Monday, April 30, 2012

Evaluating a 1981 temperature projection -James Hansen

Unlocking the secrets to ending an Ice Age

It has long been known that characteristics of the Earth’s orbit (its eccentricity, the degree to which it is tilted, and its “wobble”) are slightly altered on timescales of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Such variations, collectively known as Milankovitch cycles, conspire to pace the timing of glacial-to-interglacial variations.

Despite the immense explanatory power that this hypothesis has provided, some big questions still remain. For one, the relative roles of eccentricity, obliquity, and precession in controlling glacial onsets/terminations are still debated. While the local, seasonal climate forcing by the Milankovitch cycles is large (of the order 30 W/m2), the net forcing provided by Milankovitch is close to zero in the global mean, requiring other radiative terms (like albedo or greenhouse gas anomalies) to force global-mean temperature change.

The last deglaciation occurred as a long process between peak glacial conditions (from ~26-20,000 years ago) to the Holocene (~10,000 years ago). Explaining this evolution is not trivial. Variations in the orbit cause opposite changes in the intensity of solar radiation during the summer between the Northern and Southern hemisphere, yet ice age terminations seem synchronous between hemispheres. This could be explained by the role of the greenhouse gas CO2, which varies in abundance in the atmosphere in sync with the glacial cycles and thus acts as a “globaliser” of glacial cycles, as it is well-mixed throughout the atmosphere. However, if CO2 plays this role it is surprising that climatic proxies indicate that Antarctica seems to have warmed prior to the Northern Hemisphere, yet glacial cycles follow in phase with Northern insolation (“INcoming SOLar radiATION”) patterns, raising questions as to what communication mechanism links the hemispheres.

There have been multiple hypotheses to explain this apparent paradox. One is that the length of the austral summer co-varies with boreal summer intensity, such that local insolation forcings could result in synchronous deglaciations in each hemisphere (Huybers and Denton, 2008). A related idea is that austral spring insolation co-varies with summer duration, and could have forced sea ice retreat in the Southern Ocean and greenhouse gas feedbacks (e.g., Stott et al., 2007). More

 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Clean Energy Lags Put World on Pace for 6 Degrees Celsius of Global Warming

New estimates from the International Energy Agency depict a world failing to reduce its reliance on burning fossil fuels, which emits the CO2 causing climate change.

LONDON -- The world is far behind on delivering the low-carbon energy it needs, and unless urgent action is taken, calamitous climate change is certain, the International Energy Agency told a meeting yesterday of energy ministers whose countries account for 80 percent of global energy demand. An executive of the world energy watchdog said that renewable power was on track to stop the planet from tipping into the climatic unknown and that industry and transportation had made some progress but had significant room for improvement. But he asserted that all other sectors, including carbon capture and storage, the drive for clean coal, nuclear energy and biofuels, were falling behind the timelines needed to minimize global warming.

"Under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020 and almost double by 2050. This would likely send global temperatures at least 6 degrees Celsius [10.8 degrees Fahrenheit] higher. Such an outcome would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships -- a legacy that I know none of us wants to leave behind," IEA deputy executive director Richard Jones told the opening session of the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, jointly hosted by the United Kingdom and the United States. More


 

Will Rio+20 make a difference to sustainable development

Will June's climate conference prove to be a vital chance to renew political commitment for sustainable development or just more talk and no action?

Echoing throughout the above video is one striking point. When it comes to climate change, the clock is ticking and the international community needs to listen.

"When I look ahead at Rio and beyond, it seems to me that our scarcest resource is time", says Lester Brown, president at the Earth Policy Institute.

"What we're actually looking at is a race between tipping points, between natural, environmental tipping points on the one hand and political tipping points on the other."

David Suzuki, founder of David Suzuki Foundation, mirrors Brown, calling for urgent action against "the crisis of our time".

"The sense of urgency is absolutely critical. I cannot stand to have just another meeting where people come, do their thing, and then leave as if, oh, back to the same old problems," Suzuki says.

But as Jonathon Porritt, founder of Forum for the Future, argues, the world has been "at a critical point for years" and yet progression in areas such as cutting carbon emissions and scaling up sustainable development is still too slow.

"We know that this critical point is not really a point, it's a sort of period of time that we have available to us to effect these changes and we've been in that available period of time, in my opinion, for at least 20 and I would probably argue 40 years," Porritt says.

