We very much support India’s ambitious goal for solar energy and stand ready to speed this advancement with additional financing,” Obama said during the news conference at Hyderabad House.
Modi Shifts on Climate Change With India Renewables Goal, Bloomberg By Reed Landberg and Natalie Obiko Pearson Jan 26, 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is ready to expand its use of renewable energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, a signal that his government is moving toward joining an international deal on global warming.
After a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in New Delhi, the prime minister said that his nation along with all others has an obligation to act on reducing the fossil-fuel emissions blamed for damaging the climate.
The remarks represent a shift in India’s tone on global warming………….
Environmental groups led by the World Resources Institute in Washington said Modi appeared to be moving toward a nationwide goal on renewables, expanding its current program of reaching 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022.
“This announcement builds on the recent progress on climate made between the U.S. and China,” Continue reading
Climate change inaction pushes ‘doomsday clock’ closest to midnight since 1984 Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 23 Jan 15 Symbolic clock is now at three minutes to apocalypse, the darkest hour for humanity since the cold war. The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war.
It was the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down………
Meanwhile, the scientists said, global efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals have slowed since 2009, and all of the nuclear powers were expanding reactors and weapons programmes.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the symbolic clock in 1947 to indicate the cold war threat. In 1991, when the threat of nuclear annihilation receded with the end of the cold war, the clock stood at 17 minutes to midnight.
But it was now moving closer to the apocalypse because of climate change. “We are not saying it is too late to take action, but the window to take action is closing rapidly,” Benedict said. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/22/climate-change-nuclear-bombs-doomsday-clock-near-midnight
The Marshall Islands’ latest nuclear test – Marshall Islanders are well-acquainted with the horrors of the nuclear arms industry. Belen Fernandez, Aljazeera, 18 Jan 15 “…………The Times quotes Marshallese Foreign Minister Tony de Brum on the seemingly parallel threats to survival: “What would it gain mankind to reach a peaceful resolution of the climate change threat, only to be wiped out by a nuclear misunderstanding?”
There are certainly common denominators between climate change and nukes – not least that both are filed away in many of our brains under the category of things that we know can swiftly destroy us but would prefer not to think about.
However, there appears to be a missing link in de Brum’s analysis, because you can’t resolve the climate change threat without resolving the business of imperial militarism, in both its nuclear and non-nuclear varieties.
The connection between the military-industrial complex and environmental catastrophe is fairly clearly spelled out in Project Censored‘s annual report from 2010, which confirms the US Department of Defense as the worst polluter on the planet………
the Marshall Islands …nuclear lawsuit should be encouraged – if for no other reason than the possibly vain hope that awareness can help combat inertia.
And another vain hope: that with attention will come context.http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/01/marshall-islands-latest-nuclear-201511352947395615.html
Critics: Turkey Point Sucking Us Dry MIAMI (CBSMiami) Gary Nelson, 13 Jan 15 – The Turkey Point nuclear power plant was busy splitting atoms by Biscayne Bay Wednesday, and just down the street a Nuclear Regulatory Commission appeals Board was hearing a challenge to the cooling system at Turkey point.
Water to cool the nuclear reactors is hot, as hot as 104 degrees at times. The nuclear regulatory commission has granted FPL a waiver, allowing the water to be hotter then regulations would normally allow.
Still, to keep the water even at the 104 degree limit, FPL has been allowed to pull as much as 100 million gallons of water a day from Everglades canals to cool the plant’s overheated cooling water.
Opponents say FPL, already sucking water from the aquifer-and now canals-is threatening environmental ruin. Click here to watch Gary Nelson’s report.
“The waters going to get more saline, it’s going to get denser, and it’s going to sink, and it’s going to further displace freshwater,” said Mayor Phillip Stoddard of South Miami. “It will mess up the Everglades and threaten the drinking water supply for Florida Keys residence.”
