In the North East
Eco lessons for North East school students
North East school students were given first-hand experience of climate change thanks to the Climate Change Schools Project and the Tipping Points project.
The aim was to give the students a broader understanding of climate change via a hands-on experience, using microscopes to examine fossils and analyse sediment samples.
The students were from St Anthony's Girls' School in Sunderland and All Saints VA Church of England School in Stockton. Both schools are members of the Climate Change Schools Project, an award-winning educational programme based at the Science Learning Centre North East.
During the sessions, the students met scientists who work on climate change research projects, take part in pollen analyses which can explain past climate change and experience a working research laboratory.
Read more at http://goo.gl/lGypq
North East landmarks plunged into darkness
Some of the North East England's well-known landmarks were plunged into darkness on Saturday. The lights were switched off for one hour at 20:30 for Earth Hour, the global campaign which aims to highlight the impact climate change has on people and nature.
Attractions such as The Sage Gateshead, Penshaw Monument, the Baltic and the Tyneside Cinema were involved, as well as various businesses and residents.
Visit the Earth Hour website at http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/
Climate UK officially launched
The official launch of Climate UK, an independent not-for-profit company bringing together knowledge and technical expertise from every part of the UK to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change, took place on Thursday 29 March in London.
Climate UK comprises a UK-wide network of trusted and independent climate change partnerships, including ClimateNE, working together as a single body. Combining local expert knowledge and in-depth understanding, Climate UK offers a comprehensive package of support for businesses, organisations and communities across the UK.
The ClimateUK network has for the last decade been developing and delivering major climate change programmes of action and support. Building local capacity for a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy, we now work with thousands of stakeholders across a wide range of sectors: including agriculture and forestry; business; buildings and infrastructure; health and wellbeing, and the natural environment.
Climate UK acts as a vital link between hundreds of committed public, private, voluntary and community organisations, and national government supporting the implementation of national policy while delivering targeted action.
Particularly focussed on building strategies and activities to minimise and cope with the impacts of climate change, the Climate UK network are delivering solutions for local authorities, businesses and communities to reduce costs, assess climate risk and develop targeted action. Climate UK seeks to build and support this expertise to help to build a better future for everyone.
Follow ClimateUK on Twitter at @climateuk
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.climateuk.net/
Prepare for accelerating climate risks
Governments must prepare for increasingly severe storms, droughts and other extreme weather events intensified by climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said.
Aimed largely at policymakers, the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) confirms that no part of the world is free from risk, although poorer, densely populated regions are in the most danger.
The report says countries need to better assess people and places vulnerable to climate disasters and recommends spreading the financial risk to help poorer countries cope. This could take the form of micro-insurance, catastrophe bonds, or national and regional risk pools to help finance rebuilding and recovery.
Find out more at http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX
Are climate policies fairly made?
A new report considers how fair policies that will shift the UK to a low carbon future are, and argues that the transition to a low-carbon economy and society will only be 'socially just' if the decision-making process is fair.
Find out more at http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/are-climate-policies-fairly-made
Benefits of large trees in urban settings
A new guide on the benefits of large species trees in urban landscapes has been produced.
It focuses on the benefits of large species trees (trees that can attain heights of over 15 metres) and how they convey the greatest financial, social and environmental benefits, and make a fundamental contribution to the well-being of almost 80 per cent of the UK population who live and work in urban conurbations. In the context of a changing climate, the importance of protecting and planting new large species trees in urban areas has never been more critical, and is a notion that is emphasised by numerous UK Government reports and initiatives.
Download a summary report at http://goo.gl/U5UNc
Budget 2012 - green measures
Highlights of the Chancellor's Budget Statement included the potential replacement of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), concessions for fuel efficient fleets, and the first set of green investments to be made in April 2012.
Other key announcements affecting the green economy include: a package of tax measures to secure investment in North Sea gas and oil reserves; the introduction of a carbon floor price from April 2013; a rise in the environmental tax on flights; and the rationalisation of environmental regulation to reduce costs to business by at least £5 billion over five years.
More details about the budget are available at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012.htm
Climate observations, projections and impacts
The potential impacts of climate change on over 20 countries have been studied by the Met Office Hadley Centre on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Each report contains: a description of key features of national weather and climate, including an analysis of new data on extremes; an assessment of how man-made climate change has altered the risk of temperature extremes; a prediction of future climate conditions, based on climate model projections used in the Fourth Assessment Report from the IPCC; and the potential impacts of climate change, based on results from the UK's Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change programme ( AVOID) and supporting literature.
Find out more at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/policy-relevant/obs-projections-impacts
Big Society fund launches with £600m to invest
A new financial institution set up by the UK government to finance charities and community groups has been launched.
Big Society Capital has £600m, of which the majority comes from unused cash in bank accounts that had been dormant for more than 15 years. The fund will back social enterprises that prove they can repay an investment through the income they generate.
Find out more at http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/
Additional green bus funds
£31 million will be spent on 439 low carbon buses, part of the Green Bus Fund which aims to bring down fuel emission and air pollution levels and encourage bus operators and councils to make the switch to hybrid-electric, fully electric or gas buses.
Winning local authorities across England will also receive a share of £70 million under the Better Bus Area (BBA) fund to boost growth, improve partnerships with bus companies and increase bus passenger numbers.
Read More at http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/statements/baker-20120323a
Is climate change a mental health emergency?
A new report has looked at how the uncertainty and upheaval caused by erratic weather might cause more Americans to become depressed, anxious and even suicidal, and what might be done to prepare for it.
