Friday, September 28, 2012

Death by climate change

The recent headline that 100 million people will die by 2030 if climate change is not addressed doubtlessly had people around the world imagining doomsday catastrophes.

Don't panic just yet, as this figure is perhaps a textbook example of how to lie with statistics. DARA, the Spain-based humanitarian NGO that released the report on the economic and health consequences of climate change, counted not just climate change but also all other impacts of carbon fuel usage in its calculation of the expected deaths.

Around 90 million of these projected 100 million deaths will actually be caused by non-global warming related illnesses. While attempting to raise awareness and inspire action to prevent further climate change is laudable, this exaggeration spreads misinformation about the real determinants of environmental health. Additionally, this further confuses the public who are already confused and mislead by global warming reporting.

The major causes of death in DARA's projection of 100 million are indoor smoke and air pollution, which together caused over 90 percent of carbon-fuel related deaths in 2010, according to DARA's own figures. These illnesses are projected to remain the most important carbon-fuel related causes of death even as global warming progresses and intensifies (they are still 88 percent of DARA's projected deaths in 2030).

How does indoor smoke cause death millions of deaths? The World Health Organization estimates that around 3 billion people worldwide burn wood, coal, and biomass in poorly ventilated stoves and dwellings, leading to a chronic state of indoor air pollution. This is a leading cause of childhood pneumonia and COPD and lung cancer among adults, causing the deaths of 2 million per year as estimated by the World Health Organization.

Outdoor air pollution, estimated by DARA to have caused 1.4 million deaths in 2010, is also distinct from climate change. Currently, deaths from air pollution is a major problem in rapidly industrializing, middle-income countries like China. The DARA report recognizes that "technology, such as particle filters for vehicles, high quality reined fuels, and regulations on clean air are the main tools for limiting toxic emissions. Air pollution and its negative effects for health can and have been brought under control through these means in major economies of the world" (pg 257). More


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Is the Earth's fate the same as Mars?

Curiosity Mars rover beams images of ancient streambed

Nasa's Curiosity rover has only been on the surface of Mars seven weeks but it has already turned up evidence of past flowing water on the planet.

The robot has returned pictures of classic conglomerates - rocks that are made up of gravels and sand.

Scientists on the mission team say the size and rounded shape of the pebbles in the rock indicate they had been transported and eroded in water.

Researchers think the rover has found a network of ancient streams.

The rocks, which were described in a media briefing at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, were likely laid down "several billion years ago". But the actual streams themselves may have persisted on the surface for long periods, said Curiosity science co-investigator Bill Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley.

"We would anticipate that it could easily be thousands to millions of years," he told reporters.

Satellites at Mars have long captured images of channels on the planet's surface that were cut by some kind of flow, assumed to be liquid water. Curiosity's discovery at its landing site in the equatorial Gale Crater provides the first real ground truth for those observations.

By luck, the rover just happened to roll past a spectacular example of the conglomerate. A large slab, 10-15cm thick, was lifted out of the ground at an angle.

"We've named it Hottah," said rover project scientist John Grotzinger. The name refers to a lake in Canada's Northwest Territories. The team is using names from this region to catalogue objects at Gale.

"To us it just looked like somebody came along the surface of Mars with a jackhammer and lifted up the sidewalk that you might see in downtown LA at a construction site," he joked.

In this view, some of the pebbles have weathered free from the rock

Scientists are now studying the images of the pebbles in the rock. The sizes and shapes will give them clues to the speed and distance of the ancient water flow. More

Will unchecked climate change cause our planet to end up like Mars in the future? Editor

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Buying climate stability

In the August issue of Rolling Stone ("Global Warming's Terrifying New Math"), Bill McKibben provides clarity about the amount of carbon dioxide in the coal, oil, and gas reserves currently owned by companies and countries worldwide.

The key number is the 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide that will be emitted by burning these existing reserves over the next decades. That number is five times higher than the 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide that would increase the Earth's temperature by 2 degrees Celsius, and five times higher than what is required to prevent climate catastrophe, preserve our habitat, and sustain our way of life.