Miami-Dade farmer Mike Hatcher is among those battling FPL’s increased thirst. “It’s the water that we drink, it’s the water that I and my fellow farmers use to grow the crops,” Hatcher said. “It’s the water that we use for recreation.”……
Barry White of the group Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, said citizens have reason to be worried. “Eventually, they’ll pay for it in higher water bills and in the quality of life here,” White said. “There is not enough water and land to support so much.”
It is considered unlikely that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s appeals panel will overturn the agencies earlier decision. In any event, opponents vow to fight on. A decision from the panel is expected within a few weeks. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/01/14/critics-turkey-point-sucking-us-dry/
US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet Project
Censored October 2, 2010 The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported. In spite of the evidence, the environmental impact of the US military goes largely unaddressed by environmental organizations and was not the focus of any discussions or proposed restrictions at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This impact includes uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil. Continue reading
Climate Change and Intergenerational Ethics, St Louis post Dispatch January 14, 2015 • Kate Lovelady Humanism, despite its name, is concerned not only with humanity. People exist in and only because of a fantastically complex natural system, and therefore humanists believe that an essential part of living ethically is living in a way that is sustainable for future generations as well as for other species.
Traditional western thought, religious and secular, has tended to see the rest of nature as a tool for human happiness and progress, but more and more people of every worldview are coming to understand humanity as co-residents of the Earth, as one part of nature–the only (that we know of) self-conscious part, and therefore having a special opportunity and responsibility.
The economy is not alive. It is important; it is one of the ways humans organize ourselves to survive and to pursue happiness. But despite legal fiction, businesses are not people, and the economy is a being and cannot be killed. Humans and other creatures can be killed, and they will be by climate disruption, which will destroy cities and some entire low-lying island nations, create environmental refugees, and result in avoidable deaths.
Many who want to do nothing about climate change now, imagine future solutions of far-fetched plans to trap carbon in new ways or reflect sunlight from the upper atmosphere—meaning they are unwilling to face economic challenges, but they are willing to burden future generations with unknown and possibly enormous and long-lasting dangerous effects of major geo-engineering. This is immoral.
The consequences of climate disruption will seriously affect the lives of today’s children, and continue to fall on people far into the future. In American political arguments, budget deficits are routinely called immoral because of the burden they might impose on our children; the burden of climate change and environmental degradation will be much greater.
We need a new morality of intergenerational ethics. Never before have humans been able to make decisions that have such drastic impacts on future generations. We’re not used to thinking that long-term. But we must learn to; our ethics must evolve to match our technological capabilities. Future generations are completely at our mercy, since they don’t even exist yet. We have to make choices as if they will exist, and we have an ethical obligation to act in their interest, because they are helpless.
Religious communities should be at the forefront of a new movement for intergenerational environmental justice, in several ways:……….
Religions teach interdependence, a value that opposes the mainstream culture of the radically independent consumer in which the “best” life is supposedly the one in which you never have to share anything with others………
If you’re interested in these issues and how your congregation or religious tradition can help, join Climate Reality on Tuesday January 27, at 7pm, at Ladue Chapel for a panel discussion on “Faith, Ethics, Social Justice and Climate Change.” http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/civil-religion/kate-lovelady/climate-change-and-intergenerational-ethics/article_1736901c-9c1f-11e4-844d-8b26cdb28539.html
‘Man has gone too far': Pope Francis says we are primarily responsible for climate change, SMH, January 16, 2015 Lindsay Murdoch “…..Wading into the climate change debate on board the papal plane, the Pope told journalists he hoped negotiators at the next round of climate change talks in Paris in November would take a courageous stand to protect the environment.
“I don’t know if it is all (man’s fault) but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature,” he said.
“We have in a sense taken over nature. I think we have exploited nature too much.”
The comments were Pope Francis’ clearest on the environment since he pledged to make the issue a priority on the day of his installation as Pope in 2013.
