isCleaner

News

Climate News Scan – 9 July 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Know your audience’s “world view”?
  • BC Government encourages investment in forest carbon
  • Climate change adaptation makes cities wealthier

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

(more…)

Leave a comment »

Climate News Scan – 9 July 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Know your audience’s “world view”?
  • BC Government encourages investment in forest carbon
  • Climate change adaptation makes cities wealthier

Authors: Justin Bull, Liz Ferris, James Noble, Rebecca Segal, Sarah Thomas

Editors: Neil Thomson (ISIS), James Tansey (ISIS), Robyn Meyer (PICS), Tom Pedersen (PICS)

The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

Research Theme I: The low carbon emissions economy

Climate change adaptation makes cities wealthier

June 30, 2013.  It has long been argued that climate change action by city governments can yield advantages beyond simply being good for the planet. A new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project – based on data provided by 110 cities around the world including Tokyo, New York and London – establishes a link between action to mitigate climate change and broader economic, social and environmental benefits. Energy efficiency measures, the most popular actions implemented by cities, have saved millions of dollars and 91% of city managers who responded to the report questionnaire also believe that working to combat climate change makes cities more attractive to business and investment. While climate change adaptation presents opportunities for health and wealth, a sobering statistic from the study is that 98% of those reporting believed their cities to be at risk from climate change, which indicates that much more work needs to be done.

The most popular actions that cities are taking to decrease emissions are reducing energy demand in buildings, improving fuel efficiency in municipal fleets and reducing the energy consumption and maintenance costs of outdoor lighting.  Last July, the City of Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to adopt a comprehensive climate adaptation strategy, though the city has long been promoting sustainable community initiatives in order to become the Greenest City in the world by 2020. High on Vancouver’s list of priorities is creating more walkable and bikeable neighbourhoods, connecting citizens to their communities and enabling them to live healthier lives. The City of Surrey’s EnergyShift program aims to catalyze investment in the clean energy and technology sectors and create new jobs to sustain the city’s future; its aggressive green vehicles and alternative fuels strategy has been recognized as one of the best in Canada.

Research Theme II: Sustainable communities

Big gains from a small number of homes

June 26, 2011.  A new study from Switzerland reveals an inequitable distribution of household and mobility greenhouse gas (GHG) contributions at the municipal scale with 21% of households emitting 50% of GHGs. The researchers developed a model for the life cycle assessment of housing and land-based mobility in a Swiss municipality. Household consumption was based on building characteristics, energy source and water demand, while mobility was measured from daily travel patterns. Despite possessing better insulation, the largest emitters were those that consumed large amounts of fossil fuel for heating large spaces. According to the authors, the only way to reduce household emissions is to combine small demand (by upgrading buildings and minimizing living area per capita) with a low-carbon energy supply. Reducing mobility related consumption requires both a reduction in private motorized transportation and long-term plans for reducing live-work distances.

British Columbia (BC) seems well on its way to both directly and indirectly address the energy consumption recommendations mentioned in the Swiss study. With households consuming approximately 13% of all the energy consumed in the province, BC’s Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy (2007) sets a specific target for a 20% reduction in household GHG emissions by 2020. Implementation is taking the form of new BC Building Codes, setting the highest efficiency standards in Canada, grants for energy efficient technologies such as solar energy and net zero homes and the introduction of smart meters. As for space, after house sizes peaked in 2000, Canada has seen a recent trend in house size reduction from an average of 2,300 sqft to 1,900 sqft although this is still almost 1000 sqft larger than the average house size in 1947. In Vancouver, the motivation to own a smaller space is financial, where the ‘housing market has outpaced income growth for well over a decade’. However, the energy related effect is positive: the rezoning of residential areas allowing for multiple dwellings on single lots, the development of micro-condos as small as 400 sqft, and the more than 500 applications for laneway houses since their approval in 2009, all allow for increased density, with smaller spaces per capita.

Research Theme III: Resilient ecosystems

Plant communities: Out of sync with a changing climate

July 1, 2013.  New research finds that plant communities are increasingly out of equilibrium with the warming climate. Forests, for example, can take a long time to adapt to climatic changes, especially if they are slow growing or have poor dispersion capabilities. Denmark still retains small-leaved lime trees that were better suited for the warmer Bronze Age (approximately 3000 years ago). Climatic changes are now occurring within one tree generation, which means that many forests are increasingly ill suited to their new climates. Mature trees may have been established under very different climatic conditions than their modern offspring. Climate-related changes can be easy to overlook, especially when the forest composition takes a long time to transition to warmer species. This disequilibrium has complex and difficult implications for management practices: climate-suited species may emerge in place of established species, historical species may die out, or introduced species may suddenly become more suited to a location than formerly dominant species.

BC plants roughly 200 million tree seedlings every year, but these trees take 60-80 years to mature to a harvestable size. Over that time, the climate may warm 3-4 degrees. The BC Ministry of Forests and Range recognizes that BC forests will be more ill adapted to their climates, and that this could decrease forestry productivity and heighten the risk of insect and disease outbreaks. One project, the Assisted Migration Adaptation Trial (AMAT), has set in place a framework for understanding long-term changes in tree climate tolerances. The trial used 15 tree species from BC and the adjacent US states, and planted sets of all 15 species at 48 sites between California and the Yukon. The project will allow seeds well adapted to a particular climate to be identified, and will help predict what seeds are adapted to future climates. It’s possible that in the near future re-seeded forests will be better adapted and look quite different to our current forests.

Research Theme IV: Social mobilization

Know your audience’s “world view”?