In fact, all 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide now scheduled for release into the atmosphere would likely warm the Earth to an astonishing 11 degrees Celsius higher than is considered safe for human societies as we currently know them. These numbers, while only estimates, do help focus the mind on the essential problem: The world's fossil fuel industry has five times as much coal, gas, and oil on their books as climate scientists think is safe to burn.

These known reserves are considered to be current assets by the companies that own them and, at today's market value, are estimated to be worth about $27 trillion. No wonder the industry is so keen to prevent any interference in the fossil fuel energy business -- they have a lot to lose if they're not permitted to turn these reserves into profits. If the industry left 80 percent of reserves underground to meet carbon-emission goals for a healthy planet, companies would have to write off some $20 trillion in assets.

But there is something compelling about knowing the value of an asset -- even one as vast as the world's known fossil fuel reserves. It places a price on the harm-producing substances and leads to a simple question: If the known reserves of climate-damaging fossil fuels are valued at $27 trillion, why not just buy them from the oil and coal companies and keep them underground? Yes, 27 trillion of anything is a large number, but, when compared with the value of the lives lost, the biodiversity and other ecosystem services damaged, the agricultural business failures, and the island countries that will drown, $27 trillion may not be that much.

For example, the 2006 Stern report PDF estimated that the harm from climate change to the environment, property, industrial production, and human health PDF would likely cost about 5 percent of world gross domestic product per year forever, or a bit over $3 trillion per year in 2010 dollars. Currently, energy inefficiencies and energy-subsidy distortions cost governments at least $250 billion (and perhaps as much as $500 billion) per year. As McKibben writes, it would cost about $20 to $30 billion per year to stop deforestation around the world, and at least $5 billion per year to create and sustain an effective system for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide once it has been released into the atmosphere. More


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get used to 'extreme' weather, it's the new normal

It has been a summer full of reports of extreme weather, of unparalleled scope and severity. Among the highlights: one of the warmest years on record in the US, record-high temperatures in central and eastern Europe, the wettest summer in the UK, the heaviest rainfalls in northern India and the Philippines and the most severe droughts in the US and east Africa.

School children negotiate flood inmIndia
In short, climate change and weather extremes are not about a distant future. Formerly one-off extreme weather episodes seem to be becoming the new normal. Weather extremes are not that extreme any more. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires are the new reality of an ever warming world.

And this should not come as a surprise. Scientists have been warning for years that as the planet heats up, we will have to deal with more severe, more changeable, more unpredictable weather. The evidence is mounting that human-caused warming is pushing normal warming effects to extremes. Heatwaves have increased in duration and frequency. Some parts of Europe are now gripped by severe water shortages while other parts have suffered extreme precipitations causing floods and increased crop losses.

And although not every extreme weather event can be attributed to climate change, scientists are now much more confident about linking individual weather events to climate change. Take 2011's record warm November in the UK, the second hottest on record. Researchers say that it was at least 60 times more likely to happen because of climate change than because of natural variations in the earth's weather systems.

This summer continued the pattern. The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic smashed the previous record, with just half the ice present compared to when satellite measurement began in 1979. Or take another example:Greenland's July thaw, where satellite data showed that about 97% of the massive ice sheet surface covering the island was melting. "Was this real or was it due to a data error?" a Nasa scientist questioned. Unfortunately, the data was correct.

All this record-breaking news reveals that global climate breakdown is occurring more rapidly than most climate scientists had expected. Climate change is happening, and it exacerbates a whole range of other global problems, adding further instability in an already unstable world. More


El Salvador in battle against tide of climate change

The forest of towering, dead mangrove trees stretches along the beach as far as the eye can see. As the crashing waves rise and fall, short stumps emerge and vanish beneath the Pacific Ocean. Climate change has come early to the Bajo Lempa region of western El Salvador.

A tiny rise in the sea level has, according to local people, seen about 1,000ft of the mangroves on which they depend vanish beneath the ocean since 2005. Another 1,500ft remains between the Pacific and their village, La Tirana. No one, it seems, knows how long it will take before the waves reach their homes.

