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Day 5: People   Leave a comment

In this blog, I have talked much about organizations, countries, and the planet, but not enough about individual people. I wish to correct that bias here by introducing you to a very thin slice of the many people at COP26 seeking to solve the climate problem. Sincere apologies to any mistakes I’ve made in identity and people’s stories.

Diana Mastracci works with the European Space Agency to bring space-based monitoring of climate to indigenous communities in the Arctic regions. We’re talking about information from satellites and other remote sources about climate, vegetation, fire, etc. These sources of information have great potential in helping these communities use and manage their resources. She faces challenges in implementing her projects because many of the communities do not have basic infrastructure (internet, computer devices, etc.) for accessing the technologies–a striking example of the digital divide. Funders are generally more interested in shiny new ideas than in basic infrastructure.

I’ve become much more interested in “remotely sensed” data about the world. I am currently working with Helen Poulos, Tom Kolb, George Koch, and Andi Thode on a NASA-funded project using the recently installed ECOSTRESS instrument attached to the INTL space station. We are pairing drought and water data collected by ECOSTRESS with data from field instruments measuring these same fundamental ecosystem metabolic pulses. ECOSTRESS has great potential for informing local communities about drought, heat, and even wildfire. Check out ECOSTRESS at https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov.

Aurora Uribe Camalich is an undergraduate in Mexico City. She is one of four youth members in the “party” from Mexico. In other words, Aurora has voting status with the rest of the official party. This is the first COP in which the Mexican government has including youth on their team. I’m not sure whether other parties similarly include youth.

I did not take down her name, but I talked with a medical student at Emory University, who is at COP26 to discuss the vital connection between climate change and health of populations around the world. After obtaining her medical degree, she’s interested in pursuing a career focusing on public health in the context of changing climate. There are now multiple organizations around the world engaging in this issue. I also talked with Eric Balaban, a doctor from Pittsburgh, PA, who is here on a fellowship from a program in global health and climate change at the University of Colorado.

I talked with two lawyers from Norway, who are part of an organization that is promoting the connection between climate change and human rights. I met them at the Science Pavilion, where they were talking with Helene Hewitt, an oceanography and one of the authors of the recent IPCC working group 1 report. The two lawyers are seeking as much information as possible about how a certain amount of emissions translates into heat, sea level rise, etc., and ultimately in human suffering. One of their many goals is to make the case that companies and countries emitting greenhouse gases bear legal responsibility in their impacts.

By the way, we owe Helene Hewitt, who is from the UK, a debt, for she and others on the IPCC have dedicated so much of their time — years — to providing an assessment of the status of climate change. Check out the IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 report, which lays out our current knowledge on the physical basis of climate change. You might start with the summary or the policy makers version, which is short but full of illuminating and clear graphics. Helene works on ocean and sea ice modelling.

Originally from Jamaica, Camille Taylor is a communication expert working on climate change and other issues for the Caribbean Development Bank. She works out of the office in Barbados, helping citizens better understand climate change and solutions.

Sigrid Bjerre Andersen is policy advisor and program developer for a non-governmental organization in Denmark, which focuses on human rights in the country and issues such as climate change, development aid, and LGBTQ rights.

I had dinner with Walid and Fabio (see below). Walid is blackchain expert, but not for public digital coins such as bitcoin. Instead, he seeks to use his skills to provide certainty in international systems of carbon offsets and other approaches to controlling emissions, promoting nature-based solutions, etc. He is working with Fabio (again see below) to figure out how to apply this to elephants as a nature-based solution to climate change. Exciting and kind of mind-blowing.

Now, let me introduce two of my fellow attendees also sponsored by the Ecological Society of America. Originally from Italy, Fabio Berzaghi is now at Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences (LSCE-CEA) in France. Fabio is an ecologist who works on elephants, forests, and carbon cycling. Through their action in feeding in forests in Gabon One, elephants promote uptake and storage of carbon. One of Fabio’s conservation goals is to find mechanisms for the valuing and payment of this nature-based solution to climate change.

Finally, Kaydee Barker is a student at Colorado State University, working on soil ecology in the context of climate change. I was excited to hear that one of the leaders of that soils lab is Matt Wallenstein, my first undergraduate research student many years ago at Franklin and Marshall College! Kaydee is not only an ecology student, she is also involved in the YEAH network of youth climate education (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/climatechange/yeah-network/) and, with other students, she has a fantastic podcast with Cody Sanford, “Livable Futures” (https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/livable-future-podcast-cody-sanford-kaydee-WP_KvtjpBi8/). See her below at the compelling COP26 press conference on the YEAH program.

