Saturday, December 27, 2014

The age of fossil fuels is over

 

One theme that is emerging loud and clear from the UN Climate Talks (much more so than any other previous negotiation) - if the world is serious about addressing the climate crisis, we must get off fossil fuels— completely. We can't just leave it up to governments, will you be a part of creating the solution we need?

Read more —> http://buff.ly/1zVkaM7 #COP20

 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joining Forces to Combat Climate Change and Re-ignite the Global Economy

The world’s three biggest carbon emitters—the United States, China, and the European Union—have all announced emissions goals or limits in the past few months. That’s great news, but global fossil fuel demand continues to rise, and with it, so do climate change’s risks—to economy, to environment, to security, to human health, to people living in poverty in areas where climate change will have devastating impact.

The most recent IPCC report (AR5) found that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” “human influence on the climate system is clear,” and “limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The 2014 report Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States detailed the serious economic harm we can expect from climate change if we continue on our current path. But the challenge before us is about more than averting the worst economic impacts of climate change. As highlighted in the recently released Better Growth, Better Climate report from The New Climate Economy, it’s also about finding enormous economic opportunity in clean energy solutions that both tackle global warming and unlock growth opportunities for all.

The transformation to a low-carbon future is arguably the greatest business opportunity of our time. Combating climate change through energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, clean transportation, and smarter land use can reap rewards as great economically as environmentally.

Fortunately, an energy revolution is rising all around us—enabled by smart policies in mindful markets, and led by business for profit. Efficient energy use fuels more economic activity than oil, at far lower cost, while its potential gets ever bigger and cheaper. In each of the past three years, the world invested a quarter-trillion dollars—more than the market cap of the world’s coal industry—to add over 80 billion watts of renewable capacity (excluding big hydro dams). Generating capacity added last year was 37 percent renewable in the United States, 53 percent in the world, 68 percent in China, 72 perent in Europe. Last year, the world invested over $600 billion in efficiency, renewables, and cogeneration.

This growth is accelerating: solar power is scaling faster than cellphones. Last year alone, China added more solar capacity than the U.S. has added in 60 years. Electric vehicle sales are growing twice as fast as hybrid cars did at a comparable stage. Shrewd companies are realizing climate solutions’ enormous business opportunities—a prospect scarcely dimmed by cheaper oil, which makes only a few percent of the world’s electricity.

Global companies like IKEA, Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, and Walmart have committed to 100 percent renewable power. Tesla’s stock is up an astounding 660 percent over the past two years and has half the market value of General Motors Corp. The NEX index, which tracks clean energy companies worldwide, grew by 50 percent over the past two years—far outperforming the general market—while equity raisings by quoted clean energy companies more than doubled. Many of the world’s top financial firms concur that the era of coal and of big power plants is drawing to a close; Germany’s biggest utility is divesting those assets to focus on efficiency and renewables.

Yet we need to create even bigger and faster change. Which is why we are delighted to announce that our two nonprofit organizations—Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room—are joining forces. By uniting two of the world’s preeminent nonprofit practitioners of market-based energy and climate solutions, we will help turn the toughest long-term energy challenges into vast opportunities for entrepreneurs to create wealth and public benefit for all. More

 

Joining Forces to Combat Climate Change and Re-ignite the Global Economy

The world’s three biggest carbon emitters—the United States, China, and the European Union—have all announced emissions goals or limits in the past few months. That’s great news, but global fossil fuel demand continues to rise, and with it, so do climate change’s risks—to economy, to environment, to security, to human health, to people living in poverty in areas where climate change will have devastating impact.

The most recent IPCC report (AR5) found that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” “human influence on the climate system is clear,” and “limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The 2014 report Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States detailed the serious economic harm we can expect from climate change if we continue on our current path. But the challenge before us is about more than averting the worst economic impacts of climate change. As highlighted in the recently released Better Growth, Better Climate report from The New Climate Economy, it’s also about finding enormous economic opportunity in clean energy solutions that both tackle global warming and unlock growth opportunities for all.

The transformation to a low-carbon future is arguably the greatest business opportunity of our time. Combating climate change through energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, clean transportation, and smarter land use can reap rewards as great economically as environmentally.

Fortunately, an energy revolution is rising all around us—enabled by smart policies in mindful markets, and led by business for profit. Efficient energy use fuels more economic activity than oil, at far lower cost, while its potential gets ever bigger and cheaper. In each of the past three years, the world invested a quarter-trillion dollars—more than the market cap of the world’s coal industry—to add over 80 billion watts of renewable capacity (excluding big hydro dams). Generating capacity added last year was 37 percent renewable in the United States, 53 percent in the world, 68 percent in China, 72 perent in Europe. Last year, the world invested over $600 billion in efficiency, renewables, and cogeneration.

This growth is accelerating: solar power is scaling faster than cellphones. Last year alone, China added more solar capacity than the U.S. has added in 60 years. Electric vehicle sales are growing twice as fast as hybrid cars did at a comparable stage. Shrewd companies are realizing climate solutions’ enormous business opportunities—a prospect scarcely dimmed by cheaper oil, which makes only a few percent of the world’s electricity.