But even now, the rising waters are ruining the villagers' meagre livelihood. At low tide each day, the men in this community of 22 families wade through the mud collecting punche, a local species of crab.

A full day's backbreaking work can yield two dozen crabs, which fetch around £2.50 on the local market. It is the only cash income the people of La Tirana have and they need it to buy basics such as clothing and cooking oil. For their own food, they rely on fishing and subsistence agriculture, growing corn, rice and vegetables, and rearing chickens and ducks.

"We can't take too many punche because we have to make sure that the species survives, and that there will be enough for our children," says Nahun Diaz Ramirez, the 26-year-old mayor of La Tirana. Despite the evidence before his eyes, he is finding it difficult to adjust to the fact that, on current trends, his three children aged two to five, may never get the chance to go crab-hunting.

According to El Salvador's Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), this country will lose somewhere between 10 per cent and 28 per cent of its coastal territories in the next century as a result of rising seas caused by climate change.

The lower figure is based on an anticipated sea level rise of 13cm and the higher figure on a rise of 110cm, the two extremes of the range predicted by some current climate modelling. Yet as both locals and the research of the United Nations' climate science task force, the IPCC, attest, the process has already started.

But the people of La Tirana, with no electricity, running water or sewerage, are far from the only vulnerable citizens of El Salvador to have their lives turned upside down. Devastating storms increasingly batter the Central American nation. Meanwhile, the ravaging of its forests has left natural drainage systems unable to cope.

After decades of indiscriminate logging, only 2 per cent of El Salvador's original forests remain. In the Western Hemisphere, only Haiti has seen a larger proportion of its forest cover destroyed. The result is that, when sudden heavy rains do occur, there are massive, sometimes catastrophic flash floods along the lower reaches El Salvador's main river, the Lempa.

"There is no doubt that the deforestation has left El Salvador even more vulnerable to climate change and the storms it is increasingly bringing," says Ricardo Navarro, director of CESTA, the national branch of Friends of the Earth.

There was only one extreme storm in each of the 1960s and 1970s, and two in the 1980s, according to data released by MARN. But in the 1990s there were four, including Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed thousands across Central America. In the last decade, there were eight. So far, in this decade there has already been one, a massive tropical depression in October last year, named 12E by scientists. It lasted 10 days and saw between 762mm and 1513mm of rain, depending on where in the country it was measured. The higher figure was roughly equivalent to the country's average annual rainfall in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

"The flood destroyed my whole harvest," says Herminia Arqueta, who lives in the village of Octavio Ortiz, beside the mouth of the Lempa about a mile from La Tirana. "My house was flooded for three weeks and we had to free all the chickens and ducks, otherwise they would have died." More


Monday, September 17, 2012

Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years

One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse ofArctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extentever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

In an email to the Guardian he says: "Climate change is no longer something we can aim to do something about in a few decades' time, and that we must not only urgently reduce CO2 emissions but must urgently examine other ways of slowing global warming, such as the variousgeoengineering ideas that have been put forward."

These include reflecting the sun's rays back into space, making clouds whiter and seeding the ocean with minerals to absorb more CO2.

Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the arctic ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007, when the previous lowest extent of 4.17 million square kilometres was set. This year, it has unexpectedly plunged a further 500,000 sq km to less than 3.5m sq km. "I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer.

"At first this didn't [get] noticed; the summer ice limits slowly shrank back, at a rate which suggested that the ice would last another 50 years or so. But in the end the summer melt overtook the winter growth such that the entire ice sheet melts or breaks up during the summer months.

"This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates".

Wadhams says the implications are "terrible". "The positives are increased possibility of Arctic transport, increased access to Arctic offshore oil and gas resources. The main negative is an acceleration of global warming." More


Arctic Warming is Altering Weather Patterns, Study Shows

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published April 3. Given recent news that Arctic sea ice set a record low, it's a reminder that changes in the Arctic can affect the U.S. and Europe.

By showing that Arctic climate change is no longer just a problem for the polar bear, a new study may finally dispel the view that what happens in the Arctic, stays in the Arctic.