Expectations for Rio+20 are generally low but as Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company, believes, the advances in technology and the shift of mindset within some companies, means that the tables have turned since the original Rio conference. More

 

Warm Ocean Currents Cause Majority of Ice Loss from Antarctica

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2012) — An international team of scientists led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has established that warm ocean currents are the dominant cause of recent ice loss from Antarctica. New techniques have been used to differentiate, for the first time, between the two known causes of melting ice shelves -- warm ocean currents attacking the underside, and warm air melting from above. This finding brings scientists a step closer to providing reliable projections of future sea-level rise.

Researchers used 4.5 million measurements made by a laser instrument mounted on NASA's ICESat satellite to map the changing thickness of almost all the floating ice shelves around Antarctica, revealing the pattern of ice-shelf melt across the continent. Of the 54 ice shelves mapped, 20 are being melted by warm ocean currents, most of which are in West Antarctica.

In every case, the inland glaciers that flow down to the coast and feed into these thinning ice shelves have accelerated, draining more ice into the sea and contributing to sea level rise.

Lead author Dr Hamish Pritchard from British Antarctic Survey, which is funded by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), said: "In most places in Antarctica, we can't explain the ice-shelf thinning through melting of snow at the surface, so it has to be driven by warm ocean currents melting them from below.

"We've looked all around the Antarctic coast and we see a clear pattern: in all the cases where ice shelves are being melted by the ocean, the inland glaciers are speeding up. It's this glacier acceleration that's responsible for most of the increase in ice loss from the continent and this is contributing to sea-level rise. More

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Connect the dots

Bill McKibben’s 350.org has launched Connect the Dots Day. Scheduled for May 5 this global initiative is to draw attention to the fact that people all over the world recognize that climate change is happening (see poll results in New York Times article) and it is creating unpredictable weather events.

McKibben is asking everyone to get involved with an event of some kind: a presentation, a protest, a community project, pictures, or another idea. Once compiled, they will deliver the message to politicians and media the world over.

iMatter

Another initiative regarding climate change has been undertaken by iMatter. Five youths have taken the bold step of suing the federal government for failing to protect the atmosphere. They held rallies throughout the United States on Earth Day, March 22, 2012. And on May 11 in Washington, DC, the lawsuit is being heard. The basic premise is that the atmosphere is a public trust for all generations and the government has a legal responsibility to protect it. The lawsuits would also require the government to put into place plans to reduce carbon emissions by at least 6 percent per year.

In 2008, Lester Brown wrote about the need to connect the dots in his book Plan B 3.0 in relation to water and food.

The link between water and food is strong. We each drink on average nearly 4 liters of water per day in one form or another, while the water required to produce our daily food totals at least 2,000 liters—500 times as much. This helps explain why 70 percent of all water use is for irrigation. Another 20 percent is used by industry, and 10 percent goes for residential purposes. With the demand for water growing in all three categories, competition among sectors is intensifying, with agriculture almost always losing. While most people recognize that the world is facing a future of water shortages, not everyone has connected the dots to see that this also means a future of food shortages.” More

 

What will drive action on climate change?

Whilst many recognise the impact of climate change, few act to help prevent it. What will give governments, business and citizens the motivation to respond?

We all share responsibility for protecting the planet and while many governments, businesses and citizens are aware of climate change and environmental degradation, few take action against it. The threats posed by inaction may be seen as too distant to matter or even too overwhelming to comprehend.

In the above video, Bjorn Stigson, former president at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, explains the difficulty of motivating the world to act.

"It's not so easy to tell people, let's say in Europe, that we've got a climate problem unless they see very clear signals that there is a climate problem," says Stigson.

"If the sky's blue and there's very little pollution in the air, why should I go through a hardship to try to change something that I don't quite see with my own eyes?"

In a recent blog, WWF's Jason Clay uses the example of a cotton T-shirt to demonstrate how global issues such as water shortages, soil degredation and climate change are interrelated. Clay writes that through their purchasing decisions, consumers can play an active role in driving sustainability and helping to combat climate change.

Lester Brown, president at the Earth Policy Institute, says that the rising cost of food is one issue that could result in consumers taking action, particularly if it becomes clear that increasing costs are partly a result of climate change.

"Its one thing to talk about C02 emissions going from 280 parts per million to 380 parts per million, that doesn't really ring any bells, but people do understand food prices. They see them every week at the supermarket check out counter," Brown says.

