Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Should nation-states be allowed to destroy pieces of the global commons just because they lie within their borders?
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Standard Chartered Plc in partnership with the World Bank, has launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond for the Republic of Seychelles.
The bond raised US$15 million from international investors, which would help expand and protect marine areas, improve governance of priority fisheries and develop the Seychelles’ blue economy.
The World Bank assisted in developing the blue bond and reaching out to the three investors: Calvert Impact Capital, Nuveen, and Prudential. Standard Chartered acted as placement agent for the bond.
Speaking about the landmark placement, the Chief Executive, Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered, Simon Cooper, was quoted in a statement to have said: “The world’s first sovereign blue bond is a landmark transaction and one in which Standard Chartered is proud to have played a role, in partnership with the World Bank and the Republic of Seychelles.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
“The first step toward taking climate action is creating an emissions inventory,”
The city-level leaders overseeing this task won’t have the same tools available to their national peers. Most of them won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (or its equivalent), a meteorological bureau, a team of military engineers, or nasa. So where will they start? Never mind how to reduce their city’s greenhouse-gas emissions; how will they know what’s spewing carbon dioxide in the first place?
Maybe Google will do it for them. Or, at least, do it with them. Read More
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
One only need look outside the window to understand that human-caused climate disruption is in overdrive.
Record warm temperatures, floods, droughts, wildfires and increasing incidents of extreme weather events have run rampant across the Northern Hemisphere this summer. These events, at least in part, stem from a global temperature increase of “only” 1 degree Celsius (1°C) above preindustrial baseline temperatures.
Harvard and MIT biogeochemist and climate and coral reef expert Dr. Thomas Goreau put this in stark perspective.
“Today’s carbon dioxide levels at 400 parts per million (ppm) [are] akin to bringing about a steady state temperature of 7°C higher and sea levels 23 meters higher than they are today,” Goreau, who is also president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance and coordinator of the Soil Carbon Alliance, told Truthout. In other words, the last time there was this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it increased the Earth’s temperature to a point 7°C higher than it is today, and increased sea levels 23 meters above their current level. Hence, we are now only waiting for the planet to catch up to what we’ve done to the atmosphere.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would double relative to the 1800s, and that this, according to the best science at the time, would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 3°C.
Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects, but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.
Shell’s assessment foresaw a 60-70 cm rise in sea level, and noted that warming could also fuel the disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of “five to six meters.” That would be enough to inundate entire low-lying countries.
Shell’s analysts also warned of the “disappearance of specific ecosystems or habitat destruction,” predicted an increase in “runoff, destructive floods, and inundation of low-lying farmland,” and said that “new sources of freshwater would be required” to compensate for changes in precipitation. Global changes in air temperature would also “drastically change the way people live and work.” All told, Shell concluded, “the changes may be the greatest in recorded history.”
For its part, Exxon warned of “potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” Like Shell’s experts, Exxon’s scientists predicted devastating sea-level rise, and warned that the American Midwest and other parts of the world could become desert-like. Looking on the bright side, the company expressed its confidence that “this problem is not as significant to mankind as a nuclear holocaust or world famine.”
The documents make for frightening reading. And the effect is all the more chilling in view of the oil giants’ refusal to warn the public about the damage that their own researchers predicted. Shell’s report, marked “confidential,” was first disclosed by a Dutch news organization earlier this year. Exxon’s study was not intended for external distribution, either; it was leaked in 2015. Read More
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Five wealthy investors asked Douglas how to survive environmental collapse. But what they really wanted to know was how to transcend the human world they look down upon.
Douglas realized that these one-percenters just shy of the .01 percent really sought an escape — and reliable protection from — human beings. To these billionaires, regular humans are the enemy: inferior, particularly in their unpredictability and insubordination, to robots and machines. So naturally, Douglas’s advice to focus on a humanist approach to apocalypse fell on deaf ears. These investors don’t want to invest in community and environment; they want to invest in themselves — in their own power and domination. This begs the question: Will the apocalypse happen to them, or have they already started it for all of us? http://bit.ly/2QaaWdO
Saturday, September 1, 2018
I would argue that under the premise of the Geneva Conventions, and with the threat of global heating and climate change, a Planetary Emergency, no Nation State can be bar anyone from entering their country.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele has lashed out at climate sceptics and urged Australia to make deeper cuts to carbon emissions to help save Pacific Island nations from the "disaster" of climate change.
Mr Sailele told the Lowy Institute in Sydney that climate change posed an "existential challenge" to low lying islands in the Pacific, and developed countries needed to reduce pollution in order to curb rising temperatures and sea levels.
"We all know the problem, we all know the solutions, and all that is left would be some political courage, some political guts, to tell people of your country there is a certainty of disaster," Mr Sailele said.
"So any leader of any country who believes that there is no climate change, I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement. He is utterly stupid. And I say the same thing to any leader here."
The Prime Minister's intervention came as some Coalition MPs press the new Prime Minister Scott Morrison to abandon Australia's promise to cut carbon emissions under the Paris agreement.
New Foreign Minister Marise Payne is also expected to face questions about Australia's climate change policies at the Pacific Islands Forum leader's meeting in Nauru next week.
