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Dec 09 2012

What We Now Know

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Up host Chris Hayes outlines what we’ve learned since the week began, including details from a new World Bank report that suggests region s on North Africa and much of the Middle East will suffer more severely from the effects of climate change. Joining him on Saturday’s Up with Chris Hayes are Robert Freling, executive director of the Solar Electric Light Fund; Katie McGinty, senior vice president and managing director, Strategic Growth at Weston Solutions, Inc.; David Roberts (@drgrist), staff writer on energy politics at Grist.org; and Shalini Ramanathan (@UnGranola), vice president of development at RES Americas and Next Generation Project Fellow at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin.

Facing Up to the Threat of Climate Change in the Arab World

   

  • Consequences of climate change especially acute in the Arab world
  • Traditional coping methods severely stressed by current rate of climate change
  • Actions needed to reduce vulnerability also contribute to sustainable development

The year 2010 was globally the warmest since records began in the late 1800s, with 19 countries setting new national temperature highs. Five of these were Arab countries, including Kuwait, which set a new record at 52.6 °C in 2010, only to be followed by 53.5 °C in 2011.

According to a new report, Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries, extreme weather events are the new norm for the region. The consequences of the global phenomenon of climate change are especially acute in the Arab world.  While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed with which the climate is now changing has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

Climate change is a reality for people in Arab countries,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region. “It affects everyone – especially the poor who are least able to adapt – and as the climate becomes ever more extreme, so will its impacts on people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. The time to take action at both the national and regional level in order to increase climate resilience is now.

To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

by Justin Gillis

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – A group of Swarthmore College students is asking the school administration to take a seemingly simple step to combat pollution and climate change: sell off the endowment’s holdings in large fossil fuel companies. For months, they have been getting a simple answer: no.

As they consider how to ratchet up their campaign, the students suddenly find themselves at the vanguard of a national movement.

In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda.

How Cellphone Companies Have Resisted Rules for Disasters

by Cora Currier, ProPublica, Dec. 3, 2012

In a natural disaster or other emergency, one of the first things you’re likely to reach for is your cellphone. Landlines are disappearing. More than 30 percent of American households now rely exclusively on cellphones.

Despite that, cell carriers have successfully pushed back against rules on what they have to do in a disaster. The carriers instead insist that emergency standards should be voluntary, an approach the Federal Communications Commission has gone along with.

After Hurricane Katrina, for instance, carriers successfully opposed a federal rule that would have required them to have 24-hours of backup power on cell towers. In another instance, an FCC program to track crucial information during an emergency – such as which areas are down and the status of efforts to bring the network back – remains entirely voluntary. Nor is the information collected made public.

After Sandy, when thousands roamed the streets looking for service, many had no idea where they could get a signal. AT&T and Sprint, among the major carriers, didn’t initially release details on what portion of their network was down.

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