Thursday, 24 July 2014

Peak Oil and Russian sanctions

Behind all this lies Peak Oil and energy decline

$200 per barrel oil if Russia sanctions escalate- Oxford Economics

23 July, 2014

If the standoff with Russia and the West reaches a point where the EU has to completely cut trade with Russia, oil prices could soar above $200 per barrel, sparking a global economic crisis, says Adam Slater, senior economist at Oxford Economics.

Cutting off trade with Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter, would create a shortage in global energy supplies, which would have spillover effects into Europe, Slater told the Guardian.

"In such a scenario, world oil prices could soar above $200 per barrel and gas prices would also rise steeply,” Slater told the Guardian.

If Russian energy is banned from Western markets, Slater estimates that Russia would lose 80 percent of its energy exports. OPEC producing countries would fill in the market gap. Major economic downturns are associated with high energy prices.

Stage three” sanctions- similar to those Iran experienced during the last decade- would bar the West from all Russia-related business, including exports.

The EU buys 84 percent of Russian oil exports, and 76 percent of natural gas exports. About a quarter of European countries completely rely on Russia for gas or oil supplies.

As of yet, Russia hasn’t halted European gas supplied through politically unstable Ukraine, but this event itself could trigger “stage three”, or trade-specific sanctions.

"These would further damage Russia's economy. Russia's next moves remain uncertain but an escalation of the conflict is still a significant risk which would have potentially negative global spillovers in particular via the impact on global energy markets,” Slater said.

The EU hopes that Ukraine and Russia will settle their gas row by autumn.

The puzzle that still surrounds the shooting down of flight MH17 has unleashed a new wave of accusations against Russia.

Sanctions against Russia have been driven by the US, but Europe has been more reluctant to follow suit, since its economy is still fragile, and disruption with a close trading partner could further destabilize recovery. Russia is the EU’s third largest trading partner, and the largest economies, Germany, France, and Italy have some of the strongest ties.

The US just implemented a new round of sanctions, targeting Russia’s energy, finance, and defense sectors. On Thursday, the EU will broaden its industry-specific sanctions on Russia, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday.

The US sanctions block certain Russian companies from long-term dollar loans.

Putin recalls State Duma

Putin Recalls State Duma From Vacation, "Planning Something" On Ukraine Situation

23 July, 2014

In a somewhat disconcerting move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has recalled The State Duma from a planned vacation to participate in an unscheduled meeting because of the situation in eastern Ukraine. As Ukrinform reports, sources confirm "Something is being planned, because many deputies come, probably for a quorum." Rumors are spreading that Putin is set to issue Kiev an ultimatum over recognizing separatists or face military intervention.

State Duma deputies, who are currently on a planned vacation, urgently come to Moscow to participate in an unscheduled meeting because of the situation in eastern Ukraine, a source in the State Duma told Ukrinform on Wednesday.
"Maybe something will happen tomorrow. Now this issue is being solved. Something is being planned, because many deputies come, probably for a quorum. Many deputies arrive... and today they already have to be in Moscow," he said.
According to the source, it is still unknown which document is to be considered by Russian deputies.
According to the source, it is clear only that Russia's top-ranking officials "planned something" on the situation in the east of Ukraine if they plan to hold an unscheduled meeting of the State Duma.

It appears Putin is preparing to issue an ultimatum to Kiev (as reports via Google Translate)

Russian attempt to legalize the terrorists as a political entity
Security Council in Moscow lasted until now and almost ended at 21.00 on Kiev.
This said a source close to the Russian State Duma.
According to the information tomorrow, July 23, probably held a joint meeting of both houses of the Russian parliament - the Federation Council on which President Vladimir Putin "may declare any serious initiative."
According to the source , tonight Ukrainian leadership will probably be an ultimatum, demanding a ceasefire and start negotiations in the Ukraine-Russia-"DNR" / "LC".
Thus, Russia will try to legitimize the terrorists as a political entity.
If Ukraine does not agree Putin, according to the interlocutor, may decide on entering the Russian troops in Ukraine under the guise of "peacekeepers."
As reported, after the meeting of the EU Council has learned that the European Union could recognize so-called "DNR" and "LC" terrorist organizations.

