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Climate Change Calls for Adaptation says UN

As researchers predict substantial changes to the environment because of global warming, scientists discuss how to get information about the scope of climate change into the hands of decision makers.

A five-day conference in Geneva aims to provide politicians and other decision makers with the data they need to make informed decisions when it comes to climate change, according to members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the technical and scientific arm of the United Nations, which is hosting the conference.

"Even if we reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the climate will continue to change," Gro Harlem Brundtland, the United Nations secretary-general's special envoy on climate change, said on Monday. "All countries will need to adapt to a changing and more erratic climate."

But the problem is not a lack of dire warnings about more storms, rising sea levels, droughts, and famine, but how the information is used, according to WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

"The problem is that much information on the climate is not used properly," Jarraud told reporters. "It's time to link technology and science with decision makers."

Climate justice

Former UN Secretary- General Kofi AnnanAnnan said rich countries should make the biggest emissions cuts

The conference comes before world leaders and delegates are set to meet in Copenhagen in December in an effort to agree on a binding deal that would curb global warming before the Kyoto Protocol, the current compromise on reducing greenhouse gases, runs out in 2012.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told delegates in Geneva that climate agreements had to be "radical, universal and binding" and have "climate justice at its heart." Annan said the people most affected by climate change were the poorest and least developed nations that contributed the least to pollution.

"The most advanced economies must take the lead by taking the most drastic (emissions) cuts," the former UN head said, while urging countries to share weather information and cooperate on climate issues.

Better data for the future

A world map with temperature predictions for 2470Politicians need good data as the basis of their decisions, Jarraud said

Climate change is already underway and will continue regardless of any compromises made at major climate negotiations, Jarraud added.

"Even if Copenhagen is successful on greenhouse gases, a certain warming (of the planet) will occur," he said, adding that improved knowledge of the climate could help manage water and food needs, in addition to preserving the environment.

Jarraud gave the examples of malaria and cholera, two potentially fatal diseases that spread in certain climate conditions. Better weather data can help health authorities know when and where an outbreak might occur.

"We need to anticipate change, we can no longer base ourselves on the past to take decisions for the future," he told journalists.

The information can also help reduce costs and benefit sectors of the economy, such as tourism.

"Climate change is here now and countries need tools to adapt to the changing climate," the WMO wrote in its invitation to the World Climate Conference.

The meeting of representatives from some 80 nations is the third World Climate Conference. The first took place in 1979 and the second in 1990. Those meetings are credited with leading to the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.


Editor: Kate Bowen

article can be found at: http://ow.ly/nst3

Climate Rally TODAY @ NOON!

Climate Rally TODAY starting at NOON! Sorry for the last minute info, but if you're downtown or in the area please stop by to support comprehensive climate change legislation!!

When: Monday August 31, 2009 from 12-1:30 pm
Where: Federal Plaza, 230 South Dearborn
Chicago, IL


Save the date Oct 24th for INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLIMATE ACTION leading up to Copenhagen!

Rajendra Pachauri is the U.N.'s top climate scientist. He leads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which every five years produces the authoritative assessment of climate science. Their last report, in 2007, helped set the target of 450 ppm (parts per million of CO2) that many environmental groups and national governments have adopted as their goal for Copenhagen.

As you all know, that number is out of date. When Jim Hansen and other scientists looked at phenomenon like the Arctic ice melt of the last two summers, they produced new data demonstrating that 350 is the bottom line for the planet.

But it's been hard to get that news out to the powers that be. So today it comes as enormous and welcome news that Dr. Pachauri, from his New Delhi office, said that 350 was the number.

"As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations," said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm).

"But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target," he told Agence France Presse in an interview."

This news makes it much easier for all of us to push hard leading up to the International Day of Climate Action on the 24th of October, and the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December. Chicago Oxfam Action Corps is planning an event for 350, more info to come... Let us know your ideas or that you'll be there! chicago@oxfamactioncorps.org SAVE THE DATE! :)

Ice Cream Social Tomorrow (08/26)!!

Come to the ice cream social at the hostel downtown tomorrow, look for us to turn in signed Durbin postcards and stay for the international festival! Free open house-- 24 E Congress Pkwy @ 4-7pm!!


Letter/petition to Senator Durbin

Thank you so much for all your hard work! The next few weeks are even more crucial to our campaign for comprehensive climate change legislation; we have to get Congress to include aid for people in developing countries to adapt to climate change! The poorest people, especially those in impoverished countries, have the least capacity to cope with increasingly devastating impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, sea-level rise, drought, disruption of water and food supplies, and impacts on health. Climate change is quickly becoming a major driver of poverty around the world, while it undermines global stability and security, economic development and gender equity on a wide scale. The ACES bill is now approaching vote in the Senate. Chicago Oxfam Action Corps is committed to making sure that international adaptation is funded adequately in upcoming legislation, and that clean energy technology is transferred to developing countries as well.

Our country needs legislation to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States that are contributing to these impacts on impoverished countries. Yet even with substantial emissions cuts, we also need to put in place substantial assistance for poor countries to adapt to the widespread and serious consequences of climate change.

As we prepare to visit Senator Durbin during August recess, we want to present him with as many signed letters of support as possible! Lets make sure Senator Durbin knows his constituents need him to support adequate funding of international adaptation within climate change legislation. We expect a vote on ACES in the Senate in September. With the current version passed by the House only calling for 1% of the permits auctioned to go towards adaptation, we know we can get the Senate to increase that number!
Lets get as many signatures as possible to help the worlds poorest adapt to climate change!
Be sure to sign below and pass it on to everyone you can! :)

**Oxfam Action Corps is also circulating a special sign-on letter for faith leaders and grassroots organization leaders... if you know someone we should ask to sign our letter to Senator Durbin please let us know!**

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