Global companies like IKEA, Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, and Walmart have committed to 100 percent renewable power. Tesla’s stock is up an astounding 660 percent over the past two years and has half the market value of General Motors Corp. The NEX index, which tracks clean energy companies worldwide, grew by 50 percent over the past two years—far outperforming the general market—while equity raisings by quoted clean energy companies more than doubled. Many of the world’s top financial firms concur that the era of coal and of big power plants is drawing to a close; Germany’s biggest utility is divesting those assets to focus on efficiency and renewables.

Yet we need to create even bigger and faster change. Which is why we are delighted to announce that our two nonprofit organizations—Rocky Mountain Institute and the Carbon War Room—are joining forces. By uniting two of the world’s preeminent nonprofit practitioners of market-based energy and climate solutions, we will help turn the toughest long-term energy challenges into vast opportunities for entrepreneurs to create wealth and public benefit for all. More

 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dystopian Fiction’s Popularity Is a Warning Sign for the Future

Dystopian fiction is hot right now, with countless books and movies featuring decadent oligarchs, brutal police states, ecological collapse, and ordinary citizens biting and clawing just to survive. For bestselling author Naomi Klein, all this gloom is a worrying sign.

“I think what these films tell us is that we’re taking a future of environmental catastrophe for granted,” Klein says in Episode 129 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And that’s the hardest part of my work, actually convincing people that we’re capable of something other than this brutal response to disaster.”

Her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, argues that only dramatic policy shifts can avert climate catastrophe, and that ordinary people need to speak up and demand emissions caps, public transportation, and a transition to renewable energy. That’s a hard sell politically, which is why dubious measures like geoengineering and cap-and-trade have been proposed instead.

“It seems easier, more realistic, to dim the sun than to put up solar panels on every home in the United States,” says Klein. “And that says a lot about us, and what we think is possible, and what we think is realistic.”

But things are starting to change, with indigenous groups winning lawsuits to block drilling on their land, local communities coming together to ban fracking and establish solar energy grids, and a growing divestment campaign seeking to shame and isolate the fossil fuel industry. Many of these movements are being led by young activists like Anjali Appadurai, who gave a speech in 2010 pointing out that the United Nations has been fruitlessly debating climate change action since before she was born.

“Young people have a critical role to play because they’ll be dealing with the worst impacts of climate change,” says Klein. “And when young people find their moral voice in this crisis, it’s transformative.”

Listen to our complete interview with Naomi Klein in Episode 129 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast (above), and check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Naomi Klein on how the wealthy are preparing for climate change:

“There are a lot of examples of ways that companies are preparing. The most insidious is the way that oil companies—who have been funding climate change denial—are simultaneously exploring all the wonderful extraction opportunities there are because the arctic ice is melting, so they obviously know it’s happening. … After Superstorm Sandy, there was a big uptick in the way that luxury developers in New York and elsewhere started to market themselves as being ‘disaster proof’—having their own generators, having their own ‘moats’ in a way, having their own storm barriers, and basically saying, ‘When the apocalypse comes, you’ll be safe.’ … In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was a company that was launched in Florida called HelpJet. … HelpJet was a private disaster rescue operation that literally had the slogan, ‘We’ll turn your disaster into a luxury vacation.’”

Naomi Klein on geoengineering:

“In general the geoengineering world is populated by very overconfident, overwhelmingly male figures who don’t make me feel at all reassured that they have learned the lessons of large-scale technological failure. When I went to this one conference that was hosted by the Royal Society in England, the Fukushima disaster had just started, and in fact a photographer I was working with—a videographer—had just come back from Fukushima and was completely shell-shocked. And I was surprised it didn’t come up the whole time we were meeting, because it seemed relevant to me. Yeah, we humans screw up. BP had been two years earlier. I have been profoundly shaped as a journalist by covering the BP disaster, the derivatives failure, seeing what’s happened in Fukushima. I’m sorry, but I think the smartest guys in the room screw up a lot. And the kind of hubris that I’ve seen expressed from the ‘geo-clique,’ as they’ve been called, makes me not want to scale up the risks that we’re taking.”

Naomi Klein on our relationship with nature:

“If you go back and look at the way fossil fuels were marketed in the 1700s, when coal was first commercialized with the Watt steam engine, the great promise of coal was that it liberated humans from nature, that you no longer had to worry about when the wind blew to sail your ship, and you no longer had to build your factory next to a waterfall or rushing rapids in order to power your water wheel. You were in charge, that was the promise of coal. It was the promise of man transcending the natural world. And that was, it turns out, a lie. We never transcended nature, and that I think is what is so challenging about climate change, not just to capitalism but to our core civilizational myth. Because this is nature going, ‘You thought you were in charge? Actually all that coal you’ve been burning all these years has been building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, and now comes the response.’ … Renewable energy puts us back in dialog with nature. We have to think about when the wind blows, we have to think about where the sun shines, we cannot pretend that place and space don’t matter. We are back in the world.”