July 1, 2013.  Your outlook on life may affect the way you interpret information about climate change – those are the findings of a recent study from researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Arkansas. Storytelling has always been an effective way to transfer information, but the findings from this study suggest that people understand information more easily, if it is framed in a way that matches their ‘world view’. The study, which examined the environmental views of more than 2000 participants, grouped participants into three categories of ‘world views’, which have been previously established by psychologists. Participants were then given three accurate stories about climate change to read – one that was framed to align with their own ‘world view’, and two that were not. The study’s findings suggest that while participants could easily make sense of the story that aligned with their own ‘world view’, they became confused when faced with a story that didn’t match their understanding.

In British Columbia and across Canada, citizens receive information about climate change from many different sources including governments, news media, interest groups, industry, and advocacy groups. Each organization has a slightly different way of framing and communicating the issue. For example, in the wake of the recent climate-related floods in Calgary and across Alberta, media reports indicate that many Canadian municipalities are not prepared for climate change, and that this failure to prepare could be costly to taxpayers. The findings of the study discussed above suggest that these types of media reports will be interpreted differently by readers, depending upon pre-existing ‘world views’ surrounding taxation, government and municipalities. However according to Dan Kahan, a psychology professor at Yale Law School, the study cannot be seen as a “how to” guide for crafting news stories. “The findings furnish a stunningly vivid demonstration of how complex beliefs about climate change are and how sensitive they are to cultural meanings,” he says. Instead, says Kahan, the findings of the study can shed light on how people interpret the news they read, and help identify new ways to communicate information.

Research Theme V: Carbon management in BC forests

BC Government encourages investment in forest carbon

June 28, 2013.  The provincial government launched a new program last month aimed at securing private investment for replanting trees – and producing carbon credits – on Crown Land in BC. The program, called the BC Forest Carbon Partnership Program, is geared towards using private capital to plant more than one million new trees in the interior of BC. Under the program, corporate investors pay to plant trees, and then receive a carbon-offset credit. It is hoped that over time the scheme will extend to hundreds of thousands of forest hectares.

The massive and unprecedented Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) infestation has redefined BC’s forests and is a major driver of this new program. While BC’s forests – which cover 60% of the land base and hold 6 to 7 billion tons of above ground carbon – have historically been a carbon sink, since 2002 they have been a source of carbon due to MPB and wildfires. This underscores the need to aggressively replant impacted forests in priority areas in the southern and northern interior regions of the province. The program gives investors a chance to generate financial returns on their capital, while also producing an environmental and social good. In the era of climate change, forests must be made resilient, managers must plan for the future, and plans to adapt must exist. Encouraging private investment in forest carbon credits supports all three of these goals.

Also in the news

Renewable energy use gaining worldwide: IEA

Climate change threatens forest survival on drier, low-elevation sites

Projections of climate change impacts on wheat production uncertain: A call for model improvement

EU debates U-turn on biofuels policy

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

Vancouver coal ports in the spotlight

Pot growers costing Canada $500 million in power theft

Climate change’s biggest loser: Tiny ocean bacteria

Climate to send more animal traffic to these 6 spots

UN: There has been ‘unprecedented’ global warming since 2000

Download pdf version: PICS Climate News Scan – 09 July 2013

Photo Credit: Dhinakaran Gajavarathan

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Leave a comment »

193 Tanker 09Jul13

193 Tanker 09Jul13

Leave a comment »

Xylene Power Ltd.

Developer of fusion technology, synthetic hydrocarbon fuel technology, electricity policy & rates, energy management, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing & storage, nuclear waste storage, renewable energy management, pipeline safety standards, energy storage

Leave a comment »

RSC Bio Solutions

RSC Bio Solutions manufactures and distributes readily biodegradable, nonhazardous, biobased cleaning, degreasing, and lubricating products and function fluids for applications, including the wind industry, where both high performance and safety are essential.

Leave a comment »

Its Game On for Canadian Climate Change Leadership

We have tremendous untapped clean and renewable energy capacity. According to a recent Trottier Energy Futures report, Canadas supplies of solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass energy are much larger than the current or forecast demand for fuel and electricity, and technology costs have been falling in recent years.

via  Its Game On for Canadian Climate Change Leadership. from Huffington Post

Leave a comment »

Its Game On for Canadian Climate Change Leadership

Leave a comment »

Climate News Scan – 25 June, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Small Dams with Large Impacts
  • The Promise and Peril of Forest Carbon
  • Have the US & Canada hit ‘Peak Car’?
The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

Authors: Justin Bull, Liz Ferris, James Noble, Rebecca Segal, Sarah Thomas

Editors: Neil Thomson (ISIS), James Tansey (ISIS), Robyn Meyer (PICS), Tom Pedersen (PICS)

(more…)

Leave a comment »

Climate News Scan – 25 June, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Small Dams with Large Impacts
  • The Promise and Peril of Forest Carbon
  • Have the US & Canada hit ‘Peak Car’?
The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.
Leave a comment »

Climate News Scan – 25 June, 2013

Some highlights from this week’s News Scan:

  • Small Dams with Large Impacts
  • The Promise and Peril of Forest Carbon
  • Have the US & Canada hit ‘Peak Car’?
The PICS News Scan is produced by ISIS at the Sauder School of Business and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). To be added to the News Scan distribution list Subscribe Here or to provide content feedback and/or suggestions about interesting news items, please email: isis@sauder.ubc.ca.

Authors: Justin Bull, Liz Ferris, James Noble, Rebecca Segal, Sarah Thomas

Editors: Neil Thomson (ISIS), James Tansey (ISIS), Robyn Meyer (PICS), Tom Pedersen (PICS)

(more…)

Leave a comment »