"You don't have to draw pictures and when people begin associating that rise in food prices with climate change, I think we'll see some dramatic changes." More




 

The Planet Is Sending Us A Message: We Ignore At Our Own Peril.

Danger from the deep: New climate threat as methane rises from cracks in Arctic ice?

A new source of methane – a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide – has been identified by scientists flying over areas in the Arctic where the sea ice has melted.


The researchers found significant amounts of methane being released from the ocean into the atmosphere through cracks in the melting sea ice. They said the quantities could be large enough to affect the global climate. Previous observations have pointed to large methane plumes being released from the seabed in the relatively shallow sea off the northern coast of Siberia but the latest findings were made far away from land in the deep, open ocean where the surface is usually capped by ice.

Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice.

"When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase," Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said.

"Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added.

Methane is about 70 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat. However, because methane is broken down more quickly in the atmosphere, scientists calculate that it is 20 times more powerful over a 100-year cycle. The latest methane measurements were made from the American HIPPO research programme where a research aircraft loaded with scientific instruments flies for long distances at varying altitudes, measuring and recording gas levels at different heights. More


 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A star volunteer shows we can all make difference

 

 

Web version | Update preferences | Unsubscribe
Facebook icon

Like

Twitter icon

Tweet

Forward icon

Forward

Our star volunteer shows we can all make a difference

Dear Nick

Please share this email with someone else who will be inspired by my story.

Find out how you can help the campaign here.

Facebook Like Button

Tweet Button

My name is Diana Marquand, I am am a supporter and volunteer for the Eradicating Ecocide team and was asked by Louise to share my story in a newsletter.

I was born into a very political family; my father was economic adviser to the government during WWII. His best friend was Elwyn Jones, a junior barrister who prosecuted the Nazi war criminals. Elwyn told me once never to “obey orders” if I knew that the orders were wrong. This message has always stayed with me, and I have always campaigned against things I believe are wrong including nuclear weapons, the Iraq war and apartheid.

My father told me once that if I wanted to change things I should write to my MP. In opposition to the war in Iraq I organised a letter writing group to stop this. We wrote to our MP, to government ministers and also collected signatures for petitions which we hand delivered to Parliament. We also liased with the local mosque. Eventually our MP resigned his cabinet post and voted against the war.

My road to Earth rights and Ecocide

I continued campaigning on separate environmental issues, but I wanted something that connected all these issues.Whilst working as a Children's Guardian it occurred to me that nature doesn't have a voice to speak out against the destruction humans are causing to the Earth. I thought that the Earth is in need of guardians too. I then saw the Bolovian Ambassador speaking and learnt that indigenous people believe that nature has the right to exist and all beings are interconnected. The Ambassador spoke about an international law to protect the Rights of Mother Earth and a crime of Ecocide to punish those who do not respect the Earth’s rights. I had found what I was looking for: a legal obligation to care for the Earth. I looked this up on the computer and found Polly Higgins. Polly came to speak at an event I organised in Swansea and people travelled long distances to hear her.

We can all make a difference....

I have given many talks on Ecocide throughout Wales and plan to organise more. I have sent out copies of the Welsh translation of the Bill of Rights for the earth to Welsh Assembly members. If you can help with translations of the Bill of Rights or other documents please get in touch with Zoe. All the resources you need to organise an event, including information on Ecocide and template letters are available on the Eradicating Ecocide website, along with lots of ideas of what you can do to help. Why not start a letter writing group like I did? It can be a lot of fun and you might end up making a real difference. You could write a letter to world leaders or a letter to the Earth. Writing to MPs is important and can make a difference, it is the MP's job is to represent his/her constituents.Last Wednesday I organised a talk "Ecocide: the fifth Crime Against Peace." Inside the beautiful, peaceful church of St. Mary le Bow we were privileged to hear Polly Higgins speak about Ecocide. The event was hosted by Rachel Lindley who takes care of the church and organises “Just Share” events. There were also contributions from Alex Scrivener of the World Development Movement, Clive Menzies, who is an ex banker and spoke about the need for reform of the banking system. The evening finished with a short but moving piece by Tanya Paton from theOccupy Faith working group, who reminded us that all religions specify that we are all stewards on this planet. I will be giving a talk about Ecocide to Friends of the Earth Wales in May. I am also liaising with my local Amnesty International group to explain that Ecocide is a crime against Humanity as well as Nature. Please write to Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Oxfam urging them to support the campaign. This is as much of a human rights issue as an environmental issue. Since first meeting Polly I have got to know more people attracted to this movement for justice for the earth and I am impressed by the loving kindness and compassion generated by this campaign: it is a very real joining of hearts and minds and where each one of us can really make a difference. With hope and peace Diana Marquand

Help persuade the polititians

The Eradicating Ecocide team sent out Concept Papers to all the governments in the world, detailing why a crime of Ecocide is necessary and setting out the roadmap for putting it in place. Acknowledgments of receipt have been sent by The Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D, Irish Prime Minister and President Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana.