Naomi Klein on science fiction:

“This boom in cli-fi literature is exciting, but I think it can become dangerous if it isn’t seen as a warning, but just seen as inevitable. I think Margaret Atwood—not to be too Canadian about it—but I think Margaret Atwood’s In the Year of the Flood and that whole trilogy, that whole climate trilogy, is an example of the kind of narrative that really does serve as clarion warning, as opposed to just sort of hopeless ‘we’re on this road, we can’t get off.’ And it’s hard to define what makes something more of a warning than just affirming that sense of the inevitable. I loved Ursula Le Guin‘s acceptance speech at the Booker awards this year. I’m a huge Ursula Le Guin fan, and I think she’s one of the few science fiction writers that has pulled off utopian fiction well. She’s done both. But when she accepted the award she sort of accepted on behalf of the genre, and talked about how important it is to have and nurture voices from people who can imagine different worlds.”

 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Typhoon Hagupit Hits Philippines: Climate Catastrophe Is Here Now! by Kumi Naidoo

As Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history has been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area just over a year ago.

Typhoon Hagupit

“One of the biggest evacuations in peacetime” strikes a sickening chord. Is this peacetime or are we at war with nature?

I was about to head to Lima, when I got a call to come to the Philippines to support our office and its work around Typhoon Hagupit (which means lash). In Lima another round of the UN climate talks are underway to negotiate a global treaty to prevent catastrophic climate change. A truce of sorts with nature.

But these negotiations have been going on far too long, with insufficient urgency and too much behind the scenes, and not so much behind the scenes, interference from the fossil fuel lobby.

This year, like last year and the year before these negotiations take place against a devastating backdrop of a so-called ‘extreme weather event’, something that climate scientists have been warning us about if we don’t take urgent action.

Tragically, we are not taking urgent action. Nature does not negotiate, it responds to our intransigence. For the people of the Philippines, and in many other parts of the world, climate change is already a catastrophe.

Only one year ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands, destroyed communities and caused billions of dollars in damage. Many survivors who are still displaced have this week had to evacuate the tents they have been living in as Typhoon Hagupit carves a path across the country as I write.

It’s too early to assess the impact so far—we are all hoping early indications will spare the Philippines of the same pain that was experienced after Haiyan.

Here in Manila, we prepare to travel to the impacted areas in the wake of Typhoon Hagupit, or Ruby, as it has been named. We will offer what minor assistance we can.

We will stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and we will call out those who are responsible for climate change, those who are responsible for the devastation and who should be helping pay for the clean up and for adaptation to a world in which our weather is an increasing source of mass destruction.

With heavy hearts we prepare to bear witness. We challenge those in Lima to turn their attention from the lethargy and process of the negotiations and pay attention to what is happening in the real world.

We call on them to understand that climate change is not a future threat to be negotiated but a clear and present danger that requires urgent action now!

Each year, the people of the Philippines learn the hard way what inaction on emissions mean. They might be slightly better prepared and more resilient, but they are also rightly more aghast that each year—at the same time—the climate meetings seem to continue in a vacuum, not prepared to take meaningful action, not able to respond to the urgency of our time and not holding accountable the Big Polluters that are causing the climate to change with ferocious pace.

Before leaving for Manila I also received a message from Yeb SaƱo, climate commissioner for the Philippines: “I hope you can join us as we bear witness to the impact of this new super typhoon. Your help would be very valuable in delivering a message to Lima loud and clear.”

Yeb was the Filipino chief negotiator for three years at the UN climate talks and recently visited the Arctic on a Greenpeace ship to witness the Arctic sea ice minimum. Two years ago in Doha, as Typhoon Pablo took the lives of many he broke through the normally reserved language of dispassionate diplomacy that dominates UN climate treaty talks:

“Please … let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to … take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”

I am joining Greenpeace Philippines and Yeb to visit the worst hit areas, document the devastation and send a clear message from climate change ground zero to Lima and the rest of the world that the ones that are responsible for the majority of emissions will be held accountable by the communities that are suffering the impacts of extreme weather events linked to climate change.

We will call on the heads of the fossil fuel companies who are culpable for the unfolding tragedy to examine their consciences and accept their historic responsibility. They say the truth is the first casualty of war, in this war against nature, the truth of climate science is unquestionable.

Please join us. Please add your voice by signing our petition calling on Big Polluters to be held legally and morally accountable for climate damages. After signing the petition you will be redirected to a site where you can make a donation to the relief efforts of partner organizations. More

 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Eleven-year-old’s ‘Talking Strike’ for Climate Change Goes Viral

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez is a 14-year-old Indigenous environmental activist and ICTMN contributor. He recently wrote to us, asking to post his story about his 11-year-old brother, Itzcuauhtli, who has pledged a “talking strike” to demand that government leaders move forward on climate change. More

Global leaders listen to these kids. Do not dissapoint them. Save their world