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‘Climate Crisis’ Open Letter to Media: Who’s Responded (So Far)

‘Climate Crisis’ Open Letter to Media: Who’s Responded (So Far)

Five-point plan on Tyee finds allies in CWA union and top US journos.

SeanHolman.JPG
Journalism prof Sean Holman fired off to Canada’s news orgs a public challenge to better cover the climate crisis. Who got back? Photo by Laura Balanko-Dickson.

Now the responses are rolling in, some from beyond Canada’s borders. 

Here’s how Holman came to write the widely shared letter and what it’s helping to trigger.

As record wildfires raged out of control across B.C., spreading smoke into the Rockies and Alberta, Holman looked out the window of his Calgary home and thought about a book he’d read as a child. The World of the Future: Future Cities predicted “if drastic steps are not taken to control pollution and achieve some sort of ecological balance,” the city of the 21st century could become a “polluted pesthole.” 

The book’s image of gas-mask-wearing citizens in a dystopian streetscape choked by smog “always stuck with me,” Holman said. The view of smoke turning the sun into a sickly orange dot was strikingly similar. “That was really troubling.” The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Even more disturbing to Holman, though, was the failure of Canadian news media to accurately report the underlying reasons for this hellscape: the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming Canada twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Holman, an investigative reporter, associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University and an occasional Tyee contributor, found that of the 182 media pieces produced about the wildfires last summer by outlets like the Calgary Herald and Vancouver Sun, only 14 of those pieces mentioned the scientific reality that global temperature rise caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities contributed to the fires’ unprecedented intensity and destruction.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate change effects on hydropower in California

Climate change effects on hydropower in California

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is drought-dam-lake-oroville.jpg

Preface. The main impact of climate change will be on hydropower in California, which is the largest source of renewable electric power. Besides natural gas, it is the only dispatchable form of power to balance unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power.

But hydropower is often unavailable (i.e. drought, low reservoirs, to provide months of agriculture and drinking water, protect fisheries, etc).

CEC. September 2014. Climate change impacts on generation of wind, solar, and hydropower in California. California Energy Commission Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory .

Excerpts:

The study findings for hydroelectric power generation show significant reductions that are a consequence of the large predicted reduction in annual mean precipitation in the global climate models used. Reduced precipitation and resulting reductions in runoff result in reduced hydropower generation in all months and elevation bands. These results indicate that a future that is both drier and warmer would have important impacts on the ability to generate electricity from hydropower.

Increased production of electricity from renewables, although desirable from environmental and other viewpoints, may create difficulties in consistently meeting demand for electricity and may complicate the job of operating the state’s transmission system. This would be true of any major change in electrical supply portfolio but is especially so when the proportion of weather-dependent renewables- which are subject to uncontrolled fluctuations-is increased.

Climate change may affect the ability to generate needed amounts of electricity from weather-dependent renewable resources. This could compromise California’s ability to meet renewable targets. For example, it is well documented that climate change is affecting the seasonal timing of river flows such that less hydropower is generated during months of peak demand and maximum electricity value. Generating solar and wind power may also be impacted by long-term changes in climate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change Could Trigger Global Financial Crisis

Climate Change Could Trigger Global Financial Crisis

NYSE

A top U.S. financial regulator is worried that climate change could threaten global financial markets.

Rostin Behnam, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that the financial system was at risk from the growing frequency and severity of storms. “The impacts of climate change affect every aspect of the American economy – from production agriculture to commercial manufacturing and the financing of every step in each process,” Behnam said at the meeting of the CFTC’s market risk advisory committee on Wednesday. “As most of the world’s markets and market regulators are taking steps towards assessing and mitigating the current and potential threats of climate change, we in the U.S. must also demand action from all segments of the public and private sectors, including this agency.”

He added: “Our commodity markets and the financial markets that support them will suffer if we do not take action to mitigate the risk of contagion.”

The message is not necessarily a new one, but it is significant since it comes from the CFTC, which is not exactly a hippy enclave. Also of significance is the fact that Behnam was appointed to the CFTC by President Trump, although by law the vacancy that he filled had to be a Democrat.

Behnam will help setup a panel of experts to study the risks to the financial system from climate change.

