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martedì 15 novembre 2016


Global changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans -- according to a new study 

A new study has found a staggering 80 percent of 94 ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of distress and response to climate change.

Impacts to humans include increased pests and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agriculture yields.
"There is now clear evidence that, with only a ~1 degree C of warming globally, very major impacts are already being felt," said study lead author Dr Brett Scheffers of the University of Florida. "Genes are changing, species' physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are rapidly moving to keep track of suitable climate space, and there are now signs of entire ecosystems under stress."
Said the study's senior author, Dr. James Watson from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Queensland: "The level of change we have observed is quite astonishing considering we have only experienced a relatively small amount of climate change to date. It is no longer sensible to consider this a concern for the future. Policy makers and politicians must accept that if we don't curb greenhouse gas emissions, an environmental catastrophe is likely."
But the study also points to hope as many of the responses observed in nature could be applied by people to address the mounting issues faced under changing climate conditions. For example, improved understanding of the adaptive capacity in wildlife can be applied to our crops, livestock and fisheries. This can be seen in crops such as wheat and barley, where domesticated crops are crossed with wild varieties to maintain the evolutionary potential of varieties under climate change.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Wildlife Conservation SocietyNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal References:
  1. James E. M. Watson et al. The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to peopleScience, November 2016 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7671
  2. Brett R. Scheffers, Luc De Meester, Tom C. L. Bridge, Ary A. Hoffmann, John M. Pandolfi, Richard T. Corlett, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Paul Pearce-Kelly, Kit M. Kovacs, David Dudgeon, Michela Pacifici, Carlo Rondinini, Wendy B. Foden, Tara G. Martin, Camilo Mora, David Bickford, James E. M. Watson. The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to peopleScience, November 2016 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7671

A group of young Americans suing the federal government to demand increased efforts on climate change won a notable battle Thursday, as a federal court rejected the government’s request to dismiss the case.
The ruling paves the way for the 21 plaintiffs—who range in age from 9 to 20—to take their case to trial in federal court. A ruling in their favor could be a landmark decision on climate change, though it would almost certainly be appealed to a Supreme Court that is set to become more conservative in the wake of Donald Trump’s win.
“We are standing here to fight and protect everything that we love—from our land to our waters to the mountains to the rivers and forests,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 16-year-old plaintiff in the case told supporters after a hearing in Eugene, Ore. this fall. “This is the moment where we decide what kind of legacy we are going to leave behind for future generations.”
The case rests on the legal argument that climate change threatens the plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional right to life and liberty. Julia Olson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust, argued in court that the federal government has understood the threat of climate change for decades and knowingly put the lives of future generations in danger. The current measures in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient and not aligned with current science, she argued.

The lawsuit awkwardly puts President Obama’s Justice Department in a position arguing that the children do not have standing to sue—even though Obama himself has made climate action a priority. Sean Duffy, a lawyer for the Justice Department, acknowledged in a September hearing that climate change poses an urgent threat but dismissed the idea that individual citizens could sue the federal government over the issue. The federal government has no means to address the complaint, Duffy argued. Quin Sorenson, a lawyer representing industry interests including the American Petroleum Institute, supported that argument and added others.
But in the hearing Judge Ann Aiken appeared not just sympathetic to the children—most of whom were seated in the front of the courtroom—but also downright hostile toward the challengers. Aiken seemed to suggest that the court could play a role bringing the federal government to the table with environmental activists to negotiate an agreement.
“I would think the government would want the help of the courts to push the good work it’s doing,” she told Duffy. “There is so much common ground.”
Of course, that common ground will likely evaporate as soon as Trump takes office in January. Trump repeatedly rejected the science of man-made climate change as a candidate and promised to undo many existing regulations. A lawsuit forcing policymakers to the table to take action on climate change would be a game-changing—if unlikely—victory for climate change activists at an otherwise dark moment.
This week’s victory is only a preliminary step forward for the novel lawsuit. The case now faces an actual trial and whatever decision emerges will inevitably be appealed, perhaps as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency that the EPA needs to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. But the Court has changed since then and will continue to change with Trump in office.

These Kids Are Suing the Federal Government to Demand Climate Action. They Just Won an Important Victory Justin Worland / Eugene  Nov. 10, 2016

Video: 15-year-old Climate Warrior Addresses U.N., Calls Climate Change a ‘Human Rights Issue’ ICTMN Staff 7/5/15

The Guardian view on climate change: Trump spells disaster Editorial

Energy-related CO2 emissions set to continue to rise until 2040 -IEA November 16, 2016 

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