Senator Payne and Pacific leaders are set to sign the "Biketawa Plus" security agreement, which declares that climate change remains the "single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific".
Several other leaders — including Fiji's President Frank Bainimarama and the Marshall Island's President Hilda Heine — have also called on Australia to do more to cut emissions.
Mr Sailele told the audience that "greater ambition" was needed to stop the destructive impact of climate change. Read More
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Without Visionary Leadership and a Global Effort Homo Sapiens future looks exceedingly bleak
At a basic level, this pattern holds up, well, everywhere. Every country except the United States supports the Paris Agreement on climate change. But no major developed country is on track to meet its Paris climate goals, according to the Climate Action Tracker, an independent analysis produced by three European research organizations. Even Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom—where right-wing governments have made combatting climate change a national priority—seem likely to miss their goals.
Simply put: This kind of failure, writ large, would devastate Earth in the century to come. The world would blow its stated goal of limiting atmospheric temperature rise. Heatwaves might regularly last for six punishing weeks, sea levels could soar by feet in a few short decades, and certain fragile ecosystems—like the delicate Arctic permafrost or the kaleidoscopic plenty of coral reefs—would disappear from the planet entirely. Read More
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
BP, in a splurge of unadulterated capitalism, continues to invest in US shale assets as higher oil prices makes new and highly polluting extraction techniques more attractive again, which will boost its dividend to shareholders.
This goes to prove that the petroleum multi-nationals care more for profits than for the lives of our children and future generations. Editor
British oil and gas giant BP is buying $10.5bn (£8bn) of US shale assets as the higher oil price makes new extraction techniques more attractive again.
BP's purchase is its largest acquisition since the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, which it is still paying for in the US.
The assets are being sold by Australian mining firm BHP Billiton. BP's boss, Bob Dudley, called the deal "a transformational acquisition". "This is... a major step in delivering our upstream strategy and a world-class addition to BP's distinctive portfolio," he said in a statement.
The deal marks a turning point for BP, which has had to rebuild its reputation in the US and is still paying the $65bn bill in clean-up and penalty costs resulting from the Gulf of Mexico rig disaster in 2010.
BP said it was confident of the deal's positive impact on its fortunes, and as a result would increase the dividend it pays to its shareholders for the first time in four years and would buy back $6bn worth of shares. Read More
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling
20/08/2018 - Be it heavy downpours or super-hot spells, summer weather becomes more persistent in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. When those conditions stall for several days or weeks, they can turn into extremes: heatwaves resulting in droughts, health risks and wildfires; or relentless rainfall resulting in floods. A team of scientists now presents the first comprehensive review of research on summer weather stalling focusing on the influence of the disproportionally strong warming of the Arctic as caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Evidence is mounting, they show, that we likely meddle with circulation patterns high up in the sky. These are affecting, in turn, regional and local weather patterns – with sometimes disastrous effects on the ground. This has been the case with the 2016 wildfire in Canada, another team of scientists show in a second study.
CNN)As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.
Trump will join supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally on Tuesday to celebrate his administration's proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants.
The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfilment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal in coal-producing states like West Virginia.
The EPA Tuesday morning formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide.
The move is just the latest effort by the Trump administration to revive an ailing coal industry and strip climate change-fighting regulations established by the Obama administration. He previously announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, calling it an unfair deal for Americans. Read More
Monday, August 20, 2018
Though oil and gas companies have known about global climate change for decades, they've deferred reducing crude and gas production until the second half of this century. But with global weather patterns in flux, activists have been demanding that energy companies set and commit to more rapid action on curbing oil and gas production in line with the Paris climate agreement.
New calls for action come amidst forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that, by 2014, demand for oil and gas could fall by almost 50 percent - but only if carbon emissions reduction targets are met. With this threat to profits, many ask if big oil companies are serious about addressing global climate change.
Facing an eventual drop in demand, energy companies delay caps on the production of carbon-emitting products.
Oil majors like Royal Dutch Shell has acknowledged that climate change will be a major challenge for years to come, but Total and others are still expecting strong demand for fossil fuels over the next few decades – and Exxon Mobil is under investigation over financial disclosures for climate change.
Anthony Hobley, CEO for the financial think-tank Carbon Tracker, told Counting the Cost that when it comes to profits and compliance with international carbon reduction agreements, big energy companies are sending mixed messages:
"I think they've been a bit schizophrenic. They are looking at climate risk and we're now being deluged with disclosure and scenario analysis from the companies that are, effectively, stress testing their business models against a Paris compliant two degrees pathway. But then when they talk to investors they're still talking up demand." Read More
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
BY SHIFTING to a “wartime footing” to drive a rapid shift toward renewable energy and electrification, humanity can still avoid the
future laid out in the much-discussed “hothouse earth” paper, a lead author of the paper told The Intercept. One of the biggest barriers to averting catastrophe, he said, has more to do with economics than science.
When journal papers about climate change make headlines, the news usually isn’t good. Last week was no exception, when the so-called hothouse earth paper, in which a team of interdisciplinary Earth systems scientists warned that the problem of climate change may be even worse than we thought, made its news cycle orbit. (The actual title of the paper, a commentary published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, is “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.”)