“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” Benham said in an NYT interview. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.” Related: OPEC’s Struggle To Avoid $40 Oil

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More Americans Worried About ‘Fake News’ Than Terrorism, Racism And Climate Change: Poll

More Americans Worried About ‘Fake News’ Than Terrorism, Racism And Climate Change: Poll

A new survey from Pew Research Center has found that Americans view fake news as a bigger threat than terrorism, violent crime, climate change, racism and illegal immigration

The survey also found that 68% of US adults say that made-up news and information “greatly impacts Americans’ confidence in government institutions,” while 54% say it’s having a major impact on confidence between fellow Americans, and 51% say it impacts the ability of political leaders to get work done. 

Who’s to blame? According to those surveyed, political leaders and activists are more responsible for fake news than journalists, however they believe that it is the primary responsibility of those in the news media to fix the problem. They also said that the issue will become worse down the road. 

The vast majority of Americans say they sometimes or often encounter made-up news. In response, many have altered their news consumption habits, including by fact-checking the news they get and changing the sources they turn to for news.

In addition, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) believe steps should be taken to restrict made-up news, as opposed to 20% who see it as protected communication. –Pew

Nearly four-in-ten (38%) of Americans reported ‘often’ coming across made-up news and information, while another 51% say they ‘sometimes’ do. In response, Americans have changed their news and technology habits

Around 78% of respondents say they fact-check news stories, while 63% have stopped getting news from a particular outlet. 52% say they have changed the way they use social media, while 43% have reduced their overall consumption of news. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chaos of Weather Record Heat Wave Coming – Fraud of Linear Predictions

Chaos of Weather Record Heat Wave Coming – Fraud of Linear Predictions 

This weekend the forecasts are calling for a blistering, dangerous heat wave which is poised to scorch the southeastern U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend. I warned that our computer was showing a sharp increase in volatility in the weather. The winters would spike to new record lows and then the summers would spike to scorching highs. Once again, this is not my personal opinion. If you simply input the data this is what comes up – patterns.

The pro-Global Warming crowd love to send me hate-mail arguing I am not a meteorologist. I reply, neither is Al Gore – the father of Global Warming nonsense. There is far more hidden order to weather and collecting data since only 1850, manipulating it to pretend there is a linear trend and then claim the world will end in 12 years like AOC, begs a lot of question. Why do we need social programs? Stop all taxes including Social Security and let everyone enjoy life while they have it. Kids should drop out of school and enjoy life rather than get degrees they will never use. Why investigate Trump if there will be no presidency in 12 years? Nobody really believes stopping air traffic and driving cars will save the world in 12 years.

Lorenze

The linear analysis of weather used by the Global Warming crowd is complete nonsense and it threatens our way of life along with our future. During the 1950s, Edward N. Lorenz (1917-2008) observed that there was a cyclical non-linear nature to weather, yet the field relied upon linear statistical models in meteorology to do weather forecasting. Lorenz became the father of Chaos Theory. He was an American mathematician and meteorologist. Lorenz was certainly THE pioneer in Chaos Theory.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming

Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming

Photograph Source: Charles Marion Russell – Public Domain

A recent article in Arctic News on the outlook for global warming foresees a frightening scenario lurking right around the corner. Hopefully, the article’s premise of impending runaway global warming (“RGW”) is off the mark, by a lot. More to the point, off by really a lot in order to temper the sting expected when abrupt temperature increases hit hard, as projected in the article, which is entitled: “Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating.” Oh, BTW… the worst-case scenario happens within one decade!

Here’s a snippet: “… such a rise in greenhouse gas levels has historically corresponded with more than 10°C or 18°F of warming, when looking at greenhouse gas levels and temperatures over the past 800,000 years….” (Source: Greenhouse Gas Levels Keep Accelerating, Arctic News, May 1, 2019)

Obviously, it goes without saying no sane person wants to believe, and likely won’t believe or accept, studies about killer temperatures locked, loaded, and ready to fire, right around the corner. That fact alone serves to christen the title “Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming.”

Furthermore, and for journalistic balance, it is important to mention that mainstream science is not warning of imminent Runaway Global Warming (“RGW”), as outlined in the Arctic News article.

Still, the article does have credibility because it is the product of academic scientists. Therefore, metaphorically speaking, one can only hope that their Ouija boards were out-of-whack, misinterpreting the data.

Alas, the Arctic News article would not be out there if only the U.S. Senate had taken seriously Dr. James Hansen’s early warnings about global warming way back in 1988. The New York Times headline d/d June 24, 1988 read: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos

The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

– James Baldwin

Climate change is the apex crisis of all time and the US military is the prime crisis multiplier.