This quick introduction to a few people at COP26 reveals that most people here are not natural scientists doing research on climate change. Instead, they tend to be from a diverse range of backgrounds, businesses, organizations, disciplines, countries, communities–all dedicated to contributing to solving the climate crisis. Second

I want to end with a quotation from a session I’m in on “What are some of the most powerful legal and governance mechanisms for progress on climate change”:

CLIMATE CHANGE REPRESENTS THE MOST PROFOUND FAILURE OF MARKET CAPITALISM

Posted November 6, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

Day 5: Al Gore is speaking, I’m listening (and writing)   Leave a comment

So very challenging keeping up with events at COP26. But let me focus on where I am right now: in a giant plenary room watching Vice President Al Gore speak. I want his slides–they’re awesome! The election in which George W. Bush eventually was declared the winner over Gore was 21 years ago. “An inconvenient truth” was 15 years ago. Would the world be different if Gore had become president? Would it be different if the US had heeded Gore’s message? I don’t know, but I think so. Gore detailed some of the climate shocks of the past several years: Haiti, India, Hurricane Eta and Iota in Central America, Tonrnados and 17″ of rain in Tennessee USA, and on and on. He also cited the heat dome in the Pacific Northwest US and British Columbia. I was actually there for that shocking event. 4 days in a row of record breaking temperatures, with a high of 116.1 deg F. About 200 people died as a result in Oregon and Washington. An estimated one billion marine animals (from clams to mammals) died. (My wife, Sarah Sloane, did her part in documenting such impacts, finding that 50% of the nestling clutches in Bushtit — a tiny and very social bird — nests died during the heat dome.)

Here’s a short video of Vice President Gore below, every bit as impassioned and angry as he was 15 years ago.

By the way, I want to thank the Ecological Society of America for granting me an invitation (a “badge”) for attending COP26 for one week. Organizations wishing to garner invitations to COPs must have official United Nations observer status, requiring a complicated application process. These organizations then receive and can distributed invitations to their members. While I am “sponsored” by ESA, I don’t speak for the organization. The opinions expressed in my blog are mine alone. Thanks again to ESA for making it possible for me to attend COP26.

Much of the audience in Gore’s presentation knows the story he is telling. But everyone is engaged, I think because we all know that it will take powerful presentations such as his to warn and persuade. Remarkable photos and videos documenting what’s happening around the world. I’d be curious to see whether climate change communicators feel that it’s too much doom and gloom — at least in this part of his presentation.

While I listen, I want to try to convey a thought/feeling that I fear will seem trivial, because many will say, “duh”, and because it’s somewhat simplistic I’ll try anyway. Imagine that governments truly embrace a serious shift from our current climate trajectory, by establishing regulations, investing in solutions, creating funds that will allow less developed countries to transition, etc. A nice thought, right. Here’s a question. Would we then have the capacity to implement such change, not just in terms of low carbon energy, nature-based climate solutions (e.g., better agriculture and forestry, indigenous land management), etc. but also in a way that promotes true global climate justice?

I think so. We have a long way to go, but on display at COP26 are hundreds, thousands of emerging solutions to energy efficiency, low carbon energy generation, and on and on. Equally heartening are efforts at finally valuing what local and indigenous communities have been doing for millennia, listening to youth voices, recognizing the human rights dimensions of climate change, and on and on. Again, we have a very, very long way to go, and much (but not all) of the messaging from developed countries and corporations seems to be more slogan than reality. On view here is only a beginning. I make this argument to emphasize a point. The chief impediment to big progress on climate change is international governmental change.

Wow! Al Gore is searing the World Bank and global development organizations! Huge applause. Gore is arguing that we can’t solve this one country at a time, one problem at a time. By the way, he just told us that Norway just changed its schedule for no more fossil fuel vehicles from 2030 to 2022. He’s talked for more than an hour! The latter part of his presentation focuses on solutions that are already underway and how much these could be amplified by international agreements. I like that he is NOT missing the role of inequality within and among countries on the threat of climate change and how crucial it is to address climate justice in lockstep with climate solutions.

Posted November 5, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

Day 3 and 4: Island Nations are Angry and Science Update   Leave a comment

Day 3 was “Finance Day”: how does the world pay for the necessary changes both to reduce emissions (“mitigation”) and to adapt to climate change (“adaptation”). The chief topic across dozens and dozens of venues was how do less developed countries afford transitions and climate shocks.

