Newsdesk – October 20

Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change.  Contrary to a lot of guilt-tripping pleas for us all to take the bus more often to save the world, your individual choices are probably doing very little to the world’s climate. The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies. The people who are actively cranking up the global thermostat and threatening to drown 20 percent of the global population are the billionaires in the boardrooms of these companies. In her book, Mayer notes that “Koch Industries alone routinely released some 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year.”  Even today, after literally decades of radical libertarian billionaires fostering disbelief in climate change and skepticism about the government, three out of five Americans believe climate change affects their local community. That number climbs to two-thirds on the coasts – GQ

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Newsdesk – October 13

Steak and a healthy vegetarian meal with pulses. Composite: Getty Images

Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown. The new research, published in the journal Nature, is the most thorough to date and combined data from every country to assess the impact of food production on the global environment. It then looked at what could be done to stop the looming food crisis. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. The enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades. Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution. The Researchers found a global shift to a “flexitarian” diet is needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds. Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” said Prof Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was part of the research team. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today” – The Guardian

Read moreNewsdesk – October 13

Newsdesk – October 6

Photograph by Anders Hellberg

The Fifteen-Year-Old Climate Activist Who Is Demanding a New Kind of Politics.  Greta Thunberg’s protest outside of Sweden’s parliament building has made climate change a topic of that country’s daily conversation.  Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg has been protesting for more than a month. Before the country’s parliamentary election on September 9th, she went on strike and sat on the steps of the parliament building, in Stockholm, every day during school hours for three weeks. She is demanding that the government undertake a radical response to climate change. Thunberg developed her special interest in climate change when she was nine years old and in the third grade. She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother, a famous opera singer, followed her suit, giving up an international performing career – The New Yorker

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Newsdesk – September 29

Governments need to honour pledges as climate risks grow. The OECD-UN Environment-World Bank Group report presented to the UN in New York, documents that only nine countries out of the 180 signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change have submitted to the UNFCCC their long-term low-carbon strategies for 2050. Three years on from COP21 in Paris, the overwhelming majority of governments have not taken the necessary action to contain growing risks to the climate. With emissions on the rise again, governments need to get serious about shifting their economies to a low-carbon model and stop investing in carbon-intensive infrastructure. Meanwhile, governments continue to spend half a trillion dollars a year subsidising fossil fuels –

Pages updated this week:   WetlandsChinaKeystone XL

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Newsdesk – September 22

The world has decided bottom-up is the way it’s going to stop climate change. At the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, the air was filled with promises of less carbon. No one making those promises mentioned national governments. Much of the San Francisco summit, in fact, was a showcase for what can be done in the face of recalcitrant, or merely unambitious, national governments. Ten new states and cities joined an alliance to phase out coal. Zero-emissions vehicle targets were adopted by 26 cities, states, regions, and businesses – (See also America’s Pledge)

Pages updated this week: Indigenous PeoplesWater is Life introductionC40 Cities

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Newsdesk Sept. 15

Possibly the strongest storm ever in North Carolina could devastate my home state.  Climate change means Hurricane Florence will dump 50% more rain. An attribution study by scientists ahead of Florence’s landfall found that the storm will be about 50 miles larger in diameter than it would be if human activity had not warmed the planet. “Dangerous climate change is here, it’s not a problem for future generations,” said Michael Wehner, staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The idea we can’t attribute individual events to climate change is out of date, it’s just no longer true . . . We’ve reached the point where we can say this confidently.” – Guardian  Millions in Philippines braced for super-typhoon MangkhutBBC

Pages updated this week:  EcosystemsDivestmentPlastic in the OceansForests

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Newsdesk – September 8

Backlash against GDP as measure of growth. Is our species’ addiction to consumption responsible for climate change and a host of other environment ills? Politicians and economists hail consumption as the economic driver key to keeping our economies thriving. Without consumption, the thinking goes, there is no economic growth. However, the more we consume, the more the planet suffers. Soils are leached of their nutrients, forests felled, and minerals ripped from the earth to leave gaping holes where little can survive. Can we reconcile the two? – DeutscheWelle

Pages updated this week: Indigenous PeoplesYouth-led ActivismIPCC talksOceansWater is LifeBattery storage

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Newsdesk – September 1

Canadian court deals blow to Trudeau’s pipeline support. A Canadian court on Thursday overturned approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, ruling that Ottawa failed to adequately consider aboriginal concerns, putting the future of the C$7.4 billion project in jeopardy. The decision is a blow to PM Trudeau’s government, which agreed in May to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for C$4.5 billion, and to the country’s oil sector. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that  regulators wrongly narrowed its review of the project to exclude related tanker traffic. Since that is a major concern of some aboriginal people, the federal government therefore was not seen to have adequately consulted First Nations, as required by law. An appeal could drag out a couple of years – Reuters   (Why the court overturned pipeline approval)

Pages updated:  Climate WalksAustralia   –  Geoengineering –   new video added

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Newsdesk -August 25

Arctic heating up could cause “very extreme extremes.” Climate change is causing major planetary atmospheric circulation systems like the jet stream to slow down, stalling summer weather patterns across Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, according to a new analysis. As a result, rains are turning into floods, sunny days into long-lasting heat waves, and dry conditions into wildfires. In the coming decades, this disruption of global atmospheric circulation systems could cause “very extreme extremes,” particularly in major agricultural regions –   see also Reuters story.

Pages updated this week:  Ocean plastic Wave PowerCoal AshAustraliaWind Power-USA

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Newsdesk – August 18

Once an urban anomaly, 50C is fast becoming reality. Imagine a city at 50C (122F). Pavements empty, parks quiet, entire neighbourhoods uninhabited. Nobody with a choice ventures outside during daylight hours. Several cities in the Gulf are getting increasingly accustomed to such heat. Two years ago, Basra, Iraq, registered 53.9C. At Mecca, on current trends it is only a matter of time before temperatures exceed Mecca’s record 51.3C reached in 2012. Overnight temperatures this summer remained above 42.6 in Oman, the highest “low” temperature ever recorded in the world. At 50C, heat becomes toxic. Human cells start to cook, blood thickens, muscles lock around the lungs and the brain is choked of oxygen – Guardian

‘By youth, for the youth’: a manifesto for tomorrow’s activists. Inaugural International Congress of Youth Voices create a global network at three-day congress.  “We are a network of empowered youth voices from around the globe that strive to take action for the world we wish to see. We recognize the issues that threaten human rights within our generation; let’s counteract them by implementing innovative solutions in the areas of health, education, social justice, security, and the environment.” – Guardian

Read moreNewsdesk – August 18