*  *  *

Given that Poroshenko has demanded the separatists be labeled "terrorists" under international law, we suspect this is one demand they cannot fulfil... and of course, Ukraine is claiming that the 2 fighter jets shoit down this morning were shot down by and from Russia... sure, with the whole world watching, Putin would do that?

Poroshenko Demands Ukraine Separatists Be Declared "Terrorists" Under International Law

22 July, 2014

As the tit-for-tat public relations blitz continues to play out, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has demanded that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) be recognized as terrorist organizations, "so that any cooperation or support the terrorists receive is recognized as such under international law." Now that the US has 'proved' that the separatists shot down MH17, we suspect the calls will grow louder... even as Poroshenko says he opposes martial law.

Ukraine will demand at an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Tuesday that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) be recognized as terrorist organizations, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.

"We [Ukraine] and the Netherlands will make every effort, in particular during the meeting tomorrow of the EU Foreign Affairs Council where Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin will speak, so that the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics be declared terrorist organizations and so that any cooperation or support the terrorists receive is recognized as such under international law," Poroshenko said on Monday while visiting the Dutch embassy in Kyiv.
Ukraine is preparing international lawsuits against the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, to label them as terrorist organizations, Poroshenko said earlier on July 19 during a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.


Introduction of martial law would make military operations more difficult, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says in statement.

Martial law would also impact possible IMF support

*  *  *
We're all terrorists now...


Russian territory shelled from Ukraine 9 times in past months
Dozens of Ukrainian shells have exploded in Russia, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told Russia 24 television on Thursday

24 July, 2014

MOSCOW, July 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia reports nine gunfire attacks on its territory from Ukraine's side in June and July this year.

Dozens of Ukrainian shells have exploded in Russia, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told Russia 24 television on Thursday.

Aimed fire was opened on a border guard post. Russian citizen Andrei Shulyatyev was killed. He left three underage daughters, Antonov said.

If the territory of the United States were shelled from a cross-border region, and if an American citizen were killed, what would the USA do? The answer is clear,” he noted. “We are simply showing responsibility and restraint.”

According to Antonov, in this regard “it is totally clear, who provokes whom on the border”. “You had better pay attention to the permanent shelling of Donetsk and Luhansk with projectiles and to the murders of civilians,” the deputy defense minister said addressing to the western military officials.

The most recent shelling of Russian territory from the Ukrainian side of the border was reported July 20. Customs officers of the Gukovo automotive checkpoint in the Rostov region were evacuated. No Russians were killed or wounded in the shooting attack.

Meanwhile, reports come that employees of the nearest border checkpoints of Russia are often evacuated due to the attacks. In addition, in some cases there was need to evacuate residents of the border villages and settlements. Thus, July 18, 90 people were evacuated from two villages of the Kuybyshevsky district of the Rostov region.

Reaction of the Foreign Ministry

Earlier, the Russian diplomatic service has made a statement condemning the repeated shooting attacks, as well as violation of the state border by Ukrainian military.

The statement was issued in connection with another shelling of the Russian territory on July 12.

Russia demands Ukraine stop shelling of the Russian territory and violating the Russian border,” the ministry said in its statement.

If such provocations continue, Russia reserves the right to take measures under its legislation aimed at protecting the territory and ensuring security of Russian citizens,” it added.

Meddling in the affairs of another country


## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ##
Fifty-four percent of jobs in the 28-member European Union are at risk of advances in computerization, according to a study by economist Jeremy Bowles published by Bruegel, a Brussels-based research organization.

## Airline Death Spiral ##

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Fighters from the Nusra Front, al Qaida’s official affiliate in Syria, on Tuesday seized three strategic towns on the border with Turkey in a major blow to U.S.-backed moderate rebels.

## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ##

## Energy/resources ##
The main surprise, at the moment, is how rapidly the situation is deteriorating in so many of the countries that supply oil and gas to the world. Sadly the headlines will only cover one or two of these at a time. As a result the overall trends are missed as headlines instead focus on the very small changes driven more by sentiment and political perspective than by the realities of the medium, and even short-term oil and gas supply situation.