The study, by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and Stephen Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, ties rapid Arctic climate change to high-impact, extreme weather events in the U.S. and Europe.

The study shows that by changing the temperature balance between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, rapid Arctic warming is altering the course of the jet stream, which steers weather systems from west to east around the hemisphere. The Arctic has been warming about twice as fast as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, due to a combination of human emissions of greenhouse gases and unique feedbacks built into the Arctic climate system.

The jet stream, the study says, is becoming “wavier,” with steeper troughs and higher ridges. Weather systems are progressing more slowly, raising the chances for long-duration extreme events, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.

“[The] tendency for weather to hang around longer is going to favor extreme weather conditions that are related to persistent weather patterns,” said Francis, the study’s lead author.

One does not have to look hard to find an example of an extreme event that resulted from a huge, slow-moving swing in the jet stream. It was a stuck or “blocking weather pattern” – with a massive dome of high pressure parked across the eastern U.S. for more than a week – that led to the remarkable March heat wave that sent temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast soaring into the 80s. In some locations, temperatures spiked to more than 40 degrees above average for that time of year.

The strong area of high pressure shunted the jet stream far north into Canada. At one point during the heat wave, a jetliner flying at 30,000 feet could’ve hitched a ride on the jet stream from Texas straight north to Hudson Bay, Canada. In the U.S., more than 14,000 warm-weather records (record-warm daytime highs and record-warm overnight lows) were set or tied during the month of March, compared to about 700 cold records. More


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The staggering decline of sea ice at the frontline of climate change

We are a few hundred miles from the north pole. The air temperature is -3C, the sea freezing. All around us in these foggy Arctic waters at the top of the world are floes – large and small chunks of sea ice that melt and freeze again with the seasons.

Arne Sorensen, our Danish ice pilot, is 60 feet up in the crow's nest of the Arctic Sunrise vessel. Visibility is just 200 yards and he inches the 1,000-tonne Greenpeace ice breaker forward at two knots through narrow passages of clear water. The floes are piled up and compressed in fantastic shapes and shades of grey and blue; they crack, rumble and groan as we nudge them aside or climb over them. Two polar bears on our port side lift their heads but resume hunting.

Sorensen has sailed deep into ice at both poles for 30 years, but this voyage is different, he says. The edge of the Arctic ice cap is usually far south of where we are now at the very end of the melt season. More than 600,000 square kilometres (sq km) more ice has melted in 2012 than was ever recorded by satellites before. Now the minimum extent has been nearly reached and the sea is starting to refreeze.

"This is the new minimum extent of the ice cap," he says, the "frontline of climate change".

"It is sad. I am not doubting this is related to emitting fossil fuels to a large extent. It's sad to observe that we are capable of changing the planet to such a degree."

The vast polar ice cap, which regulates the Earth's temperature and has been a permanent fixture in our understanding of how the world works, has this year retreated further and faster than anyone expected. The previous record, set in 2007, was officially broken on 27 August when satellite images averaged over five days showed the ice then extended 4.11 million sq km, a reduction of nearly 50% compared to just 40 years ago.

But since 27 August, the ice just kept melting – at nearly 40,000 sq km a day until a few days ago. Satellite pictures this weekend showed the cap covering only 3.49m sq km. This year, 11.7m sq km of ice melted, 22% more than the long-term average of 9.18m sq km. The record minimum extent is now likely to be formally called on Monday by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Colorado.

The record hasn't just been broken, it's been smashed to smithereens, adding weight to predictions that the Arctic may be ice-free in summer months within 20 years, say British, Italian and American-based scientists on board the Arctic Sunrise. They are shocked at the speed and extent of the ice loss. More


Thursday, September 13, 2012

World on track for nearly 11-degree temperature rise, energy expert says

The chief economist for the International Energy Agency said Monday that current global energy consumption levels put the Earth on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100, an outcome he called “a catastrophe for all of us.”