“We have, in a sense, lorded it over nature, over Sister Earth, over Mother Earth,” said the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, who has in the past spoken about the need to protect the environment. “I think man has gone too far,” he said……http://www.smh.com.au/world/man-has-gone-too-far-pope-francis-says-we-are-primarily-responsible-for-climate-change-20150115-12rcwm.html
he has been invited by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to address the general assembly of the UN on the issue.
Climate-change encyclical may lay ground for UN progress http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/climatechange-encyclical-may-lay-ground-for-un-progress-20150113-12n3u2.html January 14, 2015 Neil Ormerod This is the year the Catholic Church will join the battle to save the planet; as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, stated, “2015 could be a decisive year in history”.
From the start of his pontificate Pope Francis indicated his intention to publish an encyclical on the environment. Encyclicals are the most authoritative documents a pope can issue, and it has become increasingly clear that global warming will be its central theme.
Previous popes – both John Paul II and Benedict XVI – referred to the environment and climate change in various communications, and committed the Vatican City to being carbon neutral, but this will be the first time a pope will have dedicated an entire encyclical to it.
The forthcoming encyclical could be compared with the first major encyclical on Catholic social teaching, Rerum Novarum, issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. Faced with the emerging labour union movement, Leo’s encyclical provided both encouragement for, and an endorsement of Catholic engagement with, unions. It provided a moral legitimation for unions as a response to the widespread exploitation of labour in the workplace.
So too the promised encyclical on the environment will provide both encouragement for, and a call to Catholics to engage with, the environmental movement. It will throw the moral authority of the Catholic Church behind the movement and commit the church to ongoing contributions to the environmental debate. Continue reading
Senate to vote on whether climate change is happening The Hill, By Laura Barron-Lopez – 01/13/15 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he will allow the Senate to vote on an amendment asking if they agree that climate change is impacting the planet…….Sanders’s amendment is one of many Democrats are looking to tack on to the controversial bill, which Republicans are eager to send to President Obama’s desk. The White House has threatened to veto the Keystone legislation.
Smoke and Mirrors Will Not Save Us From Anthropogenic Climate Disruption Saturday, 10 January 2015 10:46By Robert James Parsons, Truthout |With 2015 billed as the make-it-or-break-it year for climate control, in anticipation of next December’s Paris conference, and in the midst of much vehement – if not downright virulent – controversy, it is worth proposing some perspective beyond what most of the media deign to serve up to us.
In an article that appeared in mid-November in the French online journal A l’encontre, Daniel Tanuro analyzed the “unprecedented” and “historic” agreement between the United States and China resulting from Barack Obama’s encounter with Xi Jinping just before the November G20 conference in Brisbane.
The insufficiency – to put it mildly – of this agreement, in comparison with the warnings issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most recent report, is unbridgeable, he points out.
Citing the reduction of 26% promised by Obama for 2025, which ought to lower United States emissions to 5.368 gigatonnes (Gt), he notes: “According to the Kyoto Protocol (which the United States signed but never ratified), Uncle Sam should have reduced his emissions by 8% by 2012, relative to 1990. That means that the emissions should have dropped from 6.233 Gt (1990 figure) to 5.734 Gt – instead of which, they increased 0.2% per year, on average, to reach 6.526 Gt. In other words, Obama has committed the United States to reaching by 2025 a target that is almost no better than than the one that the United States was supposed to have reached two years ago.”
For China, it is similar: “Xi Jinping stipulated that China would begin to reduce its absolute emissions at the latest in 2030 and that ‘zero-carbon’ sources would then cover 20% of its energy needs. To take the full measure of this promise, one must bear in mind that these ‘zero-carbon’ energy sources, already in 2013, represented in China 9% of the primary consumption of energy and that the twelfth five-year plan has set a target of 15% for 2020. Given the current amounts being invested, an increase of a further 5% in over ten years is anything but a ‘performance': US$ 65 billion have already been invested in ‘non-fossil’ energy.”