Coverage of the paper tended to focus on one of its more alarming claims, albeit one that isn’t new to climate researchers: that a series of interlocking dynamics on Earth — from melting sea ice to deforestation — can feed upon one another to accelerate warming and climate impacts once we pass a certain threshold of warming, even after humans have stopped pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The best chance we have for staying below that catastrophic threshold is to cap warming at around 2 degrees Celsius, the target enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
That’s all correct and plenty daunting. Yet embedded within the paper is a finding that’s just as stunning: that none of this is inevitable, and one of the main barriers between us and a stable planet — one that isn’t actively hostile to human civilization over the long term — is our economic system. Read More
Thursday, August 2, 2018
State of the Climate 2017
An international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
A new study partly-sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."
Monday, July 30, 2018
Note from David Milarch: “The gut feeling I had about our forests when I started Champion Tree Project all those years ago, and then Archangel Ancient Tree Archive more recently was that we needed to move fast to save our forests. Man-made threats are placing tremendous pressure on the survival of not just the trees, but on people, too. This new photo essay from BuzzFeed is an example of why Archangel is so vital to the survival of California’s trees. I wanted to share this with you so you can see what keeps us motivated to act. Please join the fight.“
John Muir, naturalist and cofounder of the Sierra Club, wrote of the forests in the Sierra Nevada, “Going to the woods is going home.” Unfortunately, since 2014 that home has seen unprecedented levels of tree mortality with as many as 129 million trees across 8.9 million acres lost. Where once stood a lush, green forest, there are now trees turning yellow and brown. The alarmingly accelerated pace of their death has been linked to the stress caused by climate change, more specifically increased temperatures, years of severe drought, and an unhealthy overgrowth due to years of fire suppression, which led to a significant spike in bark beetle infestations.
Photographer Mette Lampcov spent three days in November 2017 in California documenting the Sierra National Forest’s dead trees, as well as the homeowners forced to reckon with their dying surroundings. According to the US Forest Service’s 2017 Tree Mortality Aerial Detection Survey results, the Sierra National Forest has seen the largest number of tree deaths in California national forests, with nearly 32 million since 2010. The change in landscape was immediately noticeable, said Lampcov: “As you drive up a steep road heading into the Sierras, you start seeing the dead trees. It’s overwhelming and hard to explain what endless views over mountains look like with a sea of brown and yellowing trees. The area is so affected by dead trees; you smell fires and hear chainsaws all day long. Everywhere you look there are dead trees.”
For the Rethinking Security group the priorities to be addressed follow on from earlier studies, not least by Oxford Research Group’s seminal 2006 paper, , with its emphasis on inequality and progressive marginalisation, climate disruption and militarism, the latter so often leading to the early recourse to military intervention.
Instead of the current security paradigm, what should instead be proposed is a progressive change to far greater concentration in addressing these underlying drivers of conflict. However, this leads on to the key question: is it actually possible to address such a radical change in policy within the confines of a short and intense period such as a general election campaign or change of leadership?
Monday, July 9, 2018
High-Level Political Forum #HLPF2018 begins today at the @UN. @IRENA is at this High-Level Political Forum to help bring renewable energy solutions to the forefront of addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (#SDGs). Details on some of our key events, here: bit.ly/2MkSSe5
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Capitalism is killing the planet warns GMO's Grantham: capitalists need to wake up to climate change reality
Jeremy Grantham, the longtime investor famous for calling the last two major bubbles in the market, is urging capitalists and "mainstream economists" to recognize the looming threat of climate change.
"Capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems. Mainstream economics largely ignore [them]," Grantham, who co-founded GMO in 1977, said Tuesday in an impassioned speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago. "We deforest the land, we degrade our soils, we pollute and overuse our water and we treat air like an open sewer, and we do it all off the balance sheet."
This negligence is due in large part to how short-sighted corporations can be, Grantham said. "Anything that happens to a corporation over 25 years out doesn't exist for them, therefore, as I like to say, grandchildren have no value" to them, he said. Read More
Today, Costa Rica took steps to eclipsing even these amazing countries in terms of sustainability. President Carlos Alvarado announced they would be banning fossil based fuels altogether. This makes Costa Rica the first country in the world to completely decarbonize.
"Getting rid of fossil fuels is a big idea coming from a small country. This is an idea that's starting to gain international support with the rise of new technologies," Costa Rican economist Monica Araya said.
As unlikely as going carbon-free in today's modern world might seem, Costa Rica already derives 99% of its energy from renewable sources. Their biggest hurdle will be in the transportation industry, where there is very little in the way of development in that sector and demand for cars is growing. Read More
Monday, July 2, 2018
Does anyone know what’s going to happen to America? Does America have a future? Or does it just collapse into…wait, what is it collapsing into, anyways?
Let me ask you that another way. Are they authoritarians? Fascists? Nazis? Religious extremists? “Ethno-nationalist nativists”? Which one of these terms, ideas, which are also explanations, would you pick?
I’d pick all of them.
American collapse is more like a megacollapse. A supercollapse. A hypercollapse. It combines elements of all the previous collapses which we know about in modern history — and then some of its own, too — and melds, combines, and blends them together into something like a a titanic, earth-shattering, historic, once in a millennium implosion. Think of it as a supervolcano that’s capable of taking down a whole continent, changing the world’s climate, tilting the globe off its axis, and darkening the sun itself for an age, erupting.
