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The Global North isn’t ready for climate breakdown

The Global North isn’t ready for climate breakdown

European responses to extreme weather demonstrate post-industrial nations have much to learn from people in the Global South, writes Aranyo Aarjan

Flooding in Tilff, Belgium, July 2021 (Photo: Regine Fabri; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0)

When I was growing up in Kolkata, every monsoon the streets would get flooded. I remember looking forward to the days when school would get cancelled and I would get to stay home and watch cartoons. I would look out from the balcony to see life carrying on, people wading through sometimes waist-deep murky brown water. Somehow it all still seemed fun through the eyes of a child, like an adventure.

This summer, however, as I’ve watched places around the world face historic levels of flooding, I’ve felt nothing but a sense of creeping horror at the onset of the realisation that climate change is here. It’s all happening even sooner than predicted, and will get far worse.

Of course, climate change has already been here for a long time, its effects felt most acutely by the people in the Global South who have contributed the least to the current state of affairs. Yet in the face of unprecedented amounts of rainfall, multiple countries around the world, including some of the richest and most technologically advanced nations, faced deadly flooding in the month of July alone. It would appear that the Global North’s preparedness for climate catastrophe is also far from what many may have expected.

Climate systems are incredibly complex and it is difficult to conclusively prove that this summer’s flooding was caused by climate change. However, these types of weather events certainly fit the model that many scientists have long predicted

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

Why The Climate Emergency is now The Methane Emergency

We are about to go through the most profound shift in the climate debate in 20 years. The result will be the end of the gas industry’s hope of being a transition fuel, a brutal market disruption to the agriculture and livestock industries and the arrival of the climate emergency into public consciousness. This will all be driven by the acceptance of methane as the critical response to the climate emergency.

The Climate Emergency Arrives

As always on climate change, the underlying driver is the science. In this regard, the latest IPCC report was crystal clear. Our climate is changing; we’re suffering severe consequences decades earlier than predicted; the impacts will keep getting worse; we’re facing tipping points which could trigger runaway warming; and we’re rapidly running out of time. By any interpretation we now face a full-blown climate emergency.

While many lament the lack of earlier action, that is typical of how we behave. We wait for a crisis to be underway and then respond dramatically. It’s inefficient, it’s expensive, it’s frustrating and it’s how we always do things. We took this approach in WWII, to the 2008 global credit crisis and to the COVID19 pandemic. It was always going to be like this with climate change.

What we now confront then is kind of good news. Faced with the existential risk of runaway climate change and resulting global economic collapse, we are far more likely to take the action. However, as Professor Jorgen Randers and I argued in our 2009 paper The One Degree War Plan, acting this late requires a profoundly different approach than what would have worked 20 or 30 years earlier. It requires a dramatic reset of assumptions about the pace of change, the type of actions needed and the economic disruption that will result.

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

This ship is sinking

Is there time to rearrange the deck chairs as in the Paris Agreement, or should we just start passing out lifejackets? Many people still hope we’ll make a manageable transition to a low-impact economy. I’ve pretty much lost hope for that outcome, primarily because two factors now must be included in a realistic forecast—currently discernible collective human will, and already-appearing climate impacts.

  1. Currently discernible collective human will

Oil companies have known of the link between their products and climate change since 1965. The news media was told about it when James Hansen testified before Congress in 1988. By 2000 environmentalists were beginning to educate the public and elected officials, testing terminology to find words that would capture attention and motivate action. “Should we say ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change?‘ ‘Greenhouse gases’ or ‘climate pollution?’” For at least two decades there has been steady and often brilliant effort by scientists, climate activists, and energy experts to show both the perils we face and the possible solutions.

We know the results. Major emitters have clung to fossil fuels and used their clout to obfuscate the issue rather than change direction. Emissions are rebounding post-pandemic, and 2023 is predicted to see the highest levels of CO2 emissions in human history. At this point it is probably a fact that the desire not to exceed 1.5oC is just a wish and not a fully inhabited intention for most of those who have the power to make it happen.