The photo above is from a session specifically on funding for less developed countries. At a previous COP, more developed countries promised $100 billion for a fund for such progress. The main COP representative from Fiji gave a forceful, eloquent, and straightforward description how this fund has not yet lived up to its promises, both in terms of amount and implementation. He emphasized how vital it was that more development countries live up to their promises…and promptly. He stated that every typhoon is an economic setback in Fiji. Below are just a few of his comments.

Again, a common theme on day 3 was the need for massive funding to less developed countries for specific mechanisms for making the transition to a new energy system and a climate system. At the country and non-governmental organization pavilion, there were many forums working toward such solutions–not just talking about it, but developing plans. Some hope there. I expect to hear a formal announcement at some point on actual delivery on the $100 billion promise.

The theme of Day 4 is “Energy.” One thing about these themes is that they are emphases and not limiting in terms of forums. So, today there are many dozens of events today that are not directly related to energy. Right now, I’m attending an update from the IPCC. Recall that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is the huge group of experts from around the world who develop a report every 5-7 years on the state of climate change. They are divided into three working groups. Working Group 1 focuses on the physical basis of climate change. Working Group 2 focuses on the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change. Working Group 3 focuses on mitigating climate change. For 2021-2022, Working Group 1 has published their very lengthy report; we’re still waiting for the others.

I’m attending updates from Working Group 1 right now. Those are some of the leaders of the IPCC Working Group 1 on the stage.

This is a long session, with lots of information, most of which can be accessed in the report (IPCC Sixth Assessment Report 1). Here are a few points that jump out at me…maybe I should say, that kind of knock me off my feet. But, first, here’s the IPCC co-chair, who is very clearly summarizing the update.

(1) The science of climate change has made amazing progress since the last report in 2013! We know so much more about how the climate has changed and how it is likely to change under different socioeconomic scenarios (i.e., the extent to which we reduce emissions). Here are a couple things that we know a lot more about.

(2) What is called “attribution” climate science has come a long way. It used to be that when some giant climate event occurred, such as a major heat wave killing many people, scientists would have to waffle, stating that, “although we can’t be sure whether climate change is responsible, we know that it increases the probability of such events.” No more! The science has advanced to the extent that we can now actually provide probabilities of an event being the result of climate science and even the percentage role of climate change.” This is important because it specifies the impacts and threats of climate change on people and ecosystems.

(3) We now can specify with much more reliability how a certain amount of emissions translates into more warming.

(4) Increased emissions and concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases cause warming on land and water over relatively short periods of time (years, decades). In contrast, sea level rise from the melting of ice occurs much more slowly because it takes a while and it takes energy to melt the ice. The science has come a long way in understanding he past and future projections. Sea level has risen about 8″ since 1900, faster than in any century over the past 3000 years at least.The likely sea level rise is 1-5 feet by 2100, depending on how much we reduce emissions. If we do nothing, we’ll reach 3-5′, which would inundate major cities across the world. The science has been able to narrow the projections compared to previous reports, so that the much higher (and lower) possible projections from the past are now seen as unlikely. Important to note, however, that the report does present the low likelihood scenario of 7 feet by 2100!

(5) One other shocking finding is that sea levels will continue to rise because of our activities for centuries and millennia, eventually (over 1000-10,000 years) rising so much that it will wipe out most coastal human communities. Read that previous sentence again! Here’s a key take home point about this. This is a call to arms to slow warming so that we give future generations more time to adapt to such large sea level rise. What we do now and over the next several decades will have huge impacts on the future.

Questions from countries and non-governmental organizations have been very interesting. I can’t report them all, but the rep from India questioned how helpful it is to present low-likely worst-case scenarios, given that we’re trying to create hope and action. Island nations have been very vocal and eloquent in asking for clarification for better understanding their predicament. We heard from Antigua a few mins ago. Photo of Antigua and Barbados rep below.

Coming up next is how a summary of how much we need to limit emissions to achieve better outcomes. I’ll be back later with more on that.

Posted November 4, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

COP26 Day 2: Progress   Leave a comment

NYTimes, November 3, 2021

I won’t be surprised if this is news to you. These two deals have the potential to improve conditions on Earth much more than anything in the rest of the NYT combined, but I had to dig to find it, because of other political events.