All that is precisely what it really is. Let’s go through all the elements American collapse combines, and why they matter — and if it frightens you to read this, well, the truth is: you should be scared. American continue to underestimate American collapse. They don’t really understand the first thing about it, yet.
Like Irani or Turkish collapse, American collapse is theocratic. It has obvious strands of fundamentalist theocracy woven into it. Regressive movements have sprung up to reverse institutional and legal progress for gays, women, minorities, all in the name of religious piety. American decline has always been driven by a hardcore fundamentalist minority, many of whom seem happy with Taliban style restrictions on basic civic freedoms. Read More
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Dr Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN assistant secretary general and executive secretary of the convention on biological diversity, discusses Half Earth, a future biodiversity agreement and where to find the money to save life on Earth
In my view, we need to ensure that the entire planet is used sustainably. That is, 100% of the Earth, the “Whole Earth”, has to be managed in a way that will allow continuous healthy functioning of the ecological systems that support life on Earth, including human life.
We can think of biological diversity as the “infrastructure” that supports all life on the planet. When we lose species through extinction the web of life is destroyed and this in turn affects the resilience of the ecosystems and nature’s capacity to provide the services that humans benefit from – ensuring our food, the air we breath, the water we drink, or the moments of peace and serenity we enjoy in nature.
Conservation and protection of nature, ecosystems, and species is one essential pillar of any strategy to ensure fully functional natural systems in the long term. Ecological restoration of degraded lands through natural means should be another key component. Ultimately, the paradigm shift that perhaps is necessary is the wide-understanding that the Earth is one system of interconnected elements, and that humans’ social and economic systems are embedded in the larger nature’s system, and not the other way around. Read More
Thursday, June 28, 2018
27 June 2018
Dr. James E. Hansen’s opinion in the Boston Globe
Source: 1965-2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy; 1900-1965 Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center (Energy unit: Gt = gigatons = billion tons of oil equivalent)
THIRTY YEARS AGO, while the Midwest withered in massive drought and East Coast temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I testified to the Senate as a senior NASA scientist about climate change. I said that ongoing global warming was outside the range of natural variability and it could be attributed, with high confidence, to human activity — mainly from the spewing of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. “It’s time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here,” I said.
This clear and strong message about the dangers of carbon emissions was heard. The next day, it led the front pages of newspapers across the country. Climate theory led to political action with remarkable speed. Within four years, almost all nations, including the United States, signed a Framework Convention in Rio de Janeiro, agreeing that the world must avoid dangerous human-made interference with climate.
Sadly, the principal follow-ups to Rio were the precatory Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement — wishful thinking, hoping that countries will make plans to reduce emissions and carry them out. In reality, most countries follow their self-interest, and global carbon emissions continue to climb (see graph above).
It’s not rocket science. As long as fossil fuels are cheap, they will be burned and emissions will be high. Fossil fuel use will decline only if the price is made to include costs of pollution and climate change to society. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by collecting a rising carbon fee from fossil fuel companies at domestic mines and ports of entry.
Economists agree: If 100 percent of this fee is distributed uniformly to the public, the economy will be spurred, GNP will rise, and millions of jobs will be created. Our energy infrastructure will be steadily modernized with clean energies and energy efficiency.
The clinching argument for a carbon fee, as opposed to ineffectual cap-and-trade schemes dreamed up by politicians, is that the fee can be imposed almost globally via border duties on products from countries that do not have a fee, based on standard fossil fuel content of the products. This will be a strong incentive for most countries to have their own fee.
Any cap approach, by contrast, leaves the impossible task of negotiating 190 caps on all the world’s nations. Governments of some countries may keep a carbon fee as a tax. However, in democracies uniform 100 percent distribution of the funds will be needed to achieve public support.
A carbon fee is crucial, but not enough. Countries such as India and China need massive amounts of energy to raise living standards. The notion that renewable energies and batteries alone will provide all needed energy is fantastical. It is also a grotesque idea, because of the staggering environmental pollution from mining and material disposal, if all energy was derived from renewables and batteries. Worse, tricking the public to accept the fantasy of 100 percent renewables means that, in reality, fossil fuels reign and climate change grows.
The United States and Europe burned most of the global carbon budget that we are permitted to burn if climate is to be stabilized. As such, we have a moral obligation to the developing world, and a practical problem, because we all live on the same planet.
Young people are puzzled that, 25 years ago, President Clinton terminated R&D on next-generation safe nuclear power, the principal alternative to fossil fuel electricity. It is not too late. My advice to young people is to cast off the old politics and fight for their future on technological, political, and legal fronts.
It will not be easy. Washington is a swamp of special interests and, because of the power of the fossil fuel industry, our political parties are little concerned about the mess they are leaving for young people.
Young people have great potential political power, as they showed in their support of Barack Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016. However, it is not enough to elect a leader who spouts good words. It is necessary to understand needed policies and fight for them.
The best way to fight for the carbon fee and dividend is to join Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which now has more than 90,000 members but needs more, especially young people. CCL members are appropriately polite and respectful as they cajole politicians in Washington. If they were joined by the fire of young people that was demonstrated in 2008 and 2016, even the mighty fossil fuel industry would take notice.
