Why we’re going to win the climate change fight — despite Trump’s election as denier-in-chief… maybe even because of it
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Why we’re going to win the climate change fight — despite Trump’s election as denier-in-chief… maybe even because of it
Credit: World Future Council
On Monday, 19 September, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, Heads of States and Governments will address the large movements of refugees and migrants at a high-level summit during the General Assembly. The milestone event aims to strengthen governance of international migration and create a more humane and coordinated system.
More than 21 million people were forced to leave their countries in 2015, over half of whom are under the age of 18. In just five years, the number of child refugees has risen by 77 per cent, while the proportion of women refugees reached 47% in 2015.
María Fernanda Espinosa, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva and Co-Chair of the Ending Violence against Women and Girls Commission, World Future Council, says: “Refugee women and children face various security risks at every stage of their journey. They are still not sufficiently protected and often do not even find adequate support, such as psychosocial assistance, in their destination countries. We therefore call on world leaders to tackle this serious challenge and take effective and binding measures to ensure the safety of refugee women and children.”
In an appeal to the governments and institutions of the world published in March 2016, the World Future Council called for rigorous measures to protect refugee women and children from violence. The WFC is currently putting together a report on best practices to protect refugee women and children against violence to promote existing and proven practices. The report is expected to be published at the end of the year.
Thanks to the World Future Council for this post. For more information, visit the WFC website. Contact your president or prime minister today and ask him or her to do everything possible to protect the lives of refugees, especially the lives of women and children.
If our transition to renewable energy is successful, we will achieve savings in the ongoing energy expenditures needed for economic production. We will be rewarded with a quality of life that is acceptable—and, perhaps, preferable to our current one (even though, for most Americans, material consumption will be scaled back from its current unsustainable level). We will have a much more stable climate than would otherwise be the case. And we will see greatly reduced health and environmental impacts from energy production activities.
But the transition will entail costs—not just money and regulation, but also changes in our behavior and expectations. It will probably take at least three or four decades, and will fundamentally change the way we live.
Nobody knows how to accomplish the transition in detail, because this has never been done before. Most previous energy transitions were driven by opportunity, not policy. And they were usually additive, with new energy resources piling onto old ones (we still use firewood, even though we’ve added coal, hydro, oil, natural gas, and nuclear to the mix).
Since the renewable energy revolution will require trading our currently dominant energy sources (fossil fuels) for alternative ones (mostly wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and biomass) that have different characteristics, there are likely to be some hefty challenges along the way.
Therefore, it makes sense to start with the low-hanging fruit and with a plan in place, then revise our plan frequently as we gain practical experience. Several organizations have already formulated plans for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. David Fridley, staff scientist of the energy analysis program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and I have been working for the past few months to analyze and assess those plans and have a book in the works titledOur Renewable Future. Here’s a very short summary, tailored mostly to the United States, of what we’ve found.
This piece first appeared in YES magazine
PEACE & PLANET NETWORK
We are all the victims of state and non-state terrorism. Ending such calamities as the Paris and Beirut massacres requires a struggle against the forces of destruction emanating from the Middle East and from the imperial wars of the US, NATO and allied states.
The U.S. and its allies are fighting wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine and Somalia. Worse, in Syria and Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the two major nuclear weapons states, the U.S. and Russia, are fighting on opposite sides of the conflicts. There, U.S. nuclear-armed allies, Britain, France and Israel, are also involved. An accidental or intentional military incident, could send the world spiraling into a disastrous nuclear confrontation. The bombing attacks on neutral hospitals remind us that in the chaos of war such mistakes are all too common.
US allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have fueled the wars in Syria and Iraq with foreign fighters, weapons, funding and porous borders. Without this massive and fundamental support ISIS and the other jihadist fundamentalists could not carry on.
To add to the potential conflicts, the U.S. and China, another nuclear-armed nation, are facing off against each other in the seas bordering China and other Asian nations. Here again potentially dangerous military incidents could trigger war as China responds to the U.S. bases, military alliances and military “exercises” to reinforce its regional dominance, with disputed claims to 80% of the South China Sea and rival military exercises.
The Obama administration has recently announced that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan, are being reintroduced into Iraq and will be introduced into Syria, thus further escalating the conflicts. The recent introduction of Russian forces into Syria, invited by and supporting Assad, challenges Obama’s goal of regime change, but further contributes to the violence the people of Syria have to face.
Many Middle Eastern and European states now face a crisis of accepting millions of refugees, most of whose flights can be traced to the devastation of their communities by the region’s wars. The vast majority of these refugees come from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
December 10th is International Human Rights Day. The human rights of the refugees and those who still remain in areas of violent conflict are daily being violated.
The 21st United Nations sponsored Conference of the Parties (COP21) will be held in Paris this December. The goal of COP21 is to produce the first meaningful, legally binding international climate treaty since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
Paris may be our last collective chance to enact meaningful climate action to prevent a 2ºCelsius (3.6ºF) rise in global temperatures within this century. Scientists warn that passing the 2ºCelsius tipping point may result in persistent, unpredictable, and extreme weather that will be disastrous for much of life on Earth.
In advance of COP21, countries have agreed to make greenhouse gas reduction pledges, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). These pledges will guide the negotiations. Each nation’s contribution is to be determined by national circumstance. No firm standards were set regarding pledges. We should all be concerned that, to date, most countries have made weak pledges that exploit this ambiguity.
