Rayner, S., Redgwell, C., Savulescu, J., Pidgeon, N. & Kruger, T. in The Regulation of Geoengineering: Fifth Report of the Session 2009–10 HC 221 (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, 2010) – original link
Recent studies have shown strong temporal correlations between past climate changes and societal crises. However, the specific causal mechanisms underlying this relation have not been addressed. We explored quantitative responses of 14 fine-grained agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic variables to climate fluctuations from A.D. 1500–1800 in Europe. Results show that cooling from A.D. 1560–1660 caused successive agro-ecological, socioeconomic, and demographic catastrophes, leading to the General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. We identified a set of causal linkages between climate change and human crisis. Using temperature data and climate-driven economic variables, we simulated the alternation of defined “golden” and “dark” ages in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere during the past millennium. Our findings indicate that climate change was the ultimate cause, and climate-driven economic downturn was the direct cause, of large-scale human crises in preindustrial Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.
The path of environmental law has come to a cliff called climate change, and there is no turning around. As climate change policy dialogue emerged in the 1990s, however, the perceived urgency of attention to mitigation strategies designed to regulate sources of greenhouse gas emissions quickly snuffed out meaningful progress on the formulation of adaptation strategies designed to respond to the effects of climate change on humans and the environment. Only recently has this “adaptation deficit” become a concern now actively included in climate change policy debate. Previously treating talk of adaptation as taboo, the climate change policy world has begrudgingly accepted it into the fold as the reality of failed efforts to achieve global mitigation policy has combined with the scientific evidence that committed warming will continue the trend of climate change well into the future regardless of mitigation policy success.
But do not expect adaptation policy to play out for environmental law the way mitigation policy has and is likely to continue. Mitigation policy has been framed as an initiative primarily within the domain of environmental law – a form of pollution control on steroids – and thus it will be environmental law that makes the first move and other policy realms that apply support or pushback. By contrast, environmental law does not “own” adaptation policy; rather, numerous policy fronts will compete simultaneously for primacy and priority as people demand protection from harms and enjoyment of benefits that play out as climate change moves relentlessly forward. This makes it all the more pressing for environmental law, early in the nation’s formulation of adaptation policy, to find its voice and establish its place in the effort to close the adaptation deficit.
Toward that purpose, this Article examines the context and policy dynamics of climate change adaptation and identifies ten trends that will have profound normative and structural impacts on how environmental law fits in: 1) Shift in emphasis from preservationism to transitionalism in natural resources conservation policy. 2) Rapid evolution of property rights and liability rules associated with natural capital adaptation resources. 3) Accelerated merger of water law, land use law, and environmental law. 4) Incorporation of a human rights dimension in climate change adaptation policy. 5) Catastrophe and crisis avoidance and management as an overarching adaptation policy priority. 6) Frequent reconfigurations of trans-policy linkages and trade-offs at all scales and across scales. 7) Shift from “front end” decision methods relying on robust predictive capacity to “back end” decision methods relying on active adaptive management. 8) Greater variety and flexibility in regulatory instruments 9) Increased reliance on multi-scalar governance networks. 10) Conciliation.
Rising sea level threatens existing coastal wetlands. Overall ecosystems could often survive by migrating inland, if adjacent lands remained vacant. On the basis of 131 state and local land use plans, we estimate that almost 60% of the land below 1 m along the US Atlantic coast is expected to be developed and thus unavailable for the inland migration of wetlands. Less than 10% of the land below 1 m has been set aside for conservation.
Florida’s current homeowner’s insurance system is broken. One major hurricane has the potential to bankrupt private insurers, and the State’s self-insurance programs, devastating Florida’s already weakened economy (Miami Herald, 21 Sept 2009). State officials are certainly aware of the problem, as voiced in an op-ed by State Senator J.D. Alexander (Tallahassee Democrat, 25 Oct 2009). In her letter to Florida TaxWatch dated 24 October 2008, the Honorable Alex Sink, Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida, expressed her concerns about the State’s financial security in the event of a major windstorm (Appendix A). She requested an economic analysis that would explore Florida’s financial exposure from its self-insurance programs, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF).
The Society of Jesus on the environment:
Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses. GAO-11-71, July 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d1171high.pdf
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.
EPA determined in December 2009 that climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases threatens the public’s health and the environment. Since then, EPA received ten petitions challenging this determination. On July 29, 2010, EPA denied these petitions.
The petitions to reconsider EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” claimed that climate science can’t be trusted, and asserted a conspiracy that calls into question the findings of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences , and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, EPA found no evidence to support these claims.
The scientific evidence supporting EPA’s finding is robust, voluminous, and compelling. Climate change is happening now, and humans are contributing to it. Multiple lines of evidence show a global warming trend over the past 100 years. Beyond this, melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, altered precipitation patterns, and shifting patterns of ecosystems and wildlife habitats all confirm that our climate is changing.
Recent investigations and inquiries into the emails by other organizations have all resulted in clearing the scientists of alleged wrong-doing.
American Elec. Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S.Ct. 2527 (2011) – Supreme Court rejects common law claims against green house gas emitters as preempted by federal regulatory law. State nusiance claims were not brief by the parties and were remanded for review.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606), which called for “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
Until recently, world opinion has been divided: are current weather trends the result of long-term climate change or not? And what role, if any, has climate change played in the recent spate of weather-related catastrophes? The facts are often confused by politics and by a wealth of different – and sometimes conflicting – evidence from a range of scientific and other sources.
However, a growing body of expert opinion now agrees that the climate is changing – and that human activity is playing a major role. Most worryingly, the latest science suggests that future climate change may take place quicker than previously anticipated.
There will continue to be much argument, over both the extent of future climate change and its likely impact on society. But whatever the facts, there could hardly be a debate of greater importance to the insurance industry.
The past few years highlight bluntly the cost of weather-related catastrophes for the global economy and the insurance industry in particular. The industry’s response has proven that it is financially strong and well-equipped to respond to these financial shocks.
It is equally clear that, so far, the industry has not taken changing catastrophe trends seriously enough. Climate change is likely to bring us all an even more uncertain future. If we do not take action now to understand the risks and their impact, the changing climate could kill us.
In publishing this report, it is not Lloyd’s intention to take a particular position, or to support a specific scenario. We simply aim to present the facts from the most reliable sources in a way which we hope will be helpful for those who trade in, and with, our market. We also want to generate debate about the specific steps which we might take as an industry to prepare for the increasing volatility of the climate.