The fossil fuel industry afraid of kids? They might be when they notice who is standing behind the kids: the United States Constitution. Kids are people with constitutional rights to life, liberty and property.
Many lawsuits are being filed, in the United States and around the world, on behalf of young people. They include stopgap efforts, such as a suit to block the Trump administration from opening the Powder River Basin in Montana to coal exploitation (with potential to exceed US emissions of the past 50 years), and the Our Children’s Trust lawsuit, demanding government policies to reduce fossil fuel emissions at a rate that the science indicates is needed to support a healthy climate.
Chances of winning lawsuits grow as incontrovertible evidence of climate change grows. The judiciary is less subject to bribery from the fossil fuel industry than are the other branches of government. Yet in this case, justice delayed may be justice denied. Young people cannot afford the “all deliberate speed” that followed the Brown v. Board of Education decision regarding civil rights in 1954.
Young people and old people must understand the implications of the accompanying graph. The fight to phase down fossil fuel emissions is not yet being won. We all must understand needed energy policies and fight for the future of our young people. We must use all the levers of our democracy to force the fossil fuel industry to become a clean energy industry.
James Hansen, retired director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, directs the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions program in the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The online version available on Boston Globe: http://bit.ly/2tIKFK7
The PDF version available: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2018/20180627_BostonGlobeOpinion.pdf
Thank you for your support and please LIKE and SHARE my article.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Building back better: achieving resilience through stronger, faster, and more inclusive post-disaster reconstruction
A FOLLOW-UP TO THE UNBREAKABLE REPORT
New publication by @GFDRR "Building back better: achieving resilience through stronger, faster, and more inclusive post-disaster reconstruction" a lot of interesting data and insights to many countries and the private sector Read More
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Is New Hampshire on the verge of battery energy storage history?
The only question left to be settled is a big one: Should utilities own behind-the-meter batteries?
A small investor-owned utility in New Hampshire may be on the verge of regulatory approval for one of the most ambitious U.S. tests yet of utility-owned, customer-sited battery energy storage systems.
In the process, regulators and stakeholders of the DE 17-189 proceeding are wrestling with a question of vital interest to the rest of the 3,000-plus U.S. utilities: Should a utility own customer-sited storage or is it a distributed energy resource (DER) that should be left to private sector providers?
Utilities have already seen the benefits that large-scale battery energy storage offers in shaving peak demand, providing grid services, and making systems more flexible. There is a clear opportunity to use customer-sited battery storage in the same way. But the question of how far utilities can intrude into markets so far served by private sector vendors must first be answered.
Vermont goes first
The only major U.S. utility-owned, behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage is the Green Mountain Power (GMP) pilot project, according to GTM Research Energy Storage Analyst Brett Simon. GMP, the dominant Vermont electricity provider, is installing 2,000 behind-the-meter Tesla Powerwalls that will provide dispatchable energy and other grid services to New England’s wholesale electricity markets. Customers pay a one-time $1,300 fee or a monthly $15 fee to participate.
Monday, June 18, 2018
Margaret Klein Salamon States: I am absolutely thrilled by an article that recently appeared in Inside Philanthropy, and wanted to share it with you. It is a deep dive into what “climate mobilization” means, our City by City project, and the $100,000 grant that Climate Mobilization Project recently won from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Shelter Rock.
The first and last paragraphs are below. Please read the entire article and share it widely, especially with anyone you know in the philanthropic world.
A major challenge to organizing and advocacy around climate change is how even to approach a problem so large, complex, and gradually advancing (although it feels less gradual with every year, to be honest).
An advocacy group that launched in 2014 has one answer—we respond like we’re at war.
For the Climate Mobilization Project, the climate crisis demands not incremental changes or gradual reductions in emissions, but an emergency response led by government that is on the scale of the response to World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The group just picked up a grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock of $100,000, an amount they say is the “country’s single largest philanthropic investment in emergency climate action.”
The compelling thing about the Climate Mobilization Project is that, while arguably unrealistic in its goals—since there's no political consensus on this issue, as Rockoff's paper notes—it is unflinching in its diagnosis of the level of response that climate change warrants. Much of its goal is to build a movement around how we should collectively think about climate change—mainly that the status quo of the approach to date is unacceptable. And from the standpoint of a funder like UUCSR, it’s a status quo that’s certainly unjust.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
A Caribbean Development Opportunity
At least one-fifth of the population of the Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) remains in poverty; and one out of every 10 persons is considered “food poor” or indigent. Tackling poverty is one of our Region’s biggest challenges.
Caribbean countries have joined other members of the United Nations in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.
The obligations under this global initiative closely align with CDB’s ongoing commitment, embedded in our Strategic Plan 2015-19, to help our BMCs to identify and exploit opportunities for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth and development. Being a catalyst for development resources and targeting the systematic reduction of poverty in our BMCs through social and economic development is the mission of CDB.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
On Tuesday night, Bay Area mobilizers made history.
As a result of local organizers’ tireless work, the Berkeley City Council faced the truth of the climate and ecological crises and committed to protecting its residents and all life on Earth by unanimously declaring a climate emergency and endorsing a just citywide climate mobilization effort to end greenhouse gas emissions emissions as quickly as possible!