Can you please send them a polite message to re-enforce how much their support is needed on the following email addresses: privateoffice@taoiseach.gov.ie & shyamnokta@gmail.com Ask them to support the law of Ecocide and publicly give their voice to our campaign.

More

Volunteer or set up an action group

If you would like to volunteer for the campaign contact Head of Campaign Joe.

If you would like to set up an action group contact Zoe.

 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Guardians for the future: safeguarding the world from environmental crisis

We are calling for a network of special representatives to help protect the resources and livelihoods of future generations?

Today, vast factory trawlers are vacuuming every living thing off the floor of the oceans. Toxic waste is being dumped in poor communities whose governments turn a blind eye. Millions of acres of irreplaceable primeval forest are purposely being burned every year, to make way for cattle ranches.

These are crimes against the future, crimes that are happening today, in large numbers, all over the world. These are crimes that will not only injure future generations, but destroy any future at all for millions of people. And today, there is in most countries no institution or person with the job of defending the rights of those future generations.

But tomorrow, there could be.

The World Future Council is calling for "ombudspersons for future generations". These would be guardians appointed at global, national and local levels whose job would be to help safeguard environmental and social conditions by speaking up authoritatively for future generations in all areas of policy-making. This could take the shape of a parliamentary commissioner, a guardian, a trustee or an auditor, depending on how it best fits into a nation's governance structure. This person would facilitate coherence between the separate pillars of government to overcome single issue thinking, and hold government departments and private actors accountable if they do not deliver on sustainable development goals.

Such a post already exists in Hungary, filled by the redoubtable Sandor Fulop, who has managed, with support from community groups, to protect several major negative environmental patrimonies in his nation. The Israeli Knesset also appointed a judge as commissioner for future generations. New Zealand established a parliamentary commissioner for the environment as an independent environmental ombudsperson, and the Welsh assembly recently appointed a commissioner for sustainable futures.

The Rio+20 summit in June this year will discuss "an ombudsperson or high commissioner for future generations to promote sustainable development". However, a number of countries are currently trying to remove this concept from the draft. Why would any nation be against such a win-win proposal?

Their main concern seems to be about proliferation of bureaucracy and a drain on existing limited resources. However, the opposite is likely to be the case, since an ombudsperson would actually bring more coherence to policy making. Current, narrowly defined policy-making approaches often lead to unintended negative consequences and unnecessary costs in redressing these. Integrated thinking and long-term time horizons can help avoid these, often even in the short term. More




 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Weekend of 100 Tornadoes: Are Killer Storms Being Fueled by Climate Change?

It could have been so much worse. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours over the weekend. Cars were tossed through the air and houses were pulverized. Hail the size of baseballs fell from the sky, crushing anything left in the open. More than what is ordinarily a month's worth of cyclones struck in a single day, yet miraculously, only one, in the Oklahoma town of Westwood, proved fatal, killing six victims who lived in and around a mobile-trailer park. "God was merciful," Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told CNN on Sunday.

But it wasn't just God or chance. The low death toll was also due to a faster and more insistent warning system by weather forecasters, who put the word out early and often and over many platforms that the past weekend could be a dangerous one for the Midwest, thanks to an unusually strong storm system. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center took the unusual step of alerting people in the region more than a day before what was termed a possible "high-end, life-threatening event." Warnings went out over radios, smart phones and TVs, urging people to stay underground or in a tornado shelter for the duration of the storm. And with memories of the more than 500 people who died in cyclones last year still fresh, residents in the affected areas paid attention and stayed out of harm's way.


