all significant human-caused GHG emissions worldwide with unprecedented levels of detail and speed.
  • By the middle of 2020, the tundra around Khabarovsk in Siberia was on fire. The temperature in Verkhoyansk, inside the Arctic Circle, reached 38 C and an international study in World Weather Attribution said anthropogenic climate change has made all this 600 times more likely. Once-in-80,000 years events have become once-in-130 years events – but don’t expect to have to wait 130 years for the next one, warned Tortoise Media.
  • Tortoise added that there seems to be a lag of up to five years between the time methane starts seeping into the Arctic Ocean – as it does from time to time – and the arrival of microbes that eat it. This is the finding of a study of a methane seep first seen in the Ross Sea off western Antarctica in 2011. It matters because methane is 36 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and if it starts seeping in large volumes from the sea bed (or permafrost), global warming could accelerate out of control.
  • Tortoise Media reported that New York City’s climate has been reclassified: it’s no longer humid continental, but instead sits within the humid subtropical climate zone. In fact, the city has probably met the requirements for the past five years. And it’s only getting hotter. To nobody’s surprise the culprit is – say it with me – man-made climate change. Looking specifically at the city’s horticultural world, the NYT highlighted some of the already visible impacts ($): from early spring to the loss of native plants like birches and survival of plant-eating pests that usually die in the cold weather. Trees from Asia and South America are now thriving in NYC outside conservatories.
  • The Financial Times reported that indigenous people make up 6 per cent of the global population but manage or have tenure rights over more than a quarter of the world’s land surface. “There is simply no way to halt climate breakdown if indigenous peoples aren’t included,” says Conservation International (CI), a US-based non-profit organisation. A 2020 study by the Ecological Society of America found that 36 per cent of the world’s intact forest landscapes (forests undisturbed by human activity) lie within indigenous lands “making these areas crucial to the mitigation action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change”. 

 

June 2020

 

May 2020

  • Khatanga is an old cold war outpost in the far north of the Russian arctic, with a giant runway and a modest hotel now used mainly by sledge-haulers trying their luck with ice floes and polar bears. The average temperature there at this time of year is zero degrees C. The record high was 12 degrees, until May 2020, when the mercury reached 25.4, reported Tortoise. 

 

April 2020

  • If countries fail to meet the pledges of the Paris climate agreement, the global economy could lose out on $600 trillion by the end of the century. That’s according to a paper in the journal Nature Communications that quantified potential benefits for governments of working together on “self-preservation strategies” – and the costs of not doing so.

 

January 2020

 

December 2019

  • Greenland is now shedding ice sheets at an annual rate of 254 billion tons. That's seven times faster than it did in the 1990s. The resulting rise in sea levels has put millions of people around the world in danger of seasonal floods.
  • While there’s widespread scientific consensus that the world is getting warmer, it seems some individuals still need convincing. For example, in the US, 6% of people say climate change isn’t real, and 9% don’t attribute global warming to human action, according to a survey by YouGov.
  • Climate change could shorten pregnancies. Heat stress causes women to give birth earlier, and may account for 250,000 fewer days of gestation for US babies by 2100.
  • The UN climate talks ended in disappointment. The COP25 talks in Madrid failed to produce bold pledges from major nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly, despite the proceedings running two days longer than planned.

 

November 2019

  • Global temperatures are on track to rise around 3.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century (7 degrees Fahrenheit), which would have disastrous implications, according to a United Nations report. Increasingly acidic oceans could dissolve all coral reefs, and severe heat, already extreme in many regions, would become intolerable.
  • Italy became the first country to introduce compulsory education on climate change. From September 2020, schools are obliged to include about one hour a week in their curriculum, alongside teaching core subjects such as Physics, Maths and Geography through a sustainability lens.
  • Parts of Canada are heating up at a level more than double the global average. The province of British Columbia has around 17,000 glaciers. They're releasing 22 billion cubic meters of water each year. Some scientists even predict that they could have disappeared completely by 2030. 

 

October 2019

 

September 2019

 

August 2019

  • Richer nations tend to politicise the climate change while poorer nations more often present it as a problem of international concern, according to a study published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Researchers analysed more than 37,000 news articles from 45 countries and territories using computer algorithms and found that the strongest predictor of how a given country’s press will cover climate change is Gross Domestic Product per capita. In short: the way a country’s media reports on global warming is based on the resources available to combat it.

 

July 2019

  • Scientists tracked in 2019 an unprecedented number of fires burning north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland, Russia, Canada, and Alaska after a record summer heatwave. By one estimate, the fires released more carbon dioxide than Sweden's entire annual emissions in one month alone. This problem increases the risk that politically disruptive effects of climate change – like mass migrations or geopolitical competition for ice-free Arctic sea lanes and undersea resources – will arrive (much) more quickly than expected, noted GZEROMedia.

 

June 2019

  • Chatham House examined the increasingly urgent narrative surrounding climate change and the role of the corporate sector in helping avert the climate crisis. How, if at all, are strikes, protests and the new state of emergency reshaping consumer expectations, corporate strategy and public policy on environmental issues? What new business models and frameworks can private enterprises develop to help contribute to climate governance? And to what extent can businesses provide genuine leadership on climate change?
  • Compost may be a key part of the solution to addressing climate change, but large-scale collection of food scraps, yard trimmings, and even human bodies poses a huge logistical challenge. Cities like Seoul, South Korea, which recycles 95% of its food waste, are proving it’s possible, while sites in Sweden, California, and New York are turning egg shells and carrot tops into biogas and saving money in the process.

 

May 2019

 

March 2019

  • It may be human nature to rejoice in sunshine and balmy breezes, but when the cause is climate change, days much hotter than the seasonal average can spark anxiety, too. Quartz asked scientists and philosophers about how to deal with this cognitive dissonance, and how to channel our emotions toward action.
  • The Little Ice Age is term that often refers to a moderately cold period in the 17th and 18th centuries that hit Europe especially hard. But it may have gone as late as the 19th century and began - or was at least triggered - in the 13th century. Either way, the Little Ice Age caused famines, sparked witch hunts, altered wars, toppled dynasties, and may show us what lies ahead with climate change, according to Quartz.
  • Students around the world have gone on climate strikes. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, students in more than 100 countries have held massive school walkouts to protest climate inaction.

 

January 2019

 

December 2018

 

November 2018

 

October 2018

 

September 2018

 

August 2018

 

July 2018

 

June 2018

 

May 2018

 

April 2018

 

March 2018

 

February 2018

 

January 2018

 

Pre-2018

  • Glacier shrinkage, combined with melting of the polar ice caps, pose three main threats: raising sea levels; disrupting ocean current circulation and losing freshwater stores. The threat of the Greenland ice sheet slipping ever faster into the sea because of warmer summers was challenged in a scientific study.
  • What if William Wilberforce had said: "Could you just cut down a bit? Own one slave instead of two?"  Fair point, is the environment the biggest threat the world faces - in which case it's elected governments, not just individuals - who should be acting now - or do the less appetising aspects of our human nature - laziness, poor attention, indifference and prevarication - just mean that we can't prepare for a crisis in advance, but will just have to try and deal with it when it arrives? Do we really care that there might be a "perfect storm" in 2030?  Are we suffering from "perverse cosmic myopia" when it comes to the biggest problems - financial as as well as environmental -that we are facing?
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