The National Wildlife Federation report took some of its observations from 2011, which included the record-breaking Texas drought and its associated wildfires, an East Coast heat wave, and floods in the East and Midwest, and a tornado season.
The report, based on the conclusions of a high-powered panel of psychiatrists, psychologists, and public-health and climate experts concluded that two hundred million Americans will be subject to stress because of climate change.
Read the report at http://goo.gl/SWlOm
Social justice and the future of flood insurance
A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) recommends a move towards a fairer system of flood insurance, and explains the underlying principles of justice and social solidarity that recommend such a system.
Catastrophic flooding has become increasingly frequent in the UK and, with climate change, is likely to become even more frequent in the future, according to the authors. The UK's current flood insurance regime ends in 2013 with the expiration of a time-limited "Statement of Principles" between the government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI). In this context, the Report argues that: there is an overwhelming case, based on principles of fairness and social justice, for rejecting a free market in flood insurance after 2013; the alternative market-based approach is unjustifiably unfair and ultimately unsustainable, and threatens to leave many thousands of properties uninsurable, leading to extensive social blight; and that there are a number of possible flood insurance models that would be fairer and more sustainable than a predominantly free-market approach.
Download the full report at http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/social-justice-flood-insurance
Farming needs 'climate-smart' revolution
Major changes are needed in agriculture and food consumption around the world if future generations are to be adequately fed, a major report has warned.
The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change spent more than a year assessing evidence from scientists and policymakers. Its final report, which was released at the Planet Under Pressure conference, found that farming must intensify sustainably, cut waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms.
The commission was chaired by Prof Sir John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser.
Download the report at http://goo.gl/QeAlH
Climate change tree research begins
European forestry scientists have begun a multi-national field trial to identify trees that will thrive as predicted climate change develops.
Thousands of trees are being planted in test plots from Portugal to Scotland and will be measured and monitored as they grow in the diverse environments. The results are likely to have a marked impact on which species of trees are planted in the coming decades.
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17534587
'Rambo root' offers climate change hope to African farmers
Cassava could be the best bet for African farmers threatened by climate change, according to new research by scientists.
It is the second most important source of carbohydrate in sub-Saharan African, after maize and is eaten by about 500 million people every day. The root becomes even more productive in hotter temperatures, growing in poor soil and without water and it outperformed potatoes, maize, beans, bananas, millet and sorghum in tests using a combination of 24 climate prediction and crop suitability models. The scientists producing the research were from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture and the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Research Program. Their findings were published on Monday in a special edition of the scientific journal Tropical Plant Biology.
Read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/28/cassava-climate-change?newsfeed=true
Climate change may kill off 900 bird species by 2100
Climate change is likely to drive up to 900 bird species into extinction by the end of the century unless additional conservation measures are taken, according to a new scientific review.
The effects of climate change on tropical birds, a scientific review of some 200 separate studies published recently in the journal Biological Conservation, identifies that tropical bird species are particularly vulnerable because they are adapted to living in a stable climate where temperatures do not vary wildly throughout the year.
Read more at http://goo.gl/oZZaI
New website for Climate South West
Climate SouthWest, the climate change partnership for South West England, has launched a new website.
Based on feedback from their users the site has been redesigned to make it more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Many of their most popular materials, case studies and tools are now grouped under the new ‘Resources' section and the sector pages have been updated to include top tips and coming soon items. The biggest and newest addition to the website is the ‘Our Network' page which allows members to upload relevant photos and tools, and share examples of climate change adaptation best practice.
Visit the website at http://www.climatesouthwest.org/
Greening the Blue pledge page
A new pledge web page has been launched for all UN staff, consultants, interns and volunteers to pledge to reduce their carbon emissions.
Visit the page at http://www.greeningtheblue.org/get-involved
Events in the UK
A greener shade of blue? Communicating climate change on the right
Taking place on 1 May in London, this event will focus on the challenges and opportunities of communicating climate change to political conservatives. The debate will consider whether there is a genuine problem with climate action on the right of politics and how those who care about the environment might be better able to persuade doubters of the need for policy intervention.
To reserve a place email email@example.com
Sustainable Business - The Event
Taking place from 22 to 24 May 2012 at the NEC in Birmingham, this conference will see business leaders from some of the world's biggest companies offering their thought-leadership, sector knowledge and best practice.
Find out more at www.sustainabilitylive.com/Content/Visting-SB
Earth Systems Engineering 2012
This technical symposium on systems engineering for sustainable adaptation to global change, will take place form 3 to 5 July at Newcastle University. It will explore how engineering decisions can better respond to the challenges of intensifying global change.
Find out more at http://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/ese2012
Climate Adaptation Futures 2012
This conference, which focuses on adaptation to climate variability and change, will take place from 29 to 31 May at the University of Arizona, USA.
It will bring together researchers, policy makers, and practitioners from developed and developing countries to share insights into the challenges and opportunities that adaptation presents, and will showcase cutting-edge research from around the world. It will also explore practical adaptation policies and approaches, and share strategies for decision making from the international to the local scale.
Find out more at http://www.adaptation.arizona.edu/adaptation2012
The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will be held from 20 to 22 June in Rio de Janerio. It will be attended by Heads of State from around the world with the main aim of securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess progress so far and address new and emerging challenges.
Keep up to date at http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.html
Fourth International Conference on Climate Change
This conference will be held in the University of Washington, Seattle, USA from 12 to 13 July 2012, and is aimed at anyone with an interest in, and concern for, scientific, policy and strategic perspectives in climate change. Plenary speakers will include some of the world's leading thinkers in the fields of climatology and environmental science, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners.
Find out more at http://on-climate.com/conference-2012
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