In the age of climate change, a lot of science and press coverage have been given over to determining whether warming really does make extreme events like heat waves, floods, storms or tornadoes more frequent or more powerful. That's understandable: gradual warming over years or decades doesn't get a lot of attention, but a megastorm like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or the bursts of killer tornadoes last spring certainly do. It's not just a matter of focusing public attention, however; extreme-weather events kill tens of thousands of people every year, and take a sizable chunk out of the global economy — not something anyone's likely to fail to notice. Last year the U.S. experienced a dozen natural disasters that caused a billion or more dollars in damages, ranging from Hurricane Irene in September to the lingering drought in Texas and the Southwest. If climate change is really supercharging extreme weather — causing death and mayhem — that's one more reason to get a grip on carbon emissions fast.

As it happens, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published an assessment on the science of extreme weather and global warming just last month — but the answers are cloudy. The panel found that it was likely that man-made carbon emissions are leading to extreme heat, something that should resonate on an April day that was so unseasonably hot that runners were warned away from the Boston Marathon. There was also medium confidence that carbon emissions and other anthropogenic factors are leading to more extreme rainfall — like the Pakistan floods of 2010 — and more intense droughts, like the one much of the U.S. is suffering through right now. More



 

The Year Without Winter

First they called it the year without a winter. Then springtime began to feel more like summer for most of North America. March 2012 saw thousands of daily temperature records fall in the contiguous United States (often called the “lower 48”), and the entire month was the warmest March in a temperature record that dates back to 1895.

The map above shows global temperature anomalies for March 2012, based on an ongoing analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. It shows changes from the norm for each region, not absolute temperatures. That is, the map depicts how much temperatures rose above or below the average March temperatures for that area compared to the base period of 1951-1980.

For the month, the eastern two-thirds of the United States, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba, saw temperatures in the GISS map approaching as much as 10 degrees Celisius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal (deepest reds on the map). Temperatures were similarly extreme in the Arctic Ocean around Svalbard, the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea. Far eastern Siberia, Alaska, and northwestern North America were significantly colder, while much of Europe and western Russia were warmer than normal (following a much colder February).

According to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average March temperature was 10.6 degrees C (51.1 degrees F) for the 48 contiguous states, which was 4.8 degrees C (8.6 degrees F) above the 20th century average for March. “Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began,” NOAA climatologists wrote, “only one month (January 2006) has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.”

East of the Rocky Mountains, 25 states had their warmest March on record; 15 more states were in their top ten warmest. More than 15,000 temperature records were broken—evenly split between daytime highs and nighttime highs—and there were 21 instances where nighttime low temperatures were warmer than the former daytime records.

You can view and download global temperature anomaly images (updated monthly) on NASA Earth Observations. To see the trends in global temperatures over the past 130 years, visit World of Change: Global Temperatures. More


 

Weird Weather:Mad March -Part 1

Join the conversation and support this series at http://www.climatecrocks.com

Part two of this series is at the Yale Climate Forum -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTAZue6ylZ8
For these and more videos, check out the Glimpse Science Network.
http://glimpsescience.net/
This extraordinary mild winter in north america, followed by an unprecedentedly warm march, has shocked a lot of people who formerly dismissed the reality of climate change.
In addition, several years of violent tornado seasons have many asking if we are entering a "new Normal" in regard to our seasons.
For this two part series, I interviewed a number of climate scientists and experts from around the country, and found some surprising answers.
Part two is available at the Yale Climate Forum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTAZue6ylZ8
tornado counts, noaa
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/tornado/2010/annual/2010annual_torncount.png
Arctic Warming altering weather
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-warming-is-altering-weather-patterns-study-shows/
Arctic changes and Weather Extremes: NYTimes
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/science/earth/arctic-sea-ice-eyed-for-clues-to-weather-extremes.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/G/Gillis,%20Justin?ref=justingillis
Jennifer Francis: Linking Weird Weather to Arctic changes
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/linking_weird_weather_to_rapid_warming_of_the_arctic/2501/
Jennifer Francis graphs
http://e360.yale.edu/slideshow/loss_of_arctic_sea_ice_already_influencing_weather/74/3/
Munich Re:Statement of Prof. Peter Hoppe/2010 Press release on climate related Natcats
http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/press_releases/
2011/2011_01_03_press_release.aspx

current tornado stats - US
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/
shrinking western snowpack
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53909597-78/snow-utah-climate-rain.html.csp

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Achim Steiner: 'We haven't even begun to understand the damage we are bringing to bear on the sustainability of our planet'

It's a question many people have probably asked themselves, seeing the ever-increasing environmental degradation around the world: why aren't we doing more to protect our planet? And it's not that easy to answer, as it seems such an obvious course of action, given the parlous state the Earth is in. But Achim Steiner has an answer of sorts. He thinks things are so bad that people can't quite grasp it.