The resolution called for Berkeley to become a carbon sink by 2030, which the energy commission will study. It also called on all other governments to address the crisis at the speed and scale required, setting in motion a nine-county Bay Area climate emergency town hall this summer aimed at catalyzing local, regional, state, national and global mass mobilizations to restore a safe climate and a collaborative regional mobilization effort. You can read the full text of the resolution here.
In the same hearing, the council took a critical first step in realizing the mobilization by voting to refer a Fossil Free Fast resolution to the city’s energy commission. Under this resolution, Berkeley would actively oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure, making it the first municipality in California and the second in the nation to move forward such a sweeping block. You can read the full text of the resolution here.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
|Solar plant in Bavaria, Germany|
Solar is the world’s fastest growing source of new energy, outpacing growth in all other forms of renewable energy, according to research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) published in November. Renewables overall accounted for two thirds of new power added to the world’s grids in 2016, and solar even overtook coal in terms of net growth. This enormous boost has come about thanks in part to the plummeting costs of getting rigged up to wind and solar, as well as massive growth in China and India.
Good times, then, for the Earth’s long-term prospects of continuing to power itself, and taper the consumption of fossil fuels. At the end of April, 85 per cent of German electricity came from renewable sources, establishing a new national record for the country, with breezy, warm and sunny weather combining to create a renewable whammy of unseen proportions.
Last week, solar overtook biomass to become the third source of renewable energy in the US, and renewables in the country now provide 17 per cent of overall electricity, marking good progress, though there is still a way to go with solar only constituting one per cent. Read More
In a little less than three decades, Hawaii plans to be carbon neutral–the most ambitious climate goal in the United States. Governor David Ige signed a bill today committing to make the state fully carbon neutral by 2045, along with a second bill that will use carbon offsets to help fund planting trees throughout Hawaii. A third bill requires new building projects to consider how high sea levels will rise in their engineering decisions.
The state is especially vulnerable to climate change–sea level rise, for example, threatens to cause $19 billion in economic losses–and that’s one of the reasons that the new laws had support. “We’re on the forefront of climate change impacts,” says Scott Glenn, who leads the state’s environmental quality office. “We experience it directly and we’re a small island. People feel the trade wind days becoming less. They notice the changes in rain. They feel it getting hotter. Because we are directly exposed to this, there’s no denying it.” The state’s political leaders, he says, are “unified in acknowledging that climate change is real and that we do need to do something about it.” Read More
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Worst-case climate change scenario could be more extreme than thought, scientists warn | The Independent
Scientists may have to recalibrate their projections of what a “worst case” climate change scenario is, as new studies take into account greater global economic growth than previously forecast.
Climate scientists forecasting how the earth’s climate will change over time examine trends in greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely dependent on how the global economy behaves. As countries get richer, the amount they consume goes up, and so too do greenhouse gas emissions.
Scientists use four scenarios called representative concentration pathways (RCPs) that attempt to depict possible futures for our planet.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Islands are pushing forward with efforts to preserve their natural wealth and protect their people from disasters
Islands comb own shores for solutions to environmental pressures
CALVIA, Spain, April 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Island governments around the world are no longer begging for help to tackle the many problems they face - from too many tourists to devastating storms and rising seas - but are finding their own solutions and sharing them, experts say.
There has been a "huge shift" in the past 10 to 15 years, said Kate Brown, executive director of the Global Island Partnership, an alliance spearheaded by island leaders.
Islands no longer present themselves merely as victims of external pressures, but are blazing a trail in areas such as marine conservation, renewable energy and sustainable tourism.
"There is a real difference in thinking - that it is possible to do something and we don't need to wait for other people to tell us what to do," Brown told the Smart Island World Congress in Calvia on the Spanish island of Mallorca this week.
Islands have had successes at international climate talks, she noted - from winning a lower limit on global temperature rise in the Paris climate deal to convincing the world's shipping industry to curb its planet-warming emissions.
Progress is being made on home shores too, Brown said. Her organisation is working with the Marshall Islands, Palau and Fiji, for instance, to see how global development goals apply to them and uniting business and government to map out an action plan - as has been done in Hawaii.
The conference, attended by representatives of more than 100 islands alongside researchers, businesses and other experts, showcased efforts to preserve the natural wealth of islands and protect them better from worsening extreme weather, plastic pollution, uncontrolled tourism and other stresses.
Friday, April 20, 2018
The most-startling prediction is that a quarter-meter rise in sea levels, less than 10 inches, will swamp 33 buildings in Grand Cayman, among them 17 private homes and two apartment blocks.
Apart from the shock value, the striking thing about the forecasts are that they are nine years old, published in 2009. Yet little has changed. If anything, says Nick Robson, head of climate research organization The Cayman Institute, sea level rise has accelerated.
“The institute’s report on SLR predicted a one-meter rise by 2100,” he said last week. “However, SLR appears to be escalating and may well be more than one meter.”
Pointing to Government Information Services maps, Robson says, the flooding from a sea level rise of only one-quarter meter, 9.94 inches, rapidly becomes “progressively worse from there – and if you model an Ivan-type storm surge on top of the SLR, it quickly becomes frightening.” Read More
Thursday, April 19, 2018
In her opening remarks to the Forum in New York, the chairperson, Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, a medical doctor from Timbuktu, Mali, called the land husbandry of Aboriginal peoples “part of our history and heritage.”
