Despite risks climate change poses for humans and natural systems, it continues to evoke little to moderate concern from the American public generally, and concerned scientists and policy makers worry that public awareness lags sharply behind what they say is scientific understanding. While climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that Earth’s climate is warming primarily as a result of fossil fuel combustion, many Americans and policy makers appear unconvinced and unconcerned.
Some of the following choices for noteworthy climate stories — admittedly a selective and partial sampling — may seem unfamiliar, and some of those named here may not make big news for years to come. But no matter what, new and old media in 2013 produced a range of climate change news coverage with some important numbers.
Business: 700, The Number of Major Companies that Signed the Climate Declaration
More than 700 companies (including corporate giants such as General Motors, Intel, Owens Corning, and Nike) signed onto Ceres’ Climate Declaration, which calls for strong U.S. action on climate change.
NOAA, in partnership with FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has created a set of map services to help communities, residents, and other stakeholders consider risks from future sea level rise in planning for reconstruction following Hurricane Sandy.
These map services (click here for NJ and NY State counties andclick here for NYC) integrate the best available FEMA flood hazard data for each location with information on future sea level rise from two different peer-reviewed sources (click here for a visual guide to the data sources used in the tool):
A NOAA-led interagency report prepared as input to the National Climate Assessment, Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment. Scientists from multiple federal agencies and academic institutions synthesized the best available science to create a set of scenarios of global mean sea level rise through 2100. This team considered both ocean warming and melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets. For all areas in NJ and NY outside the five boroughs, the maps use these global scenarios combined with the best available FEMA flood hazard data.
The 2013 New York City Panel on Climate Change report,Climate Risk Information 2013: Observations, Climate Change Projections, and Maps. Experts convened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability developed regional sea level rise scenarios for the five boroughs in New York City out to 2050. These scenarios include sea level rise from both ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and factor in local conditions such as vertical land movement and regional climate variations. For all areas inside the five boroughs of NYC, the maps use these scenarios combined with the best available FEMA flood hazard data.
Sunday 29th July: After a 5 hour journey on the train from Budapest to Vienna, followed by two underground trains and the realisation that our hostel was miles from the city centre, you might think we would have cut our losses and retired early yet again. But it was not to be. The lure of Vienna Travel Shack proved to be too strong. Whilst it wasn’t quite what was promised (an international backpacker bar full of loose morals, beautiful people and cheap booze; more like a relatively quiet, male heavy moderately priced booze hangout for mostly locals) I’d like to think we made the best of it. Two fire shots, a snuff shot, and a beer bong later, and escorting our newest member Joe, who we’d rendezvoused with at the hostel earlier, home, I’m feeling like my wallet might be a fair bit lighter than I’d planned for it to be after our first night (not even a full day!) in Vienna, but hey!
Monday 30th July: Again, feeling brutally bad after the excesses of the previous night, this was a day that really rose from the ashes. Starting off at Naschmarkt, I got what can only be described a one of the nicest kebabs ever from a street vendor, and all for only 3 euros. Walking up to Stephanplatz to see the cathedral, we climbed the tower and were met with stunning views all over Vienna. Awesome stuff. This was followed by a visit to one of the traditional coffee houses Vienna is reknowned for: apple strudel, green tea, English newspapers; what more could an 18 year old boy interrailing ask for? Couple that with stumbling upon a bookshop that had one of the best collection of records I’ve ever seen and it made for a good day! But we still weren’t finished. Despite Patrick’s inability to ride, we decided to rent bikes, and spent the next hour or so exploring the rest of the eastern side of the inner stadt by bike, which, in the summer sunshine, was pretty sweet, to say the least. And all of that for no charge! Still feeling last night, we returned to the hostel, and stayed up late watching a mixture of the Olympic ceremony and some Austrian love show (I have literally no idea). Who says interrailing isn’t mental!
Tuesday 31st August: Our train wasn’t till 6 so we had a fair while to explore the Imperial palace, and the grand stately homes that typify in my mind what Vienna best looks like. Stunning stuff! Though unfortunately bike rental was no longer an option (the entire system was down or something) walking through the gardens proved to be a pretty sweet time filler before our train. A quick stop on a bench coupled with an altercation involving crumbly waffles meant we were soon surrounded by birds, so tame they even ate out of Joe’s hand. Once their numbers eclipsed 30 however, we thought it best to make a sharpish exit! Walking around the Hofsburg, it was striking just how massive these buildings were! Managed to find a cafe in the museum quartier, and, with some more apple strudel under my belt, we headed to the station. Paranoia brought about by our previous travel mishaps meant we got to the station a full 3 hours before our train. A lengthy stay in McDonalds ensued!