Fatih Birol spoke as as delegates from nearly 200 countries convened the opening day of annual U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

International climate negotiators have pledged to keep the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. The Earth has already warmed 0.8 degrees Celsius, or 1.4 Fahrenheit, so far, according to climate scientists.

According to the IEA’s most recent analysis, heat-trapping emissions from the world’s energy infrastructure will lead to a 2-degree Celsius increase in the Earth’s temperature that, as more capacity is added to the system, will climb to 6 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.

Unless there is a shift away from some of the fossil fuel energy now used for electricity generation and transportation, Birol said, “the world is perfectly on track for a six-degree Celsius increase in temperature.

“Everybody, even the schoolchildren, knows this is a catastrophe for all of us,” he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Birol spoke in unusually blunt terms about the climate implications of the global energy mix, implications that are disputed by many conservatives in the United States who don’t believe in the connection between human activity and climate change.

David Burwell, who directs the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment, said Birol’s comments have “big implications for capital investment in energy,” though he noted that it will be oil executives and others in the private sector who will drive many of the key decisions.

“We can try to regulate, we can try to incentivize, but ultimately, they’ve got to make the decisions, they’ve got to make the investments,” he said, adding that government officials should engage with the energy industry on this topic. “Now’s the time to have the conversation about investments.”

Burwell added that while the IEA has analyzed energy use and production for years, this is the first year its officials have spoken this publicly about the need to shift gears.

“They’re definitely raising the red flag, because the numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “This is the first year they’ve started stamping their foot and saying, ‘Lookit, listen to us.’ ”

In an interview after his talk, Birol said he believes his agency’s analysis is having an impact in places such as China, which he said would outpace the European Union in per capita carbon emissions by 2015. He added that by 2035, China would outrank the industrialized world as the single biggest overall emitter of greenhouse gases in history. More


Monday, September 10, 2012

English Green Party Supports Eradicating Ecocide

Polly Higgins, barrister and author of "Eradicating Ecocide" praises Green Party's commitment to future generations

Polly Higgins

Ecocide the Missing Fifth Crime Against Peace

At this year's Green Party Conference in Bristol a session led by leading barrister and author Polly Higgins, looked at what Ecocide is and why Ecocide law is critical in achieving a sustainable future and the role the Green party of England and Wales can play in its implementation.

Polly Higgins said "I am absolutely thrilled that the Green Party are giving this motion their wholehearted support. Sitting at the heart of the party is the recognition that the interests of future generations must be central to all political decision making." More

Eradicating Ecocide: The Missing Fifth Crime Against Peace


Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Summer of Extremes Signifies the New Normal - By Bill McKibben

This summer has seen record heat waves and wildfires in the U.S, the worst flooding in Beijing’s modern history, and droughts that devastated the U.S. corn crop and led India to set up “refugee camps” for livestock. These extreme events were not freak occurrences — this is how the earth works now.

Bill McKibben
Just as the baseball season now stretches nearly into November, and the National Football League keeps adding games, so the summer season is in danger of extending on both ends, a kind of megalomaniac power grab fueled by the carbon pouring into the atmosphere.

In fact, you could argue that the North American summer actually started two days before the official end of winter this year, when the town of Winner, South Dakota turned in a 94-degree temperature reading. It was part of that wild July-in-March heat wave that stretched across two-thirds of the country, a stretch of weather so bizarre that historian Christopher Burt called it “probably the most extraordinary anomalous heat event” that the nation has ever seen. International Falls, “the icebox of the nation,” broke its heat records 10 straight days, and Chicago nine. In Traverse City, Michigan, on March 21, the record high was 87 degrees. But the low was 62 degrees, which was 4 degrees higher than the previous record high. The technical word for that is, insane.

In Dodge City, Kansas, the temperature reached 111 degrees for the first time since record keeping began in 1874.

And it wasn’t just the U.S. — new March records were set everywhere from Perth to Reykjavik, not to mention (this is the gun on the wall in Act One) Summit Station at the top of the Greenland Ice Cap.