But few countries have acted to defend these peoples’ collective rights, she added.
“Law enforcement is inadequate or non-existent, and other elements of Legislation go against these rights,” she said. Measures necessary to give meaning to land rights, such as tenure delimitation and allocating title deeds, are often not implemented.
Moreover, she continued, those who defend indigenous rights continue to be targeted when they raise their voices – particularly when States or private actors seek their resources for aggressive development such as logging.
“As long as our rights over our lands, territories and resources are not recognized,” she added, indigenous people risk falling far short of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“In the same way,” she said, “the world risks losing the fight against climate change and the destruction of the environment.”
UN for all peoples
General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák reminded everyone “The United Nations is here for people. And that includes indigenous people.”
“But we cannot yet say that this Organization has opened its doors wide enough,” he said. “And so, we need to be more ambitious.”
Mr. Lajčák, of Slovakia painted a grim picture of the situation facing indigenous people today, pointing out that while they make up only five per cent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 per cent of the world’s poorest people.
“That is shocking,” he said, adding that their human rights are being violated, they are being excluded and marginalized and face violence for asserting their basic rights.
Focusing on the theme of indigenous land, territories and resources, he said: “Indigenous people are being dispossessed. They are losing the lands their ancestors called home.”
But with global attention to indigenous rights on the rise, Mr. Lajčák saw reasons for hope, as well.
“The signs do look positive,” he said, noting that the UN teams on the ground are developing stronger partnerships, determined to make these communities stronger.
“We should be hopeful. But we cannot ignore the very real, and very serious, challenges. They cast a shadow over the future of many indigenous communities. And they demand our urgent attention,” he said.
When Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, spoke, he explained how for 500 years the indigenous people of America have waged a resistance campaign to defend their dignity and identity.
“We are all descendants of Mother Earth, so we are all brothers and sisters,” he underscored.
The seventeenth annual Forum opened to a ceremonial cultural performance and a traditional welcome by Todadaho Sid Hill, Chief of the Onondaga Nation from New York State.
Established in 2000, the forum provides expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as well as to specialized agencies that work on issues like development, agriculture, environmental protection and human rights. Read More
Source: UN News
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Bedrock Lectures on Human Rights and Climate Change | | College of Liberal Arts | Oregon State University
In the months leading up to the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change, Spring Creek Project will present the Bedrock Lectures on Human Rights and Climate Change. You can view the lectures released thus far on the Spring Creek Project YouTube page.
This online series will feature leading scientists, attorneys, writers, community leaders, activists, and artists. Some of the lectures will do the important work of explaining the current state of human rights and climate change—how did we get here and what is happening around the world? Others will be forward-looking and invite listeners to imagine a future in which we have made the great turning toward climate justice for all living beings. Other lectures may focus on a place—the fracking fields next to schools and neighborhoods, Standing Rock, deep sea drilling sites. Together, the lectures will create a chorus of voices and ideas that will invite audiences to imagine how we can build communities and lives in a world where environmental crises are quickly recognized as human rights crises.
We will release a new Bedrock Lecture each Wednesday from January 31 to May 30, 2018. The lectures will be free and publicly available on our website, social media channels, and at a weekly live-screening (details below). Each lecture will span about 20 minutes, and we invite you to watch them from your desk, with a group of friends, or at a community gathering.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Earth’s largest hot desert, the Sahara, is getting bigger, a new study finds. It is advancing south into more tropical terrain in Sudan and Chad, turning green vegetation dry and soil once used for farming into barren ground in areas that can least afford to lose it.
Yet it is not just the spread of the Sahara that is frightening, the researchers say. It’s the timing: It is happening during the African summer, when there is usually more rain. But the precipitation has dried up, allowing the boundaries of the desert to expand.
“If you have a hurricane come suddenly, it gets all the attention from the government and communities galvanize,” said Sumant Nigam, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland and the senior author of the study. “The desert advance over a long period might capture many countries unawares. It’s not announced like a hurricane. It’s sort of creeping up on you.”
The study was published Thursday in the Journal of Climate. The authors said that although their research focused only on the Sahara, it suggests that climate changes also could be causing other hot deserts to expand — with potentially harsh economic and human consequences.
Deserts form in subtropical regions because of a global weather circulation called the Hadley cell. Warm air rises in the tropics near the equator, producing rain and thunderstorms. When the air hits the top of the atmosphere, it spreads north and south toward the poles. It does not sink back down until it is over the subtropics, but as it does, the air warms and dries out, creating deserts and other areas that are nearly devoid of rain. Read More
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Climate is unquestionably linked to armed conflict,” said Halvard Buhaug, a professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, at a recent Wilson Center event marking the end of the three-year Climate Anomalies and Violent Environments (CAVE) research project. But, he stresses that under a changing climate, exactly how and through what pathways is still a subject of much debate in the academic community.
At the same time, practitioners working in fragile states need concrete guidance in order to prevent conflict and improve adaptation. “Conflict is an important cause of vulnerability to climatic changes,” said Buhaug. “Conflict mitigation…is probably the most important thing we can do to reduce environmental vulnerability.”