Thursday 26th July: Just arrived in Budapest. First time this journey where some aspect of us getting from A to B hasnt messed up somehow! Long may that continue! Got to Ljubljana with plenty of time to spare, Patrick (I reckon, though Im yet to be proved right) condemned himself to a bout of the squits by opting for the burek for breakfast (burek being a flaky pastry greasy monstrosity filled with cheese, that, whilst delicious, leaves a notable mark on your digestive system). A very long train journey ensued, softened by the fact that halfway through we realised all the seats in the 6 seater cabin could be pulled out to make the entire cabin into some quasi-mattress. Made sleeping far easier and the journey far more bearable, which is always nice. Despite being about 50 billion degrees (at a conservative estimate) we all managed to sleep for a couple of hours at some time or the other. Settled in at the hostel, and about to head out for goulache, more to come. Goulache eaten, we walked up and down the river, looking for stuff to do. Needless to say, the lights of Budapest and its bars were no match for this tiny, what I can only assume to be some sort of art installation, that we found just after this bridge. A whole bunch of basically glorified computer, swivel chairs. Either way, being the 5 year olds that we are, we proceeded to spin far too fast and for far too long on them, resulting in what can only be described as feeling like “my stomach is punching my stomach”. Pizza and tequila sunrises (2 for 5 euros, what a deal!) creating some kind of nasty whirlpool/vortex monstrosity in my stomach, we all headed home.
Friday 27th July: Woke up about half an hour ago, we’ve been warded off the most popular tourist baths in Budapest by the americans we’re sharing a dorm with, but to be honest, we’d been dubious about going to them in the first place. Instead, my book recommends either these “stunning” art nouveau batzhs (quite expensive) or these “atmospheric” turkish baths. Both are a but a stone’s throw away, so we’re gonna check out both! Back from the baths, actually incredible. We opted for the cheapest of the three recommended in my book, so I was a bit wary, but it lived up to everything I hoped they would be: not a tourist in site, and full of old Hungarian men just sitting around. Complete with 4 immersion pools, one massive pool, a sauna and a steam room, we spent ages in there, pruning nicely, and getting properly clean after too many days of long travel and inefficient showers. Now to visit Pest itself. Oh, and all of that pool and sauna-ing for 6 euros. Decent. National museum was a bit of a disappointment, seeing as half their rooms were closed, and the other half were a bit on the light side with regards to info, given that this is the NATIONAL museum. More than made up for though by the next museum we visited: called the “House of Terror” it delves into life for the people of Hungary during the Nazi occupation, and the subsequent Soviet dealings. Harrowing, and disgusting what happened back then. Incredible museum, most probably the best I’ve ever been to. Left me feeling incredibly sad, but couldn’t have asked for more from a museum. Finished up by visiting the massive basilica and seeing St Stephen’s hand, whose authenticity I was dubious about, and still am, but hey. Night came, and we decided we’d better paddle in the Danube, which was slippery, but surprisingly fun! Follow that with 3 half litre bottles of vodka, one incredibly set of antsy boys, and one set of spinny chairs, and let’s just say that when we finally did make it back to the hostel, I slept like some sort of weird log/baby fusion.
Saturday 28th July: We visited Buda, on the other side of the river, which involved trekking up what could have been one of the most painful hills in what can only be described as some of the nastiest heat I’ve experienced! Up there though it was plain to see it had been worth it. Incredible views across the entire city, Jamie got to hold a golden eagle, and we just walked around for hours, exploring the other side of Budapest. Feeling the effects of last night a bit, and coupled with the tiresome nature of the day we retired early to the hostel. Budapest must have been one of my favourite cities ever. Cheap booze, incredible baths, beautiful sites, and all within walking distance of our hostel!
Tuesday 24th July: Got up, made the coach getting part of the train station with bags of time to spare. Following an hour spent doing nothing, and with said coach now 10 minutes “late” I went up to find out what was wrong:
Charlie: Do you know when the coach to Villach for Ljubljana is gonna get here?