Plants, responding in their plantlike ways, blossomed. And so, though April was warmer than normal, the expected frosts killed an awful lot of fruit before it could ever get started. Traverse City, for instance, sits at the heart of the U.S. cherry crop — but not this year. Still, April was a warmish pause, and May warm as well, with the heat gathering. And then right around the solstice in June, all hell broke loose — or at least something of a similar temperature. More


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Need Your Help to End the Era of Ecocide

We need your help to End the Era of Ecocide

Dear friend

I have something I would like to share with you. Today myself and my team have reached zero. The pot is now bare and our funding resources are in urgent need of replenishing. In the past year your donations of over £200,000 funded my and my team's work; we planted some incredible seeds in the run up to the Rio Earth Summit. Out of that we have had some wonderful successes; in the past year alone we have held a mock Ecocide Trial in the UK Supreme Court, the University of London launched their Ecocide Project, I have travelled to countries and spoken on many platforms,I launched my second bookEarth is our Business, I have been awarded Overall Champion by the PEA awards, I have started a training programme for others to learn how to become a Voice for the Earth and I have submitted a concept paper, Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity to all government’s around the world. All this has been done with the help of your money and without it none of this would have been at all possible.

Yesterday we held an emergency meeting; despite the enormous efforts of our fundraiser over the past few months we have been unable to raise more than a few thousand pounds. We are looking squarely at the future and we see enormous opportunity to take forward all that I have already achieved; just think how close we are to making this law a reality.

Everything we do is governed by permaculture ethics; people care, earth care and fair share. Ecocides occur when we take far more than our fair share, which affects both our people and our Earth. To ensure we live within our planetary limits, a law of Ecocide creates a legal framework that can ensure we all live in peaceful enjoyment.

Please help me to continue to build upon all of this good work; now more than ever people care, earth care and fair share matters. Together we can end the era of Ecocide.

With love for the Earth,


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How you can help

  • Set up a direct debit.
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  • We are seeking a volunteer for 2 weeks full time to come into our London office: please emailLouise with your CV.

Ground Zero

Speaking about the law of Ecocide for the Earth sometimes brings me in to contact with people and places that have suffered the consequences of some of the worst ecocides. When will our world bring to an end once and for all mass damage and destruction, I find myself wondering. The answer is when civilisation is ready. There are indications that we are moving closer to that point every day.

Last week I joined Parliamentarians, mayors and disarmament experts at an international interparliamentarian conference "From a Nuclear Test Ban to a Nuclear Weapons Free World" in Astana, Kazakhstan. The conference was opened on the UN International Day Against Nuclear Tests 29 August 2012, and the outcome was an appeal to parliaments and governments around the world:

Legislators and governments have a responsibility to protect the security of citizens living within their jurisdictions and to protect their respective localities and the global commons for future generations.

We were taken to visit Semey, a town at the centre of the nuclear testing zone which took place over 60 years ago. In 1949 the first nuclear test took place; what previously flourished came to a halt. You could say this was their ground zero. Hundred of thousands died and today third-generation children are still born malformed and riddled with cancers. 30,000 square kilometers of land is deemed dead land and the impact is still felt very strongly today. We met with young doctors who are trained to deal with the consequences, which part of their every-day life. We saw babies that had died in birth, such were their grotesque and insurmountable malformities. What I saw will remain indelibly etched in my mind forever. How can humanity justify this?

Nuclear testing and the use of nuclear weapons is not a crime at an international level. The business of making nuclear weapons continues to this day and many countries profit from such proliferation despite there being treaties and conventions in place. The reason for this is that treaties and conventions rarely have the enforcement of criminal law to prohibit, prevent and pre-empt. Nuclear testing and the use of nuclear weapons is one particular type of dangerous activity that a crime of Ecocide will prevent.
Kazakhstan has banned nuclear testing and weapons; they are one of ten countries which have added to their Criminal Penal Code a crime of Ecocide. This is a country that has suffered the consequences and has now opened its doors to the rest of the world to say 'look and learn from us.'