These two agreements, forged at COP26, over the past two days, are extremely important, and they sent hopeful ripples through the thousands of people at the conference. Methane is a greenhouse gas that has more heat-trapping power than CO2, although it also clears out of the atmosphere much faster than does CO2. Controlling the methane emissions, some of it from wasteful accidental release at natural gas wells, is critical for controlling global warming. The deforestation accord is especially encouraging because it has so many side benefits. Yes, it would reduce CO2 emissions when forests are cut down and, yes, it will increase the amount of forests that are taking CO2 out of the air through photosynthesis. But it will also help protect species and will provide indigenous communities with vital resources that they have sustainably tended for thousands of years (thank you very much!).

The question now is the rest of the deal. Will countries agree to make serious new cuts in their carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning? Will we leave COP26 joyful or will we leave with a mixed bag? Will we agree with the cover illustration below? Hopefully not.

Much of the news regarding COP26 is about major agreements or lack thereof. “Top-down” solutions (e.g., countries agreeing to limit fossil fuel CO2 emissions) are obviously absolutely critical to staving off climate disaster for the planet. What the news doesn’t focus on, however, is “bottom-up” solutions. Let me give you a few examples.

I attend a panel talk/discussion on a project in Costa Rica that uses story telling and personal engagement to help people process, envision, and help with local solutions to climate change. A remarkable project!

I went to another two-hour panel presentation, sponsored by South Korea, that described an emerging project, supported by multiple countries, companies, and environmental groups (mainly the Environmental Defense Fund) that will reduce deforestation, support local community use of forests, and provide money for technical assistance and scientific research. The companies involved also pledged to cut their emissions as part of this initiative.

World map showing projects involved in this large-scale initiative

There are hundreds — yes hundreds — of projects like these on display at COP26, from all parts of the world and with a wide range of emphases from energy efficiency, to forest protection, to indigenous rights…on and on. Although, the international agreements are crucial, these more “bottom-up” projects are heartening. In particular, it’s hopeful to see so many people, countries, organizations, and countries working on solving climate change. And there’s a lot of money flowing into these efforts. I attended a fascinating panel with world indigenous peoples leaders and the current president of COP26 (and the UN Framework on Climate Change). Finally…finally…the voices of indigenous people are beginning to be heard and supported (at least at COP26), and a great deal of money is flowing into the initiatives of these communities. Of course, as the leaders pointed out repeatedly, this is the kind of work they’ve been doing for centuries, for millennia.

So, I arrive at Wednesday Day 3 of COP26 a little more hopeful.

Posted November 3, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

COP26 Day 1   2 comments

Yesterday was the first full day of COP26 in Glasgow. Scary statistics about a hotter and increasingly precarious Earth, but also hope and excitement.

Maybe one day, my great grandchildren will see this and exclaim, “wow! COVID and COP26”

I came looking for reasons to be hopeful and found it pretty quickly. First, I passed by several demonstrations by people longing for change.

While entering the grounds of COP26

And then inside, I watched, on a giant screen in the “action center,” a searing speech from this world leader (I can’t find her name or from which country she comes — help me here, if you know), punctuated by wild cheering.

What was it like inside COP26? There are two main zones. (1) The blue zone, which requires a “badge” that you had to apply for long before the conference. In the blue zone are held the formal negotiations and exhibitions, discussions, press conferences, and more. Many countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as environmental groups have fascinating exhibits in this zone. (2) The green zone, where anyone can go, which is the forum for all kinds of protests, music, protests, and much more. That’s where I’m going today. I’ll report on that zone another time.

There are three main areas in the blue zone: (1) the exhibition center building, called the “action space,” for interviews, broadcasting events, TV programs, and general networking; (2) the side events pavilion (counties and NGOs, which feature many panel discussions and press conferences…and free espresso!), and (3) the deliberations area (off limits to almost all “observers,” like me, the first two days. Still looking for my special invitation to that, but nothing so far.

The exhibition building – “action space”

I learned quickly to be prepared for three things. First, being overwhelmed: the size of the forum, the number of events, and the cacophony are impressive. Second, one might be interviewed at anytime, which happened to me despite my insignificance. Third, you need to be prepared to say funny things or listen to funny things when you meet famous people. The Archbishop of Canterbury was next me in the food line. He ordered the venison sausage roll. Not kidding. I appreciate that the Archbishop was out in public, mingling with everyone, having his photo taken with many people, and speaking with everyone and anyone avidly about why change is so important. Other world leaders were pretty much sequestered in their negotiations, accessible the first two days to only a select audience — mainly I think for security and COVID reasons. By the way, every person who enters the Blue Zone must take and register online a lateral flow (antigen) COVID test.

