November 22, 2011 | 8:00 AM
Climate change and weather extremes[caption id="attachment_5224" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Source: NASA"][/caption]On Friday, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major new report with a clear and sobering message: There is a connection between manmade climate change and much of the extreme weather we've seen around the world. This report is an authoritative and comprehensive look at the science. It confirms what scientists have long been telling us: Manmade climate change has increased our vulnerability to devastating extreme weather events such as heat waves and heavy rains. Or in simpler terms: Humans are literally changing the weather because of the pollution we send into our atmosphere. As we learned during 24 Hours of Reality, we have seen unusually destructive weather events around the globe in recent years -- events like heat waves, intense rainfall and extreme drought. You may well have experienced some of these recent events. And because of climate change, the science tells us we should can expect to see more of these events in the future. This report tells us that climate change makes it "virtually certain" that we will see an increase in daily temperature extremes. And it is very likely that heavy precipitation will increase, which heightens the risk of floods. And while hurricanes may not increase in number, they are likely to become more intense.
November 15, 2011 | 2:10 PM
Does climate change make development harder?The world is approaching a major milestone. In 2015, we will reach the target for nations to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Agreed upon at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, these are a set of eight goals to help measure progress in developing countries around the world. Globally, while there has been substantial progress towards completing some of the goals, a report by the Secretary General of the UN comments that "progress has been uneven and, without additional efforts, several of the Millennium Development Goals are likely to be missed in many countries."
[caption id="attachment_5162" align="aligncenter" width="470" caption="Source: UN Development Programme" align="center"][/caption]Take Africa, for example. The continent's progress towards these goals is examined in a new report issued by the African Development Bank, African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme. An important point the report makes is that the challenges associated with meeting the Millennium Development Goals in Africa are "exacerbated by the threat of climate change."