I’ve been surprised by the inertia, but I shouldn’t have been. The climate crisis may be seen as the logical result of cumulative actions that go back thousands of years. The agricultural revolution seems to have encouraged top-down social and economic systems, and perhaps the subjugation of nature and of humans lower in the hierarchy encouraged the development in the human population of what I will call insensitivity…

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

The last climate warning: heat waves and the IPCC leak

NEARLY 50 CELSIUS DEGREES ON THE WEST COAST OF CANADA

Records everywhere, and at the same time, a leak to the press, a preview, of a part of the major report on the climate crisis. It doesn’t sound like a coincidence

In Lytton, Canada, 49.6º was recorded at the end of June, during a historic heat wave that has caused a fire in the area, wiping the population off the map. Other records were also broken during those days in a multitude of cities as diverse as Seattle, Moscow or Benni Abbes in Tunisia.

Climate change is no longer denied by anyone. Or at least no one who thinks of anything other than his or her own benefit and those who let themselves be manipulated by the first ones.

 

According to a recent Yale University study, more than 90% of people surveyed around the globe assume that climate change is a real and very serious problem.Unfortunately, there is still some doubt about two crucial issues:

The first issue is that a third of society or more do not believe that it is human activities that are primarily responsible for climate chaos in most countries.  In Indonesia, the most serious case, this percentage would be over 80%. Truly incredible for the current knowledge, which does not admit any doubt in this regard. Natural phenomena not only have nothing to do with it, they are actually helping us.

Just as there were fires before humans even existed, there are fires now, both natural and human-induced. Of course there have been many previous climate changes casued by the interaction of orbital cycles or Milankovitch cycles with the carbon cycle…

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

What if we treated the climate emergency as seriously as we treated COVID–19?

What if we treated the climate emergency as seriously as we treated COVID–19?

Prof Alice Larkin, University of Manchester, argues that, if our society were really serious about tackling climate change, we would put much greater priority on social and economic change – as shown by the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Article from Responsible Science Journal, no.3; advance online publication: 29 June 2021.
_____

I’ve learnt two important lessons so far from the pandemic. The first is that change can take place quickly and the second is that government and societal priorities can shift dramatically to tackle an emergency.

My third observation is not a lesson as such but something that has sparked my interest. It is that, in the same way that climate science and scientists find themselves scrutinised for clear facts when policy makers are faced with the need to engage with the science, so our medical colleagues find themselves and their science also thrust into this spotlight.

It is even more the case now that they too are now tackling some of the same economic questions, in the terms of the ‘GDP versus science’ debate that many climate researchers have been dealing with for decades.

Policy-makers don’t yet consider climate change an emergency

So what can be harnessed from these lessons to tackle the climate emergency? The pandemic became all-consuming, leading to rapid policy, social and media responses that I suspect hasn’t been experienced by any of us before in our lifetimes. As such, it draws attention to how little credence has been given to the term ‘emergency’ in a climate rather than a COVID-19 context.

First, on the speed of response and government priorities, I’ve spent the last 18 years trying to understand the scale of the climate emergency and how our energy systems need to transform to minimise cumulative carbon emissions…

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

The Latest Fraud of CNN

CNN is deliberately misleading the public, and they REFUSE to do any real investigative reporting. They should be shut down as a propaganda organization that is against the national security of the United States. Anyone who would bother to just look at how that statistic was created would be ashamed to repeat it. CNN and others are intimidating scientists who are afraid to tell the truth, for they will be canceled, ridiculed, and may even lose their job.

In 2009, the University of Illinois sent a survey online to about 10,000 scientists with the following two questions:

QUESTION #1

Do you agree that global temperatures have generally risen since the pre-1800s?

QUESTION #2
Do you think that human activity is a significant contributing factor?


Only 3146 responses were received of 10,000, and of that 31%, 90% said yes to the first question but 82% said yes to the second question.


This is how the fraud was carried out by people who have used this survey. They narrowed down the responses and found that among meteorologists who responded, only 64% said yes to the second question, so about 1/3 said NO!

Then disregarding all the others of the 3146 responses, they focused on only 77 who described themselves as “climate experts” without any proof of their credentials and found that only 75 said yes to the second question.

Therefore, when we divide 75/77 we get to their claim of  97% of all scientists in the world say there is a climate emergency that warrants raising taxes and seizing property.