Climate Linked to Conflict Through Multiple Pathways
Climatic changes can increase the risk of conflict under certain conditions and through certain causal pathways, said Buhaug, citing some common drivers: a history of violence, low levels of development, poor governance, and inequality. In addition, the evidence shows that “climatic changes can affect the dynamics of conflict,” including the conflict’s duration, severity, and likelihood of ending quickly. But there is much less consensus that such changes could cause an outbreak of armed conflict. Read More
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
After three frigid nor’easters in less than two weeks, even the most devout prophet of climate change could be forgiven for echoing the sentiment that President Trump tweeted a few months ago, to much ridicule, shortly before one of the coldest New Year’s Eves on record: “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.” By this point, most people outside the White House understand that climate is not the same as weather—that climate is the forest and weather is the trees. Yet the global climate system is enormously complex, and there is, in fact, a lively scientific debate in progress about the relationship between human-caused climate change (especially in the Arctic) and the increased frequency of extreme cold-weather events across the United States—blizzards, bomb cyclones, and the dreaded wintry mix.
The debate began in late 2011, at a meeting in San Francisco of the American Geophysical Union, when an atmospheric scientist named Jennifer Francis gave a talk that electrified her colleagues. Perhaps, she suggested, the persistent outbreaks of extreme weather that people were experiencing in the Northern Hemisphere were connected to the colossal loss of sea ice in the Arctic—a region that, with increasing greenhouse-gas emissions, has warmed at double the rate of the rest of the planet. Up until that moment, while scientists knew that the Arctic was changing rapidly—since the nineteen-seventies, sea ice, snow cover, and glaciers had all declined dramatically, and the permafrost was starting to thaw—they did not think it had an influence on weather systems in the midlatitudes. Credit for that went entirely to the tropics. Read More
Monday, March 5, 2018
February 13 2018 - The rate of global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades, rather than increasing steadily, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.
This acceleration, driven mainly by increased melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100 when compared to projections that assume a constant rate of sea level rise, according to lead author Steve Nerem. Nerem is a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, a fellow at Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and a member of NASA's Sea Level Change team.
Global sea level rise is accelerating incrementally over time rather than increasing at a steady rate, as previously thought, according to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data.
If the rate of ocean rise continues to change at this pace, sea level will rise 26 inches (65 centimeters) by 2100 — enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities, according to the new assessment by Nerem and colleagues from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; CU Boulder; the University of South Florida in Tampa; and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. The team, driven to understand and better predict Earth's response to a warming world, published their work Feb. 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This is almost certainly a conservative estimate," Nerem said. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."
Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere increase the temperature of air and water, which causes sea level to rise in two ways. First, warmer water expands, and this "thermal expansion" of the ocean has contributed about half of the 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) of global mean sea level rise we've seen over the last 25 years, Nerem said. Second, melting land ice flows into the ocean, also increasing sea level across the globe. Read More
Sunday, March 4, 2018
A new report is out on how the US economy is rigged against the poor. Via TomDispatch
"The 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard and its report, Whose Bad Choices? How Policy Precludes Prosperity and What We Can Do About It, also make the argument that the U.S. economic system and policies of the Trump administration and Congress are stacked against people of color.
Criminalize poverty and start a revolution
“'We’ve heard more rhetoric lately about [low-income] people making ‘bad choices’ or being ‘irresponsible with money’ and that’s been the direction policy has been going,’ said Kasey Wiedrich, director of applied research at Prosperity Now. 'We wanted to attack that.' One example of the rhetoric: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently said lower-income Americans 'are just spending every darn penny they have whether it’s on booze or women or movies.'
"In reality, however, the Prosperity Now report said, 'the dominant narrative about low-wealth people is nothing but a series of myths.' Poor choices, the analysts there say, aren’t why people are poor." https://goo.gl/WkU7AJ
In 2009 a team of Engineering Students from Michigan State University traveled to a workshop organized by the Appropriate Technology Collaborative in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Their task: a refrigerator that can be built from locally available materials almost anywhere and run without power.
Design an adsorption refrigerator capable of maintaining a temperature between 2°C and 8°C that utilizes passive solar energy and can be built in developing countries. The team’s final product will be a clear and comprehensive set of instructions for building the device.
The students built a vaccine refrigerator that does not use electricity. It does not have any moving parts. You simply place it in the sun and it chills or freezes things.
This very remarkable machine runs on pyrolytic carbon. The char does not need to be food grade, as for biochar or activated carbon. It stays inside a closed loop. It could be cascade carbon from a variety of feedstocks. Its essential service is evaporative cooling. The total cost for the prototype was $917.39. Estimated worker cooperative production cost at the scale of three per month, including labor, would be under $300. Their report reads:
Based on the design decision matrices, a solar-powered adsorption refrigerator was selected for the design of the vaccine refrigerator. This refrigerator has no moving parts aside from a few valves. It uses no toxic materials, generally available materials, and should be simple to build and operate. The refrigerator has an intermittent cycle. It will “charge” during the day and remove heat from a cooling volume at night.
Some previously used adsorbent/refrigerant pairs used for solar adsorption refrigeration systems are zeolite and water, silica gel and water, activated carbon and methanol, activated carbon and ammonia, and activated carbon and ethanol. It has been determined that the performance of each pair depends greatly on the climate in which it is tested. Read More