I have now been asked to meet and speak with other Ambassadors, governments and NGO's to discuss how a law of Ecocide can comprehensively close the door to the threat of a nuclear winter. My work as an ambassador for the law of Ecocide seems now, more than ever to be needed. What I see, what I hear and who I meet triggers more and more engagement on the law of Ecocide, especially when it becomes known that Ecocide was going to be included as the fifth Crime Against Peace, and was examined for decades within the UN. Just think what our world could have become by now had a law of Ecocide been included as the 5th Crime Against Peace.

Today the stakes are ever higher; today now more than ever there needs to be a champion for a law of Ecocide; today we need not just one lawyer speaking out - what we need are many many voices for the Earth.

Read the full Parliamentary Appeal for Nuclear Abolition.
Read the sad legacy of nuclear testing by Xanthe Hall, Disarmament expert, IPPNW Germany.

The Atom Project: how you can help stop nuclear weapons testing.

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Read about PPND here

In the News:'Disarmament policy is a peace policy' says Germany.

Polly speaking on Sunday 9th September at the Green Party Autumn Conference 2012

FOE logo

Polly speaking on Friday 14th of September at Friends of the Earth Annual Conference

Polly Speaking on Saturday 15th September at theFestival of Wellbeing

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weather Girl Goes Rogue

Arctic ice cover just reached its lowest point in recorded history. Pippa goes off script and drops some science. For more, check out Filmed at Strut Studios in Vancouver Starring @pippa_mackie and @kainagata. Written by @heatherlibby.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Are Writing the Epilogue to the World We Knew

The data continue to roll in, and they are telling us we are in the process of bringing an end to the world we evolved in, and creating a new, harsher world. We will be forced to devote more and more of our resources trying to adapt to this new world, and less on development.

While politicians fiddle, the world burns. While the press plays he-said, she-said, the ice melts, the seas rise.

In 1990 we could have averted this disaster and saved money doing it. As late as 2010 we still had a shot at avoiding it. But now, the die is cast, the future foretold. What follows will be an epilogue to civilization, as we knew it.

Hyperbole? Let’s look at the facts.

Arctic sea ice hits lowest extent ever measured (and it’s still melting) – check.

Hottest winter, spring, summer, year, decade ever measured – check.

Most extensive drought in 50 fifty years, and getting worse – check.

Worst floods in recorded history – check.

Hottest seas in eons – check.

Most acidic oceans ever measured – check.

Most greenhouse gasses released in a single year – check.

Highest sea levels since Pleistocene – check.

Most permafrost melted (with record releases of methane) ever measured – check.

Massive crop failures and record high food prices – check.

Most severe weather events ever recorded – check.

Meanwhile, in Tampa, the fossil fuel funded Republican Party is doubling down on climate denial, pushing greater use of oil, coal and gas, and trying to gut programs designed to save energy and use more renewables. In short, they’re working diligently to hasten our demise.

And no, that’s not hyperbole, either. Check out Romney’s energy plan.

What about the Democrats? Well, except for one mention of climate change in an interview with Rolling Stone, the President has been mum on the topic, as has most of the rest of the Party.

How about the press? Week after week of record heat and drought brought nary a mention of global warming. It was as if people were dropping dead from bullets, but no one mentioned guns – oh wait. Bad analogy. That’s actually happening. OK, how about, as if the nation were getting obese, but no one mentioned massive farm subsidies for fattening foods – Whoops. That’s happening too. Oh well, you get the idea.

And so the last chapter concludes. The story ends. Only the Epilogue remains. The part where we reveal the fate of the characters.

But here’s the thing. We are writing the story, but our children and their children’s children will inhabit the epilogue. More


TEEB is looking for three interns to join our team in Geneva.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

TEEB is pleased to announce we are currently looking for three interns to join our team in Geneva.

TEEB Training and Capacity Building internship - closing date3rd September
TEEB National Studies Internship - closing date 7th September
Media Communications Internship - closing date 7th September

All internships are for 3-6 months with an immediate start.

Please see the Terms of Reference below for more information or visit the TEEB website:

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is a global initiative focused on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity,
highlighting the growing cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and drawing together expertise from the fields of ecosystem science,
economics and development policy to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem considerations in policy making. More