## Got food? ##
Two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in UK contaminated with campylobacter

## Environment/health ##
Conservationists once thought that bats flew into blades accidentally, but wildlife experts now believe they get 'the bends' from the pressure change

## Intelligence/propaganda/security/internet/cyberwar ##

## Systemic breakdown/collapse/unsustainability ##

## Japan ##
Rises in consumer electricity prices, caused in part by a backlog of unbuilt PV projects, could put Japan's solar industry in serious danger of losing support, a Tokyo-based analyst has warned.

## China ##
Multi-story buildings will all become unusable without affordable electricity. -- RF

## UK ##

## US ##

And finally...

Deforestation and climate change in Sri Lanka

On track to 'go beyond the critical point': Sri Lanka still losing forests at rapid clip

15 July, 2014

Human-elephant conflicts on the rise, some conservation initiatives planned by government

In 1983, Sri Lanka became embroiled in a 26-year-long civil war in which a rebel militant organization fought to establish an independent state called Tamil Eelam. The war took an enormous human toll; unknown numbers disappeared and millions more were displaced. Economic development stagnated in the rebel-held north and east of the country, while foreign investment shied away from the country.

During the latter half of the war, between 1990 and 2005, Sri Lanka suffered one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, losing about 35 percent of its old growth forest and almost 18 percent of its total forest cover. However, some parts remain relatively unscathed.

"There has been destruction of much forest and mangrove areas to provide less cover for the antagonistic parties," Ranil Senanayake, an ecologist and chairman of Rainforest Rescue International in Sri Lanka, said in a previous interview with "However, many wetlands and other critical ecosystems in the 'war zone' have been spared the pillaging that follows the 'economic development' agents, who treat all land as a commodity to be exploited for instant economic gain." 

A legal resettlement near a forest in Sri Lanka. Photo by Manori Gunawardena.

The conflict ended in 2009, and while deforestation has slowed somewhat, Sri Lanka is still losing forest cover at a fast clip. Global Forest Watch figures show 49,652 hectares were lost between 2009 and 2012. 

Sri Lanka, a small island nation located off the southern tip of India, has one of the highest biodiversity densities in all of Asia, and is regarded as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Together with India’s Western Ghats, the region once had nearly 200,000 square kilometers (77,000 square miles) of important wildlife habitat, of which less than seven percent remains intact today.

Because of its isolation and tropical climate, Sri Lanka is home to many unique species and subspecies found nowhere else, such as the purple-faced langur (Trachypithecus vetulus) and the Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), both of which are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. 
Purple-faced langurs (<i>Trachypithecus vetulus</i>) are endemic to Sri Lanka. They are decreasing in number due to development of their habitat and are currently listed as Endanged by the IUCN. Photo by Jeroen84.
Purple-faced langurs (Trachypithecus vetulus) are endemic to Sri Lanka. They are decreasing in number due to development of their habitat and are currently listed as Endanged by the IUCN. Photo by Jeroen84.
People displaced by the war returned to their old homes to find the jungle and wildlife had taken over. When they cleared the land and started to farm, elephants lost secondary forest habitat. In response, the giant herbivores helped themselves to nutrient-rich cultivated crops, leading to escalating conflicts between farmers and elephants. 
The government ought to have had a conservation plan overlapping with the resettlement plan,” wildlife biologist Manori Gunawardena told “Much of the loss suffered by people and elephants could have been minimized.” Belatedly, the administration is now working on such a plan. 
The families of returning refugees had also grown over the past three decades and they needed more land. The government has marked zones for settlement and is creating infrastructure such as roads and railways, leading to further deforestation. For instance, between Vavuniya and Trincomalee, the 48,451-hectare Padaviya Forest Reserve shows telltale signs of deforestation. In 2013, 12,900 hectares – more than a quarter of the reserve – were handed over to the Sri Lanka Mahaveli Authority for human resettlement. 
In May 2014, environmentalists accused the government of illegally seizing almost 1,000 hectares from forested areas in the Northern Province for resettlement

