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Women and Climate Change

UU-UNO Spring Seminar, 2011

Jan W. Dash, PhD

Director Climate Initiative, UU-UNO

UN Committee on Sustainable Development NY (CoNGO)
Visiting Research Scholar, Fordham U.
Adjunct Professor, Courant Institute, NYU
Head, Strategic Risk Research, Bloomberg LP

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! Climate Change Basics
" Science
" Impacts
" Risk Management
! Women and Climate Change
! Conclusions

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Global Temperature Data
There IS Global Warming
Data GISS/NASA. Last decade hottest in over 100 yrs

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Human Behavior Risk - Future

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Impacts - Progressively Severe
! Water shortages (glaciers/snow packs melting worldwide),
! Crop failures (including the US),
! Fires (increasingly frequent huge wildfires),
! Droughts (during the summer),
! Disease (human and plant),
! Flooding (huge precipitation increases when it rains)
! Species extermination (polar bear just most visible),
! Extreme weather (destabilized Jet Stream),
! Sea level rise (glaciers into ocean, US Navy scenarios),
! Heat waves (over 100 F days become common),
! Acidified oceans (attacks base of food chain),
! Mass migrations (millions across US borders),
! Increased conflict (destabilizing wars - US Pentagon),
! Economic disruption (global financial/economic collapse)
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Disease Risk

“Climate change is the

biggest global health
threat of the 21st
Lancet : "Managing the health effects of climate change"

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US National Security Risk

Climate change: threat

to America’s national
Pentagon, Navy, senior US military

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Food Shortage Risk
! US crops - corn, soybeans, cotton -
can decline 80% if temp up enough
! International too. Women = farmers
Schlenker and Roberts, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sciences

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Contrarian disinformation risk

! Contrarian / denier pseudoscience

" Supported by fossil fuel, think tanks
! Contrarian goals
" Stop climate legislation and regulation
" Stop mitigation of global warming
" Stop green energy, energy efficiency…

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International Negotiation Risk -
Climate Conferences

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Main negotiation issue Risk:
Cumulative vs. Current Emissions

! Developed Countries (US, EU …)

" Responsible for most of existing CO2
! Developing Countries
" Developing emissions will dominate in future
" China now #1 for today’s CO2 emissions
" Per-capita emissions lower than for developed
! Science => Already near limit ~ 400 ppm

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Millennium Development Goals

! MDGs apply to poorest countries

" All 192 countries (including US) signed
" Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty, Hunger
" Goal 3: Empower women
" Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality Rate
" Goal 6: Combat malaria and other diseases
" Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
! Climate Change = threat to MDGs

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Women: Positive Role helping to
counter Climate Change
! Women accept science more than men
! Women want to act more than men
! Powerful Motivations:
" Survival
" Water and Food for Children
" Peace
! Vulnerability of Women and Children in War
" Justice
" Intergenerational Equity = Grandchildren

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Increased U.S. Recognition of
Essential Role of Women

• Promote participation of women all levels

• Secy. Clinton Intl. Fund - Women, Girls:
" Promote climate change solutions
" Example: Replace old cook stoves = bad for
health, environment (black carbon)

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! Women and children vulnerability

" IPCC Report Volume II, Chapter 17
! UN Economic Social Council
" Document - Women and climate
change, policies and strategies
! UN Committee Sustainable Develop.
" Climate
Statement: Copenhagen,
Cancun, Durban Conferences

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UU-UNO Climate Portal

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! Recent global warming trend of
climate change - Human caused.
" Impacts will be increasingly severe
" Mitigation - ameliorate impacts = justice /
intergenerational equity / survival
! Women, Children most vulnerable
! Women have a central role to play

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Bottom Line
! We all have pictures of children. We
want to say to them: We did our best
! We can all help make a real difference
! We CAN still mitigate global warming!
" We need to stay optimistic!
" We need to ACT!
" YOU can help!
! Thank you

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You can help
Children and Grandchildren will
thank you

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