As we approach the horizon of climate disaster it certainly looks like the predatory phase of human history — of which war is just the most glaring example — is related to our predatory relationship with nature. At the center of the storm is the interlocking crisis of militarism and climate destruction.

We will evolve beyond perpetual war and global empire or face climate chaos.

The climate crisis is rooted in a set of interlocking institutions with a common cause of power over others and a shared strategy of violence, plunder and deception. The military is the linchpin, playing a pivotal role intensifying the climate crisis.

Consider the basic facts. The US military is:

+ The single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuel in the world;

+ The most powerful global force securing oil and protecting oil infrastructure;

+ The leading director — along with the big bankers and fossil fuel giants — of the elites’ plans for dealing with the coming crisis. The military and big corporations are not in climate denial — they are in control — and plan to keep it that way as the climate deteriorates.

+ The war machine’s enormous consumption and strategic capture of fossil fuels and their behind-the-scenes management of the crisis hints at its true role: sponsor of big oil and co-creator of the climate crisis.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Plastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report

Plastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report

Plastic jug on a beach

The plastics industry plays a major — and growing — role in climate change, according to a report published today by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

By 2050, making and disposing of plastics could be responsible for a cumulative 56 gigatons of carbon, the report found, up to 14 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget.

In 2019, the plastics industry is on track to release as much greenhouse gas pollution as 189 new coal-fired power plants running year-round, the report found — and the industry plans to expand so rapidly that by 2030, it will create 1.34 gigatons of climate-changing emissions a year, equal to 295 coal plants.

It’s an expansion that, in the United States, is largely driven by the shale gas rush unleashed by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The petrochemical expansion also comes over the same period of time that international plans to reduce climate change call for rapid reductions in greenhouse gases from all sources — transportation, electricity, and industry.

“Humanity has less than twelve years to cut global greenhouse emissions in half and just three decades to eliminate them almost entirely,” said Carroll Muffett, president of CIEL, citing UN figures. “It has long been clear that plastic threatens the global environment and puts human health at risk. This report demonstrates that plastic, like the rest of the fossil economy, is putting the climate at risk as well.”

“If growth trends continue,” the report concludes, “plastic will account for 20 percent of global oil consumption by 2050.”

The new report, co-authored by Environmental Integrity Project, FracTracker Alliance, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), 5 Gyres, and Break Free From Plastic, looks at how plastic production carries major impacts for the climate as it goes from raw materials tapped by the fossil fuel industries all the way through its ultimate disposal or breakdown in the environment.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Applying the work of Erik Olin Wright to emergent climate change movements helps us to understand current trajectories and possible pathways for transformation.

In the past weeks, Extinction Rebellion has continued to make news headlines with acts of protest in LondonBostonNew York and other cities across the globe. In London, thousands of activists blocked roads and bridges and over 1,000 were arrested. These actions are a part of Extinction Rebellion’s ongoing strategy to disrupt the economy and pressure governments to meet their demands to address climate change.

In addition, the youth movement Fridays for Future continues to hold school strikes with an estimated 1.6 million participants across the globe on March 15. In the United States, the Sunrise Movement has just launched a tour to promote the Green New Deal, a possibly transformative resolution that targets both inequality and greenhouse gas emissions.

These movements are unprecedented, growing, and are unlikely to go away any time soon. In addition, meeting the demands of these movements would require significant social and economic changes through a radical political program.

Given the momentum of these movements, are we on the verge of a possible climate-catalyzed social transformation? And if so, what strategies for transformation will be most effective?

To interpret the recent rise of these climate change movements, we draw from the late Erik Olin Wright whose work illustrates a deep understanding of social transformation.

In his book Envisioning Real Utopias, Wright outlined a detailed theory of social transformation with four main components. First, identify the forces of social reproduction that impede positive social change. Second, find gaps and contradictions that can be politicized to open the door for change. Third, understand and build a trajectory of change: history tells us that transformation occurs when unintended social consequences combine with purposeful social movements.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On Climate, Does Trudeau’s Canada Play Hero or Villain?

On Climate, Does Trudeau’s Canada Play Hero or Villain?

The Tyee asked global experts, and got some surprising answers.