Sri Lanka has lost nearly 100,000 hectares in the last 14 years, representing nearly 1.5 percent of its land area. Courtesy of Global Forest Watch. Click to enlarge. 
Additionally, individuals themselves have also cleared forests and created homesteads. Some of these are illegal, such as settlements in Wilpattu North Sanctuary
In one case, the administration opened to the public a dirt road running through Wilpattu National Park in the country’s northwest. When challenged by environmentalists, officials claimed it was the Old Mannar Road that had been in use before the war. However, Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) filed a case in 2011, providing evidence the Old Mannar Road was prevoiusly defunct and replaced by forest, with a new road created by the Sri Lankan military to facilitate movement of its forces during the war. While the road cannot be surfaced with asphalt until further judicial orders, people continue to use the road
In the hilly center of the country, expansion of cardamom cultivation threatens the Knuckles Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the south, forest clearance for growing tea endangers the Kanneliya Forest Reserve

A resettlement farm recently cleared from the surrounding forest. Photo by Manori Gunawardena. 
But of more immediate concern are the concessions granted to agricultural companies to grow bananas, soya, and corn near forests. Environmentalists threatened to sue Dole Food Company for clearing more than 200 hectares of Somawathie National Park to grow bananas, its biggest fruit crop. Although the company abandoned this plantation in November 2011, it has other holdings near the forests of Chunnakkadu, Lunugamvehera, and Buttala. The company was also accused of clearing 1,214 hectares of Lunugamvehera National Park. 
Dole is just one of Sri Lanka’s many banana growers. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 50,000 hectares – nearly one percent of Sri Lanak’s land area – were used for banana cultivation in 2000, a number that has likely only increased as the industry expanded from small-scale family farms to large, industrial plantations. 
Energy projects are also taking a toll on Sri Lankan forests. Right on the edge of Ruhunu National Park (popularly called Yala), an area inhabited by several herd of elephants, United Dendro Energy Private Limited clear-felled 500 hectares of forest land without getting the necessary approvals. In this freshly cleared area, the company planted rows of Gliricidia (Gliricidia sepium) saplings. Once mature, the trees will be harvested and ground into wood chips to feed a supposedly sustainable energy project. Other dendro-power companies intercrop Gliricidia with rubber trees and rice on agricultural land. 

Map showing clearing of forest for various developments, including Sri Lanka's international airport. Courtesy of Global Forest Watch. Click to enlarge. 
Perhaps the most egregious case of deforestation involves the area near the Mattala International Airport, Hambantota. In 2006, the Department of Wildlife drove 250 elephants out of a 60,000-hectare forest slated for development. The animals were herded into the nearby Lunugamvehera National Park and their exit blocked by electric fences. However, the elephants had difficulty acclimating to the move, and many calves and adults died of starvation as they paced the fence looking for a way out instead of looking for food. Half of their once-forest home was replaced with irrigated banana fields, tsunami rehabilitation settlements, a flashy international conference center, and the new international airport. 
In the other half, around 300 to 400 elephants remained. However, growing influxes of people led to mounting conflicts as the elephants became accustomed to human presence and lost their fear. Formerly shy, retiring animals were now quick to lose their temper with any farmers who had the temerity to chase them. 

To see how the elephants were moving through their habitat, biologists Prithviraj Fernando and Jennifer Pastorini tracked two bulls and seven cow elephants using satellite transmitters. They found some ranged right up to the walls of the airport, and their data has been used to set up protected areas for the animals. 
We have identified important areas for elephants in the south," Fernando told "This informs management and development decisions so detrimental effects on elephants can be minimized. Based on elephant tracking data, the government has recognized approximately 300 hectares as the first Managed Elephant Reserve outside protected areas.” 
Additionally, Fernando and Pastorini advise local communities where to erect electric fences to guard settlements and crops from elephants. 

Elephant movement around Hambantota, where the new airport was recently built. Each color represents an individual elephant, with each dot representing a location where it traveled. Courtesy of Jennifer Pastorini/Centre for Conservation and ResearchClick to enlarge. 
On June 19, 2014, the Minister for Environment and Renewable Energy, Susil Premajayantha, announced plans to increase the country’s forest cover to 35 percent by the year 2020. However, he did not mention whether this will be done though reforestation or plantation expansion. 
At this rate of deforestation, our forest cover will go beyond the critical point when it will affect everything,” Rukshan Jayawardene, a conservationist based in Colombo, told “We can already see the changes in the wet zone [on the west coast of the country], which has little forest cover left. 
Forests are the common resources of this country and can never be replaced. The current developments will squander them in a few years.” 