This was only 2.3% of those who bothered to respond, and I doubt that they would agree with the solution which is COMMUNISM!


0.0075%

If we take the 75 responses of 10,000 scientists surveyed, that means only 0.0075% agreed that there is climate change with some human causality…

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

Vancouver Council Votes Against Delay for Climate Emergency Plan

Vancouver Council Votes Against Delay for Climate Emergency Plan

City bylaw will require new homes built after Jan. 1 to use zero-emissions heat and hot water systems, effectively banning natural gas hookups.

New homes in Vancouver will be built with zero-emissions heating and hot water systems starting Jan. 1 following a city council vote this week.

Council was considering delaying the zero-emissions requirement by one year to give the heating and plumbing industry additional time to adapt to the new bylaw, which was introduced in 2019.

Council voted 6–4 to stick to the original timeline outlined in Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. OneCity’s Christine Boyle, independent Mayor Kennedy Stewart, COPE Coun. Jean Swanson and Green councillors Adriane Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe voted to keep the original timeline.

Independents Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick and Sarah Kirby-Yung voted for a one-year deferral. NPA Coun. Melissa De Genova abstained.

“I’m really pleased and relieved about it,” says Boyle. “What’s clear to me after years of doing climate work is that climate delay is the same as climate denial. We’ve been losing slowly for too long, and we don’t have enough time to continue to take that approach.”

Boyle was an outspoken opponent of the one-year delay. Earlier in the week she told The Tyee a delay would punish businesses that had invested in Vancouver’s low-carbon transition and signal to the fossil fuel industry that the city was willing to cave on its climate goals “with a tiny bit of pressure.”

 

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

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XX

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XX

Pompeii, Italy (1993) Photo by author

Today’s contemplation is once again generated by way of an article from the online media site The Tyee. It’s topic is the city of Vancouver’s (British Columbia, Canada) attempts to require ‘electrification’ of all new buildings as part of their Climate Emergency Action Plan and the pushback by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating.

My first comment below was to bring to the surface the Overton Window that most media articles tend to display when discussing climate change actions and associated issues, particularly that it is only via ‘electrification’ of our society that we can adequately sustain our complexities and wean ourselves from the energy provided by fossil fuels; and thus ‘save our planet’.

The comment that follows is in response to another who responded to my comment with the tendency of some to buy into false (magical?) ‘solutions’. We tend to do this for any number of reasons, most (all?) of which are bio-psychological in nature.

The Overton Window established around policies/actions to address our ecological/environmental dilemmas is on full display here.

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

Biden’s Climate Plan: It’s Too Late for Gradualism

Biden’s Climate Plan: It’s Too Late for Gradualism

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

President Biden gave us his climate plan on March 31. It was buried inside his American Jobs Plan. The 12,000-word Fact Sheet about it released by the White House hardly acknowledges the climate emergency. The plan is presented as a jobs through infrastructure program.

The climate emergency demands a radical and rapid decarbonization of the economy with numerical goals and timetables to transform all productive sectors, not only power production (27% of carbon emissions), but also transportation (28%), manufacturing (22%), buildings (12%), and agriculture (10%). That emergency transformation can only be met by an ecosocialist approach using public enterprise and planning.

Instead, Biden’s plan emphasizes corporate welfare: subsidies and tax incentives for clean energy that will take uncertain effect at a leisurely pace in the markets. Moreover, it does nothing to stop more oil and gas fracking and pipelines for more gas-fired power plants, or to shut down coal-fired power plants. Without out directly saying so, it is a plan to burn fossil fuels for decades to come.

The scale of spending falls pathetically short of what is needed to decarbonize the economy. An effective plan would not only reach zero emissions on a fast timeline. It would also move quickly toward negative emissions, drawing carbon out of the atmosphere because we are already at a carbon level that is triggering dangerous climate change.

Climate Emergency

It’s too late for gradualism. We must at least aim for the “initial target” of 350 ppm (350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) that was proposed 13 years ago by climate scientists James Hansen and colleagues in a 2008 study. Even in that research report Hansen et al. concluded that 300-325 ppm “may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago.”