The Citizens’ 2015 Global Climate Agreement Campaign has been organized to keep citizens, environmental leaders, and policymakers around the world engaged and informed about the status of country pledges and other issues related to the success of COP21. The Campaign has set the following standards we believe country COP21 pledges should reach:
1. As called upon by the UN, all countries should use their 1990 level of carbon emissions as a baseline from which to measure and pledge future reductions.
2. Industrialized countries should pledge to reduce their emissions by 25% by 2025 with further reductions in five-year increments, i.e., 40% by 2030, etc.
3. Less-industrialized countries should pledge to reduce their emissions by at least 15% by the year 2025 with further reductions in five-year increments, i.e., 25% by 2030, etc.
UN Designates November 19 As World Toilet Day
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. General Assembly has designated November 19 as World Toilet Day to spotlight the plight of 2.5 billion people who don't have basic toilets.
According to the U.N., six billion of the world's seven billion people have mobile phones – but only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines.
The General Assembly resolution approved by consensus Wednesday urges the U.N.'s 193 member states to promote behavioral changes and adopt policies to increase access to sanitation and end open defecation, a key cause of diarrhea.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said the annual observance of World Toilet Day "will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation."
Methane Leaking Through the Cracks
Scientists have confirmed that the release of immense amounts of methane due to thawing Arctic permafrost could very negatively impact the global economy. The releases could cost an estimated $60 trillion and the worst of these impacts will be felt in developing countries.
Methane is being released in large quantities due to a diminishing ice cover in the East Siberian Sea, which is allowing for waters to warm, hence the release. Methane is one of the strongest greenhouse gases (GHG). These emissions will increase flooding, the rise of sea levels, and damage to both agriculture and human health.
“According to Lloyds of London, investment in the Arctic could reach $100bn within ten years,” (BBC News).
Nevertheless, the costs outweigh the benefits and a release of methane this huge could speed up the increase of global temperatures by 2C by 12-35 years.
Methane is increasing in the atmosphere; the increase is most prominent over the Arctic. Developing countries may feel this impact most, but it is something that will affect the entire world.
The economy, global temperatures, agriculture, sea levels, human health.
Can we prevent this burst from happening?
Story thanks to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
The world is facing a huge climate issue as the earth continues to overheat. And along with this overheating planet comes the question of the survival of animals and plants. Many will have to adapt to global warming and based on how quickly climate change is evolving, the possibility for some of these species to adapt in the same amount of time is nearly impossible.
It would be false to believe that there is not a species that has adapted to past climate fluctuations, yet the rate of adaptation is extremely slow. With the rate that climate change is evolving now, it is expected to be dramatically warmer by the end of the century.
“Global temperatures are going to rise by about four degrees over the next 100 years as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” states Professor John Wiens, University of Arizona (The Guardian).
Most land animals will not be able to evolve so quickly to adapt to this dramatic change, thus: many species face extinction. For many species, simply evolving to match the new conditions of global warming may not be an option. Moving habitat for many of these species is also not an option.
Though many seem to believe that climate change is not an issue for much of the planet’s wildlife, there is a lot at stake for these creatures. Not only is there are melting icecaps, rising sea levels, and extremely drastic temperatures at stake, the speed at which these are occurring is inconceivable. This transformation is not so far away as we may think and we are the ones creating this transformation.
Let’s keep in mind what is at stake: much of today’s wildlife.
Photo credits to http://campusprogress.org/campus_files/uploads/images/tree.jpg
Environmental activists against tar sands, which is a form of fuel producing more GHG emissions than conventional oil, have posted a video of themselves visiting the parliament in Canada. The activists managed to climb the roof of the parliament with t-shirts saying "oil out of politics," in hopes of disrupting the prime minister, Stephen Harper's address. Three demonstrators have been arrested.
The Guardian states the following:
"The Love Canada Hate Tar Sands site said: 'We have entered parliament to interrupt Harper's speech. We have managed to climb onto the roof with T-shirts saying 'oil out of politics', 'stop Harper' and 'stop the tar sands'. Two campaigners spilled molasses on the floor outside of Parliament'"
The activists said in a statement: "Cameron's government opens its arms to Harper and his cronies … Harper should be shamed internationally but he is instead invited to address both houses of parliament. Harper has taken Canada down a dangerous climate path, destroyed whole ecosystems and overriding centuries-old treaty rights."
Other protesters have demonstrated outside of the parliament as well. The UK Tar Sands Network protested as the Canadian prime minister arrived, with close to 50 people campainging against the extraction of oil from tar sands in the boreal forests of Canada.
"The group wants the UK government to support EU measures to label tar sands as more polluting than conventional oil and to discourage its future import."
The southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg raised the bar for renewable energy on May 13, 2013 with the completion of the largest locally owned solar array.
Similarly, a developer of solar panels has also announced that four community-owned projects were completed by the end of April in the southeast state of Bavaria in order to be eligible for that month's feed-in tariffs.
The average size is just over two megawatts and one of the solar arrays went up across two hectares of a former concrete production plant. While these solar panels are providing renewable energy to the community, because they are community-owned the local community also benefits from a land lease for the project.
Shares in the projects were sold starting at 500 euros (645 U.S. dollars) to citizens in nearby communities, making involvement in the project for renewable energy accessible to these communities. These solar projects demonstrate how citizen involvement in photovoltaics (generating electrical power through solar radiation, otherwise known as solar energy) is not only limited to homeowners.
Coverage thanks to Craig Morris, Renewables International and BWE, Deutsche Windindustrie.
Earth Action update thanks to Paul Gipe. Learn more about his cause at to http://www.wind-works.org/cms/
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