He is worth listening to, because there are not many individuals who could be said to have a truly comprehensive overview of the state of the planet. This 50-year-old Brazilian-German is the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), the part of the UN family that deals with planetary ills, and he has spent a long career trying to help communities across the world to develop, without trashing their surroundings and their natural resources base. In other words, without screwing up their future.

Sustainable development, it is called. For more than 20 years it has been thought of as a great idea whose time has come. So why is so much of what is happening on every continent still clearly so unsustainable? "In a sense ... reality has overtaken our cognitive capacity," Mr Steiner says. "I mean the reality of it has overtaken our capacity to understand it, to understand quite what we are causing and unleashing, almost ... I think we have not even begun to understand how serious are the underlying trends that we have brought to bear on the sustainability of this planet.

"A classic illustration is the ... luxury of this continued debate about scientific uncertainty with climate change. If even 10 per cent of what the IPCC [the UN's Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change] said were to come true, it should actually make us sit up and say immediately, 'change course!'." More


 

Friday, April 6, 2012

NASA Climate Scientist Compares Climate Change to Slavery

This week, NASA climate scientist James Hansen described climate change as a “great moral issue” similar to the movement to end slavery. He linked the climate change debate with the 19th century struggle to abolish slavery from the United States with his claim that both have enormous consequences and are behind the “injustice of one generation to others.” He made the comments in the lead-up to an award he will receive next week for his contribution to science.

Hansen argued that the lack of action on reversing climate change is handing future generations a world spiraling out of control with vast damage to ecosystems, flooded coastal regions and extreme weather. He will expand upon these comments on Tuesday, when he will receive the Edinburgh Medal. His acceptance speech will focus on his advocacy of a global tax on all carbon emissions.

Hansen first made climate change a topic of everyday discussion when he testified about the issue in front of Congress in the late 1980s. He developed one of the first global warming scientific models and is a prolific writer and researcher. Hansen’s work is frequently cited by climate change activists, including Al Gore. His climate activism has also led to several arrests for his protests against the coal industry and the Keystone pipeline.

Describing climate change as an inter-generational issue, Hansen believes that older generations did not realize their energy usage was causing problems for future generations. Now however, he said, the future will be one of climate-related disasters and species extinction because currently Americans “only pretend we don’t know” about climate science. To slow the effects of climate change, Hansen urges a flat-rate carbon tax to force cuts in fossil fuel consumption. Instead of the tax going into governments’ treasuries, however, the funds would be distributed equally among the public. The tax would then simulate the development of low-carbon energy while forcing the most wasteful energy users to curtail their consumption. Hansen’s heightened rhetoric in recent years, however, has earned him sharp criticism from former allies. More


 

 

Who Put Tim DeChristopher in Isolation? Tim DeChristopher for Man of the Year

In late 2008 the Bush administration rushed to do one last favor for their friends in the oil and gas industry so the Bureau of Land Management held an auction in December of 2008 to sell oil and gas drilling rights on thousands of acres of federal land. Environmentalists weren't pleased and activist Tim DeChristopher ended up behind bars for trying stop to this sketchy auction. He was charged with two felony counts and last July he was given a two year sentence and a $10000 fine by a federal judge. Rolling Stone reported last week because of an email he sent to the person who manages his finances, using the word "threat", DeChristopher was put in isolation. But the Bureau of Prisons did this reportedly at the request of an anonymous Congressman. So we're asking you to get in touch with your member of Congress office and politely ask the staff to state on the record whether or not they contacted the Bureau of Prisons about DeChristopher's letter. If so, did they ask for the bureau to implement retaliatory measures such as isolation? Twitter: twitter.com Facebook: www.facebook.com

It could be argued that giving the oil companies massive subsidies and allowing them to pillage the United States wild natural heritage is not adding to the countries national security. Nor obviously, is imprisoning a campaigner like DeChristopher whose motivation is to mitigate global warming and climate change. Climate change is going to cause Small Island Developing States (SIDS) (and Arctic Communities) to be submerged and evacuated before the end of the century.