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

BC Needs a ‘Wartime Approach’ to the Climate Emergency. And Now

BC Needs a ‘Wartime Approach’ to the Climate Emergency. And Now

The urgent response to the pandemic has shown us we can do it. We can’t dither another minute.

All of us who heed the warnings of climate scientists are increasingly alarmed as we stare at the harrowing gap between what the science says is necessary and what our politics seems prepared to entertain. Despite decades of calls to action, our greenhouse gas emissions are not on a path to stave off a horrific future for our children and future generations.

Case in point: The accompanying chart tracks British Columbia’s emissions going back to the year 2000. What is evident is that, in the face of the defining challenge of our time, our politicians are not rising to the task at hand.

582px version of GHG_Chart.jpg
Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada: Tables IPCC Sector Canada.

Let this deeply disturbing chart sink in. And then let us all agree — political leaders, civil servants, environmental organizations, academics and policy wonks, labour leaders, socially responsible business leaders — that what we have been doing is simply not working. We have run out the clock with distracting debates about incremental changes.

But where it matters most — actual GHG emissions — we have accomplished precious little and have frequently slipped backwards. The most recent GHG data is from 2018, and B.C.’s new Clean BC climate plan was only introduced late that year, so it may yet show some progress. But our track record leaves much to be desired.

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

A letter to real power: a letter to us

When I heard that Culture Declares Emergency was organizing a series of ‘Letters to Power’, I thought to myself: “Rupert, you should probably write one”. You see, I have spent much of my life attempting to talk to, persuade, even beg those with power – our elected leaders, heads of banks and businesses, big organisations or media companies, for example. I have written many, many letters to power before.

Though to be frank, it’s been largely pointless; while some appear to listen, most fail to hear and even more refuse to act.

Trying once again felt a bit like bashing my head against a brick wall. I felt my enthusiasm for the project draining away.

But then I stopped for a minute and really thought about power. Especially in the context of these last three tumultuous years.

I started to re-assess my assumption about who this letter would be directed to. When I looked up the dictionary definition – “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events” – and I recalled the way the world has changed since 2018, it became clearer where the power really is.

With us, the people.

We were the ones who, earlier this year, initiated precautionary action when, at least in the UK, our government was clearly going down a different, deadly, route of (non-) response to the Covid crisis.

We were the ones who supported our family, friends and neighbours with countless good deeds during lockdown, and who stood in public solidarity with the NHS and key workers.

We were the ones who questioned, and continue to question, the motives of our rudderless governments in their stance on coronavirus.

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

The Positive Power of Emergencies

The Positive Power of Emergencies

Seth Klein discusses his new book on tackling the climate crisis like we’ve fought wars — and now the pandemic.

Seth Klein spends a lot of time thinking about emergencies. Earlier this spring, the former director of the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives had just finished writing a book drawing lessons for fighting climate change from the country’s Second World War experience when the coronavirus hit. “Talk about awkward timing,” Klein recalls in A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, which will be published on Sept. 1.

But Klein quickly realized that the global pandemic made his book’s central argument more relevant than ever. Whether it’s a war against Nazi aggression, a deadly and infectious virus or a climate emergency irreversibly changing our country, collective dangers require swift and transformative action. They are opportunities to overhaul conventional wisdom.

“Once emergencies are truly recognized,” Klein writes, “what seemed politically impossible and economically off-limits can be quickly embraced.”

In a recent interview with The Tyee about his forthcoming book, which is currently available for pre-order, Klein expands on that argument, explaining how Canada’s $250-billion response to COVID-19 has shattered mainstream conceptions about what’s feasible for climate action. He discusses what the Second World War can teach us about reducing social inequality in the face of a crisis, and the crucial role Indigenous people have played in both our wartime efforts and our current battles on climate change.

Geoff Dembicki: Where does the interest in WWII come from? Because it doesn’t seem like you’re that much of a war person.