Highlights for me?

The fiery introduction I witnessed when I first approach and entered the COP26 grounds. My goodness, a heating planet requires a fiery response, doesn’t it!

Second, the in person Q&A session on the scientific report by the IPCC. First, each country representative had a chance to ask questions or make comments. Some very probing and illuminating Q&As. Island nations, of course, wanted to know more about the degree to which progress would actually slow sea level rise. Good updates on methane and how important controlling methane release is, which was well-timed given Biden’s announcement of US measures to control this. A wonderfully pointed question/comment from the rep from India about the importance of including past emissions in calculations of fair share of future emissions by each country — a coded and important commentary about countries like the US having already used up the lion’s share of acceptable emissions.

Third, meeting people from all over the world committed to change. Dinner with folks from Sri Lanka, Denmark, and Mexico. Aurora Uribe Camalich is a college student from Mexico City, who is part of her country’s official negotiating party. She said that this is the first year the Mexican government has included young people on their team. 4 this year, all women.

I’ll leave you with the photo below, from an artist’s exhibit in the pavilion.

Posted November 2, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

Hope   4 comments

Today is the start of COP26. Am I hopeful?

The effects of climate change are obvious in Maine, a place I call home. Increased severity of storms, warmer temperatures (winter up by 5 deg), longer growing seasons, rising sea level, etc. These well-documented changes are already having impacts on humans and a wide range of kindred species in the state.

In the Southwest, where I’ve just spent four weeks carrying out fieldwork, climate change is also well documented. But here’s a difference: in the SW climate change is IN YOUR FACE! This past May and June in the Chiricahua Mountains, during the driest spell I’ve witnessed in my more than 30 years of fieldwork, two lower elevation oak species dropped their old leaves from last year but did not grow new leaves, as they usually do that time of year. It was just too dry. Permanent streams in deep canyons, the lifeblood of wildlife, were empty over long stretches–drier than I’ve ever seen them. Luckily, the monsoon rains of July-September brought normal amounts of rain (unlike last summer). The two oaks leafed out and the streams partly refilled, although still far below their usual levels.

Scarce water sources, such as this one in the Devil’s Hall, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, are crucial for wildlife

The impacts of uncharacteristically large and severe wildfires are also common across the landscape. If you’re traversing higher elevation terrain, they’re a common landscape feature. It’s not uncommon to see large areas of forest and woodland, where everything was killed above ground. Some of these areas are growing back just fine, but others are returning, not as complex pine and pine-oak forest but as shrublands and grasslands.

The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona burned more than 500,000 acres in the extremely dry year of 2011

That’s just a small sample of what I’ve seen in my recent work in the Southwest. (In an earlier post, I also mentioned the dramatic 150 foot drop in the levels of Lake Powell.)

The following is naive, to say the least. More of a feeling than a thought. But it’s beyond frustrating to see such plain and compelling evidence that we humans are damaging the ecological system that supports life on Earth, including us. YET politicians fail to act…because of ideology, because of lust for power, because of lust for money, because of cynicism…

When the winds of destruction blow so briskly, how can we maintain hope? I can speak only for myself. Hope, I think, is a fundamentally personal longing. I can’t believe that I’m going to start by quoting a football coach (not that I don’t like football). I heard a couple days ago (while listening to the World Series and entering data) that Vince Lombardi said that “winning isn’t everything, trying to win is,” which is weird because I thought he also said that “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Oh well, I’ll take the former take to make my point that, for me, striving gives me hope, and striving with others gives me even more hope.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the University of Maine at Farmington Sustainable Campus Coalition, an organization that I founded with Grace Eason. Many people have built the SCC into what it is today: employing many students and involving faculty, staff, and community members, all striving to reduce campus energy use and carbon emissions, provide food and clothing (through its thrift store and food pantry), help with the campus garden and community farms, educate campus and community, and have lots of fun. The organization also offers me (and I think many others) hope that we can make things better. So, here’s to everyone who has been part of the SCC: happy birthday!