PolarBearsSnow.jpg
Canada’s symbolic role globally outweighs its actual emissions impact, say experts, who call Trudeau’s carbon tax ‘courageous.’ Still, it’s not enough to meet emissions pledges, upping the ante for the federal election.

How does Canada rate in fighting climate change? 

Better than most countries, especially ones where fossil fuels drive politics. 

Terribly for the world, because if every country copied Canada, that would ensure climate catastrophe. 

That’s the complicated picture climate policy experts in Canada and abroad shared with The Tyee.

They said Canada, while still far from where it needs to be in lowering its greenhouse gas emissions, is enacting “courageous” and “interesting” policies that are pushing global progress forward at a time when the opportunity for action is rapidly fading

On the surface this doesn’t seem to make much sense, given that under Trudeau’s Liberal government Canada is set to miss the 2030 climate targets it agreed to at Paris, spends billions of dollars propping up the oil and gas industry (despite promising to end fossil fuel subsidies), and last year nationalized Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion. 

But Mark Jaccard, a professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University who has contributed to assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that Canada’s record on climate change is more complex and productive than most people realize.

“It seems to me people get so focussed on the Trans Mountain pipeline as a symbol that the federal government has failed on climate policy, without paying attention to the actual policies and comparing them to the rest of the world,” he told The Tyee. “When you do that, we’re among the leaders.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change Triggers Hysteria As Ireland Declares A ‘Climate Emergency’

Climate Change Triggers Hysteria As Ireland Declares A ‘Climate Emergency’

Pollution

Ireland has declared a climate emergency, with Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton calling climate change the greatest challenge mankind is facing.

ITV quoted the minister as saying, “We’re reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration. Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.”

The move, which followed cross-party support to amendments to a climate action report drafted by the country’s parliament, made Ireland the second country in the world to declare a climate emergency after the UK. In the latter, the declaration followed crippling environmentalist protests in London that paralyzed parts of the city.

In its wake, an independent, government-appointed Committee on Climate Change recommended to the government such measures as reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products, changing the way farms do business, and making electric cars the only cars that people can buy starting in 2035. By 2050, according to the panel, the country should be greenhouse gas emission-free.

It looks like climate emergency declarations could become a trend: hours after media reported the Irish parliament’s vote for an emergency, the New Zealand Vegan Society issued a call for the government to declare a climate emergency.

“New Zealand is woeful in its protection of the environment, with many rivers and waterways polluted, in part due to excess dairying in particular regions. It shows that we are simply not doing enough to protect our part of the world,” the call read

“It is the next biggest inconvenient truth… eating animals is causing habitat loss, driving climate change and the 6th mass extinction wave. What can we do? The answer is simple: go vegan and plant trees!” said a Vegan Society Aotearoa New Zealand representative, Claire Insley.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Loving a vanishing world

Loving a vanishing world

I want to talk about power — how much we have, and how we can use it meaningfully.

But I’m going to start with despair. At a beach in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands recently — on my first real vacation in almost three years — I felt much of the loosening that I often feel at the coast. The smell of the sea is home for me, the brush of the waves on the shore, the spark and flutter of sun on the water like innumerable languid butterflies. Breathing at the ocean, I feel different.

I’ve known for a long time that humans and other species are in profound trouble, and that the seas are rising. I’ve known for a long time how much is at risk. I went to BC specifically to have the time to develop my thoughts and write about these risks, and how we can move forward in a way that matters.

So sitting there, on sand and the countless soft shards left behind by clams and mussels and oysters over decades, I couldn’t loose myself of the knowledge that the ocean is beginning to die. There are plastic garbage patches the size of Texas. There are microplastics in almost every tested sea salt. Fish populations are collapsing. Whales and dolphins are suffering profoundly from the din of the sonar used by oil companies and the navy. Seawater is acidifying so fast in the Salish Sea that oysters are struggling to build shells. And perhaps most troubling of all, phytoplankton levels are down 40% since 1950 — and phytoplankton is not only the base of the marine food chain, it also produces most of the ocean’s oxygen, as well as ours (one phytoplankton is so prolific it generates your every fifth breath). This fact, by itself, should be enough to make us address the crises in the natural world immediately.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Landmark UN Report to Show ‘Transformational Change’ Urgently Needed to Save Humanity and Natural World From Nightmarish Future

Landmark UN Report to Show ‘Transformational Change’ Urgently Needed to Save Humanity and Natural World From Nightmarish Future

“Anyone who denies that we are in a human-induced extinction crisis is either lying or not paying attention.”

