Climate News Roundup – Week of 10/4
Food Prices May Rise 121% by 2050 Due to Climate Change, Business Standard
A report released on Wednesday by the International Food Policy Research Institute outlines the threats to agricultural security posed by climate change. Food prices, already expected to increase significantly by 2050, could rise further as the effects from climate change continue to unfold. The report concludes a 50% drop in wheat yields by 2050 and a 17% dip in rice production. Decreased yields and higher demands from expanding populations can together drive prices up as much as 194% in some areas. For more information on agricultural security check out Tristan Jones’ blog series here.
EU proposes approximately $12 billion a year in alternative energy research and development to help countries comply with emissions standards. The money would be distributed among research for solar, wind, biofuel, and nuclear technologies, with solar getting the largest share. The expanded research is expected to provide roughly 500,000 new jobs over the next ten years as more and more technologies are deployed.
Obama: Government to Set Global Warming Example, Associated Press
President Obama signs executive order requiring government agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, fleets, and employee commutes. Although the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Security Act” is unlikely to gain passage in the Senate anytime soon, the President’s executive order will require agencies to establish emission standards and regulations within 90 days. Considering that the federal government is the greatest consumer of energy in the US, the regulation should make a dent in total emissions. At the very least the order demonstrates that the White House is willing to engage on climate change issues.
U.S. Blocks Oil Drilling at 60 Sites in Utah, New York Times
The Department of the Interior reverses a previous decision regarding 60 proposed sites for oil drilling in Utah. The Bush administration approved the original 77 leases for the drilling sites in the last few weeks of their term, allegedly rushing the approval process. Soon after, a federal judge froze drilling on grounds that the Department of the Interior neglected to follow its own procedures. In a press conference on Thursday, Secretary Salazar announced that the Department of the Interior had declared 60 of the 77 sites unsuitable for drilling, citing dangers to wildlife and water quality.
Climate Agency Sees China’s Efforts Paying Dividends, New York Times
The International Energy Agency publishes a new series of predictions of future energy consumption – with some surprising conclusions. The global recession has dented this year’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, the steepest drop in 45 years, and expects 2020 emissions to be reduced by 5% from earlier estimates. Decreased investment and slowed economic growth are contributing factors but the IEA has identified another: China’s focus on energy efficiency and alternative and nuclear power sources. China’s rapid expansion in these areas has the potential to slow their emissions growth significantly by 2020. However, immediate and rapid investment in clean technologies, coupled with aggressive emission standards, is still needed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial standards.