Random Italian train station employee: (Despite the sign on the wall advertising the VERY service we were meant to be getting) Not from here. You want ……-mumble- DDR, outside the station itself.
One sprint later and our bus has been missed. However some stilted German-English hybrid speaking on the part of Paul and somehow we manage to procure a minibus to Ljubljana, that will get us there a couple of hours before our other journey was even meant to. Silver linings and all that.
So yeah, arrived in Ljubljana, lovely hostel. I had my reservations about the city, as there is a dearth of suggestions for things to do in my book on Europe, but I take them all back. Beautiful city, with a castle up a hill that provides an incredible view, as well as a pretty awesome church and an abundance of second hand book shops, with an impressive stocking of English titles (managed to get hold of a couple of volumes making up Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley, continental copyright edition from way back when, with strict instructions on the front”do not not introduce into America, or the British Empire” to give you an idea of how old they are! There was also a copy of “Mein Kampf”with a Swastika on the front but I steered clear of that one. A thunderstorm ensued, and, later, rocking my oversized blue poncho, we continued to explore the city, had dinner and then called it a day.
Wednesday 25th July: Off to see some UNESCO world heritage site caves. More on this later. And here we go: after walking across some train tracks (yes we are that far east) we boarded a train to Divaca, at no cost thanks to those handy interrail passes, and an hour and a half later, we were on a minibus to the caves. And they were absolutely spectacular. Jamie said that he had seen his fair shares of caves in his time (I added an undue amount of innuendo into this in person) and that they were the most impressive. I guess places arent made world heritage sites for no reason. But yeah, 2 hours of breathtaking scenery later, we emerged, and proceeded to wait for the coach back. And with that, just as with the day before, the heavens opened, and had it not been for my trusty poncho, a soaking would almost certainly have ensued. Arriving back at the train station, and safely onboard, we saw that the only carriage free contained a scary, feet out, possibly french, guy. Needless to say, we sat on the floor next to the bikes in the luggage section, and got unduly aggressive over RISK on Jamie’s iphone. One seemingly longer than previously train journey later, and a couple of what I can only assume were attempts at humour on the part of a couple of old Slovenian men, and we were back in Ljubljana, wolfing down burek from a local takeaway: Id seriously recommend it! Despite our presence causing a frenzy amongst the local pigeon population (Patrick thought it wise to feed them), it was all actually pretty pleasant! About to head out, more to come.
Lovely evening at the castle, looking out over the city with a bottle of rum amongst us for comfort. Castle climbing, too much hill walking and an empty bottle later we headed back home. Couldnt have asked for more from the city I was originally dubious about going to.
Sunday 22nd July: Arrived sweating and able to smell myself, which tells you just how bad that stench was. Got settled into the hostel, and then managed to find a bus going straight into the centre of Venice (purely by chance and actually we only became certain of the destination when it actually arrived there). Coupled with the fact that, for reasons I still don’t really understand, we didn’t have to pay for tickets, and this was turning out to be pretty useful indeed. After shitting ourselves for a good 10 minutes, as we were not what you’d call certain that this bus even went to Venice, Patrick and I got into the main part of Venice. We walked around for ages, exploring Venice by night, I got what must have been the best ice cream Ive ever had and then we headed back home, given how late it was. Got a different bus this time, still shaky as ever as to which stop we should get off at, but, somehow, we made it.
Monday 23rd July: Met Jamie and Paul as they arrived, and, despite promising that I wouldn’t, proceeded to let myself and everyone fall asleep for another two hours. Woke up at 9 and after loads of goading and harrying, left the hostel and got the bus to Venice (again). Saw some massive church (del Frari?) and then went to the Da Vinci exhibition (words cannot describe how incredible that man was). Went across the Ponte di Rialto (which was touristy and nastily busy but hey), and then covered the square of Saint Mark. Went to the furthest point on the south side of the island (the view was incredible, just wish Id been able to see a sunrise or sunset off of that bad boy). And to top it off, we found a couple of absolutely stunning nooks and crannies, tiny dead ends with awesome views out onto the canals, perfect places to just sit at. Got drink, got dinner, found a bridge, made dinner. Drank drink. Then proceeded to wander around Venice (minus the map this time) under the influence, climbed into a boat, managed to peer pressure Paul into walking the plank, and then did the same ourselves and then revisited the furthest point and just sat there for an hour or so.
Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”
Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going…