Over the past month I spent alot of time working with Guadalupe fescue (Festuca ligulata), a recently listed endangered plant in the US and protected species in Mexico. We know of only five populations in Mexico (northern Coahuila) and one in the US (Big Bend). The populations consist of only 100 to a few 100 plants each. I’m lucky to be part of a team of Mexican and US researchers and agency folks seeking to understand and sustain this small, unassuming grass. More on the project another time. For now, below is a photo of one of the six seedlings that have survived the first six months after being transplanted from greenhouse to the field by team member Javier Ochoa (of CONAMP in Mexico). Tears, joy, and a little hope at seeing these little wisps.

One of six surviving seedlings transplanted by Javier Ochoa (CONAMP in Mexico)

And this brings me back to COP26. Do I have hope? Despite strong winds blowing against progress, yes, I am hopeful. Maybe I’m too optimistic — by nature. And maybe we shouldn’t be pitching COP26 as our very last chance to change the course of history. Time is indeed short, but I’ll take some tacking in the right direction.

Posted October 31, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

COP26 2 Days Away   Leave a comment

I’m on my way to COP26, from El Paso, after four weeks of fieldwork in four different sites in the Soutrhwest USA and northern Mexico. I’m expecting an overwhelming, maybe even chaotic, experience. So many people, so many events, so many last-minute initiatives, and so much on the line.

We continue to learn more about how the climate is changing and how it might change further in the future. This from Doug Reusch, a geologist, and my friend and colleague at the University of Maine at Farmington: “I was riveted to a presentation by Dr. Joellen Russell, a climate modeler at U Arizona, to an audience of Maine climate science folks. It was both ELECTRIFYING and TERRIFYING. https://www.geo.arizona.edu/Russell . She’s identified a new tipping point, which occurs as the westerlies encroach poleward, intensify, and “part the waters” to allow the escape of CO2 from CO2-rich deep water (e.g, in as few as 5 years, we may see the ocean burp out 50 ppm CO2). Talk about motivation to do more to cut emissions now and faster.

The process of science is not perfect, but it can be wonderfully self-correcting. A 2018 paper by Stefan Klesse and colleagues provides some good news of sorts. Here’s a selection from their summary: “We show that U.S. Southwest ITRDB samples overestimate regional forest climate sensitivity by 41–59%, because ITRDB trees were sampled at warmer and drier locations, both at the macro- and micro-site scale, and are systematically older compared to the FIA collection. Although there are uncertainties associated with our statistical approach, projection based on representative FIA samples suggests 29% less of a climate change-induced growth decrease compared to projection based on climate-sensitive ITRDB samples.”

In plain speak, that means that because studies of tree rings generally selected trees that would show sensitivity to climate (trees on dry or hot sites, for example), our previous estimates of climate change impacts on trees in the Southwest were overestimated. Climate is still projected to depress tree growth, just less than we thought. Well…that’s something.

On the political front, there’s great uncertainty. Climate legislation in Congress is close but not quite there. China is holding back in upping their commitments, in part because of the tepid progress in the US, but also because of difficulty in meeting their electricity demands without using coal.

So, what are the expectations for COP26? It’s so very hard to say. Time is short for action, but maybe it’s too much to place all of our hopes on this one conference.

I’ll leave you with some good news on the climate front, from Science News:

‘Breakthrough’: IMF develops fund to help debt-laden nations address climate risks

The IMF trust fund could be worth up to $50 billion and meet vulnerable countries’ call for support to address the triple crisis of debt, Covid and climate change

Posted October 30, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized

COP26 starts in less than 3 weeks   Leave a comment

COP26 starts in less than three weeks. The importance of the 26th “conference of the parties” has been driven home to me while I’ve been in the southwestern USA carrying out research on recovery after wildfires. I’ve been working in a big burn, from Horseshoe Two Fire of 2011, which burned within a perimeter of over 200,000 acres. You can see the changes wrought by the fire in the photo below. What used to be a complex forest with tall pines and shorter oaks is now an oak shrubland. This is happening in many places across the Southwest. Our data suggest that some of these lands will not return to the previous forest type.

Even more striking to me was the boat ramp (near Bulfrog) on Lake Powell shown below. If you look closely, you’ll see a road and then a boat ramp running from left to the right in the middle of the photo. Notice what’s missing: water! That’s because the drought and high temperatures of the last couple of decades has caused Lake Powell to drop nearly 150 feet. As a result, the lake is now far from this lonely boat ramp.

The impacts of climate change are much more than just hotter temperature.

Posted October 13, 2021 by changingnatureofthemainewoods in Uncategorized