Present and proposed conservation areas in northern Sri Lanka. Click to enlarge. 

Climate change will have 

adverse impact on Sri Lanka

by Dulmin Samarasinghe

6 April, 2014

Sri Lanka's climate variability has increased. The night temperature in Nuwara-Eliya has gone up and weather changes in Nuwara Eliya will not be suitable for potato cultivation and even other types of cultivations. The Deputy Director of the Centre for Climate Change Studies, Meteorological Department (CCCSMD) Ms. Anusha Warnasooriya gave a death knell warning that cultivation in these areas are doomed. This will create social issues, as farmers have to find alternative means of living.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a report saying that the effects of climate change are already occurring in all continents and across the oceans. The report says that the world, is not prepared for risks from a changing climate and the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of global warming. Island states such as Sri Lanka are vulnerable to climate change as those are surrounded by sea. The sea level is predicted to rise due to global warming. Sri Lanka experienced unusual heavy rains and longer period of droughts last year. This type of weather patterns are expected to continue in the future.
Ms. Anusha Warnasooriya said that there was a difference between climate and weather although people believed it to be the same. Climate is the long time weather that has been prevailing in an area and at least ten years of change of weather has to be observed to decide whether the climate has changed. Ideally it should be at least 30 years, she said. The climate is a complex issue which depends on factors such as sea, ice, atmosphere and life which includes humans, animals, trees and buildings.
She said that according to IPCC definition, climate change is the "variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years". The temperature of the land and sea has increased but the heat capacity of the sea is more. This makes the sea to expand and water level to rise. The heat is felt more in the Northern hemisphere as there are more lands in the region. The temperature has increased by 0.6 degrees Centigrade from 1901 to 2005. But it has increased by 0.74 degrees Centigrade from 1906 to 2005, indicating a rise in temperature during the recent 100 years.
Potato cultivation in Nuwara Eliya, which is at its peak will decline with climate change
Farmers cultivates potatoes
Climate change is not only the increase of temperature but decrease of it as well, she said. The global temperature has decreased in 1940's where it is attributed to the reduction of industrial activities due to world wars. Again in 2010 some countries have experienced decline in temperature while others have seen an increase. Some countries have experienced more rainfall and others less during the period between 1961 and 1990. She said that more rainfall is expected in Asia in the future.
The rate of sea level rising has increased. It has increased by 1.7mm per year from 1870 to 2010 and 3.28mm per year from 1993 to 2011. This could cause problems to island states such as Sri Lanka as coastal areas could be submerged.Ms. Warnasooriya said that the intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and their effects have become intensified. Extreme weather conditions have been reported more during 2001 and 2010, she said. The highest temperature has been recorded in 2010.
Although the climate change occurs due to natural phenomena such as the change in the path taken by earth to move around the sun from an oval shape to cycle, change of the side of the angle of earth when orbiting around sun, a change in earth's 23.5 degrees, a continental drift, scientists say this could not happen as it takes thousands and thousands of years. Therefore human activities have contributed to the climate change, scientists say.
Ms. Warnasooriya said that human activities have altered the composition of the atmosphere. They have released Carbon-Dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Humans have felled trees so that Carbon-dioxide cannot be absorbed. Emission of green house gasses has depleted the Ozone layer. Housing and building constructions, cutting and replacing of trees have changed the landscape and sun rays directly heat up the earth. The temperature on Mars is -50 degrees Centigrade as it does not have green house gasses but the temperature on Venus is +470 due to green house gasses there.
"The number of deaths can be increased due to heat waves, people can get heat strokes, insects, parasites and mosquitoes can be increased, there can be more rains at the same time there can be more dry areas, there will be more wild fires and intensity of lightening will be increased", if the temperature rises, she said. Sea level has risen due to thermal expansion and melting of ice in the poles. The sea level is estimated rise by 88cm for 100 years.
Although cyclones are known for their devastating effects, those are needed to keep the energy balance in the world, she said. Cyclones help to cool the atmosphere by taking winds across the seas and lands. Sea currents do a similar task by carrying warm water from equator to poles.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program to provide policy makers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. Sri Lanka is a member of this international body.
The report, titled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. Three hundred and nine authors and review editors, drawn from 70 countries, were selected to produce the report. They enlisted the help of 436 contributing authors, and 1,729 experts.
The report has said that responding to climate change involves making choices about risks in a changing world. The nature of the risks of climate change is clear, though climate change will continue to produce surprises. The report identifies vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world. It finds that risk from a changing climate comes from vulnerability and exposure overlapping with hazards.