According to the Kyoto Protocol, the ratifying countries committed themselves to reducing their green house gas emissions between 8% and 20% relative to 1990. As these emissions have continued to increase, the reductions since then have been completely canceled out………….http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28443-smoke-and-mirrors-will-not-save-us-from-acd
The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus: 114th Congress Edition, Climate Progress BY TIFFANY GERMAIN – GUEST CONTRIBUTOR, KRISTEN ELLINGBOE – GUEST CONTRIBUTOR, KILEY KROH JANUARY 8, 2015 THIS WEEK CONGRESS RETURNS TO THE NATION’S CAPITAL WITH 71 NEW MEMBERS IN ITS RANKS. THOSE ADDITIONS WILL BRING LITTLE IMPROVEMENT IN THE VIEWS OF CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS REGARDING THE SCIENTIFIC REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE, HOWEVER. OVER 56 PERCENT OF REPUBLICANS IN THE 114TH CONGRESS DENY OR QUESTION THE SCIENCE BEHIND HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE, ACCORDING TO AN ANALYSIS BY CAP ACTION.
On the heels of what looks to be the warmest year in recorded history, with the global carbon dioxide levels that drive climate change reaching unprecedented levels, 53 percent — 131 members — of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives deny the occurrence of human-caused global warming and 72 percent — 39 members — on the Senate side sing the same tune.
While 97 percent of climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is occurring and is driven by human activity, several new members of the 114th Congress assert the opposite. Just this week, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) rejected the premise that greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, remarking instead that “political correctness took over climate science,” E&E Daily reported Thursday……..
One of the loudest congressional climate deniers is Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) — the likely new chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee — who was swiftly repudiated in a hearing last year for claiming the earth had experienced “no warming for the last 15 years.” In addition to Inhofe, 10 out of 11, or 91 percent, of Republicans on EPW have said climate change is not happening or that humans do not cause it.
The members of the 114th Congress who have publicly misrepresented the science behind global warming have accepted their fair share of contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The 39 climate deniers in the Senate have taken $28,152,466 in donations from the coal, oil and gas industries, while the 61 Senators who haven’t denied the science have taken $11,033,447 in career contributions, according to the CAP Action analysis. On average, Senate deniers took $721,858 from fossil fuel interests while other Senators took $180,876.
On the House side, the 131 climate science deniers have taken $35,702,245 in fossil fuel industry contributions while the remaining voting members who haven’t denied the science have only taken $24,268,787 in career contributions. On average, House deniers took $272,536 from coal, oil and gas interests while other members took $80,095.
Looking ahead, the new Republican-controlled Congress has been clear that it has no intention of prioritizing action to help combat climate change. In fact, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb carbon pollution from power plants andapprove the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Tiffany Germain is Research Manager and Kristen Ellingboe is Research Associate for CAP Action. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/01/08/3608427/climate-denier-caucus-114th-congress/
Massive fossil fuels cut is last chance to limit global warming, researchers say http://www.euractiv.com/sections/energy/massive-fossil-fuels-cut-last-chance-limit-global-warming-researchers-say-311133 9 Jan 15 While the world’s fossil fuel reserves are already limited, new research published in Naturemagazine argues that these energy sources should already be out of commission, in order to salvage a 50% chance of stopping global warming. EurActiv Germany reports.
According to the study, approximately 80% of current technically and economically recoverable coal, 50% of gas reserves, and 30% of oil reserves would have to remain untapped over the next 40 years to slow global warming.
When these are burned to generate energy, CO2 is created – a greenhouse gas that absorbs the earth’s heat radiation before it can escape into outer space.
There is at least a 50% chance that global warming could be reduced to pre-industrial levels, said researchers Paul Ekins and Christophe McGlade.
