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EUROGEO News: 50 Climate Change Stories from 2014

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50 Climate Change News Stories from 2014

In 2014, EUROGEO (the European Association of Geographers) completed 35 years of operation. This is the latest of a series of blog posts celebrating this anniversary by looking back at 2014 from the posts in the monthly newsletter of the association. In this blog, news from the world of Climate Change research and policy is considered.  Subscribe to the EUROGEO newsletter

Do you believe in climate change or are you a sceptic? What influences our opinions? An interesting New Zealand study found geography was important as people living near the coast are more likely to believe in climate change.

The ongoing anti-science campaign continued to suggest research confirming our planet is warming is a hoax. The Blog Yes, the planet is still getting warmer and pretending it isn’t can be expensive dealt with latest claims in the light of recent research publications. Climate For Culture image

In Europe one emphasis of the Horizon 2020 programme has been to consider “What’s causing climate change?“.  The impacts of climate change are assessed in the Climate for Culture Project in terms of cultural and heritage assets in Europe. Some nations like Denmark have indicated tougher actions are necessary for tougher 2030 climate and clean energy goals.

Leading scientists continue to confirm the climate challenges we need to meet, for instance High Climate Sensitivity reported on a study by climate scientist James Hansen. His findings were i) the Earth’s was likely to warm by more than 3–4°C as a result of CO2 levels increasing to 550 ppm; action is vital as CO2 levels continue to increase and iii) burning all fossil fuels would make most of the planet uninhabitable by humans, thus calling into question strategies that emphasize adaptation to climate change.

It is increasingly clear that solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change are needed as economic perspectives  force a rethink of policies around the world. This message was at the centre of the peer-reviewed findings of research into climate change economic modelling were published. In Climate change will ‘cost world far more than estimated, the financial damage caused by global warming will be considerably greater than current models predict. Clinate Economics Lord Stern image

There were developments in grassroots solutions to climate change as Indonesian indigenous groups fight climate change with GPS. The Seed of Knowledge publication provided 24 lessons learned from 17 countries on grassroots solutions to the impacts of climate change Grassroots climate change solutions. The potential of crowdsourcing is central to the Climate CoLab initiative at the Center for Collective Intelligence, MIT featured in How Millions of People Can Help Solve Climate Change.  As warnings of global climate change grew, the Guardian provided 10 tips on how to prepare for an apocalyptic future in Climate change: a survivors’ guide.

The debate whether geo-engineering can provide answers to climate change issues was raised in Climate Science: can geo-engineering save the world? Basically, the controversial question discussed is whether people can artificially control the Earth’s climate allowing us to manage temperature and avoid negative impacts of climate change? This is very controversial approach as theory.

At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 20) in Lima, the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative  celebrated winning climate solution projects, including new climate finance in Latin America, climate-friendly homes in Africa, and automated flood detection systems in the Himalayan foothills in potentially innovative and transformative solutions to address climate changeCOP 2- meeting photo

The best climate change resource featured during 2014 was the Lancelot Web application which allows users to Explore Climate Data interactive map Lancelot was designed and produced by the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) to provide a highly interactive visualization of climate data on maps for many different audiences. It allows the user to select indicators and explore both historical and future projections of climate data.

2014 was a year of meetings, momentum movements, summits and conferences, where politicians, scientists and non-profits have interacted. Equality was a key message at the U.N. Climate Summit in September as Global Leaders Highlight Actions Needed to Achieve Climate Justice.

The work of critical geographers started to raising awareness of the security implications of climate change in ‘Governing from Above: Vertical geopolitics of climate change’. Vertical geopolitics image

Finally it is worth considering what has actually been achieved. In Mapping climate communication, Joanna Boehnert has attempted to visually connect the role of different organisations over two decades of climate communication, where agencies involved are classified either according to their tendency to deny or to acknowledge climate change or else they are involved in the production of climate science itself.

At the end of the day, How to rebuild trust at UN climate change talks? suggests at the Paris climate summit in 2015, countries will need to do more than just say what they are doing. To achieve a successful outcome, countries should be held accountable for doing what they say.

The list of Climate Change stories is available at http://eurogeography.eu/eurogeo-newsletter/news-2014-climate.html

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