"We live in an era of man-made climate change," said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. "In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future."
Adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now starting to occur, but with a stronger focus on reacting to past events than on preparing for a changing future, according to Chris Field, Co-Chair of Working Group II.
"Climate change adaptation is not an exotic agenda that has never been tried. Governments, firms, and communities around the world are building experience with adaptation," Field said. "This experience forms a starting point for more ambitious adaptations that will be important as climate and society continue to change", he said.
Future risks from a changing climate depend strongly on the amount of future climate change. Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe and pervasive impacts that may be surprising or irreversible.
"With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits," said Field.
Climate change has already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people's livelihoods. The striking feature is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest.
"The report says that people, societies, and ecosystems are vulnerable around the world, but with different degree of vulnerability in different places. Climate change often interacts with other factors to increase risk," Field said.
Field added: "Understanding climate change and managing risk, opens a wide range of opportunities for integrating adaptation with economic and social development. We definitely face challenges, but understanding those challenges and tackling them creatively can make climate change adaptation an important way to help build a more vibrant world in the near term and beyond."
Chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri, said: "The Working Group II report is another important step forward in understanding how to reduce and manage the risks of climate change. Along with the reports from Working Group I and Working Group III, it provides a conceptual map of not only the essential features of the climate challenge but the options for solutions."
The Working Group I report was released in September 2013, and the Working Group III report will be released in April 2014. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report cycle concludes with the publication of its Report in October 2014.
"None of this would be possible without the dedication of the Co-Chairs of Working Group II and the hundreds of scientists and experts who volunteered their time to produce this report, as well as the more than 1,700 expert reviewers worldwide who contributed their invaluable oversight," Pachauri said. "The IPCC's reports are some of the most ambitious scientific undertakings in human history, and I am humbled by and grateful for the contributions of everyone who made them possible."
Working Group II, which assesses impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, is co-chaired by Vicente Barros of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA.
The Technical Support Unit of Working Group II is hosted by the Carnegie Institution for Science and funded by the government of the United States of America
Much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
The U.N. weather agency's annual assessment said 2013 was the sixth warmest year on record. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.
Rising sea levels has led to increasing damage from storm surges and coastal flooding, as demonstrated by Typhoon Haiyan, the agency's Secretary General Michel Jarraud said. The typhoon in November killed 6,100 people and caused $13 billion in damage to the Philippines and Vietnam. Australia, had its hottest year on record. "Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change," Jarraud said.
He cited other costly weather disasters such as $22 billion damage from central European flooding in June, $10 billion in damage from Typhoon Fitow in China and Japan, and a $10 billion drought in much of China.
Only a few places, including the central United States, were cooler than normal last year, but 2013 had no El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that happens once every few years and changes rain and temperature patterns around the world. Jarraud spoke as top climate scientists and representatives from about 100 governments with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met in Japan to complete their latest report on climate change's impact on hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war. The risks and overall effects of climate change are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought.
It's not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants. It's about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, becoming worse.
Severe floods, such as the one that displaced 90,000 people in Mozambique in 2008, are now more common in Africa and Australia. Europe and North America are getting more intense downpours that can be damaging. Melting ice in the Arctic is not only affecting the polar bears, but already changing the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people in northern Canada.
Past panel reports have been largely ignored because effects of climate change seemed too distant in time and location and that mentality has to be changed, says Pennsylvania State University scientist Michael Mann.
"Climate change really is a challenge in managing risks," says the report's chief author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California. "It's very clear that we are not prepared for the kind of events we're seeing."

The panel predicts that warming temperatures will cause existing international tensions to rise, the first time it is emphasising the link between warming temperatures and violence as well as increases in food prices, decreases in the availability of water, increases in health problems and decreases in economic growth and poverty reduction.