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CLIMATE

 

Cause for Global Celebration! A Climate Accord was achieved at the recent COP21 United Nations climate talks in Paris. The new deal unites all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change for the first time in history.

Read the Paris Agreement Fact Sheet or visit http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09.pdf to read the entire agreement.

For the first time in history, 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and joined forces to take common climate action. This followed two weeks of tireless negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21).

COP stands for Conference of Parties, an annual meeting of all nations that make up the United Nations Framework on Climate Change — 195 nations in total. This is the 21st meeting (thus COP21), with the first occurring in Berlin in 1995. The purpose of the meetings is to continually assess the nations’ progress in dealing with climate change and, every so often, negotiate agreements and set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are the primary drivers of climate change. Previous memorable meetings include COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, which brought about the Kyoto Protocol; COP11, which generated the Montreal Action Plan; and COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was largely deemed a failure because a binding agreement wasn’t reached. The goal for the Paris meeting was pretty clear-cut: to achieve a legally binding agreement, with universal participation among all nations, to keep global warming below what most scientists say is the critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of warming. (This refers to the increase in globally averaged temperature since the Industrial Revolution.)

The recently acheived deal unites all the world’s nations in a single agreement on tackling climate change for the first time in history. Coming to a consensus among nearly 200 countries on the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is regarded by many observers as an achievement in itself and is being hailed as “historic”.

Climate Change Imperative

In November 2013, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report stating that climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when demand for food is expected to soar.  Rising temperatures will make it harder for crops to thrive, perhaps reducing production overall by as much as 2% each decade for the rest of the century.  During this time, demand is expected to rise as much as 14% each decade as the current world population grows from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billon by 2050.

A December article by journalist Dahr Jamail quoted atmospheric scientists saying we as a species have never experienced 400 part per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the current level.  Carbon dioxide levels are projected to increase steadily until mid-century.  Some scientists project the Arctic being ice-free in the next few years, and the planet has not experienced an ice-free Arctic for at least 3 million years.  Earth’s climate will change 10 times faster than at any other moment in the last 65 million years with new projections of Arctic methane release.

2020 County Vision Statement

  • Energy and Resources- Our community fosters resource and energy conservation.  Energy independence is encouraged.  Recycling, solid waste, and sewage treatment are managed within the confines of each island in an environmentally sound manner.  Renewable natural resources are used on a sustainable basis.  Nonrenewable resources are conserved wherever possible and practical.

Links

Global Ocean Health, http://globaloceanhealth.org

NRCS National Water and Climate Center, http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/

WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, http://csanr.wsu.edu/

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, http://ipcc.ch/

World Meteorological Organization, http://www.wmo.int/

Met Office, http://metoffice.gov.uk/

NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

PNW Climate Impacts Research Consortium, http://pnwcirc.org/

JISAO Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean, http://jisao.washington.edu/

Climate Impacts Group, http://cses.washington.edu/cig/

 

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