State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup: Weeks of 9/20 and 9/27

Deep in Ecuador’s rainforest, a plan to forego an oil bonanza, Yale 360

An ambitious plan to prevent drilling for oil in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park would facilitate payments from the international community to the government of Ecuador. The park is rich in biodiversity, and is the home of several remote groups of indigenous peoples.

Psychology provides insight into why people doubt climate change, Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 20

Two common psychological phenomena play an important role in the denial of climate change: sampling issues, where people rely heavily on personal experiences to draw conclusions about averages, and framing issues, where the way information is presented affects how people process that information.

Extreme Heat Bleaches Coral, and Threat is Seen, NY Times, Sept. 20

In the most serious wave of global coral bleaching since 1998, scientists fear wide-spread death of coral reefs. Coral reefs bleach, or shed their color, when they are stressed by higher ocean temperatures. When coral reefs die, both the ecosystems they support and the human fishing communities that feed off them are put into danger.

Environment key to U.S. security: Congress briefing, Reuters, Sept. 22

Two national security experts, retired General Anthony Zinni and Lieutenant Colonel Shannon Beebe, identified climate change as a serious national security threat in the 21st century. In a shift from traditional sources of instability (primarily kinetic state-based threates), the two men pointed out environmental degradation, lack of fresh water and arable land, and extreme weather as key drivers of global conflict.

Will Brazil Change its Forest Code– and Kill the Amazon?, Ecosystem Marketplace, Sept. 22

Brazil’s 75-year-old forest code has been credited with slowing the rate of deforestation, and is a key part of the country’s involvement in REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). The forest code stands at odds with the interests of some farmers, who see the conservation efforts as a threat to their livelihoods.

Health advocates urge EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, The Hill, Sept. 28

Over 100 leading health advocates urged the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives to allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. By labeling climate change “a serious public health issue,” this coalition (which includes the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics) has highlighted the far-reaching impacts of climate change.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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