But keeping global temperatures at such tolerable levels, can only be achieved if exploitation of these fuels is given up, they indicated. Only one-third of fossil fuel reserves can be tapped
At the moment, 2,900 gigatonnes of fossil fuel reserves worldwide are technically and economically recoverable. But as earlier studies have already calculated, only around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide can be emitted while still upholding the 2° climate target.
This means leaving a large amount of reserves untouched, a painful move for countries that are economically dependent on their fossil fuel resources.
With the help of computer models, the researchers illustrate which regions must considerably reduce their output. To do this, they use a variety of data including from the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials, the International Energy Agency and the Global Energy Assessment.
Middle East must abandon half of its oil reserves
Taking into consideration the respective regional costs of extraction and assumed future technological development, the researchers then calculated which resources could be extracted the most cost-effectively.
The outcome showed the Middle East would have to leave about half of its recoverable oil reserves – around 260 billion barrels – in the ground. But the United States and Australia would have to give up 90% of their currently recoverable coal resources.
China, India, Africa and the Middle East, would also have to significantly limit their extraction of unconventional gas.
Meanwhile, extraction of fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic should be avoided completely, the researchers write.
“A question of compensation”
Although the study is not the first of its kind, its strength is in detailed division of regions, Michael Jakob and Jérôme Hilaire from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research wrote in a commentary on the Nature study.The formulated target for poor countries, whose poverty could grow due to a stricter climate policy, raises certain concerns, the researchers write.
“Given the crucial role of energy in economic development, how can countries be convinced to forgo the use of fossil fuels if this is perceived to imperil primary policy objectives such as poverty reduction?” asked Jakob.
For this reason, successful climate policy comes down to compensation, that affected countries could receive from an international fund, he said.
But to do this, industrialised countries would have to create large incentives, the two researchers argue.
A study by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials shows that as it stands, a large part of worldwide non-renewable energy resources is still available.
Despite predicted increases in demand, particularly due to population and economic growth in developing countries, natural gas and coal could still be supplied for many decades.
Playing Dumb on Climate Change, NYT, By NAOMI ORESKESJAN. 3, 2015CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.
Science is conservative, and new claims of knowledge are greeted with high degrees of skepticism……….
When applied to evaluating environmental hazards, the fear of gullibility can lead us to understate threats. It places the burden of proof on the victim rather than, for example, on the manufacturer of a harmful product. The consequence is that we may fail to protect people who are really getting hurt……….
In the case of climate change, we are not dumb at all. We know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, we know that its concentration in the atmosphere has increased by about 40 percent since the industrial revolution, and we know the mechanism by which it warms the planet.
WHY don’t scientists pick the standard that is appropriate to the case at hand, instead of adhering to an absolutist one? The answer can be found in a surprising place: the history of science in relation to religion. The 95 percent confidence limit reflects a long tradition in the history of science that valorizes skepticism as an antidote to religious faith……..
Years ago, climate scientists offered an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the “safe” limit or ceiling for the long-term warming of the planet. We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1 degree Celsius. The evidence is mounting that scientists have underpredicted the threat. Perhaps this is another reason — along with our polarized politics and the effect of fossil-fuel lobbying — we have underreacted to the reality, now unfolding before our eyes, of dangerous climate change. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/opinion/sunday/playing-dumb-on-climate-change.html?_r=1
“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”
Following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.
According to Vatican insiders, Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the general assembly in New York in September, when countries will sign up to new anti-poverty and environmental goals………..
According to Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at Cafod, said: “The anticipation around Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented. We have seen thousands of our supporters commit to making sure their MPs know climate change is affecting the poorest communities.”
However, Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate.
Cardinal George Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney who has been placed in charge of the Vatican’s budget, is a climate change sceptic who has been criticised for claiming that global warming has ceased and that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were doubled, then “plants would love it”………
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion……..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/27/pope-francis-edict-climate-change-us-rightwing?CMP=share_btn_tw
But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power” projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.
When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)
COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion. Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.
Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
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