The dried up bed of Wayoh Reservoir near Bolton as the heatwave continues across the UK on July 23, 2018 in Bolton, England. A United Nations report scheduled for official release on Monday will say that up to 1 million species face extinction as a result of human activity. (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

new landmark United Nations report on biodiversity set for release on Monday will say that a perilous and miserable future awaits the natural world and human civilization unless we rapidly bring an end to humanity’s destructive “business as usual” approach to the economy, food production, and energy usage.

Signaling the need for urgent “transformative changes” in order to save humanity and the natural world, the 1,800-page report and a separate executive summary will represent the first time the UN has published such an exhaustive report on the state of Nature.

As Agence France-Presse, which obtained a draft of the conclusions, reports Saturday that “The bombshell Summary for Policymakers… makes for very grim reading.”

According to AFP’s review of the draft report and the summary, the documents “paint a picture of widespread destruction wrought by man, some of it irreparable.”

While the final report is due out May 6, aspects of what the study will say have been disclosed via drafts reported on by the press in recent weeks and public statements by officials and researchers involved in its creation.

As Common Dreams reported last month, at last one of the overarching findings of the report is that human destruction of natural systems has put the world on a path towards a mass extinction that could wipe out over a million species.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK climate emergency is official policy

UK climate emergency is official policy

Heathrow’s expansion is now in question. Image: By J Patrick Fischer, via Wikimedia Commons

Major changes in the government’s policy on fossil fuels will be vital to tackling the UK climate emergency that Parliament has recognised.

LONDON, 3 May, 2019 − The United Kingdom has taken a potentially momentous policy decision: it says there is a UK climate emergency.

On 1 May British members of Parliament (MPs) became the world’s first national legislature to declare a formal climate and environment emergency, saying they hoped they could work with like-minded countries across the world to take action to avoid more than 1.5°C of global warming.

No-one yet knows what will be the practical result of the resolution proposed by Jeremy Corbyn, the Opposition Labour leader, but UK politicians were under pressure to act following a series of high-profile strikes by school students in recent months and demonstrations by a new climate protest organisation, Extinction Rebellion (XR),  whose supporters closed roads in the centre of London for a week.

The Conservative government ordered its MPs not to oppose the Labour resolution, and it was passed without a vote.

Zero carbon by 2050

Hours after the MPs’ decision, a long-awaited detailed report by the government’s official advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, was published. It recommends cutting the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The current target is 80%.

The report says the government should accept the new target immediately, pass it into law in the next few months and begin to implement policies to achieve it. The committee says that will mean the end of petrol and diesel cars on British roads, a cut in meat consumption, an end to gas boilers for heating buildings, planting 1.5 billion trees to store carbon, a vast increase in renewable energy, and many other measures.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Without a rebellion there might be nothing left. The tide is turning and necessarily so.

Without a rebellion there might be nothing left. The tide is turning and necessarily so.

extinction rebellion

An international rebellion has begun. I am writing this as a call to action for humanity and permaculture enthusiasts everywhere. I want to take a few minutes to share my story, and perhaps you will be inspired by a world that is waking up. The sea is rising and so are we.

I will finish with some practical ways you can get involved in the rebellion and what you can do after.

10 years ago I did a course in Permaculture Design and it changed my life. I no longer felt alone in seeking solutions to global warming and ecological disasters like mass deforestation. I had found my people⎯ agrarian systems thinkers and community activists with a deep connection to the world around them. And much to my relief a network of curious people with the will to design a world that works alongside nature!

Permaculture designers have been acting to mitigate the climate emergency and ecological breakdown since the 70’s. The approaches used in permaculture have inspired a generation to redesign the places that they live. Permaculture networks, the Permaculture Association and groups like Transition Towns have done much of the groundwork for grassroots action for ‘systems change, not climate change’ in the UK and beyond.

The permaculture approach helps design intelligent systems which meet human needs whilst enhancing biodiversity, reducing our impact on the planet, and creating a fairer world for us all.

We will need grassroots movements like permaculture systems thinking and design to reinvent the way we design our society so that we can meet the our needs whilst working in harmony with our planet. Without approaching our challenges in this systematic way we do not have a chance to innovate and make integrated policy changes needed meet the Paris agreement or the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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