Bill Clinton urged the mayors attending the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in Seoul to take the lead in fighting climate change. Don’t wait for nations to take the lead, echoed David Miller, the mayor of Toronto. Cities more than countries can act and cooperate to counter climate change. Examples include Toronto’s tower renewal project, new building projects in London, creation of a new city in Florida, and ambitious environmental plans for Seoul. Cities’ efforts need money and solidarity.
Rising seas and warmer, more acidic oceans threaten the Coral Triangle surrounding southeast Asia. If the coral around Indonesia, the Phiippines, and Malaysia is detroyed, coastal economies supporting 100 million people would also collapse, pressuring the cities of Australia and New Zealand. Effective global action on climate change and better management of coastal resources can mitigate the consequences of coral collapse. The WWF-commissioned study was given at the World Ocean Conference
A new report released by the Asian Development Bank highlights impacts climate change may have on Southeast Asia, one of the most vulnerable regions in the world due to the high number of impoverished people living near the coast. Projected impacts included rising sea levels that threaten to submerge small islands, salt water intrusion into aquifers used for drinking water, and diminished rice harvests. Although there are already signs of these changes starting occur in the region, which includes Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam, the authors of the report believe that there is still time for adaptation strategies to be implemented. The report urges governments to take greater action and not use the current economic crisis as an excuse for delay, “as climate change adaptation can serve as an effective fiscal stimulus.”
Rainwater, it turns out, is much like solar energy — free, abundant, and underused. As this article from CNN.com indicates, implementing hybrid water management systems that include cisterns, watersheds, and existing water infrastructure, would provide much-needed water both for humans and the environment. It would also create an estimated 50,000 new jobs.
A cap and trade program is one option being explored by the United States as a method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While legislation at the national level has yet to set up such a program, a group of states in the Northeast has started their own regional cap and trade system, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Under RGGI, emissions allowances are auctioned amongst participants who emit greenhouse gases. The revenue generated from the auction is in turn to be used to fund programs which support the use of clean and efficient energy.
The state of Maryland, a member of RGGI, has “broken the rules,” and is using the money from the auction to subsidize low-income family’s energy bills. Rather than using the income for its designated purpose, Maryland is prolonging the use of the energy sources contributing to global climate change. According to analysts, the state’s decision to use the money to help pay residents pay for energy is only a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.
Controversy over this issue will likely continue in the near future, as President Obama’s budget includes a proposal to start a national cap and trade system, from which the revenue generated by this auction will be given back to the taxpayers.