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

Now is the time to end the climate emergency

Now is the time to end the climate emergency

Reading “The Green New Deal and beyond” in the middle of a global crisis

In The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can, Stan Cox has a message for all who were counting on the Green New Deal to help save us from ecological and economic collapse: this legislation will not go far enough. Cox’s book comes at a sobering time, when the only two U.S. presidential candidates he mentions as being in favor of the Green New Deal—Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—have fallen behind a ‘more electable’ candidate who has not expressed such enthusiastic support for GND policies. In light of such developments, and in light of the global health crisis now facing the world, a manuscript devoted to many of the GND’s shortcomings might seem untimely. Yet Cox provides important insights into how our intersecting crises—ecological, economic, and epidemiological—could lead to a positive restructuring of the economy, if we can push such legislation to meet them. To do so, Cox argues, requires expanding the GND’s restorative approach to environmental justice, a willingness to reinvent the economy at a scale not seen since World War II, and the prioritizing of people and the planet above economic growth.

There are a few assumptions of the Green New Deal with which Cox takes issue, given how far we have advanced on the climate clock. These include the legislation’s vision to build up ‘green’ energy capacity and its promise to maintain and even accelerate economic growth. First, Cox addresses the common assumption that clean energy will push out old, dirty energy, by showing that there is so far no evidence to support that this will happen.

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Notes From Underground #4: Emergency Democracy

Notes From Underground #4: Emergency Democracy

It’s late in 1940, six months since the fall of France. Still a year to go before America joins the war. Meanwhile, Britain soldiers on alone – or so it likes to tell itself, the vastness of Empire folded conveniently into the background. Through the crackling of the wireless, the prime minister’s voice is unmistakable.

‘Every endeavour must be made to use the time available to produce the greatest volume of food of which this fertile island is capable. We shall all have to make changes to the way in which we eat and each household must now play its part in the way in which that food is grown. We have to look a long way ahead in this sphere of the war. We have to think of the years 1970 and 1971 and of the tonnage programmes which we shall be able to move and which we shall have to move across the oceans then.’

The mistake is glaring, absurd – yet this was the voice I heard in my head as I read the summary of the EAT–Lancet report on climate change and food, published in January, with its conclusions about the changes called for in our diets. In North America, an 84% cut in the average intake of red meat; for Europeans, a fifteen-fold increase in the amount of nuts and seeds we eat. All of this is to be achieved by 2050: a timeline based on reasonable assumptions and ambitious behaviour-change goals, for sure, but it doesn’t sound like a response to an existential threat.

The speech which Churchill actually gave that autumn, part of which was printed on the leaflets that launched the Dig For Victory campaign, urged Britain to ‘think of the years 1943 and 1944’.

* * *

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

Global warming was blamed for evaporating the Great Lakes, now blamed for high water levels in Chicago’s ‘climate emergency’ – Updated 2

Global warming was blamed for evaporating the Great Lakes, now blamed for high water levels in Chicago’s ‘climate emergency’ – Updated 2

“What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes.” That was Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in 2013 when Lake Michigan was at a record low. You can find plenty of claims to the same effect from the time. Nobel Prize winner Al Gore chimed in around then, too, saying climate change was driving Great Lakes levels down by causing evaporation.

But that was then and this is now.

What’s causing today’s record high levels? Climate change, naturally.

So now, citing “catastrophic lakefront erosion” from high water, Chicago just declared a climate emergency. It’s radical, and is reproduced in full below.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Durbin want the federal government to help Chicago pay for damage to its shoreline. Lightfoot’s accompanying statement is reproduced below. You’ll be relieved to see that she’s putting “equity” at the center.

Given that Lightfoot hasn’t exactly been friendly to President Trump, you might be concerned about what reception her request for federal help will get. Per the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot acknowledged “some concern, of course,” that President Donald Trump won’t see the urgency in sending help to Chicago — a city he has treated as a public antagonist for years — to combat climate change, an issue he hasn’t deemed a high priority.

Why, yes, I’d have some concern, too, of course. She called Trump’s visit to Chicago “insulting, ignorant buffoonery.” Not that he’s vindictive or anything.

And since sustainability is emphasized in Lightfoot’s statement, I’d also have some concern about sustainability of claims about the causes of Great Lakes water fluctuations. I confess to being old enough to remember exceptionally high lake levels in the late 1970s when global cooling was blamed.

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

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