Where will these climate refugees go? Will America, the greatest consumer of fossil fuel (ok China has just passed the USA building your high-tech toys) allow them to come and live with you? If I were a climate refugee I would not go to live in any country that persecutes people for trying in their small way to save our world from the ravages of climate destruction. Editor

 

 

"I speak for half the worlds population"

 

A number of protests are being held at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban to protest the failure of world leaders to agree to immediately agree to a deal of binding emissions cuts. Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, addressed the conference on behalf of youth delegates. Just after her speech, she led a mic-check from the stage -- a move inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests. "It always seems impossible until it's done. So, distinguished delegates and governments around the world, governments of the developed world: Deep cuts now. Get it done," Appadurai says. For more visit www.democracynow.org

Anjali Appadurai, 21 years old. Member of Earth in Brackets, a group students from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbour, ME/USA. Currently following the climate talks in Durban

 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scientists say the Holocene is over

Scientists are calling for the official designation of a new earth epoch: the Anthropocene. Addressing the 'Planet under Pressure' gathering in London, they say one species has left an indelible mark.

Scientists are pushing to officially change the name of the current geological epoch, as the world prepares to take stock of its 20-year record of addressing global environmental problems.

Experts say designating the arrival of the 'Anthropocene,' or age of man, would capture the nature and extent of changes on the planet, and could spark a shift in how humanity thinks of its presence on Earth.

Pointing to climate change, dwindling fish stocks, continued deforestation, rapid species decline, and human population growth, Erle Ellis, an ecologist at the University of Maryland, said the vast majority of ecosystems on the planet now reflect the presence of people.

We are already past "a human-systems tipping point" where we should be wondering whether we are in the Anthropocene or not, Ellis said.

In future, he said, the evidence for the Anthropocene will be apparent in the sedimentation record: in the rapid increase in carbon deposits, in traces of cities, and the fossils of domesticated animals. More

 

 

Odyssey 2050

This is a video short for the upcoming animated movie Odyssey 2050.

Odyssey 2050 is a dynamic and groundbreaking animated film raising awareness about climate change and global warming. It's purpose is to motivate young people all over the world to take action on climate through their participation in the creation and production of a digitally animated feature film.

Through workshops, internet, video- conferences and other mediums the project is engaging with more young people every month around the world through the cooperation of British Diplomatic Missions, the British Council, NGOs, government ministries and other volunteers. We are fortunate to have on our team two high profile Costa Ricans, former NASA astronaut Dr. Franklin Chang who holds the record for most space flights with seven.

The feature film to be completed in 2013 will reach millions in its cinematic release and through subsequent exposure on television, film festivals, DVD and internet. The deadline we have established for young people to submit their works is July 1st 2012. We are excited and overwhelmed by the responses we have have received from young people to date and our recent workshops in schools in Durban were highly successful. We have a busy schedule of events planned for this year which will include events at the London Olympics and in December at COP 18 in Qatar.
Feel free to comment and to visit our website, blogs and twitter feed.
Blog - http://www.odyssey2050.blogspot.com/
Blog - http://blogs.fco.gov.uk/brucecallow/author/brucecallow/
Twitter - @FilmOdyssey2050
email - film.odyssey2050@gmail.com
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey_2050_The_Movie
and follow us of facebook! - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Odyssey-2050/339246796120796
Thanks for watching!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Ecocide is a crime.


For almost twenty years, Garth's photography of threatened wilderness regions, devastation, and the impacts on indigenous peoples, has appeared in the world's leading publications. His recent images from the boreal region of Canada have helped lead to significant victories and large new protected areas in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Ontario. Garth's major touring exhibit on the Tar Sands premiered on Los Angeles in 2011 and recently appeared in New York. Garth is a Fellow of the International League Of Conservation Photographers

For those interested to know more about our profile cover picture of before and after please watch this excellent TEDx talk by Garth Lenz about the destruction of the Athabasca wetlands and forest in Canada through extraction of the tar sands for oil.

What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.

 

 

We Need Many Strong, United Voices to Combat Climate Change

To deal with the threats and challenges of climate change we need solidarity. We need to recognize that no matter where we live, we are one people on a single planet, the only planet that we have. We need many strong voices speaking together -- the voices of people from all those regions that the 2007 IPCC IV Report identified as “vulnerable.”

by: Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit environment, culture and human rights advocate, and former political leader, Ronald Jumeau, Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues

We need the Arctic, where the rapidly melting multi-year sea ice is just one symptom of massive changes now underway. We need the small island developing States (SIDS) like Tuvalu, Barbados and Seychelles whose homes are threatened with inundation. And we need voices of people who live in high mountain regions, on deltas and in the vast Savannah of the Sahel.

We need many strong voices, united in their resolve to defend human rights and determined to see their cultures survive and thrive.

Twenty years. That's how long we have both petitioned the world community to save our lands, our peoples and ways of life. We have done so in every conceivable manner and with ever-increasing urgency. Twenty years ago, when we began to experience climate change in our lands and communities, we began to worry that our children would no longer grow up in a safe and nurturing environment. We worried too that our ancient cultures, deeply connected to our lands, might not survive into future generations. Today, our children now experience those changes with us every day, and join in the appeal for future generations.

It is hard to imagine us coming from more different backgrounds: one from a balmy archipelago in the Indian Ocean and the other from the cold expanse of the northern tundra. Yet today we join with our brothers and sisters from other islands and polar regions through the Many Strong Voices programme[3] — a network of individuals and communities in the Arctic and SIDS connecting for strategic action on climate change mitigation and adaptation. We reiterate our unequivocal appeal: The world must take action now to stop climate change and address the damage already done.

Now as we approach the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), we are running out of time. Last year’s climate change negotiations in Durban produced an agreement to adopt a binding legal agreement on climate change “as soon as possible, and no later than 2015.”[4]

We heard this kind of pledge leading up to the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen that produced little of substance. Indeed, at the time the fact that the negotiation process itself lived on was heralded as a major victory.

Not to us.

As climate science has advanced, we now know the consequences of the world’s unwillingness to act. Even once the world agrees to stabilize and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, warming from gases already in the atmosphere will tragically affect the most vulnerable regions of our planet. Sadly, as we have seen in places such as the Pacific island of Kiribati and the Alaskan community of Shishmaref, it may already be too late.

Even if the world forges an agreement three years from now, it will be very difficult to make the deep GHG emissions reductions that hundreds of scientific studies tell us -- clearly -- that we need to make in order to keep the world’s global average temperature from rising 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, let alone the 1.5ºC that the SIDS and a majority of the countries that have signed the UNFCCC are calling for. And we need to make sure that the rising line of emissions starts to bend down as 2020 dawns or it may be too late for our peoples and lands.

The impacts of climate change may be affecting small island states and remote Arctic communities with small populations, but they are also affecting hundreds of millions of people in the Ganges, Indus, Yangtze and other river systems dependent on glacial water for agriculture and drinking. If you look at it this way, the majority of the world’s population is experiencing the effects of climate change now.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t a numbers game. Article 3 of the UNFCCC clearly states that countries “should protect the climate system for the benefit of future and present generations of human kind on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.” This means “developed countries should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.” We haven’t seen much of this leadership in the negotiating process.

Other major emitters and emerging economies cannot afford to continue with business as usual.

Now, as the world approaches the 20th anniversary of the Rio Summit where the UNFCCC was negotiated, much attention is being placed on how to achieve a sustainable future. We would like to point out that our peoples have overcome innumerable challenges to thrive in our Arctic and island communities for hundreds and thousands of years. Our cultures are sustainable. But recently, our elders have been warning us that the changes we witness are unprecedented in our histories. They see our ice melting and our seas rising and are very concerned about how the next generation will thrive in the rapidly changing lands of our ancestors. If we lose our ice and our lands, we lose our cultures — some of the richest on Earth.

Our primary objectives are clear: reduce global emissions to avoid catastrophic warming while recognizing common but differentiated responsibilities between countries; ensure adequate adaptation measures are taken in areas facing the adverse effects of climate change now and in the future; and include human rights protections in the final agreement.

If we can achieve these goals, it will mark a watershed in humankind's ability to look beyond immediate and parochial interests and to reconnect as a shared humanity. It isn’t that complicated. All it takes is for us to recognize our common interest and that we are all here on this planet together. More


For more information visitwww.manystrongvoices.org or contact John Crump (john.crump [at] grida.no).


[1] Sheila Watt- Cloutier is an award winning Inuit environment, culture and human rights advocate and former political leader who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

[2] H.E. Ronald Jumeau is the Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues.

[3] www.manystrongvoices.org

[4] http://unfccc.int/meetings/durban_nov_2011/meeting/6245.php